By Steve Hunley

Local Bias?

The daily newspaper claims to be unbiased, but it has a definite leftist slant to its stories. Nor does the daily newspaper much like Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. The publicity about Bryan Hair, Jacobs’ former chief of staff, seemed gratuitous inasmuch as it seemed like the newspaper was more interested in dipping Jacobs into Hair’s mess than focusing on the actual story. Yes, Bryan Hair was a terrible choice for chief of anything. The record clearly indicates Hair was too immature for the post and not ready for the responsibility. Very few county employees much liked Hair and apparently for a good reason. However, when the misconduct came to light, Jacobs fired Bryan Hair and took responsibility.

I’m still waiting for the Knoxville News-Sentinel to comment about departed former city Deputy Mayor Stephanie Welch still being on the payroll at $90,000 annually despite having supposedly quit and moved to Maine. Her only responsibility is to oversee the city’s involvement in the proposed new baseball stadium. Anyone who really believes only Stephanie Welch can shepherd the proposed baseball stadium to success would be wrong. It defies common wisdom and plain old logic to even try and make the argument only Welch could possibly bring the project to a successful conclusion. From where I sit, Randy Boyd’s stadium looks to have all the public support from both governments it needs. Welch has as much experience developing baseball stadiums as my dog Sophie does, which is none. The last baseball stadium built in Knoxville was during the decade of the 1920s.

Unfortunately, the $90,000 being collected by Stephanie Welch seems more like a golden parachute than anything else. Still, I doubt we’ll hear much about that from the Sentinel and even the daily newspaper’s silence on the subject is deafening.


New Tennessee State Supreme Court Justice To Be Appointed

With the announcement by Sharon Lee, justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, that she will be retiring next year, candidates are beginning to emerge for the appointment as Justice Lee’s successor. The appointee must come from East Tennessee and as of this writing, at least two candidates from Knoxville are to be considered. Dwight Tarwater, the former legal counsel to Governor Bill Haslam, has made an application for the appointment.

So, too, has Judge Kristi Davis, who was just recently appointed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals.


Judge Kyle Hixon Appointed To Tennessee Criminal Court of Appeals

Speaking of judges, Judge Kyle Hixson of the Tennessee Criminal Court of Appeals, had his investiture ceremony last week, an event attended by Governor Bill Lee. It was Lee who appointed Hixson to the vacancy on the Court of Criminal Appeals. Hixson, a former assistant district attorney, ran a brilliant race to be elected to Knox County’s Criminal Court and was easily elected.

Hixson demonstrated not only exceptional legal ability but also strong political credentials in winning a countywide race to the criminal court bench. Kyle Hixson is recognized as an up-and-coming jurist and is a good bet to reach the Tennessee State Supreme Court in the future.


Should Driver’s Ed Be Required In Tennessee?

According to the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, as reported by the Tennessee Journal, only 60 out of 141 school districts in the state offer driver’s ed courses. Among the reasons cited by the comptroller’s office for the decline are “funding concerns, a lack of qualified teachers, decline in student interest, and the prioritizing of academics and graduation requirements.”

The State of Tennessee allocates a portion of the revenue derived from litigation privilege taxes collected from all criminal and civil cases to the Department of Education and the Department of Safety & Homeland Security, supposedly for the purpose of “promoting and expanding driver education and highway safety.” The Tennessee Journal cites that during the fiscal year of 2022 the amount of litigation privilege taxes distributed to help pay for driver’s ed courses was over $1.2 million. That means the clerks of the criminal and civil courts and their staff are doing all the work in collecting those fees and turning them over to the state.


U.S. Supreme Court Hears Redistricting Case

The case of Moore v. Harper is yet another reason for many Democrats to have meltdowns. The case is being heard by the U. S. Supreme Court and contends that courts drawing district lines is unconstitutional, as that power is solely vested in state legislatures.

The North Carolina legislature petitioned the Supreme Court for a hearing when a state court drew the lines for congressional districts instead of the legislature. The theory behind Moore v. Harper is the same as that of Leser v. Garnett, a case that upheld the constitutionality of the 19th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. More precisely, Leser v. Garnett “challenged the right of the state’s legislature” to ratify the 19th Amendment if that particular state’s constitution limited voting to males. The court’s decision was that the process for ratification of amendments to the Constitution “is a federal function derived from the federal Constitution, and it transcends any limitations sought to be imposed by the people of a state.”


Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary Fired

The Biden administration likes to brag about its “firsts,” which it insists reflect the most diverse and woke presidency in American history. Well, the administration has a new first in the alleged luggage-snatching Sam Brinton, a self-proclaimed openly “gender fluid” federal employee. Brinton was given a top post in the Department of Energy as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Spent Fuel and Nuclear Waste and there is ample reason to wonder if his appointment was due more to diversity than competence.

Brinton, a baldheaded, lipstick-wearing crossdresser, got some unwanted attention for having allegedly stolen an expensive Vera Bradley suitcase, which, according to its owner, contained items valued at roughly $2300 in its contents. Last week, Brinton was charged in another luggage-snatching case from an airport in Las Vegas.

Then came the news from the Department of Energy that Sam Brinton had been fired. That, too, was a first.


GOP Gaining Younger Voters

One potentially important statistic that has been conveniently overlooked in the national media is the fact young voters gave GOP candidates a bigger share of their votes in the midterm elections. Voters under 30 have been a key demographic in helping Democrats to win elections. During the 2018 midterms, voters under 30 voted for Democrat candidates for the House by 64% to 34%. In the 2020 presidential race, voters under 30 voted for Joe Biden by 61% to 36%. This year, voters under 30 still preferred Democratic candidates, but by a significantly lesser margin. Voters under 30 voted 53% for Democratic House candidates and 41% for Republican House candidates.