Monday, December 28, 2009


I trust that everyone of us enjoyed a meaningful Christmas in 2009 and, upon reflection and taking stock of our lives, are looking forward to a happy (and prosperous) New Year. Christmas should always be a time of faith, family, and love, and I hope that your Christmas found all of these elements in place.

I received several interesting and valued gifts for Christmas, but two books that I received stand out: Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue”; and “Kings of Tort”, by Alan Lange and Tom Dawson. Since none of our three children or six grandchildren were with us on Christmas Day, and because Beverly had a touch nausea (probably because of too much pre-Christmas travel, cooking, present-wrapping and anticipation of after-Christmas visits), I spent much of the day reading “Kings of Tort” – a very detailed account of recent events which exposed sordid tales of judicial bribery and corruption, and political intrigue within the Mississippi judicial system, and which were covered extensively by the national media outlets. As stated on the book’s back cover, “Kings of Tort”…”features the story of Dickie Scruggs, who was largely credited with bringing down Big Tobacco in the early 1990s. From his ascent to a net worth of nearly a billion dollars to his seemingly unfathomable downfall stemming from his role in improperly influencing two local judges to influence cases involving fee disputes with other lawyers, the book documents how those in Scruggs’s own trusted circle of tort barons turned on him and cooperated with federal authorities. It also shows the political influence he wielded with judges, attorneys general, and even his own brother-in-law, former U.S. Senator Trent Lott.”

When I first heard that “Kings of Tort” was to be published, my initial thought was that the book would simply be bringing up old, painful news that most Mississippians would like to leave in the past, particularly since it dealt with public officials and public figures (and their families) that had been friends and colleagues of many of us. However, after reading the first gripping pages which recounted the actual FBI-wired conversations between attorney Tim Balducci and Dickie Scruggs; and the conversations between Balducci and Dickie’s two young associates (Zach Scruggs and Sidney Backstrum); as well as the account of how the attempted bribery of Judge Henry Lackey actually took place, I knew that “Kings of Tort” was an important work

Lange, who operates one of the largest political websites in the southeast, and Dawson, a 36-year veteran federal prosecutor who served as lead counsel in the investigation and prosecution of the Scruggs cases, have presented us with an important work because their book chronicles several serious attempts to corrupt the judicial system of one of America’s fifty states, and all of these attempts (some of which were successful) were full scale attacks on the rule of law – the glue that holds together our ability to function as a nation.

I strongly recommend “Kings of Tort” as a “must read” for all Americans who are interested in maintaining the rule of law in our great country and do not subscribe to the theory that “the ends justify the means” when attempting to bring about social change or accomplish some otherwise noble goal.

I will have more to say about “Kings of Tort” and Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue” in the coming weeks. All of us are interested in the great issues that confront us each day on the news from Washington – the health care debate, for example. There will be time enough to discuss those issues in the days ahead, but in my opinion we can learn much from an analysis of our recent history as seen through these two important books.

Happy New Year, everybody.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


In my last Post (The Blue Dogs – Part II), I posed the following questions:

Does the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition in the United States House of Representatives, including Congressmen Travis Childers (MS-1) and Gene Taylor (MS-4), serve some legitimate purpose that is good for America?

Do the Blue Dogs, regardless of their claim that they are for lowering the national debt, simply “facilitate” the activities of their extremely liberal Democrat Leaders in the House of Representatives, allow those leaders to hold on to power in the Congress, and also allow them to continue their reckless onslaught on the American Free Enterprise System ( in the same sense that a person who continues to make drinks available to a known alcoholic “facilitates” the alcoholic’s dependence on liquor)?

Do the Blue Dogs really serve as a check against their national Democrat leaders, such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or do we have the Blue Dogs to thank for the present liberal array of House of Representatives Committee Chairmen that are dedicated to a massive restructuring of our federal government and increased government control of our daily lives?

In considering these questions, we must first define a few terms. According to WEBSTER’S NEW WORLD DICTIONARY (Second College Ed.), the term “facilitate” is defined as “to make easy or easier”. The term “facilitation” means “increased ease of performance of any action”; and a “faciliter” is one that makes another’s job or performance easier.” On the other hand, one who is in “complicity” with another, according to WEBSTER, is a “participant”, or “in partnership in wrongdoing”.

Based on a casual glance at the website of THE BLUEDOG COALITION, its leaders proudly boast that the coalition has injected a “moderate” viewpoint into the Democratic Caucus in the United States House of Representatives; and that since 1996, “24 Blue Dogs won their seats by defeating a Republican incumbent.” There is no doubt that the efforts of populist Democrats to unseat conservative Republicans in diverse Congressional Districts have hurt the efforts of The Republican Party to maintain working control of the House of Representatives, but there is little evidence, if any, to show that the Blue Dog Democrats have had any significant effect on the liberal agenda of their Party. Instead, the evidence is crystal clear that these Blue Dogs have done little more for their country than to cast their votes for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House of Representatives. They are then routinely ignored by their Party leaders unless their votes are needed in close party-line votes to support the agenda of the Speaker, although some have been effective in bringing home large amounts of “pork” for their Congressional Districts, thereby ironically increasing the national debt.

Just as a “friends” or others often feed the habit or desires of one inflicted with the disease of alcoholism, the Blue Dog Democrats routinely feed the excessive desires and spending habits (and support the pacifist views) of their national Democrat leaders in Washington by continually voting to keep them in power in the Congress. Our mothers always told us that we are known by the company we keep. Travis Childers, Gene Taylor, and the other members of the Blue Dog Coalition keep company with Nancy Pelosi and her extremely liberal House Committee Chairmen, as well as with Joe Biden and Barack Obama. They should not be allowed to successfully talk the conservative talk at home in the 2010 congressional elections, when they vote to support their Party leaders who are trying to create a new world order and walk the liberal walk in Washington.

Monday, December 7, 2009


As was stated in the last installment of this blog, Wikipedia tells us that the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition is “a group of 53 moderate and conservative Democrats committed to financial and national security, favoring compromise and bipartisanship over ideology and party discipline.” But are they really committed to financial and national security? And do they really favor compromise and bipartisanship over ideology and party discipline? Or are they perpetrating a massive hoax and posturing to convince the electorate that they are something that they are not? Are they really sailing under false colors in order to save their political skins in demographically diverse congressional districts?

Mississippi Democrat Congressman Travis Childers (MS-1) certainly hopes that his constituents view him as “bipartisan” and favoring compromise over ideology and party discipline. When he campaigned in a special election a year ago to succeed Roger Wicker (who was appointed United States Senator by Governor Barbour to replace the retiring Trent Lott), Childers worked hard in Mississippi’s First Congressional District to portray himself as a populist in the mold of one of his earlier predecessors, Democrat Congressman Jamie Whitten, who was Chairman of the powerful House of Representatives Appropriations Committee during Mississippi’s “one-party days” when there was no viable Republican Party in the State. Whitten often boasted that he could “bring home the bacon” for Mississippians with projects such as the mega-expensive Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, which was envisioned at the time as destined to bring thousands of new jobs to the economically depressed northeastern region of the Magnolia State and other regions of the country as well.

Since Childers’ election after a nasty Republican Primary that left Republicans divided in a conservative district that has voted consistently for Republicans in past national elections, he has publicly stressed his independence from The Democrat Party’s national leadership and has tried to position himself, although a Democrat, as not subservient to party discipline in matters’ such as health care, that are of importance to his district.

Mississippi’s First Congressional District is racially diverse. While a substantial majority of its voters are white, middle class and blue collar, and live in the northeastern portion of Mississippi in the foothills of Appalachia, a substantial portion of its citizens are African-Americans, many of whom live farther west in the flat lands of the Mississippi Delta along Highway 61, the famous “Blues Highway”.

In winning his election last year, Childers cobbled together enough voters from the predominantly white and conservative eastern portion of his District to go with his far more liberal constituency from the Mississippi Delta. Many Republicans, bitterly divided after a bloody primary battle, stayed home and did not vote in the general election. Whether Congressman Childers can hold his coalition together in the 2010 Congressional Elections, in the aftermath of the tumultuous events that have taken place at the national level under the leadership of President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress, remains to be seen.

Next week, we will discuss whether Blue Dog Democrats such as Congressman Childers serve some legitimate purpose when they present themselves as “bipartisan” and as “conservative Democrats”. Is the Blue Dog Coalition good for America, or are the Blue Dogs simply “facilitators” that allow the extremely liberal national Democrat leadership to hold on to power in the Congress? Are they really conservative Democrat Dogs that are left out in the cold by their colleagues and turn blue in the process? Or are they really wolves in Blue Dog clothing? We will draw some conclusions, based upon the evidence, in our next installment (The Blue Dogs – Part III).

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