Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hickory Wind Redux

The Day it was

Scary Picture!

Consumer debt is now equal to the gross national product.

BondDad explains what it all means.

Short version is that the real bottom line job of the next President is to encourage the creation of jobs.

Deus Ex Machina?

There are some folks who think that electronic voting machines will steal this election from Barack Obama. Nah...Can't happen.

What this means is that you have to vote. Vote early if you can. Check your vote before you leave the machine's booth and make sure that it highlights or checks the correct name, not just in the Presidential races but in down ballot races also.

One thing I hope Obama and the Democratic majority will do immediately, is fix the voting machine problem requiring a paper record and receipt of your vote and open source software at a minimum.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Eloquent Endorsement of Obama...By another Republican Senator

Former Senator Charles McC. Mathias Jr., a Republican, represented Maryland in the U.S. House from 1961 to 1968 and in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1986.

In addition to talking about his long family history and his own personal support of the Republican Party, Senator Mathias states how difficult it is for him to realize that his party has abandoned its principles and duty to America. It is from pure patriotism that Senator Mathias faces reality and endorses Barack Obama for President of the United States of America...

I believe that Obama's inspirational leadership, contemplative nature and well-reasoned, forward-looking policies offer our troubled nation a real opportunity to face and overcome its many challenges at home and abroad.

On an array of domestic issues, including health care, education, tax policy, the environment and alternative energy sources, Obama promises a clean break from the recent past and tangible hope for a return to fiscal responsibility, economic security and true environmental stewardship, all of which are essential to restoring our greatness.

From the Washington Post



Saturday, October 25, 2008

Check the Endorse!

Will Republican Congressman Zach Wamp come out and endorse Barack Obama? A ton of Republicans are. The rest of them are scared and dreading election day.

Zach seems to be predicting a bloodbath for his party and appears to have mentally moved on from the inevitable McCain defeat...

"It's time for a fresh start. We need new faces and new people to communicate what our party stands for," said Representative Zach Wamp, Republican of Tennessee. After the elections, Republicans need to develop a simple, five-point plan that gets back to the principles espoused by GOP icon Ronald Reagan, he said - smaller government, no deficit spending, and a strong national defense that does not entail making the United States the "world's policeman."

Someone needs to tell Zach that Ronald Reagan is a mythological figure who never actually existed, except in the words of speechwriter Peggy Noonan.

A little history here...Zach first got elected with one of the dirtiest campaigns we've seen in east TN, with a TV ad showing his opponent, Randy Button, morphing into Bill Clinton and the Devil. It was the closest race of the Gingrich revolution, and involved the famous "Contract with America" which, blindly followed, has gotten us into the incredibly deep hole we find ourselves in today.

President Clinton vetoed most of the more onerous provisions of the "contract" and deliverred his predecessor the first budget surplus in generations. The two main henchmen of the contract in Congress, Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay, left office under ethics clouds, with Delay still facing legal issues.

With control of the Presidency, the House, and the Senate, Republicans proceeded to run over the Constitution, pillage the Treasury, pack the Supreme Court, weaken the EPA, fund the a devastating war, fail to hold a treasonous Vice President in check, failed to guarantee an accurate count of American's votes, and increase the power of lobbyists and their money out of all proportion, balance, and fairness, allowinf lobbyists for Banks, Wall Street firms, polluting corporations, and defense industries, to write legislation which Congress was called to vote on without ever having read it.

So the real problem for Zach Wamp is not that he needs a new five point contract to communicate what Republicans stand for...The problem is that after 8 years of watchig Republicans run loose and roughshod over the princibles of representative democracy, America has seen for herself EXACTLY what Republicans stand for.

The first step in curing this problem is realizing that we have one, and that the root cause comes out of the Republican party. This is clearly evidenced by the incredible list of prominent Republicans who are publicly endorsing Obama. The list is amazing, courageuos, growing every day, and does not yet include Zach Wamp.

It's time to get on the freedom train, Zach. (And Lincoln...You listening?)



And now this:(thanks to our Runner Dude friends)

Subject: - David Sedaris on being undecided in this election

"To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane.

The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat.

'Can I interest you in the chicken?' she asks.

'Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?'

"To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

OMG! McCain's a Socialist?

And please don't miss the bonus irony content of this beauty of a video where the question comes from a student at a state university.

( Note to Pete...who told me that he doesn't care if Obama is an Arab, he's a socialist. Pete is currently a senior at Clemson University where his education was brought to him by the socialist state educational system...Have someone explain this one to you.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ziggy and the Spiders from Morning Joe

Road Trip


It's Fall, leaves doing their thing, football games, beer, and songs that feature a tuba player.

We had sworn a solemn oath to go to a college football game while our son was still a student so when Clemson (his school) hosted Georgia Tech (one of my schools) it was time. It didn't hurt that Walhalla, SC was having Octoberfest the same weekend, or that you have to go over mountains to get from East Tennessee to West South Carolina and the color is quite nice this year.

In most of the rest of the world, drinking beer on the streets during festivals is not only allowed, but encouraged. In Roane County it's illegal except for certain legal loopholes that I won't mention lest the church bretheren rabble rouse to close them. Walhalla solved the legal problem by recognizing a big funeral tent as a legal bar under which beer may be served and consumed for four days every October. They started with "near" beer, moved up to "all three kinds" Miller, Bud, and Bud Light, and now have a fine selection of actuall beers to choose from, as long as you stay under the tent with the band.

The tent gets rather crowded, the band has a dance troup and some cow bell players, the crowd gets dragged onto the floor to dance, vendors line the park, and the town makes 25% of it's sales tax revenue in this one weekend for the entire year. It's a tourist destination now. I talked to the man who has been putting it on for over 25 years and he said it was a hard sell at first but now, even the church people love it. They set up booths and hand out literature.

It's a love fest of a different sort, but they had shuttles and vans to haul folks home if need be, and the cops were amazingly friendly and helpful. The only complaint I heard was that the beer tent needed to be much larger, since you had to stand under it to consume. The cops overlooked the fact that the crowd grew bigger than the tent and all was well.

East Tennessee could use a visionary small town that could put on an event like this.

Our tickets were courtesey of the Clemson Tiger mascot and were in the section with the player's family. I was warned to wear orange and not to cheer for the wrong team. Actually, since it was the first game after Tommy Bowden got fired, I was pulling for the Tigers, who almost pulled it out in the last minutes.



And for you political junkies, here's the biggest event of the week so far:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Debate, "No Negative Campaigning"

Do Republican strategists watch too much TV?

(I mean the torture strategy was stolen from 24.)

Hat tip to Digby!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Soon we can start the Real Work

It's funny to see the McCain/Palin campaign rant breathlessly about Barack Obama's collaboration with a noted educator to found an organization dedicated to school improvement with money from a prominent Republican foundation.

They say Obama and William Ayers wanted schools to teach Liberal ideological things like...reading, science, mathematics, civics...My Gosh!

Can you believe anyone could vote for a man who did things like that? And look who the funding came from ...The Walter Annenberg Foundation. Terrorists!

Why even this very day, Walter Annenberg's widow has endoresed...John McCain?...For President...Oh, wait...What?

But they funded terrorists, didn't they?

Oh, Wow! Now, we find out that Lamar Alexander has an Annenberg Foundation connection to these terrorists. One of Lamar's direct reportees, David Kearns, probably carried secret terrorist instructions from Lamar and his boss, George Herbert Walker Bush.

David Kearns was: Chairman of the Alexandria-based New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC)—a 1991 school reform initiative of President George H. W. Bush; former Deputy Secretary of Education (1991–1993) under Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the George H. W. Bush administration; former president, CEO and chairman of Xerox

XEROX! You hear that? They were actually using this man's company's machines and copying documents! Copying documents in offices at every level in America's government...Some of them were even..."secret" documents!

Were all the Annenberg Foundation members terrorist connected? Looks like it! They read like a who's who in America for Education.

My Gosh! How deep does this go?

Look...Bill Ayers worked with a totally misguided group and did some bad things 40 years ago in order to try and stop a stupid, probably unconstitutional, and tragic war, in which tens of thousands of Americans were killed, far more were wounded, and hundreds, including John McCain himself, were captured, held prisoner, and tortured.

He was not convicted of any crime. For decades, now, Bill Ayers turned his energy toward positive action and has worked for better schools. He is a noted PHD professor of Education.

Compare Obama's association with Bill Ayers, 30 years later, in the service of their community, working for better schools, with John McCain's association with his own domestic terrorist, G. Gordon Liddy.

Ayers was trying, in however miguided a way, to stop a war.

G. Gordon Liddy, of Watergate fame, was working to destroy Democracy in America, to continue the Vietnam War, and preserve the Nixon Presidency. Liddy readily admits his intents. His plans included murdering journalists and kidnapping people who opposed Richard Nixon. They would have been carried out except for his bungled burglary at the Watergate Hotel, in which he was trying to steal documents outlining Democratic Presidential Campaign strategy.

Got that? John McCain's friend, fundraiser, and supporter, G. Gordon Liddy, committed domestic terrorist acts in a plan to destroy Democracy in America. He hasn't reformed or worked to give back to his community by working for better schools, as William Ayers has done. He has only tried to become rich, by promoting his perverse ideology, which John McCain still buys into, in books and on his creepy conservative radio show. Liddy held a McCain fundraiser in his own home and has donated thousands to McCain. He also told his listeners that you have to shoot United States agents in the head to kill them.

Obama works with a diverse group of people that includes Republicans, Democrats, and other school activists like William Ayers (who turned his capabilities toward the good side of the force), to improve schools in his community, and McCain has the nerve to accuse him of associating with terrorists?

McCain takes money from domestic terrorist and convicted felon G. Gordon Liddy and acts holier than thou?

John McCain has no honor left.

Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States of America.

Then the real work of saving America can begin.



Update: Federal Prosecutor of the Weathermen praises Ayers for becoming a responsible citizen.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Governor's Land and Water Forum and Devilstep Hollow Cave

First of all I want to note that Governor Bredesen has been awarded the National Humanitarian Award for his work in preserving Tennessee's natural heritage.

Well Done, sir!

I'll talk more about that later and will try to link to the actual announcement if I can find it.

As part of the Governor's Land and Water Forum, we were taken on a tour of our newest state park at Devilstep Hollow. It's 12 miles South of Cumberland Mountain State park but is not yet open to the public. The driveway crosses private land and a new easement is being purchased and developed.

The farm is beautiful, sitting at the very head of the Sequatchee Valley. Grassy Cove is on the other side of the massive sandstone ridge which separates the two valleys,, which are geologically the same.

Here is the Devilstep Hollow sinkhole where the cave is located.

This is where the Sequatchie River flows out of the ground at the Devil Step Hollow farm, a few hundred yards from the sinkhole.

I'll try to add more photos of the actual conference as I have time. There is some great stuff going on in Tennessee that will improve and preserve the beauty of our state for future generations. As a result of Phil Bredesen's personal commitment TDEC Commissioner Jim Fyke made this announcement,

"Governor Phil Bredesen has been selected as the National Recreation and Park Association’s 2008 National Humanitarian Award winner for his work to preserve and protect Tennessee landscapes."

Fyke nominated Bredesen for the award, which NRPA presents to an individual or organization whose concern for humanity has been expressed through park, recreation and conservation efforts that enrich people’s lives.

The one worry I kept hearing from the folks in the room is what will happen after Phil Bredesen leaves in two years? He has set the bar very high for the next governor, and folks are concerned that Tennessee may return to the environmentally indifferent years the hallmarked the previous administration.

Phil Bredesen will be a hard act to follow.



Update: The Link

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Quote of the Day

Tina Fey:

"I want to be done playing this lady Nov. 5," Fey said at last month's Emmys. "So, if anybody can help me be done playing this lady Nov. 5, that would be good for me."

I have another "quote of the day"..."Kill him!"

That is the crowd response to Sarah Palin's incitement against Barack Obama. Sarah Palin and John McCain are losing the Presidential race and they are losing big. America is finding them to be unworthy of leadership. By this last action we see that there is more to this than just not being up to the job...They are appealing to a sickness in American society.

By all accounts Barack Obama is an extremely good and kind person. He faced incredible odds as a mixed race child and overcame them, excelling at sports, academics, and achievement in his personal career. He became head of the Harvard Review, which is a stunning achievement at the Harvard Law School for anyone. Obama turned down big money job offers at New York law firms to return to the community in Chicago and serve as a community organizer to bring people together so that they could face their challenges together. We have tales from people who have met Barack over the years and they are all good and wonderful stories of kindness and helping strangers. As part of his good works, Obama agreed to serve on a Chicago schools forum at the request of Mayor Daly. It was unpaid service for the good of the community.

Sarah Palin and John McCain have no record of kindness coming to us from people who know them. McCain has an evil temper and a foul mouth. His humor is mean spirited and ugly. Palin is a winking liar as her whopper about that bridge to nowhere shows. She didn't build the bridge...She just kept the money. Neither of them has a clue about what to do to solve any of our nation's problems.

But something uglier and more sinister is coming from the McCain campaign. Incitement to cause harm. What is in the character of a person who would lie about another's character? Palin speaks the words well crafted by her handlers that attempt to assassinate the character of a man who, up to now, has done as much good in this world as he could and who wants to do more. They want to make us think that Barack Obama is a terrorist. It's a lie...They know it.

Here's another quote of the day. This one is older than the first two...

"Thy shalt not bear false witness against thy fellow man."

PHD Professor William Ayers was appointed to the same Board as Obama in Chicago. They taught at the same University. Ayers was an activist who made bad choices way back in the 60's when America was fighting and losing another bad war...This one in Vietnam. He joined the Weather Underground to fight what he saw as a government gone crazy. he was never convicted of anything except bad judgement. Barack was 8 years old at the time. Ayers turned his life toward more positive avenues of correcting society and today, is a leading authority on inner city schools and is a noted author of hundreds of significant academic articles and 16 books in the field of education. Yep! Sounds like a terrorist to me.

How dare Barack Obama teach at the same University as this man! How dare Barack Obama work with this man who turned his life around from one of destruction to one of hope and building up and working together.

"Kill him!" said the man standing at Sarah Palin's feet, as she smiled and winked at the crowd.

This is the level to which John McCain has sunk. I used to think well of him, but I was mislead. It was all an act. Now...McCain is a fountain of nastiness and sickness and I am very afraid of what he and his followers are capable of.

I know that McCain advocates the destruction of Social Security, bombing Iran, dangerous confrontation of Russia with the possibility of starting World War III...I know that he plans to gut Medicare and Medicaid to pay for his tax cuts for rich people. I know he has turned from a strong defender of the Geneva Conventions to an advocate of torture. But what are we seeing John McCain become now?

John McCain has turned his life around just like William Ayers did...Only, in the opposite direction.

America must be saved from the sickness that is Sarah Palin and John McCain and all of the bad things they represent.

We have 4 weeks to work to turn our country away from the dark period in American history that is the Bush/Cheney administration. If McCain wins...We could well look back on the Bush years as the good old days.

Stand up for a good man to be our next President...Barack Obama.



Monday, October 06, 2008

This is heck week for me. I have a Conservation Commission meeting, the Governor's Land and water Conservation Forum, and a trail to get planted before it rains tomorrow. Ok, I'm lazy...

Here's something to chew on until I can get back to you:

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Can we Talk?

There are several discussions taking place in our nation this week.

Will people vote for an angry, incompetent, and lying man rather than a stunningly accomplished leader who is of mixed racial heritage? (Most of us are, actually, according to DNA studies on America's population)

Are we having a discussion of race or is it a discussion of campaign lying?

In Buchanan Virginia it is a discussion of both...

"We go to church, sing our songs, pray, come out and talk about, 'I can't be for an African American, because of the color of his skin...You can't do that if you are a Christian.

A local newspaper columnist, in a spoof of Obama’s platform, wrote in one recent piece that the Democrat would hire the rapper Ludacris to paint the White House black (a reference to a pro-Obama song by Ludacris), and divert more foreign aid to Africa so "the Obama family there can skim enough to allow them to free their goats and live the American Dream." He joked that Obama would replace the 50 stars on the U.S. flag "with a star and crescent logo," an Islamic symbol, and that his policy on drugs would be to "raise taxes to pay for Obama's inner-city political base."

The columnist, Bobby May, is also treasurer of the Buchanan County Republican Party and was listed in a July news release as the county's representative on McCain's Virginia leadership team, though he said his column reflected his views alone, and he denied it was racist.

Uh, Huh...

Isn't it amazing that we have now narrowed our Presidential choices to two candidates who associate with Terrorists?

One of the candidates associates with a convicted felon who made plans to firebomb the Brookings Institution, Murder investigative journalist for the Atlanta Journal Jack Anderson, and kidnap protesters at the Republican Convention, before he was caught. He was convicted and served 4 1/2 years in Federal prison for several break-ins to steal papers from opposing political figures. The Convicted felon even used the public airwaves to instruct his followers on how to shoot Bureau of Alchohol Tobacco and Firearms agents. In the most brazen of acts, this domestic terrorist held a fundraiser for his candidate who attended even though it was held at the terrorists own home, where tens of thousands of dollars were raised.

The other candidate associated with a man who was a member of a radical anti-war group 30 years before they met, but who was never convicted of anything. This man rebuilt his life, earned a doctorate, published 16 scholarly books and hundreds of articles, founded the "Small Schools Workshop" and the Chicago School Reform Collaborative" and has become a leading figure in the education community and is a nationally recognized and distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois/Chicago.

Uh, Huh!

Now for something completely different...

Our bible study passage for the day is:

Proverbs 6:11-14

Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man.
A worthless person, a wicked man/woman,
Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,
Who winks with his/her eyes, who signals with his feet,Who points with his/her fingers;
Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil,Who spreads strife

And 6:25

Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her capture you with her eyelids.

Uh, Huh!



"Barack Obama Won't Take Away Your Gun," says one flier. "But John McCain Will Take Away Your Union."

Saturday, October 04, 2008


With mornings in the 30's, we have been spending most waking moments outside. The sourwoods have turned, as have a few dogwoods and someother random trees and shrubs. With our drought, it isn't unusual to see some stressed out plant giving up for this year. Next year will be better...It always is, before it actually gets here.

The mast crop was destroyed last year due to the late hard freeze that turned everything brown all across the Southeast. This year the trees have bounced back with doubled vigor. I picked up a chestnut oak acorn yesterday that was too big to wrap my OK sign around. "Bigger than a Bantie," said my neghbor. He was referring to bantam chicken eggs.

Anyway, in some places the woods are hard hat areas, with acorns dropping like rocks. Even a baseball cap takes off some of the sting, but a direct hit still causes some cussing. The old shag bark hickory tree next to the parking area can dent up a car roof better than any hailstorm, so that part of the lot is off limits for the next month or two.

One complaint I've heard is from deer hunters, who say that the acorn crop is so good that they can't get deer to come to their feeders. Too bad, I say. Looks like the hunters will actually have to "Hunt" this year.