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 [ Text Menu: Today's Stack of Stuff | Audio | About Ralph | Contact Ralph | Ralph Rant! ]December 22, 2014 

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 Nashville Police hold detailed news conference about deadily shooting
  Metro Police have taken a proactive approach in addressing racial concerns after officers shot and killed a 16-year-old robbery suspect. That teenager, 16-year-old Xavier McDonald, was killed Sunday after he pulled out a pistol and shot an officer. Officer John Downs was struck in the thigh, just below the groin, and is expected to make a full recovery. Metro Police spokesman Don Aarons yesterday released a video of a police sergeant explaining to detectives what happened leading up to the shooting. After what Sgt. Michelle Jones described as a lengthy and often heated negotiation with McDonald, he came out of the restroom and walked out the front door. He had not yet relinquished a possible weapon. A SWAT officer just to the side of the porch fired a TASER in an attempt to bring McDonald into custody. Officials said for some reason one of the prongs of the stun gun did not fire and they were unable to control the teen. They said McDonald then turned toward the direction of the TASER, brandished a gun and fired, hitting Officer Downs, who was standing next to the SWAT officer. Four officers then returned fire, hitting McDonald three to four times. Aaron said the police department wanted to make it clear the circumstances of this incident were vastly different from recent cases of officers shooting and killing teenagers in other parts of the country – most notably, he was armed and he shot a police officer before he was killed.
  Newschannel 5: Police Hold Candid, Detailed Press Conference About Deadly Shooting    

 Haslam to ask legislature to accept Medicaid expansion plan
  Gov. Bill Haslam will ask the legislature to approve an expansion of Medicaid he calls the Insure Tennessee plan to provide health care coverage to tens of thousands of Tennesseans who currently don't qualify for Medicaid or for subsidies when they enroll in Obamacare. "We made the decision in Tennessee nearly two years ago not to expand traditional Medicaid," said Haslam, who decided in March of 2013 not to accept the Medicaid expansion, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that was one part of Obamacare the federal government could not require states to accept. Haslam says his plan “introduces market principles to Medicaid, provides coverage to more than 200,000 low-income Tennesseans at no additional cost to taxpayers, and leverages a payment reform initiative that is working to control healthcare costs and improve the quality of care.” ---Insure Tennessee is a two-year pilot voucher program that provides a fixed subsidy to the costs of a worker’s private market plan. --- As an alternative, eligible individuals may choose to receive coverage through a new program that will introduce “Healthy Incentives for Tennesseans” (HIT) accounts –which can be used to pay for a portion of required member cost-sharing. Members “earn” contributions into their HIT accounts by performing healthy behaviors. The account can then be used to cover copayment expenses. The plan has to be approved by the legislature, which signaled two years ago it would not accept the expansion of Medicaid prescribed by Obamacare, and by the Obama administration as an alternative use of expanded Medicaid dollars under Obamacare. Haslam plans to call a special session in January focused on Medicaid expansion.
  The Tennessean: Haslam to expand Medicaid program in Tennessee    

 Study: Electric car not so green
  A new study finds electric vehicles actually make the air dirtier than gas guzzlers. The key is how the electricity is made. If it’s made from coal, not only do they produce more “heat-trapping carbon dioxide,” that allegedly worsens global warming, the electric cars produce 3.6 times more soot and smog deaths than gas, because of the pollution made in generating the electricity, according to the study that is published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. However, when the power supply comes from natural gas, the all-electric car then produces half as many air pollution and health problems as gas-powered cars do. And if the power comes from wind, water or wave energy, it produces about one-quarter of the air pollution deaths. The study examines environmental costs for cars' entire life cycle, including the source of power and the environmental effects of batteries. The study concludes all-electric vehicles cause 86 percent more deaths from air pollution than do cars powered by regular gasoline.
  AP: Study: Your all-electric car may not be so green    

 Republican governors reshaping welfare
  A growing number of Republican governors are pushing to reshape social-welfare programs with drug testing or other requirements, arguing that the new rules better prepare recipients for employment and assure taxpayers that the benefit money is well spent. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin said he would propose his state join several others in mandating drug screening for people seeking nutrition or cash assistance. Utah Republicans want to require that certain residents allow the state to assist them in finding a job if they want Medicaid benefits. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is proposing Medicaid recipients kick in at least a few dollars a month as a condition for receiving benefits. Critics say the new welfare requirements, particularly drug screening, unfairly target low-income people and are aimed at cutting recipients off the benefit rolls. Walker said his state’s drug-screening plan is intended to ensure that welfare recipients are eligible for work. “I can’t tell you how many employers in transportation, even in construction, certainly in health care and other professions who say, ‘We can’t get people to pass the drug test.’ ” --- Drug-screening rules, the most contentious of the new programs, have disqualified relatively few people from benefits The liberal group Think Progress reported in August “In July, Tennessee began a drug testing program for applicants to the state’s welfare program. Since then, just one person has tested positive out of more than 800.” Other states are reporting similar results, which liberals say disproves the belief that welfare recipients are more likely to use illegal drugs. Republicans counter that such figures show drug testing may be an even more effective deterrent than they thought. ---The state’s new efforts are running into legal and federal roadblocks. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court struck down a 2011 Florida law that required drug screening for people seeking benefits through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, saying the requirement was unconstitutional and that the state hadn’t demonstrated that recipients have more of a drug problem than the general population. This year, the U.S. Agriculture Department blocked a drug-screening requirement in Georgia for the state’s food-stamp program, which it oversees.
  Wall Street Journal: Republican Governors Push to Reshape Welfare Programs    

 New House budget chairman wants debt ceiling fight
  The incoming House Budget Committee chairman says his party could demand steep spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling next year. Georgia congressman Tom Price, during an hour-long briefing with reporters Friday, said the expected mid-2015 debate over whether to raise or suspend the debt ceiling offered Republicans an opportunity to make a sizable imprint on government policy. He said he'd like Republicans to return to a position they held in 2011 that demanded a budget reduction of a dollar for every dollar increase in the debt ceiling. President Obama has adopted the position that he would not negotiate spending cuts as part of debt-ceiling talks, insisting the debt ceiling represents money Congress has already authorized to be spent. The annual deficit has fallen in recent years, from a high of $1.4 trillion in Obama’s first year to about $450 billion this year. Government debt ballooned after the financial crisis, and the country now has around $18 trillion in total debt outstanding. Price said the Republican strategy would likely be hashed out at a House Republican conference retreat in January. He said he would produce a budget that balances in 10 years, something his predecessor, Paul Ryan, did repeatedly, but all of his plans were blocked by the Senate and President. He also said he would continue to propose changes to Medicare that create a "premium support" option, which would allow seniors to purchase private insurance with government stipends as opposed to using the Medicare program – most likely means tested stipends, with less support going to those with more personal wealth or income.
  nasdaq.com: House Budget-Panel Chief: Debt-Ceiling Showdown Possible    

 Obama mulls 'proportional' response for Sony attack, threat
  The U.S. government is looking for ways to retaliate for North Korea’s apparent hacking of Sony Pictures and threatening theaters, but is struggling for an appropriate solution, according to the Wall Street Journal. U.S. officials have evidence that could point to North Korea as directing the attack, but White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the government was still investigating who was responsible and wasn’t prepared to point the finger at any country. Earnest said the U.S. is looking for a “proportional’’ response, and that senior advisers from President Obama ’s intelligence, military and diplomatic teams were having daily meetings about the situation. Washington needs to ensure that not only North Korea is deterred from further provocations but also other nations such as Russia and China, which have far more sophisticated cyber capabilities. “If it turns out we have a state actor attacking corporate America, what is the responsibility of the central government?” said a senior U.S. official. “That question has to be answered.” --- Engaging in a counter-hack could backfire, experts say, in part because the U.S. is able to spy on North Korea by maintaining a foothold on some of its computer systems. A retaliatory cyberstrike could wind up damaging Washington’s ability to spy on Pyongyang, a former intelligence official said. Another former U.S. official said policy makers remain squeamish about deploying cyberweapons against foreign targets. When the U.S. used a computer worm called Stuxnet against Iran’s nuclear program, the virus quickly spread around the Internet and can now be copied. North Korea is already an isolated nation, so there isn’t much more economic pressure the U.S. can bring to bear on them either, these people said. [How about if the govt. just buy the movie from Sony and release it everywhere for free. Put it on You Tube for everyone to see.]
  Wall Street Journal: U.S. Struggles for Response to Sony Hack    

 Gas prices drop below $2 in Nashville
  Gas prices at some stations in Nashville and Wilson County have dropped below $2 a gallon. [I first noticed it at Thorton’s near I-40 and Stewarts Ferry Pike, where the price for regular was $1.99.] Tennessee’s average price is $2.31. The highest recorded average price in Tennessee was in September of 2008 – at $4.12 a gallon.
  The Tennessean: Gas prices expected to drop lower before Christmas    

 Titans close in on No. 1 draft pick
  The Tennessee Titans moved a step closer to securing the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft with a 21-13 loss to the (3-12) Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday night. Tennessee lost its ninth consecutive game and temporarily have the worst record in football –until Sunday when the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers could also go to 2-13 on the season. The Titans play their final game of the season next Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. If the Titans do get the No. 1 pick, will they take Heisman trophy winning QB Marcus Mariota, currently #3 on the NFL Draft Big Board – behind USC Defensive Tackle Leonard Williams and Nebraska Defensive End Randy Gregory? Or will they pick one of those? Or someone else? The first pick of the 2015 NFL Draft will be announced on April 30.
  wkrn.com: Jaguars hold off Titans late, win 21-13 in home finale    

 GOP may stop Obama payment to UN Climate fund
  The Obama administration can expect a battle with the next Congress over its announced $3 billion contribution to the United Nations-affiliated Green Climate Fund, a centerpiece of talks over a new treaty on greenhouse gas emissions held in Lima, Peru, last week. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) is the incoming chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee in the Republican-controlled Senate that will be take office in January, and a vocal skeptic about the administration’s climate policies. “If they think they are going to get all that money for the fund, they’re mistaken,” a senior aide to Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., told Fox News. “You’re going to see us being more aggressive about not sending more money to the U.N. and elsewhere for climate change.” Inhofe He is not a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee that actually decides how U.S. taxpayer money is doled out. But climate skepticism shared with other Republicans, and Inhofe will have more leverage on the issue.
  Fox News: Fight looms over $3 billion Obama administration payment to UN-linked climate fund    

 Obama seeks to normalize relations with Cuba
  President Obama announced Wednesday that he is taking steps to normalize relations with Cuba – a decision the sparked an angry push back from some Republicans, notably Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both first generation Cuban-Americans. Obama said on Wednesday that the United States will end what he called an “outdated approach” with Cuba, and take steps to normalize diplomatic relations -- including opening an embassy in Havana – and asking Congress to normalize trade relations. Obama plans to take several executive actions, including expanding travel and economic ties to the island, as well as start of review of Cuba's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. Obama also has formally directed the State Department to launch talks with Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations, which were cut in 1961. The embassy in Havana would be opened "in the coming months," according to the White House. Obama’s announcement came after American Alan Gross was released after spending five years in prison in Cuba. Gross was freed, as part of an agreement that included the release of three Cubans jailed in the U.S. Officials said the Cuban government was also releasing 53 political prisoners. Republicans lawmaker condemned the move as capitulation. “The White House has conceded everything and gained little,” Rubio said. “They gained no commitment on the part of the Cuban regime to freedom of press or freedom of speech, elections. No binding commitment was made to truly open up the Internet. No commitment was made to allowing the establishment of political parties or even to begin the semblance of a transition to a democracy.” Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., another Cuban-American lawmaker, also criticized Obama’s move. "President Obama's actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government," said Menendez. He added, "Trading Mr. Gross for three convicted criminals sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips."
  Fox News: US, Cuba seek to normalize relations after Alan Gross released    

Lamar dodges amnesty question
  July 28, 2014 - The audio version of a Ralph Rant by the same name.
Rafael Cruz to rally Nashville Tea party crows
  July 16, 2014 - Pastor Rafael Cruz, father of Sen. Ted Cruz, prepares for his starring role in the Nashville Tea Party "We the people" rally.
Laura Ingraham to stump for Carr in Nashville
  July 16, 2014 - National talk show host Laura Ingraham discusses why she's coming to Nashville next week to stump for Joe Carr in his race against Lamar Alexander.
Carr defends Haslam against 'lying' charge
  April 4, 2014 - Rep. Joe Carr to VW. If you have proof Haslam has gone "all Sopranos' on you, have the courage to come forth yourself.
'Minimum'is not 'living'
  March 27, 2014 - This is for those who believe they are "stuck" in a minimum wage job, and think a higher minimum wage is the solution.
What is a free market?
  March 17, 2014 - Everyone talks about the free market, but exactly what is it?
Organized business v. Common Core Opponents
  March 17, 2014 - Here's my analysis of the campaign by organized business to protect Common Core.
Rep. Mathew Hill updates fight to repeal Common Core
  March 14, 2014 - Rep. Mathew Hill (R-Jonesborough)discusses the floor fight in the Tennessee House over Common Core, and where the fight goes next.
Looney defends Common Core
  March 14, 2014 - Williamson County School Supt. Dr. Mike Looney defends Common Core, even as he professes ambivalence about the program. He begins by answering that some central planning of the economy, and education, is beneficial.
Womick leads 'war on core'
  Mar. 11, 2014 - Rep. Rick Womick (R-Rutherford Co.) takes questions about his effort to repeal the Common Core education standards - with Common Core supporter Mark Hill, chief policy officer with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, joining the discussion about half-way through the program.
Mr. Obama, tear down these walls
  Jan. 31, 2014 - Here's a "reenactment" of my rally rant on the occasion of President Obama's visit to Nashville.
Carr accuses Lamar of protecting Obamacare
  Jan. 24, 2014 - State Rep. Joe Carr, running for U.S. Senate against Lamar Alexander, accuses the senior senator from Tennessee of siding with the defenders of Obamacare.
Sen. Stacy Campfield - Is Lamar in trouble
  Dec. 4, 2013 - State Sen. Stacy Campfield of Knoxville discusses why he thinks Sen. Lamar Alexander is running scared.
Matheny seeks 'vertical' ammunition industry in Tennessee
  Nov. 26, 2013 - Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma) discusses the heightened Congressional interest in the problem of terrorists coming to the U.S. through our refugee program. He also introduces the prospect of recruiting a "vertical" ammunition industry in the state, to "guarantee ammunition to Tennesseans for generations to come."
RNC plots to squeeze out South
  Nov. 5, 2013 - A Daily Beast report makes it sound like the RNC is trying to squeeze Southern voters out of the presidential selection process. Listen and see if this makes sense to you.
Lamar ad - what he should have said
  Nov. 15, 2013 - A few people wanted to hear this again.
Matheny leads refugee cost investigation
  Oct. 2, 2013 - Rep. Judd Matheny of Tullahoma, chairman of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee, discusses the fiscal, security and federalism issues surrounding a large population of refugees from war-torn Muslim countries.
Black, Blackburn balk at Obamacare defunding plan
  Sept. 13, 2013 - Middle Tennessee Rep. Diane Black and Marsha Blackburn are not on board with a "shutdown showdown" with President Obama over funding for Obamacare.
Taxation Townhall highlight
  April 12, 2010 - Author, historian William Federer was a big hit at our Taxation Townhall Meeting on April 9th, 2010 . Here's his 3-minute lesson on the history of concentrated power. [I'm re-posting by popular demand.]
Obama v. Obama - on red lines
  Sept. 4, 2013 - No need to elaborate.
Gowdy says public, media needed for scandal justice
  Sept. 3, 2013 - South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor, discusses the Obama administration scandals and Obama's plan to bomb Syria. He strongly suggests Congress needs more compelling witnesses and media interest for justice to be served in the scandals - and he's very skeptical of a national interest in Syria sufficient to put American lives at risk.
DeMint argues for Obamacare defunding plan
  Aug. 9, 2013 - Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation, in the first of two live interviews, argues the plan to defund Obamacare is the last, best chance and only workable plan to stop or repeal the President's signature healthcare law, which DeMint believes is uniquely destructive to America.
Heritage Action locks horns with Corker
  Aug. 7, 2013 - Heritage Action spokesman Dan Holler rebuts Sen. Bob Corker's position that efforts to defund Obamacare are "silly" and "political."
Corker dismisses Obamacare defunding effor as political
  Aug. 7. 2013 - Sen. Bob Corker called into the program Weds. morning and continued the running debate over efforts to defund Obamacare.
The AMP - an experiment in public transporation
  Aug 3, 2013 - A Nashville's Morning News report and analysis on the issues involving a proposed Bus rapid transit system, The AMP, which would dramatically effect traffic and business on one of Nashville's busiest city streets. And that's just the beginning. [long download][runs 23 minutes]
Ralph Rant: Get to the 'top' of this
  May 22, 2013 - To preserve the Republic, Republicans in Congress cannot stop until they get, not "to the bottom of this," but "to the top of this."
ABC Analyst: IRS decision goes close to Obama
  May 21, 2013 - ABC political analyst Trey Hardin talks about his blunt assestment of the origin of the IRS scandal. “I can say with a very strong degree of certainty that people very close to the president not only knew but authorized that,” said Hardin, and much more.
Opponents rise against BRT
  May 15, 2013 - In this premeditated Ralph Rant, I break the news of a new group that has formed to oppose Nashvill'e planned Bus Rapid Transit on West End Ave.
Rick Williams, BRT opponent, speaks out
  May 15, 2013 - Rick Williams is a member of the steering committee for TNResponsibleTransit, the group opposing the planned Nashville Bus Rapid Transit on West End Avenue. You can reach him at TNResponsibleTransit@gmail.com. This is the group's debut media interview - in its new campaign to stop BRT.
Tennessee Tea Party leaders respond to IRS scandal
  May 13, 2013 - Ben Cunningham, founder of the Nashville Tea Party and Mark West, President of the Chattanooga Tea Party, respond to the IG report that busts the IRS for targeting Tea Party Groups for harassment in 2011, prior to the 2012 election.
Sen. Rand Paul on guns, immigration, taxes
  April 18, 2013 - U.S. Sen. Rand Paul discusses the failed gun bill, the immigration reform bill ahead, and the right strategy on taxes.
Leahy launches 'The Real Conservative National Committee'
  April 4, 2014 - Author, Breitbart correspondent and tea party activist Michal Patrick Leahy discusses a new organization formed to improve the ground game needed to help elect more conserative candidates to Congress, starting in 2014 with the GOP primary for U.S. Senate
Alexander on coal regs - Round 2
  June 14, 2012 - Sen. Alexander returns to respond to some of the reaction to his stand on new coal plant regulations.
Alexander defends coal regulations, says he will run again
  June 13, 2012 - Sen. Lamar Alexander defends his stand in favor of new coal plant regulations - explains why he belives Medicaid is to blame for higher college tuition - and says he intends to run for reelection in 2014.
Exclusive: The first hand account of "The Last Man to Die"
  May 11, 2012 - A 92-year-old Cookeville, TN WWII veteran solves a 67-year secret behind one of the most famous WWII photographs.

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Ralph Bristol is a 30-year veteran of radio and TV broadcasting. He is a US Air Force veteran and holds a BS degree from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Ralph was a radio and TV reporter, anchor and news director in Missouri and Illinois before joining WORD Radio in Greenville/Spartanburg, SC in 1995.

In the spring of 2007, Supertalk 99.7 WWTN beckoned Ralph to Nashville. Ralph defies political labels, and has no partisan loyalties, but can best be described as a libertarian/conservative. Ralph writes and speaks extensively on education, tax and economic issues. In his spare time, Ralph terrorizes golf courses, invents useful things with sharp tools and dead wood, and entertains audiences with irreverent humor and contrarian insight. Invite him to speak to your group at your own risk.