Archive for March, 2005

Cagle on Blogs

Thursday, March 31st, 2005

Local pundit Frank Cagle has an interesting editorial in today’s Metropulse about blogs and their growing influence.

More GOP Drama

Monday, March 28th, 2005

The GOP Gate controversy continues, with this article in today’s Sentinel concerning a memo, in which Tyler Harber claims that he accessed Chad Tindel’s computer, but only because Tindell game him the user name and password. Tindell denies this. This memo “also contradicts Ragsdale administration officials’ claims that they didn’t know who delivered copies of the e-mails to Ragsdale’s office.” The intrigue continues…

One thing is for sure: Newly elected Knox GOP Chairman Brian Hornback is going to have plenty of work to do to rebuild the party. Here’s wishing him all the best.

Remembering Phil Meyup

Sunday, March 27th, 2005

He may have only been a Roane County thing, but one of the creepiest characters I remember from my childhood was a chap named Phil Meyup. Phil Meyup, it seems, was a giant, walking, talking garbage can (get it? His name was pronounced “Fill me up.”). His goal in life was to crack down on litter. I distinctly remember sitting in class, probably in first grade, when suddenly, without warning, in walked in a giant garbage can who immediately started a tangent on the virtue of keeping Roane County clean. He can still be seen; his likeness is illustrated on the fence around the dump on Highway 70 in Midtown.

It was that same year that I entered a poster contest for the Roane Clean Community System. Students in early grades all across the county entered. We were told to design posters that promoted cleanliness, and discouraged litter. My poster was of a bunch of people picking up litter. I didn’t think it was all that great, but it did win second place in the county. My award? Some Cracker Barrel gift certificates (as if I was paying for my own food at age 7), and a Phil Meyup T-shirt.

Alas, I do not know what ever became of that T-shirt, but what I wouldn’t give to have it now. Granted, I couldn’t wear it, but I could hang it up as a tribute to the garbage can, the myth, the legend… Phil Meyup.

UPDATE (03/29/2005): Apparently, the correct spelling for the garbage can’s name is Phil Meeyup (note the extra “e”). He has also been spotted in Columbus, OH.

Happy Easter

Sunday, March 27th, 2005

I want to wish everyone a very happy and safe Easter!

Ed Bryant for Governor?

Saturday, March 26th, 2005

Recently, a friend from Memphis told me about a movement in West Tennessee to get Ed Bryant to drop out of his Senate race, and instead challenge Phil Bredesen for the governor’s office. I don’t know what the odds are of Bryant doing this, but it is interesting to consider.

In the Senate race, Bryant is up against fellow conservative and friend Van Hilleary, who lost in a squeaker to Bredesen in 2002, and moderate Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker, who has plenty of money and backing from powerful Republicans. Corker, however, is not backed by certain groups within the GOP, including Team GOP and conservative blogger Bill Hobbs, who consider him a liberal. Matthew White has suggested that conservatives should unite around Bryant, but so far they still seem to be united. In this divided vote situation, Corker will have a huge advantage.

Meanwhile, Phil Bredesen is being challenged by B.C. “Scooter” Clippard. Clippard may be a great guy. Or he may not be. I have no idea, and neither do most voters. Obviously, Ed Bryant has much stronger name recognition than Clippard.

But can he beat Bredesen? Perhaps. As Bill Hobbs has pointed out:

Bredesen won narrowly in 2002, defeating Republican Van Hilleary by a scant 52,657 votes out of the 1,618,613 total votes cast for the two men. It would take only a small shift to reverse Bredesen’s 51-48 percentage-point win. Viewed against those numbers, Bredesen’s plan to cut 320,000 people off of TennCare looks like a big political gamble.

And what if Bredesen succeeds in cutting those people from the rolls – or implements his alternative plan of cutting out TennCare’s prescription drugs benefit? Would he gain enough new votes from Republican taxpayers tired of funding TennCare’s excessive and inexorably rising costs to offset the tens of thousands of Democratic votes he’s bound to lose among the 320,000 former TennCare beneficiaries (not to mention their family members) whose healthcare he took away?

I doubt it.

Let’s also take it a step further, and say that Harold Ford Jr. does not enter the race (concluding the negative press of his uncle is too much to overcome, and opting instead to seek a House leadership position or a high post in a future Democratic administration). That would essentially assure that the Democratic nominee would be Rosalind Kurita, obviously much less daunting than Ford. Neither Bredesen nor Kurita is likely to energize the Democratic base, which could lead to them staying home on election day. Meanwhile, conservatives will be voting in droves in order to hold their Senate seat, and because of an amendment to ban gay marriage. Could that allow Bryant to slip into the governor’s mansion, and elect either Corker or Hilleary to the Senate? It just might, goes the theory.

I personally like Bryant, and think he will excel either as governor or as senator. I have no idea if he’ll jump over to the governor’s race. But if he did, it certainly would be interesting.

Rocky Top Brigade Update

Saturday, March 26th, 2005

The famous Rocky Top Brigade has expanded again, adding nine new members, including my friend Todd Yarbrough, Knoxville City Councilman Chris Woodhull, U.S. Senate candidate Ed Bryan’s unofficial blog, and the satirical Communists for TennCare.

Congrats to all the new inductees!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Friday, March 25th, 2005

Today is Good Friday, of course, and less importantly, my 24th birthday!

Terri Schiavo

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

This is the first time I have ever blogged about Terri Schiavo, the severely disabled Florida woman who, until a few days ago, was kept alive with a feeding tube. This story has been in and out of the news over the years, as her husband has been on a crusade to remove the tube and allow her to die. He claims she told him that would be her wish if she ever became severely incapacitated. Terri’s parents disagree. They want to keep her alive so they can care for her.

It looks as though the story may soon come to a tragic end. Michael Shiavo, Terri’s husband, has consistently been victorious in his legal battles with her parents, who appear to have run out of options. Not even intervention from Congress has been of much help. Unless something happens quickly, such as a new law passed in Florida or Washington, or an overruling by the Supreme Court (or even Gov Bush or President Bush taking Terri into custody), Terri will soon die.

The reason I have been silent on this issue in the past is because I have always had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, who would want to live in the condition Terri is in? It is certainly logical to think that she would rather die. Having said that, since when is hearsay (which is essentially what all rulings in the case have been based on) admissible in court? And what gives the judiciary the right to decide who is worthy of living and who is not?

Recently, some serious accusations have been lodged at Michael Schiavo. I don’t know if they are true or not; I wasn’t there. Yes, I admit, it seems strange that they have just now come to light. Yet, given the fact that he has started a new life with a new family, I think it is fair to question his motives. A better man would have said “yes, it may have been Terri’s wish to die years ago. But her parents are so dead set on keeping her alive, and certainly they knew her even better than I did. I will simply sign over custody to them, and trust their judgment.” This, I think, is what most people would do. So reasonable people must begin to wonder why he is so insistent on her dying.

My take on this whole tragic situation is this: Terri had no living will. No one, other than Michael himself, knows if the conversation ever took place. She is not living on a respirator; all she requires for life is to be fed. She is not being kept alive by a machine in the sense most of us would think from the reports we read. Therefore, I think it inhumane to deny her the feeding tube.

Deciding what life is not worth preserving is a judgment I am not prepared to make – and anyone who does claim the ability to such a right is gravely mistaken. History is replete with examples of societies who made such judgments, and mass murder has usually resulted. The two most evil ideologies of the twentieth century – Nazism and Communism – were based on the belief that certain lives were not worth preserving. We Americans, who sacrificed our fellow citizens to defeat these evils, should realize that this is a road we must not go down.

Therefore, I think that it is prudent to error on the side of life, as the cliche goes. We do not know what Terri’s wish would be. And we have no right to deem her life unfit to save. We must mourn for her condition, and we should pray for a miracle.

But, most importantly, we must not allow our government the right to deem any human life unworthy of protection.

GOP Gate, Chapter 11

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

I don’t know how all of this is going to end, but I would not be suprised to see someone end up in behind bars. Some very serious crimes appear to have taken place in this debacle.

The revelation is that someone appears to have planted a bug in former GOP Chairman Chad Tindell’s computer, allowing them to gain access. No one knows who did it, but plenty of people are thinking “round up the usual suspects.” The Sentinel reports:

Tindell said Harber called him the day before the e-mails surfaced to talk about Harber’s possible role in Hornback’s action, a topic Tindell said he’d broached in his e-mails to reporters and others.

Tindell said he thought the only place he’d made the comments was in his e-mail correspondence. He had sent no e-mails to Harber, he said.

“What I thought was, he was reading directly from my e-mails,” Tindell said. “I told my wife I thought somebody forwarded my e-mails to Tyler.”

Once Ragsdale called the next day to tell him the e-mails had surfaced, however, Tindell said he became concerned that someone had surreptitiously gained access to his computer. He took the computer to the specialist, then called authorities.

Citing the criminal investigation, Harber has declined to answer questions about Tindell’s e-mail correspondence.

Tindell refused to point fingers at Harber or anyone else.

“I don’t know who did it,” he said. “The sheriff and his people have been very helpful to me. I don’t have any idea where their investigation might lead.”

I have no idea who is responsible for this insidious breach of trust, but whoever is should obviously be punished. I hope that a quick investigation can determine who is responsible so that they can be dealt with, and Knox County Republicans can put this behind them and move on.

Harbergate Happenings

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

Betty Bean and Sandra Clark, both columnists for the Halls Shopper News, offer commentary on “Harbergate.” Ms. Clark explains the difference between GOP Gate and Watergate, while Ms. Bean sheds some light on Harber’s arrest (the details of which had previously been a bit murky).