Archive for August, 2012

Paul Ryan: Void of a Moral Compass

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Mitt Romney’s pick of the tea party hero as his running mate completes his move to the extreme right. He has picked as his running mate Republican Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the architect of the GOP radical budget, which can best be described as the most extreme budget plan passed by a house of Congress.

Has Romney just committed political suicide? Have conservatives pushed Willard so far to the extreme right that he has completely pushed away Independents? A PUSH reminiscent of the commercial in response to Ryan’s plan showing a senior citizen being pushed over the cliff.

His running mate, Paul Ryan, is the radical author of the most extreme right-wing budget ever proposed in Congress. His plan will dismantle Medicare, privatize Social Security, and cut taxes for millionaires while raising taxes on the middle class.
Simply put, the policies Ryan stands for are a politically toxic brew. The question remains, will a majority of Americans be willing to drink this brew? The tea party faithful show they will bath in such a toxic brew but what about moderate Americans?

Paul Ryan isn’t just an extremist— like a serial killer, looks can be deceiving, he’s young, charming and smart. Some describe him as looking like “the boy next door.” Others describe him as Satan’s son. He’s the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Much can be said about Ryan’s policies and philosophies that embellish greed and selfishness. Ryan embraces the extreme philosophy of Ayn Rand. He worships Ayn Rand, a libertarian novelist, best known for her philosophy that centers on the belief that selfishness is “virtue.” Ryan like Rand describes altruism as “evil,” and condemns Christianity for advocating compassion for the poor.

Though he “half-heartedly” publicly rejected “her philosophies” in 2012, Ryan professes himself a strong believer and devotee to the hedonism of her centered philosophy. Ryan said, “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he told a D.C. gathering.

Ryan believes Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme.” In September of 2011, he agreed with Wacho Rick Perry’s characterization of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme”. He also advocates privatizing the Social Security and investing “gambling” it in stocks and bonds. He also supports removing all regulations, which were implemented to prevent a repeat of the orgy of greed that collapsed the financial and economic institutions; resulting in massive losses in the stock market of 2008.

Conservatives “falsely” claim privatization would outperform the current formula based for social security but the economic crisis of 2008 should serve as a wake-up call for those who seek to hinge Americans’ retirement on the stock market. In fact, a person with a private Social Security account similar to what Ryan proposes would have lost much of their retirement savings in 2008.

Ryan’s plan will raise taxes on the middle class and slashes taxes for millionaires. Ryan’s radical budget — which Romney embraces — replaces the current tax structure with two brackets — 25 percent and 10 percent — and cuts the top rate from 35 percent. As a result, the national debt would increase and the Federal tax collections would fall. His budget also proposes massive cuts in social programs. 62 percent of the savings from his plan would come from programs that benefit the lower- and middle-classes, who will also experience a large tax increase.

While Ryan would extend the Bush tax cuts for the top 1%, which are due to expire at the end of this year, he would not extend President Obama’s tax cuts for those with the lowest incomes, which will expire at the same time. The wealthy “earning more than $1 million a year, would see a large tax cut. The poor and middle class will see large tax increases.

Ryan also plans to end Medicare and replace it with a voucher system. Ryan’s latest “voodoo” budget transforms the existing version of Medicare, in which the government provides seniors with a guaranteed benefit, into a “premium support” system. All future retirees would receive a small government contribution to purchase insurance from an exchange of private plans. But since the premium support voucher will not keep up with increasing health care costs, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that new beneficiaries will pay large and increasing payments in the near future. Ryan’s plan also rises Medicare’s age of eligibility to 67.

Ryan’s radical budget would result in millions of lost jobs. His extreme budget calls for massive reductions in government spending. He has proposed cutting discretionary programs by approximately $120 billion over the next two years and mandatory programs by $284 billion, which, the Economic Policy Institute estimates, would “suck” demand “life” out of the economy and reduce employment though massive and prolonged layoffs.

At a time when education is essential to attract the jobs of the future, and jobs are becoming more technical in nature, even more education will be required to retain the better paying jobs, but Ryan wants to eliminate Pell Grants for more than 1 million students over the next ten years.

Of course, he supports corporate welfare. Ryan supports $40 billion in subsidies for big oil. In 2011, Ryan joined all House Republicans and 13 Democrats (use of the term loosely) in his vote to keep Big Oil tax loopholes as part of the FY 2011 spending bill. His budget would retain a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks “corporate welfare” worth $40 billion, while cutting “billions of dollars from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies that would serve as substitutes for oil.” There is no place for alternative fuels in the Ryan plan, the tax breaks will continue to go to those who grease his palms and fill his pockets.

Don’t forget the best part of Ryan’s stand on big oil is the fact that he has ownership stakes in companies that benefit from oil subsidies. He “and his wife, Janna, own stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan’s budget plan,” the Daily Beast reported in June of 2011. His family companies are currently leasing the land for mining and drilling to energy giants such as ExxonMobil; a beneficiary of his tax breaks “corporate welfare”.

In one of the rare and most interesting clashes of viewpoints between Romney and Ryan are views on Romneycare. Ryan said, “I’m not a fan of [Romney’s health care reform] system,” when he did an interview with CSPAN in 2010. He argued that government is rationing care in the state and claimed that people are “seeing the system bursting by the seams, they’re seeing premium increases, rationing and benefit cuts.” He called the system “a fatal conceit” and “unsustainable.” He also feels Romney care is similar to Obamacare.

So for those who felt Romney would select a safe Vice-Presidential running mate, who would appeal to Independent voters, the jokes on you! His extreme selection of wing nut Paul Ryan may have the mad hatters dancing in the streets; it will surely have a more chilling effect on Independent voters and those who take the time to actually analyze the issues in this Presidential election.

What is worst, a liberal Massachusetts Republican Presidential candidate who lies and tries to act like a neo-conservative or a wing nut Vice-Presidential candidate who tries to act normal?

Why are so many Democrats smiling today?

History Repeats in Tenn – by Catherine Danielson

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

In 2012, talk of the election oftens includes “Voter Suppression” laws designed to prevent groups of people from voting. This reminds some of the election of 2000 when an election was stolen but most who remember this, remember Florida and hanging chads. Few associate the election debacle of 2000 with Tennessee but there was one important article written on March 12, 2001 by Catherine Danielson about this election. The administration of this site felt it important to once again post this story in the face of current “Voter Suppression” laws in Tennessee.

BLACK voters were told to get behind the white voters. They were told to remove NAACP stickers from their cars, or leave the polling place without voting. “You know what it is to stand at the back of the bus,” said one election volunteer.

Some Blacks were intimidated by police standing around polling places. Others stood in lines over a mile long to use ancient punch-card machines on the verge of falling apart. Sometimes, they’d stand for five or six hours. Once, they complained. Minutes later, two police cars came screeching up.

It all sounds like a promo for “Mississippi Burning,” or maybe a documentary about egregious civil rights violations in some Deep South backwater fifty years ago.

But it happened in November 2000.

Well, then, it’s got to be about Florida. The massive voter disenfranchisement in Florida has gotten some coverage, especially overseas — the people who weren’t felons illegally scrubbed from voting rolls, the police roadblocks in Black neighborhoods, the Republican operatives illegally filling out absentee ballots.

But no. All these things — and much, much more — happened in Tennessee.

Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard anything about any of it. Every newspaper, every radio station, every television news program has been silent. Even Nashville’s Tennessean, where both Al and Tipper Gore once worked, has zero to say on the subject.

On the other hand, it’s not as if it’s been kept secret. Solid coverage has come from the Black press, newspapers like the Tennessee Tribune, Nashville Pride, and Urban Flavor. And yet there is massive evidence that thousands — perhaps even tens of thousands — of people were disenfranchised, the vast majority of whom were Black. How to explain the mainstream media’s silence?

“People want to sweep this under the rug,” says Rev. Neal Darby, head of the Greater Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce. “They don’t want to think it could have happened here.” Indeed, Nashville was one of the birthplaces of the civil rights movement. It’s one thing to see films of Black students getting iced tea dumped over their heads by a jeering white mob as they try to get served at Woolworth’s in the early 1960s. It’s quite another to picture it in the year 2000.

It isn’t just the outrageous racial incidents, such as the way that Black Nashville college students weren’t permitted to vote even though they were registered, or the way that Tennessee State University, a historically Black college, was the only university in Tennessee that didn’t get a satellite voting place, or election office workers harassing Black citizens who requested voter registration forms, or election commission officers refusing to give registration forms to NAACP representatives and sometimes (as in Chattanooga) actually taking them back. It’s the inexplicable things, such as the way that polling places all over West Tennessee opened one to two hours late, or disappeared and reappeared somewhere else without telling anybody — but, seemingly, only in areas that were Black and/or poor. Or the missing pages from election rosters all over Nashville. Or the county where ballot boxes were opened and ballots handled.

So many vote irregularities were reported that the mind starts to numb after awhile, to get buried under the sheer avalanche and grasp for some sort of meaning and order. So it’s instructive to note that there were three areas of evidence that are more disturbing than any other.

The first was what NAACP officers generally refer to as “the Motor Voter disaster.” This was the first election year in which Tennessee’s Motor Voter bill took effect. Citizens could register to vote at Department of Motor Vehicle offices statewide. The problem is, an unknown number of those applications never went through. There have been nearly 2,000 complaints to date. Allegedly, this occurred because the department failed to deliver completed forms to county election commissions. It’s worth noting that there is no standard of delivery, nor supervision of any kind, when the applications are delivered from the Department of Safety to the counties — and that the DMV blames the voters.

The second was the disenfranchisement of former felons. In the town of Bolivar, former felons illegally lost their voting rights. Clifton Polk, head of the local Black Chamber of Commerce, was so infuriated that he filed an official complaint with the EEOC. Since felons don’t automatically lose their voting rights in Tennessee the same way that they do in Florida, this issue remains a murky mess. However, this was the first year it had happened in the state.

The third — and maybe the strangest — is the way that certain voting precincts all over the state had a small fraction of the voting machines they should have had, causing mile-long lines in predominantly Black, Hispanic and poor districts. According to election commissions, they simply didn’t know there’d be such a large turnout. However, according to Tennessee State Election Commissioner Brook Thompson, each county sends a list of registered voters to the polling places. (The precinct list actually kept by volunteers often didn’t match the voting list. Weird, huh?) Also, as state NAACP president Gloria Jean Sweetlove points out, the election commission knew about the NAACP Voter Empowerment Project, whose goal was to register new Black voters. Also, the commission knew that there’d been a record turnout for early voting. So, once again, this remains a mystery.

Looking at all of this evidence, you have to wonder what would come out if Tennessee had the same kind of investigations that Florida has had, and will continue to have. (Not to mention the fact that similar evidence has come out of twenty-one other states.) The national NAACP — along with the ACLU, People for the American Way, the Advancement Project, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights — has filed suit to eliminate unfair voting practices. They will be sending representatives to Nashville soon in order to hold hearings about voter disenfranchisement there. So Tennessee may well end up being added to the national suit, and that would probably be the best shot at investigation. Certainly, the state attorney general has showed little interest to date. Yet nobody else has either — not the press, not the legislature, not the governor, not the senators. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why that bothered me so much. I tried to put it into words when I talked to Gloria Jean Sweetlove.

“Why is it,” I asked, fumbling towards words to express the inexpressible, “that I don’t see anything about this in the papers, or on TV? Why will nobody will touch this?”

She gave a long, long sigh. “I don’t think you’re old enough to remember. But in the fifties and early sixties,” she said slowly, “nobody would touch it either.”

Tennessee Legislation Passed in 2012: No Jobs!

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Here is a list of some of the legislation that has been approved by the Tennessee Legislature in 2012. The wing-nuts continue to embarrass Tennesseans and have failed to pass one act of legislation producing one job or job bill. Take a look at what backwoods mentality brings in the form of legislation.

WAR AGAINST WOMEN – RESTRICTIONS FOR ABORTION DOCTORS: Requires physicians to have hospital privileges in the home or adjacent county of woman seeking abortion. HB3808.

AMAZON SALES TAX INCREASE: Requires to begin collecting Tennessee sales taxes in 2014. HB2370.

BATH SALTS FELONY: Makes it a felony to sell synthetic drugs known as bath salts. HB2286.

POLITICAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS APPOINTMENTS: Allows governor to appoint heads of boards, including Tennessee Higher Education Commission. HB2387.

CORPORATE WELFARE CASH GRANT GIVEAWAY: Creates more ways for state to give cash grants to companies investing in Tennessee. HB2344.

CHARTER SCHOOLS ANTI-FOREIGNERS: Limits number of foreign workers allowed to be employed at charter schools. SB3345.

STRIP CIVIL SERVICE PROTECTION: Revises state civil service laws to make it easier to hire and fire state employees. SB2246.

DOMESTIC ABUSE: Requires mandatory jail time for repeat domestic abuse convictions. SB2251.

DUI BLOOD TESTS: Allows judges to compel blood tests from people arrested on drunken driving charges. HB2752.

DUI MINORS: Increases penalties for drunken driving when child under 18 is in car. HB2751.

EMBRYO ASSAULT PROTECTION: Includes embryo as victim protection in assaults on pregnant women. SB3412.

FOOD TAX: Reduces the state sales tax on groceries from 5.5 percent to 5.25 percent. HB3761.

GANG BANGER BILL: Increases penalties for violent crimes committed by three or more people. SB2252.

GATEWAY TO SEXUAL ACTIVITY PROHIBITION: Prohibits teachers from promoting or condoning “gateway sexual activity.” Includes kissing? HB3621.

HASLAM BUDGET: Enacts Tennessee’s more than $31 billion annual spending plan. HB3835.

IMMIGRATION DISCRIMINATION CHECK: Requires state agencies to verify immigration status before approving public benefits. SB1325.

BAN STATE INCOME TAX: Proposed constitutional amendment to ban a state income tax in Tennessee. SJR0221.

INHERITANCE TAX BREAK FOR THE RICH: Begins phase-out of Tennessee’s inheritance tax. HB3760.

FACISM LAW FOR OCCUPY NASHVILLE: Bans unauthorized camping on Legislative Plaza. HB2638.

CENSORSHIP OF SAGGY PANTS: Prohibits students from wearing saggy pants or other indecent clothing on school grounds. HB3679.

ANTI-INTELLIGENCE SCHOOL ACTIVITIES: Allows parents to keep their children from joining extracurricular groups at school. HB2548.

DESTRUCTION OF SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: Allows school personnel to participate in student-initiated religious activities. HB3266.

SCHOOL SAFETY: Gives teachers more authority to act against students who pose a safety risk. SB3116.

POLITICAL SELECTING OF JUDGES-CONFIRMATION: Proposed constitutional amendment to allow Legislature to reject gubernatorial appointments to Supreme Court. SJR0710.

STUDENT LOANS-DEFAULT: Penalizes teachers and lobbyists for defaulting on student loans. HB0740.

MONKEY LAW: Grants legal protections for teachers who allow students to question theory of evolution. SB0893.

DESTRUCTION OF SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: Allows public buildings to display “historically significant documents,” such as Ten Commandments. HB2658.

ANTI-UNITED NATIONS-GOP IGNORANCE BILL: Recognizes the “insidious nature” of the United Nations ‘ Agenda 21 on sustainable development. HJR0587.

WELFARE DISCRIMINATION DRUG TESTING: Creates discrimination of the poor by allowing suspicion-based drug testing for welfare recipients. SB2580.

HOG WILD BILL: Makes it a crime to release wild-appearing swine without proper documentation. SB2879.

Yeah it true. Two years of legislation and not one job bill passed by the Tennessee legislation. In 2010, Tennessee Republicans promised to focus on job creation and education. Since, their capturing of the Tennessee Legislation, not one job creation bill has passed.

Ron Ramsey, Bill Haslam & Beth Harwell have lead Tennessee to the bottom with job loses as reported by Out of the Blue. Only Wisconsin has more job losses last month. More republican lies… in the 2010 election they promised jobs & all we have received is radical extremist legislation and GOP failure! The GOP can’t govern but they can sure lie!

Tennessee’s Failed Legislation for 2012: No Jobs?

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Much has been said about the Tennessee “wing-nuts” legislative agenda. It has been laughable and a disgrace to the people of the great state of Tennessee. It has also been the nucleus of many jokes across the nation. What happens when backwoods mentality is adapted into law? Here is a list of some of the wing-nut’s legislation that failed in this year’s legislative session:

BAN-DISCRIMINATION LAWS: Repealing a ban on local governments from enacting stricter anti-discrimination standards than the state. SB2762.

MAKE ATTORNEY GENERAL A POLITICAL APPOINTMENT: Proposed amendment to constitution to have governor appoint the attorney general. SJR0693.

REDUCE LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS: Holding legislative sessions only every other year. HB2785.

CUT FOOD TAX TO HELP TENNESSEE FAMILIES: Requiring state to make cuts in sales tax on groceries if state has surplus revenues. SB3666.

REMOVE LIMIT ON CLASS SIZE: Lifting the cap on average class sizes at public schools. SB2210.

RESTRICT COLLEGE RIGHTS TO INACT NONDISCRIMINATION ON RELIGIOUS GROUPS: Banning colleges from enacting nondiscrimination policies on student religious groups. SB3597. (Vetoed by Gov. Bill Haslam)

ALLOW UNLIMITED CONTRIBUTIONS TO STATE LEGISLATORS: Lifting total amount of campaign contributions legislative candidates can accept from political action committees. HB3281.

DON’T SAY GAY: IT’S A BAD WORD: Banning teaching about gay issues to elementary and middle school students. HB0229.

MAKING JUDGES POLITICALLY APPOINTED HACKS: Holding popular elections for Supreme Court justices in August 2014. HB0173.

NO GUN BACKGROUND CHECKS NECESSARY: Exempting handgun carry permit holders from background checks for firearms purchases. SB0306.

EVERYONE NEEDS A GUN IN PARKING LOTS: Guaranteeing employees the right to store firearms in vehicles parked at work. SB3002.

RESTRICT PUBLIC ACCESS TO RECORDS: Blocking public access to names of owners of businesses receiving grants from state. HB2345.

HEALTH CARE COMPACT: Adding Tennessee to an interstate health care compact. HB0369.

HORSE SLAUGHTER: Encouraging horse slaughter facilities to locate in Tennessee. HB3619.

NO JUDICIAL REVIEW: Stripping state courts of the power to block laws enacted by the Legislature. SB2348.

LOBBYIST TO SERVE LAWMAKER’S FREE MEALS: Allowing employers of lobbyists to host receptions for standing legislative committees. HB3025.

ATTACKS ON STATE WORKERS – LAWMAKER-DRUG TESTING: Requiring drug tests for state lawmakers. HB2411.

BAN A LIVING WAGE: Banning cities and counties from establishing a living wage. HB3386.

RESTRICT LOTTERY SCHOLARSHIPS: Making it more difficult to earn lottery scholarships. SB2514.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Legalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee. HB0294.

DISCLOSURE OF MODEL LEGISLATION: Requiring bill sponsors to disclose if their measure is based on model legislation. HB2301.

NO MOTORCYCLE HELMETS NEEDED: Allowing adults to ride motorcycles without safety helmets. HB1673.

MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL: Banning mountaintop removal coal mining in Tennessee. SB0577.

NURSES ASSAULT: Increasing penalties for assaults on health care workers. SB2658.

ORAL CHEMOTHERAPY: Requiring insurers to cover oral chemotherapy treatments. HB1087.

FREEZE PER DIEM FOR STATE WORKERS: Freezing the per diem expense allowance for state lawmakers. SB1372.

SELECTING JUDGES-TENNESSEE PLAN: Proposed constitutional amendment to underscore current state system for selecting Supreme Court justices. SJR0183.

STRIPPER TAX: Taxing adult businesses and strippers to pay for reduction in tax on coins and bullion. HB0469.

TEACHER TENURE: Allowing teachers who receive average evaluations to qualify for tenure. HB2447.

TRUCK STOP BAN: Banning truck stops from within a half-mile of Nashville and Memphis. HB3683.

REPEAL VOTER SUPPRESSION LAW: Repealing Tennessee’s voter ID requirements. HB2176.

NO WINE IN SUPERMARKETS: Allowing wine to be sold in supermarkets. HB2874.

The saddest aspect of this legislative year is the fact that not one job bill was proposed by the Republican controlled legislation. The legislators felt it was more important to draft legislation drafted for “GOP” special interest (lobbyists, corporations, and the wealthy).

Harris Trial Ends in Hung Jury

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

ERWIN — Yesterday, the Jury was unable to render a verdict in the first criminal trial against Kent Harris, former sheriff of Unicoi County. More than seven months ago, a Unicoi County grand jury returned 10 true bills charging then-Unicoi County sheriff Kent Harris with 10 felonies. Monday morning, his trial on two of those charges began. The trial ended Wednesday and the Jury went into deliberations on Wednesday at 4:40 p.m.

On Oct. 14, a grand jury returned 10 true bills charging Harris with six counts of official misconduct, and one count each of tampering with evidence, criminal simulation, theft over $1,000 and attempted aggravated assault.

The charges stemmed from a pair of Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigations — one initiated in 2009 and the other in 2010 — that overlapped and were subsequently combined.

According to the TBI release, the official misconduct charges are the result of several occurrences in June and July of 2010 when Harris allegedly had Unicoi County inmates perform labor on private property owned by him.

According to the TBI, Harris tampered with evidence in September 2008 by altering or destroying evidence that was part of an ongoing investigation at that time. A presentment document filed in Unicoi County Criminal Court said this evidence involved moonshine.

Harris’ charge of attempted aggravated assault was the result of a confrontation with county resident J.D. Hensley following a July 2011 meeting of the Unicoi County Commission’s Finance Committee, according to the presentment. According to the TBI, Harris was charged after attempting to assault Hensley with a deadly weapon, which was identified as Harris’ cane.

The prosecution felt the evidence of the case showed Harris committed the offense of criminal simulation in September 2008 by requesting payment from the county for vehicles valued at $4,500 that were in actuality donated. The theft over $1,000 charge resulted from Harris receiving the $4,500 belonging to the county, according to the presentment.

Harris’ legal counsel tried various motions and maneuvers seeking the dismissal of the charges. On Oct. 24, the County Commission was set to discuss the possible initiation of ouster proceedings against Harris but no action was taken because of mounting political pressure.

In November, Blackwood was appointed to oversee the Criminal Court actions involving Harris. During a Feb. 7 arraignment hearing, Harris pleaded not guilty to all 10 charges against him. Blackwood dismissed the defense’s motions seeking dismissal of the charges, but did grant the request to separate Harris’ charges.

The week after this arraignment hearing, a Unicoi County grand jury returned a true bill charging Harris with an 11th felony, an additional count of official misconduct. According to the presentment document filed in Criminal Court, Harris had a Sheriff’s Department employee use departmental equipment and supplies to prepare a letter soliciting funds to pay his attorneys’ fees during that employee’s working hours. A Dec. 10 trial date was set for this latest charge.

On March 1, Harris submitted his letter of resignation to the county, citing ongoing health problems due to injuries suffered in an August 2010 alleged fall from the roof of the Unicoi County Jail. The Unicoi County Commission unanimously accepted Harris’ resignation at a called meeting held on March 9.

The trial of former Unicoi County sheriff Kent Harris on two of 10 felony charges began Monday.

The day included selection of a jury and opening statements from the district attorney general and Harris’ legal counsel and testimony from a pair of Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents.

At the trial’s center are two vehicles, $4,500 withdrawn from county funds and a pair of bloodhounds.

In his opening statement, District Attorney General Tony Clark said the story of the charges began in 2008 and involved Tom and Lynn Colbaugh, friends of Kent Harris.

“They had been close friends with Mr. Harris for some time, close enough that in 2006 they left their entire estate (estimated at 1.5 million dollars) to Mr. Harris,” Clark told the jurors.

Clark said that in September 2008, Harris approached the Colbaughs to see if they would be interested in donating two vehicles to the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department. They agreed to do so.

The prosecution presented evidence that these vehicles were donated to Kent Harris and a title transfer took place in late September 2008. The prosecution also presented a memorandum signed by Harris that was submitted to the Unicoi County Mayor’s office, requesting $4,500 in county funds to pay for these vehicles.

Mr. Harris asked the Colbaughs to cash the check and give him the cash.

The evidence showed the cars were donated. Why was $4,500 drawn out of a county account to pay for these two vehicles? Why did the sheriff ask the Colbaughs to cash the county check and give him the cash? Why would close friends of Mr. Harris lie about $4,500 after leaving their estate estimated of 1.5 million dollars to him?

The requisition went through the mayor’s office and two checks totaling $4,500 were issued by the Unicoi County Trustee’s office. The prosecution proved that Harris ended up with this money after the checks were cashed.

A state auditor provided testimony that a check for the account the $4,500 was drawn and a withdrawal of that this money was never put back into any account dealing with the sheriff’s department.

Harris’ co-counsel, Stacy Street, said the $4,500 in question was to go to the care of two bloodhounds previously purchased by Tom Colbaugh that were to serve as search and rescue dogs for the sheriff’s department.

The dogs were purchased but they did not receive the training or handling necessary to become effective search and rescue dogs. The dogs eventually became a financial burden for the county.

The jury selection process took up the majority of the trial on Monday and concluded around 1:30 p.m. The jury comprised of six men and six women stated that they at least knew of Harris through his role as sheriff of Unicoi County.

Loyalty to Kent Harris among the jurists was strong. A majority of the jury refused to believe the evidence presented by the state. Some jurors changed their verdicts after mounting pressure for an innocent verdict. In the end, one jurist resisted the pressure and voted guilty which ended the verdict in a hung jury.

The case will be retried on December 10th.