Jul 1 2024
02:35 pm

The Supreme Court session has just ended with very bad decisions that endanger law, common sense, democracy, the republic itself, and faith in the Court and the rule of law.

There were several bad decisions, but three stand out:

* The Court overruled 40 years of precedent that courts should defer to administrative expertise when specific interpretations of murky law are needed. Polluters, monopolists, and other nefarious interests had been pushing for this change. Justice Gorsuch in a related opinion accidentally demonstrated how ill-prepared courts are for this new role by several times confusing nitrogen oxide (smog) with nitrous oxide (laughing gas).

* The Court decided a bribe is not a bribe if it is given after the official action sought, only before. So if mega-corporation gives a "gratuity" to a mayor for a new policy, or a legislator with a wink and a nod about a vote, or even a judge for a favorable ruling, no problem. Perhaps some of our Supreme Court "justices" already are on their way to luxurious summer vacations thanks to benefactor gratuities.

* Three days before we celebrate our declaring independence from a king, the Court effectively gave monarchical powers to presidents--immunity for any broadly defined extension of their official powers even if done clearly as a criminal act. No previous presidents have been extended this nonsensical claim, and none has needed it so badly as Donald Trump. The three justices appointed by him did not recuse, neither did the two justices whose spouses took acts in support of insurrectionists who attacked our Capitol.

The Chief Justice wonders why public support for the Court has dropped to very low levels. It may require looking in the mirror to answer that question.

Jun 2 2024
10:44 am

Don't cry for us, Sam Alito
The truth is, we never liked you
All through your flag days, your mad existence
You kept no promise
So keep your distance…

That's a start. Next verses would have to get into the Dobbs decision and his bizarre citations of a 13th century British jurist with some really weird ideas.

May 26 2024
10:31 am

If you are looking for a summer read on your i-pad, you could download my multimedia book, The Professor on the (Online) Campaign Trail. It has text, plus photos, photo albums, videos, and audio files. It's free and available from the TRACE system and Newfound Press.

Here it is.

May 24 2024
04:46 pm

Earlier this month we learned that Chuck E. Cheese will be phasing out its animatronic musicians, Munch's Make Believe Band, at all but two of more than 400 locations.

They will be replaced by giant TV screens, digital dance floors, and trampoline gyms, but what is next for these performers who have been part of childhood birthday parties for decades?

I have the sad feeling that the vocalists, rodent Chuck E. Cheese and chicken Helen Henny, may be popping up at karaoke bars. Keyboardist Mr. Munch, the purple monster, seems destined for strip clubs. Italian stereotype and drummer Pasqually may find work in Italian restaurants, while hound dog guitarist Jasper Tennessee Jowls may become a studio musician in Nashville.

Mar 28 2024
10:39 am

Newfound Press is out with my multimedia book about the 2022 campaign. It features text, photos, and lots of cool videos. Here's where you can get the free download.

Link to Trace @UT

Feb 2 2024
10:31 am
By: Mark Harmon

It's Groundhog Day. What, again?

Dec 30 2023
10:59 am

If you can get through the paywall, I have a column in the News Sentinel.

Free, Equal and No More

Dec 12 2023
04:32 pm

If you can get beyond the paywall, this guest column is exceptionally good.

Vouchers Fail

Sep 8 2023
05:57 pm

Tommy Tuberville, the U.S. Senator from Alabama who is single-handedly holding up hundreds of military promotions because of his hissy fit over military travel for abortions, now has a new concern. He is worried about "wokeness" in the U. S. Navy because, in his words, "we've got people doing poems on aircraft carriers."

So, poetry is just too wussy for Tuberville? In defense of poetry and poetry-loving troops, let me offer this variation on Rudyard Kipling's poem "If," edited to reference Tuberville.

If you can cater to crazies and lose your virtue,
And walk with Fools—and be a common rube
If neither sense nor pleading friends can stop you
If white men count with you, but women not so much
If you let none fill military promotions
With Senate tricks and ignoble traps
Yours is disdain and opprobrium galore
And—which is more—you’ll be a douche, fool coach.

Aug 18 2023
07:50 am

Guest Column for KnoxViews

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, or rather, Florida. The latest from the Land of Fearing Messages is that Hillsborough County (Tampa area) schools – afraid of the state’s broad divisive concepts and restrictive sex talk laws – have stopped required reading of entire Shakespeare plays.


Apr 19 2023
11:12 am

Here is my take on this bad bill:


Mar 14 2023
10:15 am

I'm back writing columns. Hope you enjoy this one.

TN Congressional Liars

Sep 2 2022
10:21 am

Knoxville-area congressional candidate Mark Harmon today called on his opponent, Tim Burchett, to remove a factual error in Burchett's online constituent newsletter.

Burchett wrote the Inflation Reduction Act will "increase the United States' deficit by $146 billion."

The Congressional Budget Office calculated that "enacting this legislation would result in a net decrease in the deficit by $102 billion over the 2022-2031 period."

Estimated Budgetary Effects of H.R. 5376, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022

"I'm worried some partisan hack is writing Burchett's material. We constituents at a minimum deserve factual accuracy," said Harmon.

Burchett, a Republican, has yet to respond to the Democratic candidate Harmon's call for televised debates between them.


Aug 10 2022
09:50 am

The FBI search warrant executed against Former President Donald Trump's Florida residence has reverberated in local politics. Congressman Tim Burchett issued a Twitter statement, "I want to know what was the national security risk at Mar-a-Lago that warranted an FBI raid? Why did they decide it needed to happen NOW? FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland need to testify before Congress this week to explain themselves."
Burchett's Democratic opponent, UT journalism professor Mark Harmon, responded, "Let's talk about this in a televised debate, congressman. I'll be the one supporting the judge-approved warrant." Burchett has not agreed to debate his Democratic opponent in either of his past two elections for this office.
Earlier Burchett had put out a glib tweet declaring, "This just in, no pedophiles who were associated with Epstein have been arrested yet Mar-a-lago was raided?" Harmon retorted, "Let's help Tim with his memory problem" and posted this photo of Epstein and Trump.

Jun 29 2022
11:51 am

Tomorrow (June 30th) the difference in our congressional race comes into sharp contrast. Tim Burchett has a high-dollar, corporate-oriented fundraiser courtesy of the owner of the largest house in Knox County (40,000 sq ft). Mark Harmon is having a celebration of his campaign with supporters and friends in a bowling alley, Strike & Spare Fountain Lanes, 3315 N Broadway in Knoxville (behind Senior Taco), 7-9pm. Come by for fun, bowling optional.

Pander Bear

Jun 24 2022
08:47 am

My opponent has joined the upper echelon of GOP crazy; Tim Burchett was one of only 20 voting against a mental health bill, joined by such lesser lights as Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The Hill

May 4 2022
10:06 am
By: Mark Harmon

It's free, but you must register. Here’s the link:

May 12: UT Knoxville - 6 p.m. EDT

Student Union Auditorium

1502 Cumberland Ave, Knoxville.

Featuring: Republican and Democratic candidates for governor and Congress, Districts 1 and 2 (that's us!)

This is the first of six such forums sponsored by the USA Today Network across Tennessee.

Apr 12 2022
03:48 pm

This NY Times story deserves more attention. An extremist first-term Republican Congressman gets all upset about a 23-year-old court opinion about school prayer at a commencement ceremony.

Suddenly all the extremists in the House GOP turn against a routine bill to name a federal courthouse after a pioneering African American judge.

Congressman Tim Burchett, of course, joined the lemming-like rush to kill the legislation. We really need a better congressman.

Feb 2 2022
11:37 am

Congressman Tim Burchett misled his own fans and followers in his Feb. 1 newsletter. He wrote, “Tennessee requires individual to be at least 18 years old to register to vote. Under the Democrats’ legislation, Tennessee would need to lower the age of eligibility to 16 years old.”

You have to go to FactCheck to discover the sleight-of-hand. The bill would let someone as young as 16 submit an application or pre-registration, but that person still couldn’t vote until age 18. Here’s the link.


Burchett’s stepping so close to a flat-out lie fooled Knoxville Focus Publisher Steve Hunley. Apparently relying on a Burchett tweet, Hunley wrote, “The Democrat bill would have lowered the voting age in Tennessee from 18 to 16.” Nope.

We need a better congressman,

Jan 7 2022
05:04 pm

On Jan. 6th, here is what our congressman chose to tweet:

Jan 6 Tim Tweet.png

Two matters of ethics:
1) ignoring this important anniversary
2) giving financial advice, considering his pre-pandemic stock dump. From the Tennesseean (May 26, 2020):
Burchett reported just one transaction – selling between $1,000 and $15,000 in stock of Denny’s, the breakfast restaurant, on Feb. 12.

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