A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Republicans at the center of week’s news

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By Gerald Largen


Gentle reader: As so often happens when we come to organize the items we wish to communicate about with you, this week’s topics seem all to center around one or more of our Republican friends. 

In fact, in each of the subjects which I hope to write about, if enough room is available, one or more Republicans plays a major role.

First there is the long running question surrounding the Republican high sheriff of this county, Jackie Stockton. 

Regular readers will recall that we have posed a few questions for him to answer so that the taxpayers can determine whether all the talk about the need for spending a lot of their money on the jail, of which the newness hasn’t even begun to tarnish, is justified. 

He has stubbornly refused to answer, as though answers to the questions were sufficient to incriminate him. Of course, only he would know that, we suppose.

However, as we were driving out North Kentucky Street the other day, on approaching the intersection of that street with Loveliss Street, we encountered a sign which we had not previously noticed that may bear on the subject. 

This sign has an arrow pointing directly towards the jail and bears the words “Top Secret.”

Does this indicate that the High Sheriff is involved in some sort of national security scheme in which our new jail plays a part? 

As a certain old time TV character was known to utter in reaction to a startling development:



Probably the most talked about development concerning a Republican in the last few days has centered round New Jersey governor Chris Christie and the George Washington Bridge. 

The most recent development here is the accusation by the fired Port Authority member David Wildstein, that evidence exists that shows that the governor knew of the mischief being perpetrated about closing lanes of the bridge at the time it was done, despite his repeated denials.

The Governor’s people in response have launched an ad hominem attack on Mr. Wildstein, portraying him as a curious blend of evil, ignorance, unpopularity in school, and incompetence unsurpassed in recent history. 

All of which prompts the question, if this man, whom the Governor has known since high school days when they were fellow students, is so, so bad, what in the name of common sense motivated the said Governor to appoint him to this powerful and lucrative position in the first place? 

Is New Jersey so totally bereft of honest Republicans that he could not find one who was not evil, ignorant, unpopular in school, and incompetent to put in this position?

Christie’s future has been speculated upon by many prognosticators, and one has even recalled the famous suggestion of the late governor of Texas, Hon. Ann Richards, who once said of another fading politician, “Stick a fork in him, he’s done.”


The President and his Democratic allies propose to raise the minimum wage. 

The Republicans oppose this proposal, as one would expect, considering their war against the working men, especially the poor.

But their main stated, as opposed to their real, reason is that raising the minimum wage will cost jobs, because employers won’t pay more. 

We think they know better, but if they don’t, it’s a sad commentary on their state of ignorance.

Employers hire, and keep, employees for one reason, i. e. they need them to supply the goods or services by which they make their money. 

If an employee will help them make a profit, they hire, if an employee won’t do this, he’s not hired or is fired. 

Hiring doesn’t depend upon the kindness or goodness of the employer, especially if the employer is a corporation. 

If he’s needed, he’s hired, and the employer pays what he has to pay. 

Apparently our Republican congressmen missed class the day those facts were taught


And finally we come to the most startling development of recent days, which is the story originally run in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, and reprinted in the Knoxville News Sentinel, (issue of 4 February, page 1B, et seq.) written by Dave Flessner, which reports that, “Last year, Tennessee had the fastest rate of growth in union membership of any state, according to new government figures. 

“The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 31,000 more Tennesseans were members of labor unions in 2013 than in the previous year, swelling the ranks of organized labor in the state by 25 percent last year and boosting union rolls to the highest level in nearly a decade.”

While we regard this as good news as showing that at least some of our fellow Tennesseans are beginning to wake up to the fact that they are being taken advantage of, and abused, by the corporate powers that be, and that in order to get a fair shake as employees they need to act together. As has been said, “In unity there is strength.”

The reason we include this item in our collection of Republican dominated happenings, as stated in our opening paragraph is this: All the Republican big-wigs and leaders have in recent months united to oppose the efforts of Volkswagen and the United Auto

Workers to reach an amicable resolution of the issue of union representation at the Chattanooga plant. 

You will recall that Governor Bill Haslam has decried the efforts to agree between employer and employees as an impediment to new industry locating in the state. 

An objection seconded by our U. S. Senators, Alexander and Corker, as well as the leaders of the General Assembly, Republicans, one and all.

Senator Corker has been the most virulent of all, in our opinion, even going so far as to accuse VW of breaking their pledge not to have a union, about which we have previously written.

It might behoove these elected public servants to pause and consider — if the working men and women choose to ignore their warnings about the dangers of unionization, might they not also ignore them in other fields, and even choose to rid the state of their unacceptable advice, and vote them out of office.

And the Republican rank and file membership might want to consider whether it is wise for them to support and vote for this crowd of anti-working people, multi-millionaires as leaders of their party and thus representative of their party’s position.

Ending this topic, we understand that there is to be an election at the VW plant next week to determine whether the UAW is to be chosen as bargaining agent for the VW employees. 

The above report from the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics may need to be amended to add the VW employees to the unionized total in Tennessee. 

Only time will tell.