Cagle’s short takes: Pork and spies and guns and football

Frank CagleFrank Talk

Pork barrel: A total of $4 million has been discovered secreted in the state budget available for state grants for legislative districts. Back during the controversial vote for a school-voucher bill, legislators said they were offered inducements for their district if they voted for the bill. Inquiring minds want to know if there’s a connection.


Frank Cagle

  • The fund came to light when state Rep. Matthew Hill R-Jonesborough, got a grant of $75,000 for Isaiah 17 House. Hill had been a voucher opponent but he joined then-Speaker Glen Casada’s leadership team to push the bill last session.
  • Other legislators seem to be unaware that the grants existed.
  • Lt. Gov. Randy McNally said he opposes pork projects and new House Speaker Cameron Sexton says the lack of transparency was troubling.
  • Gov. Bill Lee said the grants wouldn’t be given out this year.
  • Casada, not surprisingly, came out with a strong statement in support of the grants and said to call the money pork was “a slap in the face.”

Draw your own conclusion.

That’s just crazy: Boy, what a choice we had in the presidential election of 2016. There are a lot of people who think President Trump is unhinged. This past week we got a sample of the weirdness of the other candidate. Hillary Clinton is still trying to blame the Russians for her being a bad candidate.

She called third-party candidate Jill Stein a “Russian asset.” Her theory is that it was the Russians on Facebook that led to Stein getting votes that were hers.

Clinton says a Democratic candidate running in this election is being groomed by the Russians to run as a third-party candidate, evidently a repeat of the “Stein effect.” I guess Ralph Nader was a Russian plant when he took votes away from Al Gore in 2000. I guess Clinton forgets if third-party candidate Ross Perot hadn’t taken votes from George H.W. Bush, she and Bill would be living in a trailer park somewhere in Arkansas.

It was obvious from her description that Clinton is accusing Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of being groomed by the Russians. Really? A woman who is a major in the National Guard and is an Iraq war veteran? The evidence of her being a Russian plant is that she thinks “regime change” wars like Libya and Iraq and Syria are a bad idea and she wants to bring our troops home. Well, Vladimir Putin would like to see us pull troops out, so there’s your proof. You know who else has often said we should bring our troops home from the Middle East? Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

The media and the political class are invested in picking among Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. They try and ignore Gabbard and Amy Klobuchar, the two candidates most likely to win over independents and Never Trumpers to vote Democratic. David Brooks, a center-right Republican columnist for the New York Times, writes about homeless Republicans. They don’t want to vote for Trump, but there is no way they will vote for a socialist like Warren or Sanders.

Hillary Clinton’s attacks on Gabbard have raised Gabbard’s profile and likely helped her. It certainly didn’t help Clinton. She ought to emulate Gore. Go find something else to do and shut up.

Housing controversy? There is a proposal to build housing for the homeless on green space by Caswell Park in East Knoxville, and the neighborhood objects. There might be a solution. I would suggest that, since some homeless people are mentally ill and Lakeshore Park used to be the site of a mental health facility, just build the housing for the homeless there.

I guess I should apologize to the people in the 37919 zip code who just spit coffee into their keyboard.

Bad news: The most depressing headline from last week? It was “Can Tennessee hold Alabama to fewer than 50 points?” That’s what passes for optimism these days. Turns out the Vols can hold them to 35, if Alabama’s Heisman candidate quarterback gets knocked out of the game.

Sanctuary: The latest fad is small towns and counties around East Tennessee declaring themselves sanctuaries. No, they aren’t havens for illegal immigrants. They are declaring themselves “gun sanctuaries.” You pass a resolution that says no local funds or local resources can be used to restrict Second Amendment rights should the federal government or the liberals in the Republican super majority in Nashville decide to pass any gun control legislation. The Standard Banner newspaper reports that the town of Dandridge and Loudon, Blount and Polk counties have approved the resolutions thus far.

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