Sunday, November 30, 2008

recognize a stroke -- and what to do next

As many of you know, my Mom had a stroke almost 16 years ago. Thankfully, she is doing great today although she still suffers from some of the effects. Many strokes are caused by a clot which disrupts blood flow to parts of the brain, resulting in the quick death of essential brain cells. The longer the situation persists, the more risk of great cell loss and permanent damage.

Back when my Mom had her stroke, there weren't many treatment options, and the damage was also thought to be irreversible. Recent advances in medicine, and the development of new drugs, mean that stroke victims today stand a good chance of a full recovery. But these new drugs must generally be administered within 3 hours to be fully effective.

So......the key to recovery is to recognize the signs of a stroke immediately. Sometimes it is difficult to recognize because the person is not necessarily incapacitated as you one might think. Sometimes, for example, the stroke victim appears merely disoriented or confused.

So here are some tips (remember STaRS):

S -- Ask the person to SMILE.
T -- Ask the person to TALK (i.e. say a familiar phrase)
R -- Ask the person to RAISE both arms straight in front for 10 seconds.
S -- Ask the person to STICK OUT his/her tongue.

If the person has a crooked smile or his/her tongue comes out crooked, or if his/her speech is slurred or one arm doesn't move or drifts down more than the other, it could be a sign of a stroke, and you should seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY. The window of opportunity is very short.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

small town mentality -- and not necessarily the good kind

I grew up in a small town -- Arlington, TN -- and ultimately moved back here to live and raise my children. Back when I was a kid, we had about 1,750 people and there were absolutely no retail stores or restaurants to speak of.

In the past 10 years or so, Arlington's population has boomed to about 10,000, primarily with people fleeing Memphis crime, taxes, and corruption. With that population has come retail development. I mean, we're in the big-time now -- among other things we have Kroger, Lenny's, Domino's, Subway, and various other restaurants and stores.

While I certainly enjoy the convenience, I sometimes long for the more rural, peaceful setting. Fortunately, our town leaders and planners had enough foresight to prepare for the development by tightening up our zoning ordinances to require retail stores to be built in certain places, and to conform to certain minimum building design requirements to achieve an organized, uniform, and pleasant look.

Many of our citizens -- both old and new -- want to see even more development. Indeed, when McDonald's recently announced its intention to build a restaurant in Arlington, some people were ecstatic. McDonald's, though, saw it as an chance to put some money in its pocket by trying to bully and take advantage of a small town. Shame on them. But kudos to our town leaders who refused to back down.

When McDonald's initially contacted town leaders and planners, they were made aware of the construction design requirements. Indeed, there were many conversations back and forth, and McDonald's had complied and built restaurants in many other communities with precisely the same type of requirements. However, when it came time to submit its construction plans publicly, McDonald's tried to skirt the building requirements by using cheaper and less attractive materials. It was quite a surprise to town officials, who understandably rejected the plans as submitted, although the overall plan was approved subject to McDonald's using the proper materials.

What came next was even more of a surprise. There was an outcry from some citizens who desperately wanted a McDonald's no matter what. The movement was led primarily by Glen Bascom, Sr., who stood to gain by the sale of his land to McDonald's. Several citizens bought in to his attempt to stir up trouble.

Apparently, some of these folks still suffer from a small town mentality and think that we should just be happy that any "pretty girl" is willing to look our way, and that we should sacrifice whatever it takes to get her. But there's no need for that thinking anymore, though, because Arlington has arrived, my friends! We don't need McDonald's -- McDonald's needs us!

Our own Chamber of Commerce president, Claudia Horton, went on the offensive and included a pro-McDonald's propaganda piece in the Chamber of Commerce newsletter. The gist of her argument was that it would be great if McDonald's could save a few bucks at our expense, because that would mean more money for the worthy Ronald McDonald House charity. Are you kidding me? Is anyone really so confused so as to believe that corporate McDonald's the restaurant is really the same thing as the non-profit charitable 501(c)(3) entity Ronald McDonald House? Certainly McDonald's provides tons of support to the charity, but the two organizations don't somehow share the same checkbook. In fact, that would be illegal.

Bottom line: Let's not kid ourselves and get caught up in the politics. When and if the population and financial demographic is right, McDonald's will come to Arlington -- whether we hold our ground or not. So let's not be small-minded and give in to bullying so that McDonald's can keep a few extra bucks in its pocket at our expense. Besides, what a horrible precedent to set. How could we ever enforce our ordinances again?

(Disclosure: My brother Russell is the Town Mayor, and he's taken a lot of heat during this mess simply for standing up and doing what's right. Kudos to him and the rest of our leaders who've had the courage to stand firm. Know that the silent majority out there greatly outnumbers the squeaky-wheel folks.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

ut football -- it's kiffin!

The Knoxville News-Sentinel is reporting in an article on that sources within the UT Athletic Department have confirmed that there is a deal in place "in principle" for Lane Kiffin to become the next football coach. The same thing is being reported on ESPN website here.

This rumor was first reported on Wednesday, but Athletic Director quickly tried the quash it, making clear that Kiffin had not been offered the job. Notably, however, he did not go the extra step of saying that Kiffin would not be the next coach.

After the rumors began circulating, I spoke with someone in the Athletic Department on Wednesday, and it was clear that Kiffin was indeed going to be guy, and that an announcement would be forthcoming later out of respect for Coach Fulmer, who will be coaching his last game tomorrow. According to the person I spoke with, an official announcement and/or press conference could be as early as Monday.

I'm not sure what to think yet about Kiffin. He has an awfully thin resume, although his pedigree as an NFL coach should help with recruiting, which will be important since it was (and is) absolutely crucial that we make a splash with this hire.

What do you think about Kiffin?

FREE online Christmas shopping tip -- websites for coupon codes

Ever shop online and see the box where you could enter a coupon code and get some sort of fabulous deal -- perhaps free shipping or a 10% discount on your order?

Too bad you don't have the coupon code, right?

Well, thanks to the tip my Mom gave me the other day, you won't have to feel that way any longer. Indeed, the websites below give you FREE access to the current online coupon codes for hundreds of stores:

So before you hit the "submit your order" button on your online purchase, take a minute to look up your store and see whether you can save a few bucks.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!

I have so many things to be thankful for that there's no way to list them all -- my two wonderful boys, my friends, my ability to earn a living, my health, and a close and supportive family. I thank God every day for these blessings and many more.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
--Psalm 107:1

How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.
--Psalm 31:19

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
--1 Chronicles 29:11-13

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New case from the Tennessee Court of Appeals -- what is this world coming to?

Below is the headnote (i.e. summary) of an opinion that was issued by the Tennessee Court of Appeals yesterday.

What is this world coming to? And I don't just mean the underlying facts of the case. Why in the world would this goofy, sicko lawyer embarrass himself by filing a lawsuit about it, which, in effect, publicly announces to the rest of the world the extent of his sicko-ness? (I think I just made up a new word).

Court: TCA; Judge: SUSANO
The plaintiff, F. Chris Cawood, is an attorney. He represented Tammy Clark ("the Client") in adivorce case. During the post-judgment phase of that representation, the plaintiff and the Client engaged in a sexual relationship. On occasion, while in the plaintiff's office, the plaintiff would masturbate in the presence of the Client, following which he would give her a credit on her bill. After she complained to local authorities, the Roane County Sheriff's Department equipped the Client with concealed audio and video equipment. Thereafter, unbeknownst to the plaintiff, she videotaped him while he was masturbating. During this event, the Client hit him on the buttocks and pinched his nipples. Following this event, the videotape was placed under the control of Linda Booth of the Sheriff's department. Booth gave the video to another investigator, Dennis Worley, who happens to be the Client's uncle. Worley was not involved in the investigation but wanted to see the videotape to ascertain if his niece had done anything illegal. Worley viewed the videotape in an office shared by officers Randy Scarbrough and Jon French. During the viewing, the door to the office was open. The video was viewed not only by Worley, but also by Scarbrough and French, a bail bondsman who was passing by the office, and others. The plaintiff filed suit against Booth, Worley, Scarbrough and French alleging (1) a violation of the Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act of 1994, (2) invasion of privacy by public disclosure of private facts, and (3) outrageous conduct. The trial court granted all defendants summary judgment as to all claims. Plaintiff appeals. We vacate the grant of summary judgment to Booth and Worley on the plaintiff's outrageous conduct claim. In all other respects, the trial court's judgment is affirmed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

low information voters

My friend Mick Wright has a very interesting post on his blog about low information voters and their impact on the presidential election.

In his post, he links to a website with a video of voter interviews. The video is rather long (about 9-10 minutes), but well worth watching. The ignorance is absolutely amazing -- scary stuff, in fact. Sadly enough, though, it's almost to be expected. What is most amazing from the video is how evident the mainstream media bias is, and its influence on the public's perception. You should check it out when you have a few minutes.

Thanks Mick!

the attractive girls union

This a news spoof about the refusal of The Attractive Girls Union to enter into talks with Mike Greenman until such time as, for example, he dresses better or shaves his goatee. It has a few bad words at the end, but it's hilarious. Check it out here.

I can't be totally sure, but I think this organization must actually exist. I mean, how else is there to explain my dating struggles in high school?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Commercial Appeal article about all of us "older people" invading Facebook

Today there was a funny and interesting article in the Memphis Commerical Appeal about how all of us "older people" are getting on Facebook.

Here's a funny quote from the story:

Also, while you may rush to embrace your kids on Facebook, they may feel differently about you. Last year, this reporter tapped out a little "Will you be my friend?" inquiry to her two daughters, then in college, and got these replies:

"Uh ... no," and "NOBODY's mom is on Facebook! It's embarrassing!"

You can click here for the article.

some "adrianisms"

Adrian Rogers was for many years one of the leaders of the Bellevue Baptist Church here in Memphis. He was a very powerful speaker who had a certain way of bringing new perspectives to old problems. Here are a few "Adrianisms" worth considering:

  • You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom.
  • What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
  • The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.

Thanks to my brother Russell for forwarding these to me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Election Lesson #3 -- It's Not the End of the World (aka Sometimes it takes a Carter to get a Reagan)

This is the third post in this series. (Sorry - just when you thought you had escaped the last of election mania).

So Obama won -- the sky is falling, right? It's the end of the Republican party as we know it, right?

Don't believe the hype.

Remember 1994? The Contract with America? The Republican Revolution? The backlash against the Clinton attempt at socialized medicine? Republicans absolutely cleaned up in the 1994 mid-term elections. They took back the House after gaining a whopping 54 seats, including an upset of 34 Democrat incumbents! The Senate followed suit in early 1995. State legislatures, governorships, and mayoralships turned Republican. Elected Democrats were changing parties. News outlets wondered aloud if it marked the end of the Democrat party.

Sound familiar? Can you say the word "cycle"?

As someone who reads this blog reminded me, sometimes it takes a Carter to get a Reagan. In other words, the electorate sometimes has a short memory. They forget the failed policies of the other side and have to be reminded every so often. I mean, after Ford's defeat in the wake of Nixon's near death blow to the Republican party, who would've ever thought the Republicans would ever again stand a chance.

Enter Jimmy Carter...and, well, you know the rest of the story.

And Obama won't disappoint us either. The fact of the matter is that he can't possibly deliver on all of the wild expectations he carefully cultivated. Indeed, as I pointed out in one of my earlier posts, Obama's first move after being elected was to try to "tamp down" the very expectations he created. Government simply can't be all things to all people, and it can't solve everyone's problems. It's impossible.

And so there will be a backlash when reality sets in. Granted, the economy will turn around during the next four years, but simply because that's what economies do. Big Bird could be president and it'd still turn around. It's simply a cycle. There are market corrections from time to time.

But Obama should be careful. Indeed, if the economy can't handle his plans when it's grooving along, it certainly won't shoulder the load in this time when it's fragile.

Obama supporters will be disappointed, and there will be a backlash against him. Maybe not as soon as 2012, but the electorate will figure things out sooner or later.

But that doesn't mean that Republicans can stand pat. Indeed, we have a lot of work and soul searching to do. Sitting back and waiting won't get the job done.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

quote re: success

As loathe as I am to quote an Alabama football coach, I saw the following and thought it was worthy of being passed along:
That's the paradox of success. The moment you stop to enjoy it, you are in trouble. You have to keep moving forward. It's not what you have done that's important. It's where you are going.

— Alabama coach Nick Saban

Thanks to Chuck Petrey for forwarding this to me (see, Chuck, I do sometimes read that 'Bama propaganda you send out).

Joke: Reduction in Force

Dear Employees,

As the CFO of this business that employees 140 people, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barrack Obama will be our next President, and that our taxes and government fees will increase in a BIG way. To compensate for these increases, I figure that the Clients will have to see an increase in our fees to them of about 8% but since we cannot increase our fees right now due to the dismal state of our economy, we will have to lay off six of our employees instead.

This has really been eating at me for a while, as we believe we are family here and I didn't know how to choose who will have to go. So, this is what I did. I strolled thru our parking lot and found 8 Obama bumper stickers on our employees' cars and have decided these folks will be the first to be laid off.

I can't think of a more fair way to approach this problem. These folks wanted change. I gave it to them. If you have a better idea, let me know.

Your Boss

Hilarious! Thanks to my friend Wynette Bownds for sending this to me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

hilarious SNL skit about the bank bailout...

Click here to see this hilarious sketch. It's surprising that SNL would make fun of Democrats like that, although I guess they did take a few shots at Bush in it too. Funny.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

herenton's real estate deals and "voluntary" affidavits

The Commercial Appeal has recently chronicled Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton's lucrative "private" real estate dealings. Apparently, Mayor Herenton has been involved in several questionable, yet profitable real estate deals involving city contractors and one of his paid special assistants -- i.e. someone on the government payroll, but who has no real title or duties except, apparently, to facilitate real estate deals and arrange for such things as re-zoning property for the Mayor so that it is more valuable.

Mayor Herenton defends himself by saying that he was merely acting as a private citizen in these transaction -- as if that's somehow possible for a full-time Mayor who carefully cultivates an intimating, larger-than-life presence that he lords over, among others, the members of the City Council. I mean, the Mayor appearing before the City Council ostensibly as a private citizen requesting a zoning change? And with his government-paid special assistant representing him before the Council? C'mon. (Or as they might say on the Saturday Night Live news segment: "Really!?!")

For obvious reasons, these dealings have reportedly drawn the interest of the FBI and a federal grand jury. Apparently sensing that things were closing in, Mayor Herenton made a big show about calling in his division leaders to "ask" them to sign affidavits stating that he never sought to influence a city contract. Of course, he made clear to the media that none of his employees had to sign an affidavit if they really didn't want to.

I'm not even sure where to start on this one. I mean, is he kidding? Does he think people are that dumb? Does it really count as "voluntary" execution of an affidavit when your boss calls a special meeting, puts you on the spot, and "asks" you to sign it?

Dead men voting -- update on oakland election lawsuit

Remember that you heard it here first...

Keep an eye out for a story in the Commercial Appeal in the next couple of days. It appears that dead people apparently vote in Fayette County elections too.

Stay tuned....

Monday, November 17, 2008

a comforting thought...

A friend said something to me today while we were talking about something rather unpleasant (okay, okay, I admit it -- it was about the result of the election)...

He said that as much as he disliked the outcome, he was content in the thought that everything was ultimately in God's hands, and, thus, everything would ultimately turn out okay. He then said something that struck me -- he said we have to be mindful that "God is never in a hurry, and he is never surprised."

What a perspective -- kind of makes you stop and think, doesn't it? God is never in a hurry, and he is never surprised.

Whether it's something relatively minor like an election, or something major like a relationship, or a job, or a child, or financial struggles -- time and circumstance is but an instant to God, and nothing is beyond His dominion and control. He can even weave good out of bad.

The problem is that we can't always understand His plans or his vision, and our idea of patience doesn't allow for the notion that God's conception of time and success is different than our own. Sometimes God lets us go to a place where we feel powerless and helpless, perhaps simply to stretch us, refine us, or grow us. I'm not particularly fond of that place while I'm actually there, and, in fact, I sometimes even get angry with God about it, even though he typically allows me to realize how I'm actually better off once I get through to the other side.

Unfortunately, though, my memory of His prior goodness can be short. And my faith at times can be weak. When will I learn? God is never in a hurry, and he is never surprised.

another election -- will you vote for me?

I've written a lot about elections in this blog, but perhaps the most important election is taking place online at to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of UT basketball. (I say that tongue in cheek, of course.). If you go to the site, UT has listed the top 50 players/fan favorites during the 100 year history of Vol Basketball, and fans can cast a vote to see who the top 15 players are in school history.

I'm almost embarrassed to say it (and I know it's a little cheesy), but I made the initial list of the top 50 players! Which I was pretty honored and excited about in and of itself! Anyway, if you would, go to the site and vote for me for the All-Century Team, and get your friends and family to vote also. In fact, go to the site vote as often as you like through February when voting ends! Indeed, the more times you vote the merrier! I'll be happy to remind you to vote daily if you want me to. :)

(This is my attempt to use my political "get out the vote" training.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

another cool christmas idea

I posted earlier about a cool Christmas present idea, but here's another.

According to the National Toy Hall of Fame, the stick made the list of all-time favorite toys. Yes, that's right -- the stick -- as in, a twig or tree branch or rod. Indeed, the stick was recently added to "the lineup of 38 classics ranging from the bicycle, the kite and Mr. Potato Head to Crayola crayons, marbles and the Atari 2600 video game system." Read the story here.

According to the story, "[c]urators said the stick was a special addition in the spirit of a 2005 inductee, the cardboard box. They praised its all-purpose, no-cost, recreational qualities, noting its ability to serve either as raw material or an appendage transformed in myriad ways by a child's creativity. It can be a Wild West horse, a medieval knight's sword, a boat on a stream or a slingshot with a rubber band. ... No snowman is complete without a couple of stick arms, and every campfire needs a stick for toasting marshmallows.

Come to think of it, a stick really is the perfect toy. My boys drag them around and play with them all the time, and unlike other expensive toys like Transformers and video games, the sticks never seem to get old!

Thanks to my mom for sending me this story.

Vol news...

Vol stud hoopster Tyler Smith was picked 2nd team All-American by at least 3 of the ESPN basketball panelists! See the rankings here.

QB Jonathon Crompton will start this weekend against Vandy according to Coach Fulmer. This after being demoted earlier in the year to a backup role. It appears as though the desperation continues...

The football coaching search continues, according to ESPN, with UT having recently contacted Jon Gruden (coach of the NFL's Tampa Bay Bucs) and Lovie Smith (coach of the Chicago Bears). I like the aggressiveness and direction of the search, although apparently it's not going well, at least publicly anyway...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Commercial Appeal Article -- Oakland mayoral election lawsuit

Rival of Oakland Mayor Wants Revote

Suit claims county residents cast votes
By David Healy

Oakland mayoral candidate Scott Ferguson, who lost by 18 votes to incumbent Bill Mullins last week, has filed a complaint in Fayette County Chancery Court asking for a new election. The complaint filed late Thursday lists the names of six voters who informed Ferguson that they voted in the Oakland election despite living outside of the city limits.

"If it is proven that more than 18 people voted improperly, then the only remedy is for a new election because there is no way to determine who they voted for," said Lang Wiseman, Ferguson's attorney.

Hearing of the complaint, Mullins, who would be elected to a fifth term, said it was time for Ferguson to accept defeat.

"I won that election fair and square and it looks like he is just trying to push himself on people now," Mullins said.

According to state election law, a judge has up to 50 days to make a ruling on the complaint.
Ferguson claims poll workers gave county voters the option to vote in the Oakland election based on their discretion and without independent verification from election officials.

Not true, said Fayette County Administer of Elections Lenita McCraw. She said that for someone to have voted in the Oakland election, their name had to be in the city election book. Voters then signed next to their name in the book before they voted, she said.

But Wiseman said the Fayette County Election Commission has not given his client enough evidence to prove McCraw's assertion.

Oakland, TN -- mayoral election lawsuit filed by Wiseman Bray PLLC

On Thursday, my firm filed suit on behalf Scott Ferguson contesting the results of the mayoral election in Oakland, TN, based on information suggesting that the Fayette County Election Commission poll workers improperly allowed persons to vote in the election that did not actually reside in Oakland. Below is the Complaint that was filed with more details. If proven to be accurate, this case is similar to the successful election contest we handled before the State Senate a couple of years ago on behalf of Terry Roland against Ophelia Ford that helped to uncover, among other things, that at least 2 votes had been cast by dead people in Memphis. (Nashville Tennessean Article; USA Today Article)

If you know anyone who has information that might be helpful in this lawsuit, please have them contact me or Chris Patterson at my office at 901-372-5003.

Friday, November 14, 2008

old movies...

I generally like the kids' movies these days, but they're mostly just fluff and glitter and entertainment. Recently, I've started renting and buying DVDs of some of my favorite movies from when I was growing up - movies that subtly teach lessons about courage, determination, endurance, honor, truth, and loyalty. Classic movies such as:

Rocky II
Star Wars
The Empire Strikes Back
Rudy (although I'd forgotten how bad the language is in that movie)
Raiders of the Lost Ark

And then there are some other oldies but goodies:

The Apple Dumpling Gang
Back to the Future
Three Amigos

So far, my boys have loved it. And I have too.
Let me know your favorites so that I can add them to the list.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

funny cartoon

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

november 12, 2008 -- happy birthday mom!!

I wanted to take this opportunity to wish Happy Birthday to the best mom in the world! Russell, Matt and I tend to give her lots of grief and make fun of her at times (but, then again, what are sons for?), but no one could ever ask for a better mom.
Mom often says that she was so young when she started having children that she had no idea what she was doing. Somehow, though, she always seemed to manage everything just about right. She taught us that no matter what people might lead you to believe, there is right and wrong, and that people matter more than accomplishments or status. She taught us to love God, and that we could accomplish anything we set our minds to. She picked her battles wisely and made sure that the big things always remained big, and that the small things stayed small. She cultivated our imagination and always made sure that we had a loving home as a place of shelter from the inevitable day-to-day struggles of life. She's always been there to celebrate the good times, and to offer the kind of comfort in bad times that only a mother could offer. She cooked, cleaned, slaved, carpooled, washed, fixed, patched, watched, looked the other way, paid, hugged, kissed, and even yelled and spanked a few times when needed. You could always count on her when you needed her, and you still can.
And now she's putting all those skills to work as the best grandmother in the world too, although without quite as much of the discipline I seem to remember as a kid. :)
I love you, mom. Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Election Lesson #2 -- Communication is the Key

Second post in a series:

I wrote in my first post-election blog entry last week that I believe it would be a mistake for Democrats to read too much into the election and try to take the country too far left in a direction that it is not prepared to go. Indeed, if you look at polling numbers on specific issues (as opposed to specific candidate polling numbers), the electorate is still conservative on issues of taxes, families, judicial activism, military strength, etc.

Why, then, did these conservative issues -- in the form of its candidate -- ultimately fail at the polls?

Well, I think it was mainly a failure to properly communicate by McCain. And so the election ended up being a referendum on the personality and celebrity of the 2 candidates -- i.e. their respective abilities to console and speak to the public about their fears -- and McCain simply couldn't keep up.

In the grand scheme of things, Republicans are already at a natural disadvantage when it comes to elections. To paraphrase one of the quotes I cited to in a previous post:
Liberals have a new wish every time their latest wish is granted -- they pursue incremental goals without any ultimate destination. There will always be 'more' to get. So, they control the terms of every debate by always demanding 'more' while never defining 'enough.'
And we conservatives end up taking the bait, and get mired in discussion about why we are against liberal proposals. And even though such a fight against creeping incrementalism is necessary, our defining issue ends up being what we are against, instead of what we are for.

Contrast, for example, the lesson of Ronald Reagan, who was dubbed the "Great Communicator" for obvious reasons. Reagan never missed an opportunity to educate the public and show that he was a man guided by principles that made sense. For example, Reagan was the master of not just opposing tax increases, but of explaining why low taxes were good for the economy and therefore good for the average Joe. He explained how short-term gain for the little guy wouldn't be worth the long-term damage.

Reagan had the ability to weave stories and explanations that people could understand, which is doubly important in this day and age when style often threatens substance, and a segment of the electorate seems ill-informed or just downright mistaken or misled on certain issues.

Reagan understood that -- like in sports -- you're much more likely to score points when you play offense, not defense. And, unfortunately, the Republican party has been content to play defense as of late.

ut basketball player daniel west ruled ineligible

According to a Knoxville News-Sentinel article, the Vols are down to only 1 true point guard on the roster now that incoming freshman Daniel West has been ruled ineligible. This is clearly not good news, particularly since the starting point guard, Bobby Maze, is a juco player who is also in his first year at Tennessee. J.P. Prince will now have to be the backup (if not the starter if Maze can't handle the job), and we all know that the sudden end-of-the-year experiment last year with Prince trying to play the point failed miserably. And besides, he's out hurt for the next 4 weeks anyway.

Coach Pearl is going to earn his money this year. (Speaking of Coach Pearl's money, check out his new 10,000 square foot home.)

ut coaching news -- we need a superstar!

UT football recruits appear to be reneging on their verbal commitments at increasily warp speed. I'm not sure whether that's really a result of Fulmer's recent firing, or rather the recent "performance" of the team on the field -- if you can actually call it that.

Either way, we need to make a splash with a big-time coaching hire to get this thing back on track and headed in the right direction. Indeed, nothing less than a home run at this point is going to do.

According to sources cited by the Knoxville News-Sentinel, UT is focusing on Butch Davis at North Carolina. He has big-time experience coaching at some big-time programs (Miami, UNC) and also in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. However, Davis is already 57 years old, and by all accounts isn't interested in the job.

The best candidate for the job in my view is Jon Gruden, head coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs and youngest coach to ever win a Super Bowl. He's a young superstar (only 45 years old), a disciplinarian, and he has UT ties, having gotten his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at UT. He would immediately attract 5 star recruits and rev up the fan and donor base. But he is also apparently not interested in the job.

Hopefully, one of these guys is just being coy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

november 10, 2008 -- sam turns 8!!

My sweet baby boy is 8 years old today! It's hard to believe that 8 whole years have passed since Sam was so ready to meet the world that he rushed in 6 weeks early.
Ever since I first saw him I knew he was special. He has the sweetest, most genuine, and most caring heart I've ever witnessed in a person. Indeed, he is oftentimes more of an example to me than I am to him.
Sam is a wonderful son whose gentle and sincere spirit is infectious. Everyone who meets him -- adults and children alike -- just naturally gravitate toward him. He is a rare gift from God, and he will grow up to be a wonderful man who will accomplish many great things.

Election Lesson #1 -- Learn from the Past

First post in a series:

John McCain is a good and honorable man. He is a distinguished patriot. And I thought he was a better choice than Obama to tackle America's problems. But let's be honest about things. McCain had no business at the top of the Republican ticket.

Twelve years ago, Republicans nominated another honorable man for the presidency -- Bob Dole. But, again, he had no business at the top of the Republican ticket.

When will Republicans learn?

Dole and McCain were skilled legislators and backroom Washington deal makers who knew how to work the Senate. But at the end of the day, they were nothing more than foot soldiers for the conservative cause (although in McCain's case, maybe not even that conservative). Each man had each previously sought the Republican nomination and lost. But loyal Republicans ultimately rewarded them with the nomination for President in consideration of their long service. It was "their turn" so to speak.

But since when did the Republican nomination become a lifetime achievement award?

We Republicans are loyal types. We're suckers for war heroes, patriots, and old distinguished men whose time has come. But simply being a patriot and good Republican isn't good enough anymore. McCain's life story was compelling, and it commanded respect even from those who disagreed with him substantively. But McCain had trouble communicating any message beyond his life story. And that's what led to his defeat.

Republicans need to honor our patriots and our heroes. But when it comes to elections and effective governance, the times demand that we turn to the thought leaders of our party. The people who have energy and ideas, and who can effectively communicate those ideas instead of allowing themselves to be constantly put on the defensive. The public understandably demands a leader who can lay out plans and ideas -- not just someone who has an impressive resume.

Who are those thought leaders in our party? I don't rightly know at this point. Someone in the mold of Newt Gingrich maybe -- a man with plenty of baggage to be sure, but also a man of ideas who is a student of history with a vision of the future.

When the Democrats were down, they created the centrist leaning Democratic Leadership Council in the mid-80's to cultivate dynamic leaders and ideas that ultimately blossomed into the election of Bill Clinton. Republicans need to do the same. We need to start planting seeds now before it's too late and we end up having this conversation again in mid-November 2012.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

it's all about the ice cream...

My brother, Russell, sent this to me. It's funny, but interesting too:

The most eye-opening civics lesson I ever had was while teaching third grade in 2000. The presidential election was heating up and some of the children showed an interest. I decided we would have an election for a class president. We would choose our nominees. They would make a campaign speech and the class would vote. To simplify the process, candidates were nominated by other class members.

We discussed what kinds of characteristics these students should have. We got many nominations and from those, Jamie and Olivia were picked to run for the top spot. The class had done a great job in their selections. Both candidates were good kids. I thought Jamie might have an advantage because he got lots of parental support. I had never seen Olivia's mother.

The day arrived when they were to make their speeches Jamie went first. He had specific ideas about how to make our class a better place. He ended by promising to do his very best. Every one applauded. He sat down and Olivia came to the podium. Her speech was concise. She said, 'If you will vote for me, I will give you ice cream.' She sat down.

The class went wild. 'Yes!Yes! We want ice cream. ' She surely would say more. She did not have to. A discussion followed. How did she plan to pay for the ice cream? She wasn't sure. Would her parents buy it or would the class pay for it. She didn't know. The class really didn't care. All they were thinking about was ice cream. Jamie was forgotten. Olivia won by a land slide.

Sound familiar?

Friday, November 7, 2008

coming of age...figuring it out

While riding down the road tonight, my 9 year old son, Luke, pipes up from the backseat and asks me, "Dad, why do they have wrestling [a.k.a. rasslin'] on TV? It's fake isn't it?"

In response I told him that "Yes, son, wrestling is fake," to which he wondered aloud, "Then why would anyone do that?"

After reflecting on it for a few seconds he said, almost to himself, "I guess it must be for the money."

I think my son is starting to figure it all out.

nice article about john mccain post-election

Title: John McCain At Ease After Loss

Thanks to Betsy Carnesale for sending me the link to this article.

so much for the soft touch...

President-Elect Obama has tapped Rahm Emmanuel to be his Chief of Staff, a job so important that it that is commonly referred to as the "Deputy President" or the "The Second-Most Powerful Man in Washington".

Well, then. So much for the soft touch. Looks like bi-partisanship won't be high on the agenda in an Obama administration.

Emmanuel made a name for himself in the Clinton White House, shepherding the failed attempt at universal health coverage. He is generally known for his rough-around-the edges, take-no-prisoners style. He is reportedly also a profane man and given to angry outbursts. In fact, his attitude garnered him such nicknames as "Rahm-bo" and "The Enforcer."

He is once said to have mailed a dead fish to a former coworker after parting ways. And on the night after the 1996 presidential election, Emanuel was said to be "so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting 'Dead! ... Dead! ... Dead!' and plunging the knife into the table after every name." See generally, Wikipedia.

He even once reportedly had the temerity to "walk[] up to Tony Blair before the prime minister's first public appearance with Mr. Clinton, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. "This is important," he told Mr Blair. "Don't f**k it up."

Well, I suppose at least we won't have to guess much about where he stands on things.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NY Times -- Obama already moving to "tamp down" expectations

Less than 2 days after the election, and Obama is already in backstep mode as part of an effort to scale back the wild expectations he carefully cultivated with his campaign rhetoric. According to a NY Times article today, he now "warn[s] that the promises that led Americans to embrace his candidacy — be they as specific as expanding health care or as broad as changing the tone of Washington — might take as long a term to carry out."

Fair enough. Indeed, the downturn in the economy wasn't created overnight, and it certainly won't be solved overnight. However, methinks that Obama might have created a monster that he now can't control, and that might someday come back to bite him in the you-know-what. (Another interesting article on that particular subject is here, although I should warn you that there is some "salty" language in it.)

interesting reflections

Thought you might interested in the conscientious thoughts about the election from my friend Mick Wright on his blog.

what's a "good" republican to do now??

Now that the election is over and the people have spoken, what's a "good" Republican supposed to do? I mean, you can argue that the electorate soundly rejected our ideals on Tuesday. Should we feel rejected? Should we be bitter because the economy and war dealt us an unfair hand? Should we be angry due what many believe were positions taken by Obama essentially to "buy" votes and capitalize on class division? Should we urge our leaders to oppose Obama at every turn in an attempt to try and prevent (as much as possible) the implementation of policies we disagree with? Or should we accept our defeat and allow him his day in the sun? Should we adapt and change or ideas and our message? Or would that consitute intellectual compromise?

John McCain called us to be united and to support our new President. But what does that really mean? And can a "good" Republican really do that and stay true to his/her ideals?

I have some distinct ideas about these questions, and some thoughts about what we can learn from the election, and about ourselves. My plan is to address at least one point per day over the next week or so in a series of posts addressing these issues. Come back and see if you agree or disagree, and help me flesh out my own thinking on these issues. I certainly don't have all the answers, and I need your help. I'd also be interested to know the Democrats' perspectives from the other side. So, I invite you to initiate a dialogue with me and others who hopefully follow the series by using the Comment buttons below each post.

we all have a responsibility

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
--Edmund Burke (1729-1797) (political philosopher)

We all have a responsibility to search our hearts and stand up for what we believe is right and good, whatever that may be. Indeed, it reminds me something I read a while back:

"First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they finally came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me."
-- Rev. Martin Niemoeller (German minister who was ultimately persecuted by Hitler)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

the proof is already in the pudding

According to, agents for high-dollar athletes are already discussing ways and methods to manipulate the payment of signing bonuses, etc. so that they are realized as income this year instead of waiting until next year when Obama's tax increases would take effect.

all in jest...

A few items for that disappointed Republican on your Christmas gift list:

(bumper sticker)
Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for sharing these!

the day after...

Even though I expected the election result last night, I was still hopeful. So I'm in a little bit of a funk today. Now that the election is over, though, it's time for everyone to pick up the pieces and move on as a united country. We Republicans need to reflect on what we're about, and how we can better communicate our message and make valuable contributions to the process going forward. Democrats have the harder task of actually governing through the mess that we're in.

I've already read and listened to tons of people's opinions and analysis of the election, ranging from what it means (for our country and for each of the political parties, respectively), why it turned out the way it did, and what could have been done better.

I think it would be wrong to conclude from this election that our country has decided that it wants to embark on an experiment of liberalism that borders on socialism. To the contrary, if you look at polling numbers on specific issues (as opposed to candidates), the electorate is still decidedly conservative on issues of taxes, families, judicial activism, military strength, etc. With that in mind, I think it would be a mistake for Democrats to read too much into the election and try to take the country too far in a direction that it is not prepared to go.

In my humble opinion, this election was more about the personality and celebrity of the 2 candidates, and their ability to console and speak to the public about their fears -- of which there are many. Indeed, this election was the result of the perfect storm. (I'll write more about that in the coming days after more opportunity to reflect, and to recover from the election roller coaster ride.)

No matter what you may think about Obama or the outcome of the election, you can rest assured that our great country and its people are stronger than any one election cycle or person or Party. We have survived civil war, world war, the cold war, terrorist attack, and traitors from within. And we have survived presidents who were drunks, crooks, liars, cowards, and idiots. And the good news is that Obama is apparently none of those. Our country will continue to survive and thrive despite our challenges.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

hilarious election video -- lando vs. emperor palpatine

hope springs eternal???

Maybe all the professional pollsters and so-called experts will be wrong after all....

another run to the final four begins tonight -- memphis tigers vs. cbu

People assume that I'm not a Tiger fan because I played for the Vols. Not true! Indeed, contrary to popular opinion, you can be a fan of both. In fact, my law partner and I have a luxury suite for our law firm, and so I'm at virtually every Tiger home game. Come see us sometime. We're in the Meteor Room on the upper suite level on the west side of the Forum. You can see virtual views from the suite here and here.

We often have extra tickets available too, so let me know if you're interested in coming to a game sometime. We'd be glad to have you if we have tickets left. You can call my office at 372-5003.

You can find the Tiger basketball schedule here.

Go Tigers! (and go Vols!)

is this what it's come to?

An Obama supporter's take on the issues.

Say what??

Monday, November 3, 2008

comments and dialogue

My intent for this blog is to invite you to check it out periodically and click on the "comments" button to express your opinions. Please suggest ideas and/or topics. And take me to task where you disagree.

I want this to be place for dialogue and an exchange of ideas. I want it to be fun and entertaining as well. Come by often and leave your comments. I want to know what you think.

biden vs. quayle/palin -- is there a double standard?

Dan Quayle was routinely lambasted by the mainstream media for a few simple gaffes. He once misspelled the word "potato." Wow. He was also criticized for making an innocent point about a TV character's decision to have a baby out of wedlock (i.e. the infamous Murphy Brown issue that was taken way out of context by the media).

But where's the same media scorn for Senator Biden, who recently stated that McCain's economic plan did nothing to address the 3 letter word that was MOST imortant to the middle class: "J-O-B-S" (You can check out the YouTube video here) Hello? Isn't that 4 letters, not 3 letters?

And what about Biden asking a man in a wheelchair to stand up at a rally?

And what about Biden's error in the debate with Palin? During the debate, Biden cited to the wrong Article of the Constitution while pontificating dismissively about the executive branch (referring to Article I which deals with the legislative power; Article I does spell out the VP presiding over the Senate, but Article II defines the executive branch's duties and powers.). Coming from the longtime chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee who, among other things, presided over the Supreme Court nominations of both Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, and coming from someone mentioned prominently when Supreme Court vacancies come up, it was a glaring gaffe.

But where's the media's scorn for his intellect? Can you imagine if Sarah Palin had made any one of those mistakes?

cool christmas idea -- kindle e-book reader

The Kindle is an e-book reader launched by Amazon last year. It's wireless and requires no computer or cables or subscriptions. It retails for only $359 online. The Kindle is marketed as the future of book reading. You can download and read books, newspapers, and blogs. It will hold up to 200 titles at a time. You can view and sample books before purchasing them, and the prices are inexpensive as well -- ranging from only $1.99 to $9.99 per title. You can see a video demonstration here.
I'm not sure I'm ready for this technology. I like the look and feel of paper when I read books and newspapers. In fact, when I'm looking at a long article on the web, I usually print it off instead of looking at it directly on my computer screen.

What do you think? Will this technology ultimately take over "primitive" paper books and newspapers?

the road to the final four begins tonight for the vols!!

The Vols basketball team begins its Final Four run tonight when they suit up for an exhibition game against Indianapolis. Key injuries and new players will make the beginning of the season interesting, but our talent level and pure athletic ability is as high as it has been in a long, long time. I can't wait to see what Coach Pearl can do with this team!

(You can find the basketball schedule here.)

is it constitutional for states to provide for early voting?

Thirty-one states currently provide for early voting. Clearly, early voting is convenient both for the voters and the various election commissions. Indeed, I prefer the ease of early voting myself. I voted early just last week. However, there are drawbacks too. Early voting is costly. It also allows more time and opportunity for voter fraud, for candidate manipulation of issues, and for possibly denying some people the ability to vote in line with developments or circumsntances that might occur after they've already voted, but before national election day.

Apart from debating the merits of whether early voting is good/bad, though, my question here is whether early voting constitutional when it comes to presidential elections?

Article II, Section 1 of the Constituational states in pertinent part:
The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.

Early voting obviously does not provide for voting on the same "day" (which is singular -- not plural). However, does that "day" refer to the actual day that the populace votes, or rather the day that the electors show up to cast their votes?

There's no legal case that I'm aware of that's ever tackled this question. But I think it's an interesting issue to ponder. (Which admittedly makes me a nerd, I know.)

and what about obama's charitable giving?

Obama and his wife gave a whopping $10,772 of the $1.2 million they earned in income from 2000-2004 (which is less than 1% for the mathematically challenged), which is absolutely shameful based on his own rhetoric.

Interestingly, the Obamas increased their charitable giving in 2005 and 2006 after Obama published his book and started running for president. (Any coincidence there?) However, the $137,622 they gave over those two years still amounted to only 5% of their $2.6 million income.

By comparion, McCain gave 28.6% and 27.3% of his income to charitable causes in 2006 and 2007. He and his wife also established the charitable John and Cindy McCain Foundation, and gave approximately $950,000 to that foundation between 2001-2006. They also gave (and still give) of themselves personally in that they adopted an orphan from Bangladesh 15 years ago.

Now what was that Mr. Obama was saying about selfishness?

speaking of selfishness, look at millionaire biden's charitable giving

According to Biden's tax returns, he and his wife have donated a whopping $3,690 to charity from 1998-2007. And this from a millionaire who's apparently so concerned for the downtrodden in society!

Of course, Biden's spokesman attempted to downplay the situation, claiming that the tax return didn't accurately reflect his total contribuations. So, apparently, we are to believe that he only claims some of his contributions on his tax returns, but not all. And, interestingly, no competing figures or evidence were provided.

(Apparently, Biden took a chapter out of the Al Gore giving guide. Back when he was running for president, it was revealed that he and Tipper gave $353 in 1997. Apparently, Democrat leaders only believe in generosity when giving away somebody else's money.)

obama criticizes the selfishness of those who disagree with him about tax policy

At a rally the other day, Obama responded to criticism of his tax and wealth redistribution policies. Talking about McCain and Palin's desire to instead keep taxes low so that Americans can keep more of their own hard earned dollars, Obame stated that "You know, I don’t know when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness." See the video here.

Obama and his supporters just don't get it! Wanting to keep taxes low isn't selfish. And wanting to let people decide what to do with their own money isn't selfish. It's about freedom. It's about trusting people over government to make better decisions about how to spend their money, or to give it away to charity. Indeed, in high tax countries (such as in Europe) charitable giving is virtually non-existent compared to the U.S. because people can't afford to give after paying the tax man. Do we want that for America?

How ironic that we've gotten to this point: "'Need' now means wanting someone else's money. 'Greed' means wanting to keep your own. 'Compassion' is when a politician arranges the transfer."

fulmer is apparently out

According to "multiple sources" as reported on, Fulmer and UT officials have a worked out a deal for him to resign. A press conference is supposedly scheduled for later in the day today.

go vols - sorta

It was another horrible weekend for the football Vols, and perhaps it was the final nail in the coffin for Coach Fulmer. I know and like Coach Fulmer, but as is often the case in sports, business, and other endeavors, there often comes a time when a new voice and direction is needed. And unfortunately, that time may be at hand for a good and decent man.

It's interesting, though, to listen to the diehards who've been calling for his head these past few weeks. Indeed, the closer it gets to the time to pull the trigger, the more they seem to be shy away from the idea of making a change. Sometimes the devil you know is worse than the devil you don't, and I think people are scared that there may not be a better alternative out there to choose from during this particular offseason.

Oh well -- UT has always been a basketball school anyway.

did you know?

Did you know that running over a soccer ball while pulling out of the garage sounds like a gunshot? I thought I was being robbed this morning...

Score: Lang 1, Soccer Ball 0.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

one of my favorite verses

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." -- Isaiah 41:10

What a powerful idea! This verse has helped me through many a tough time.

go vols!!

Who would've ever thought that the outcome of a football game with South Carolina (of all schools) might decide the fate of the UT program. But that's what today's game is shaping up to be (6 pm CDT on ESPN2). If the Vols lose, it eliminates the possibility of a winning record, which would all but guarantee that we'll be hitting the streets looking for a new coach after the season.

Steve Spurrier must be lovin' life right now.