Vote now in the 2013 Lump of Coal Award poll
Santa’s making his list, and we’re making ours. Over the past year, a number of government and other entities have been very naughty. In response, the Beacon Center is giving you the opportunity to send them a lump of coal for their misdeeds. Below are our staff picks for the four finalists for the not-so-coveted 2013 Lump of Coal Award.
Between now and Monday, December 16th, cast your vote for the finalist who has been the biggest Scrooge to Tennessee taxpayers over the past year. Once voting is complete on the 16th, we will announce the winner and send them a big fat lump of coal for bahumbugging the principles of individual liberty and limited government.
Image credit: http://www.beacontn.org
Man Arrested for Picking Up His Children at School
“Jim Howe, father of two children enrolled in South Cumberland Elementary in Crossville, Tennessee, arrived at the school on foot at dismissal time: 2:00 PM. But a new school policy states that students may only leave at 2:00 PM if their parents are picking them up in cars. Walkers must wait until 2:35 PM. Howe maintained that the policy was meant to apply to students walking home by themselves, not students walking home with their parents.”
“Avery Aytes, a sheriff deputy and school resource officer, was on hand to prevent Howes from leaving with his kids.” (emphasis mine) “I’m going to call some help down here and we’re going to take you up to the jail right now,” said Aytes to Howes. “I’m not putting up with this today. You’re being childish and it’s uncalled for.”
“The school did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The sheriff’s office told an ABC local news channel that it believed Aytes acted responsibly. “The resource officers are there to enforce the law,” said Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess in a statement. Burgess did agree with Howes, however, that the new pickup policy was causing chaos. The line of cars picking up kids is so long that it spills out along the highway, creating safety concerns.”
In addition, here is the video of the incident.
I know the folks up the road at the University of Tennessee (UT) are some busy people, but this I never would have guessed.
Bill Gates Awards $1 Million to Creator of Cow-Tendon Condom
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have found their winner of the $1 million prize for most innovative design of prophylactic to be sold on the market to protect against over-population.
Medical scientists out of San Diego, California have come up with a condom made from collagen extracted from cow tendons.
This superelastomers-based polymer can be stretched beyond the limitations of current prophylactics while maintaining its shape.
The condom will be malleable and can be manufactured thinner to “enhance the user’s experience.”
Cost for this cow-tendon condom is expected to remain low. Re-texturing of the condom would facilitate softness.
Jimmy Mays, professor of chemistry at University of Tennessee (UT) researched and developed a working prototype that won the prize.
Praise for the new cow-tendon condom pointed out: “Jimmy’s work is exceptional and exemplary of how the research done in the labs here at UT has the potential to catalyze change throughout the world. This award enables him to find more solutions to problems that have a dramatic effect on our lives.”
Back in March, the BMGF offered a $100,000 grant for funding an innovator who can design “the next generation condom”.
The promise holds a total of $1 million to the recipient who presents the most viable prototype.
According to the Grand Challenges in Global Health (GCGH) statement: “Is it possible to develop a product without this stigma, or better, one that is felt to enhance pleasure? If so, would such a product lead to substantial benefits for global health, both in terms of reducing the incidence of unplanned pregnancies and in prevention of infection with HIV or other STIs [sexually transmitted infections]?”
The GCGH explains that the problem with condoms is a “lack of perceived incentive for consistent use.” By manipulating the public’s perception of condoms and “our understanding of neurobiology” there could be a transformation into the technology by enhancing pleasure, thereby coercing more males to use condoms.
This Next Generation Condom (NGC) would have to “significantly preserve or enhance pleasure in order to improve uptake and regular use.”
According to BMGF, condoms are a “life-saving tool” because they protect against transmission of HIV. They are a cheap form of contraceptive that should be used more often to prevent life-risking behavior.
TN Student Speaks Out About Common Core, Teacher Evaluations, and Educational Data (Video)
Published by Ethan Young
Published on Nov 7, 2013
Recorded at the Knox County School Board Regular Meeting
November 6, 2013
Share this video with and spread the message: we will not accept these issues with education.
Full video available here: http://kcstv.knoxschools.org/modules/…
(H/T Karen Bracken)
Glenn Jacobs (WWE Wrestler Kane) Talks Libertarianism, and His Heroes
Published by TomWoodsTV
Tom Woods interviews Tennessean and WWE wrestler (Kane) Glenn Jacobs regarding the philosophy of Libertarianism, personal freedom and economic liberty.
Sebelius ducks Tennessee Watchdog’s questions about Obamacare
MEMPHIS — If Obamacare forced your health insurance provider to double, possibly triple, your premiums or deductibles, then perhaps you’d best stop whining and go with the plan the government prefers best for you.
That was the message U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, conveyed to Tennessee Watchdog at a press conference in Memphis Friday, where he appeared alongside U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.
The press conference was an opportunity for Sebelius and Cohen to promote Obamacare.
Tennessee Watchdog directly asked Sebelius what she would say to someone whose health insurance plans had increased in cost as a direct result of the new law.
Sebelius, however, chose to let Cohen speak on her behalf.
Visibly angry at the question, Cohen said the following.
“Those people had bad policies that were cheap. Now, they are going to get better policies that are less expensive. It’s apples to apples, and apples to oranges, and some of those people’s policies didn’t cost them much, so they didn’t pay much.”
Tennessee Watchdog had to ask the question twice — both times, Sebelius wouldn’t answer.
The first time Tennessee Watchdog posed the question, Cohen also stepped in. He said Obamacare opponents were the same people who opposed Tennessee having a state lottery many years ago.
He said the same people who oppose Obamacare now would be first in line to benefit from Obamacare’s services.
Other reporters posed questions pertaining to the toll that opposition to Obamacare has taken on Sebelius personally.
Sebelius was happy to answer those questions.
Contact Christopher Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blount County Clerk and Dedicated Employees Save Taxpayers a Bundle
As we read from time to time about how friendly some in government may be to interests other than the taxpayers they are elected to represent it is a joy to find and share some positive news.
At tonight’s Commission meeting citizen Richard Hutchens gave County Clerk Roy Crawford his first Statesman Award for his recent effort to provide enhanced service to the citizens of Blount County without raising their taxes. Mr. Hutchens requested the Chairman’s indulgence to give Mr. Crawford a round of applause and Chairman Moon obliged. Mr. Crawford received a standing ovation by the citizens in the audience.
Good News – County Clerk and Dedicated Employees Save Taxpayers a Bundle
The County Clerk’s office is where you go to renew vehicle registrations, get titles to vehicles, get a marriage license, get a business license or submit a passport application. County Clerk Roy Crawford, and his fine employees, set high goals for customer service and efficiency. And, they deliver. When I ask people about the service they experience when visiting the County Clerk’s office, the comments are resoundingly positive. Yet, the Blount County Clerk’s office spends less money than the other similar Tennessee counties. The recent opening of the new, expanded County Clerk’s office in the Foothills Mall show the planning and hard work that go into maintaining these high standards.
Several months ago, Crawford was notified the lease for the small space he used for his Foothills Mall branch office was being terminated. Crawford faced a choice between moving the branch back to the Courthouse or leasing expensive new space. The first alternative was not attractive because it would force citizens to make a special trip to the Courthouse, where they would have to deal with very limited parking. The second alternative would cost the taxpayers thousands in additional rent.
Crawford and his employees got creative. They analyzed the data and found that the office attracted more than 40,000 people each year. They put together a presentation that asked merchants what they would have to spend on advertising to attract 40,000 people. They pointed out how much cheaper it would be for the merchant to donate space for the new office and get those 40,000 visits. Several merchants quickly expressed interest. In the end, the good people who manage Foothills Mall, provided a new, larger space at no cost to the taxpayers. But this is not the end of the story.
The space needed to be fitted out for the new office. The employees of the County Clerk’s office volunteered their time and their spouses’ time to construct the fine new office you see at the Mall. This saved you, the citizens, thousands of your hard earned tax money. Next time you visit the County Clerk’s office at the Mall, be sure to tell the fine people there, that you appreciate their efforts.
Richard Hutchen’s Speech Presenting Statesmen Award to Roy Crawford
For over three years, I have been coming to these Commissioner meetings in the hopes that I could appeal to your higher natures to encourage and inspire you to want to become more than just another self-serving, small-minded, big ego, politician; but instead rise to the level of Statesman and Stateswomen.
Being a politician is easy. However, earning the Title of a true Statesman is hard. An occasional act of Statesmanship here and there does not make a politician a Statesman. It takes years of consistent, dedicated Public Service to earn the Title of Statesman.
One of the distinguishing qualities of a True Statesman is whether he regards and treats the Taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars, as the Sacred Trust that it is. If tax revenues go down, he doesn’t run to politicians asking them to raise taxes; instead he first looks for ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness within his stewardship.
Fortunately, we do have in our County a Public Servant who truly is a Public Servant. This particular individual has consistently run his office and guarded the tax payer’s money as if he was spending his own money.
I have never heard a single taxpayer complain about the way the Blount County Clerk’s office budget is run, but instead is one department whose budget is a shining example of what good government could be, should be, and is meant to be.
Several months ago, when Mr. Crawford was notified that the lease for the Foothills Mall branch office was being terminated. Mr. Crawford faced with a choice of either closing the branch office or pay thousands more tax dollars for an expensive new retail space.
Mr. Crawford and his employees got creative and successfully persuaded Mall management to drive 40,000 customers a year into the mall by donating a new empty retail space to the county at no cost to the taxpayers. In addition, the employees of the County Clerk’s office even volunteered their time to help construct the new office saving Blount County taxpayers thousands of their hard earned tax dollars.
It is with great pleasure that I wish to, at this time, publicly recognize Blount County Clerk Roy Crawford as having officially earned the prestigious title of Statesman.
This certificate reads as follows ….
With the Chairman’s indulgence, I would respectfully ask permission to be able to enter the Board’s area, to personally award Mr. Crawford with this highly covenanted Award, shake his hand, and ask the audience to join with me in giving Mr. Crawford a standing ovation.
*The two italicized paragraphs were omitted for time.
Reports of Obamacare fraud emerge in Tennessee
NASHVILLE — Scam artists have seemingly found a friend in Obamacare.
Reports are emerging that shysters are using Tennessee residents’ relative lack of knowledge about the new health care law to defraud them.
Scam artists, for example, are making calls claiming they need Social Security numbers to sign people up for a new Obamacare insurance card, according to a statement from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
“We’ve been made aware of one scam, in particular,” said TDCI spokeswoman Kate Abernathy.
“One of our navigator agencies let us know that there was an individual calling people saying that he or she could have walked him through the application process for $100 for a navigator certified application counselor service, but that information is completely incorrect. That is a free service that is supposed to remain free.”
The federal government, along with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, began sending out advisories against possible fraud related to Obamacare many months ago, Abernathy said.
“There are scammers out there who are calling around and saying ‘All right we need your Medicare number. We need to update your profile.’ A Medicare beneficiary can hand over that information without thinking about it — and they’ve just given a criminal their Social Security number,” Abernathy said.
As previously reported, TDCI implemented registration requirements and criminal background checks on people who serve as Obamacare navigators or certified Obamacare application counselors in Tennessee.
Such people are responsible for handling the financial or medical information belonging to other individuals.
Strangely, last month, mainstream media outlets such as the Washington Post seemed to condemn Tennessee and other states for implementing these policies, saying they were getting in the way of progress.
“There is a very palpable concern . . . that anti-Obamacare state government people will find ways to gum up the works,” the Post quoted Leonardo Cuello, director of health reform for the National Health Law Program, as saying.
Despite the ruling, Abernathy said anyone who handles another person’s personal financial or medical information is still subject to the regulations.
Contact Christopher Butler at email@example.com.
Image credit: http://tennessee.watchdog.org
Extreme Hypocrisy! Obama Orders Federal Workers To “Make Life As Difficult For People As We Can”
Why would the president of the United States try to purposely hurt the American people? Well, in 2013 this is done in order to score political points and force the opposition in to doing what you want them to do. A few days ago, an angry Park Service ranger publicly admitted that he and his fellow rangers have been ordered to “make life as difficult for people as we can” during this government shutdown. That Park Service ranger would never have received such an order unless it came from the very top. Apparently the Obama administration plans to cause as much pain as possible until Obama gets everything that he is demanding. In many cases, it is actually going to cost far more money to put up barricades and use guards to keep Americans from visiting open air memorials, driving on roads, and fishing in bodies of water than it would to put up a “closed” sign and simply go home. As you will see from the examples posted below, the Obama administration is being extremely spiteful and vindictive. And the level of hypocrisy that we are now witnessing is hard to fathom. For instance, the National Mall has been totally closed to the public, but the Obama administration is specifically reopening it for a massive pro-immigration rally that will benefit the Democrats politically. The abuse of power that is taking place is absolutely staggering, and the American people need to demand that those that are abusing it be held accountable when all of this is over.
The following are just a few examples of how Obama is using this shutdown to make life as difficult for people as possible…
#1 The Obama administration is doing all it can to keep Americans from even getting a glimpse of Mount Rushmore, but Barack Obama’s chefs have been deemed “essential” and are still preparing his meals.
#5 The NIH has stopped therapy dogs from visiting sick children, but Obama and Congress are still getting paid.
#9 The federal government has forced an elderly couple out of their home on Lake Mead during this shutdown, but the operations of the Federal Reserve have not been affected at all.
#10 In South Carolina, the Obama administration is actually using Park Service rangers to keep people away from a privately-owned hotel.
#11 In Tennessee, the feds have totally shut down the Foothills Parkway, a major thoroughfare that runs through Blount County. At this point the feds are not even letting people visit the graves of their dead relatives.
#12 The Obama administration has actually removed all of the well pumps along a 184 mile trail that goes from Washington D.C. to Pittsburgh just so that anyone that decides to use the trail will not be able to get any water to drink.
#13 The Obama administration is actually attempting to close 1,100 square miles of ocean off of the coast of Florida. It is going to take a tremendous amount of time, money and energy to keep fishing boats out of that area.
#14 According to one news report, “Gestapo tactics” were used against one tour group made up mostly of senior citizens at Yellowstone National Park…
Pat Vaillancourt went on a trip last week that was intended to showcase some of America’s greatest treasures.
Instead, the Salisbury resident said she and others on her tour bus witnessed an ugly spectacle that made her embarrassed, angry and heartbroken for her country.
Vaillancourt was one of thousands of people who found themselves in a national park as the federal government shutdown went into effect on Oct. 1. For many hours her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.
The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.
When finally allowed to leave, the bus was not allowed to halt at all along the 2.5-hour trip out of the park, not even to stop at private bathrooms that were open along the route.
#15 Of course one of the most disturbing abuses of power is how the Obama administration is using barricades and guards to keep military veterans away from open air memorials such as the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial and the Iwo Jima Memorial that are normally open to the public 24 hours a day.
It is beyond disgusting for Barack Obama to take these memorials hostage for political gain.
And a lot of military veterans have decided that they are not going to take this slap in the face. In fact, one group is organizing a “Million Veteran March on the Memorials” this weekend. You can find their Facebook page right here. According to their page, a mass protest is being planned for 9 AM this Sunday morning…
“Join fellow Veterans at the war memorials in Washington DC on Sunday October 13th at 9 AM and at memorials across these United States.”
And veterans will not be the only ones in D.C. this weekend. An organization known as “Truckers Ride for the Constitution” will also be there. You can find their Facebook page right here. The truckers are planning a three day strike and protest which will stretch from Friday to Sunday…
“The American people are sick and tired of the corruption that is destroying America! We therefore declare a national protest in support of our nation’s truckers on the weekend of October 11-13, 2013! Truck drivers will not haul freight! Americans can strike in solidarity with truck drivers! Truckers will lead the path to saving our country if every American rides with them!”
Many truckers are even planning to take their trucks right into the heart of Washington D.C. itself.
It will certainly be interesting to see what happens.
Personally, I have never seen anything like what we are witnessing right now. The president of the United States is actually trying to purposely hurt the American people in order to put pressure on Congress. He isn’t even being subtle about it.
Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent, you have got to be absolutely disgusted by what Obama is doing. He is showing an astounding lack of respect for the American people.
It is one thing to play hardball with Congress. That is acceptable. It is quite another thing to spitefully abuse the American people in order to get what you want.
What Obama has done goes way over the line. If the American people are not outraged by this, what will it take to wake them up?
Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
Fed shutdown grounds plan to airdrop possibly harmful substance on Tennessee land
NASHVILLE — Because of the federal government shutdown, residents of 15 Tennessee counties have a little more time to protect their children and pets when the government airdrops an oral rabies vaccine.
The vaccine, which can make pets and humans sick, is part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture program to target wild raccoons along Tennessee’s borders with Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
USDA officials had planned to initiate the program Tuesday in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Health, according to a news release. Only problem with that plan is that the federal government all but shut down Tuesday.
“That program has been postponed indefinitely due to the federal shutdown, and as soon as it is rescheduled we will post information on our website, and the USDA will do the same,” TDH spokesman Woody McMillin told Tennessee Watchdog.
McMillin was unable to answer Tennessee Watchdog’s questions about the program Thursday, in particular how people can best protect their pets and children from the potentially harmful rabies vaccines. McMillin said someone at TDH with more knowledge could answer questions the next day, but McMillin did not return Tennessee Watchdog’s messages Friday.
No USDA spokesperson was available because of the government shutdown.
Tennessee Watchdog could not even obtain information about the vaccine via the USDA website.
Federal officials have made all information on that site unavailable to the public, citing the shutdown.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website, though, while discussing the same vaccine, said people exposed to it are in danger of developing eczema and localized skin reactions. The same vaccine also can cause infections in people who are pregnant or have an immunodeficiency disease.
The TDH news release said if your pet finds the vaccine you are to confine the animal and wear gloves to discard the packet.
Pets who eat the vaccine, the release added, could experience upset stomachs.
Vaccine packets are placed inside fishmeal blocks or coated with fishmeal as bait to attract raccoons.
Baits will be dropped by helicopter and by hand from vehicles in urban and suburban areas and dropped from specially equipped airplanes in rural areas.
This will be the first time baits have been distributed by helicopter in Tennessee, according to the news release.
Targeted Tennessee counties are Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hawkins,Sullivan, Unicoi, Washington, Bradley, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs,Monroe and Polk.
UPDATE: After the original publication of this story, TDH spokeswoman Shelley L. Walker e-mailed Tennessee Watchdog to say the following, concerning McMillin’s remarks the prior day:
“We have not been notified of any delay in shipment of rabies vaccinations to Tennessee. It is a commercial product and should not be impacted by the federal government shutdown.”
Contact Christopher Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get regular Tennessee Watchdog updates through our Facebook or Twitter accounts
Image credit: http://tennessee.watchdog.org