Sunday, August 20, 2006

Captain Plaid - New Approaches for New Days

I'll be cross posting the following across the five efforts. I'll keep Captain Plaid up and running via Blogger, although TypePad continues to call me. Until I announce otherwise, Captain Bama is leaving the building. For the near future at least, I'll abandon Tin Shop Tartan. I'm going to put Captain Jimi in the holster as well in that I can fight the culture war on the main blog. Marque Stuart has long been neglected and my inner Martha will need to be surpressed even further given these next few weeks ... and perhaps even months and years.

I've been slack in posting these last few days but family called. I was unexpectedly called in to help a relative with a business/building project and that has been the priority these last few days. Even though the fam might not always understand me, I am thrilled to help any of my brood. I understand Highlanders had "broken men" that had left their own Clans and joined with another in some respects, generally free to return to or assist their kin as circumstances required. Maybe that is what is going on with me? There have surely been plenty of shifts and changes for me over this summer! Here's the immediate deal ...

I'll be working for a Progressive Political Action Committee until mid-November. Reporting on Labor Day for duty, I'll be in Milwaukee for the first few days but they'll soon farm me out to at least one candidate. Although there may be some races for Governor or other state/local positions, I'm likely going to be working in one of the competitive U.S. House districts. I could be working pretty much anywhere but doubt it will be in Alabama or even the South (Florida doesn't count as the "South" does it?). Country come to town?

I'm hoping to find future work, ideally in politics/policy or some type of non-profit education, away from rural East Alabama. I'm looking in relatively urban areas along the East Coast or in the Mountain West. This PAC I'll work for next will assist in placement and yet I've got friends and contacts that are also looking and helping. The experience will hopefully teach me much plus it will admittedly help expand my resume. By the first of the year I hope to have a long term position nailed down. If anybody knows of something that might suit me please let me know. I'll work like two trojans. I can get along with most folks, even though some family and a few past "significant others" might disagree.

I'm leaving for several reasons. I've mentioned that several fundamentalist family members reacted rather harshly to a letter I sent First Baptist Church on their shilling of Amendment One, the Alabama Contitutional Amendment on banning same-sex marriages that every major paper or reasonable authority in Alabama agreed was not necessary and even foolish. Some have expressed displeasure with my Letters to the Editor to my local paper. I think I've done four since the first of the year and I've yet to have anybody say my facts were wrong. In every letter I challenged Bu$hCo (and often the GOP and conservatism and ...) so I think that was mostly the problem. Again, explain where I was wrong! Until then, and probably even after then, I feel very patriotic to have spoken out against the abuses of this worst administration ever. Additionally, my ex-wife has gone on the warpath so that my ability to have the type of relationship I'd like with my son has become more of a challenge.

I've left the classroom after five years back in the trenches frustrated with NCLB and other bureaucracy, with this last years's experience trying to teach the young adults of Heard County, Georgia being the final nail in that coffin. I was also feeling "cooped up" in that teachers are forced to work inside cement block rooms for most of their day and not always able to engage people and the community as might be ideal for any profession. I'd pondered returning to the practice of "country law", thinking a low overhead practice where I could perhaps avoid the drudgery of merely paying the bills might be rewarding. I'd thought I could do criminal defense and some worthy activism plus simply help folks but I've decided I can't remain here in rural East Alabama and keep my sanity. I'm somewhat afraid I'd wind up an angry, lonely old man. Living in this conservative backwater, even though I cherish some of the rural lifestyle, might do more harm than good. As a single man, the social scene around here is especially scary. I love the dirt and woods and critters and ..., and certainly a few dear friends, but I'm now certain I need another setting.

I've learned to live simple, and the older I get the less I seem to need, but I want "purpose" to my life. I seek intellectual and spiritual experiences. I want to work with people that generally possess a Progressive outlook. I want to find my place in a vibrant community that values learning and art and compassion and service and health and ... I've long though about building a "home" where I'll feel some measure of security and completeness. My experiences as a child, with my mother dying rather young plus several other unfortunate realities, have I think tempered me where I default to seek "place", although I'll argue this is a very Southern, perhaps even Scottish, trait.

My failed marriage and practice, one that I'll submit I've placed in the proper order, plus the resulting troubles, were certainly events I'd have just as soon avoided. Ten to seven/six years later, I'm twice the man I was and I'm just forty. I can still be a good father, even though the idea of moving away from my son is the toughest part of these changes. In fact, given the current attitudes and actions of my ex-wife, I'm perhaps making the best of a bad situation. I wanted to be near "the boy" through these early teen years but if I'm better centered by being elsewhere then more good might result.

I've really enjoyed posting on these five blogs and hope they've been valued for at least effort if not for insight. I've only done a few on Marque Stuart but I've dropped 126 posts on Captain Jimi. Tin Shop Tartan has seen 127. A total of 186 post appeared on Captain Bama. Captain Plaid has had 279. Over seven hundred posts! Many hours of mousing and keyboarding (with Blogger being bloggered often making it take longer!) but I've learned so much. I appreciate the comments and communcations. For those that have honored me with a blogroll link feel free to leave any or none. I'll continue over at Captain Plaid, with the caveat that if my new gig doesn't allow time then posts might be scarce. I anticipate a new email addy once I get settled in.

Thanks again for allowing me to share my thoughts and frustrations plus my hope for a better world. Peace ... or War!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Conquest by Conservatism - ALDLC Caves!

The Anniston Star reveals most Alabama citizens lean Republican. In my local paper today, the Alabama Legislative Democratic Leadership Conference released their "Covenant for the Future" with a full page ad. "Republican Lite" is being too kind. I'll remain pro-choice and favor some type of method to make sure same-sex couples aren't being treated unfairly yet I can live with them avoiding the issue. The ALDLC is going rather full anti-immigrant and low tax and God and ... If our state party wants to pander to the Republican leaning population they are being short sighted and simply wrong. If they'd attack the GOP failures they'd do the national party and their candidates much more good. I've posted on this often but it still frustrates me. I'll ponder for a few days but I'm thinking I'll want to make some calls. Peace ... or War!


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Alvin Holmes Schools Alabama Christian Coalition

Actually Representative Holmes schools other Progressives and our community but the post title didn't work describing his action that way. Even Alvin Holmes, never one to run from (or perhaps even cause?) controversy, can't school the Alabama Christian Coalition. Candidates that seek reform should reply to the ACC's position requests with the same type of response that Mr. Holmes used, alerting the media and their constituents so they'll eventually learn what the ACC is really about.

Kim Chandler of the B'ham News reports in "Lawmaker rebukes Christian Coalition" that Alvin Holmes, in response the ACC's annual survey, replied with three questions. Holmes is alleged to have written "Until you answer these three questions, Go straight to hell." He signed "Peace be with you." however.

The three questions are as follows:

Reveal its sources of income.

Disclose if it received any money from Ralph Reed or convicted lobbyist Michael Scanlon to lobby against gambling in Alabama.

Explain why the group opposed a bill that would require nonprofits to reveal sources of income if they do election advertising.

John Giles will likely dodge these answers so that he and ACC can continue to look out for the Big Mules willing to use his organization to distract poorly informed "values voters" from the disastrous conservative policies that are destroying our state and nation. I'm neutral on gambling except for wanting regulation and revenue should more come to us plus fair and open elections on making the decision. I am far from neutral on much else the ACC hinders such as constitutional reform, tax adjustments to help the poor and middle class, judicial selection reform, etc. Peace ... or War!


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Gerald "Dino" Dial Crawfishes On Complaints

Mike Linn reports in today's Montgomery Advertiser "Dial says Benefield violated campaign act" yet Dino says he "simply wants to inform the party chairman" and is not challenging the election. Since he has missed by the June 19th deadline to do so by nearly two months I suppose he's not.

Kim Benefield rightly labels Gerald's actions as "sour grapes". Claiming Kim's 45 day report was "second grade work", Gerald asserts "If I had done that, they would have been on me like stink on manure."

Mr. Dial, you have stunk up Goat Hill for many years and the voters of this District had enough of your bullshit. Miss Twinkle might want to listen Gerald but I think you've done enough for the Democratic Party and this District/State. Governor Riley and the GOP will I'm sure find a place for you to collar up again for the Big Mules. Peace ... or War!


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Laundering Michael Scanlon's Gambling Money

Mr. Scanlon was first mentioned here on Bama way back in March. In April I noted his connection to Alabama in giving money to four state PACs. Via a Tin Shop Tartan post, I had a comment from "Tim" scolding me for suggesting "Bob Riley" was named in a Senate report on the Choctaw money. I've never believed $13 million was realistic but some gambling money helped Bob Riley beat The Don in 2002. I still think the Governor needs to 'fess up and set the record straight but the statement below seems to be a start at coming clean.

Mr. Scanlon was of course previously Congressman Riley's Press Secretary when he was back in DC but he then moved up the food chain to work for Tom "The Hammer" DeLay. Scanlon entered various guilty pleas back in late 2005 for his involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandals. He is understood to be cooperating with the authorities, no doubt providing sleepless nights to plenty of pols and other wheeler dealers . The scandal seem to be mostly involving Republicans.

Mary Orndorff and Kim Chandler report in today's B'ham News "Lobbyist's interest in state races dates to '01 : Scanlon said to have funneled cash to Riley ". Bob Riley's camp gave a statement as follows:
"A decade before anyone knew the problems he would face, Michael Scanlon worked for Gov. Riley while he was a member of Congress," Riley spokesman Josh Blades said in a written statement. "It is logical that Scanlon would want to support his former boss in his campaign for governor. Bob Riley has been a life-long opponent of gambling in Alabama, and that fact will never change, regardless of who contributes money to his campaign."

With PAC to PAC transfers legal and providing the ability to hide, at least during an election cycle, sources of funds here in Alabama I'm expecting we'll never have the type of leadership we'll need. Although I'm a fan of "Initiative and Referendum" plus efforts to disclose funding and of course long overdue constitutional reform, I'll offer that my one dream reform would be Alabama/America using some type of "Clean Money Election" system. Public financing of campaigns alone might make the above less needed. If we could simply get some folks down at Goat Hill/up in DC that would actually represent the public rather than the Big Mules then we'd see other reforms fall into place. Peace ... or War!


Friday, August 11, 2006

DINO - Democrat In Name Only

Starting from the right, as he'd surely prefer, we've got Zell Miller. "Give 'em hell Zell" is a long time but thankfully retired Georgia pol. He's a duel nostalgic former Marine infamous for his 2004 performance at the RNC in NYC. His support of Bu$hCo while still in the Senate was a given. On the left, where he often was before becoming Bu$hCo's favorite Senate Democrat, we've got Connecticut's Joe Lieberman. Painted by the nasty Republicans as "Sore Loserman" from the 2000 stolen election, he's done a legitimate claiming of the label with Ned Lamont just this week. Rejected by his own party and providing even more ammo for Bu$hCo, this Deputy Dog favoring polician is going to run as an independent. Slap in the middle, looking almost like a "love child" of the two with that innocent smile and ridiculous tie, we've got our own Gerald Dial.

After noting just yesterday Gerald's performance in a media buy for Bob Riley, Gerald now has the audacity to ask my Alabama Democratic Party to boot Kim S. Benefield from the ticket. The reporting of Kim Chandler of the B'ham News reveals Gerald is concerned over not only her campaign forms but also those, or rather the forms they didn't have to file, of four other Senators that helped fund her win.

Perhaps this is a sign that ALFA and the BCA and Alabama Power and ... aren't going to pony up for Jim Ingram this fall? They've already spent at least a half a million this cycle on their boy only to see him get crushed yet we know Big Mules pockets are very, very deep.

I'm wanting the Democratic Party to examine the claim (figuring if there's been an error it was a clerical or honest mistake from a candidate first running for this type of position) yet once solved I'm hopeful Dino will be placed on waivers so the other teams can claim him. I'd trade him for a bucket of spit but I'd be happy to just let Miss Twinkle have the Clay Combover. It's time we, and Gerald for that matter, cut our losses. Peace .. or War!


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Lucy on labels ... "like being called fat by a hog"

If I'd have been able to reply to the Riley campaign's opening salvo, a negative one no less, where he uses an everyman (I think nearly every demographic and gender being included) ad to suggest Lucy Baxley is "too liberal for Alabama", I'd have challenged the label rather than allowing him to get away with the language. While I did like the tone and folksiness of "Being called liberal by someone who proposed the largest tax increase in Alabama history is like being called fat by a hog." I'll first remind you, and hope you know this already, that "liberal" doesn't mean "free spender" Miss Lucy! Like many Democrats you're allowing the Republicans to use the Karl Rove approach where they tell your potential voters who you are and what your party stands for.

The report comes from The B'Ham News' Charles J. Dean in "Gloves come off in fight for governor's mansion : Baxley's 'a liberal'; Riley's 'a hog'" and you can find the ad on Riley's media site. I noticed soon to be former Alabama State Senator Gerald "Dino" Dial doing his impression of Zell Miller/Joe Lieberman as Riley's representative Democrat. That the Clay Combover helps out Clay County's own doesn't surprise me but Gerald Dial is as much a Democrat as he is an underwear model. Dissing on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton might not cause you much harm yet I'm with The Decatur Daily in thinking you embrace Bu$hCo at your own peril. A 46% approval and 51% disapproval for Bu$h has me hoping you'll go right ahead with this approach. Shilling Bu$hCo's failed Iraq policies shows love to Lucy!

Like the image above suggests, the GOP message is being shown to be talk not walk. Your party takes care of Big Oil and Big Pharma while holding an increase to the minimum wage hostage to try to pass the Paris Hilton Inheritance Protection Act. Our shrinking middle class with even larger concentrations of wealth over the last two decades is a reality that even folks in Alabama are recognizing. The Ambramoff/Reed/Scanlon (Riley's former staffer!) scandals are getting deeper and deeper. You've so far avoided the details of the gambling money questions but sooner or later some assertive reporter will hem you up. Alabama has plenty of problems that will require capacties of a person from a party that doesn't seem to loathe government. Labeling somebody "liberal" might be a favor given how more and more Americans are waking up the failures of "conservatism" and especially how that philosophy has been implemented by the Bu$h administration. Thanks Governor! Peace ... or War!