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 [ Text Menu: Today's Stack of Stuff | Audio | About Ralph | Contact Ralph | Ralph Rant! ]April 20, 2014 

It's the weekend! No topics for today.

Check out the top 10 topics from last week.
 New taxes bite top earners
  The jump in federal tax rates that kicked in last year is causing sticker shock for many higher earners this tax season. Changes meeting high earners this year include; a bump in the top ordinary income rate – from 35% to 39.6%; a limit on itemized deductions; and an increase in the top rate on investment income – including a long-term capital gain rate increasing from 15% to 20 . On top of that Obamacare included a boost in nearly all investment taxes – adding 3.8 percent to the tax rate high earners pay on long and short-term capital gains, dividends and interest. The additional 3.8 percent kicks in for single filers earning more than $200,000 – married filers earning $250,000 or married filing separately, earning more than $125,000. The WSJ quoted a Los Angeles tax preparer saying his clients have seen their tax bills increase by $100,000 or more (on the same income). One business owner saw hers rise from around $600,000 in 2012 to more than $700,000, driven mainly by changes in investment-tax rates on the $2 million in dividends she received from her firm.
  Wall Street Journal: Top Earners Feel the Bite of Tax Increases    

 Blackburn defends GOP on women's equality
  Marcia Blackburn on Sunday defended her party against charges of sexism in the wake of last week’s vote to block the so-called “Paycheck Fairness” bill. Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," Blackburn argued that Republicans didn’t blocked the bill out of malice but because it didn't get at the heart of the issue. "The legislation was something that was going to be helpful for trial lawyers, and what we would like to see happen is equal opportunity and clearing up some of the problems that exist that are not fair to women," she said. Blackburn said she has "fought to be recognized with equality for a long time." "A lot of us get tired of guys condescending to us," she said. Blackburn also took a swipe at the White House's own pay gap. "The White House paying women 88 cents for every dollar that a guy earns in comparable positions? They need to go clean up their own act first," she said. Blackburn: GOP has led the fight for women's equality    

 Dems to lure young voters to polls with pot issues
  Florida Democrats are plotting to lure more young voters to the polls with marijuana – issues. They are pushing a constitutional amendment that would make Florida the first state in the South to legalize marijuana – in this case for medical purposes. AP reports: Polls show the measure has widespread public support, and it's particularly popular among young voters - a critical part of the Democratic coalition with historically weak turnout in non-presidential election years. In 2012, both Washington and Colorado saw spikes in youth turnout when marijuana initiatives were on the ballot. This year, Florida could be a critical test case for whether those increases were an anomaly or something they can leverage in the presidential election in 2016, when activists plan to launch legalization campaigns in at least six states. Organizers of the medical marijuana effort plan to raise and spend $10 million on their campaign, with much of the money devoted to a turnout operation aimed at registering voters to cast absentee ballots. "We want to be able to have our stereotypical, lazy pothead voters to be able to vote from their couch," said Ben Pollara, a Democratic fundraiser and campaign manager for the United for Care group, which also plans to get voters to the polls on Election Day. Medical pot measure could boost Fla. Democrats    

 Utah woman kills 7 newborns, no one notices
  How does a woman give birth to, and kill, seven babies without anyone noticing? It happened. Authorities say a Utah woman accused of killing six babies that she gave birth to over 10 years told investigators Monday that she either strangled or suffocated the children immediately after they were born and then put them inside boxes in her garage. According to a statement released by police Monday, 39-year-old Megan Huntsman said that between 1996 and 2006, she gave birth to at least seven babies at her home and that all but one of them were born alive. Police arrested Huntsman Sunday after discovering the seven dead babies at the home in Provo. Huntsman's ex-husband, identified by family and neighbors as Darren West, is believed to be the father of all seven children. The Associated Press reported that West discovered the bodies while cleaning out the garage after recently getting out of prison. Authorities do not believe West was aware of the killings and is not a person of interest at this time. Asked how the man could not have known about the situation, Police Capt. Michael Roberts replied, "That's the million-dollar question. Amazing." The case has raised a series of questions about how Huntsman carried on what seemed like a normal existence to neighbors. Huntsman also has three daughters -- one teenager and two young adults -- who lived at the house – making it even more bizarre if no-one knew of the pregnancy, birth or death of the babies.
  Fox News: Utah woman admits killing 6 babies inside home, authorities say    

 TN legislature fails to override city bans on guns in parks
  A bill to override Tennessee city bans on guns in parks has failed for the year. Sponsors withdrew a measure that would keep local governments from banning guns after lawmakers passed another measure that limits local governments’ ability to regulate firearms. Senate Bill 1612 says state law supersedes almost all local firearm regulations. The bill, which is headed to Haslam for signature, does not explicitly give local governments the power to keep guns out of parks, but it also does not take the 2009 provision off the books either. The sponsors of the two measures said the net effect will be that cities and counties can continue to ban guns in their local parks. Most communities in the Nashville area ban firearms in parks.
  The Tennessean: Guns in parks dropped after another gun bill advances    

 Voucher bill dies, TN promise passes
  Governor Haslam’s school voucher plan failed in the House Finance Committee Tuesday, likely ending hopes that state lawmakers will agree on a plan this year. Citing a lack of support, the sponsor withdrew the measure Tuesday morning in one of the final meetings of the year for the House Finance Committee, which had to sign off on the bill before it could be taken up on the House floor. Haslam's proposal to provide free community college passed the House of Representatives on an 87-8 vote. It earlier passed the Senate 30-1. The vote capped a busy legislative day that also saw the Senate pass a proposal to combat methamphetamine production by limiting sales of pseudoephedrine. The differences with a House bill will be worked out in a conference committee. The Senate voted not to accept the House version of legislation meant to slow the Amp bus rapid transit project. The vote means the issue is likely to head to conference committee. State Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, says he's working on language that would give state lawmakers oversight but would not block the project, as the Senate bill would do.
  The Tennessean: Lawmakers approve Tennessee Promise    

 Rumsfeld: I have no idea if tax returns are accurate
  Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld included a letter with his taxes this year, declaring he has “no idea” whether his returns and payments are accurate. “…it is important for you to know that I have absolutely no idea whether our tax returns and our tax payments are accurate. I say that despite the fact that I a college graduate and I try hard to make sure our tax returns are accurate,” Rumsfeld writes. He continued, “'The tax code is so complex and the forms are so complicated, that I know I cannot have any confidence that I know what is being requested and therefore I cannot and do not know, as I suspect a great many Americans cannot know, whether or not their tax returns are accurate.”
  Daily Mail: Even Donald Rumsfeld hates April 15: Politician reveals he pens letter to the IRS every year explaining he has 'no idea' if his returns are accurate    

 Bundy fight reminds of 'Sagebrush Rebellion'
  President Obama is not the first President to come under question for federal land use regulations and enforcement. Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s credibility comes into question when he says “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing,” but the enforcement action against Bundy does bring to mind the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s, when the Jimmy Carter administration began imposing stricter environmental regulations on its vast holdings in the West. Many ranchers accused Carter of using regulations to target states that didn’t support him in 1976 or 1980. The dispute was nicknamed the "Sagebrush rebellion." Bundy has been fighting the Bureau of Land Management for more than 20 years. The rancher hasn’t paid the BLM’s grazing fees since 1993, and a federal judge first ordered him to remove his cattle from the land in 1998. In July, another judge said the BLM could remove his cattle if it was still on public land by the end of August. The BLM/Bundy dispute is not mainly about a rare tortoise, as some reports have suggested – it’s about money. Environmentalists have recently filed suit against the BLM for allowing cattle to graze on the federal land that is home to an endangered tortoise, but Bundy has been fighting BLM for more than 20 years. The rancher hasn’t paid the BLM’s grazing fees since 1993, and a federal judge first ordered him to remove his cattle from the land in 1998. In July, another judge said the BLM could remove his cattle if it was still on public land by the end of August. The government says he owes $1 million and change. Bundy says the figure should be $300,000, but either way, he refuses to pay. Cliven Bundy and BLM: 10 things to know    

 Ukraine deal doesn't lower tensions
  Ukrainian and Russian diplomats, backed by the U.S. and Europe, agreed to take steps to turn down the heat in the escalating standoff with pro-Russian militias, even as President Vladimir Putin showed no sign of backing off. Talks in Geneva with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yielded an agreement for separatists to demobilize militias and vacate seized government buildings, and also established a political dialogue that could lead to more autonomy for Ukraine''s east. Yet even as the deal was being struck, Mr. Putin spoke at a televised event in which he adopted some of the language of the separatists and implied that Russia has more of a historical claim to territories in eastern Ukraine than its neighbor does. President Obama sounded skeptical that the deal would resolve the problem. "My hope is that we actually do see follow-through over the next several days, but I don''t think, given past performance, that we can count on that," Obama said at a White House news conference. He reiterated he wasn’t considering military options to stop any Russians, but said he was ready to impose new measures against Russians if he doesn''t see improvement. U.S. officials have said their next step is likely tougher sanctions against Russian oligarchs and other entities tied to the unrest.
  Wall Street Journal: Deadly Fighting in East Ukraine    

 AMP deal doesn't stop AMP, requires legislature approval
  State lawmakers have struck a deal that would allow the proposed Amp bus rapid transit project to go forward but with more oversight from the General Assembly. A conference committee of House and Senate legislators agreed to a measure that allows rapid projects to use dedicated lanes but requires the legislature to sign off on such projects, even if they don't require any state funding. The agreement would let the General Assembly block The Amp and similar projects, but it would not dictate how they can be designed. It is a compromise between Senate bill that would have killed the AMP project entirely, the House measure that only required the state's commissioner of transportation to sign off on such projects.
  The Tennessean: New Amp deal would give state veto power on BRT projects    

Growing pains and gains tour - Springhill, TN - part 1
  April 17, 2014 - Our "growing pains and gains" tour stops in Spring Hill, Tennessee, which has grown from 7,000 to 33,000 people since 2000.
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.