Archive for the ‘Selma’ Category

>The Bessemer No Spin Zone

November 3, 2010

>People (who remain anonymous) are already poking fun at me after the Democrats in Alabama suffered defeat last night.

As if I expected every Democrat to win.

No, but when you ‘work’ for a party you support your candidates and you promote them and hope for the best.

I don’t apologize for that. I don’t duck and run.

So, here are some positive things from my perspective on the election.

Everyone in this state knows it is a red state. That is why the Blue Dot was developed here.

The Seventh

My candidate for the 7th congressional district, Terri Sewell, won handily. Of course that was expected and almost assured. But I supported Terri from when it first rumored that she would run. We needed a woman in congress and now we have one. Here she is in Selma last night at the historic St. James Hotel, thanking her supporters.


Here Terri and her mother are being interviewed by a Montgomery television reporter.


I personally thanked Terri’s mother for giving birth to her, and for raising her as she did.

The County

Another bright spot is that Jefferson County’s vote returned to Democratic in the governor’s race.

Ron Sparks received 104,098 votes to Robert Bentley’s 100,934. Not a huge margin, but a 51% to 49%.

Compare that to 2006 when Bob Riley took 53% of the vote in Jefferson County, compared to Lucy Baxley’s 47%, and 2002 race when Don Siegelman had 56% and Bob Riley had 43%.

I’m leaving out 2008’s Jefferson county vote for Obama, because I am comparing apples to apples with the governor’s race.

The pendulum swings.

The Constitution

Here’s a bright spot. All of the statewide amendments lost. For those of us that advocate constitutional reform, it indicates that the Alabama voters don’t like the process either. Trouble is, most elected Republicans don’t support true reform, so I don’t expect anything from the Alabama legislature, or at least not a convention to write an new constitution anytime soon.

The Gays

For the ever increasing majority that believe in LGBT equality, a record 106 openly gay candidates were elected across the country. Here are some highlights.

Lexington Kentucky elected a gay man as mayor, construction executive Jim Gray.

North Carolina elected their first openly gay state legislator, Marcus Brandon.

Rhode Island will send an openly gay man to congress, as Providence mayor David Cicilline will represent his district in Washington, and will be the fourth openly gay member of congress.

Click on the link to read more.

The Nation

Across the nation, we avoided having two of the most unqualified and unprepared candidates elected to the senate, and one of those defeats means the Senate majority Harry Reid will remain in office. May we never have to hear from Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell again.

As for the future along the national scene, I have my doubts that the Republican gains will translate into Republican love over the next two years. They were the Party of No for the previous two years. Before that they were the Party of Yes to both tyranny and wasteful spending. A few new shrill voices will have a difficult time transforming the established Republicans into Teabaggers that want to cut, oh, say, farm subsidies and Medicare benefits and unemployment benefits and the things Americans hold dear.

And their leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell (if in fact they remain the leaders) have said (collectively) that their primary goal is to make sure Obama is a one term president and that they would not compromise. Obama reached out to them during the first two years and they refused to work with the Democrats, who thinks they will now?

And Boehner, whose emotional swings range from screaming, “Hell, no,” in the House to crying after victory (it’s not like it was his first win, remember), will not have the steadfastness nor the demeanor to be an effective leader in Congress. Just a prediction.

All this could easily result in two years of ineffective government, the Republicans in congress getting the blame, and a second term for Obama and another swing in the house with democratic gains in 2012.

The Hotel

Ms. Sewell’s reception was held at the St. James Hotel in Selma, and Bobby and I spent the night there after the event. One word of advice. In a one hundred sixty year old building, when the elevator is stuck, and a while later they say it is working, don’t believe them. We got stuck in the elevator, but there was no panic. They “reset” it, whatever that means, from the outside, and we were able to ride up to our third floor room, after just a few minutes.

Here is a view of the courtyard that is surrounded by rooms.


A ground level view of the fountain in the courtyard.

The St. James was built in 1837, and during the Civil War it was occupied by union troops who burned most of the city. The hotel was managed by Benjamin Sterling Turner during the war, and he later became the first African-American to serve in the U. S. Congress.

Now the first African-American woman to go to congress from Alabama celebrates in the same hotel. Neat, huh?

Here is the view of the Alabama river and the Edmund Pettus Bridge from our balcony, as the sun was rising.

Imagine the history seen from that balcony (and the balconies on the other sides). Riverboats and barges with cotton on the river. Northern aggressors coming into the city. The city burning. The city being rebuilt. Martin Luther King, Jr, speaking at Brown Chapel on Jan 2, 1965. Bloody Sunday a couple of months later. The successful march to Montgomery that began in Selma later that year. The election of the first black mayor. Annual re-enactments of the March. Terri Sewell being elected to congress.

Selma, like Terri, is an Alabama jewel.

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>Selma Bridge Jubilee 2010

March 8, 2010

>Forty five years ago marchers ascended the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and were met with Alabama State Troopers and police. The scene was a little different yesterday at the Bridge Jubilee.

Terri Sewell, one of the candidates hoping to replace Artur Davis in congress (AL-07), was on hand along with a number of supporters. Terri was raised in Selma, and her family roots reveal a presence during the events of 1965.


A bust of Martin Luther King, Jr, stands in front of Brown Chapel, where the march began. In my book (Those Others), one of the characters took part in the march on Bloody Sunday, and his account of the event is posted in an excerpt from the soon to be released book (the cover design has been approved and the final complete proof is being prepared.)


Supporters for Ron Sparks were out in numbers at the event.


Artur Davis supporters were in the crowd as well, and I spoke with a Davis sign carrier about the candidate’s “no” vote on health care reform, flip flop on hate crimes legislation, and lack of support for ENDA (employment non-discrimination). Nothing new or encouraging from that supporter.

Marchers in 1965 might have looked toward heaven in prayer as they ascended the bridge. This is what they might have seen.


But when they reached the crest they would have seen State Troopers waiting at the foot of the bridge. Yesterday, State Troopers played a much different role, and their presence was appreciated.


Between 6,000 and 7,000 took part in the march yesterday.

After the march we had our picture taken by someone from the Freedom Foundation, which is working to improve the community in various ways. We need them here, in Bessemer.

From Selma Alabama to the White House

March 5, 2007

Sorry there have not been any exciting posts, but I have been working on the technical stuff. I finally have some pictures posted (of me, and of some daylilies) and I have indexed the blog so that it can be found on numerous search engines. Google “Bessemer” and progressive” or “Bessemer” and “opinion” and see if you get Bessemer Opinions. Let me know!

The big news from Alabama is that we had two presidential candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (and Bill) in our state yesterday for the 42 anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March for voting rights. Both candidates pointed out that because of that march, they (along with Bill Richardson according to Hillary) are able to run for president today. Reports are that Obama drew the larger crowd.

My congressman Artur Davis was there and he believes that Alabama will be more purple, maybe even blue in 2008. Could be, if the candidates keep coming to our early primary state, and if Bush keeps pushing the McCain doctrine…oops…I mean the Bush doctrine, of sending more troops to Iraq and hoping they are not needed elsewhere (or forgetting that they ARE needed elsewhere, like in Afghanistan where the Taliban showed us they are still a force to be taken seriously as they tried to “get” Dick Cheney).

Meanwhile America’s mayor Rudy Giuliani is trying to figure out how to explain to the Christian Conservatives why he lived with two gay men, and why he married his second cousin Regina Peruggi and about being pro-choice. John McCain is trying to convince us …well, I’m not sure what he’s trying to say by courting the very conservatives that caused his defeat the last time he ran. And Mitt Romney is going to have to explain about the Native Americans being one of the Lost Tribes and about Jesus coming here to North America. But he can at least claim to be the only top tier Republican candidate that has only been married once. And he’s the Morman! Go figure. And they say the Democrats are mixed up.

Christian conservatives are underwhelmed by their choices, as reported by the New York Times and printed in the Birmingham News. http://www.al.com/birminghamnews/stories/index.ssf?/base/news/117239524572970.xml&coll=2

The paper says they aren’t thrilled with any of the candidates, and neither am I, but for different reasons. This group includes as one of its members James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Recently he had published an opinion piece in Time Magazine in which he criticized Mary Cheney (Dick’s daughter) for her pregancy because she is a lesbian. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1568485,00.html .

His misuse of research and distortion of the truth is so blatant, that a web site has been created as a reference to dispute his claims. http://www.respectmyresearch.org/index1.html . Or you can find it at www.dobsonlies.com.

There are so many qualified Democrats running: Clinton, Edwards, Obama and Richardson. Any two would make a winning ticket, and in any order. I am not even going to start comparing the Democrats until we get closer to the primaries (and debates). But this campaign season is going to be fun, isn’t it.

>From Selma Alabama to the White House

March 5, 2007

>Sorry there have not been any exciting posts, but I have been working on the technical stuff. I finally have some pictures posted (of me, and of some daylilies) and I have indexed the blog so that it can be found on numerous search engines. Google “Bessemer” and progressive” or “Bessemer” and “opinion” and see if you get Bessemer Opinions. Let me know!

The big news from Alabama is that we had two presidential candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (and Bill) in our state yesterday for the 42 anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March for voting rights. Both candidates pointed out that because of that march, they (along with Bill Richardson according to Hillary) are able to run for president today. Reports are that Obama drew the larger crowd.

My congressman Artur Davis was there and he believes that Alabama will be more purple, maybe even blue in 2008. Could be, if the candidates keep coming to our early primary state, and if Bush keeps pushing the McCain doctrine…oops…I mean the Bush doctrine, of sending more troops to Iraq and hoping they are not needed elsewhere (or forgetting that they ARE needed elsewhere, like in Afghanistan where the Taliban showed us they are still a force to be taken seriously as they tried to “get” Dick Cheney).

Meanwhile America’s mayor Rudy Giuliani is trying to figure out how to explain to the Christian Conservatives why he lived with two gay men, and why he married his second cousin Regina Peruggi and about being pro-choice. John McCain is trying to convince us …well, I’m not sure what he’s trying to say by courting the very conservatives that caused his defeat the last time he ran. And Mitt Romney is going to have to explain about the Native Americans being one of the Lost Tribes and about Jesus coming here to North America. But he can at least claim to be the only top tier Republican candidate that has only been married once. And he’s the Morman! Go figure. And they say the Democrats are mixed up.

Christian conservatives are underwhelmed by their choices, as reported by the New York Times and printed in the Birmingham News. http://www.al.com/birminghamnews/stories/index.ssf?/base/news/117239524572970.xml&coll=2

The paper says they aren’t thrilled with any of the candidates, and neither am I, but for different reasons. This group includes as one of its members James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Recently he had published an opinion piece in Time Magazine in which he criticized Mary Cheney (Dick’s daughter) for her pregancy because she is a lesbian. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1568485,00.html .

His misuse of research and distortion of the truth is so blatant, that a web site has been created as a reference to dispute his claims. http://www.respectmyresearch.org/index1.html . Or you can find it at www.dobsonlies.com.

There are so many qualified Democrats running: Clinton, Edwards, Obama and Richardson. Any two would make a winning ticket, and in any order. I am not even going to start comparing the Democrats until we get closer to the primaries (and debates). But this campaign season is going to be fun, isn’t it.