Archive for August, 2004

Ragsdale Responds

Tuesday, August 24th, 2004

Here is how Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale plans to retaliate against make appropriate cuts if the voters reject his wheel tax.

Kingston Principal Resigns

Tuesday, August 24th, 2004

The recent hazing controversy at Roane County High (Kingston) has led to the resignation of principal Jody McCloud. Some parents are calling for the players who committed hazing to be kicked off the team. Doubtlessly, some will accuse me of bias, being a Harriman fan and all, but I can’t say I disagree. In-school suspension and not playing in half of one football game seems pretty lenient to me. It also seems a bit ironic that, while the players who actually committed the acts have received only the most minimal of punishments, the principal is resigning. If the incident merits the resignation of a principal, one would think it would also, at the very least, merit kicking the players responsible off the team.

Nukes Are Necessary

Tuesday, August 24th, 2004

A few weeks ago, while most of us were enjoying our summers (or, like myself, celebrating passing Spanish), the world recognized the 59th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, which brought about the end of World War II. Though opinions vary on the necessity of incinerating the Japanese city, everyone can agree that it was a tragic event, whose effects are still being felt today. One of these effects was the ushering in of a new, and sometimes frightening age: an age of nuclear weapons and possible world annihilation.

Different people have reacted in different ways to this age. Some people understand the need to produce such horrible weapons. Some do not. Among the latter is the group that recently protested at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, calling for an end to weapons production.

These protesters were a diverse group. Some were UT students. Some were grandmothers. Some were religious folk. Some were from far away states like Michigan (Must be nice to be able to take off to a protest anytime one pleases. I wonder if any of these protesters have actual jobs). Some were aging hippies, left over from the Vietnam era. Most were ideological leftists. There is no doubt that many of these people were motivated by the purest of intentions. After all, who likes the idea of nuclear war? Indeed, most protesters claimed they came out to show their support for peace. Unfortunately, their goals would have the opposite effect if they ever convinced policy makers of the righteousness of their cause. Instead, unilateral disarmament would make nuclear war all the more likely.

During the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union never had a direct military confrontation. Why? Because of what has come to be known as the doctrine of “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD). Had either side initiated direct military conflict, the other side would have been forced to retaliate. The likely end result would have been nuclear war. Neither side wanted this, for obvious reasons. Thus, it was a great and effective deterrent. Wars in Korea and Vietnam were certainly tragic, of course, but how much worse would a war with the Soviet Union have been?

Now, let’s consider what would have happened had the U.S. had no nuclear weapons. We would have been totally unprotected. Do you think the Soviet Union would have thought twice about launching nuclear warheads our way? Do you think the Cuban Missile Crisis might have been very different, and far more tragic?

What about people like Kim Jong Il in North Korea, or the Mullahs in Iran, you ask? How can we insist that they not produce nuclear weapons when we ourselves are doing it? The problem with this question is that it presupposes that these people are fair-minded and reasonable. Overwhelming evidence suggests otherwise. The truth is that the tyrants of the world are going to try to obtain weapons of mass destruction whether we have them for ourselves or not. Therefore, we must have them (and maintain a strong advantage over everyone else) in order to deter such crazies or, if need be, retaliate with them if, God forbid, they ever obtain them and use them against us.

It would be exceedingly naïve to suggest that if we scrapped our nuclear weapons programs, everyone else in the world would follow suit. In all likelihood, it would give them an even greater incentive to produce such weapons. There are plenty of rouge regimes and criminals factions that would love to take a shot at the United States. Being unprotected would make it all the easier for them.

If you doubt this, consider an analogy. If you placed a sign in your yard announcing that you were unarmed and that your doors were not locked, would it make robbery more or less likely? If you said more likely, pat yourself on the back. Destroying our nukes would have the exact same effect.

The world might be a better place if there were no nuclear weapons existed. It would also be a better place if no greedy people existed, if everyone ate balanced diets, and if there were no diseases. Sadly, none of this is possible. We must face reality, not romantic fantasies. The world is a tough place, and nations must be strong if they are to survive.

So before you fall prey to the emotional appeal that protestors like the ones in Oak Ridge purvey, stop and think about the consequences. Will protesting against bombs really serve the cause of peace? Chances are, it will have the exact opposite effect.

Hardee’s Update

Tuesday, August 24th, 2004

Those marketing geniuses at Hardee’s e-mailed me back. Here is their response…

Dear Mr. Brown:

Thank you for taking the time to share your comments with us.

It is never our intention to offend anyone and we regret that you were displeased with our advertising promotion. Rest assured, your feedback is important to us and is taken to the highest levels within the organization for review.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.


Hardee’s Guest Response
On the Web at

Gay ‘Marriage’?

Monday, August 23rd, 2004

Fellow UT student James Boutin has an editorial in today’s edition of the Daily Beacon arguing in favor of gay marriage. It is an interesting article – and makes a decent case for allowing homosexuals the “right” to marry.

What this editorial did for me was reinforce my view that marriage should be privatized – conducted privately, with no government controls or regulations. Instead of allowing the government to involve itself with marriages, they should simply be conducted by churches, synagogues, mosques, or any other religious institution (marriage is, after all, an intensely religious institution for most people). If certain churches – Unitarians or Episcopalians, or example, wish to marry homosexuals, they could do so. If members of these congregations disagree, they could either join other churches who work to change their church’s policy. No church (or any individual) would be forced to recognize any marriage between members of the same sex.

The government, on the other hand, should simply issue “civil unions,” which any two individuals could enter into. People married by religious authorities would automatically qualify. These civil unions would give all the government benefits of marriage. Private companies (including insurance companies) could set their own policies on whether or not they recognized these unions. If people found the policies of private companies to be discriminatory or in violation of their religious beliefs, they could take their money elsewhere.

I realize this solution will likely offend some people on both sides of the aisle, but it is a fair solution. After all, why should Christians need government recognition for their marriages? And why should gays force churches and people with legitimate moral objections to validate their marriage? Problems solved.

Go Big Blue

Monday, August 23rd, 2004

There’s a cool write up in the Roane County News about Harriman High’s victory over Sequoyah Saturday, which ended a 30 game losing streak for the Blue Devils (yes, I realize a lot of you don’t care, but when your team has just won it’s first game since the Clinton Administration, I think it’s cause for a little excessive coverage!).

Metro Mania

Sunday, August 22nd, 2004

Looks like metro government in Roane County is inching closer to becoming reality.

The Streak is OVER!!!

Saturday, August 21st, 2004

The TSSAA website is reporting that the Harriman High Blue Devils, my alma mater, defeated Sequoyah today, 20-19. This ends a 30-game losing streak for Harriman. Next up, Kingston. Let’s see if they can start the right kind of streak!

Hardee’s Commercials

Saturday, August 21st, 2004

I love commercials. Really, I do. Heck, I’ve even blogged about commercials before. But these Hardee’s commercials are among the most pathetic excuses for ads I have ever seen in my entire life (and believe me, I watch tons of TV). You know the ones – where that cynical announcer blabs about Thickburgers. The last one I saw featured pregnant women. I mean, what the heck?! Did they hire Tyler Harber to produce these things? I hope those burgers don’t cause the babies to be born with heart conditions. After all, there is enough fat in those things to kill a terrier.

So anyway, I decided to do something about it. I e-mailed Hardee’s this e-mail. I’ll let you know if I hear back from those advertising genuises…

“I am writing to express my extreme dissatisfaction with the quality of Hardee’s commercials. I literally change the channel anytime one comes on. I love Hardee’s food – the breakfast has always been outstanding, and now the burgers are among the best in the business. However, I find myself less and less inclined to eat there. The commercials really are that bad. The annoying announcer, with the slowest and most grating voice makes me want to throw something at my TV in the event I cannot get to my remote fast enough to avoid the audio/video atrocities that are these commercials. As a Hardee’s fan, I implore you to PLEASE change your commercials. I don’t know if I can continue to eat at a restaurant that produces such headache inducing ads.”

The News in Knox

Friday, August 20th, 2004

As Adam Groves first reported last night, the wheel tax appears destined to be voted on on November 2. If this comes to pass, I am going to make an early prediction: the wheel tax will be rejected. Mayor Ragsdale has done an incredibly poor job explaining why it is necessary, and has changed his justification for it. It now appears he is trying to hold existing projects and a needed West Knoxville school hostage. Yet, word on the street is that Ragsdale wants to run for governor. South Knox Bubba is drawing a comparison to former Gov. Don Sundquist. They are alike in some ways, but there is one way in which they have nothing in common: Mike Ragsdale could never be elected governor.

Current Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (who would no doubt love to face Ragsdale in 2006) has released his TennCare reform plan. As someone who generally approves of the job Bredesen has done, I think this is a positive. Bredesen has not gone nearly as far as I would like (total scrapping of the TennCare debacle), but this will be an improvement.

Those of us at UT were none-too-pleased to come back this fall and discover we now have to pay 2 cents per paper we print. Never mind we are already paying a technology fee. Why not cut the “T” (the UT transit system, which, for the record, I have used a whopping one time during my entire tenure in Big Orange Country), and use that money to pay for the paper. Graduate student Rebecca Jackson points out other areas where the university is wasting money. The problem of students using too much paper could easily be corrected by limiting the amount of free paper we get (say, to 150-200 pages a semester), but hey, why not hit the students and faculty with yet another fee? My question is, why does it cost 4 cents to print on both sides? You’re still only using one sheet!

I hope this isn’t what the post-graduation world holds for me.

Have a great weekend folks!