Roy Exum: Fleischmann In A Pinch

Friday, March 21, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Chuck Fleischmann, who is precariously running for a third term as one of Tennessee's nine representatives in Congress, appears to have gotten himself in a not-so-delicate pinch with horse lovers and animal rights advocates in the state’s Third District.

In a recent letter to a constituent concerned about the sadistic torture and abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses, the incumbent from Ooltewah wrote over his signature that the “safety and proper treatment of animals is an issue that is quite close to my heart” and pledged he would “keep your views in mind should (bill HR1518) arrive on the House floor for a vote.”

But it is widely known Fleischmann is one of nine co-sponsors of a competing bill that was introduced in Congress by his colleague, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Franklin), and the difference between the two bills is so distinct that an editorial in the Nashville Tennessee carried the headline, “Rep. Ed Whitfield's walking horse legislation would end soring; Rep. Marsha Blackburn's would enable it.”

According to the Tennessean editorial, the editors wrote, “We can see there is a special brand of inhumanity that thrives among us in Tennessee. By pitting its own alternative legislation, courtesy of Rep. Marsha Blackburn, against the popular “Prevent All Soring Tactics” (PAST) bill, this group demonstrates how determined it is to continue secretly torturing animals. Stronger than a desire for mere show-ring glory, this appears to be about deriving pleasure from causing pain. That it is defenseless animals, and not people, only increases their ability to get away with it.”

Rep. Blackburn, it has been widely reported, was feted by the embattled “Big Lick” crowd in August of 2013 at the National Celebration and allegedly $70,000 was contributed to her campaign. In contrast, 267 members of Congress (a majority) have now endorsed the popular HR1518 bill, sponsored by Kentucky’s Ed Whitfield, and called the PAST Act, while 50 senators have co-sponsored a companion bill.

Blackburn’s bill has nine co-sponsors, including six other Republican members of Congress from Tennessee. It is hardly lost on such groups as the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and the Humane Society of America that in the one state that is considered the epicenter for horse abuse in the nation, the Republican delegation has mounted a cartel-like effort to stave off reform efforts.

The PAST Act hopes to eliminate the stacks under the front hooves, the chains and the gruesome torture devices that have plagued the walking horse industry for half of a century while Blackburn’s bill, endorsed by the Big Lick faction, would allow the devices that are believed to contribute to the high-stepping, unnatural gait. The PAST Act would heighten inspections by the USDA while Blackburn’s bill would, in essence, allow the Big Lick to police itself.

Fleischmann, currently rated as the lowest-performing Congressional representative from Tennessee by the website govtrack.us, is facing opposition from both Republican and Democratic challengers in the 2014 election. Another Congressman who co-sponsored Blackburn’s bill, Scott DesJarlais (R-Jasper), was named among the “most corrupt” members on Congress by CREW.com after receiving a reception in 2012 similar to Blackburn’s fundraiser. DesJarlais is also facing strong opposition this summer.

Senator Lamar Alexander, up for re-election this year, and Bob Corker are not among those who have co-sponsored the Senate bill (S1408) of the PAST Act. Alexander’s state campaign chairman is Steven B. Smith, who heads the Big Lick’s breed registry, while Corker insists he has not had sufficient time to study the merits of either of the Congressional bills.

A Gallup Poll in December gave the 113th Congress the lowest rating ever for honesty and ethics, a single digit of eight percent, the lowest in the 39 years the pollsters have been conducting measures of public satisfaction.

royexum@aol.com



Keep Jonathan Welch On The School Board

We all know there are problems with the management of our school system.   Fortunately for District 2, Jonathan Welch is not one of them. In the last four years, Jonathan Welch has become acutely aware of what's wrong in the Hamilton County Department of Education.    He not only recognizes the problems, he's worked to identify solutions, and with a reconfigured ... (click for more)

Time For A Change To Kathy Lennon

Although Roy Exum has accurately identified many of the failings of the Hamilton County Education Department and the school board’s culpability in the mess in recent months, he does not support the majority of Hamilton County’s citizens’ opinion that none of the current members of the school board should be re-elected, but insists that one, Jonathan Welch, should be returned to ... (click for more)

SEC Freezes Accounts Of 2 Chattanooga Brokers Accused Of Diverting $5 Million Raised From Investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday announced it has won a court-ordered asset freeze to halt an ongoing fraud by two former Chattanooga brokers with disciplinary histories who allegedly raised more than $5 million from investors without using the money as promised.  In an emergency action filed in Federal Court in Chattanooga, the SEC alleges that James Hugh ... (click for more)

Downtown Landmark The James Building Sold For The 2nd Time In 2 Years

A longtime downtown Chattanooga landmark, the James Building, has been sold just two years after trading hands. The former owners of Rivermont Golf and Country Club bought the 12-story office building in May 2014 from Luken Holdings for $5.1 million. Rivermont James Building LLC has now sold the skyscraper for $5,868,000. The sale was to Dew James LLC. Knoxville attorney ... (click for more)

Thompson, Mason Win Scenic City Scorcher With Record Times

(Story will be updated) Saturday was another record-setting day for runners in Chattanooga. The occasion was the second running of the Scenic City Scorcher, a flat and fast two-mile race in Heritage Landing. Christian Thompson and Rachel Mason were overall winners and both did so in record-breaking time.  Thompson was all alone in first with a time of nine ... (click for more)

CCS Names Eddie Salter, Ben Wharton As New Basketball, Baseball Coaches

Chattanooga Christian School announced that Coach Eddie Salter is returning to the men’s basketball program as the Varsity Head Coach for 2016-2017. He will be joined by Chattanooga Christian alumnus, Ben Wharton, who has been named the Varsity Head Coach of the men’s baseball program and the Junior Varsity Men’s Basketball Coach.  Former Varsity Head Basketball Coach ... (click for more)