Sunday, September 30, 2007

"Good To Great"
- Live Performance By Lee Greenwood

This is why YouTube is so popular! Great Video from Wednesday Night at the "Concert on the Lawn" in Clayton and it is already up on YouTube. Click on the button on video screen at bottom, or if that doesn't play the video, click the title above or here to hear the new song on your computer (if you have speakers) from the YouTube site.

My new friend Lee Greenwood (shown on left) singing his new song for my old friend Senator Fred Smith (shown on right). Now that is cool.

At the bloggers conference Lee Greenwood was asked by Jameson Taylor of the Civitas Institute, "Lee what brings you here today?"

Lee's answer was heartfelt and quite a strong endorsement:

Well, support of my friend [Fred Smith], first of all. This nation needs direction. From state to state . . . . when we travel all over the United States . . . . and even in Canada . . . . people are worried about the future.

There's a lot of things to be worried about. Immigration issue . . . . of course . . . resources, the population explosion is affecting everything. We are not dealing with it really well.

We need great leaders like Senator Smith and . . . I think every time I stumble across someone who has the courage to put their entire career on the line and say "I am going to do this" . . . you know I want to support them . . . lets be more than supportive.

I will tell you this guy is honorable, he has integrity, and he is going to do what he says he is going to do.

That's why I am here.

You can hear Lee say this in his own voice by clicking here.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Get the ACLU Out Of Our Bathrooms

by Terence Jeffrey - September 26th, 2007 -

"The ACLU has a long history of vigorously defending the right to privacy -- including the right to reproductive freedom," the organization told the Supreme Court last year in a brief arguing that partial-birth abortion is a constitutional right.

But two recent court cases demonstrate there is at least one place where the ACLU rejects the right to privacy -- at least for certain classes of people. It is in the bathroom.

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit upheld a decision by U.S. District Judge David Sam, who spurned the ACLU's claim that an anatomical male had a right to use women's restrooms.

The ANARCHY and CRIMINAL LIBERTIES UNION. That is the paraphrase for this organization that I have long felt a more appropriate description. This group is dedicated to destroying American culture. The only thing you can be sure as to what side they will take in any case is . . . . what does most to destroy our nation.

Your daughter should be forced to share a bathroom with men. That is the side that the ACLU took in this case. Remember this case the next time you hear about the ACLU claiming to side with some criminal because his rights have been violated. They want that criminal to watch your daughter in the bathroom too. Your daughter may not share a bathroom with other women only as that is a violation of the rights of men.

The ACLU said it, I didn't!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fred Smith Summer Celebration
Concert On The Lawn By Lee Greenwood

This concert was a highlight to a truly great day. I will always remember this year's Summer Celebration.

It was an exciting event from the beginning . . . the Golf Tournament, through the middle . . . the Bloggers Conference, to the end . . . the two music events. The Piano Reception was energetic, but there is nothing like a pounding country rock music band to get the blood flowing. The Concert on the Lawn was it. Somehow the word concert doesn't capture it.

I was a little late to the event. I was still inside talking with people from the reception when I heard the music start outside. I quickly excused myself and headed for the stage. It was nearly sunset as I walked out the front door of Fred and Ginny Smith's house, and there on the front lawn was a huge stage.

As I approached, a slight rise in the lawn hid most of the crowd, so it was a moment later before I realized just how big the audience was.

As I got close to the stage, Lee Greenwood was really getting the night rocking with enthusiastic renditions of his many great hits, along with some other hits made famous by others.

From below the stage looking back at Fred and Ginny's home it is easier to see how large the crowd is.

Lee kept the music coming. This was a long concert and everyone really got their money's worth, though as a campaign event the attendence fee was a little higher than most country rock concerts.

The crowd was loving it. Not quite as enthusiastic as crowds from back in my drinking days in college, they expressed their appreciation with loud applause.

I found Ginny and Fred Smith, Ellen and Jonathan Hill (shown below), at the back of the crowd. Lee had everyone's attention including theirs.

Like most events where you are having a good time, time becomes something that you wish you could stop. However the sun was rapidly setting and the front lawn became darker by the minute. Both the gentleman on the left and the gentleman on the right (in the photo shown below) are doing what a great number of people did. Calling a friend on a cell phone to let them listen in to the concert. I saw more than a dozen people doing this. So I called a couple of friends myself.

Suddenly, they turned on the lights on the stage, and it was much easier to see Lee and his band.

I circulated trying to get some good pictures of people. Here (shown below), Lisa Long and Allyson Dickens chat with Fred and Ginny's son, Duval Smith. The whole Smith family was gathered and mixed in with everyone else enjoying the music.

Highlight of the evening was the second playing of the new song Lee had written for Fred Smith and North Carolina, titled "From Good to Great"! This time it was not played with a single piano as earlier at the reception, but with the throbbing beat of a country rock band. Wow.

I loved it. If you want to hear for yourself, it is now posted on the website here. If it is not the first video playing, click on the one with Lee on stage. It is video from the concert described in this posting, the second ever playing of the new song.

You cannot believe what a great song "From Good to Great" is.

At that point I made my screw up for the day. I went to the back of the audience to get some candid pictures of reaction to the song when I realized that Fred had made his way up to the stage. I did my best but could not get close to the stage quick enough to get the great picture of Fred and Lee arm in arm!

I wanted that picture but I didn't get it. It sums up the comradery that I felt all day between these two. And thanks to David Smithdeal, now I have it. Here it is posted (above) late! Thanks David.

Fred then took over as Lee made his way to the side of the stage.

Fred talked about a lot of things to end the night. Some of it was his standard campaign speech. But much of it was about Lee Greenwood. He told the story again about Lee spontaneously rushing down to join Ginny at the end of a BBQ the night before and the kind of energy that it produced. He promised that Lee would be coming to more of the BBQs and that really got the audience excited. The members were, after all, Fred Smith supporters. He also talked about the song "Good to Great". It is going to get some air time!

After the comments, Lee returned for some more music. It was a really special night and a really special close to a really special Summer Celebration. Great day.

Fred Smith Summer Celebration
Piana Reception By Lee Greenwood

These Summer Celebrations are always long days. We now have two events down, one more to go, and only now on Friday Morning am I finally getting this posting done for the third event (check out the earlier posts on the Golf Tournament and Bloggers Press Conference below). Senator Fred Smith likes to pack a lot into a day and these Summer Celebrations are quite impressive because of it.

If you really want to see how hard Fred works and how much he can pack into a day, check out my posting from election day 2006 here.

The Golf Tournament was great. With the date being a month later this year the temperature was lower and the weather was just perfect. The North Carolina Bloggers Press Conference was held late afternoon, and while waiting for that, Lee Greenwood (shown above preparing) spent the time getting things perfect for both the Piano Reception and the Concert on the Lawn (posting for the Concert on the Lawn article still to go).

Lee's work ethic reminded me much of Fred's. It had been a long day with the Golf Tournament, his concert prepration and the bloggers concert. Surprisingly the Piano Reception was a solo show for Lee. I was not aware until I saw him getting ready that he would be playing the piano personally. And after hearing him prepare I can tell you, he is a GREAT piano player.

Part of the excitement of the Piano Reception was the song Lee has written for the Fred Smith for Governor campaign. "Good to Great" is a great song . . . . about Fred and about our State of North Carolina. The rumor of its debut was being talked about all day at the golf tournament, setting the stage for this to be a big event. Immediately after the Bloggers Press Conference, Fred (shown above) went out to the front steps of his house to meet people as they arrived to hear Lee give his piano recital and premier "Good to Great".

Harvey West (middle above) and Matt Dean (right above) were staffing the liquid refresehment bar for wine and soft drinks.

I am not going to try and name them all here in this posting, however there were a large number of North Carolina's leading Republicans at the event. Bob Edmunds (shown above on left), incumbent candidate for North Carolina Supreme Court was there and he will represent them all for our photos of the event.

Fred (shown above introducing Ellen Hill to some new arrivals) spent a lot of time out front and then moved to his usual position for these events, just inside the front door.

Ginny Smith, Fred's wife, was just a few feet away also greeting guests and making everyone feel comfortable. Fred and Ginny are great hosts.

The food was simply top quality, as you would expect. Since the Concert on the Lawn was going to follow the private recital, dress code was casual, though a few people still showed up with ties and cocktail dresses. It made for a rather broad spectrum of attire.

When the guest of honor (Lee Greewood shown above with David Smithdeal) came upstairs for the event, I caught up with him to take pictures (my job after all).

Robin Hawks and Claudine Clarke (shown above), were having a great time, and talking about their interest in the song Lee was about to premier, "Good to Great".

After a very short time, Lee went to the piano and started the indoor concert / recital. He played a number of his early hits, including his first hit, which he informed us had broken first here in the state of North Carolina. North Carolina was thus a key component to his successful music career. The songs included "God Bless the USA", Lee's signature hit that includes the great line, "Proud to be an American", a line that brings pride to a patriot's heart.

Within moments of starting the concert, everyone had jammed into the family room to listen, packing the room all the way back into the kitchen. You can't even see Lee up front by the fireplace.

Senator Smith was as excited as the rest of the audience at the chance to listen to this music superstar, and he was back against the wall (shown above middle right . . in the white shirt).

After a great period of music we came to the premier of the song, "Good to Great". Lee introduced it by telling the story of how he came to offer to write the song. You can see on the piano the hand written music sheets of the new song. And the picture above shows Lee playing this campaign theme for the first time in public. It was electric.

After the song debut, Fred went up to thank Lee, and they took a few minutes to talk about their growing relationship. Lee has become a super supporter. Fred is shown above telling how Lee capped the previous night's BBQ in Hendersonville. Ginny was singing the final song of the BBQ, the stardard way the BBQs are closed each time. The song she sang was as usual "God Bless America". The moment turned magic as Lee spontaneously jumped up from the rear of the room and ran down to join Ginny sharing her mic. Waving the crowd to join in . . . . Lee and Ginny sang God Bless America and the huge crowd went wild like a rock concert. The energy was amazing. It turned what had been a great night into a milestone in the 100 BBQ Tour that Fred is using as a unique part of his campaign.

These emotional comments ended the recital and everyone started heading outside for the Concert on the Lawn.

Click here to check out the article on last year's reception with Governor Rick Perry of Texas as the honored guest.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fred Smith Summer Celebration
Blogger's Press Conference

As a part of his annual Summer Celebration, Senator Fred Smith held a North Carolina Bloggers Press Conference so that he and country super star Lee Greenwood could talk with representatives of this new form of media and answer our questions.

The Press Conference was held in the living room in Fred's house beside the Riverwood Golf Club after the conclusion of the golf tournament that was the focal point of most of the day's festivities. That was for fun. However this is about politics and the day's events started to focus on serious things with the start of the press conference.

Attendees at this years conference included a great number of talented bloggers:

Bob Owens, the "Confederate Yankee",, who can be reached by email at

Scott Elliott and his wife Leia, of "Election Projection", who can be reached by email at

Rob Boyce accompanied by friend Vicky Brown, who blogs under his own name at and can be reached by email at

Jameson T. Taylor and his wife Jennifer, Red Clay Citizen (the Civitas Institute blog), who can be reached by email at

Sarah (does not use her last name on her blog), "Trying to Grok" (obviously a Robert Heinlein fan),, who can be reached by email at

Brandon Winters, "The Conservative Voice", who can be reached by email at

And of course yours truly, Dean Stephens, the "Inner Banks Eagle",, who can be reached by email at

I have checked as of 24 hours after the event and other than one mention about attending the event there is as yet no blog coverage from attendees. Hope we get some coverage over time. Last year Frank Williams and Nathan Tabor were up with their coverage on the same day. A google search did find a blog entry about the previous night's Fred Smith BBQ event in Hendersonville which you can reach by clicking here. It also turned up a couple of real news articles about the BBQ event in the Hendersonville News here and Blue Ridge Now here.

The most interesting question you could ask at the bloggers conference was why Lee Greenwood had chosen to support Senator Smith in his quest to become Governor of the State of North Carolina. However that was not the first question asked. The first question asked was how Senator Smith felt about the education lottery. As Senator Smith noted in his answer, the question is sort of moot. The Lottery was passed and though the blogger who asked the questions may think the lottery is wrong, it isn't an issue that is at the forefront of the issues in this campaign because there is no realistic way to undo the law.

Luckily one blogger finally asked the question everyone wanted to know. Lee's answer was great. He had met Senator Fred Smith through a mutual friend who was a great fan. After Lee got to know Fred he said that he had never met anyone who he felt was more dedicated to helping make the future better. Lee believed he had an obligation to help him succeed. The level of support indicated in his answer by this man many call America's greatest patriot was simply awesome.

Senator Smith got a couple of additional questions that allowed him to talk about his concerns and campaign themes covered on his web site. You can click on the title above or here to read his positions. Most of the answers were typical Fred Smith, straight forward and honest. One of the other bloggers commented after the press conference was over that he was surprised at how open Senator Smith is. This was his first conference with Senator Smith or he would not have been surprised.

[Update: A good question about immigration and agriculture was asked and is covered well by Jameson of Red Clay Citizen. See link below.]

Last years event was equally interesting since it included the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry. Perry is not a country super star but an impressive man and he too is supporting Fred Smith for Governor. You can check out last years Bloggers Press Conference by clicking the link here.

I will update this posting as soon as some of the other bloggers have weighed in.

Update at 6:12 PM . . . . I just got a notice from Lorie Byrd about a posting here by Red Clay Citizen talking about Fred's positions on immigrant labor in agriculture. Excellent job Jameson.

Update at 9:15 PM . . . . I just checked the various blogs represented at the press conference and found a posting here by Rob Boyce.

Update at 10:07 AM Friday morning . . . . . posting here by Scott Elliot of Election Projection. Check it out. It is clear we have gained another Fred Smith supporter.

Update at 11:30 AM Friday morning . . . . . posting here by Sarah of "Trying to grok". Check it out. She has an interesting perspective.

Fred Smith Summer Celebration
Annual Golf Tournament

The Fifth Annual Fred Smith Summer Celebration Golf Tournament was the best yet, held as usual at the Riverwood Golf Club in Clayton, North Carolina. This year's Honored Guest was Country Superstar Lee Greenwood. Previously these have been held when Fred was running for County Commissioner and State Senator. With Fred running for Governor of North Carolina this time, the event has taken on much larger significance.

It was a great experience for me as I got to accompany Fred and Lee (I am in the middle above) all day while they participated in the event. Both are great fun to be around and made the day's work very easy. We were not playing the tournament so it was a relaxed day for everyone but Fred. Fred was trying to give each team a great shot as their bonus on the one hole he played with each team. He is a good golfer so his shots often count.

Fred is very competitive and has been a success at everything that he has ever tried. A succesful Army officer, lawyer, farmer, real estate developer and entrepreneur. He is also very frugal as indicated by the fact that this great golf course, Riverwood, is his former farm! It is a beautiful piece of land and the magnificent clubhouse for the golf course was, before conversion, Fred and Ginny's farm house. Anything to save money. The fact that Fred owns the golf course makes this unlike any other fund raising golf event.

The first action of the day started when I arrived. The staff and volunteers wanted a picture to commemorate the day. The staff and the volunteers who put on the event take great pride in making sure that everyone has a good time.

After the staff and volunteer photo, job assignments had to be passed out so that the day would go smoothly.

After everyone is organized, the staff and volunteers spread out to their various assignments.

Doug Carlson (shown above on right) finds out the registration process.

Chuck Tyson (shown on left above) from New Bern unloads his golf clubs.

Blair Keen, Ginny Smith and Bob Satterfield (shown above) get ready for the day.

Chuck Tyson and Dwayne Brabble check in with Morgan Dickens (above on right) to get their cart assignments.

Luke Grinham, Joe Humphries, Eric Evans, Reid Smith, Matt Fry and Dan Goodman (shown above), took time out from catching up with friendships to get photographed.

It was time to start so I went inside to catch up with Fred and Lee. They were organizing details of some of the later events of the day. (Shown from the left above) Brian Strickland, Duval Smith, Lee Greenwood and Senator Fred Smith.

You don't get to see superstars like Lee Greenwood every day, and when Lee left the clubhouse, everyone turned to look.

When Lee came out he took a tour to meet the staff and volunteers. Here he says hello to the volunteers who are cooking the hot dogs, DeVan Barbour (walking to left) Jackson Stancil, Harvey West and Burwell Stark.

Fred spends time meeting the guests and saying hello to old friends.

After a short time food is served . . . . I caught this picture of Lee with his hot dog.

Everyone is in a hurry to finish lunch so they can get out on the course.

Reid Smith explains the rules of this superball tournament.

The host, Senator Fred Smith (on right above) introduces the day's honored guest, Lee Greenwood (on left).

Lee tells some stories about the BBQ in Hendersonville that he attended with Fred on the previous evening. Excerpts from a newspaper article about that event can be found here.

One of the interesting aspects of this tournament is the extra shots that each team gets from Fred. While the tournament is in process Fred goes around the course and plays with each team on one hole. The Team gets to choose what help they want from Fred, driver, approach shot or putt. Fred usually gets asked to help with his drives, since he really booms them and they are always straight. Above he putts and sinks about a 12 footer.

Lee is not a golfer, but he still is game for taking part. Here he putts about a 20 footer which he leaves about one foot from the hole. Not too shabby.

My part in the festivities is to take team photos of all the players. I have included a sample photo above. You can see all the team phtotos and get the team member names by clicking here.

You can also see last year's event by clicking

Fred Smith's Summer Celebrations are lots of fun and always get a great turnout.
Plus this year you got to meet a man who is a serious candidate to be our next Governor. The day is not over though. We still have the blogger's conference, the reception and the concert on the lawn. It was a hot day on the course and I am drenched so I head over to dry off and change clothes for the latter events.

Be sure and check back for the articles on later events.