Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In search of history, part 3

Today, my membership card to the TNSSA arrived.

I have made a photocopy, and included it in the package.

The entire package is set, stamped, and ready to be sent off tomorrow.
Current reported wait times are 4-8 weeks from the CMP. There is a good chance I might be firing my own M1 on Thanksgiving.

A really good chance I'm shooting it Christmas.


Post Edit - 9/1/2010
The packet was put in the mail today.
The wait begins.

Here we go again

If I were a liberal lawyer, who had an anti-gun agenda, and I was disappointed with the law in Tennessee being changed to allow HCP holders to carry in restaurants that serve alcohol (provided they do not drink), how would I respond?

I would first wait a bit after the law. Especially if I challenged the last one right out of the gates. After everything died down - especially major national news stories - I would get more publicity, and might be able to sway more public opinion. It would also prevent me from looking blatantly anti-gun in a gun-loving state.

I would not challenge this law outright. The Senate Bill actually removed a portion of TCA. I could challenge an addition as being unconstitutional, but that's hard to prove when a law has been removed. Given these circumstances, I would look for an alternate method of making my desires into case law. Like challenging based on occupational safety hazards.

I would find someone who has been "harmed" by the law. Whether there was any actual harm is irrelevant - remember, for this exercise, I am a lawyer - never let facts stand in the way of a good story. And I'd keep this person anonymous, if possible. A victim who's "afraid" of retaliation is automatically seen as needing all our help.

I would announce in the mainstream media when I filed my challenge. Nothing puts pressure on a judge like public opinion. That way, if I don't get the results I want, I can indirectly threaten the judge with replacement at either the next election or appointment cycle.

I would hide behind cliche's and slogans.
"Guns and alcohol do not mix."
"It's for the safety of our servers."

I would ignore real facts and put out my own distortions. Never mind that 42 states allow the same, or substantially similar; I'd say that few if any other states allow for carrying guns and drinking (which none do, including Tennessee). I'd point out that in the restaurant / bar in question, the unnamed server had 1) seen people carrying guns, and; 2) seen many people thrown out of the bar - regardless of whether the server: A) actually saw HCP holders carrying; B) whether the HCP holders drank while carrying (not likely), C) whether the persons ejected form the bar were the same persons that were carrying the guns.

I'd sling allegations at a big, faceless organization. What's the biggest gun organization? Oh, yeah, the NRA. I'll accuse them of strong-arming local politicians. I can also use the angle that the NRA is just trying to push its own agenda (which is really what I'm trying to do).

If I could, I'd go after a pro-gun establishment as a back-handed slap in the face for the icing on top.


Now, my readers know I'm not really this way. But there are folks that are, as evidenced by the stories quoted herein. Let's see if they did all the things in order:
Lie - check
Deny - check
Make counter-accusations - check.

Also understand that the end objective in this complaint to TOSHA, is to require all restaurants to post "no guns" signs. I have two comments on that:
1. Again, when conservatives don't like something, they avoid it. When liberals don't like something, they try to ban it for everybody.
All restaurants, and all other businesses, may post a gun-banning sign, at their own discretion. Why mandate this for all?
2. Again, I think we in Tennessee need to take the teeth out out of our prohibition sign. We are one of only three states that allow a "no guns" type sign, posted by a private individual, to carry the weight of law (TX and AZ being the other two).

Monday, August 30, 2010

On a former fellow blogger

Right Minded may have retired from blogging, but that won't stop me from trying to get him back in the game.

That said, I am offering to post any blog entry he wants, when he wants. If he's lucky, I might even give him credit for it! :)

Another wacky hiring practice

Back during my recent span of involuntary unemployment, I interviewed with a number of companies.

Most were legitimate operations with good positions. Some were not.

Here's a tale of one that was a bit of both.


The company, a Tennessee based firm that has been in business for a few decades and does quite well, was looking for an inside sales position. I applied, even though I've never done inside sales, because the intangibles they listed were quite alright, and the salary & commissions were close to what I was seeking.

The sales manager was one that seemed OK - not the best manager I'd ever met, but a man I knew how to deal with. I had a good interview with him. He also let me sit with two people who would be my coworkers.

At the end, he mentioned he would contact me after calling my references. His only noted reservation, was that I'd never worked in inside sales and I might "have too much energy to be cooped up."

I followed up with him a little over a week later. He seemed not to remember me on the phone, but then he did when I got there. He remembered having reservations about me because of "energy level."

>> At this point, I must mention that folks who know me talk openly of my very calm demeanor. I am laid back - almost to a fault.

The man offered to let me work on a trial basis:
"You work for free for a month. If you like it, we will hire you on full time. At that time, we will pay you (an amount that was 30% less than advertised on their ad, and what they'd said previously). If you don't like it, you can go work somewhere else - there's no unemployment, no bad feelings, no problems."

"For you or for me?" I asked. I walked out at that point.


I saw the man at a restaurant, a few months after starting with my current employer. Note - my current position is 90% inside sales, 10% outside sales.

I said hi, and we had a brief conversation. He asked about my new job and I told him. He looked down to his feet when I advised him that after only a few months on the job, I was consistently at 120% of quota. He actually did not say anything else other than, "Boy, was I wrong."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

CNN gets it wrong how many times in this picture?

Three MAJOR errors:
1. That's not Sara Palin - it's Glenn Beck
2. She spells it "Sarah" - not "Sara"
3. Palin never ran for president. She was the Vice Presidential pick for John McCain.

Mrs. Usagi suggests that since CNN's ratings are so low, they cannot afford to hire competent help. I am inclined to agree.

Can you spot more errors?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Facts are funny little things

- In the past two years or so in Iraq, there have been an average of 160,000 troops stationed at any given time.
- There have been 2112 troops killed.

- IF all of the troops had been killed by gunfire (most were not, but let's assume, for the sake of argument), then that would be a killed-by-gunfire rate of 60 per 100,000.

- During that time, the known firearm death rate in Washington DC was 57 per 100,000.

1. We should pull out of Washington.
2. It is a statistical dead heat to either live in Washington DC
- or -
to put on Body armor, join the US Military, and go to Iraq, where we have been waging a war.
3. When one counts the US troops killed by IED's, and other such war-related casualties, then the killed-by-gunfire rate goes down drastically - meaning it's actually safer to wage war in Iraq that to simply live in Washington DC.
4. DC Gun laws make things more dangerous.

Gun Control in sheep's clothing

Recently, I became aware of an effort by the EPA to ban lead in ammunition.

Link to article on it.

Folks, this is gun control. If they cannot take the guns, they will take the bullets.
What good is the best rifle without any bullets?

Trip In the Books

My trip to Detroit is in the books.

I saw many clients.
I ate good food - particularly of note: I got to sample some Romanian food. Oh, boy! That was good stuff! Thanks very much to my client, "JR," and his wife (and cook extraordinaire) Julia.

I did not get mugged, robbed, or otherwise inconvenienced (except as noted with Delta Airlines).

Makes for good times for me. Glad to be home, too.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Public Call-Out - Martial Arts scam!

A few weeks ago, My son attended a tournament. As I've documented, he did quite well.

There were also some problems. I tried to be civil about it, but they have left me no choice. So here goes:

1. They announce at the last minute that competitors must have specialized equipment to spar. This was never mentioned in the flyers (though regular sparring gear was mentioned!).

2. They double charged my credit card.
Attempts to contact them to resolve the issue were ignored. I had to dispute the charges with the card.

3. They have now tried to solicit us away from our current school - Spirit Martial Arts.
Martial arts are about work ethic, honesty, integrity.
Not cheating, stealing, lying, scamming, and taking short-cuts.

AVOID: Bobby Austin's Bushido Karate School.

Oh, the email they sent:
"Dear Cael,
Thank you for visiting our website. You have selected to be a part of one of the best schools in the country. We would in turn would like to thank you by inviting you to be a part the Austin BKS Quick Start program! This entitles you to come and try our program with no commitments, and receive a free a Black Belt Quality Uniform for only $49.99!!!
By calling us to book your first lesson Cael, you will be taking the first step towards creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself and will be embarking on a journey of becoming the best you can be. Austin BKS is the leading Martial Arts School in our area for fun & fitness, personal development, sport competition and much, much more!
Did you know that anyone can become a Martial Artist!! We have students of all ages and skill levels who train at the Academy and we seek to bring out the best qualities in every individual whether they are a 60 year old adult or a 4 year old child. Becoming a black belt martial artist is not about who can kick the fastest, nor is it about who can jump the highest, it is about having the attitude that you can overcome any challenge that may come your way.
As a student Cael, you will learn self-defense, reduce your stress, improve your fitness, flexibility, and develop positive goal setting habits that will help you to become your best not only in your Martial Arts training, but at home, school, and the workplace. Our instructors have years of teaching experience and are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals.
Cael, you will experience life changes when you enroll in our award-winning program while having more fun than you have ever had! Give me a call today at 615-355-8383 to book your first lesson so that you can start receiving the benefits of training in Martial Arts right away!
Bobby Austin
Director, Austin BKS"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A company that cannot get it right

Back in the spring, I traveled Delta airlines. I blogged about it here. I've used Delta airlines a bit over a half-dozen times.

There has been something wrong with each and every flight.

I've traveled twice that much on Southwest. Never once have I been inconvenienced.

Delta, however, finds problems.
This morning, They canceled my flight. 2.5 more hours until the next flight to Detroit. Have to call Hertz and reschedule the car rental.

Then, the new flight gets delayed - they were concerned over a maintenance issue (the first flight was supposedly canceled over a maintenance issue).

The second flight was also overbooked. Several of us almost got bumped.

I fly back to Nashville Thursday. I'll report back here on how Delta fails on that one, too.


Post edit - 8/30/2010
Delta overbooked the returning flight, so two people got bumped. Otherwise, it was a flight free of errors - which surprised me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

On job interviews and applications

This post stems from an ongoing discussion I've been having with my brother. He recently upgraded his job to the tune of $12K per year - in this economy.

I, of course, found myself unemployed due to no fault of my own at the end of last year. After securing a job in March, I am on pace to earn more in 9.5 months this year than I did in 12 months last year (though laid off, they paid us through the end of the year).

Some observations we've had on potential jobs & interviews:

1. Not all advertisements are real jobs.
- Some companies advertise jobs just to satisfy HR folks when they've already made up their minds to promote an internal candidate.
- Some companies are just 'fishing' to see if their pay is on par with the market.
- Some companies actually change their minds about filling/creating a position mid-search.
- Some companies are just plain lying about there being an opening.

2. Some jobs advertised have unrealistic expectations.
- Some companies are trying to get a desperate candidate who might do the same job for 25% less.
- Some companies actually think they can get a person with exactly the same experience... for 30% less than market value. They fail to see the similarity in relevant experience. These companies wind up hiring the last halfway-decent interviewee, as they get tired or desperate after a long search.
- Some companies want a candidate to do the role of two or three (or more) former employees.

3. Not all interviewers actually know about the job.
- Pre-screeners often are not the sharpest knives in the drawer.
- Many preliminary interviewers do not understand the position, nor do they understand what kind of candidate would fit the position best.
- Many hiring managers are great managers / workers, but horrible interviewers.
- Many candidates mistakenly assume that the person conducting the interview actually is an intelligent individual. This is only rarely the case.

4. Many interviewers don't know how to interview people.
- Most hiring influences play silly games, instead of focusing on the candidate and their skills.
- Many hiring managers look more at subtle "hints" than they look at big bold facts about the candidate's ability to perform the tasks needed.
- Very few people use behavioral interviews (the best kind of interview one can conduct for any position) and even fewer actually know how to use them.
- Few interviewers have a goal in mind for the interview. With one exception:
- Many interviewers' only goal is to find fault with a candidate to disqualify them.

5. Many hiring influences are not good communicators.
- Many fear that a turned-down candidate will act weird (it does happen, but rarely).
- Many hide behind little sayings, or corporate psycho-babble, to parley their message.
- Email / snail mail is the most often used method to turn down a candidate.
- Most interviewers let you know when you are their top choice.
- Nobody has a poker face. You can read their intents very easily.

6. Very few interviewers are honest in face-to-face situations.
- Sometimes they lie about the job itself.
- Sometimes they lie about their intentions.
- Often, they hide behind a lie, because they are not good communicators.

How to handle these situations:
1. Realize that you need to put in 20 resumes (or more) to land a single face-to-face interview.
2. Be honest. Even when they can't be honest, or won't be honest.
3. Research the job a little. Know how your skills mesh with what they want.
4. Over-communicate a few simple reasons as to what makes you qualified to do the job.
5. Over-communicate how you have done almost exactly what they will need a candidate to do. Tie EVERYTHING you say back to how it will help them directly.
6. Be prepared for canned interview questions, and for the behavioral interview.
7. Always dress in either a suit (sales, high level positions), or business casual (blue-collar, IT, and most non-sales and non-executive positions).

What not to do:
1. Don't fidget.
2. Don't touch your face too much.
3. Don't cross your arms.
4. Don't lean back, nor slouch. Do sit up straight, or lean slightly forward.
5. Don't bee too expressive with your hands. Do be expressive with your face.
6. Don't fail to ask a few questions about the business. Do ask a few simple questions.
7. Don't speak too quickly. Do take your time, and speak clearly.

Email me if you want resume or specific interview tips. I've got a lot of them that actually work.


Post - edit: 9/7/2010
From my brother, here are a few observations he's made. He was recently in the job-searching mode for an IT job.

He claims many employers are taking the "American Idol" approach: scrutinize for the negative-
- Over-scrutinizing candidates from the outset.
- Looking for any one thing that should keep the candidate from getting hired.
- Focusing on looking at the negatives of the candidate.
- Getting exhausted and finally hiring the best candidate from the last 4 or 5, just so they don't have to interview folks any more.
- "Best candidate" from the last 4 or 5 is often not really the best of the group - just somebody they liked better for some unquantifiable reason.

Of course, this tactic - which I've seen more and more of lately - is counter-productive to the hiring of a good fit. But, these companies will find that out soon enough.

My brother can list a dozen companies in the Nashville area that he interviewed with several months ago that took the "American Idol" approach and hired other candidates. Each of them is posting the same job now, again. Only six to ten months later.

The fun of it all

I will be starting a new series on this blog:

"Things found on the side of the road."


In my travels in my previous position, I many interesting things just laying on the side of the road. In my current position, I see strange things sometimes. I think these things are funny, and I hope my readers will, too.

This week:
- A bag full of clothes. The clothes had scattered all over the shoulder.

- An office chair. The bottom 5-point spines that had the wheels was separated from the main part of the chair.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

On the Gubernatorial Race... yet again

I have weighed the options. I know the consequences.

On one side, there are people that point out that we need a Republican in office, if only for the appointees (judges, etc.). Good logic.

On the other side is the fact that the TN House and State Senate are likely going to be majority republican after the election... and they really have the legislative authority. Good point, too.

I suggest that Republican candidate Bill Haslam is not more conservative than the Democratic candidate, McWherter. It is not very likely that Haslam's appointments would be any more conservative than McWherter's appointments would be.

Appointments aside, they both talk the same talk - low taxes, no state income tax, pro-gun, etc.

Here's the facts - Haslam raised taxes in Knoxville. I don't trust him to avoid a state income tax. Either way, if a majority of the house and senate want a state income tax, it won't matter... because a veto in either direction can be overridden with a simple majority.
Haslam was also a member of Bloomberg's "Mayors against illegal guns." Which was a notoriously anti-gun association.

McWherter is no better - having said before that he would support an income tax, and also being as anti-gun as Haslam.

What to do?

I am voting Brandon Dodds. This in no way diminishes my opinions of the other independents I got the chance to speak with, I just think Mr. Dodds shines a little brighter.

I suggest my readers vote for Brandon Dodds for Governor.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In search of History, Part 2

On July 26, I announced my intentions to purchase a piece of American History - the M1 Garand.

On the 27th of July, I updated that I had sent off for membership with the M1 Collector's Club.

Now, another update:

It has been more than 3 weeks since I sent the check. The check has not been cashed. Further, the M1 Collector's Club has not responded to requests for an update. Therefore, I must assume they have not received the check. While this is not their fault, I must secure another method for gaining membership to a CMP approved club.

Today, I have contacted the Tennessee Shooting Sports Association (TNSSA). They indicate a 1-week turnaround on membership. I hope that is the case. I'll be sending them a check this evening.

Membership? $15 for 1-year.

A card within a week means I can send off to the CMP by the end of the month. That means a Nov. 1 arrival date - give or take a few weeks.

I might be able to shoot my own M1 by Thanksgiving! That would be just over a year since the first time I shot one!


Post edit - 8/27/2010
10 Days later - nothing. Neither check has been cashed.


Post edit 2 - 8/30/2010
I posted on ar15.com and other places. Seems this is happening right now with the M1 collector's club. They have an automated email response some folks have received, stating due to illness, they are 4000 applications behind.
Those applications recently filled were sent off back in early July.

Today, I sent an email to TNSSA and asked if there had been a hold up. There had been - the membership director had been out for a few weeks. Reasonable excuse.
He stated he was sending the card today. I can't wait!

The suspense is over

A short time ago, friend and former fellow-blogger, Right Minded, "retired" from blogging.

Since then, I made it a point to go back and read much of what he has written - especially the stuff prior to the time I started following his blog.

Back in 2004, Right Minded wrote an article on the 1994 "Assault Weapon Ban," and its pending expiration. Of course, the law was no such thing. It was an attempt, not to control "assault weapons," but to limit the effectiveness of the tools the average American could purchase.

After all, government can't go around in fear of its subjects, can it?

Of course, at the time, there was a big holding of breath among gun owners, waiting to see what Congress would do. They did nothing. By doing nothing, the unconstitutional law expired. When it expired, things got back to normal.

I have three devices that would not have been allowed to be manufactured or imported during that time. An M1 Carbine, and AR15, and an SKS. All three are excellent Second Amendment devices.

Mrs. Usagi has commandeered the M1 Carbine due to its low weight and very manageable recoil. The SKS rarely gets love, but it remains a faithful backup. The AR15, the pinnacle of my collection, gets enough use to know she's loved, but not enough to break my bank.

I remember back in '04 when I wondered if there were enough RINO's to reinstate the assault weapon ban. I'm glad they didn't.

Oh, and by the way, the streets have not flowed with blood for the past 6 years at all.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Some people do not listen.

I have posted about this before, some people just don't listen.

Once, I had to explain to an interviewer three times that I was laid off because my whole department got the axe. She didn't listen to a word and thought I just wasn't making the grade. In reality (where she seemed to only visit occasionally), I was at 140% of quota for the year when the axe fell.

My brother relays a similar story:
He was interviewing for a job. The recruiter sees his address (which is a little far for some people), and says:
"I think you would be a fit, but I'm afraid the drive would be too much for you."

My brother responds:
"Well, I work across the street from the company now, so what would be the difference?"

TWICE more, my brother had to answer the same question.

Not surprisingly, he did not get an interview with the company at the time. The recruiter said he lived too far away.

A little later, he got an interview with them directly. When asked why he did not go through the recruiter, my brother explained to them the situation. Then they asked where he currently worked.

My brother pointed out the window, across the street, and said: "there!"

You can't make this stuff up.

I need a hit...

In a response to an article in the Washington Post, a reader made a comment.

Particularly of note:
"There are not 'four firm liberals' on the Supreme Court, and there hasn't been even a single 'liberal' on the court in years."

Whatever this guy was smoking, I would like to have a hit of. Powerful stuff, indeed!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What Can You Overlook?

Each of us has a given set of morals we (more or less) adhere to. These might stem from within. These morals might have been taught to you - either as a child or as an adult.

Sometimes the end justifies the means. Sometimes, that is not the case.

It is no secret that I have had issues with Appleseed. To that end, let us, for the sake of this article, put aside any differences in methodology of shooting techniques. Let us also put aside personal opinion on effectiveness of same.

Lets instead get to the heart of the matter. If you really think Appleseed is an excellent concept (which I do), then you have no problem going along with it. That said, leadership in Appleseed is rotten to the core (pun intended). Can you knowingly follow leadership that is of such questionable status?

Ask yourself these questions:
What happened to the Riverside Gun Club?
By what means did "Fred" acquire the property at Ramseur NC.
Who's names are on the board of directors for the RWVA range?
When you get these, ask for more...

(ETA, 2011)
What happened in IL?
Much more behind the curtain than you may want to know.
Just remember "Follow The Money."


Friday, August 13, 2010

An "A" for effort...

A man recently went to propose to his girlfriend in a most unique way.

Somehow, the ring, which was attached to a sand dollar, came loose and tumbled away.

The ring was lost. $9000 down the drain. But at least he had a pretty neat idea.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Dichotomy of the Martial Arts

Rank in the martial arts is often a hot topic. So naturally, I'd like to make a few points on it.

My points stem from two major ideologies on the subject:
1. Rank should take a long time
2. Rank should not take a long time.

Let me say that if you have created your own martial art, you may rank people according to your own criteria, and that is fine. However, there are limitations to several common ranking concepts. I'm here to point those out and give alternatives.

Originally, the black belt rank was developed by Jigoro Kano, founder of Judo, in the early 1900's. The Black Belt did not indicate mastery. It indicated mastery of the foundational principles and techniques of the art.

Later, colored belts were introduced, as were degrees of black belt, to indicate progress to black belt and beyond. And for different reasons, different people had different ideas of what these ranks meant, and things blossomed from there into full-blown disorder.

Rank in martial arts is often based on performance - particularly in competition. The problem with this is it does not allow persons with physical detriments to advance. Another problem is that on any given day, a person may win or lose. Wins and losses may be attributed to hundreds of factors other than skill. Why rank someone based on luck, size, speed, or athletic ability? Those qualities are not consistently measurable.

Sometimes, rank in martial arts is based on personal growth. This is a disservice to those who get pandered to because they have not yet learned to perform certain (achievable) tasks. This is also a disservice to those that are naturally able to catch on better, as they might not be allowed to advance, despite learning the material.

To accommodate for all of these factors, some martial arts schools impose artificial time limits on ranks. Most are expressed in minimum numbers of classes or months. Herein lies the problem. The instructors get distracted from judging the student's ability with a certain skill set and focus more on time in training. Alternately, they will revert back to looking for competitive victories, or personal growth.

Actual learning of actual skill sets gets lost in the shuffle.

Take modern karate or taekwondo classes, for example. There was a time when a black belt meant something. Now, there are students who go to class once a week for 18 months that are awarded a black belt, regardless of skill.

Conversely, in Aikido and Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), there are students that know the material, but do not get Black Belts for 10 years or more. In the case of BJJ, the instructor is too caught up in tournament wins and competitive ability. In Aikido there is no competition, so instructors must have the student attend a minimum number of classes. That number is prohibitively large.

Two arts that have the right idea are Olympic Tae Kwon Do, and Judo. One may get a black belt in either in one year, or eight years, depending on personal skill. In both arts, a person will average 4-6 years to black belt, with rare exceptions beyond that. In both arts, a new black belt will have comparable skill sets to other new black belts the world over.

Even more thoughts on the Governor's race

I've had a reader email and ask my responses to the questions I posed to the Gubernatorial candidates. OK, here goes:

1. You mention your support for the 2nd Amendment. Do you own a gun? If so, what is your favorite gun? Why?
I own multiple firearms. All were acquired legally (gift or legal purchase). None are registered as Tennessee does not require the registration of firearms.
As I've mentioned on this blog, I also have a TN Handgun Carry Permit, and I use it.
My favorite is my Marlin 60. It is my favorite because it is exactly like the rifle I learned to shoot on. It fires accurately and reliably, and is inexpensive to shoot. My wife liked it so much she commandeered it.

2. Describe your plans for a potential state income tax. Also, the state sales tax.
I could never endorse a state income tax. All the states that have income taxes are broke. That should tell you something. I would propose lowering the sales tax - because that would boost tax revenues as well as the state economy.

3. There seem to be a couple of constitutionally sound independents on the ticket. Why vote for you?
I am not running. I have no plans to run.
However, if I ever did run, my talking points would be:
- Honesty
- Integrity
- Common Sense
- For the rights of the people.
- Free guns for people? :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

More thoughts on the Governor's race

I exchanged emails with now former blogger, Right Minded, this weekend. I asked his opinion on voting third party - which I am likely to do. He laid out some thoughts, and gave permission for publication of them:

"As a rule, I don't vote third party, because, except for extremely rare situations, third party candidates have no shot of winning elections, especially a governor's race. I prefer to vote for the most conservative of the two major party candidates. That's usually the Republican. Haslem is not a true conservative. He strikes me as a Corker-type Republican. But I'll end up voting for him because he's more conservative than McWherter.
In Tennessee, it's actually more important to have conservative leadership in the General Assembly than the executive branch. That's because a governor's veto can be overridden with a simple majority in each chamber of the legislature. That makes our legislature more powerful than if it required a two-thirds majority to override a veto.
Remember this, though. We conservatives still feel stung by the last GOP governor. A guy named Don Sundquist, who was also a Corker-type Republican. Sundquist was a complete disgrace to the GOP and the democratic process overall. If you think Republicans are peeved over Kent Williams hijacking the Speaker's gavel last year, our anger at Sundquist was ten times that much.
With that in mind, I'd actually prefer to have a Bredesen-like Democrat instead of a Haslam-like Republican IF the legislature were to remain in GOP hands. Trouble is, we don't know what's going to happen in the House, as the current split is 49-49-1. With that in mind, I'll be voting for Haslam, but will also have to sleep with one eye open. He'll behave himself his first term, but watch out for the second term, because that's when Tennessee governors tend to go bad. Bredesen was the exception to that rule."

Good thoughts.

My only counter-thought is that McWherter might actually be more conservative than Haslam. His dad was. Of course, this is about the same as saying Hillary Clinton is more conservative than President Obama.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gubernatorial Race, Round 3

Tonight, I received these responses to my previous questions from candidate Samuel David Duck:

1. You mention your support for the 2nd Amendment. Do you own a gun? If so, what is your favorite gun? Why?
I don't believe a citizen should have to obtain a license or pay a fee for a right that is protected by the Constitution. For that reason, I would not inform the government if I possessed fire arms. Both government and non-government officials can read a public blog, thus I'd rather not say.

2. Describe your plans for a potential state income tax. Also, the state sales tax.
Oh, that's a complex one. If things stand as they are, I not only oppose any more state income taxes, but I'd eventually try to abolish the Hall income tax and the state estate tax, both of which are income taxes of sorts. I don't know if you were aware Tennessee already has an income tax. Now, that said, one of the things I want to at least try to pull off, is run federal tax dollars through an escrow account. Preferably, I'd separate federal tax dollars from state tax dollars. I'd favor a flat tax (not a fair tax), which under this system would be a state run income tax of sorts. For a better explanation, I have a nearly 50 minute video that explains my approach to taxes. I think you should watch it. As of this email, it's the third video on this page. http://duck4gov.com/videos.html I'm not the most exciting person to listen to, but if you are worried about taxes, you may well like this video. Now, if you are trying to gauge my taxing and spending philosophy, I'm opposed to things such as social security, medicare, unemployment, tenncare, etc. This is a long read, but it's about Davy Crocket. http://bluecollarrepublican.com/blog/?p=663 Philosophically, that's where I stand. I don't think I can move us that far back to where we started, but that's where I'll push. 3B on my expanded stand echoes this. http://duck4gov.com/platform.html

3. There seem to be a couple of constitutionally sound independents on the ticket. Why vote for you?
I think I'm one of two that are fairly viable independents. Brandon Dodds is the other one. I don't operate like the partisans. I do encourage you to check out his campaign as well. I think I pretty well answer this question toward the bottom of my brochure. http://duck4gov.com/duck4gov_brochure.pdf If this is an unsatisfying answer, let me know. I also have continued to work with several of the independents over the course of months. A couple of them may find a spot in my cabinet. They each have their own particular skills. That's another point. I haven't encountered much mud slinging among the independents. We are all, simply conducting ourselves differently than other candidates. I think my particular strength is a keen understanding about the true nature of our currency, global leaders, the mechanisms and motivations they use against nations, and Bible prophecy, as well as the link between all of these. I can answer to some of my perceived strengths of the other candidates if you will. I like to evaluate them that way, rather than speak of weaknesses.

May God bless you,
Samuel David Duck"

Great responses. Thank you, Mr. Duck.

Back to Basics

In martial arts - like so many other things in life - the basics are the key to victory (or defeat, depending on your point of view).

Recently, several major Mixed Martial Arts stars have lost quite unexpectedly to very fundamental techniques.

Last night, Chael Sonnen dominated his opponent, Anderson Silva, for 4 and one-half rounds. Then he made a fundamental mistake and got caught in a triangle choke.

Several weeks ago, Fedor Emelianenko suffered a similar fate. Fedor had not lost a match in 10 years.
And even the last loss was controversial at best.
Fedor had knocked his opponent , Fabricio Werdum, down with powerful punches, and was trying to end the fight with more brutal right hands when he forgot about his left hand. Werdum didn't forget about it, and secured it for a textbook triangle choke.

To put it in perspective, I teach all white belts in jiu jitsu how to do a triangle choke. And how to defend one, as well. Any student of mine has heard the phrase "two in or two out - but never one and one." This is a basic reminder to never leave one arm inside an opponent's guard - because that's the best way to experience a triangle.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Gubernatotial Update 2

Response received by Bayron Binkley:

1. You mention your support for the 2nd Amendment. Do you own a gun? If so, what is your favorite gun? Why?

There are several guns in my household. I am a firm believer of the right and would protect the right to own guns according to our Constitution and understand why its the 2nd Amendment. I will also tell you that I have a hard time for a protection in our Constitution that someone has to pay a fee.

2. Describe your plans for a potential state income tax. Also, the state sales tax.
NO STATE INCOME TAX, PERIOD!! IT DEFEATS THE PURPOSE OF WHAT WE NEED AND OUGHT TO DO. I ALSO OPPOSE THE HALL INCOME TAX AND WOULD WORK TO REDUCE AND ELIMINATE IT. WE JUST NEED TO BE BETTER STEWARDS OF THE TAX DOLLAR. I would probably leave the sales tax as it is with all said. I'm afraid that if we abandoned it or reduce it in favor of a flat tax or fair tax, that our legislators will one day see another income stream and bring a portion of it back...thus raising taxes. I don't Trust them.

3. There seem to be a couple of constitutionally sound independents on the ticket. Why vote for you?
I know of two, Brandon Dodds and Samuel Duck..I consider them friends and confidants. However, I have a bit more experience in life and business and I consider myself a bit more aggressive in my stands and positions on Education, business growth and a bit more specific vocally. They are very good men and worthy of your consideration as I strive to be.

I am not a Politician, I strive to be a STATESMAN and would work to convert our legislators to put the State first over Party platforms and special interest groups. Feel free to contact me again, I must leave and meet some clients. Thanks again for time and perhaps I can share more at a later date. I would appreciate your consideration and vote.

Bayron Binkley


Readers, Please note that I have not indicated before now which candidates I contacted for this question and answer series. However, the three I contacted were Mr.'s Binkley, Dodds, and Duck. I think this in and of itself speaks to the only true conservatives left in this race.

I await Mr. Duck's response. And I thank Mr. Binkley for his candor. This might well be a hard decision.

Gubernatorial Update

Yesterday, I emailed several independent Gubernatorial candidates with some questions. My objective is to find a suitable candidate to vote for, and to recommend my readers vote for.

Well, the first response is in, from candidate Brandon Dodds, and I will post it here in its entirety:

(edited to add questions so as to improve readability)

Thank you so much for your interest in doing the research and voting for the candidate that best represents your values. If we all were as diligent I don't think Mayor Haslam would have secured the GOP nomination. Before I gladly answer your questions, I would recommend that you watch the debate that the Tennessee Tea Party put on in Gatlinburg a few months ago. It features Kirkpatrick/Wamp/Haslam/Ramsey and the three leading Independents(in my opinion): myself/Binkley/Duck. You can find a link on my facebook page (Brandon Dodds for Governor of Tennessee). It is both informative and entertaining (you mentioned you were a Kirpatrick supporter and he definitely put on a show).

1. You mention your support for the 2nd Amendment. Do you own a gun? If so, what is your favorite gun? Why?
I believe one of the most fundamental rights we have as humans is the ability to defend our families and our homes. I am a handgun permit holder and own many guns. My favorite would have to be a twenty gauge Winchester pump action shotgun that my father bought me when I was young. I was too small at the time to hunt with a twelve gauge, but the twenty gauge was just right. Growing up on a farm, I logged a lot of miles carrying that weapon with my dad and brother. It still serves as a great home defense weapon when loaded with buckshot. I hope someday soon to pass it down to my boys as they learn to shoot.

2. Describe your plans for a potential state income tax. Also, the state sales tax.
I am 100% opposed to a state income tax. As governor, I will do everything in my power to prevent it's imposition upon Tennesseans. I am in favor of a state constitutional amendment making it illegal so we won't have to worry about it in the future. I would also like to lower our
sales tax, but first we have to turn the economy around. I plan to do that by using plain old capitalism. The biggest impediment to business in Tennessee and America now is our tax codes. They are designed to crush business and drive it overseas. When entrepeneurs hire an employee they are immediately saddled with payroll, social security, workman's comp and unemployment taxes. I will streamline, reduce, and eliminate taxes to make our state a magnet for high paying jobs. When that happens everyone wins: industry and small businesses make more money because they pay less in taxes, citizens make more money because they have good jobs, and the
state also wins because it makes it's money on sales taxes and win people are making money they buy things. It's a domino effect that will make us an economic juggernaut and model that other states can follow to prove that socialism is not the answer.

3. There seem to be a couple of constitutionally sound independents on the ticket. Why vote for you?
We are fortunate to have several good candidates running as Independents that can serve as a viable alternative to liberal to moderate candidates that the Republican and Democratic parties are fielding. I believe I am the most qualified candidate in the field for the governor's race. I am an eye doctor so I know exactly how to fix our healthcare problems. I am a small business owner so I know exactly how to create an environment where our economy can thrive. I also have a degree in history and understand the U.S. Constitution. I am a staunch supporter of the 10th Amendment(any power not given to the federal government belongs to the state government or the people) and I believe that it is the answer to digging ourselves out of the current hole we are in. It means that healthcare, education, and abortion are completely and solely under the jurisdiction of the state and that the federal government has no right to intervene in those areas. I also have a plan to fix our school system and will put in place a world class educational system. It is embarrasing that Tennessee ranks 42nd out of 50 staes in education. Our teachers and students deserve better. I will remove the federal government from our classroom and take out the NCLB nightmare. In its place we will develop a model where every child is taught to their fullest potential. Our students of today are going to be our future. I want these kids to invent things, cure diseases, start businesses and be leaders. They can't do that with a curriculum that madates they be mediocre. I will absolutely not let our 2nd Amendment rights be infringed upon. As a strong pro-life candidate I will allow Tennesseans to vote on the issue and if they so choose we will implement laws that protect the right to life of our unborn. Because we have been sold out on the illegal immigration issue by both parties and our federal government, I will address it at the state level. I have three young sons and I feel that is absolutely imperative that we stand up now and make the changes necessary to put our state back on the right track. I am tired of voting for the lesser of two evils and believe that conservatives can stand together make a difference this November.

Thanks again for your efforts to make an informed choice and to help others to do the same with your blogs. If you have any further questions please feel free to send them my way.


Mr. Dodd, I am sick of voting for the lesser of two evils, too. Thank you for the response!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The wife actually just asked me if I knew how to get to the gun & knife show tomorrow.


Gubernatorial Race, Round 2

With Haslam's nomination yesterday, I am not completely feeling great about Tennessee's next governor.

I am likely going to vote 3rd party. I've discussed this with Right Minded (now retired from blogging). We agree on the pros and cons of voting 3rd party.

However, I'll stay optimistic, and hope beyond hope that we can have a "Jesse Ventura" type situation here. So I've researched all of the 3rd party candidates. Some looked OK. Some looked good. Some were good ideas with bad packaging. Some were not what we need at all.

So I sent this letter to several candidates and await their response. I've offered to publish their responses as free advertising to the readers of the Usagi blog.

Here was my request:
Mr. xxx. I am a lifelong Tennessean. In the primary, I voted for Ron Ramsey. I had originally aspired to vote for Joe Kirkpatrick prior to his withdrawal from the race. With the nomination of Mr. Haslam, I am searching for a good conservative candidate for whom to vote in the general election. Please visit my blog: usagidojo.blogspot.com - I'd like to ask some questions and blog about your responses!
1. You mention your support for the 2nd Amendment. Do you own a gun? If so, what is your favorite gun? Why?
2. Describe your plans for a potential state income tax. Also, the state sales tax.
3. There seem to be a couple of constitutionally sound independents on the ticket. Why vote for you?

Again, I'd like to get answers from the heart. With your permission, I will post them on my blog as free advertising for your time.
Thank you.
[contact information]

A Repo story that ended well

It has been a while since I last gave an account of a repo I did while working in the car rental industry. Here's another entry:

I forget the time, but the place was at the Enterprise on Covington Pike in Memphis. For this repo, I had a co-worker I've previously mentioned with me - "The Leprechaun." I still cannot remember his name. Sorry!

Renter had rented a car on a Friday on a cash-only basis (no longer done at that location, last I checked). He had not returned his rental Monday, as originally indicated. With cash rentals, an extra deposit was always collected, just in case they accrued more fees than expected. Keeping the car extra days can accrue more fees.

"The Leprechaun" came to me on Tuesday to notify me that the renter had not returned a cash rental on time. As per our branch policy at the time, I immediately got a key cut in preparation, as phone calls went unanswered to locate the renter and/or the vehicle.

This renter had all of his information on the cash-qualification form leading to one address. But the car was not there.

Several days, at different times, we checked. Meanwhile, the extra deposit was exhausted and the renter had a balance, owing the company.

On Thursday, I decided to go out again, looking for that car and others, and took "The Leprechaun" with me. I made a mental note of the year, make and model of the car... as well as the color. It was a green Lumina.

At his house, there was no car. But the sharp eyes of my coworker saw a car of the same description about five or six houses away. We drove over, and the car had no "e" sticker that Enterprise puts on their rental cars. I checked the license plate... it matched.

Ten minutes later, the car was back at the office, being cleaned for its next rental.

Later that afternoon, I got a call from the manager of a competing car rental chain. She asked why we had taken the renter's car. I advised her there was ever really only one reason we might do that. She said she understood.

I asked if she would be renting him a car that day. I'd read between the lines that he was there, attempting to rent a car. The fellow had told the other rental chain that we had just up and taken his car for no reason. He should have kept his mouth shut... they might have rented him a car.

A World Without Guns

Fascinating Article.

Election result

Yesterday was the election. Of the four major races I followed, candidates that received my vote have won twice and lost twice.

1. Governor's Race
My vote for Ron Ramsey did not help enough. Bill Haslam won the race with his big bucks.
I am researching third-party candidates for the fall and will report back to my readers when a thorough search has been completed.

2. US Congress Race
I voted in the Republican Primary for the 5th District. I voted for the eventual winner, David Hall. Hall was one of 11 Republicans running. The top three - Hall, Hartline and Heil - all had very respectable showings.
This seat is currently held by Jim Cooper. Due to the heavily democratic-leaning population of Nashville proper, this is probably the second-safest democratic held seat in the state (behind only the 9th district in Memphis - held by Steve Cohen). Here's hoping Hall can pull another upset!
I urge readers in Tennessee's 5th Congressional District to vote for David Hall for Congress.

3. State Senate Race
This was a bitterly contested race between Susan Lynn and Mae Beavers. Beavers wins it going away, by about 6 percentage points. I voted for Senator Beavers who was clearly the more conservative of the two. She also ran a much cleaner race. This despite the fact that Representative Lynn is a member of my church.
I urge readers in the 17th TN State Senate Distrct to re-elect Mae Beavers.

4. State Representative Race.
This was the seat Susan Lynn vacated to run for State Senate. I voted for Robert Fields - who was endorsed by the Tennessee Gun Owners, as well as other notable organizations. Unfortunately, Mount Juliet Mayor Linda Elam won by a slim margin. Elam helped put red light cameras in Mount Juliet, and I will not be endorsing her for the general election.
Instead, I urge my readers in the Mount Juliet area to vote for Heather Scott.

A Sad Day

Recently, fellow blogger and Sunday School Teacher Right Minded decided to retire from the world of blogging.

I, for one, hope he pulls a Bret Favre.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Obama fails at sales

President Obama tried and tried to sell the Healthcare bill. Finally, he and the Democratically led Congress and Senate trampled all of our rights and passed it anyways. They claimed that Americans really wanted it.

Not surprisingly, they were wrong.

In Missouri, voters have spoken. They voted to reject certain key provisions of the law.

Hopefully, Federal courts will agree.

Dodging taxes

I heard about this story the other day, but forgot to blog about it. So here it is.

Senator John Kerry bought a yacht. Instead of bringing it home to Massachusetts, he docked it in Rhode Island - well over an hour away by car. Coincidence? I think not.

Rhode Island is the only state in the north that does not charge luxury and docking taxes. Had Kerry brought the boat home, he'd have paid $430K in sales taxes, and another $70K per year in annual excise taxes.

Once again, Democrats dodge taxes themselves, but want to tax you and I into oblivion. And it's not about having a fair society. It's not about helping the less fortunate. It's not even about programs that are "needed." No, the taxation is about control.

A strange story

Many of my readers like the occasional strange story I link to. Here's another one.

A dog chewed off his owner's toe. The owner was passed out drunk. The removal of the toe may have saved the man's life.

It doesn't get much stranger than that.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Flip Flop that makes me go hmmm...

Alan Greenspan has flip flopped an opinion.

In 2001, he was in favor of the Bush tax cuts. Now, he says they need to be eliminated.

As I do not believe in coincidence, I am forced to ponder why he would reverse his stance.
We all know that tax cuts are linked with economic growth and tax increases are linked to recession. Greenspan is not a fool - so he has to know these facts, too.

I would suggest there are several possibilities for why Greenspan would change his public opinion:
- Follow the money 1. Perhaps he can make more money in a recession.
- Follow the money 2. Perhaps he has been paid to make such a statement.
- Perhaps he is of an advanced enough age that his mind is slipping.

I refuse to think he has simply changed his opinion. Especially given his history of financial success. I am leaning toward the thought of wondering what he stands to gain from the tax increase that will happen when the tax cuts expire.

First day of school

Today was my son's first day of school.

My wife and daughter cried.

My son, though nervous at first, was thrilled to have a new place to play and new people to meet.

Of course, my wife freaked out when called by the school to inform us that an unruly child bit my son, but that he was OK. The bite happened when a fellow student was playing like she might bite him, and accidentally did.

The teacher and the school nurse both said he never cried, just told them matter-of-factly what happened. They checked him out, to be safe and called my wife. She, of course, was worried sick.

I can't help but laugh.

Glad I'm not the only one that noticed

A few years back, when President Bush's daughter, Jenna, got married, it seemed to me the media was critical of the event.

Fast forward to this past weekend, the media couldn't get enough of the Chelsea Clinton marriage.

It would seem that Freedom's Lighthouse has also noted the difference.

A heartwarming story

This almost brought a tear to my eye.


A Texas man was returned his gun that had been stolen some twenty-plus years ago.
Link to story.

Police tracked the gun once it was sold to a pawn shop. This is one reason I am in favor of serial numbers. Not to register guns - as that is illegal to do in all but a few states. And I do not think serial numbers should be mandatory. The simple fact is that a gun with a serial number can be tracked back to its lawful owner if stolen.

There's a good chance that a stolen gun is used in other crimes. After all, criminals usualy disregard laws - including the laws against the theft of the gun in the first place.