Archive for September, 2008

>Uugghh. Congress. Cows.

September 30, 2008

>The economic crisis reminds me of Foot and Mouth Disease. No, I am not talking about Nancy Pelosi sticking her foot in her mouth, or John McCain sticking both of his feet and Sarah Palin’s in his mouth (that refers to him not allowing her to speak when he was explaining her answer to a voter’s question regarding Pakistan in a Pizza parlor the other day. I mean, muzzling the VP candidate is one thing, but muzzling her when she is sitting there beside you is sort of weird).

No, I am talking about the similarities of the fiscal crisis in America and the Foot and Mouth outbreak in England in 2001. If dollars were cows, well, congress just burned over a trillion dollars similar to the 10 million cattle and sheep that were killed because of the disease. In both cases, there is a big stink.

No one wanted to slaughter 10 million cattle and sheep in 2001 but it was necessary to save the rest of the livestock, keep the disease from spreading beyond the area it was contained in and to save the industry.

So public health officials and veterinarians made the decision to do what was necessary, even though people were screaming about it and protesting and all.

That is a picture of the FMD virus coating protein.

Likewise, no one wants to spend (or borrow, really, since it will probably be returned…with profit) 700 billion dollars to save the financial sector, but to keep the economic meltdown from spreading beyond the area it is contained in and to save the industry it will be necessary.

Ten million dead animals stink, no matter how you dispose of them, and a drop of 777 points in the Dow Jones stinks too. The public health officials dealt with the stink by wearing masks and such. All congress has to do is hold their nose and cast a vote. In some cases, a legislator does not have the luxury of waiting for a “perfect” bill to vote on. Sometimes you have to vote, and fix it later.

Let’s hope the “bench warming” Republicans (as they were referred to this morning) can quit pouting and vote to help the country next time. I say this, because majority whip James Clyburn said this morning that Republican leadership had said they could deliver 100 votes out of the 110 originally agreed upon. Twenty minutes before the vote he saw Roy Blunt, the minority whip and asked him how it stood. Blunt said they didn’t have a hundred, but could deliver 75 or 80. That would have been enough to pass the bill, and Clyburn told Blunt that would do because he had a cushion. They delivered 65 votes, and they blame Pelosi. I agree with Barney Frank, who said that changing you vote because of a speech is putting their hurt feelings above what is best for the country.

Come on children, play nice.

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>Some Bessemer News

September 30, 2008

>Blessing of the Pets

On Sunday, October 5, there will be a blessing of pets at DeBardeleben Park. It is on the corner of 3rd Ave. No between 16th & 17th St. in Bessemer, Alabama. Rev. Kim Pilkington will be blessing the animals hosted by First Christian Church of Bessemer. It will start at 9:45 AM.

Jacque Meyer, director of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society will be cooperating and giving a short speech before the event.

Please bring dogs on leashes, and cats in carriers, and birds and snakes and gerbils and such in cages.

Voter Registration

Alabama Barack Team Bessemer has been busy, especially during the month of September. here is a summary of voter registration activities.

Month of July 105
Month of August 359
Month of September 1,148
Total new registered voters 1,612

That is just in Bessemer and nearby. Efforts are ongoing. The deadline for submitting Voter Registration applications is Friday, October 24.

Not sure if you are registered? Visit Voteforchange to see if you are registered to vote or to request voter registration or absentee ballot applications. It does not matter where you live.

Important phone numbers: Bessemer Barack Office: 425-5700. Gwen Alexander is the chair and her number is 428-8272. Birmingham’s Barack Office new phone number is 458-0505. The Board of Registrars number is 325-5550. The Circuit Clerks’ numbers for Absentee Ballot applications are: BHAM 325-5360, Bessemer Cutoff 481-4165, and Shelby County 669-3760.

Here are voter registration activities for which volunteers are needed.

Friday, October 3, Piggly Wiggly (West End) 1697 Tuscaloosa Ave SW, Birmingham, 9:00am-5:00pm

Friday and Saturday, October 3 & 4, Food Giant, 700 19th St N, Bessemer, 9:00am-6:00pm

Tuesday, October 7 Jess Lanier High School Homecoming Week, Jess Lanier High School lunchroom, 100 High School Dr, Bessemer, 10:00am-2:00 pm (Wear purple T-shirt)

Friday, October 10, Jess Lanier HS Homecoming Game, Snitz Snyder Stadium, Bessemer, 4:00pm-8:00pm Lanier will be playing Northridge. We will be there early to catch people attending the parade.

Friday, October 10, McAdory High School Football Game, 4800 McAdory School Road, McCalla, AL, 6:00pm-8:00pm (Wear Black or Gold) McAdory will be playing Wenonah.

Friday & Saturday, October 10 & 11, Obama Walk the Walk Campaign, YOUR neighborhood or join us as we go door to door in Bessemer neighborhoods, 9:00am-2:30pm. We will be leaving HQ at 10:00 am and returning at 3:00pm. Please wear an item to notify the person at the door that you are representing Senator Obama’s campaign as a volunteer.

Saturday, October 11, Bessemer Tigers and AG Gaston Little League Football Games, 2 separate locations, Snitz Snyder Stadium and Roosevelt Park on Hwy 150, 8:00am-2:30pm. Please return to HQ at 3:00pm.

Contact me or one of the numbers above for more information.

>We Love the Librarians

September 29, 2008

>Freedom of speech. Sounds nice doesn’t it.

Freedom to read. That’s a different story, at least to some. The Birmingham News has a front page story Book banning attempts still occur throughout U. S.

And you might be surprised at the titles. Little Red Riding Hood, Harry Potter, Huck Finn.

This is American Library Association’s Banned Books Week (Sept 27 through Oct 4). Everyone should read a (attempted) banned book this week, I guess.

This was interesting:

Also drawing attempted bans are books that imply the Bible should not be interpreted literally, and books that include references to evolution, he said.

I will let you draw your own conclusions about that.

Here are the 10 most challenged books of 2007:

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
TTYL by Lauren Myracle
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

10 Most challenged books of the 21st century

The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
The Chocolate War by Rober Cormier
Alice Series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Fallen Angels by Waler Dean Myers
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Scary Stories Series by Alvin Schwartz
Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
Forever by Judy Blume

How many of you remember this? (Also from today’s Bham News, no link. The article gives this as well as other examples of Attempts to ban or regulate books at public and school libraries in Alabama)

In 2004 an Alabama lawmaker failed in an attempt to ban novels with gay characters from public libraries, including university libraries. The bill by Rep. Gerald Allen R-Cottondale, would have prohibited the use of public funds for “the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.” Allen said he filed the bill to protect children from the “homosexual agenda.”

Some of you already know this, but I am writing a book, a historical novel of sorts, that takes place in 1965 in Washington, D. C., Franklin, Tennessee and Selma/Montgomery, Alabama. Although this is not my goal, if the book actually get published, maybe somebody will attempt to ban it. What better publicity! The book should be finished by the end of the year.

>A Smackdown

September 27, 2008

>Well Obama won the debate but I’m probably not the best person to ask because I happen to agree with him on all the issues.

So lets see what others are saying. Independent polls are probably a good place to start. These are not fake polls like Fox’s “text in” polls.

CBS: Obama won 39%, McCain won 25%, Draw 36%

Insider Advantage: Obama won 42%, McCain won 41%, Undecided: 17%

CNN: Obama “did better” 51%, McCain “did better” 38%

All the pundits said that since McCain was having such a bad week and since foreign policy was supposed to be his strong suit, then he needed to win to regain some momentum. they said a tie was as good as a win for Obama.

So all of these really are good poll results for Obama.

CBS gave some more information:

Nearly half of those uncommitted voters who watched the debate said that their image of Obama changed for the better as a result. Just eight percent say their opinion of Obama got worse, and 46 percent reported no change in their opinions. McCain saw less improvement in his image.

Thirty-two percent have improved their image of McCain as a result of the debate, but 21 percent said their views of him are now worse than before.

Why did voters’ image of Obama improve? Many volunteered that they were impressed by his poise and knowledge about the issues, that he was more knowledgeable about the issues than they thought previously. When it came to McCain, those same voters said he “didn’t control himself well under pressure,” that he was “angry and bad-tempered,” and that he “talked too much about the past.”

Obama smacked McCain on Iraq:

And so John likes — John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007. You talk about the surge. The war started in 2003, and at the time when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong.
You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong
. You said that there was no history of violence between Shia and Sunni. And you were wrong. And so my question is of judgment, of whether or not — of whether or not — if the question is who is best-equipped as the next president to make good decisions about how we use our military, how we make sure that we are prepared and ready for the next conflict, then I think we can take a look at our judgment.

A total smackdown on the curmudgeon.

And Spain.

He even said the other day that he would not meet potentially with the prime minister of Spain, because he — you know, he wasn’t sure whether they were aligned with us,” Obama said. “I mean, Spain? Spain is a NATO ally. If we can’t meet with our friends, I don’t know how we’re going to lead the world in terms of dealing with critical issues like terrorism.”

And McCain, it’s Ahmadinejad (in Iran) and Zardari not “Qadari” (in Pakistan).

And why would you say Pakistan was a failed state in 1999? It was a democracy, with a few problems, but no where near the failed state we might experience if the McCain/Palin ticket wins.

And why were you afraid to look at Obama? Could you not look another leader in the eye? Or was it because it’s hard to look someone in the eye when you know they are right and you are wrong?

You are no foreign policy expert John. Your judgement is flawed John. You lied about supporting veterans John.

You would not be a good president, John.

>No Wonder They Keep Her Sheltered

September 26, 2008

>

Now I feel better. Sarah Palin was asked to clarify her comment that living in Alaska, being next to Russia, gives her foreign policy experience.

“Well it certainly does, because our next door neighbors are foreign countries.”

So not only Russia, but Canada!!!

Well at least she’s right about the geography:

Here you can see how good she is at repeating what she is told to say. She just repeats the same phrase over when asked to really answer the question:

She just repeats the same phrase over when…oops, its catching. Sorry.

She knows absolutely nothing!

I can’t wait till the vice presidential debate. But like David Letterman said, John McCain is wanting to delay the presidential debate until after the bailout is settled, Sarah Palin wants to delay the vice presidential debate until after the election.

Watching Palin is depressing. This will cheer you up.

Signs of Hope and Change

>Sarah Palin and Witchcraft

September 25, 2008

>Sarah Palin has protection from witchcraft. Well, if Pastor Thomas Muthee’s prayers are effective. He and others laid hands on Palin and gave her this protection.

This is a little bit troubling.

First of all, witchcraft in this country was dealt with in Salem a few hundred years ago. We don’t have troublesome witchcraft in this country. Yikes! A picture just fell off the wall. Maybe we do. But if you’re going to be praying for deliverance from witchcraft and demons, shouldn’t you be in Washington laying hands on W?

Second. This Pastor is a Kenyan preacher. He, along with others, used “spiritual mapping” to hunt down a witch named Mama Jane, who they believed was causing crime and spiritual oppression in the area, and blamed car accidents in the area on her. He whipped the town into a frenzy and the people wanted to stone her. Police tried to intervene, and thought they were being confronted by a demon when they entered her house. Alas, it was just her pet python, but they shot it anyway.

Third. And the media tells us Jeremiah Wright was wacko and divisive? They need to look into this guy.

>McCain Can’t Handle It

September 25, 2008

>Can John McCain not walk and chew gum at the same time? Seems that way, as he wants to skip Friday’s planned debate to to return to Washington to do whatever he thinks he can do regarding the $700 billion bailout?

What he doesn’t need to do is go in there and screw up the plan with it close to being finalized that addresses most or all of the concerns lawmakers and Main Street have about it.

What’s unusual is that McCain also suspended his presidential campaign.

Here’s what all of this tells us.

McCain is erratic and unpredictable in times of crisis. The most recent crisis was hurricane Gustav, and in crisis mode McCain had the start of the Republican convention delayed. They said they didn’t want to appear in a celebratory mood, forgetting that, compared to the Democrats, Republicans don’t convene in a celebratory manner anyway. At any rate, these events and the McCain response show us that in crisis mode they just can’t deal with everything going on plus the normal stuff.

McCain can not focus on all of the nation’s needs. He is proving that by having to suspend his campaign to address the economic needs. I mean, they aren’t even able to release ads during this time. It’s like his campaign is an ant bed, and somebody just kicked it. Campaign staff is in crisis mode, like the ants, who crazily run around gathering eggs and larvae, suspending all their other duties, until the babes are carried deeper and the repaired smaller ant bed has the appearance of normality. And it’s not long until all the ants have disappeared. What are they doing in there? Probably trembling in fear of the next kick. Trouble is, the big “unkicked” ant bed next door is still functioning normally.

McCain is narcissistic. I guess all presidential candidates are to some extent. But congress is progressing with a bill, plans are in place for debate, and the candidate who admits that economics isn’t his thing, suddenly wants us to believe that the country’s financial markets won’t survive without his input, turning this crisis into a savior moment for McCain…”me, me, me…I can fix it (even though I don’t understand the problem).” Meanwhile, Senate leaders are asking him to stay away, “We need leadership, not a photo op,” Harry Reid said.

McCain is an angry man. And we need a solid, calm leader during times of crisis. Like Peggy Noonan said today on “Morning Joe,” he looks like he’s on the balls of his feet, ready to lunge forward. And we all know, we don’t like going to Grandpa’s house when he’s in a bad mood. Remember how he’s a little bit scary, sitting there brooding in his rocking chair? And jumpy and nervous? Do you want Grandpa as your president?

>Western Tribune Column September 24 2008

September 25, 2008

>Obama’s economic view is right one

As I wonder how the economic crisis affects Bessemer, a quick search finds 109 foreclosures here, about 50 of them in the 35020 zip code.

So, like the rest of the country, Bessemer is hurting.

In addition, as gas and utility prices continue to rise, residents will have less money to spend on taxable items and our city’s revenue will decline as well.

While Republicans, the ones in Michigan at least, are trying to find ways to keep disadvantaged voters who have lost their homes to foreclosure from voting, Democrats are working with the administration to shore up the capital markets and provide some stability.

Now I know that may be a little unfair, but Democrats get the blame when anything goes wrong, so let’s give them the credit for doing something right. I also know that in the four days between me writing this and you reading it that any number of things could happen to make this column seem irrelevant. But during those four days I know one thing that will happen, Barack Obama will expand on his economic plan he proposed on Friday.

Obama realizes that any plan must help not only Wall Street but Main Street as well.

That is why his tax cuts for 95% of Americans are so important.

Along with the proposed economic stimulus package he supports, it will result in money in the pocket for Bessemer residents to buy groceries and gasoline with.

It’s ridiculous to think that John McCain, who has been against regulation for over 20 years and whose chief advisor Phil Gramm is responsible for the legislation that allowed the current deregulation, would suddenly be in favor of strict regulations necessary to stabilize Wall Street and prevent future occurrences of the same problems.

In addition, unlike the McCain response to the problem, Obama realizes that the crisis is global in nature, and the response should be global as well, as he has proposed a coordinated effort with our partners in the G-20, the group of 20 industrial and emerging market nations that work together on issues related to global stability.

We deserve confidence in our financial markets and institutions, and it’s hard to be confident in the current administration or the party that brought us the crisis.

Hearing Obama’s plan restores our confidence, assuming he wins in November.

>Bessemer News

September 24, 2008

>The Bessemer Library will extend its hours beginning in October. The City Council is “giving” the Library $70,000 to make up for a “budget shortfall.” Why the “”? Well, whose fault was the shortfall? Just asking.

On Mondays and Thursdays the library will stay open until 9 PM and Saturday hours will be 10 AM to 4 PM and Sunday 2 PM to 5 PM.

Why Mondays and Thursdays? Library director Oscar Smith says homework assignments are given out on Mondays and are due on Fridays, making Mondays and Thursday heavy traffic days.

Road Paving Update The city council voted to take bids for paving, killing for the time being at least, Mayor Ed Mays proposal to create a new city department for paving. Council person Jimmie Stephens said bidding out the work is most cost effective. Council person Louise Alexander said before we pave we need to clean up the city. In other words, paving would never get done.

Fire Rating Insurance rates are based on Fire Ratings and Bessemer has not had an assessment in 24 years. Our ISO (Insurance Services Organization) rating is 4. Inspectors have been here and are expected to release their findings in December.Fire Chief Paul Syx says we are light years ahead of where we were in 1984 (I certainly hope so). A lower rating would mean lower insurance premiums.

High School Name This sounds silly, but its really great for community involvement. Bessemer residents will be able to vote on a name for the new high school. On October 14, 2008 residents can go to any school until 2 PM or to the central office at 1621 5th Ave N until 3:30 to vote. Choices are: Bessemer Millennium High School, Marvel City High School, and Bessemer City High School. Suggested names that didn’t make the cut are Renaissance High School, New Phoenix High School, Kainos Learning Academy of Bessemer and Bessemer School of Excellence. For those who don’t know, Bessemer is called “The Marvel City.” As for some of those other names, your guess is as good as mine.

>It’s That Time of Year

September 24, 2008

>October 11 is National Coming Out Day for the GLBT community, but it seems that these folks are wanting to get a jump on things. (I will have more to say about October 11 as it approaches).

Clay Aiken is Gay (People) This is not the kind of outing that has any relevance, like say, a gay chief of staff for a senator working against gay human rights. First, if anyone had any doubts after watching Clay’s American Idol performances, ex marine John Paulus quashed them when he provided too much information about a passionate night that never happened.

Trouble is, it forever put the notion that Clay is gay into America’s minds. But now that we know, does anybody care?.

Lindsay Lohan is gay (AfterEllen) Lindsay Lohan is gay. Again, is anyone surprised? she confirmed she is romantically involved with Samantha Ronson. However, unlike Clay Aiken, she is not a new parent.
Picture Credit AfterEllen.com

Tony Sweet is gay. The Christian music star says “It’s a good thing I wasn’t straight. I couldn’t date any girls in town – they were all my cousins.”
Part of Tony’s reason for coming out is summed up in his Advocate article, “I want to let people know that there are churches out there that will support them, that will believe in them. It may take time, but there are other families you can build that can take you back to your religion and still let you be yourself.”
From the article: One of the things that differentiates gospel music from other genres is that singers aren’t performing as much for the fans as for the greater glory of God. “My singing is my ministry to God,” Sweet says. “If I can use it to cross bridges between the gay world and the Christian one, then I think I’ll be doing what I’m supposed to do.”

The article is not posted online

Here is a sample of his work, “Gentle Savior”, filmed at a show.

Gentle Savior

http://mediaservices.myspace.com/services/media/embed.aspx/m=6630040,t=1,mt=video

And here he is signing “The Dance”

The Dance sung by ME !

http://mediaservices.myspace.com/services/media/embed.aspx/m=6547102,t=1,mt=video