Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Favorite Actresses: Claudette Colbert

For many years, I thought the way to hitchhike was with the thumb (or middle finger if you were that desperate!) or the Daisy Duke way.

That is until I saw It Happened One Night on AMC (when it actually was about classics) in 1995.
Why this didn't occur to me before I don't know.

"Why didn't you take off all your clothes? You could have stopped forty cars."
"Well, ooo, I'll remember that when we need forty cars."

They sure knew how to write dialogue back in the day.

Claudette to me had this peculiar quality about her. She wouldn't be my wife, mom, sister, or grandmother, well grandmother may work! Never mind the fact she didn't have kids of her own. But imagine the possibilities!

Ellie: Have you ever been in love, Peter?
Peter Warne: Me?
Ellie: Yes. Haven't you ever thought about it at all? It seems to me you, you could make some girl wonderfully happy.
Peter Warne: Sure I've thought about it. Who hasn't? If I could ever meet the right sort of girl. Aw, where you gonna find her? Somebody that's real. Somebody that's alive. They don't come that way anymore. Have I ever thought about it? I've even been sucker enough to make plans. You know, I saw an island in the Pacific once. I've never been able to forget it. That's where I'd like to take her. She'd have to be the sort of a girl who'd... well, who'd jump in the surf with me and love it as much as I did. You know, nights when you and the moon and the water all become one. You feel you're part of something big and marvelous. That's the only place to live... where the stars are so close over your head you feel you could reach up and stir them around. Certainly, I've been thinking about it. Boy, if I could ever find a girl who was hungry for those things..."

Kind of what I'm looking for in a wife or girlfriend, but hey you gotta start somewhere!

Anyways, one unique trait about Claudette was she insisted on being photographed or filmed from her left side at all times. Given she understood camera angles, lighting and the psychology of it better than most technical people even, who is going to argue with her?

She was wonderful in screwball comedies and dramas. She also had a long career in theatre. Her film career started to fizzle around 1950. Apparently no real worthy roles for a woman who was nearing 50 at the time. Some things never change! Hollywood needs to take a cue from women like Jane Seymour, Jaclyn Smith, and Jessica Lange. I'm almost 32, but I would date or marry any one of these women in a heartbeat if age weren't an issue.

Claudette wasn't a blond bombshell, buxom, or an obvious beauty, but her most beautiful traits besides her eyes was her wit, charm and intellect. She was born in France after all!

Not much more needs to be said. I'll leave it at that.

Friday, March 28, 2008

From a Viewer to WBIR

Sam Walton once said something to the effect of listen to your people, they are your best idea generators.

In TV news, the same holds true be it the people who work there or the viewers. I don't watch much TV beyond the news channels, sports or TCM. When it comes to local news, I usually rotate between WVLT and WBIR. Given I watch most of my news in the morning since I work the graveyard shift, I feel that I can offer some good advice on what is going on. In a nutshell, I think WVLT does a better job. But since this is about WBIR, I won't waste space.

Basically the thing that hurts WBIR the most is the format of their morning show. Not their people, but the format. Style works very well (although I wish they would give Michele Silva more options on what to wear instead of the same black slacks every day), Live at Five works well and the evening news does what it needs to do.

I like the combination of Russell Biven and Lisa Cornwell. Like I wrote before, what kills them is the format. Ever notice how Russell flows seamlessly on Live At Five? He works best off the cuff so to speak, not reading from a teleprompter about the latest murder or county commission scandal. Save that for the evening news.

Lisa is a newcomer, so I reserve judgment on exactly what she does best. But if my instincts serve me right and they usually do, I think she works better off the cuff if given the opportunity to do so.

So to management, lighten up the format. At five o'clock in the morning, people are usually either half asleep or half awake. We want to be laughing and feeling good, not grieving and moping. The first 30 minutes can consist of updates on yesterday's news, overnight happenings, weather and traffic at the beginning, etc... But for the next 90 minutes, you should be taking advantage of it by being creative and informative (isn't that why you got into the news business to begin with?). Assign Brittany Bailey who I feel is being underutilized to the role of spot reporter for the morning. Have her do live reports on what is going on around the area.

Have a pet for adoption feature from Young Williams Animal Center. Interview someone about an event that is happening this weekend. Let Lisa kiss a
baby orangutan (or she can kiss me if she prefers).

So there you have it. I'm a man of many ideas, but I can express them in as few words as possible. Then again, this is just advice and you didn't even have to put me on the payroll. I'm looking forward to the new and improved morning news.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lisa Cornwell: WBIR's latest morning anchor

By now, I'm sure most people in the viewing area are familiar with Lisa Cornwell. She is now co-anchor along with Russell Biven in the mornings from 5-7. While I do have some issues with the morning show (basically I wish Ed Rupp would tone down his antics and too many weather segments), I like the combo of Lisa and Russell. Abby Ham, the previous anchor moved to Cleveland, Ohio after about 18 months. Why Cleveland of all places I'll never know. Then again, I'm a Bengals fan. She was the craze for many male viewers around here, but I liked Michele Silva during the six years or so she was on. Now she is hosting WBIR's Style which fits her so much better and she earned the right to sleep in after all that time too. Too bad she is already seeing someone else. Bummer.

Anyways, back to Lisa. She made her first appearance on Thursday, March 6. I can usually make an informed decision after about a month and so far, I like what I see and hear. She has a clear speaking voice, is professional and personable. Not to mention she is as cute as a button. I would however suggest going with brighter colored clothing and a lighter hairdo would accentuate her face. People after all are either just waking up or have worked all night like me, so we need a sparky upbeat environment.

Lisa is also a golfer and I need to take up a new hobby now that basically my fantastic running career is nearly over. Did I mention she was as cute as a button? Golf would do the trick if only I had the time. But I'm good at making time when I need to also.

In this industry, people come and go. Some people have been here for years like Robin Wilhoit, Rick Russo and Lori Tucker. Others are newcomers who move to new places a year or so later. I'll keep my fingers crossed, but hopefully Lisa is here for the long-term. So, welcome to East Tennessee Lisa!

Apparently I'm An Expert

Funny thing that life can be. I've once had expirations to become a movie producer or writer. Maybe one day. I dream of being a scout for an(y) NFL team. It certainly isn't for the lack of trying since I've mailed just about every team east of the Pacific Ocean. At least nowadays, I have been getting feedback. I heard from the Falcons new General Manager. No job offer, but at least he took the time to write. I even heard from Tom Osborne, the former Cornhusker coach. I need to get that letter framed. I sent several letters to the 49ers just today. I'm willing to work for any team, even the team that beat my favorite team twice in the Big Show so as long as I can stay in the Southeast. But, I am willing to relocate for the right opportunity of course.

Apparently there is a BIG difference between mailing a resume to some soul in the human resources office (always hated that term) and writing a heartfelt letter to the Executive Vice President, General Manager (insert fancy title here) about how I want to start a new career and work my way up and that your organization can make this kid's dream come true. Like America huh? God willing!

Anyways, since I'm not to that stage of being asked "Where do you see yourself in five years?" (oh, perhaps married with a baby girl on the way, 10 pounds heavier, more chest hair and less hair where I really want to keep it), I do get asked questions of another sort.

Just a few weeks ago, I was pushing carts (I prefer to be on the road) in the parking lot, when someone drove up and said "Excuse me, sir! Where do you find like dirty magazine stores or naked girls?" Believe me, this town isn't exactly the cultural center of the world. I just told him head out west and get off exit such and such. He even wondered what they did there to which I replied, "Oh the usual stuff, they have showers (at least they did when I was there ten years ago), maybe some mud wrestling."

I also have been asked about everything from how to fix a broken marriage (keep in mind I'm single), drinking problems to dating (show up on time, be clean especially around the mouth, be easy with the hands, etc...)

Sigh! Oh one day, I will become a scout for some team, then work my up to General Manager of some team (maybe the Bengals even), get a few Super Bowl rings, get married, have a baby girl named Peyton (or twins named Peyton and Carson), and live happily ever after. Until then, I will keep on prodding along.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Law of The Land

In our system of written law, Congress may use a term to mean almost anything, as long as the law itself defines that meaning. When the written law explains the meaning of a term used in the law, standard English usage becomes irrelevant. For example, by the definition in 26 USC 7701(a)(1), the term "person" includes estates, companies and corporations (in addition to individuals). While no one would call Walmart a "person" in everyday conversation, Walmart is a "person" under federal tax law. The legal use of a term is often significantly different from basic English, and therefore reading one section of the law alone can be very misleading. See more about the Rules of Statutory Construction.

As a good example, 26 USC 5841 states that [t]he Secretary [of the Treasury] shall maintain a central registry of all firearms in the United States which are not in the possession or under the control of the United States. The law has a far more limited application than this section by itself would seem to imply. In 26 USC 5845(a) it is made clear that the term firearm in these sections does not include the majority of rifles and handguns (while the term firearm in basic English obviously would), but does include "a shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length"(most shotguns are at least 18 inches and some like the Winchester Model 9410 are as long as 24 inches), silencers and grenades. The average citizen reading the law will naturally tend to assume that he already knows what the words in the law mean, and may have difficulty accepting that the legal meaning of the words used in the law may bear little or no resemblance to the meaning that those words have in common English. For example, reading the phrase all firearms in Section 5841 in a way that excludes most rifles and handguns is contrary to instinctive reading comprehension. But any lawyer reviewing Sections 5841 and 5845 would confirm that such a reading would be absolutely correct. Reading one section of the law without being aware of the legal definitions of the words being used can give an entirely incorrect impression about the application of the law.

As demonstrated, sometimes the apparent meaning of a simple phrase in the law is very different from the legal meaning. The "income tax" is imposed on income from whatever source derived. If the law did not explain what constitutes "sources of income", then the law would be interpreted using basic English. However, the law does explain what the term means and therefore standard English usage is irrelevant.

Because the Constitution is the LAW, a good place to start in our discussion of tax laws would be right there. Have you read the Constitution lately? Have you read it since your 9th grade Civics class? This might be a good time to reacquaint yourself with the document that controls so much of our lives every day. You will be amazed at the ease with which you can read the document, especially when compared to current legal writings. It becomes obvious at first glance that the Constitution was written to be understood by the common Citizen who was very concerned with the content. Current legislation is usually not read by many people outside Washington, DC, and frequently not even by the legislators who vote on it. Because of the huge volume of legislation drafted each year, it is becoming common for most legislators to have one of their staff people review legislation to look for specific items so the legislators do not have to take the time to read it themselves. These legislators then vote yea or nay based on a staffer's review of certain items in the proposed law.

Laws today are not written to be understood by the common Citizen. They are written by legislators, who are usually lawyers, to be understood only by lawyers. In a very practical way, this is called "job security." I mean, whom better to interpret the law than one who played a role in writing and approving the law? As a result, most legislators go back to being lawyers when their terms are complete. So most legislation is specifically written by lawyers to be understood only by lawyers. Yet the whole concept of "common law" assumes the average Citizen has both read and understood the law. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" is very true, but if you can prove you didn't understand how the law applied to you, it is common to get a case against you dismissed. That is how important it is for the law to be understandable! And yet the Internal Revenue Code is so complex and difficult to understand, even the IRS is not held accountable to the view or interpretation it gives you on any specific tax law! The U.S. Tax Court is full of cases where the IRS gave a written, researched opinion of the "law" and later changed its mind, resulting in a civil or criminal tax case against the person who was counting on the accuracy of the IRS in interpreting the tax laws!

This is a good place to make a statement on the type of government that was created by this great document, the Constitution. When you hear a politician speak of our government, almost always you will hear the politician refer to America as a "democracy." Over the past sixty years or so, Americans have been brainwashed by our politicians into believing that we live in a democracy. WE DO NOT! Our Founding Fathers considered a democracy and dismissed it. They chose to create, instead, a "republic." The differences between a democracy and a republic have been discussed and debated at great length by people more knowledgeable than I, so I won't take much space here to add to their work. Allow me, instead, to make a simple comparison. In a democracy, if the people or their elected servants want to create a law or enact a change, all they have to do is demonstrate that a majority of the people wants the law or change. A majority vote is all that is necessary. In a republic, there might be a vast majority of the people in favor of a particular law or change, but that will not matter unless The LAW allows it. The LAW must allow it or The LAW must be modified before a new law or change can be passed. The Founding Fathers knew public opinion could be manipulated, or even misrepresented. This is the major weakness of a true democracy. So America elects its public servants to enact the will of the people, but only if The LAW allows it! Congress cannot, by majority vote, extend or increase its authority. The United States Supreme Court explains this principle:

"It is also not entirely unworthy of observation, that in declaring what shall be the supreme law of the land, the constitution itself is first mentioned; and not the laws of the United States generally, but those only which shall be made in pursuance of the constitution, have that rank.

Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the constitution is void, and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument."
Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803)

Background on Taxes

*This is for your information only. Before you act on this, seek COMPETENT legal advice. This of course means that the attorney would actually need to read the cases mentioned here and not merely assume based on what someone else said.*

The Supreme Court ruled in 1916 that "[B]y the previous ruling [Brushaber v Union Pacific Railroad] it was settled that the Sixteenth Amendment conferred NO NEW POWER of taxation but simply prohibited the previous complete and plenary power of income taxation possessed by Congress from the beginning [of our national government under the Constitution] from being taken out of the category of indirect taxation to which it inherently belonged...." Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co., 240 U.S. 103, 112 (1916)

Despite "common knowledge" to the contrary, the income of most Americans is not subject to the United States federal income tax. The strict limits on federal power imposed by the Constitution prohibited Congress from imposing a tax on the income of United States citizens who live and work exclusively within the 50 states, and the federal statutes and regulations demonstrate that Congress did not impose such a tax. This was not due to an oversight, or to some technical imperfection in the legislative process. Congress never even attempted to impose such a tax. Instead, a limited income tax was imposed, and was worded in such a way to give the impression that it was applicable to the income of most Americans. However, a more in-depth study of the federal statutes and regulations reveals that the tax is far more limited in scope than the public has been led to believe.

Just to be clear, there is no tax "on" income. "The income tax is, therefore, not a tax on income as such. It is an excise tax with respect to certain activities and privileges which is measured by reference to the income, which they produce. The income is not the subject of the tax: it is the basis for determining the amount of the tax." - Congressional Record, 3-27-43, page 2580

The Supreme Court of Tennessee agrees.

"Privileges are special rights, belonging to the individual or class, and not to the mass; properly, an exemption from some general burden, obligation or duty; a right peculiar to some individual or body. Lonas v. State, 50 Tenn. 287, 307.

Since the right to receive income or earnings is a right belonging to every person, this right cannot be taxed as privilege."
Cole v. MacFarland, 337 S.W. 2d 453(Tenn. 1960)

See also Foster & Creighton Co. v. Edgar J. Graham, 285 S.W. 570(1926), Madison Suburban Utility Dist. of Davidson County v. Carson et al., 232 S.W.2d 277(1950), and Memphis Retail Liquors Dealers' Association, Inc, v. City of Memphis, 547 S.W.2d 244(1977).

The United States Supreme Court furthered elaborated on this: "A tax laid upon the happening of an event as distinguished from its tangible fruits, is an indirect tax."
Tyler v. U.S., 281 U.S. 497, page 502 (1930)

Who wrote the Sixteenth Amendment? Senator Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island. To help put things into perspective, here is some background on the 16th Amendment.

The main argument is that it wasn't properly ratified. Therefore the so-called "income" tax is improper. A tax court sums up the situation quite nicely:

"In dealing with the scope of the taxing power, the question has sometimes been framed in terms of whether something can be taxed as income under the Sixteenth Amendment. This is an inaccurate formulation of the question and has led to much loose thinking on the subject. The source of the taxing power is not the Sixteenth Amendment; it is Article I, section 8 of the Constitution. It is important that these provisions be clearly understood; what is required is an understanding of fundamental principles. The familiar statement that at this time we need education in the obvious more than investigation into the obscure (Holmes, Collective Legal Papers, pp. 292-293), although made in a different context, is peculiarly applicable here."
Penn Mutual Indemnity Co. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 32 T.C. 653 at 5659 (1959)

What does Article 1, Section 8 say? With regard to the taxing power, it says in Clause 1:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

The court explains what duties and imposts and excises are: "Duties and imposts are terms commonly applied to levies made by governments on the importation or exportation of commodities. Excises are 'taxes laid upon the manufacture, sale, or consumption of commodities within the country, upon licenses to pursue certain occupations, and upon corporate privileges.' Cooley, Const. Lim. 7th ed. 680." Flint v. Stone Tracy Co., 220 U.S. 107 (1911)

The other taxing clauses are as follows:

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3: Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, (and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons-changed by Sec 2 of 14th amendment).

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4: No capitation, or other direct, tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 5: No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

Did the Supreme Court actually rule on whether the "income" tax was a direct or indirect tax BEFORE it was authorized by the 16th amendment? Yes, in Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co., 158 U.S. 601 (1895), the court ruled that:

First. We adhere to the opinion already announced, that, taxes on real estate being indisputably direct taxes, taxes on the rents or income of real estate are equally direct taxes.

Second. We are of opinion that taxes on personal property, or on the income of personal property, are likewise direct taxes.

Third. The tax imposed by sections 27 to 37, inclusive, of the act of 1894, so far as it falls on the income of real estate, and of personal property, being a direct tax, within the meaning of the constitution, and therefore unconstitutional and void, because not apportioned according to representation, all those sections, constituting one entire scheme of taxation, are necessarily invalid.

Since these sections of the act levied a direct tax without regard to apportionment, the court threw out the whole act and all the revenue collected under the act had to be refunded. This is what brought about the 16th amendment, which stated that Congress could collect taxes on incomes without apportionment. The Sixteenth Amendment did not define the taxes on income as direct or indirect. So it appeared that the constitution was in conflict with itself. It allowed for a tax on income, but the clause requiring direct taxes to be apportioned was not repealed. The United States Supreme Court in Brushaber v. Union Pacific R.R., 240 U.S. 1 (1916) settled the issue when it said "Moreover, in addition, the conclusion reached in the Pollock Case did not in any degree involve holding that income taxes generically and necessarily came within the class [240 U.S. 1, 17] of direct taxes on property, but, on the contrary, recognized the fact that taxation on income was in its nature an excise entitled to be enforced as such..."

The Sixteenth Amendment reads as follows: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

It is the without apportionment language and without regard to census or enumeration that restricts taxation on incomes to the class of excises. Did the 16th amendment authorize a new kind of tax called the "income" tax? No it did not. "This result, instead of simplifying the situation and making clear the limitations on the taxing power, which obviously the Amendment must have been intended to accomplish, would create radical and destructive changes in our constitutional system and multiply confusion." The court went on to say "It is clear on the face of this text that it does not purport to confer power to levy income taxes in a generic sense, an authority already possessed and never questioned,..." [240 U.S. 1, 18]

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals clarifies: "It did not take a constitutional amendment to entitle the United States to impose an income tax. Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co.(citations omitted) only held that a tax on the income derived from real or personal property was so close to a tax on that property that it could not be imposed without apportionment. The Sixteenth Amendment removed that barrier. Indeed, the requirement for apportionment is pretty strictly limited to taxes on real and personal property and capitation taxes." Penn Mutual Indemnity Co. v. C.I.R., 277 F.2d 16 (1960)

The court also said "It is not necessary to uphold the validity of the tax imposed by the United States that the tax itself bear an accurate label." Congress is free to name the tax whatever it desires. The question still remains: Is it a direct tax? Capitation? Or is it a duty, impost, or excise?

The barrier refers to the consideration of the source of income. The United States Supreme Court in the Brushaber case said "Indeed, from another point of view, the Amendment demonstrates that no such purpose was intended, and on the contrary shows that it was drawn with the object of maintaining the limitations of the Constitution and harmonizing their operation." What was the problem? Was an amendment really necessary to make clear the taxing power that Congress always had?

There are three things to look for: The Rule, the Ruling and the Principle. The Rule applied relates to the rule of apportionment to all direct taxes before and after the Sixteenth Amendment.

The Ruling relates to the court's decision in Pollock that taxes on real estate and personal property and the rents and incomes derived from real and personal property are direct taxes.

In my copy of "Frequently Asked Questions Concerning the Federal Income Tax" updated May 7, 2001, John R. Luckey, Legislative Attorney for the American Law Division writes on page four that "[T]he Court found that the Sixteenth Amendment sought to restrain the Court from viewing an income tax, because of its close effect on the underlying property as a direct tax."

It is true that various personnel in the Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue claim that the Sixteenth Amendment gave Congress some new power of taxation. But the courts have settled the issue as to what the Sixteenth Amendment did and didn't do. The problem is not the Sixteenth Amendment; it is the disinformation regarding it.

Why I'm Not Voting For John McCain

"John McCain makes me talk to the appliances." Those were the words that I read from an online posting regarding the man. I'm not sure if I ever have heard a better comment about the diminutive U.S. Senator who would be president of the United States — but also is facing the hard fact that the U.S. voters, as muddle-headed as they might be, never will send this man to the White House.

Thus, I am writing about a candidate who is taking space on the various debate podiums, but never will be anything more than a guy trying to get attention and running on his personal history as a Vietnam prisoner of war. While I can sympathize with McCain and even admire him for being able to survive those horrendous and tortuous conditions, nonetheless the fact that he spent several years as an involuntary guest of the Hanoi Hilton does not qualify him for a political office like the presidency.

Given that, I will praise him for his bravery while a POW. He was tortured severely, and refused to be released early (the North Vietnamese offered to let him go as a propaganda measure, but McCain did not bite) unless his fellow prisoners also could leave. Thus, he subjected himself to the tender mercies of his captors for nearly five years longer. This speaks to a man's character, and I would be amiss not to point out this aspect of his personal history.

However, it seems to me that whatever honor he might have demonstrated while a POW has been negated, at least in part, by his public life since then. When it comes to elections, I am most interested in what a person will do while in office, not what that person did beforehand. Furthermore, I want to know if the candidate believes in limited government, and holds to a viewpoint (backed by actions) that the main purpose of the U.S. Constitution was both to create a functioning national government and to protect citizens from the ravages of the state.

John McCain, while he was a war hero, and while he managed to keep his honor (at least while a prisoner in Vietnam), does not pass the "limited government" test. That is all I need to know.

First, McCain likes being called a "Maverick Republican." Now, that term is usually meant for a "liberal" Republican, but since McCain generally scores high with the conservative rating systems, the "maverick" label comes because at times he will try to come out with a public point of view that goes against the party label.

McCain often has supported gun control legislation, which always is a favorite with the New York Times crowd. Never mind that places like Washington, D.C., with the nation's strictest gun laws also has one of the nation's highest crime rates. Gun control laws really are anti-self defense laws, and there is a larger picture that we have to recognize.

Countries like Canada, Australia and Great Britain, which have draconian gun control laws, also criminalize a lot of actual self-defense. For example, an elderly man was attacked in a London subway, and he used a point on his cane to ward off the attackers. He was prosecuted for "using an offensive weapon." There are many other cases like this, and the authorities openly admit that if police cannot help people who are being attacked, that is just too bad. As one Canadian who was "proud" of such laws told me, self-defense is just another form of violence. The idea is simple: all of us are property of the state, and if the state does not protect us, then we are undeserving of protection.

Second, nothing comes close to McCain's up-front role in passing "campaign finance reform," with the infamous McCain-Feingold Act. Called by many the "Incumbents Protection Act," the law criminalizes political speech, making it illegal for certain groups to air advertisements critical of candidates within certain time periods before elections.

The act was popular on the left, and especially among leftist Democrats, since it placed them on a more equal footing with Republicans, hence its absolute support among Democrats. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law (with the Democrats on the court — and Sandra Day O'Conner — providing the winning margin in the 5-4 vote), it still was a dark day for free speech in the United States.

Then there is the 2000 South Carolina primary in which George W. Bush was able to win in a bruising campaign. As one who was living in South Carolina at the time, I will tell a story that has not been in print before. People know that Bush spoke at Bob Jones University, and that McCain later used that to bolster his campaign in Michigan, calling Catholic voters there and reminding them of the anti-Catholic statements coming from BJU.

However, what McCain's followers did not say was that his campaign manager, a BJU graduate arranged for McCain to speak at Hampton Park Baptist Church the Sunday before the primary vote, which in Greenville is known as the "Bob Jones Church." Thus, John McCain, who publicly excoriated George W. Bush for not lecturing BJU on race or anti-Catholic attitudes, had many of the same people in his audience that Bush had in his at BJU.

Furthermore, McCain was well aware who was in the audience, McCain did not lecture anyone on race or anti-Catholic attitudes. To put it mildly, it was a blatant act of hypocrisy, and furthermore, McCain did something that few politicians have done: make political points by attacking the theology of a religious group. It would be like a politician going to Notre Dame and condemning Roman Catholics because they did not accept the doctrines of John Calvin. This kind of intrusion by someone from the state into the theological affairs of a Christian church has no place in this country. None.

John McCain crossed that line in 2000, and as far as I am concerned it meant that he had no real commitment to the values of the Constitution.

Likewise, his insistence on threatening major league baseball with all sorts of legal punishments if the league did not crack down on steroids in a manner of McCain's liking has told me that for all of his rhetoric, he is a little dictator at heart.

As for me, I don't vote for little dictators. I did not vote for him in 2000, and I did vote for him in the primaries. Instead I voted for Ron Paul. In fact, Ron Paul is the first presidential candidate from either the Republican or Democrat party I voted for.

Not that it matters as by the time the general election rolls around (assuming he secures the nomination at the convention in September), McCain will not win. In a nutshell, that says more about the current state of the GOP than it does about McCain or the eventual Democrat party nominee.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Follow Your Dreams

Lately, I've underwent a renewal of sorts regarding my future and career choices. Ten years ago, I graduated from college and worked for about four years in television primarily behind the scenes such as a production assistant, camera operator, handling special media formats for web based applications, etc...

Then in late 2001 during the midst of the bubble burst, I went through a layoff. From there, I went from one job to another, so on and so on. Life can be like that. To make a long story short, I've been sending out letters to the General Managers of NFL teams as opposed to the human resources department and actually getting some responses although no job offers...yet. I even received a letter from Tom Osborne (yes, that Tom Osborne) about a week after I mailed him a letter. Talk about timely!

There is a young woman, named Christie who is graduating from high school this May (actually K-12 enrollment of around 600 in a a town of around 1,000) who dreams of going to Nashville although not sure what specifically she wants to do... yet. I know her from covering several foot ball games back in 2006. Will these dreams be achieved? Only time will tell with hard work, making the right connections, being in the right place at the right time and prayer plus God's will.

So with that in mind, I present you this inspiring video from Miranda Lambert:

Famous In A Small Town

New Blog

I have a new blog. I might as well get in on the act since I spend a fair amount of time reading the blogs of my web buddy Denae D'Arcy. I have several websites that may be of interest to you:

Why Chris For Liberty?

Well, a Sovereign God who dared to create people as free beings is portrayed in the Bible as a liberating Deity. Throughout the Old Testament, God is set against persons and institutions that restricted the freedom of God's people. And the complete thrust of Jesus' ministry was to free people from all that would hold them back from obedience to God. Freedom for Baptists was far more than a constitutional right or a governmental gift. God, not nations or courts or human law, is the ultimate source of liberty.

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