Saturday, October 19, 2002

Hey! Where'd He Go?

I have been strangely sick this past week. It's either several of the usual small things I live with all ganging up at once, making life very bad, or it's a very slow-moving flu that's toying with me before it pounces. Not sure which, but it means I'm drained and fuzzy-headed all day. I'm spending up to twelve hours in bed and not getting enough sleep.

So, Half-Bakered is on sick leave for the duration.

Some quickies before I return to the bed:

* Haven't seen anyone else comment on this, but hasn't anyone noticed that the major gubernatorial and senatorial candidates aren't running on their party affiliations? Clement has an ad where he's embraced by the likes of Harold Ford and Alexander has the Thompson ad, but no one is saying "I stand for core Democratic/Republican values and that's why you should vote for me." No party affiliations on their ads, eithers. Very odd. Why is principle -- in these cases Republican as the Dems don't seem to be trumpeting their own core values and are borrowing the successful Republican ones -- being placed ahead of party? We know that'll disappear right after November 4.

* If you aren't, you need to be reading Bill Hobbs and Tax Free Tennessee! TFT especially is really rounding up great, essential reading lately. And Hobbs is having a blogging burst that's good to see. Read South Knox Bubba as well. He may be the "other side" but he's a good, honest man and informative to boot!

* The Commercial Appeal's Paula Wade has now said, twice, that TennCare is fixed! Really. First in her post-governor's debate interview on NewsChannel Three and then in an article of her own in the CA. Not that she ever actually supports this position with facts, mind you, just assertions of nebulous actions that were mandated somewhere that will eventually be carried out by someone somewhere sometime. But don't forget, she'll also tell you, that hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans will be denied medical care by this reform, so it's a bad thing we should stop. The second thing kinda makes you wonder about the first, doesn't it?

* Somebody with legal standing needs to sue Bredesen for violating election law. Just to monkey-wrench his campaign. Now that he's set up a line of credit from his own money far in excess of the legal limit and pegged it to spending by Hilleary (who he'll try to pin the blame on by doing that. "Hilleary can stop this now by stopping his excessive campaign spending," he'll intone.), he's in violation of the law. I agree that it's probably a bad law and will be struck down, but it's the law today! Make ol' Phil the test case, I say. At least it will add some fun to this campaign season.

* Antonio Lopez is really giving Jimmy Naifeh a run for his money. His chances are outside, but watching Lopez come from nowhere to stand alongside the longtime House Speaker as a credible and powerful challenger is heartening. Tax Free Tennessee has some good stuff on him and you can find out more at the Friends of Tony Lopez website. Naifeh has been strangely quiet, except for saying he takes Lopez' challenge seriously, but I suspect he's been employing the same tactics he used in the Income Tax War, the ones that are his hallmarks: back room meetings and one-on-one meetings, reminders of what's he's done in the past and what he can deny in the future, threats of what can happen if things don't go his way; the usual bare-knuckle political thuggery.

* Senator Steve Cohen is out of control. He appeared on the Rock103 morning show Friday to endorse their idea of not voting for a gubernatorial candidate and then voting for the lottery as a way to effectively "double" your vote. He explicitly suggested people do this and he was not kidding. Bredesen needs to give that guy a call, ASAP. Now he's issued a diktat saying he won't appear on the stage with the head of the Gambling Free Tennessee Alliance because Cohen alleges he perceived personal attacks. Remember, Cohen is the one who first charged anti-Semitism, and there was none. It's just another ploy by Cohen. He's hoping to neuter his organized opposition and shut them up, leaving no one to speak out against him. A sign of a person who doesn't trust his ability to stand up to them.

He's also taken, in the past couple of weeks, to saying that the lottery will bring in "more than" $300 million. The original report he gets this inflated number from said "between $180 and $300 million." Cohen in the past year took to hewing to the high end of that range, and now he's gone past it. Sadly, the press is with him because it means more ad revenue for them and so they don't really critically examine what he says or does.

Remember, the lottery is a special State Government license to one company to operate a business. In exchange for that privilege the company is taxed at a particular rate. The company will generate huge revenues and healthy profits; the state will get "between $180 to 300 million" in tax revenues. Those revenues will be constitionally earmarked for higher-ed scholarships, with the remaining funds going to K-12 education. This will be a dedicated revenue stream. It does not, however, stop the State Legislators from thereby "balancing" these "extra" revenues by cutting allocations from the general revenues, as has happened in other states! It means that net spending on education will be flat or even decline.

Bill Hobbs has a letter from his pastor on his blog, scroll down now to find it, that has some very good observations about a lottery and why our State Constitution specifically prohibited it. It has some good moral, but not explicitly religious, arguments from the founders' thinking that are apropos today.

Well, back to the sick bed. Your thoughts and prayers would be welcome.

Until next time.