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 [ Text Menu: Today's Stack of Stuff | Audio | About Ralph | Contact Ralph | Ralph Rant! ]September 23, 2014 
Top Headline!
 
U.S. begins bombing campaign in Syria
  The U.S. and several Middle Eastern allies have struck ISIS targets in Syria. Pentagon officials announced last night that the U.S. , using Navy Tomahawk cruise missiles and Air Force fighter planes, carried out strikes against more than a dozen targets inside portions of Syria controlled by Islamic State militants. According to an allied official, four or more Arab countries, including Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, signed up to take part in strikes in Syria, with some flying alongside the U.S. warplanes. Pentagon spokesman Adm. John Kirby's announcement that the air campaign had begun didn't provide estimates of damage or success of the strikes. U.S. officials said initial battle damage assessments might be made public later on Tuesday. The strike went on for several hours, officials said, and some of the targets hit by U.S. warplanes and missiles included larger camps or complexes of buildings used by ISIS militants. "This is a pretty big attack," said one military official. "We are hitting a lot." The airstrikes also took aim at camps and buildings used by another extremist group in Syria, called Khorasan, and led by Muhsin al-Fadhli, a longtime al Qaeda operative with ties to the group's leadership in Pakistan. The decision to target the Khorasan group represents an expansion of the aim of the U.S. mission beyond what Obama outlined earlier this month.

Wall Street Journal: U.S., Arab Allies Launch Strikes Against Islamic State Targets in Syria
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U.S. begins bombing campaign in Syria
  The U.S. and several Middle Eastern allies have struck ISIS targets in Syria. Pentagon officials announced last night that the U.S. , using Navy Tomahawk cruise missiles and Air Force fighter planes, carried out strikes against more than a dozen targets inside portions of Syria controlled by Islamic State militants. According to an allied official, four or more Arab countries, including Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, signed up to take part in strikes in Syria, with some flying alongside the U.S. warplanes. Pentagon spokesman Adm. John Kirby's announcement that the air campaign had begun didn't provide estimates of damage or success of the strikes. U.S. officials said initial battle damage assessments might be made public later on Tuesday. The strike went on for several hours, officials said, and some of the targets hit by U.S. warplanes and missiles included larger camps or complexes of buildings used by ISIS militants. "This is a pretty big attack," said one military official. "We are hitting a lot." The airstrikes also took aim at camps and buildings used by another extremist group in Syria, called Khorasan, and led by Muhsin al-Fadhli, a longtime al Qaeda operative with ties to the group's leadership in Pakistan. The decision to target the Khorasan group represents an expansion of the aim of the U.S. mission beyond what Obama outlined earlier this month.

Wall Street Journal: U.S., Arab Allies Launch Strikes Against Islamic State Targets in Syria
 
Kurds fight to maintain control of Syrian city
  I wrote yesterday, before President Obama began bombing targets in Syria “If President Obama is going to bomb ISIS targets in Syria, he needs to do it now.” That was based on this Wall Street Journal report: “Syrian Kurdish forces fighting a bid by Islamic State insurgents to capture a key Syrian border city said Monday they had stopped one column of advancing rebels but were still besieged by the extremist group on three other fronts.” Kurdish militia commanders said heavy fighting was raging around Ayn al-Arab, on the Northern border of Syria, where jihadists of Islamic State, using tanks and other heavy armor, have seized scores of villages and forced the evacuation of dozens more. It’s not clear whether any of Monday night’s strikes were meant to help the Kurds hold the city. Kurdish women and children fleeing Any-al-Arab to Turkey make up one of the largest wave of refugees since the rebellion against the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011. The Kurdish militia in Syria, operating under the banner of the Syrian Kurdish People's Defense Units, or YPG, has called for the youth of Turkey's mostly Kurdish southeast to come to Ayn al-Arab's defense. The YPG has been joined by the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which is listed as a terror organization by Washington and Turkey [further complicating our partnership with ISIS enemies in Syria].

Wall Street Journal: Kurds, Islamic State Fight for Control of Syrian City
 
White House: Some Americans who joined ISIS are back, being watched
  Some of the estimated 100 Americans who have traveled to the Middle East and joined terrorist organizations like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have returned to the United States, a senior administration official said Monday. At a on a United Nations resolution to prevent the flow of foreign citizens into conflict zones to join terrorist groups, a senior administration official said Monday that an estimated 15,000 individuals had entered Iraq and Syria to join groups like ISIS and the al Nusra Front. The official said that 2,000 of those foreign fighters were European, and that 100 were Americans. That number includes Americans “who have come back,” a second senior administration official said. He said those who have come back are “under active — the FBI is looking at them.” President Obama is slated to chair a Security Council meeting later this week, when the U.N. will seek a new resolution demanding countries strengthen laws and programs to prevent the flow of foreign citizens to the Middle East to join terrorist groups.

The Hill: WH: Americans radicalized in the Middle East back in United States
 
Rubio, Lee offer new tax plan, include 'parent tax penalty' fix
  Two Republican Senators have kicked off the fall campaign season by introducing a tax reform plan that reduces the number of tax rates to two: 15 and 35 percent, and, in their words “eliminate or reform deductions, especially those that disproportionately benefit the privileged few at everyone else's expense.” [There’s a lot of room for detail there.] In their plan, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah also introduce the concept of the “parent tax penalty,” and their solution for it – a $2,500 increase in the $1,000 child tax credit. Introducing their plan in today’s Wall Street Journal, the pair writes: “Today, parents are, in effect, double charged for the federal senior entitlement programs. They of course pay payroll taxes, like everyone else. But unlike adults without children, they also shoulder the financial burden of raising the next generation of taxpayers, who will grow up to fund the Social Security and Medicare benefits of all future seniors.” Rubio and Lee continue, “This hidden, double burden on parents isn't offset anywhere else in the system, and so true conservative tax reform needs to account for it. Children aren't consumer goods—they are investments parents make in their futures, and in the future of America, and therefore deserve to be treated as such in our tax code.” [Children are neither of those things. They are children – and parents have children for their own reasons – or not. Parents who want children should not ask people without children to subsidize the cost of raising their children. It doesn't take a village to raise a child. This would reward people for having more children – with an extra $2,500 per year per child per year. Who is most likely to take Rubio and Lee up on that offer? Responsible people who are raising their families on their own? Not likely. This may not be the worst tax idea Republicans ever came up with, but it’s in the running.]

Wall Street Journal: A Pro-Family, Pro-Growth Tax Reform
 
Lebanon voters face sales tax decision - again
  For the third time in about a year, voters in Lebanon are again considering whether to raise their sales tax. The referendum to increase the tax by 1/2 percent - to the maximum 9.75% - is the only item on today’s ballot. Voters rejected a similar proposal last year. And just last month, Wilson County voters, including those in Lebanon, said no to a sales tax hike that would have applied to all of Wilson County. That measure didn’t just lose the countywide vote, it lost at every Lebanon precinct. Mayor Philip Craighead says the city has to find new revenue if it’s going to keep up with needs like building a new fire hall, repairing sidewalks and repaving roads. The city council says they’ll compensate for any hike by trimming property tax. [Wait – which is it?] Craighead says that means the burden of a higher sales tax would be carried by shoppers who live somewhere else. And, he says out-of-towners are responsible for about 65% of purchases made in the city.

nashvillepublicradio.org: Sales Tax Hike On Ballot In Lebanon Again
 
Gallatin betting $4 million on Beretta
  Beretta will receive nearly $4 million in local incentives for moving its gun manufacturing research and development facility to Gallatin, the Tennessean reports. The company received 100 acres of property in the city’s industrial park, valued at $1.75 million – and will forgo $2.1 million in real and personal property taxes during its first 10 years in Gallatin. During those 10 years, officials expect Gallatin and Sumner County to enjoy slightly more than $10 million in local tax benefits as a result of the Beretta project. In January, Beretta announced its plans to invest $45 million for a new manufacturing and research and development facility, creating upwards of 300 jobs. Six months later, officials announced their intentions to move all of the company’s manufacturing operations from Maryland to Gallatin. The decision marked the first business to locate in the 207-acre second phase of the industrial park, which Gallatin purchased for about $4 million in 2008. The news also meant that Gallatin taxpayers would not have to pay back a nearly $1.9 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation for the extension of Gateway Drive into the section. “Yes, we did give the land to Beretta, but at the same time we had that $1.8 million obligation for the road reduced,” said Gallatin Economic Development Agency Executive Director James Fenton. “The land has been laying fallow for six or seven years and … it will be small, but we will begin to see taxes come in on that property next year.”

The Tennessean: Gallatin woos Beretta with tax breaks, free land
 
Prosecutor: White House intruder had previous run-ins, was 'danger to the president'
  The intruder who evaded Secret Service and bolted into the White House on Friday had 800 rounds of ammunition in his car, two hatchets and a machete - and had two prior run-ins with the law this year. Federal prosecutor David Mudd called the intruder a danger to the president. Mudd said 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez was arrested in July for evading police and was found at the time to be in possession of a sawed-off shotgun, as well as a map of the D.C. area with the White House and Masonic Temple circled. Mudd also detailed an Aug. 25 incident in which he said Gonzalez was stopped along the south fence of the White House with a hatchet. According to Mudd, officials searched his car but found no other weapons at the time, and he was not arrested. According to Wythe County Deputy Commonwealth Attorney David Saliba, when Gonzalez was arrested in July, he also had two powerful rifles, four handguns and other guns and ammunition in his Ford Bronco when troopers stopped him in southwestern Virginia on July 19. Saliba said Gonzalez initially tried to flee troopers, weaving and driving off the road into a highway median. Gonzalez was arrested at the scene after a trooper found the illegal shotgun in his car. The ammunition and weapons, including a tomahawk, were seized.

Fox News: Prosecutor: White House intruder had 800 rounds of ammo in car, prior run-ins with law
 
Obamacare enrollment numbers shrink 10%
  The number of people enrolled in Obamacare has reportedly shrunk by about 700,000 (down to 7.3 million) because many of those who enrolled haven’t kept up with premium payments. Overall, that means about 10 percent of enrollees didn’t stay enrolled. In some states, its more. Some insurance companies are reporting shrinkage in the 20 to 30 percent range. The moving numbers are settling just as insurance companies are deciding rates for the next year, which will rise as enrollment drops, unless claims drop accordingly, which isn’t likely, because those with expensive medical conditions are the least likely to let their insurance lapse for lack of payment. [I’m surprised Obama hasn’t yet pushed to have Obamacare premiums automatically deducted from workers’ paychecks.]

Fox News: Number of ObamaCare enrollees appears to be dropping
 
After Politico interview, Issa renews call for Lerner to testify
  House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa is renewing his call for embattled ex-IRS official Lois Lerner to testify before Congress, after she used a media interview to assert her innocence and say she’s “not sorry for anything.” The former head of the tax-exempt unit, gave an interview to Politico.com, her first public statements since taking the 5th before Issa’s committee, shortly after the scandal broke 16 months ago over her division targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny. Though she used the interview to claim she “didn’t do anything wrong,” she has twice refused to answer questions before Congress. "The American people deserve the opportunity to hear Lois Lerner’s testimony under oath,” Issa said in a statement. “If Lerner had nothing to hide and did nothing wrong in the IRS targeting scandal, she would have chosen to answer basic questions about her conduct instead of obstructing Congress’ investigation. Her decision to make unsubstantiated claims to a media outlet while claiming Fifth Amendment protections from answering Congress’ questions is telling.” Lerner, who was joined in the Politico interview by her corporate lawyer husband, Michael Miles, and two personal lawyers, is not quoted extensively in the piece. Her on-the-record comments mainly address her claims that she simply was doing her job and has no regrets. The long Politico puff piece paints Lerner in a sympathetic light, including personal anecdotes ranging from how she baked brownies for staff to how she put her babysitter's son through college.

Fox News: Issa renews call for Lerner to testify after media interview
 
Hillary letters reveal adoration of Alinsky
  Previously unpublished correspondence between Hillary Clinton and the late left-wing organizer Saul Alinsky reveals new details about her relationship with the controversial Chicago activist and sheds light on her early ideological development. Clinton met with Alinsky several times in 1968 while writing a Wellesley college thesis about his theory of community organizing. Clinton’s connection to Alinsky (ideologically and personally) has been the subject of speculation for decades. It became controversial when Wellsley College, by request of the Clinton White House, sealed her 1968 thesis from the public for years. Two letters obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show Clinton’s relationship with Alinsky and her support for his philosophy continued for several years after she entered Yale law school in 1969. In one letter, dated July 8, 1971, sent via airmail and marked “personal,” Clinton wrote, “Dear Saul,” When is that new book [Rules for Radicals] coming out—or has it come and I somehow missed the fulfillment of Revelation?” “I have just had my one-thousandth conversation about Reveille [for Radicals] and need some new material to throw at people,” a reference to Alinsky’s 1946 book on his theories of community organizing.

freebeacon.com: The Hillary Letters
 
Police report erratic behavior before Bironas crash
  A Police report and 911 tapes now reveal erratic behavior on the part of former Titans kicker Rob Bironas before his fatal crash late Saturday night. Bironas’ wife contacted police to report her husband missing, saying she thought he had gone to bed just after 10:30. After a few moments, she went to find him and Bironas was not there. His wife, Rachel Bradshaw, said she then tried to call him numerous times with no answer. She then called relatives and no one had heard from him. That’s when Bradshaw called police. One of the 911 calls reports an erratic driver just before the crash occurred. Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said the witnesses were called back to the scene on Sunday. One couple told police they were traveling southbound in the right lane on Franklin Pike between Woodmont and Battery Lane when an SUV in the left lane, driven by Bironas, attempted to merge into their lane. "They said the driver swerved back, gave them a dirty look and got behind them and was behind them at the intersection on Franklin and Battery,'' Aaron said. "At the stoplight of Franklin and Battery, they said the white SUV was revving its engine behind them." The couple then turned right on Battery Lane and partially pulled over to let the SUV go by them. According to Aaron, the SUV driver stopped and stared at them, and the woman's husband, a passenger in the vehicle, got out of the car. "Then the white SUV accelerated away at a high rate of speed,'' Aaron said. "They paused a few moments, continued traveling on Battery Lane and came upon the crash."

Newschannel 5: Rob Bironas Reported Missing Before Deadly Crash; 911 Calls 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.