Friday, September 28, 2007

September 28, 2007 Big Brother Watches Smokers

As mentioned in a September 22 post, the Tennessee Department of Revenue is watching you...especially if you dare to cross the state line and buy more than two cartons of cigarettes!

A News-Sentinel article by Tom Humphreys has garnered a huge number of online responses. The Drudge Report even links to Humphreys article.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

September 26, 2007 Cluck! Cluck! Incoming Anonymous Comments

It's amusing to read comments to this blog from those who cluck and scratch and hide like a chicken behind the name "anonymous."

I just received another incoming anonymous comment yesterday that didn't make a lot of sense, but since this anonymous person is clucking and is a very devoted reader of my blog, I thought I might take a few minutes to remark on his/her confused comment.

The anonymous comment arrived in response to my blog post about the Tennessee Revenue Commissioner's plans to go across the state line to check on Tennesseans who are buying more than two cartons of cigarettes in neighboring states and then sneaking back into Tennessee---all to avoid the new and much higher Tennessee cigarette tax.

Anonymous complains that I copied a story from a newspaper and that I used the word "recent" to refer to a development that he says is months old. Then anonymous adds that I "criticized the local newspaper for not allowing comments, never mentioning the fact that you allow no comments on your web post."
Actually, anonymous, I linked to a fellow blogger who had commented on the cigarette tax. Then I linked to a newspaper article discussing the "recent" (September 7) Court of Appeals opinion declaring Tennessee's "crack tax" illegal.

If you want to complain that "recent" couldn't possibly describe a court decision from September 7, carry on with your silly point, whatever it is.

As for my "criticism" of the local paper, grow up. In my opinion, the paper should leave its articles online and available like most major newspapers do instead of posting them for a few days and then they're gone.

As for the statement that I don't allow comments on my web post, listen and I'll explain it one more time.
I post comments that come from individuals who put their name to the comment. I started this policy many months ago in response to profane and crude remarks.

If you want to submit a comment to my blog post, my policy on comments is just like the local paper's policy of requiring an ID from people who submit a letter to the editor.

I allow comments. You just have to be man or woman enough to put your name to it if you want your comment posted.

If you want to see your comment on my blog, be brave, be courageous, and come out of that anonymous closet and sign your name.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

September 22, 2007 Tennessee Revenue Commissioner Is Watching Smokers!

A tip of the hat to Terry Frank for her article on how Tennessee's Revenue Commissioner is going to check on Tennesseans who cross state lines to purchase cigarettes.

Shame on these people! Don't they know that they need to purchase their cigarettes in Tennessee and pay the big taxes in Tennessee because it's all "for the children."

Poor Tennessee. In addition to the problems in collecting higher cigarette taxes, the Tennessee Court of Appeals just recently ruled that Tennessee's "crack tax" is illegal!

The so-called "crack tax" required people possessing illegal drugs to buy tax stamps and assured them that if they would fork over the tax on the illegal drugs, one arm of government (revenue) would not tell another arm of government (law enforcement) about the illegal substance.

The ruling by the Court of Appeals came in a lawsuit filed by Steve Waters who was arrested in 2005 for selling about 1,000 grams of cocaine to an undercover officer for $12,000.

A few days later, the state Department of Revenue found out that Mr. Waters had illegal drugs in his possession but had failed to be a good boy who voluntarily paid his "crack tax."

The solution? The Department of Revenue promptly sent Mr. Waters a bill for $55,316.84 in taxes and penalties under the “unauthorized substances tax”!

I am not in favor of smoking or possession or use of illegal drugs.

But the "crack tax" always seemed absurd. It implied that we (Tennessee/Tennessee Revenue Department) don't really care if you have illegal drugs as long as we get our taxes.

UPDATE: An interesting link to a story on cigarette tax collections can be found at the Tennessean. (The comments are worth a read, too. The Tennessean and the News-Sentinel both allow online comments of their stories. It would be really nice if the local Citizen-Tribune allowed comments, but unfortunately, the Tribune doesn't allow comments and only leaves its articles up for a short time)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11 The World Changes

September 11, 2001. The world changed dramatically.

The attack on the Twin Towers in NYC.
The crash of Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
The heroic actions of the passengers on Flight 93 which crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

September 6, 2007 Civil Service Board Reverses Itself: Sheriff Esco Jarnagin Was Right

The Hamblen County Civil Service Board met yesterday at 4:30 to "re-do" its previous hearing regarding Sheriff Esco Jarnagin's refusal to promote Jailer Lynn Wolfe to a road officer.

At its prior meeting, the Board had voted 2-1 to "order" Sheriff Esco Jarnagin to promote Wolfe. "Ordering" the promotion were Chairman Joel Seal and Brett Kilgore (who ran an ad supporting former Sheriff Otto Purkey in 2006 and stating that Kilgore would prepare to run for Sheriff in 2010) . Voting "no" was J. C. Wilson.

The prior meeting was determined to have been illegal, resulting in yesterday's re-do.

At the conclusion of yesterday's meeting, the Board in a 2-1 vote (Seal and Kilgore "yes"; Wilson "no") passed a resolution that now admits that Sheriff Jarnagin does not have to promote Lynn Wolfe.

Seal and Kilgore apparently added more to the resolution as they tried to cover for their prior error in ordering the Sheriff to promote Wolfe, but I'll wait to report on that until I see the actual wording of the resolution.

For those who have forgotten, Lynn Wolfe was a Detective under former Sheriff Otto Purkey. After attending a party, he totalled a taxpayer-owned cruiser in a one-vehicle crash.

Wolfe's blood alcohol level at the time of the wreck was reportedly more than twice the level for DUI.

Wolfe was fined, allowed to resign, given a severance package by County Mayor David Purkey, and ordered to provide restitution to the county in the amount of $6,250 cash or by community service.

Wolfe chose to do over 1,040 hours of community service work to "pay" for the vehicle. And where did he do his community service work? He "worked" for his father's (Harold Wolfe) County Maintenance Department.

Much more to come. 911 tapes. Conflicts of interest. Nepotism and family ties that are never mentioned in news reports.