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The Tennessee three go full circle and the Air Force spy
Two face palms from this week
The Tennessee Three became the Tennessee Two last week on April 7 when two of the three embattled Democratic lawmakers were expelled by the Tennessee House. The Two became Zero on Wednesday of this week when both of the expelled legislators were returned to the House by their county commissions.
So what the heck was the point?
First, here’s an explanation of how the Two were returned to office. When a seat is vacant in the Tennessee House, the state constitution stipulates that the local government can appoint a temporary successor if there is less than a year left on the term. If there is more than a year remaining, a special election is held, but the local government can still appoint a representative in the interim. The constitution also does not preclude reappointing an expelled member, requiring only that the replacement be a “qualified voter of the district.”
There was initially some talk that the Republican majority might defund projects in the Memphis and Nashville if the Tennessee Two were reappointed, but those voices have quieted in recent days. This may have something to do with a USA Today poll that found three-fourths of respondents and more than six in 10 Republicans opposed the expulsions.
So what was the point?
As it turns out, there wasn’t one. If the goal was to punish the Democrats for their bad behavior and flouting of House rules, the attempt backfired. Rather than shaming the Tennessee Three (or Two, but who’s counting?), Republicans turned them into rock stars. I wouldn’t be surprised if some or all of the trio get speaking slots at the Democratic convention next year.
The Tennessee House Republicans made a big strategic error with the expulsions, but it won’t hurt them too badly. Tennessee is deep red and any Republicans upset over the incident will quickly forgive and forget as soon as their local Republican comes up against another “Soros-backed socialist” next year.
I’d say that the best thing about the disastrous outcome for the GOP is that it will discourage other states with effective one-party control from trying similar tactics. After all, it’s easier to do the right thing when doing the wrong thing blows up in your face.
THE AIRMAN SPY: “Spy” may be giving him too much credit, but if you haven’t heard, the source of the leaked classified documents turned out to allegedly be a 21-year-old Air National Guard airman from Massachusetts. A more apt description seems to be Red Forman’s catchphrase from “That 70s Show.”
Airman 1st Class Jack Teixeira allegedly posted leaked documents on video game servers such as Discord and Minecraft. Per the Washington Post, he comes from a patriotic military family and supposedly posted the documents to educate his friends about world affairs. Teixeira reportedly has libertarian leanings.
In one memorable anecdote, Teixeira allegedly posted “Here, have some leaked documents” as he gave them to friends on Discord.
The case was finally cracked by tracking down internet user names and matching items in the pictures of classified documents with items in pictures of the Teixeira home on social media. An example was posted on Twitter.
There are several disturbing aspects to the story. Aside from the heinous security breach, it seems that the military was unaware that the documents were circulating online for several weeks. That’s a pretty good indication that government surveillance of the internet is not nearly as complete as is commonly assumed. Further, the media seems to have beaten the federal investigators to the culprit.
The story did inspire a light moment for my family. As you may recall, my 19-year-old son is in the Air Force as well. What you may not know is that he has loved Minecraft for years and talks to his friends on Discord.
When the news broke, I texted him, “When I heard an airman was arrested for posting classified documents on Discord and Minecraft, I worried about you.”
It’s sometimes hard to get a laugh out of a teenager, but that got one.
We will soon see what happens to people who mishandle classified documents, intentionally in this case, when they are not politically connected.
GOOD INFLATION NEWS: The Consumer Price Index fell to its lowest level since May 2021. The sign of easing inflation sent stocks sharply higher. On the down side, the Fed expects a recession later this year due to the banking crisis.
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PROSTATE CANCER BLOG: I plan to be back with another installment of My Prostate Cancer Journey this weekend after last week’s Easter hiatus. This installment will discuss pre-op testing and surgery. If you’d like to check it out or subscribe, visit