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 [ Text Menu: Today's Stack of Stuff | Audio | About Ralph | Contact Ralph | Ralph Rant! ]September 2, 2014 
Top Headline!
'Swatter' convicted of domestic terrorism
  A “prankster” pays a high price for “swatting,” which may seem like a prank to a teenage, but to a judge, it’s domestic terrorism. -- Twenty-five years in prison may not seem to fit the crime if you only consider the criminal of a teenager who “pranked” his rival by filing a false police report that sent a swat team to his home – but maybe that what it takes to shock similar idiots into thinking twice about doing the same. 15-year-old Paul Horner broke down in tears after a judge in DeQuincy, LA found him guilty on two counts of domestic terrorism and sentenced him to twenty-five years to life in federal prison. --- Horner is the first person in history to be convicted for ‘swatting‘, reportedly a “growing trend” in which a person anonymously files a false report in hopes of provoking the police to raid another person’s home or business. Prosecutors in the case proved that Horner called in multiple false threats against rival online gamers, resulting in SWAT team raids of their homes, the last of which turned violent. --- Police say the practice has been occurring with increasing frequency since 2013, wasting police resources and placing innocent people in harm’s way. 15 Year Old Who “SWATTED” Gamer Convicted Of Domestic Terrorism; 25 Years To Life In Federal Prison
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British PM asks for tough anti-terrorism laws
  British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday proposed sweeping legislation to combat what he called the “scourge of extremism,” amid the fast and powerful rise of the extremist group Islamic State. Cameron formally asked the House of Commons to agree to several temporary measures he proposed late last week, including the power to seize passports of suspected British jihadists leaving the country and controlling where they can move within the country. “Passports are not an automatic right,” he told his colleagues. He said to date, 500 people from the UK have left the country to fight in Iraq and Syria; 700 have left France to fight and Germany has seen 400 people exit to join religious extremists. Cameron said that Britain must prevent those suspected of extremism from traveling out of the country. Secondly, he said it was key that Britain work to keep out foreign fighters who return from the Middle East and pose a threat to the nation, which recently upgraded its terror alert from substantial to severe. Another Cameron proposal would tighten aviation security by demanding airlines submit passenger flight lists, or not be allowed to land.

Fox News: Britain's Cameron asks for tough anti-terrorism laws to defeat 'scourge of extremism'
Developing: pro-Russian rebels lower demands
  Pro-Russian rebels softened their demand for full independence Monday, saying they would respect Ukraine's sovereignty in exchange for autonomy — a shift that reflects Moscow's desire to strike a deal at a new round of peace talks. The insurgents' platform, released at the start of Monday's negotiations in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, represented a significant change in their vision for the future of Ukraine's eastern, mainly Russian-speaking region. Ukrainian President Poroshenko released a peace plan in June that proposed an unspecified level of autonomy for the two regions, an indication the two sides may not be that far apart.The peace talks start in the wake of brutal fighting that has continued to show Russian-joined rebel gains in eastern Ukraine. On Monday, the rebels (and Russians) pushed Ukrainian government forces from an airport near Luhansk, the second-largest rebel-held city. Pro-Russian rebels lower demands in peace talks
Putin calls for 'statehood' talks for Eastern Ukraine
  Russian President Putin on Sunday called on the government of Ukraine to engage in talks on "statehood in southeastern Ukraine." Putin's spokesman later told the Russian news agency Interfax that Putin did not envision sovereignty for the two separatist eastern regions that style themselves as "New Russia,” despite his use of the word "statehood." Ukrainian forces lost more ground Sunday to the rebels, now joined by Russian Army forces and equipment. In conjunction with a prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia, the rebels were expected to allow the safe withdrawal of several hundred Ukrainian troops who were surrounded and pounded by artillery in an eastern Ukraine town. But Ukraine officials said the retreating troops were shot at anyway, and withdrew with heavy casualties. Clearly, Ukraine is losing the war with the Russian-joined rebels. --Back in the U.S., leaders from both parties in Congress seemed more interested than Kiev, or President Obama, in keeping Russia from gaining control of Eastern Ukraine.

Fox News: Ukraine forces lose more ground to rebels as Putin calls for 'statehood' talks
US drone strike targets al-Shabaab leader in Somalia
  The U.S. military on Monday conducted a drone air strike against the Islamic militant group al-Shabaab in Somalia. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby provided few details about the operation, and said the results were being assessed. The U.S. action comes after a high security prison in the capital was attacked Sunday by seven heavily armed suspected Islamic militants who attempted to free prisoners. The Somali rebel group al-Shabaab, which is linked to Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack, which started when a suicide car bomber detonated a car bomb at the gate of the prison, followed by gunmen who fought their way into the prison. A senior Somali official told The Associated Press that a U.S. drone targeted al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane as he left a meeting of the group's top leaders. The official told AP that intelligence indicated Godane "might have been killed along with other militants."

Fox News: US reportedly targets leader of al-Shabaab with Somalia drone strike
Pakistan leader clings to power amid stepped up protests
  As Chuck Hagel might say “the world is blowing up” in Pakistan too. Prime Minister Sharif was clinging to power Monday as protesters stepped up their assault on government buildings and the capital was gripped with fear and confusion about whether the country’s powerful military will step in to defuse the tension. As the demonstrations calling for the prime minister’s resignation enter their third week, Sharif is trying to navigate Pakistan’s worst political crisis in more than a decade. With the violence increasing, what started as a routine demonstration has morphed into concerns that the government of a nuclear-armed country could collapse. Over the weekend, the demonstration took an ominous turn as three people were killed and 400 wounded when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to prevent protesters from reaching Sharif’s residence in Islamabad. On Monday, the protesters stormed the state television station and knocked it off the air for more than an hour. The protests spread to other major Pakistani cities over the weekend, and there is rampant speculation in Pakistan that military leaders could intervene and force Sharif to resign. There’s also broad speculation that the military orchestrated the protests. There have been signs that military leaders were annoyed over Sharif’s efforts to expand trade with neighboring India and keep the country’s former military ruler on house arrest while he awaits trial on various charges related to his dictatorship. Sharif met with Army Chief Raheel Sharif (no relation) on Monday afternoon, and Sharif issued a statement late in the day saying he will not voluntarily resign. Pakistan’s military issued a statement saying it was an “apolitical institution” with “unequivocal support for democracy.” The statement also “categorically rejected” suggestions that the military was secretly backing leaders of the uprising over Sharif.

Washington Post: Pakistan’s Sharif clings to power as protesters step up assault
Obama claims economic gains in Labor Day speech
  President Obama spent Labor Day claiming his leadership produced economic gains for Americans and making an election-year case that higher minimum wages and other liberal policy goals he said can only be achieved through a Democrat-controlled Congress. “American workers and the American economy are better off since I took office,” Obama told a crowd filled with union supporters at the annual Laborfest event in Milwaukee. Obama repeatedly blamed Republicans for block immigration reform increasing the federal minimum wage. Obama was greeted at the Milwaukee airport by Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker, who faced a 2011 recall election because of his efforts to cut budget shortfalls by eliminating public sector unions’ collective-bargaining agreements for pensions, wage increases and health care. However, Mary Burke, the Democrat who is running in November against Walker, attended Laborfest but did not appear on stage with Obama.

Fox News: Obama on Labor Day touts economic gains under his leadership, is mum on pressing world concerns
Haslam tries to rebrand Medicaid expansion plans
  Is Gov. Haslam already "walking back" his plan to submit a Medicaid expansion plan this fall? The Tennessean reports Sen. Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville said over the weekend that the governor didn’t seem very serious about his plan because he hadn’t been talking to members of the General Assembly at all. The Tennessean then quoted emails sent Friday and Saturday from Haslam spokesman Dave Smith suggesting the administration doesn’t want its plan to be seen as an expansion. “The governor has said Tennessee is not expanding the current Medicaid program,” Smith said in both emails. “This is an ongoing conversation about leveraging available federal dollars to cover more working Tennesseans to control costs and improve health outcomes.” [That’s a distinction without a difference. The policy question is not related to what kind of insurance the new group of uninsured Tennesseans might get (Medicaid or something else) – it’s whether Tennessee participates in the the expansion of taxpayer supported insurance envisioned under Obamacare.] Gov. Haslam told reporters Thursday that he hoped to have an expansion plan to present to the federal government sometime this fall. He didn’t explicitly say it would include expanding Medicaid, but that was the question he had been asked. He did confirm he’d have to have the cooperation of the legislature to enact any new plan.

The Tennessean: On Medicaid expansion, better wait to see Haslam’s plan
'Swatter' convicted of domestic terrorism
  A “prankster” pays a high price for “swatting,” which may seem like a prank to a teenage, but to a judge, it’s domestic terrorism. -- Twenty-five years in prison may not seem to fit the crime if you only consider the criminal of a teenager who “pranked” his rival by filing a false police report that sent a swat team to his home – but maybe that what it takes to shock similar idiots into thinking twice about doing the same. 15-year-old Paul Horner broke down in tears after a judge in DeQuincy, LA found him guilty on two counts of domestic terrorism and sentenced him to twenty-five years to life in federal prison. --- Horner is the first person in history to be convicted for ‘swatting‘, reportedly a “growing trend” in which a person anonymously files a false report in hopes of provoking the police to raid another person’s home or business. Prosecutors in the case proved that Horner called in multiple false threats against rival online gamers, resulting in SWAT team raids of their homes, the last of which turned violent. --- Police say the practice has been occurring with increasing frequency since 2013, wasting police resources and placing innocent people in harm’s way. 15 Year Old Who “SWATTED” Gamer Convicted Of Domestic Terrorism; 25 Years To Life In Federal Prison
Researchers probe effects of marijuana on driving
  Now that more states are legalizing marijuana, safety experts are re-examining the dangers of driving while high (DWH). Public officials and safety advocates worry there will be more drivers high on pot and a big increase in traffic deaths. But, the AP reports, researchers are divided on the safety question. Studies of marijuana's effects show that the drug can slow decision-making, decrease peripheral vision and impede multitasking, all of which are important driving skills. But unlike with alcohol, drivers high on pot tend to be aware that they are impaired and try to compensate by driving slowly, avoiding risky actions such as passing other cars, and allowing extra room between vehicles. Researchers say inexperienced pot smokers are likely to be more impaired than habitual smokers, who develop a tolerance. Some studies show virtually no driving impairment in habitual smokers. That said, DWH is illegal in all states, and will likely remain so. The policy questions triggered by the relaxation of marijuana laws will focus on whether to stiffen laws against driving while high, not relax them. And, to be sure, the most dangerous of all is driving while both high and drunk. Combining marijuana with alcohol eliminated the pot smoker's exaggerated caution and increases driving impairment beyond the effects of either substance alone. Marijuana's hazy contribution to highway deaths
Be careful, your car may be watching you
  Your next generation GM car will slap you (metaphorically speaking) when you’re distracted. General Motors is preparing to launch the world’s first mass-produced cars with eye- and head-tracking technology that can tell whether drivers are distracted, according to the Financial Times, quoting “people with knowledge of the plans.” Seeing Machines, an Australian group listed in London, has signed an agreement with safety-goods maker Takata to supply GM with tracking devices for up to 500,000 vehicles over the next three to five years. The gadgets will start by measuring the rotation of the head so they can alert drivers if they are not spending enough time looking in certain areas such as the road ahead or the rear-view mirror. Seeing Machines’ devices involve cameras backed by algorithms that can identify features of drivers’ faces, such as the rotation of the head and the frequency of eyelid blinks. It then imposes this information on a three-dimensional map of the interior of the car so it can tell to an accuracy of one degree what the driver is looking at. The company is also investing in technology that will be able to tell how hard a driver is thinking by monitoring the dilation of the pupils, and combines facial information with sensors for vital signs such as blood alcohol levels and heart rate. The technology raises significant privacy concerns over how manufacturers and insurers will store and handle the data, though Seeing Machines’ devices will not keep or transmit the information, at least initially. Insurance companies are already investing in telematics to monitor driver behavior using smartphones and “black boxes”, which feed information back and adjust premiums according to that individual customer’s use of the car.

Financial Times: GM to launch cars that can pick up on distracted driving
California legislature passes plastic bag ban
  The California legislature has passed a bill banning the use of plastic bags at grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores and other businesses. If signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the law would institute the first statewide ban on plastic bags in the U.S. Proponents say plastic bags are rarely recycled and commonly littered. The plastic often ends up in the ocean, they say, harming sea life. Mark Daniels, an executive with plastic-bag maker Hilex Poly, in Hartsville, S.C., said the law amounts to a giveaway to grocers in the state, which now will collect a profit from products that they once were required to buy and give away free to consumers at cost. Such plastic bags are popular among consumers, he said, as they are often reused for lunches, lining trash bags or scooping up dog waste.

Wall Street Journal: California Legislature Passes Ban on Disposable Plastic Bags
First distillery opens in Williamson County
  Williamson County has its first legal still. This one has the state and federal government’s blessing – and the owner is a health care attorney. Owner Heath Clark helped lobby to change a state law to ease Prohibition-era restrictions on the manufacturing of distilled spirits, and has made his first batch of spirits after receiving local, state and federal licenses and permits to begin operation – the first in Williamson County.

The Tennessean: Bottles up: Williamson’s first distillery set to open
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.