Saturday, July 15, 2006

Make Up Your Own Funny White House Job-Title

One Congressman gets the point about the so-called Director Lessons Learned job at the White House - which is that it's a bullshit job.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) released the following statement in advance of delivery on the House floor:

"Mr. Speaker, yesterday the President said we continue to be wise about how we spend the people's money.

"Then why are we paying over $100,000 for a 'White House Director of Lessons Learned'?

"Maybe I can save the taxpayers $100,000 by running through a few of the lessons this White House should have learned by now.

"Lesson 1: When the Army Chief of Staff and the Secretary of State say you are going to war without enough troops, you're going to war without enough troops.

"Lesson 2: When 8.8 billion dollars of reconstruction funding disappears from Iraq, and 2 billion dollars disappears from Katrina relief, it's time to demand a little accountability.

"Lesson 3: When you've 'turned the corner' in Iraq more times than Danica Patrick at the Indy 500, it means you are going in circles.

"Lesson 4: When the national weather service tells you a category 5 hurricane is heading for New Orleans, a category 5 hurricane is heading to New Orleans.

"I would also ask the President why we're paying for two 'Ethics Advisors' and a 'Director of Fact Checking.'

"They must be the only people in Washington who get more vacation time than the President.

"Maybe the White House could consolidate these positions into a Director of Irony."

The link to the orginal is here.

Saturday Web Walk - Or All Down The Tubes

The GOP shines in a hit and run incident as a man in a chicken suit speeds away in his Volvo in order to protect his secret identity. Are they trying to make sure that Democrat Harold Ford Jr's description of the GOP trio of candidates as The Three Stooges gets even more national attention??

Via the Chattanoogan:

He said afterwards he decided to follow the chicken back to his car to get a picture of him with his cell phone camera when the chicken took his suit off at his car. The 6'3" Shannon said the chicken saw him following him and started to run. He said he kept up with him and then stood in front of his car with the camera ready. He said the man never took off the top of the chicken suit as he revved up the car.

He said the man bumped him with the car, then drove it forward with more force, causing him to fall against the front of the Volvo.

He said the chicken then backed up and started to speed away, hitting him on his left side as he did. He said he was thrown against the passenger side of the front windshield, shattering it."


Child-molesting teacher Pamela Rogers will take her "sex addiction" to jail, says the judge. Wonder if any of the bidders for her action figure will share some cell time with her?


SInce we're 'going down the tubes' why not tune in the Rave Re-Mix version of Sen. Ted Stevens explaining his view of the internets as a "series of tubes"?


Picture of the Week -- or as Brittney said "I've found a Leaker!" Add your own caption! Let the kids join in!! (pic origin is here)


911 operators heard a call for a Love Emergency in Oregon this week, as a woman called the emergency dispatch to send that "cutie pie" deputy back to her house. She was arrested and her Love Emergency remains unsatisfied.


This Just In!! -- The media follows the New Start of a war between Israel and Hezbollah, now in it's 25th year! Time to ramp up those energy fees!


Cartoon of the Week - Or "Earn Your Vote!"

Friday, July 14, 2006

Camera Obscura - Making Movie Memories

Movies are as much about You as they are about what's on the screen, they way we first saw a movie dictates our memory of it, or perhaps who was with us when we watched. A simple for instance - I saw the dubious "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" while in vacation in Florida in 1977, and the eerie poster of an nameless and unlit roadway disappearing into the distance was much like driving on I-75 in Tennessee and Georgia in the wee hours of the night as our family made the trek to the Fabled Florida. The theatre I saw that movie in was also the same theatre I watched "Saturday Night Fever" in a day or two later. So those movies are oddly linked in my Watcher's Mind.

A journey of movie memory and movie magic, of odd connections and into Hollywood's past and present are expertly captured and expressed in the book "Comfort and Joi" by writer Joseph Dougherty. The book, subtitled I Spent A Weekend With A Hollywood Starlet, examines the career of actress Joi Lansing and the memories of the Narrator in a weekend of remembrance.

I knew Joi, though it wasn't until I read the book that I realized I knew her. She is there in the shadows in the most talked-about and longest single-tracking shot in a movie, "A Touch of Evil" by Orson Welles. She is a passenger in the car which the audience, but not her, sees a bomb being placed, the car driving through ill-lit streets to the border with Mexico. Her lines "I hear this ticking!" are barely spoken before the car explodes offscreen and Joi disappears from the movie.

She was also there in the deeply strange and odd "Queen of Outer Space", but her lengthy movie career starts in an uncredited part in "Singin' In The Rain" and ends in the 1970 movie "Bigfoot", with many TV stops along the way, including playing the wife of Lester Flatt in several episodes of "The Beverly Hillbillies" and was even famous enough to appear as herself in the "I Love Lucy" series.

To say Dougherty's book is exhaustive is an understatement, but it's also a quick and fast read thru Hollywood history. Dougherty is a producer/writer/director and actor with credits from "thirtysomething" and "Judging Amy".

His book, he says follows his "low-grade obsession" and "obsessions sneak up on you, like snowdrifts." Not exactly a star, though certainly a witness to Hollywood history - from MGM to the Rat Pack to the Nashville adventures of "Hillbillys In A Haunted House."

I highly recommend the book. The official web site is here, and you can order the book directly here. A movie fan will utterly identify with the Narrator's weekend survey of his movie soul. My thanks to Joe for sending me a copy - be sure to get one for yourself!

A gritty and broken future battle between Good and Evil based on a science-fiction/fantasy trilogy by Russian writer Sergei Lukyanenko, "Night Watch" is also the first of three movies, the second is nearing release and the third film will be shot in English rather than Russian. Think "Harry Potter" in the Third World and you'll be close to tone of this movie which shattered box-office records in Russia.

A decidedly low-tech "Matrix" of magic and vampirism, the movie is frenetic and at times nearly incomprehensible. Too Hollywood said some, too weird say others. I found myself needing subtitles for the dubbed version -- however I was never bored. It's nothing like the contemplative science fiction films by Andrei Tarkosvky like "Stalker" and "Solaris".

The superhuman "others" of the Good side are the Night Watch and the Evil others are the Day Watch. Oh and there are vampires and shapeshifters and a Potter-ish Owl-Lady. The world is jagged and broken and locked into this conflict, a perspective on modern day Russia, yes. As a movie -- from the Vaderish Father Syndrome and The Other Who Will Tip The Balance -- much of this is very familiar as a story -- the visuals, however, are striking and compelling and I'll follow it to the sequel before I can say whether or not the Trilogy is worth the effort.

Quick Takes
"A Scanner Darkly" is in Knoxville at the Downtown West -- sorry AT. It may run two weeks at best, one at worst.

"True Blood" comes to HBO, the new series from "Six Feet Under" creator Alan Ball and based on Charlaine Harris' novels of vampires in Louisiana. (Hat tip to Reel Fanatic for this info.) Alan Ball says in a BBC interview:

..the vampires "decide to make their presence known, hire PR firms, and sort of ... come out of the coffin. A lot of churches are horribly against them, but they are very wealthy, and contribute a lot of money to Republican politicians so that they can legitimise their holdings." He had fun with subtexts: "Vampires are a great metaphor for minority groups that struggle for rights and recognition, but also for Republicans, in that theyƂ’re vicious and bloodthirsty and will destroy anything that gets in their way."

Sounds like I'm keeping HBO.

On Wednesday of this week I watched the first of four weeks of Stephen King's "Nightmares and Dreamscapes" on TNT. It was fantastic stuff, worthy of comparison to classic "Twilight Zone." Especially the first entry, "Battleground."

It was a wordless script - though there were some commando howls - as a cool and efficient hitman (William Hurt) becomes the victim of a special delivery of a foot locker full of toy green Army men who blast their way through his calm and his apartment to exact revenge for killing a toy company CEO. This was simply brilliant on every level. (plus it had that reference to the little doll from the original "Trilogy of Terror" TV movie by Richard Matheson since his boy scripted "Battleground.") I am eager to see the next Wednesday night installment of two episodes (and "Trilogy of Terror" hits DVD this week).

For the most and best roundup of everything on the horror movie market, it's hard to beat DVD Stalk for accounts of the new, the ancient and the just plain cheesy and bad movies in stores or theatres near you.

Next week a special report on "The Garden" and the other horror releases from Anchor Bay.

Go make some movie memories until then. I will.

Last Night's GOP Debate

Blame Mr Silence for this, He noted I should Update Readers as to my thoughts on last night's GOP candidates for Senate debate, even though I announced a preference yesterday.

First - Knox Sheriff Hutchison was a last minute no-show for his debate. Simple question follows: why does he get elected? I've heard and read so many scandals about him, he should either get the boot or go for a higher office as his political machine seems unstoppable. And isn't it time the legislature got off their butts and actually draft some regulations and requirements for someone to be Sheriff in Tennessee other than having a high school education? Or taking a training class after they are already elected?

The GOP debate was pretty predictable on all counts - no one emerged as a winner. Since there is no Democrat primary for this seat and Harold Ford Jr is a lock-in, then the real campaign issue is "How many Democrats will vote in the GOP primary and who will they pick?"

The questions were so lame - either fringe dweller issues like abortion, or loopy softball questions like "pick just one word to describe what your term as senator will be". Then there was the gross-out love-and-hugs promotion for WIVK, the Lame Talker. And all candidates continued to blast away at the current GOP-led Congress and Adminstration as unable to perform on immigration, energy policies, taxation, and national security. If the GOP's own think that their leadership is taking the nation in the wrong direction, then what do you think voters in general will think? Yep - time to vote Democrat.

If I were a non-committed voter reviewing possible candidates the answers from Hilleary were funny but not to any advantage, Bryant stumbled and fumbled over every word and the only smooth and polished performance came from Corker. The fact, as he noted, they all gang up on him indicates he is the one most likely to win.

As that non-committed voter, I would hardly be encouraged to vote after watching. Just take Van's comment of "I will do what I can for you" -- not a yes or a no, just a political brush-off.

Perhaps it would be wise for the Dems voting in the GOP primary to cast a ballot for Van, since he is least likely to win state-wide. Or maybe for Corker, since they think no honest-to-pete Conservative will vote for him.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tennessee's Next Senator

Tonight the GOP candidates for the state's Senate race are supposed to gather for a debate on WBIR. Part of my brain gets scrambled wondering why Robin Wilhoit will question the hopefuls - maybe they asked for her or that was part of the WBIR deal. She's a fine person, but just not who I think of first in the world of political reporting in Tennessee.

I'll watch it - for as long as I can though - despite the fact that I am voting for someone else.

I seldom if ever come right out and suggest anyone follow my lead on who to vote for, but this year is different. This year, I'm voting for the one candidate who won't make some crazy stand on nonsense or even on sensical issues.

He promises not to be there. But he does promise tourists from TN to act as a personal guide to some of the sights in D.C.

In 2006, we have a man who's the right man for his time and his place, and that man ... well, sometimes there's a man ...sometimes there's a man ... ah hell, what's the rest of that speech from "The Big Lebowski?"

Well, anyway, I'm making a write-in vote for Rex.

The Mule Day Terror Target

A small ripple made by the report on the national database of potential terror targets has folks understandably puzzled. Petting zoos and Mule Day and the fleamarket in Sweetwater somehow don't make the cut for some tactical observers.

Then again, do we expect any benefit from an actual list of critical centers of commerce and government and energy facilities? Judging from the constant computer thefts, why provide would-be evildoers with a actual list of places that could hurt the nation as a whole? Better to make a database of places and events where it would be more likely that local residents would approach Islamofascist-types with a baseball bat as soon as they are seen in public.

In terms of keeping the public panic-filled attention, the list can provide tax dollars for security programs and encourage voters who feel their local needs are a priority.

In some ways, it explains the enormous security presence in Morristown last month at an immigration reform rally -- it justifies dollars being spent and it connects voter anxiety to immigration issues which have been front and center in the campaign for Tennessee's Senate race.

The labyrinth design of diverting dollars has many dead-ends.

But mostly it seems that keeping the folks at Mule Day and in the Mideast terror camps convinced they are Vital is the also the key to keeping funding and panic at the highest levels.

Quick, We Need 9 Odd Web Sites!!

If you find it too darn difficult to surf, Yahoo! has done it for you.

Their site collects funny, weird, "hot" topics, and assorted video clips and web sites for a collection they call "The 9."

I suppose we're all so fast and busy, we don't even have time to review a Top 10 list.

No - wait -- it says here on the page that the goal is to "quickly bundle it all together into a neat, fast-paced, and work-friendly package and try to get it up by about 9 a.m." --- appears they even make the jokes for you too.

Today's list includes one or two entries I enjoyed, such as the video of people imitating the notorious World Soccer Head-Butting of Zidane (shouldn't he be called ZeeFrench?), plus a video of those wacky Japanese TV programmers who've made a story about a massive "domino demonstration" in a house using only household objects, and a web site of enormously fluffy bunnies.

Your host for this perky morning web blast is Maria Sansone, who hosted her own TV sports show at age 11 and actually was there to see Tonya Harding smack up Nancy Kerrigan. She also hosts a preview show for Comcast. As one MetaFilter commenter said "Think Rocketboom with a tan."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bush Sr, Officials Praise The Late Great Ken Lay

Perhaps the elected officials and business tycoons who praised the late and the convicted criminal Ken Lay have the courage, at least, to admit they admire Lay's level of fraud.

Not only did the Enron chief build a company that led him into the consulting rooms of policymakers at the local, state and national levels, not only did he goad employees and friends into buying a plummeting stock, not only did he erase the retirement and investments of thousands of people -- ultimately he escaped jail and his ill-gotten fortune will elude the grasp of law enforcement, and he is now the Victim of an American Tragedy.

Ken Lay was neither black nor poor, but he was a victim of a lynching,'' Rev. William Lawson, a Houston civil rights leader, said today at the service in Houston."

Yes, it's true - he was white and rich and pampered for all but a few months of trial and media scrutiny, and for a rich white guy, that must be the equal of being lynched.

Others in attendance included
Guests among the several hundred mourners included former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara, former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III, ex-Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher Sr., former Enron President John M. Seidl, heart surgeon Denton Cooley, Lay's defense lawyer Mike Ramsey and Drayton McLane Jr., owner of the Houston Astros baseball team.

A woman who conducts tours based on the collapse and fraud of Enron says she considers this more of a Greek Tragedy.

Update on Bush Monarchy

More proof of the major conflict in Constitutional authority was presented yesterday by Justice Dept. attorney Steve Bradbury who informed a congressional committee " the President is always right."

Video here via Think Progress.

The events of the last few weeks reminds me of the 2004 reports that the President truly believes he is on a 'misson from God'.and that people in the 'reality-based' community cannot and should not be trusted. Article is here.

Is it simply wacky wingnut worries that a Monarchy has been made?

The "New Paradigm" Creates Monarchy

A series of judicial defeats is highlighting the constitutional conflict that President's Bush's commander-in-chief claims have created. Much of the president's position was laid out by legal aides from Vice-President Cheney's staff, namely David Addington, the Chief-of-Staff.

A comprehensive look at the problems with the president's stand were laid out in a July 3rd article in the New Yorker, which details the "new paradigm" plan - a plan that has the president essentially avoiding any and all oversight or check and balances to the Executive Branch as mandated by the Constitution.

From the article:

Bruce Fein, a Republican legal activist, who voted for Bush in both Presidential elections, and who served as associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan Justice Department, said that Addington and other Presidential legal advisers had '“staked out powers that are a universe beyond any other Administration. This President has made claims that are really quite alarming. He'’s said that there are no restraints on his ability, as he sees it, to collect intelligence, to open mail, to commit torture, and to use electronic surveillance. If you used the President'’s reasoning, you could shut down Congress for leaking too much. His war powers allow him to declare anyone an illegal combatant. All the world'’s a battlefield—. According to this view, he could kill someone in Lafayette Park if he wants! It'’s got the sense of Louis XIV: '‘I am the State.'"

The President certainly has rights to interpret the Constitutional authority of his office. Guided by his vice-president, however, he has steered into dangerous waters.

Read the entire article - it's worth the time and explains what is about to shape much debate for a massive political battle as the fall elections get closer.

The Worst Writing Winners

When does bad writing become good writing? It happens every year at the Bulwer-Lytton Contest as writers earnestly strive to create the worst opening sentence for a novel. In addition to an overall winner, there are also various category winners and "dishonorable mentions".

Overall winning worst sentence:

Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean."

Oh yeah, that's fine, especially that last part about the shovel. It's creator is Jim Guigli, who sent in 60 entries for this year's contest.

This entry is from a writer in Atlanta, GA:

Todd languished there, neck deep in the pumpkin-hued Amargosa Desert sand like a long forgotten cupcake in an Easy Bake Oven gone hellishly amok, and it finally made sense . . . "ooohhhh, DEATH Valley."

An entry from Quebec:

Her angry accusations burned Clyde like that first bite of a double cheese pizza, when the toppings slide off and sear that small elevation of the oral mucosa, just behind the front teeth, known as the incisive papilla, which is linked to the discriminatory function of the taste buds except, where Clyde was concerned, when it came to women."

The winner in the Romance Category hails from Alabama and writes:

Despite the vast differences it their ages, ethnicity, and religious upbringing, the sexual chemistry between Roberto and Heather was the most amazing he had ever experienced; and for the entirety of the Labor Day weekend they had sex like monkeys on espresso, not those monkeys in the zoo that fling their feces at you, but more like the monkeys in the wild that have those giant red butts, and access to an espresso machine."

All the winners and dishonorable mentions are here.

Bulwer-Lytton was a very popular novelist, and created the phrase "the pen is mightier than the sword." No definitive word on any reaction to a legacy as the titular head of a bad writing contest.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Has This Country Gone Completely Insane?

I knew I wasn't the only person who noticed some horrible changes.

Read why the answer to this question might just be YES.

Blogging Capital of Tennessee

Mr. Silence has issued a proclamation that bears repeating:

"Is it just me? Or isn't it clear that East Tennessee is the capital of blogging in the state?
Not that I'm trying to start anything ...."

The always perceptive Brittney replies:

"Not Going to Let Any Mountain Dwellers Take Our Title" and adds: "Trying or not, it's on."

Woo hoo!

Personally, I depend on the RTB, No Silence Here and Nashville Is Talking like an addict hits the meth. I get tons of news and information and I also get readers here from all three sites, which makes this blogging all the better - I don't want to be completely like Steve Martin said - "I don't need YOU! I can do this act ALONE! I often DO!"

One of the best things about Tennessee is we loves to talk about everything, and our state is a crucible for all the hottest topics in politics and lifestyles and much more. We're at the very center of the national debate on any topic you can name. And from the Civil Rights Museum in the west, to the legislative heart in Nashville, to the start of all American music in Bristol - we provide presidents and vice presidents and you can't get much of anywhere at all without going thru here.

I live just off the one highway named for the one and only person to have ever served in every non-judicial elected position in American politics, even defeating impeachment and then returning to the Senate. The state has as many conflicting opinions as people and we do talk a heap about it.
I know the Insty-Boy gets loads of press, and I confess his is the one blog I never read. I did a few times and just found it not to my tastes.

And Brittney and the staff at WKRN have opened up their news coverage to video bloggers and I hope more TV and radio stations do likewise. As I've told Brittney, being a guest blogger there just rocks.

One major complaint in the blog world of TN I do have is that damn few residents and non-bloggers from Hamblen and points east seldom if ever bother to comment on local events and topics. I know they lurk and read, but even then their numbers seem small. I often think the surrounding counties do not have enough easily accessible internet connections, but that is changing -- I hope, anyway.

And when I do read through other writers pages in other states, Tennessee has the most easily readable and aggregated collections. Other states don't come close -- yet. But that is changing too as the other states model themselves on us. And again personally, I receive about equal amounts of readers from Europe and Asia as I do from the U.S.

As odd as it sounds, I find much unity in the state through all the wide range of opinions and also just the relation of day to day events that so many people share. We are home to some fantastic writers and without the South, and Tennessee, the American Voice would just be bi-coastal extremes.

Having been a resident of both middle and east (and I depend on Newscoma and some others to keep me up to speed on the west as well as her posts on events and topics nationally) I can testify there are major differences and similarities. There's only two things I've never seen in Tennessee - the ocean or an iceberg, though geology suggests we've had those too.

And just for the record, most of us in the east are in the Valley, not the Mountains - and trust me, no one really wants to get them folk riled up.

Where is the Blogging Capital in Tennessee? You tell me.

UPDATE: KnoxViews weighs in with some numbers on the blog question. And Les Jones remarks on the Time Zone quotient - er, Les was that a pic of The Hoff in a Hoff Speedo??

The state's Democrat Party has taken notice of both the RTB and KnoxViews in their latest emailing - though let's be honest, the GOP is a major force in state politics. Again that underscores what I said above - we are in the forefront of national debates on politics.

Truth be told, after some months reading blogs, it was South Knox Bubba who first prompted me to actually leave a comment, and the bug bit deep enough to create this constantly brewing Cup of Joe.

And while I may not read the InstyBoy, I utterly appreciate that he helped arrange for a sneak preview screening to Joss Whedon's "Serenity" which was worth gold to me.

Other bloggers chime in - C.E. here and High Country here.

Stephen King Takes Over Summer TV

The summer TV season, once the empty space populated by the repeats of shows already seen now offers a new segment for original programming. On Wednesday a collection of short stories by master storyteller Stephen King, bows with two episodes in "Nightmares and Dreamscapes." The first episode, "Battleground" airs commercial free and will be followed by "Crouch End". 8 episodes over 4 weeks brings out top talent for TNT's mini-series.

"Battleground" stars William Hurt as a cold-blooded killer, a professional hitman who takes out the CEO for a toy company and steals a favorite toy from the desk of the CEO as a souvenir. Supernatural Karma brings a toy army to provide justice. This episode is scripted by Richard Christian Matheson and is directed by Brian Henson.

The "Crouch End" episode is a tale of an American couple visiting a friend in England and find out their old friend may be far Older and Not From Here at all. It's a near Lovecraft story.

King's power as prolific writer and, more than that, constant moneymaker, has finally over the last few years provided far more control over projects that wind up on television. The recent ABC "Desperation" was a first-rate adaptation. Also, given the success of Showtime's Masters of Horror, fans of King and of the uncanny have much to celebrate.

A Twilight Zone style anthology of King's stories is long overdue and this first effort has more than a small chance of success, and will add some fine storytelling to the summer season.

The official web-site is here, and a breakdown of all the actors and directors (including the "X-Files" Rob Bowman) are all here. And via Stephen's own website is a link-filled listing of all episodes and when they air.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Failure Campaign

Listening to the propaganda that passes for information supplied by candidates and/or commentators is always instructive - at least in learning what is being promoted or demoted.

For a few weeks the only GOP ad for US Senate available in East Tennessee was Bob Corker's mom saying he was a good boy. I'm glad he at least got that endorsement as the primary voting approaches. Now they have added two more spots, one where he says he went with a church group to help build houses and another where a group of unidentified Chattanooga residents express their belief that he was the best mayor they ever had.

Oddly absent from TV despite a decent campaign chest is Van Hilleary -- odd because back when the districts were reorganized in the 90s, Hamblen somehow became part of the 4th District and helped get Van into congress. (Now we're back in the 1st District again.) Yet, apart from a few signs on the roadways, there's not much Van Visibility here.
(NOTE: He just started an ad this afternoon - and like the rest of this post shows, he too joins the battle cry against the current GOP's failure to "secure borders", adds that he will stop their deficit spending, and most strangely adds he will "battle Hillary Clinton every step of the way." How lame to continue to try and trade on the Clinton name, which he does twice in this ad. Though I know there are some Conservatives in this town who place her on the Axis of Evil.)

Ed Bryant has started his TV ads recently, and he echoes the comments he made several years back when he appeared on my radio show - chiefly, that his proudest moment as a congressman was presenting the Clinton impeachment papers to the Senate from the House.

There's been so much more presence on the internet, via all their respective campaign blogs. You can read large amounts of nitpicking and name-calling and you can watch their game of King of the Conservative Hill as it happens. I wonder how many average votes bother with any of that? Seems more the playing field for the Already Committed or the Commentators.

I do find it most amusing they all three proclaim they'll secure our borders from terrorists. Doesn't that mean their fellow Conservative GOP office holders have failed at that job?

It isn't a surprise to hear the Democrat challenger for the Senate, Harold Ford Jr, claim that the current officeholders have failed - that's what I expect from the Other Side.

Borders and immigration are definitely The Issue in this county, judging by the late-June rally that brought out a massive armed law enforcement brigade. (Pics and posts here) And all the attention and actions reinforce this belief that the current officeholders are letting bajillions of anti-American immigrants take over from Texas to Canada.

I often read the Volunteer Voters site or Knox Views to keep up with an ever-growing list of who's endorsing who for what, and again, it looks like right now the battlefield is a binary one.

There are so many GOP and Democrat choices in the upcoming primary for the 1st Congressional District, that it is pretty much a county by county kind of race. One Democrat hopeful is current Morristown City Councilman Rick Trent. Since no Dems have held the 1st District since the 1800s, I doubt there will be anything other than a token opposition to whoever wins the GOP race. It's getting name recognition outside of one county that will determine the winner.

Rick writes on his promo flier: "It's not hard to see that our country is going in the wrong direction. Escalating national debt, the Iraq War, high energy costs and the loss of American jobs are just a few of the issues I would like to tackle as your representative in Washington. If you feel like I do, then together we can get America back on track."

On the GOP side, as I said, the most prominent issue in campaign statements is Broken Borders, Broken Borders, and Broken Borders.

So what I'm hearing loud and clear from both parties is it's time to end the Failure of Current Policies. That claim can be a campaign constant no matter the year, or the race, or the location. But admitting Failure within the GOP seems a tactic that the Democrats should be using to their advantage in 2006.

But since polls rate approval of Congress lower than a bug's belly, then that must mean all parties are running on a Anyone Would Be Better Than What We Got bandwagon.