The Rotary Club of Franklin presents RiverFest 2 :: Saturday, August 29 from 8:30am - 12:30pm along the Little Tennessee River :: click here for more information!

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A bipartisan, pragmatic roadmap to fix broken housing finance system while protecting taxpayers

Nearly five years have passed since taxpayers bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the entities at the heart of our nation’s broken housing finance system. Despite broad bipartisan agreement that the system needs to be fixed, Congress has yet to act.

As I’ve traveled across our state in the wake of the financial crisis, I’ve talked to too many middle-class families who have struggled to stay in their homes and keep their heads above water. I’ve talked to too many mothers and fathers who have had to choose between a roof to sleep under and a meal on the table for their kids. I’ve talked to too many men and women who’ve picked up second or third jobs just to keep a foreclosure notice off their front door.


A few years back, my wife and I canceled satellite service at the house. Internet streaming, at a fraction of the cost, replaced the traditional broadcast format for our television viewing. After cutting the traditional TV cord, we never looked back or missed a commercial. We aren't alone pulling the plug on cable/satellite service.

What had started as a good value then witnessed “mission creep” as options and price escalated, with viewing pleasure diminishing. Years rolled by until the realization that the boob tube had become a money pit and I was the boob shoveling cash into the hole. Paying for hundreds of channels with little to watch serves as a segue to the concept of less is more.


In a bizarre and ludicrous attempt at “transparency,” the Obama administration has announced that it asked a secret court to approve a secret order to allow the government to keep spying on millions of Americans, and the secret court has granted its request.

Late on Friday, July 19, 2013, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) — a secret court which operates out of an undisclosed federal building in Washington, DC — quietly renewed an order from the National Security Agency to have Verizon Communications hand over hundreds of millions of Americans’ telephone records to government officials. In so doing, the government has doubled down on the numerous spying programs currently aimed at the American people, some of which were exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, who temporarily pulled back the veil on the government’s gigantic spying apparatus.


Harry Truman is credited with the phrase - "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Cooking icon Paula Deen has put that adage to the test. Deen admitted to using racial slurs in the past and now faces a great deal of “heat.” The Queen of Southern Cooking has been dethroned from television's Food Network, as well as losing numerous endorsements.

When the Deen controversy first broke, I didn't pay much attention – only glancing at the headlines. I thought that she had a senior moment (old age slur?) and said something stupid on camera. When I learned how mundane the “revelations” made in a court deposition were, it piqued my interest. Why did a non-story, become a headliner? Okay, a 66-year-old woman from Georgia admits to using a pejorative word for African Americans, in private conversations. Not exactly the most surprising admission ever made. I find it more remarkable that Deen was honest in her response to a very personal and to say the least – awkward inquiry. We can only hope for such candor from others who are public figures.


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