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 [ Text Menu: Today's Stack of Stuff | Audio | About Ralph | Contact Ralph | Ralph Rant! ]August 29, 2014 
Haslam to submit Medicaid expansion plan
  Gov. Bill Haslam said on Thursday that he plans to send federal health officials a proposal this fall for expanding Medicaid in Tennessee. Tennessee is one of 26 states that did not expand Medicaid as prescribed by Obamacare, after the Supreme Court ruled that states could not be forced to accept the law’s new eligibility standards. Haslam said in 2013 he would not ask the legislature to expand Medicaid, but suggested he might one day propose a “Tennessee Plan” to expand eligibility. In the meantime, Medicaid roles have increased by nearly 54,000 (over 4%) from the so-called “woodwork” effect. That is, people who were already eligible, but not enrolled are now enrolled because of the law’s personal mandate – that everyone have insurance or pay a tax. Estimates project that that Medicaid expansion in Tennessee would cover an additional 180,000 people. Haslam told reporters Thursday he requested that Health and Human Services (HHS) officials send Tennessee a recommended course of action. “They never really came back with anything, so we’re proceeding,” Haslam said. He will likely meet a reluctant GOP legislature, loathe to enact any part of Obamacare that they are not forced to accept, but the legislature has also likely softened since the last General Assembly – in part because of emerging complaints from people who neither qualify for Medicaid nor subsidies to buy private insurance because they fall in the income range covered by Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Since the law envisioned them being covered by Medicaid, they are not covered by subsidies, even though many people with higher incomes are. Gov. Haslam Says He’s Sending Medicaid Expansion Plan To Obama Officials This Fall
Obama: 'We don't have a strategy' for ISIS
  President Obama on Thursday downplayed the prospect of any imminent U.S. airstrikes in Syria, saying military advisers are still reviewing options for confronting Islamic State militants in the region. At the same time, the president bluntly ruled out U.S. military action for dealing with Russian incursions into eastern Ukraine. "We are not taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem," Obama said. The president addressed both crises from the White House briefing room late Thursday afternoon. In recent days, Republican and Democrat lawmakers have demanded that Obama put the U.S. strategy for targeting the Islamic State to a vote on Capitol Hill. Obama said Thursday "we don't have a strategy yet" and tamped down any speculation that the country is about to go "full scale on an elaborate strategy" in the Middle East. He indicated that for the time being, the U.S. will continue to conduct airstrikes in northern Iraq and humanitarian missions, while working politically and diplomatically to "cobble together" a coalition for whatever the long-term strategy is. To that end, he said he is sending Secretary of State John Kerry to the region to build a "coalition" to confront the threat. -- Amid speculation over whether the U.S. would ever partner with Bashar Assad to fight ISIS on the Syrian side of the border, Obama reiterated his view that "Assad's lost legitimacy." He said the U.S. would continue to support the "moderate opposition" in the country, giving people a choice other than just Assad or ISIS.

Fox News: Hitting the Brakes? Obama downplays prospect of imminent strikes in Syria
Terrorists fight civil war among selves in Syria
  (Fox News reports) The civil war in Syria has spawned another civil war in the global jihadist movement, with the Islamic State and the Al Qaeda group, al Nusra, emerging as sworn enemies. Islamic militants who poured into Syria to help the Free Syrian Army (the so-called moderate rebel group) in its bid to topple dictator Bashar Assad are now fighting Assad and each other in a barbaric free-for-all. At the center is the split between Al Qaeda’s regional affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, and the newly emerged Islamic State, or ISIS, which are fighting each other on the battlefield and in the PR war for recruits to the cause of Islamic terrorism. Al Nusra claims to be the kinder and gentler of the two terror groups. Last week, Al-Nusra released a video saying “We have come to fight (Syria's soldiers) so that we can impose Allah’s laws on the country. We have not come to oppress people, steal from people, or take their property.” The al Qaeda disavowal sparked some defections, as some fighters were eager to avenge ISIS assassinations of their comrades, but ISIS is attracting a younger, bolder generation of jihadists who support leader al Baghdadi’s idea of seizing territory and carving out a jihadist caliphate. They want their own state and have tired of Al Qaeda’s traditional approach of gradualism.

Fox News: Fighting in Syria spawns separate civil war in global jihadist movement
Russia invades Ukraine
  Russia appears to have mounted a full-scale invasion of eastern Ukraine. Two columns of Russian tanks entered Ukraine Thursday forcing overpowered border guards to retreat. A top NATO official said Thursday that at least 1,000 Russian troops have poured into Ukraine with sophisticated equipment and have been in direct "contact" with Ukrainian soldiers, resulting in casualties. Brig. Gen. Nico Tak told reporters at NATO headquarters that the ultimate aim of Russia was to stave off defeat for the separatists and turn eastern Ukraine into a "frozen conflict" that would destabilize the country "indefinitely. A leader of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine reportedly has admitted that thousands of Russians have been fighting alongside his troops. However, he also insisted they were either former Russian service members or current military personnel on leave – and that they came to the fight voluntarily and not on orders from superiors in Moscow. [How about the tanks? Did they just borrow those from the Russian Army when they went on leave?]

Fox News: Two columns of Russian tanks enter Ukraine as border guards retreat
Putin offers fig leaf after invasion
  Russia's President Vladimir Putin (Mr. Nice Guy) on Friday called on pro-Russian separatists to release Ukrainian soldiers who have been surrounded by the rebels in eastern Ukraine. Putin's statement came several hours after Ukraine accused Russia of entering its territory with tanks, artillery and troops. Putin did not address the claims about Russia's military presence in Ukraine. Instead, he lauded the pro-Russian separatists whom he described as "insurgents" for "undermining Kiev's military operation, and urged them to “open a humanitarian corridor for Ukrainian troops who were surrounded in order to avoid senseless deaths.” Putin may have been trying to quiet Russian markets, which dropped on reports of Russia's apparent invasion in Ukraine, sparking investors' fears of further economic sanctions directed at Moscow. The ruble lost 1.4 percent against the dollar and the MICEX benchmark shed 1.6 percent. Russia's Putin urges release of Ukrainian soldiers
Obama delays immigration action, preps legal case
  President Obama will delay any further action on immigration, because “a host of national security crises (not golf and fundraising) have pushed the announcement back,” the AP reports. As the self-imposed, end-of-summer deadline to act gets pushed back, Obama's lawyers are busy crafting a legal rationale they believe will survive any court challenges. The argument goes something like this: Beyond failing to fix broken immigration laws (what law is broken?), Congress hasn't even provided the government with enough resources to fully enforce the laws already on the books. With roughly 11.5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally — (which they say is) far more than the government could reasonably deport — the White House believes it has wide latitude to prioritize which of those individuals should be sent home. --- But Republicans, too, are exploring their legal options for stopping Obama from what they've deemed egregious presidential overreaching. -- Obama's goal had been to announce his decision around Labor Day, before leaving on a trip next week to Estonia and Wales. But a host of national security crises have pushed the announcement back, likely until after Obama returns, said the officials, who weren't authorized to comment by name. White House preps legal case for immigration shift
Obama punishes Oklahoma for ditching Common Core
  President Obama has brought the hammer down on Oklahoma for abandoning the national academic standards known as Common Core. The Obama's administration on Thursday stripped Oklahoma of authority to decide how to spend $29 million in education funding, a rebuke that a union official said could lead to teacher layoffs. The U.S. Department of Education said it was hitting Oklahoma with the sanction under the No Child Left Behind Act because the state could no longer demonstrate that its school standards were preparing students for college and careers. Following the announcement, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin blasted the president for the decision and said Oklahoma would fight vigorously. "It is outrageous that President Obama and Washington bureaucrats are trying to dictate how Oklahoma schools spend education dollars," said Fallin. -- Related - Louisiana's Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally manipulating federal grant money to force states to adopt Common Core. In addition to Oklahoma, the Republican-led states of Indiana and South Carolina have ditched Common Core. --Conservative Tennessee lawmakers tried, and failed, to ditch Common Core this year. They were stopped by Gov. Bill Haslam and his allies in the legislature, a fight that carried over into this year’s GOP primary election, and continues to seethe today. US rebukes Oklahoma for ditching school standards
Rain, lightning greet Titans, Vandy football, concert
  If the music and two football games was not enough to snarl traffic in Nashville last night, mother nature joined in with heavy rain and lightning. Kickoff for Vanderbilt-Temple game was delayed from 8:15 p.m. to just before 10 p.m. due to lightning in the area. The Titans' game against the Vikings began on time, unaffected by rain moving through downtown. (Channel 4 reports) The Live on the Green concert turned into a massive slip-and-slide. [If that weren’t bad enough, the Titans and Vandy racked up a total of six points between the pair of them last night with Vandy losing to Temple 37-3 and the Titans dropping their final pre-season game to the Vikings 19-3. [Is this all real, or am I having a nightmare?] Rain compounds downtown traffic issues, delays Vandy kickoff
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.