Friday, July 07, 2006

Harold Ford Jr Caught in a Lie

East Tennessee State Representative Stacey Campfield was listening a local talk radio show that Harold Ford Jr was guesting on yesterday and caught Ford telling a lie.

Remember, back in June 2005, when the Supreme Court released its Kelo decision? They held that government could use its power of eminent domain if the only public good served was to increase the tax revenue to be derived from the land in question. It sparked a firestorm and a lot of governments since (including Tennessee but not Shelby County) have been moving to mitigate the ruling's effects.

Here's what Ford had to say about Kelo at the time:
I've always believed individual rights are a big thing..... but, I find value in the court's decision. As long as people are compensated fairly, I can appreciate the decision. Certain areas in our state are crying for development, if this decision helps - it's a positive.
That was Ford speaking on Teddy Bart's Roundtable, a well-respected but now defunct Nashville political radio program. Follow the link to hear the audio for yourself.

Now, according to Campfield, here's what Ford is saying:
Congressman Jr. was put on the spot by a sharp caller (I think his name was JB) who asked about his former statements of how he thought the Kelo decision had some good in it.

The caller asked if he had changed his opinion or if he wanted to back up from the statement.

Instead of saying "I have grown away from that" as he did on many other issues when his rhetoric did not fit the record. The congressman instead said "I never said that".

According to Campfield, the audio in question should go up on the station's website archives soon.

You can read Hobbs' amused take here.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Proud To Be An American

Some readers might accuse me of a "love it or leave it" kind of patriotism and love for this country but they'd be wrong. Study history and you learn we've done some very bad things, sometimes for a greater good and sometimes just to enrich a few.

But I firmly believe America is the most perfectible country on the planet. Folks who think other parts of the Anglosphere-- like Canada, Britain, Australia or New Zealand -- are better, more civilised places probably don't know much about those countries. The liberties and freedoms we prize here in America are routinely circumscribed elsewhere. Look it up.

Just last year, a major scandal broke in Canada involving government corruption. It eventually brought down the government. But the Canadian press couldn't report it, because a ban on covering the story was in effect! In Britain, all the government needs to do is slap a "D certificate" on something and publishing about it will get you jail time and confiscation of your media business. In most European countries, you have to register with the police when you move, so they know where to find you. Heck, in Britain you need to have a license to own a television set, and they have patrols that scan neighborhoods for violators. Why a license? To fund the government-controlled television networks! Up until the early 80's (if memory serves) there were exactly four stations available to Brits.

So, how to express the complex feelings I have for America? With song! From California band The Tubes, from their mid-70's album Young & Rich, comes "Proud to be an American:"
I'm proud to be an American.
I'm proud of the groovy things we've done.
There's television, free religion, rock 'n' roll, Standard Oil,
Times Square, Jimmy Darren, Corey Wells, and Smokey Bear,
Price reduction, Reconstruction, Peace Corps, and lots more.
Culture that we got to lend.

I'm proud to be an American.
And I'm proud - I had a great time bein' one.
There's your school and my school and both of us in high school.
Surfboards, cigarettes, homework and Southern Comfort.
Boy's dean was real mean,
Made us keep our lockers clean.
Failed nearly every class -
Ditchin' was a gas.

I'm proud to be a young American.
Just think about it - all the far out things that we've begun:
There's revolution, constitution; land, sea, and air pollution;
Cold wars, hot wars, gas wars, and contributions,
Constipation, consternation, open hearted palpitations,
Muscular dystrophy.

I'm proud to be an American.
Because we got department stores full of cheap guitars,
But when Sputnik plays 'em, you just Go-Go-Go-Go-Go!

I'm proud to be an American.
(We've got two chickens in every garage!)
And I wish every other kid could be one.
(In my country, the medium is the massage!)
'Cause it's impossible to give equality and justice
(Gimme your meek and your homeless.)
To inferior foreigners too jealous to trust us.
(How 'bout checkin' the oil, ah, fella?)

I'm proud to be an American. [Repeat and fade.]
Imagine a boppin', Jerry Lee Lewis-style, early Sixties piano rocker and there you go.

Britain was our mother, and she's still one happenin' babe. Our sister France is still a little difficult, and sometimes she's a bit slutty, and she's a tad too obsessed with her own comfort and leisure. But we love her just the same. Our cousins across the world? Well, they all drive Audis and Beetles, worry about mortgages and such. They're not as well off as they pretend they are. They say things about us when we're not there.

But America roars up at the family get-togther in our Prowler with the top down and stereo blasting. Probably rap music. We're loud, sure, but we're fun. We'll get drunk, knock something over and probably feel up Hong Kong. The Junior League matrons-to-be like Canada and New Zealand will tut-tut, but their children will watch us enviously, and ask us where to buy those pants. And yeah, the neighbors will probably crash the party to have a run at the buffet table. Everyone secretly wants to be us, but no one has the guts to go for it.

Happy birthday, America!