Archive for January, 2010

>Election news and McCalla news

January 29, 2010

>Election News

Hueytown council person Carole Marks has announced she will seek the seat currently held by Merika Coleman, District 57 in the state house of representatives.
The primary for this election will be held June1.

Marks heads donor relations at Children’s Hospital and serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Central Alabama.

She is also a member and past president of the Bessemer Historical Homeowners Association.

McCalla

446 acres of farmland near the planned Norfolk Southern intermodal facility are up for sale. The property borders the JeffMet McCalla industrial park and is right there by the hub site, spanning the area from the railroad tracks to Old Tuscaloosa Highway and from Old Tuscaloosa Highway to Interstate 20/59.

Does this indicate that more spin-off development from the hub could be in the future?
Well, only if someone buys it, I guess. The asking price is $20 million, or $45,000 an acre.

Already, nine projects are underway in JeffMet, creating 1,556 jobs, including Posco, a Korean steelmaker. Posco broke ground Thursday on a $19 million facility.

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>Analysis of SOTU

January 28, 2010

>President Obama delivered his State of the Union Address (text) to a crowd that was, for the most part, well behaved. A Republican pow-wow prior to the address led to a decision not to cry out tacky pitch-lines for partisan gain.

On the overall event I give the president an A- (those who are friends on Facebook already know this, but I didn’t give the reasons last night).

The president gets extra points for showing some backbone. 15 points

He smacked the Supreme Court, and they deserved it. 10 points. They don’t look too happy, and Justice Samuel Alito seems to be channeling Joe Wilson (from Daily Kos)

http://www.dailykostv.com/flv/player.swf

Be sure and notice the nervous clerk (or whatever) to the justices left (toward the end). She looks a little concerned, like she knows the next day won’t be a good one.

He smacked the legislators in congress. 10 points. (Congress get a D from me for their performance in 2009, by the way).

But what frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is election day. We cannot wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about their opponent — a belief that if you lose, I win. Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can. The confirmation of well-qualified public servants should not be held hostage to the pet projects or grudges of a few individual senators. Washington may think that saying anything about the other side, no matter how false, is just part of the game. But it is precisely such politics that has stopped either party from helping the American people. Worse yet, it is sowing further division among our citizens and further distrust in our government.

and

To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades, and the people expect us to solve some problems, not run for the hills. And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that 60 votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town, then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it’s not leadership.

On policy

Iraq – We will have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August. 10 points

Afghanistan – In Afghanistan, we are increasing our troops and training Afghan Security Forces so they can begin to take the lead in July of 2011 and our troops can begin to come home. 5 points

Taxes – … passed 25 different tax cuts.Let me repeat: we cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas, and food and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers. And we haven’t raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime. 15 points

Energy – loses a point for “offshore” development, but overall clean energy speak was a plus. 5 points

Jobs – The major portion of the speech was about jobs, and he gets high marks for this. 15 points

DADT – the president gets a couple of points for mentioning Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and another couple for saying this: 10 points

…the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we are all created equal, that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it, that if you adhere to our common values you should be treated no different than anyone else.

But he failed to mention that LGBT Americans are not treated the same as everyone else and he could have mentioned the Prop 8 lawsuit going on in California as an example of the inequality in today’s society. -5 points

Total score – 90.

Now, what I’m hoping is that the members of congress will realize that they do have an obligation to work together, regardless of what us screaming bloggers and flailing teabaggers are doing. Maybe congress should sequester themselves and not be allowed to watch any TV news or read any blogs, then they might could work together.

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Dave Matthews and Neil Young performed together during the Hope for Haiti NowHope for Haiti now concert. Nice. “Alone and Forsaken”

>A Bessemer welcome and upcoming elections

January 27, 2010

>A big Bessemer welcome to Matt Moore, who along with his sister Kim Vann and father Bud Moore, purchased the former Dixie Nissan, now named Moore Nissan.

He is optimistic that 2010 will be a good year for the auto industry and for his dealership.

Here is what their web site says about the community.

From the employment opportunities that we provide for individuals to the tax revenues we generate for our City; from giving to local organizations and schools to participating in and promoting local events, you will find that Moore Nissan is a positive force in the Bessemer community and the surrounding vicinity.

In Bessemer and around we have a boatload of elections coming up. Who’s getting election fatigue?

Several candidates for these various offices have contacted me. I’m not naming any yet, some have announced and some have not.

On June 1, the state primaries will take place. There are a lot of state offices on the ballot, but I am more interested right now in those candidates who will actually represent and be in touch with the people. You know, representatives and commissioners and such.

So, here in Bessemer and near, we will elect new county commissioners. Bobby Humphryes indicates he will run again, but none of the other commissioners are. Celebrate.

If you live in William Bell’s former district, you will vote twice, once for a replacement to finish his term, and again for someone to represent the district beginning in November when the other commissioners begin their terms.

Recently elected state legislators will have to run again.

Lawrence McAdory will have to run again for the seat that he just won in the special election for Alabama House -56. People are lining up to challenge him.

Merika Coleman in nearby district 57 will have competition from at least one strong contender.

State Senator (District 19) Priscilla Dunn will be up for re-election. Remember, she just won the seat in another special election, and formerly held the seat the McAdory now holds.

By the time that election and the runoffs, if needed (on June 22), are over, the Bessemer city elections will be well underway.

The mayor and council elections will take place in the late summer/early fall, assuming Bessemer can legally hold an election.

Several announced and unannounced candidates want to replace Ed May, who despite telling supporters in my living room in 2006 that he would only serve one term, would be seeking his third.

And there will be at least one open council seat, as one current council member is running for mayor. Another incumbent, who I am not sure if is running (but really I am), told me the people of Bessemer should elect a whole new council. We should be so lucky.

After all, it is a bad year to be an incumbent, and this holds true from the U.S. Senate down to dogcatcher, so watch out.

In the meantime, we have the President’s State of the Union Address to look forward to, James OKeefe’s arrest to gloat over, and the knowledge that Riley Anti-Gambling Task Force head John Tyson got $100,000 of his 2006 campaign funds from gambling interest PACS to stew over.

Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris performed this song during the Hope for Haiti Now Telethon. Not the best version ever, but nice, still. Hallelujah.

>More on the teabaggers and racism

January 26, 2010

>This video shows the link between the current tea parties and the racist white supremacy.

It’s 24 minutes long, but worth it.

The teabaggers say “Take back America.”

The white supremacists say “Take back America.”

And this is why anyone associated with Tea Parties is suspicious.

Glenn Beck is identified, along with a certain “News” network.

Yes, I know the video was aired on AlJazeera English. So?

>Bits and pieces (no pun intended, John)

January 25, 2010

>

Just a few items that might interest you.

*Fox News has pretty much ignored the earthquake in Haiti, devoting about 5-7 minutes per hour to the tragedy when it first happened. Story. They also did not participate in the Hope for Haiti Now telethon.

No surprise, as we already know they don’t care about the underprivileged here in the United States, as they support denying health care to the uninsured.

*The IPhone will be available through Verizon (probably)in the near future.

*John Edwards has a sex tape. No one wants to see it, but there is some curiosity because he is said to be “physically very striking” and people say, “Whoa,” when they see his…well, when they see the tape. (the tape is not at the link, just the story)

*New Orleans is headed to the Super Bowl!!!

>Give up the fight?

January 22, 2010

>I am this close (thumb and forefinger are about 4 mm apart) to abandoning the fight for gay equality.

Why?

Corporations are now afforded the rights of individuals.

SCOTUS yesterday ruled that corporations can pretty much buy elections, and since the big money corporations are the oil and insurance and financial companies, they will support Republicans that will vote to prevent progressive energy and health policy and to overturn Obama’s restrictions on banks. These same Republican legislators will vote against any equality legislation, so the LGBT community is screwed.

President Obama turned his back on us during the first year of his presidency, and now that Scott Brown has been elected the Republicans can really be the party of “No.” “No” to equality (along with any other progressive legislation).

Corporations are not individuals, they do not vote, why, pray tell, are they now treated as individuals with the same right to free speech that a person has?

Heck, they have more rights than I do! They can already marry (they call it merger) and I can’t even do that!

Why waste my time fighting for that which is unattainable?

It looks like we will just have to wait until all the old bigots die before we begin to see change, and that may take a decade or two.

The worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred-Scott decision, this has been called. Alan Grayson is fighting back. But even if his legislation is passed, the corporations can buy votes to overturn the laws. This screws everybody. While Republican legislators seem pleased for the most part, and conservative pundits seem to like it, some day this will come back to bite them.

In the meantime, damn. Good-bye, democracy.

But, in reality, I wonder what the effect will be. Unions and such progressive corporations as Microsoft and Google might buy Democrat wins, so it might balance out. Time will tell.

Update: Sign Alan Grayson’s petition to Save Democracy, click here.

To visit Alan Grayson’s web site, click here.

>What do the teabaggers believe in?

January 21, 2010

>

The teabaggers may feel energized, but why? I mean, I understand that their centerfold candidate won in Massachusetts and all.

But Americans with brains want to to know: what do you stand for?

Reduced spending? Give specifics. What would you cut? Give me specifics, and I will address them in future postings.

Reduced government regulation? Then why do you keep trying to prevent loving couples from getting married?

When I try to find out what specifically the Teabagger party folks believe in, I either come up with web sites that you can’t enter without registration (scary) or videos like this (I think I posted this one before, but let’s watch again).

Dang, they are as uneducated as local letter writer Snuffy Garrett, (who made a fool of himself in this week’s Western Tribune by not researching before he wrote).

We watched a story on BBC in America where Tea Party members in Washington, Missouri, were interviewed. They couldn’t say what they believed in, but they did claim not to be the fringe that we see on TV. Then the fangs came out and they said they would sabotage Republicans that did not agree with their beliefs.

But the Tea Party movement is not all roses either. This video calling on grassroots protesters to avoid the upcoming national teabag convention, and unite, not letting the GOP hijack their efforts.

Notice that while a black person or two is shown in the video, that when they speak of uniting, it is all white hands that come together. A fist bump between a white fist and a black fist seems to represent conflict, not approval, because it immediately follows the words “Don’t fall for it again. Not now!”

As best as I can tell, the Tea party movement is a white supremacist, anti-choice, dominionist, homophobic, uneducated (obvious from the first video) group of noisemakers.

I’m not saying they shouldn’t be taken seriously. But realize this, as well. Part of the anger in the country is coming from the left. After all, we helped elect the congress and president, and they haven’t come through like we expected. So don’t think that all the anger reflected in polls and election results comes from the right.

>Western Tribune column January 20, 2010 – Haiti

January 21, 2010

>My column from the Western Tribune on January 20, 2009, regarding the earthquake in Haiti.

The 7.0 earthquake that occurred in Haiti last week is not the first major seismologic event to occur in that country. Recorded history tells us that in 1842 a major quake struck in north Haiti, destroying the city of Cap-Haitien and killing thousands. Geologists are able to document many quakes prior to that which affected Haiti as well as other Caribbean islands.

Televangelist Pat Robertson, quick to assign blame whenever a natural disaster occurs (and sometimes before they occur), said that a long time ago the enslaved Haitians made a deal with the devil in order to gain freedom from the French. He said that ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.

Robertson is referring to the Bois Caiman ceremony, a poorly documented event that some scholars doubt is accurately remembered, in part because the earliest account was written by a white man who may have had an ulterior motive in denigrating the slaves.

If Haiti is cursed, it is not because of the sacrifice of a pig centuries ago, rather it is because it lies above the boundary between the Caribbean and the North American Plates, and these geologic plates are always moving.

Nature does not take sides and certainly natural events do not occur in response to ritual religious practices that may or may not have occurred centuries ago.

But as certain as we can be that devastating events will occur, we can also assure ourselves that Americans will respond generously. The rebuilding of Haiti will take years, but right now the major need is for medical relief and money for supplies. The best thing we can do is offer our prayers and donate money to The Red Cross or another reputable service organization. In addition, President Obama has called on former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to head our country’s effort and you can support them online at ClintonBushHaitifund.

President Clinton, who honeymooned with his wife in Haiti in 1975, stated that hopefully as the city of Port au Prince is rebuilt, it can be done using better materials and with better construction techniques that will reduce the loss of life and injury should future earthquakes occur. But that type of construction will cost more money, so our assistance will be needed for years.

Let’s be there for Haiti. Let’s stand behind Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton in this huge humanitarian effort.

>Election hash

January 20, 2010

>What do yesterday’s election results tell us?

Let’s start with Birmingham. Congratulations, first, to William Bell. While I supported his opponent (even though I don’t vote in that city), Bell will be the new mayor, and it is up to him to lead us out of the funk we are in. Almost as bad an assignment as the one Barack Obama was handed when he assumed the presidency.

Bell can do this, I am confident. It just won’t be in the same manner that Patrick Cooper would have.

As for the gay community, we should support Bell. William Bell has been our friend in the past. He is not responsible for the homophobia that disgraced his campaign. Frank Matthews is. Bell can show us how he feels by ignoring Matthews as he builds his team. Time will tell.

As for Scott Brown’s win in Massachusetts, I could write about the failure of the democrats to select a decent candidate, or about the candidate herself and her gaffes, but let’s be honest and look at the big picture.

In 2008 America made a statement when it elected Barack Obama. He campaigned on health care reform among other things, and most who voted for him supported it too.

So what happened? Did Americans since then decide they like having 40 million uninsured countrymen? Do they appreciate that people die every day because they lack health insurance?

I find that hard to believe. But I’m not going to answer the questions here. I don’t have those answers.

Besides, here are my concerns. The teabaggers have the momentum now. Democrats in congress may be afraid to pass anything, health care related or other. Teabaggers will be giddy.

Teabaggers in this state will be energized. Sorry, Artur. Sorry, Ron.

If it were just Republicans I wouldn’t worry. But the teabaggers are a different story. They are the modern KKK. White separatists. Seriously, listen to the radio. Read their blogs. Within the last week I have seen that they have selected a (battle) flag, heard them talk about secession, heard about commandeering the southern auto plants for munitions and weapons manufacture, speak of getting the guillotine ready, and more. Idle talk? Hardly, one of the people being interviewed was an elected official in our state. Sorry I don’t know who, I was in the shower listening to the radio on Sunday when I heard it on 101.1 FM.

That is the concern I was alluding to the past few days on this blog. God help us.

But there are progressive people in this county, and this country, and we will continue to search for and support progressive candidates and promote progressive policies. Gays are already abandoning the Democratic Party (shutting down the GayTM).

The Democratic Party and the president and the state parties really need to pow-wow and get their act together. November comes quickly.

>Drive-by Truckers explore the past, Birmingham votes on the future

January 19, 2010

>This day is very important for the future of Birmingham and the future of our nation.

In Birmingham the voters have the choice of electing Patrick Cooper who has a fresh vision for the city, or William Bell, part of the establishment of the last 30 years.

The difference also is in the attitudes of the supporters of the candidates. Sure, Cooper has the support of many in the LGBT community and progressive whites, and these are some of the people he has surrounded himself with.

Bell, on the other hand, has the support of Frank Matthews, who has put out divisive and homophobic campaign materials in an attempt to promote hatred and fear and divide the people of Birmingham.

The future of the nation may depend on the results of the special election in Massachusetts, where Martha Coakley and Scott Brown are fighting for the senate seat formerly held by Teddy Kennedy. Brown’s campaign is being promoted by teabaggers and it looks like he has a chance to win.

If he should win, teabaggers from the across the nation will feel emboldened and no telling what will happen. But whatever, we will have to deal with it.

That being said, I think Patrick Cooper will be the next mayor of Birmingham, and Martha Coakley will be the new senator from Massachusetts. But the elections will be close.

Check out this video featuring Drive-by Truckers.

It tells of story of the racist past in Alabama from the viewpoint of Patterson Hood, one of the band members. “The Three Great Alabama Icons” and “George Wallace” are from their album, “Southern Rock Opera.” h/t to mooncat. And, h/t to Matt Osborne.

It’s interesting how some people who grew up here had to leave the state to see what was really going on. Read a writeup about the album from Patterson Hood.

“We began writing the Southern Rock Opera some years ago. We wanted to examine people’s misconceptions of the South, and study some modern-day southern mythology.”