Archive for August, 2008

>No Apology

August 31, 2008

>An anonymous comment on yesterday’s post reads: I am sick and tired of this so called “blog”. This is nothing but a Democratic Lovers page. I used to enjoy reading about news from around Bessemer and such, but now I will not be back to this site.

It is no secret, nor is it anything to be ashamed of, that I support the Democratic Party and its candidates, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, to lead our country. So it should come as no surprise that the blog leans heavily to the democratic side. And if you do not like what I wrote on this blog, I am afraid you will really not like my column in the paper this week. But, as they say, the truth hurts.

So called blog.” What defines a blog? A blog is a “log” or record, of the author’s (s) thoughts or writings on the web. So why say this is a “so called” blog?

I do report on news from Bessemer, take for instance the positive posts regarding Colonial Promenade Tannehill. Look at my advocacy and concern for victims of crime in Bessemer. I have posted about Jess Lanier students who deserved recognition. I am for preservation, thus I have posted about Arlington School which the city is doing nothing to save. And more.

Incidentally, Bessemer is mostly Democrat. The mayor is a Democrat. Most if not all of the city council members, and the school board, are Democrats. In the primaries, more people voted in the democratic primary than the Republican primary. In November, Barack Obama will receive more votes than John McCain.

As we approach election day, the choice, if we want to move this country forward, is clear. John McCain and Sarah Palin represent the status quo. Maybe not when you look at her age, gender, “maverick” style and such. But the policies of the McCain/Palin administration have already been outlined and are nothing more than a repeat of the Bush policies. And we are reminded of that this weekend as we see Gustav approaching and remember Katrina 3 years ago.

So I make no apology for supporting the Democrat Platform and dissing the Republicans. And I will continue to do what I can to promote our platform and get Barack elected.

As for the coming week, I was planning to report on the Republican National Convention, and most likely would have been critical of the event. However, Gustav is disrupting the planned events of the convention and my schedule as well. I will know more of my schedule later today, but I am 100% sure that I will be called on to assist with Gustav with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Emergency Programs Section. Maybe from here, maybe from Clanton or Montgomery, or maybe from further south.

I may be able to post daily, and if so, it will be about Gustav and the response. If not, then I will report when I can.

In the meantime, lets all give support and prayers for the people of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama. And lets prepare to offer help for many weeks ahead.

>Weekend Follies, Including Sarah Palin

August 30, 2008

>Time for some weekend humor, especially after thinking about John McCain’s VP pick for a day. In addition to what I have already said, she wants to treat “creationism” as science, and have it taught in our public schools. Creationism and intelligent design are not science.

Plus, yesterday I was driving to the grocery store, and on WERC 960 on the Dominick Brascia show, his guest Dale Jones and Hunter Ford were discussing politics and the VP choice, and comparing her to Joe Biden. Then they began to criticize Biden, bringing the old charge of plagiarism. Several comments from Jones, and I just started laughing in the truck because of this irony.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

And then, after posting the link to the story about Sarah Palin and the Polar Bears, I see part of an ad, on Fox no less, about Polar Bear extinction and the reality of what is happening, I think from the World Wildlife Fund. Polar Bears in danger, not funny.

I doubt this is the same ad, but it gives the same message:

Anyway, I received a copy of the Republican National Convention agenda for Day 1.

Here it is.

7:00 pm – Ceremonial burning of the U.S. Constitution
7:15 pm – Spiritual Medium Sylvia Browne performs psychic séance in desperate attempt to raise Ronald Reagan from the grave
7:35 pm – “The Pleasures of Adultery” – with Newt Gingrich & Rudy Giuliani
8:05 pm – Gay sex party in Men’s Restroom hosted by Senator Larry Craig
8:35 pm – Transvestite Ann Coulter – “My Life as a Man”
8:55 pm – Live satellite feed from Federal Prison – Ohio Rep. Bob Ney Mr. GOP, Jack Abramoff
9:05 pm – Guest speaker ex Florida congressman Mark Foley “Joys with Young Boys”
9:25 pm – Oliver North – “Iran is Evil, but I sold them weapons anyway”
9:40 pm – Bill O’ Reilly – “The costs of sexual harassment and phone sex with employees” 10:00 pm – Gay sex party in Men’s Room hosted by Ken Mehlman and Geraldo Rivera
10:25 pm – Check John McCain to see if he’s still breathing and if his adult diaper needs changing.
10:35 pm – N.R.A. President hosts an assault rifle target practice on Gays and Mexicans.
10:45 pm – Call emergency squad after a drunken Dick Cheney accidentally shoots his friend in the face.
11:00 pm – President Bush performs his hilarious comedy routine where he looks for Iraq’s fictitious WMD’s under guests tables.
11:15 pm – Governor Mike Huckabee does his famous uncanny imitation of Gomer Pyle.
11:20 pm – Group intervention to get Rush Limbaugh back into drug rehab
11: 45 pm – Go up on rooftop and throw rocks down at homeless Vets sleeping in alley.
12:00 am – Live satellite feed from Federal Prison – California Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham
12:20 am – Convicted felon/Fox News analyst G. Gordon Liddy – Lock picking secrets
12: 40 am – Guest speakers Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz – “How to lie your Country into a War”
1:00 am – Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay – “Tips on Money Laundering”
1:15 am – Hookers arrive for after party

Courtesy of DWT

>More on Sarah Palin

August 30, 2008

>Palin? You’ve got to be kidding (previous post)

Did the McCain campaign not read the news? This investigation will last until the end of October, at least.

From the

Anchorage Daily News

Some call it Troopergate.

Palin’s abrupt dismissal of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan is now being investigated by a special counsel hired by the Alaska Legislature as to whether there was any official misconduct.

The Legislature is spending up to $100,000 “to investigate the circumstances and events surrounding the termination of former Public Safety Commissioner Monegan, and potential abuses of power and/or improper actions by members of the executive branch.”

The investigation is supposed to wrap up by Oct. 31.

Read the full article here .

She cares not about the polar bears. You remember them, don’t you? Well you better remember , because if Palin has her way, they will be gone, gone, gone. Just a memory.

From the

Fairbanks Daily News Miner

Also, the governor of the only state with polar bears has adamantly opposed listing the animals as a threatened species, despite strong evidence that global warming has devastated their sea ice environment off Alaska’s coast.

“Listing polar bears under the Endangered Species Act has the potential to damage Alaska’s and the nation’s economy without any benefit to polar bear numbers or their habitat,” Palin said, a statement environmental groups call ridiculous.

She has also claimed polar bears could adapt to living on land — a contention most international polar bear scientists find specious, given that grizzly bears already occupy that niche on land and polar bears have shown little ability to feed on land, other garbage or the occasional whale carcass.

And from the same article, about why she was elected:

“Sarah Palin’s chief qualification for being elected governor was that she was not Frank Murkowski,” Cole said of her enormously unpopular predecessor, who lost favor with Alaskans in part because of unpopular budget cuts. “She was not elected because she was a conservative. She was not elected because of her grasp of issues or because of her track record as the mayor of Wasilla.”

Read the full article here .

>Palin? You’ve Got to be Kidding!

August 29, 2008


Palin’s poor record

John McCain has picked Alaska governor Sarah Palin, one of the least known governors in the nation, as his running mate. This is problematic for the Republican’s on several counts.
Her name rhymes with van Halen (news reporters seem to have trouble with the name, she is such an unknown, and are using this to remember her name.)

As a woman, Palin is expected to bring in the Hillary voters who the Republicans think feel snubbed. But Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton. And most Hillary supporters are Democrats, and are not going to support an anti-choice woman who they will recognize was only chosen to manipulate them. One word comes to mind: condescending.

Sarah Palin cannot stand next to Joe Biden as a vice president who is a heartbeat away from being commander in chief of our country. And she in no way has the credentials to match him in a debate on foreign policy.

This is worse than Dan Quayle as a vice president choice.Pat Buchanan says this is the biggest political gamble in American history. Palin has her own problems in Alaska, and some are calling for an ethics investigation of her. While this may not turn out be anything, just the fact that ethics are being questioned before the choice is significant.

I don’t have permission to print these cartoons by Dan Darrow from Alaska, but I do have permission to print the thumbnails, click on them and see the full cartoon. Looks like Sarah Palin will attract the Troy King wing of the Republican Party (who is back in the news).

Dan Darrow
Ester Republic and Freelance …
Nov 17, 2006

Dan Darrow
Ester Republic and Freelance …
Sep 16, 2006

I can already see her being depicted on Saturday Night Live. Can’t wait.

More on Sarah Palin

>Day Four

August 29, 2008

>America has been transformed. And on November 4 American will “stand up and say eight is enough.”

There were two stories, of course. The nomination of the first minority as a candidate of a major political party, and the event celebrating the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic speech.

As we were watching, I heard a MAX bus drive by the house, and I thought “There are people working who are not able to watch this event unfold.” Nurses, retail, convenience store workers, factory workers (those still in the United States) and others, trying to make a living, might have enjoyed the moment that 40 million other Americans did (that’s a generic number, I have no idea how many watched).

So for those who have not seen the speech, here it is.

There is no need to write a long commentary on this speech. It stands alone and it speaks for itself, filling in all the gaps that were supposedly there.

Obama outlined what change means, he challenged McCain’s judgement and temperament, he brought middle America back into control of the Democratic party.

Speaking of McCain’s judgement and temperament, see here and here and here.

Everyone in America can feel good about this speech, and about this candidate. He leaves no doubt that he is qualified and ready to be commander in chief, and that he is ready to restore the American Dream that has been destroyed by the Republican Party.

Shawn Johnson shined as she led the Pledge wearing her peace symbol earrings. Jennifer Hudson sang the National Anthem. Brooks and Dunn music ended the event. This is middle America, the forgotten America.

As for the historic aspect of the speech and what it means for America, that will come in my Western Tribune column for next week.

In a few minutes we will know who John McCain will choose as his running mate. Expect a post about that soon after. I have an idea. Check back.

Meanwhile, enjoy Will I Am along with John Legend in their performance last night of “Yes We Can,” prior to Obama’s event. Sing along.

>Central Alabama Pride Sues Mayor Langford

August 28, 2008

>Central Alabama Pride has filed a federal lawsuit against Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, citing his refusal to allow city workers to hang banners in honor of Gay Pride this year.

Here is a copy of the suit. Lawsuit

The suit claims discrimination based on the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U. S. Constitution.

Langford says this is a “frivolous publicity stunt.”

He should know.

This suit, along with the great success of Pride this year, and the passage last year of the Birmingham Resolution of being an inclusive city, tells me that Birmingham is light years ahead of where we are perceived in the realm of GLBT equality.

>Convention Day 3

August 28, 2008

>What a moment! None of the fighting and kicking and screaming that the Republicans were hoping for. The level of emotion was palpable, and many delegates, black and white and tan were seen teary eyes or almost bawling as Barack Obama was nominated yesterday.

But throughout the afternoon, while watching the process, I kept returning to the nominating speech. Michael Wilson, an air force medic, Iraq veteran, (did I mention he’s a republican?), had the honor.

Although the economy is now the number one issue to voters, for years the unjust and unnecessary war in Iraq has been the headliner. Here is some of what Wilson said:

“I support Barack Obama because America needs a president who has the strength, wisdom, courage to talk with our enemies and consult with our allies.”

“America needs new leadership in the White House and that leader is Barack Obama. A president who has the judgment to use war as a last resort, not as a first resort.”

That can not be good for the Republicans, to have “one of their own” nominate the Democrat.

Michael Wilson, thank you for your service to our country, and for having the courage to speak up. We need more like you.

Rock Star

Bill Clinton takes celebrity to a new level. He was allotted 10 minutes to speak, and if you counted the three minutes of raucous applause that greeted him he would have only had seven minutes to speak.

He used about 22 minutes of convention time to make the strongest case yet for choosing Obama over McCain.

“He is ready to lead America and ready to restore American leadership in the world.”

And he was followed by VP candidate Joe Biden. Fox must have watched this speech, because Fred Barnes said democrats “got the whole cake” from Biden.

“These times require more than a good soldier. They require a wise leader. A leader who can deliver change. The change that everybody knows we need.”


Barack Obama does not have an easy task tonight. The crowd won’t bother him, he’s addressed larger crowds than this before. But the pundits are saying he has to make the case tonight. The campaign says this will be a differnet type of speech than what people are used to and expecting.

I have no doubt that Barack Obama will bring the house down. And while waiting on the nominee, 76,000 people will be learning to be activists by calling and texting friends from the stadium.

Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson will lead the convention in the Pledge of Allegiance. I remember thinking when I saw her talking with Bob Costas that she could be a force outside of her sport because she had the guts to wear the peace symbol earrings in her interviews with Costas and others.

And before people start criticizing Obama for speaking in front of Roman columns, take a look at George W. Bush giving his acceptance speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Those look like columns behind him, and besides, don’t we have lots of columns all across America?

And the rain that Christian extremists were praying for will stay away. Instead, the big weather story continues to be Gustav heading for the Louisiana coast.

Update: Hurricane (now tropical storm) Hanna will likely be approaching Florida during the Republican Convention.

>A Day of Mourning

August 28, 2008


I received the following email regarding the death of Del Martin, a pioneer in the fight for equality for the gay community:

Today, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community lost an iconic leader and a beloved friend. Del Martin, 87, passed away in San Francisco with Phyllis Lyon, her lifelong partner and spouse, by her side. Del was one of the nation’s first and most visible lesbian rights activists who dedicated her life to combating homophobia, sexism, violence and racism. Del’s many contributions to the LGBT movement will resonate for decades to come.

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were the first gay or lesbian couple to be legally married in Northern California, on June 16, 2008 after 55 years together.

As was her wish, in lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to honor Del’s life and commitment by defeating the California marriage ban. To make a gift, please click here: Equality for All No on Prop 8 .

With Del’s passing, we mourn the loss of a champion not only for LGBT rights, but also for the basic human rights due to all people. Del will always be an inspiration to those of us who follow the path to equality she blazed. We sincerely thank her for this final, selfless contribution to the rights that she and Phyllis fought so long for.

Del, we will miss you.


Dale Kelly Bankhead

Campaign Manager

No On 8, Equality For All

>Western Tribune Column August 27, 2008

August 28, 2008

>Not only have the Olympics in Beijing resulted in greater interest in swimming, but my visit to a local restaurant last week tells me there is a renewed interest in Chinese buffets, as well. The place was packed.

As the second week of the Olympics progressed interest mounted in team sports such as volleyball and softball as well as track and field. Usain Bolt’s terrific world record times in the 100 and 200 meter events and the U. S. sweep of the 400 meter hurdles along with the relays will have those kids not interested in swimming ready to hit the track.

That may be a little optimistic, but it would be nice. Bessemer does produce athletes, no doubt. The success of programs at Jess Lanier and Bessemer Academy is evidence of that. And greater interest in running track will lead to faster backs and ends on the football field.

Last week I mentioned that Bessemer needs a pool and that families can not afford to join the local YMCA. However, I did not consider the policies of the organization in making my statement. The YMCA is a community organization that exists specifically to provide services like aquatics and gymnastics to everyone, even those who cannot afford it.

In Bessemer, the swim team program at the Y was re-instituted last year, just in time for this year’s increased demand.

But as the Olympics end, the real race begins. The headlines shift from sports to politics, and Barack Obama’s selection of Joe Biden as his running mate begins a week of interest in the Democratic ticket.

This week Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s inspiring “I have a Dream” speech. As many people in this country may watch the speech as saw the opening ceremonies from Beijing, because, repeating myself, this is a moment for history.

With Biden on the ticket Obama’s appeal is increased, especially among working class voters and women. And let’s see, between them it is two men, two houses. We will be waiting to see who John McCain picks as his running mate.

Any bets on the total number of houses the two Republicans will own?

>Convention Day 2

August 27, 2008

>The Democrats continue to “wow” the voters of the country from Denver. Now I know that not everyone, me included, watches every speech by every democrat, but whatever speech you see inspires and restores faith that our country can return to one with respect and integrity and promise.

Lilly Ledbetter, the Alabama Goodyear worker who was paid less because she is a woman, and who took her fight for equality all the way to the Supreme Court, spoke. While I can’t find an embeddable video of her speech last night, here she is explaining her fight. The right wing Supreme Court ruled that she should have filed a complaint within 6 months of her first paycheck that was different from her co-workers. Problem is, there was no way for her to know what her co-workers were being paid. She, and millions of women like her, will never receive the pay she is due.

For a full transcript of her prepared speech, click here.

Shouldn’t women who do equal work receive equal pay? McCain thinks not. Obama thinks so.

Brian Schweitzer is the Governor of Montana. When can we get him as president? This short video is an example of his ability to make a point and entertain at the same time.

“Petro-dictators will never own America’s wind and sunshine”

He closed with “That’s it baby, let’s go win this election. God bless America.”

Then came Mark Warner, the former governor of Virginia running to become senator from that state. News anchors were warning he needed to be careful because he needs moderates and conservative votes to win. That may be true, but checking the polls I see that Warner is up by 24, so I think he has some leeway and he let it loose.

Watch his speech here.

Then came Hillary, and the speech the nation has been waiting for. When she entered the arena, I realized that she is as big a celebrity as Barack. But, contrary to what McCain believes, there is nothing wrong with celebrity. America loves celebrity.

Hillary addressed her “sisterhood of the travelling pantsuits” with a sincere and powerful endorsement of Barack Obama, and I truly don’t understand those who don’t get it. Oh well, they will only have themselves to blame when health care becomes out of reach for even more Americans, Exxon continues to rack up record profits, and we have to start eating grass and pine comes from our backyards. Oh yeah, and when we are fighting wars on so many fronts that it is impossible to win and finish any of them, and their sons and daughters or making their third and fourth deployment. That is the future under John McCain. Oh, and when our science textbooks are written by theocrats that care more about controlling kids than teaching them science. That is McCain.

Wake up people.

While Hillary’s endorsement of Barack was anticipated and necessary, her case against John McCain was clear and accurate. Here she sums it up in 56 seconds.

Watch the full speech here.

Immediate reaction was positive, from every news site except Fox, who obviously lost the feed from the convention floor and did not see the speech. That is the only explanation.


Rachel Maddow: She just nailed it


Anderson Cooper: Electrified everyone, and got them out of their seats.

David Gergan: Her finest moment in politics.

Then Fox:

Bill Kristol: Shockingly minimal endorsement.

Mort Kondracke: Agreed with Kristol.

Fred Barnes: I think the Obama people will complain.

Next time guys, watch the speech before you comment on it.