Archive for the ‘Voting’ Category

>Recommendations

October 30, 2010

>I have recommended that you vote a straight Democratic ticket on Tuesday. Many of you won’t do that, for one reason or another, so I want to list several candidates where your vote is essential, and might make a difference, or that for one reason or another I support. These are candidates on my ballot in Bessemer, you may or may not have these candidates on your ballot.

United States Representative District 7 – Terri Sewell. Terri will be the first African American woman elected to represent Alabama in congress. A historic election and a well qualified candidate with a vision and drive to make a difference for the Black Belt region and the rest of the state.

Governor – Ron Sparks. Robert Bentley scares me, both because it is Halloween, but also because who knows what he is thinking?

Lieutenant Governor – Jim Folsom, Jr. Kay Ivey scares me too. And there’s something she’s not being quite open and honest about…but my lips are sealed.

Attorney General – James H. Anderson. Funny how Luther Strange talks about fighting special interests (lobbyists) and that’s all he’s ever been. Fighting with yourself…there’s a diagnosis for that.

Supreme Court Justice, Place 1 – Rhonda Chambers. She is more qualified and has experience that will serve her well on the high court.

Supreme Court Justice, Place 3 – Mac Parsons. Tom Parker was named Man of the year by a group that wants to take the right to vote away from women. We do not need him on the bench.

Court of Civil Appeals – Deborah Bell Paseur. She has a great name. She has served as district judge for 27 years and this would be a good fit for her.

State Treasurer – Charley Grimsley. Don’t let Boozer bankrupt the state. You’ve seen the commercial, haven’t you?

State Auditor – Miranda Karrine Joseph. I met Miranda at the Bessemer Farmer’s market one Saturday and we talked about the state and the people and moving forward.

Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries – Glen Zorn. We need an Ag Commish with experience and he’s got it. Plus, he’s been on a farm.

Public Service Commission, Place 2 – Susan Parker. She’s done a great job and keeps the people informed on issues. Keep her in there.

State Board of Education, District 4 – Yvette M. Richardson. Hang down your head, Tom Dooley, hang down your head and cry…

Circuit court Judge 10th circuit, Place 3 – David Carpenter. I’ve met David and he’s got good ideas about this court and is a great guy too.

Circuit court Judge 10th circuit, Place 4 – Helen Shores Lee. Doing a good job, needs to stay there.

Circuit court Judge 10th circuit, Place 12 – Anetta H. Verin. Hate to lose her in Bessemer but she’ll do a great job.

Circuit court Judge 10th circuit, Place 20 – Agnes Chappell. Lot’s of experience as a judge. She will do well.

Circuit court Judge 10th circuit, Place 24 – Stephen Wallace. Stephen is fending off hateful, misleading attack ads. Desperation on the part of his opponent.

District Court Judge, 10th Judicial Circuit, Place 10 – Lynneice Washington. Lynneice has served as assistant DA for eight years and is very familiar with the court.

Circiut Court Clerk, Bessemer division – Benny R. Watson. You have to love a candidate named Benny. He’s the current clerk and we need to keep him.

Now wouldn’t it just be easier to vote a straight Democratic ticket?

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>Western Tribune Column October 29 2008

October 30, 2008

>Here is my column from this week’s Western Tribune. Notice that I took the high road, note that the Paper itself did not, printing an endorsement and letters for John McCain that resort to the same old lies we have heard for a year. More about that later. Here’s the column.

Voting a privilege not to be taken lightly

The most memorable post presidential election photo has to be the black and white picture of Harry Truman holding up the Chicago Daily Tribune with the headline “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

Every underdog since has probably referred to that election and that outcome.

The most controversial election outcome has to be Bush vs. Gore in 2000, which resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court deciding the outcome. We are still not over that.

But controversy goes back much further, to 1796, when John Adams defeated Thomas Jefferson. The candidates remained fairly civil, but their surrogates fought for them in nasty ways. Adams was accused of being too close to Britain’s monarchy. Jefferson was attacked for his views on religion. Adams was “aloof.” Jefferson was too close to France and its revolutions.

We still have candidates accusing one another of being elite and being too close to France, or having ties to odd religion.

Has nothing changed in over 200 years?

Not really. But since that election, we have had significant changes in who votes. Wyoming led the movement to grant women the vote, allowing voting rights in 1869, and the nation followed suit in 1920, with the Nineteenth Amendment.

The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were supposed to give voting rights to men regardless of race, but not until the 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed were Blacks across the nation able to register, and now voter suppression attempts still target people of color.

This year, the candidacy of Barack Obama has inspired millions of young people who as a group historically have not voted in large numbers but are expected to turn out. Early voting in various states indicates a massive voter turnout. In 2004, 122 million people voted. Regardless of who wins, this election will be historical in the number of voters who participate.

In just a few days you will have the opportunity to take part in this historical election. It is a privilege that should not be taken lightly or ignored. Even if you see Barack Obama or John McCain at your door on Halloween, let it serve as a reminder to vote on Tuesday.

And let’s hope, for the sake of our country, that the discourse on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning is civil. The problems of our country are too great for the winner not to receive the support of all of us.

To Vote or Not To Vote

July 16, 2007

In The New Yorker there is a review of Bryan Caplan’s book, “The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Politics,” and while I doubt I will read the book, I think I learned enough from the review. Caplan is an economist, so there. The last book I read by an economist was “Freakonomics” and I haven’t recovered from that reading yet.

But Caplan’s premise is that people shouldn’t be voting, or at least not the one’s who are. First is the argument that there is no reason for any one person to vote. Especially in the presidential election, which will never be decided by a single vote. Spending time and effort educating oneself about different candidates and then driving to the polls and waiting in line (like that really happens) to cast a vote that will not influence the election is not a good investment of one’s time.
And like the author, if I had voted for the other candidate in every presidential election since I started voting in 1972, it would not have affected me or anyone else in the nation one bit (other than the guilt I might have felt…).

He has a point there, and while I know people who adhere to that policy for that reason, I still think people should educate themselves about issues and candidates and take all the time necessary to cast their ballots.

But even more important than the single vote, I think, is the influence an educated (or uneducated) person exerts over other potential voters. Even if I don’t vote, if I convince 23 others to vote for candidate B, and lots of other influencers do the same, then candidate B might win.

That’s boring, isn’t it? But here is what I wanted to say. In the review is a paragraph about the political knowledge of the average (supposedly educated) voter (as opposed to the average supposedly uneducated non-voter). Read this as if it is a test. I hope you feel good about yourself afterwards.

“The political knowledge of the average voter has been tested repeatedly, and the scores are impressively low. In polls taken since 1945, a majority of Americans have been unable to name a single branch of government, define the terms “liberal” and “conservative,” and explain what the Bill of Rights is. More than two-thirds have reported that they do not know the substance of Roe v. Wade and what the Food and Drug Administration does. Nearly half do not know that states have two senators and three-quarters do not know the length of a Senate term. More than fifty per cent of Americans cannot name their congressman; forty per cent cannot name either of their senators. Voters’ notions of government spending are wildly distorted: the public believes that foreign aid consumes twenty-four per cent of the federal budget, for example, though it actually consumes about one per cent.”

And these are the people who choose our leaders. But I guess you really don’t need to know any of the above to know which candidate you prefer. At least that’s what the candidates want you believe.

>To Vote or Not To Vote

July 16, 2007

>In The New Yorker there is a review of Bryan Caplan’s book, “The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Politics,” and while I doubt I will read the book, I think I learned enough from the review. Caplan is an economist, so there. The last book I read by an economist was “Freakonomics” and I haven’t recovered from that reading yet.

But Caplan’s premise is that people shouldn’t be voting, or at least not the one’s who are. First is the argument that there is no reason for any one person to vote. Especially in the presidential election, which will never be decided by a single vote. Spending time and effort educating oneself about different candidates and then driving to the polls and waiting in line (like that really happens) to cast a vote that will not influence the election is not a good investment of one’s time.
And like the author, if I had voted for the other candidate in every presidential election since I started voting in 1972, it would not have affected me or anyone else in the nation one bit (other than the guilt I might have felt…).

He has a point there, and while I know people who adhere to that policy for that reason, I still think people should educate themselves about issues and candidates and take all the time necessary to cast their ballots.

But even more important than the single vote, I think, is the influence an educated (or uneducated) person exerts over other potential voters. Even if I don’t vote, if I convince 23 others to vote for candidate B, and lots of other influencers do the same, then candidate B might win.

That’s boring, isn’t it? But here is what I wanted to say. In the review is a paragraph about the political knowledge of the average (supposedly educated) voter (as opposed to the average supposedly uneducated non-voter). Read this as if it is a test. I hope you feel good about yourself afterwards.

“The political knowledge of the average voter has been tested repeatedly, and the scores are impressively low. In polls taken since 1945, a majority of Americans have been unable to name a single branch of government, define the terms “liberal” and “conservative,” and explain what the Bill of Rights is. More than two-thirds have reported that they do not know the substance of Roe v. Wade and what the Food and Drug Administration does. Nearly half do not know that states have two senators and three-quarters do not know the length of a Senate term. More than fifty per cent of Americans cannot name their congressman; forty per cent cannot name either of their senators. Voters’ notions of government spending are wildly distorted: the public believes that foreign aid consumes twenty-four per cent of the federal budget, for example, though it actually consumes about one per cent.”

And these are the people who choose our leaders. But I guess you really don’t need to know any of the above to know which candidate you prefer. At least that’s what the candidates want you believe.