Archive for November, 2009

>Blog Battle

November 30, 2009

>Just south of this post is my Western Tribune column from last week. I wrote it after reading the “Voice of the conservatives” in Bessemer’s blog.

Now he has responded.

In my column I noted his frequent misspellings, and he now claims he did it on purpose. That makes me laugh, because he wrote this: (he calls me “Bob, Bobb and Boob in his post)

“Bob criticizes my spelling or lack there of. Really, you wrote about that? Bob, has it ever occurred to you that I might take the time to spell a persons name correctly if I respect them and maybe I just don’t give a damn to spell it correctly if I have no respect for that person or what they stand for?”

Ok, that’s his excuse, but then how does he explain this:

“Two Wars-obama has met with General Stanley McCrystal 1 time in 11 months and refuses to take action or even respond to the call for more troops.”

So I guess he lacks respect for the general who spells his name “McChrystal.” (Giggle).

He also responds to my “mocking” of his fear about religious holidays being done away with by “democrat constituents.”

“They have already taken prayer from schools, the Ten Commandments from all Government Buildings and are pushing to use the term Holiday Tree or Holiday ornaments. instead of using the word Christmas.”

I was a student during the 1960’s when school prayer was “removed,” yet all through grade school, junior high, senior high, college, vet school and grad school, whenever I felt like offering a prayer to God, I did so. Prayer has never been removed from schools. Furthermore, what he calls the removal was done not by the democratic party but by the Supreme Court.

Ten commandments? Courts, again. Not the dems.

As for the substitution of the word ‘holiday” for “Christmas,” again it is not the democrats doing this, it is corporate America who want to make a buck. They would like to sell their products to Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, Atheists, Deists, Shintos, Agnostics, as well as Christians so they try to appeal to all.

He says I read his blog daily and get “pissed off.”

No, I read it for comic relief. Then I think about how misinformed and misguided he is. Fortunately, we live in a community that voted heavily for Obama and still supports him. And our county (Jefferson) also voted for Obama in the presidential election, so the “Voice of the Conservatives” is in a minority.

In the meantime, the “progressive voice of Bessemer” continues to root for the success of our president, the success of our country, equality for all and for peace in the world.

>Western Tribune column 11-25-09 Conservative blog

November 30, 2009

>This column appeared in the Western Tribune on November 25, 2009.

There are no guarantees in politics but by a vote of 60-39 the Senate voted to move the health care bill forward. There are still hurdles to cross, but we are one step closer to controlling skyrocketing insurance costs and increasing access to health care for all Americans.

Shortly after the vote I visited the recently established blog of another Bessemer man who claims to be the voice of conservatives in Bessemer, and noticed there was more of the same old anti-Obama, anti-healthcare reform, anti-American rhetoric as before. With all the problems our country faces – two wars, economy, health care, environment – he has yet to offer any solutions.

This is the way of the current Republican Party. Oh, they may say they have a health reform bill but when one looks at it, one finds that it doesn’t address the problems facing the industry or the people who are served.

The Party of No spends more time in attack mode than problem solving mode.

There is the silly argument that President Obama embarrassed the nation by bowing to the Emperor of Japan, and that no American president has ever stooped so low. But the blog fails to mention Presidents Nixon and Eisenhower. Just because Nixon was a crook is no reason to forget his bow to Chairman Mao. And let’s not forget Eisenhower bowing to the Pope and (gasp) Charles De Gaul, the leader of that socialist European country France!

And the “voice of the conservatives” also lives in fear of the future. “All the religious holidays we celebrate and the freedom we have to speak up about what we believe in are being threatened by the democratic regime lead (sp) by Barak (sp) Hussien (sp) Obama and his czars at the White House,” he writes (without using spell-check).

Easter and Christmas, and to some extent Thanksgiving, are religious holidays. I don’t see them going anywhere, even if some of those around us are celebrating whatever they “wanakkuh,” as the Gap clothing store commercial rhymes.

And while in the Thanksgiving mode, besides being thankful for the leaders in congress who were able to move health care forward, let me say that I am thankful to live in a country where I am free to express my thoughts and opinions, and where those who have only thoughtless opinions can do the same.

Happy Thanksgiving.

>When was 9-11?

November 25, 2009

>I don’t have time to write much today, but I have to share this video, of right wing Dana Perino stating “we did not have a terrorist attack during president Bush’s term.”

WTF? Sorry, but seriously, WT?

And nobody on the Faux network corrects her?

They are all nuts!

You all have a Happy Thanksgiving.

>Mayoral stuff

November 24, 2009

>Well Birmingham has another new mayor. Roderick Royal was elected City Council President so he is automatically the interim mayor until a new mayor is elected on December 8, or if there is a runoff, in January.

Birmingham is fortunate. They get several new mayors within a period of 3 months. Bessemer is stuck with the one we have. I have some thoughts, but I think they will be in my next Western Tribune column.

In the meantime, a video supporting Patrick Cooper for Birmingham mayor has surfaced, but its not the kind of video he necessarily wants, and definitely approved by the candidate. NSFW

But Cooper is right. He can’t control what people post. Jody Trautwein called it “inexcusable,” and that it (vulgar jokes) are “detrimental to the hearts and minds, and therefore to the future of this generation. You remember Trautwein…in “Bruno.”

Anyway, Trautwein is a believer and supporter of ex-gay ministries, which are all a fraud and in themselves are “detrimental to the hearts and minds” of the vulnerable kids and adults who fall for it. I’m glad he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of being elected.

Recently an Ex-Gay conference was debunked here in Birmingham. Read here here and here.

>Good Bye Sarah

November 23, 2009

>I’m so glad I have better things to do than go to Brookwood Mall today.

Sarah Palin, (remember her?) is there. To honor the occasion, I will print this cartoon by Dan Darrow at the Ester Republic (he gave me permission in the comments of this post from when Palin was picked to help defeat John McCain).

“Good bye Sarah”

But Dan, why did you have to send her down here!!! Take her back. No wait, on second thought, please let her run for president in 2012. she’s doing such a good job for the democrats now, I can’t imagine the fun we will have for the next 3 years if she runs.

>Newspapers…who needs ’em?

November 20, 2009

>Last night I attended the monthly meeting of the Alabama Stonewall Democrats and heard Kyle Whitmire speak. Kyle writes for Birmingham Weekly but is a former reporter for The Western Star, and said his first interview there was with the mayor of Fairfield about a proposed theme park. Larry Langford.

He has covered Langford ever since, even providing moment to moment updates during the trial.

Kyle covered many subjects last night; Artur Davis and his dance around health care, Larry Langford,the Birmingham mayor’s race, Larry Langford, the ever shrinking Birmingham News, Larry Langford…

No he really didn’t spend that much time on Langford, but after years of focusing on the former mayor of two cities he couldn’t stray too far.

The Birmingham News was discussed and the changes occuring there in the next few months were considered. The consensus was that all newspapers are suffering and that most people get their news from other sources. So who needs newspapers? Some of us still like to hold the paper in the morning and read it, but really most of my news still comes from internet sources.

But another interesting issue was brought up. The Birmingham News has never adequately acknowledged the role they played during the Civil Rights movement during the 1960’s and the type of reporting they did. In that conversation ( the event was a discussion more than a lecture) he said he wondered why the Birmingham News (and I guess other newspapers as well) allow gays to be spoken of as less than human and in such derogatory terms (mainly in letters and opinions) when of course they would never allow race to be used in that way with the opinions that promoted slavery or such.

And it’s true. It is a fact that one’s sexuality is inherent, yet people are still allowed to proclaim that it is a choice. It is fact that everyone in our country is guaranteed equal rights by our Constitution, yet letter after letter say that we are less than equal. There are people out there who believe blacks are less than equal, and of course they don’t print those letters and opinions. Why do they allow gays to be tossed around like they do?

(Those who read this blog know that I do not allow senseless comments about sexuality or any other subject to be published.)

And let’s bring it closer to home. I feel fortunate to write for a paper that allows me to voice my opinions, and there is an agreement that allows me to submit my column on a weekly basis. I have a place in that newspaper.

For the past two months a reader has been submitting letters, long letters, some of which attacked me personally, some of which attacked the LGBT community, and some of which attacked our president. Then a letter appeared that was different. It thanked the paper for allowing him to express his views. In the weeks following that, long letters have been printed describing the founding of our nation, and the writing of the Constitution. We know where this is heading. This writer has accused me and other democrats and the president of being communists, and has stated that we are working to destroy the constitution and the country, and has done so in an almost prophesy like manner.

His latest history lessons are just a prelude to how Obama is destroying the country and a rant about healthcare. We know what is coming. The letter writer’s views are McCarthiest, and he is a radical. He is known in the community and is not respected.

Why would the newspaper allow itself to be used by such a person? Even though the issues are different, it is almost like allowing a known KKK leader to publish week after week his radical and hateful views. But the letters keep appearing.

The funny thing is that when a letter does appear in support of me, the letter has been edited, shortened, and the full message is not allowed in print. That letter was just one paragraph long, yet the McCarthiest’s letters are 10 or so paragraphs every week. Plenty of room for McCarthyism, little room for me.

Each week when I see his letter opposite my column I wonder whether I want my work that close to such senseless and radical drivel. Seriously. The man used personal slurs against my name and character yet the paper just continues to support him and refuses to print the letters in my support in their entirety.

Well, keep reading, my latest column follows this post. Meanwhile, I have to come up with something to submit for next week.

>Western Tribune column 11-18-09 Churches closing

November 20, 2009

>This column appeared in the Western Tribune on November 18, 2009.

Churches have themselves to blame

The closing of First United Methodist Church should come as no surprise since we live in a city whose traditional major denomination churches have been abandoning their historical buildings for years.

First Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church downtown and South Highland Baptist Church on Southside are examples of churches that have moved or announced plans to move. It was inevitable that the Methodist Church would do the same.

These churches closed their doors because of dwindling attendance. The large buildings are expensive to maintain, and without the financial support from a giving congregation, keeping the doors open becomes impossible.

Older people recall the days when the churches were filled with worshipers each Sunday with children squirming in the pews and fried chicken and pecan pies served afterward. Their children grew up and fell in love and got married in the church and all was good.

However, the children who had only recently filled the Sunday school rooms moved away, leaving only their aging parents to continue supporting the church.

One of the leaders of South Highland Baptist Church told me that the community had ceased to support the church and the people in the community no longer did anything for the church.

My belief is that a church’s mission might be to serve the community, not the other way around, and that somehow the people of South Highland Baptist, as well as the other churches, had missed the boat.

All of this could have been avoided, had the churches taken the opportunity during the 1960’s to erase the segregation in the pews that was, and still is, so common. Of course, many in the churches felt that desegregation was being forced upon them in their schools and neighborhoods, so they held on to the only bit of segregation that was out of the reach of the government, making no effort to bring worshippers of different races together.

Had the churches in the 1960’s and 1970’s followed the lead of the government, and the teachings of Jesus, their local leaders would have reached out to the communities around them and made a concerted and purposeful effort to integrate their pews.

Instead, they moved to areas where their neighbors are more like them and the children are less needy.

As my momma used to say, “You made your bed, now lie in it.”

>The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

November 18, 2009

>Magazine covers have been in the news, or close to the news, lately. I present three covers, and will let you choose which is the good, which is the bad and which is the ugly.

I was listening to Glenn Beck on the radio the other day and heard him say he was on the cover of Playboy. Something was not right. That just doesn’t compute. Ah, silly me, his name is on the cover, not his picture.

Playboy trashed him. Rightly so.

To write a serious critique of Beck is almost a waste of time. After all,
the man has referred to himself as a “rodeo clown” and a “recovering

Last night I heard about Newsweek’s cover, featuring Sarah Palin, with a shot that originally appeared in the August issue of Runner’s World.

Palin wasn’t pleased and wrote about it on Facebook:

The out-of-context Newsweek approach is sexist and oh-so-expected by now. If
anyone can learn anything from it: it shows why you shouldn’t judge a book by
its cover, gender, or color of skin. The media will do anything to draw
attention — even if out of context.

Newsweek did not do her any favors.

Finally, People magazine is out with it’s sexiest Man of the Year. Johnny Depp.

I’ve seen some questions about why they chose this picture for the cover. But here you can see more pics of the sexy guys in People, including Depp. Oh, and read the articles if you like.

>Responding to right wing rhetoric is a never ending job

November 17, 2009

>They never give up.

But the truth always prevails.

Earlier this morning I got an email that criticized the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, saying that the words “so help us God” were left out of FDR’s quote which is engraved in stone.

“It is very scary how subtle these things are allowed to happen,” the email began.

“On the Pacific side of the memorial, a group of us gathered to read the words President Roosevelt used to announce the attack on Pearl Harbor: Yesterday, December 7, 1941– a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked.

One elderly woman read the words aloud: ‘With confidence in our armed forces, with the abounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph.’ But as she read, she was suddenly turned angry. ‘Wait a minute,’ she said, ‘they left out the end of the quote. They left out the most important part. Roosevelt ended the message with ‘so help us God.'”

The email claimed that “People today are trying to change the history of America by leaving God out of it, but the truth is…”

No, here’s the truth. The words they claim the woman said are not even on the memorial!!! This is another right wing idiot trying to gin up opposition to the left. Here is the real quote (the part engraved on the wall is in blue, the part they claim is on the wall, but actually isn’t, is in green, and the part they claim is missing is in red.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces — with the unbounded determination of our people — we will gain the inevitable triumphso help us God.

So the “so help us God” is not even a part of the quote which is engraved on the wall. Good try, righties, but facts always prove you wrong.

The email was discredited on Snopes.

Then I see on a right wing blog (by a Bessemer resident) a picture from Veteran’s Day at Arlington showing President Obama and several military on stage and they are saluting and his hands are by his side. The blogger claims it is during the National Anthem and Obama is showing disrespect.

Often pictures like this are snapped before one person has moved their hand over their heart, or maybe it really wasn’t during the National Anthem. But, President Obama honored our Veterans that day. This video shows parts of his speech and describes the day well.

Respecting the flag and such reminds me of 10 year old Will Phillips who I wrote about here the other day. He’s the young man who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance because our country does not offer “liberty and justice for all.” He says until gays and lesbians are allowed to marry he will not swear to it (by reciting the pledge).

Hooray for Will, hooray for his dad, Jay.

The following is not right wing rhetoric, rather it is about patriotism.

Finally, I was taken to task by a comment on this blog for leaving my flag up during the storm and allowing it to be destroyed by the winds and rain. Even though the US code states the flag should not be flown during inclement weather, I often see flags in yards, on homes, and even on government buildings flying during storms.

Two comments:

The code also states “the Flag Code does not proscribe conduct, but is merely declaratory and

Second, in the Frequently Asked Questions of the CRS Report to Congress it says this:

The Flag Code states:
The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except
when an all weather flag is displayed.

The language of this section reflects the now-popular use of flags made of
synthetic fabrics that can withstand unfavorable weather conditions. It is not
considered disrespectful to fly such a flag even during prolonged periods of
inclement weather.

My flag was 100% Nylon, thus was considered an all weather flag.

>Lemon coconut cakes

November 13, 2009

>Every year I make a couple of these for parties and family gatherings between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I also make a few for friends (for a small fee).

If you want one, let me know.

They are three-layer cakes, with a lemon-coconut filling separating the layers. Fresh grated lemon peel and fresh lemon juice is used.

Here the three layers are ready to be frosted.

I spread a cream cheese frosting on the cake which is then covered in flaked coconut.

Here is the finished product. Call or email me if you would like one for your holiday gathering.