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 [ Text Menu: Today's Stack of Stuff | Audio | About Ralph | Contact Ralph | Ralph Rant! ]September 18, 2014 
House approves Obama's ISIS strategy
  The House on Wednesday easily approved with bipartisan support a bill authorizing President Obama to train and equip Syrian opposition forces to counter the growing threat of the Islamic State terrorist organization even though lawmakers in both parties remain deeply skeptical about its chances for success. In more than six hours of debate, spread over two days, very few House lawmakers offered full-throated endorsement of the Obama plan. Every ideological corner of the House found reason to doubt the mission. Despite bipartisan skepticism, the House voted 273-156 Wednesday to insert an amendment that authorizes Obama’s plans into a short-term spending bill that will keep the federal government operating through mid-December. The yes votes included 159 Republicans and 114 Democrats, while 85 Democrats and 71 Republicans voted against the amendment. The Senate is expected to follow suit tomorrow, before Congress goes home until after the November election.

Washington Post: Amid skepticism, House approves Obama’s Iraq-Syria military strategy
Kerry faces skeptical Senators
  It was Secretary of State John Kerry’s turn Wednesday to try to sell President Obama’s ISIS plan to wary U.S. Senators – most of who will vote for the plan even though they don’t believe it will work. Lawmakers questioned the commitments made by allies and if the Syrian groups were strong enough to defeat ISIS. Kerry repeated the Obama position that Iraq and Syrian ground forces will be up to the task. "At this moment no country has been asked to put boots on the ground,” said Kerry. “We don't think it's a good idea right now." Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), ranking Republican on the committee. "It doesn't seem real to me," Corker said. "We know that [the moderate Syrian opposition] cannot take on [ISIS]." Corker said it could take years to build up Syrian rebels to take on the terrorist group. Kerry insisted that the U.S. had the support of some Arab countries, which he said was essential to avoid framing the fight as one between the west and Islam.

The Hill: Kerry: US ‘will not go it alone’ against ISIS
Australia thwarts ISIS beheading plot
  Australian counterterrorism forces detained 15 people Thursday in a series of suburban raids after receiving intelligence that the Islamic State movement was planning public beheadings in two Australian cities to demonstrate its reach. About 800 federal and state police officers raided more than a dozen properties across 12 Sydney suburbs as part of the operation. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the plan involved kidnapping randomly selected members of the public off the streets in Sydney and Brisbane, beheading them on camera, and releasing the recordings through Islamic State's propaganda arm in the Middle East. Australia has estimated about 60 of its citizens are fighting for ISIS and the Nusra Front in Iraq and Syria. The government has said it believes about 100 Australians are actively supporting extremist groups from within Australia, recruiting fighters and grooming suicide bomber candidates as well as providing funds and equipment.

Fox News: Australia raids foil reported ISIS beheading plots
TN College officials concerned about enrollment decline
  Some higher education officials are anxious about a drop in enrollment this year – and they fear the worst is yet to come because of Governor Haslem’s Tennessee Promise, which – starting next fall -- will allow students to attend state community colleges for free. Nashville Public Radio reports MTSU suffered a 5 percent enrollment drop this fall – and will have to trim its teaching staff as a result. NPR quotes University Provost Brad Bartel saying there will be at least $3 million cut from academic affairs, which hires instructors. Steve Morris, the Political Science Department Chair, said “Many of us envision that’s it’s going to have a dramatic effect, and so enrollment will continue to be a challenge.” ---[I can’t share Mr. Morris’ concerns. I believe when Gov. Haslam sold Tennessee Promise, he did so partly as a program that allows taxpayers and students to get more education for their money. I take Mr. Morris’ anxiety as a confirmation of that promise. Gov. Haslam predicts enrollment numbers will increase over time because of Tennessee Promise -- as more students attend school and transfer to continue their degrees. MTSU Enrollment Decline Causes Funding Cuts, Worries About Tennessee Promise
Opinion: War on poverty a 'colossal flop'
  A long-time critic of the welfare state writes this week that the war on poverty has been a “colossal flop.” Robert Rector, a senior research fellow for the Heritage Foundation, writes in the Daily Signal that on this 50th anniversary of former President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty, the poverty rate has not declined, but the poor are receiving nearly a trillion dollars a year through 80 poverty programs, allowing most of the poor to have most of the common conveniences of the middle class – without rising out of poverty. Rector writes: “Johnson sought to increase self-sufficiency, the ability of a family to support itself out of poverty without dependence on welfare aid. Johnson asserted that the War on Poverty would actually shrink the welfare rolls and transform the poor from “taxeaters” into “taxpayers.” Judged by that standard, the War on Poverty has been a colossal flop. The welfare state has undermined self-sufficiency by discouraging work and penalizing marriage. Rather than doubling down on the mistakes of the past, we should restructure the welfare state around Johnson’s original goal: increasing Americans capacity for self-support.” The War on Poverty Has Been a Colossal Flop
Cardinal running back benched after assault charges
  Another day, another NFL running back on a police blotter for assault. Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested Wednesday in Phoenix on charges of aggravated assault. Polic say the 25-year-old Dwyer was booked in the Maricopa County Jail in connection with two incidents in July involving a woman and their 18-month-old son. The charges included aggravated assault causing a fracture and aggravated assault involving a minor. The Cardinals benched Dwyer upon learning of the incident. The team said in a statement, "Given the serious nature of the allegations we have taken the immediate steps to deactivate Jonathan from all team activities.” Dwyer was the third NFL player to get benched for facing charges of violent behavior as the league struggles to deal with domestic-violence incidents involving players.

Wall Street Journal: Cardinals Running Back Jonathan Dwyer Arrested on Assault Charges
Alexander to debate Ball
  U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who would not debate Joe Carr during the GOP primary campaign, said Wednesday he will appear at a forum to debate Democratic challenger Gordon Ball at a forum in Cookeville next month. "I have accepted an invitation from the Tennessee Farm Bureau for a candidate forum at Tennessee Tech University," Alexander said. "This will be a good opportunity to remind Tennesseans that my opponent is just one more vote for Barack Obama's agenda, and that a vote for me is a vote for a new Senate majority that will lead the country in a different and more conservative direction." Ball also plans to attend the event, spokeswoman Trace Sharp said. The Knoxville attorney, who won a four-man Democratic primary last month. The Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation invited Alexander and Ball on Wednesday to appear at a "meet-the-candidate forum" Oct. 16 — the day after early voting starts across the state — from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Tennessee Tech's Hyder-Burks Pavilion.

The Tennessean: Is it a debate? Alexander, Ball to appear together at Farm Bureau forum
Apple iOS 8 to lock out police
  Apple said Wednesday night that it is making it impossible to turn over data from most iPhones or iPads to police — even when they have a search warrant — taking a new hard line to blunt allegations that tech companies have too readily participated in government efforts to collect user information. The new privacy policy is tied to the release of Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 8. Apple has reworked its latest encryption in a way that prevents the company — or anyone but the device’s owner — from gaining access to the vast troves of user data typically stored on smartphones or tablet computers. The key is the encryption that Apple mobile devices automatically put in place when a user selects a passcode, making it difficult for anyone who lacks that passcode to access the information within, including photos, e-mails and recordings. Apple once maintained the ability to unlock some content on devices for legally binding police requests but will no longer do so for iOS 8, it said in the new privacy policy. The move will thrill privacy activists and frustrate law enforcement officials, who have come to rely on the extensive evidence often found on personal electronic devices. Ronald T. Hosko, former head of the FBI’s criminal investigative division, called the move by Apple “problematic,” saying it will contribute to the steady decrease of law enforcement’s ability to collect key evidence — to solve crimes and prevent them. Adding more security can make it harder for users to operate a mobile device. People who forget their passcodes with iOS 8 will not be able to recover them by contacting Apple. However, most users will have the bulk of their data automatically backed up on iCloud and would be able to restore their phones, although not before wiping them of all user data.

Washington Post: Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants
Sounds divorce Milwaukee Brewers
  The Nashville Sounds have reportedly ended their partnership with the Milwaukee Brewers. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin called the separation “very disappointing,” according to Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We gave them 10 years there. A number of times we had a chance to move and we were patient with them. I haven't talked to their owner yet. I talked to him a few days ago and he said they still didn't know,” said Melvin, who added that he was “Just disappointed they wouldn't have given us two years for what we put up with there,” referring to the poor conditions of Greer Stadium. The Sounds have been affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers since 2005. A report on quotes Nashville Sounds owner Frank Ward saying the Sounds followed the “very strict rules as set forth by Major League Baseball when it comes to investigating the possibility of reaffiliation," He added, “When it came time for us to have the opportunity to talk to other teams, we decided to do what we felt was best for our franchise and for the city of Nashville with respect to winning baseball.” The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that the Oakland A's would be interested in moving their affiliation to Nashville. The Sounds have an Oct. 7 deadline to settle on a Triple-A agreement. Nashville Sounds end affiliation with Milwaukee Brewers
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 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.