Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Jim Wooten's "Folderol"

I had to look "folderol" up but it means "nonsense". That "The Tool" knows this word surprises me not. Jim let me down yesterday with his "Liberals find living in past to their liking" in that he's a constant source of material. While I guess some of what Mr. Wooten is writing in the above might make sense to some people, I'm simply lost.

About halfway through he writes,
The intent here is not so much to argue for the much-needed modernization of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but to note the difference in the way liberals and conservatives approach government.

I've actually blogged on the difference in that approach just yeserday. I can understand the scholar's work I'm building off even if a can't do the same for this "journalist". Wooten then goes on to write,
Liberals associate behaviors and conditions with geography.

We do? Of course there is often an association I'd accept plus we liberals do like to try to grasp as much information as we can in seeking solutions. So what's the problem Jim? The Tool adds,

Instead — and this is, again, where liberals and conservatives differ — the smart solution is to forget playing “economic justice” power games (which is what the Voting Rights Act preclearance provisions also engender) and design market-needs transportation systems.

The notion, though, that conditions, behaviors, values and real estate are inextricably linked gets us a lot of misdirected government effort and spending.

Huh? I have read this column over and over but I'm still struggling with what point(s) he makes. He got a plug in for his beloved "markets" and slammed government and spending, with special scorn for education spending, yet beyond that I'm confused. Shifting the VRA issues to disputes on transportation planning facing The ATL seems like a poor way to make any point yet we know "Wooten's World" allows for some special "thinking". Citing Lynn Westmoreland is understandable for The Tool but I'm used to skewed statistics and/or pseudo-research and/or shilling of GOP talking points when I read his "thinking right". Perhaps Jim just tried to cobble together too much conservative "logic". It's not like he's getting paid for this is it?

If anybody can translate The Tool for me I'd appreciate the help. The VRA might need polishing up but the legislation is still relevant. Beyond that, I'm not sure how to engage Jim just yet. Peace ... or War!


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Boston College Professor Alan Wolfe Explains "Why Conservatives Can't Govern"

I recently posted "Dick Armey's Astroturfing of Alabama" where I attempted to remind folks of just how much Dick and his brand of Republicans, unfortunately the one's that are fully in charge of the GOP these days, hate government. Today I ran across Alan Wolfe's Washington Monthly piece entitled "Why Conservatives Can't Govern" which ties nicely into the prior post. Here's portions of what Mr. Wolfe wrote:

Contemporary conservatism is first and foremost about shrinking the size and reach of the federal government. This mission, let us be clear, is an ideological one. It does not emerge out of an attempt to solve real-world problems, such as managing increasing deficits or finding revenue to pay for entitlements built into the structure of federal legislation. It stems, rather, from the libertarian conviction, repeated endlessly by George W. Bush, that the money government collects in order to carry out its business properly belongs to the people themselves. One thought, and one thought only, guided Bush and his Republican allies since they assumed power in the wake of Bush vs. Gore: taxes must be cut, and the more they are cut--especially in ways benefiting the rich--the better.

But like all politicians, conservatives, once in office, find themselves under constant pressure from constituents to use government to improve their lives. This puts conservatives in the awkward position of managing government agencies whose missions--indeed, whose very existence--they believe to be illegitimate. Contemporary conservatism is a walking contradiction. Unable to shrink government but unwilling to improve it, conservatives attempt to split the difference, expanding government for political gain, but always in ways that validate their disregard for the very thing they are expanding. The end result is not just bigger government, but more incompetent government.

"Ideas," a distinguished conservative named Richard Weaver once wrote, "have consequences." Americans have learned something about the consequences of conservative ideas during the Bush years that they never had to confront in the more amiable Reagan period. As a way of governing, conservatism is another name for disaster. And the disasters will continue, year after year, as long as conservatives, whose political tactics are frequently as brilliant as their policy-making is inept, find ways to perpetuate their power. ...

In the 1970s, the conservative impulse went underground, incubating in a string of new think tanks funded by conservative philanthropists and sympathetic corporations. Although some of those who followed in Goldwater's footsteps--Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and then Bush--professed to share his distaste for government, none stood in the way of its growth. When given the opportunity, they shied away from enacting the think-tank talk of washing government down the bathroom drain. Although Ronald Reagan, a convert to anti-federal-government conservatism, won the White House in 1980 by feeding on public disgust with the excesses of liberalism, whatever plans he may have had to roll back the federal government were blocked by a Democratic Congress and public opinion. (Remember, for instance, the drubbing the GOP took in 1982 when it tried to axe Social Security benefits). Newt Gingrich and his revolutionaries rode a similar wave in 1994, but their plans were at least partially stymied by Bill Clinton's control of the White House and, again, by public opinion (the GOP lost seats in 1998).

With the election of George W. Bush in 2000, anti-government conservatism won control of both elected branches. This was something new. ...

If government is necessary, bad government, at least for conservatives, is inevitable, and conservatives have been exceptionally good at showing just how bad it can be. Hence the truth revealed by the Bush years: Bad government--indeed, bloated, inefficient, corrupt, and unfair government--is the only kind of conservative government there is. ...

Governing well would require them to use the bully-pulpit of office to educate and uplift their base. But since contemporary conservatives get their political energy from angry voices of rage and revenge, they will always blame others for the failures built into their ideology. ...

This is a good work. I'll read it again and then once more. I also expect I'll return to it later for it is much grist for the mill. Peace ... or War!


Captain Plaid - Why I'll Continue Blogging!

I’ve been busy lately but I’m getting a fair amount done around the property. Time is scarce even with the summer vacation from “teaching” the “scholars” I was working with this past year. I’ve also had some flack from my conservative/evangelical family on my blogging and the rare “Letter to the Editor” to my local rag, even those that were mistakenly viewed as such. My ex-wife has gone on the warpath to boot! I have several projects that are going to take some serious effort and time, plus I’ve got to figure out how to start making a living this Fall. I’ll admit I’ve pondered dropping the whole blogging enterprise. I’d continue to read as much as I could but might stop posting. But I’m not, at least not just yet. Here’s why:

    1. Blogging gives me a chance to vent. “If you aren’t outraged then you aren’t paying attention!” seems to work for me. I am often amazed at the lack of understanding in our “leadership” from the national to local level. Journalist and pundits disappoint me as well at times yet the pseudo-commentators and Astroturf organizations and those playing The Mighty Wurlitzer deserve my/our scorn.
    2. Blogging lets me communicate and connect. I do read several major and also a few minor blogs yet rarely comment. However, I can feel connections with others that are concerned enough to share. I’m stuck here in the boonies of East Alabama with less human contact than might be ideal. I like being alone at times yet admittedly enjoy intellectual discourse and basic banter about the things of life. Sharing ideas and thoughts seems so human. Blogging, both reading and writing posts, seems very suitable for that process.
    3. Writing, and thinking for that matter, can be a creative release. I like to build and do. I am sure my mind is improved from the process. Seems harmless at least. I’d love to be able to profit financially from the work yet doubt that will happen. But I do profit in other ways.
    4. I truly learn from reading and thinking. Blogs, plus the links and resources they’ve sent me to as well, have taught me so much. I am learning how to be a better writer, with a long ways to go admittedly, yet even this relatively well-educated man learns plenty every day from reading the posts of some super smart folks. I believe we should learn until we die. When we stop learning then we might as well check out. I’m just forty. I think often that a well seasoned man could contribute to this sort of effort even it he can’t work like a young man.
    5. This blogging seems so democratic. Regular folks are able to challenge the authorities and powerful and those with an audience. The marketplace of ideas on steroids it seems.
    6. Blogging is a bargain. A high speed line tied to an admittedly old computer and I’m there. Lots of bang for the buck it seems.
    7. Blogging expands my world. I get to read ideas from people around the planet that I’d otherwise never know. I get views certainly from locations that I’m not likely to visit. I hear from the Left Coast to DC to Philly to NYC to The ATL to Colorado to …
    8. I feel more patriotic by blogging. I’m connected to a group that cares about our nation. We often are critical of our governments yet I think that is the ultimate sign of patriotism. We seek the ideal that this country can be. I believe in the work of the ACLU and other groups that seek the protections of those freedoms and traditions that makes this nation still worth saving. I believe in social justice and these efforts allow me to work in those fields.
    9. I like politics and public policy. Armchair wonk? My four main blogs had been thought out as “thinking globally and acting locally”, with Marque Stuart being an aside that I hope to return to as able. Captain Plaid (nation/world) to Captain Bama (region) to Tin Shop Tartan (local) work in that continuum. Captain Jimi lets me fight the culture war in one location yet I continue to believe there’s often overlap in all areas. I still think Progressivism may best be "sold” through local applications. Fighting back against conservatism’s powerful message machine almost requires insurgency on the local level given how the mainstream media and some Democrats continue to let them get away with distortions and talking points. Also, some centrist Democrats are nearly as bad at the GOP with their allegiances to The Big Mules very certain. Progressives have few leaders on the national stage, with Russ Feingold being one exception it seems. In Alabama and locally, Lefty Progressives are even more rare.
    10. Finally, I blogged on Howard Zinn via Captain Plaid just yesterday. One segment he wrote was “…we still might accept as our civic duty the responsibility to buttress our fellow citizens against the mendacity of our high officials.” So I’m carrying out my “civic duty” perhaps? “Responsibility” is a good word. We do the painful at times due to duty. Nothing could be more important for citizens of our world than to engage and care. I do.

I’ll soldier on, as always. Peace … or War!


Monday, June 26, 2006

Dick Armey's Astroturfing of Alabama

Former GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey and current Chairperson Of Freedom Works (originally Citizens for a Sound Economy) dropped an op-ed in The Anniston Star this Sunday entitled “The sky didn’t fall in Alabama after all”. While I applaud The Star in allowing Dick the chance to contribute to the marketplace of ideas I wanted to respond.

Dick Armey simply hates government. A Grover Norquist level of hatred. Maybe Grover’s “Field Marshall” to the Dick Armey? Perhaps once seen as simply a conservative ideologue, after years of DeLay and the rise of “The Machine” who can guess. Dick’s advocated a “flat tax”. He referred to Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank as “Barney “Fag”. His office was one of the main slime spreading centers going after Al Gore in 2000. He was one of the main cheerleaders of Bu$hCo’s efforts to privatize Social Security yet he is seemingly now frustrated with his own Republican Party.

Dick Armey’s infamous “Charlie Story” that was used to demonstrate the peril in raising the federal minimum wage was apparently made up. Maybe all the allegations of sexual harassment and also not getting tenure had Dick distracted while he was at North Texas State? Here’s what Molly Ivins, rather familiar with Dick in that both are from Texas, via Mother Jones, reported,

For years, Armey told the story of Charlie, a janitor at North Texas State when Armey taught there. According to Armey, Charlie was a retarded man who loved his job; then in 1977, the federal government raised the minimum wage, and Charlie was fired because the university couldn't afford to keep him on anymore. A month later, Armey saw Charlie in a grocery store with his wife and infant child, buying provisions with food stamps. "My heart's been broken about it ever since," Armey often lamented.

Unfortunately, no one else who worked at the university at the time had any memory of Charlie. What's more, the chancellor explained, janitors at North Texas are state employees, so the federal minimum wage would not have applied to any "Charlie."

In the above 2002 piece, Ms. Ivins described Dick as follows:
Armey is a no-compromise, free-market ideologue: His great heroes are Adam Smith and Milton Friedman. He is so devoted to free-market ideals that he wants to abolish Social Security and the home mortgage deduction, along with the minimum wage, and replace the progressive income tax with a flat tax.
Dick’s CSE/FW claims to be grassroots yet at best it is Astroturf given that the money to pay the bills comes from the Big Mules. In fact just recently FW has jumped into the net neutrality issue. And guess which side they jumped to? You got it! Big Teleco uses this “grassroots” organization to throttle one major tool for democracy. Lots of profits for Dick in all of this I’m sure.

Here’s how Riley’s Amendment One was described by Jason White of
The tax increase hits Alabama's wealthiest residents, corporations and large landowners hardest. Most low-income Alabamians would get tax cuts. The plan would raise nearly twice as much revenue as is needed to wipe out a $675 million budget deficit. The extra $525 million is slated to fund college scholarships, bonuses for teachers who agree to teach in rural and poor schools and performance-based contracts for school administrators.

Dick and Grover had interfered with Riley’s tax plan before the election so I guess he figured it wise to come back and gloat over the grave. John Giles of The Alabama Christian Coalition, when he’s not helping Grover and Ralph Reed with their gambling clients, also was involved in defeating Riley’s plan. So why does Dick now care about Alabama’s tax issues? Well, I’d argue he doesn't, except so as to make some political points. This is a portion of what was printed in The Star, with my emphasis supplied:

Turns out the sky didn’t fall after all. Remember the 2003 debate over Amendment 1, the state constitutional referendum that would have created the largest tax increase in Alabama’s history? The talking heads and professional alarmists had a field day, earnestly and ominously predicting that prisoners would be let loose and high school football would lose its funding.

But Alabama’s taxpayers knew better than to buy the scare tactics, defeating Gov. Bob Riley’s $1.2 billion tax hike by a 2-to-1 margin.

And, the predictions that the sky would fall if Amendment 1 failed were not even close. Three years after voters rejected higher taxes, the state is rolling in a $700 million budget surplus. Prisoners are not roaming the streets, high schools still play football on Friday night, and no one kicked grandma out of the nursing home. Turns out the taxpayers called the liberal bluff that massive tax hikes were needed to avoid budget shortages.

So what happened? After years of legislative mismanagement and spiraling spending, Alabama faced a $675 million budget deficit in 2003. But when the voters refused to let Riley pass the buck onto Alabama taxpayers, the governor had no choice but to buckle down, prioritize and reduce nonessential spending.

Working closely with the Legislature, he cut out a half-billion dollars in line-item spending and $40 million of pork from the budget. They also shrunk the size of the state bureaucracy by reducing the number of state employees and vehicles. It wasn’t easy, as there was tremendous political pressure from big government interest groups, but they got the job done.

.... Keeping taxes low makes Alabama more attractive for business and investment.

More important, holding the line against higher taxes in the lean years after 9/11 resulted in quicker and stronger recovery today. It’s a win-win approach.

… His latest $60 million tax relief package, unanimously approved by the House and Senate, was a step in the right direction. But that’s not enough. It is not even one-tenth of the surplus economic growth has brought the government coffers.

Pro-growth tax relief will help continue Alabama’s virtuous cycle of lower taxes, more economic growth and a more efficient government. Research consistently shows that when it comes to taxes, businesses and residents vote with their feet; and if given the incentives, they will most certainly vote for Alabama, bringing jobs for the people and revenue for the state.

But this lesson is lost on many pundits who insist on frittering away the surplus on more government programs. …

Increasing funding for bureaucratic programs would put Alabama back on the vicious tax-and-spend cycle that it took so long to break. …

Dick, the reality is that the Big Mules defeated the Riley with tactics that you GOP style operatives have honed to perfection. In the latter phases of the campaign, with poll numbers looking bleak, some people did surely stretch the dire predictions yet no responsible person can deny that Alabama, as did much of the nation, faced a serious budget crunch.

While the economy has indeed picked up, as is true across the region, Alabama is still doing things on the cheap. We’ve got state prisoners housed in county jails and schools still struggling. I knew state employees that experienced the budget cuts that you were so pleased with yet they soldiered on. You slam them as bureaucrats while I can call most public servants. It is amazing to me that your side dismisses government. When Bu$hCo botches Katrina your folks can take a failure and still use for the company line. An effective government program can still do more for less than anything in your beloved market. Are there problems? Certainly so. Yet when you paint with such a broad brush you are simply getting sloppy.

The tax breaks you mentioned above at least shifted some of the burden off the poorest of the poor. The most recent tax legislation did not give breaks to the fat cats that you and yours often do the bidding for yet it did not increase their taxes.

An educated workforce is still the main reason people will come to Alabama in a modern economy. Feet, at least those of much of the more educated population, have been leaving for many years Dick. A reason to stay is what is needed and as long as people like you are running down government it will not happen. Your loathing of government clouds your thinking. I know it sells to a certain segment of our population but no serious person ought to give you the time of day when you start at such an extreme position.

Alabama has been on a “vicious tax-and-spend” cycle? Who knew? Right wing talking points are all you've got at times isn't it?

Anybody that knows their Alabama history and politics can see you are shilling on something that you aren’t qualified to address. Peace … or War!


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Dr. Wayne Flynt - Alabama's Resident Intellectual

Via The Gadsden Times, Dana Beyerle, Montgomery Bureau chief for the New York Times Regional Newspapers, reminds us of the contributions of Professor Wayne Flynt to our state. The article is clear that Bobby Lowder's micro-management of Auburn University motivated Dr. Flynt into leaving AU early. I only had the chance to take one class with Dr. Flynt and valued partly since he was one of the few "old school" essay. He was brutal in his essays but by the end of the term I had a handle on his style. I always valued the man!

One portion of the writing distured me however. Beyerle wrote,
"... Flynt is no bleeding heart liberal since he believes people are responsible for their actions and consequences."
What liberal doesn't know that? Labels are so very dangerous. Especially when the next sentence is ,
"I also know that a lot of bad choices are conditioned upon things that are beyond our control," he said, such as under-funded education, politicians and governments that don't place a premium on economic and social equality and the economic hand that Alabama and much of the South was dealt since the end of the Civil War until the 1960s and 1970s when opportunities on par with other regions of the country first began.
The average "bleeding heart liberal" simply looks at the big picture. Peace ... or War!


Friday, June 23, 2006

I love The Anniston Star!

I grew up with The Star and perhaps it influenced me some in becoming a flaming pinko lefty Progressive. Today they have "Christ haunts our culture" by Auburn First Baptist's James L. Evans scolding the so called "Alabama Christian Coalition" and others of the radical right. This makes up for Cranky Cal Thomas the day before maybe with his "end times" theology and gay bashing? Their "Helping out the Rich" rightly takes on the GOP wanting to trash the Estate Tax while at the same time refusing to raise the minimum wage. Peace ... or War!


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

B'ham and Eastern US needs Conservation Funds!

Pat Byington, a Southeast senior associate with The Wilderness Society who also serves on the Alabama Environmental Management Commission, dropped a nice op-ed on The Birmingham News this past Monday. His/her "Federal conservation funding looks like it's on life support" ends with this:

... America's most important and successful conservation funding programs are on life support at a time when they have never been needed more, not only in Birmingham, but in the entire eastern United States. According to a recent U.S. Forest Service report "Forests on the Edge," more than 40 million acres of private forests, primarily in the East, are likely to be developed by 2030. At the same time, enormous tracts of timber company lands are being sold off, like International Paper's recent sale of 6 million acres of Southeast forest.

Let's put those numbers into proper perspective. During the next 25 years, the East will lose to development sprawl an area of private forest land larger than the entire state of Alabama. Gone. Never to return.

Sadly, the two most important tools the public has to battle rampant development sprawl and the permanent loss of valuable forest land are the programs mentioned above that have been zeroed out or slashed to the bone by the U.S. Congress.
It's not too late - these programs can be saved. This month, the U.S. Senate will have its chance to come to the rescue of the LWCF and Forest Legacy programs, as it has done in the past. Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions have been champions of conservation funding over the years. We need their help in Alabama, and especially in Birmingham, now more than ever.

Federal spending is bad according to some. Seems like we can't afford much due to Bu$hCo's poor budget work. They might have been champions in the past yet Jeff especially loves Bush! Peace ... or War!


Monday, June 19, 2006

Can a Lefty Progressive be a Southern Baptist?

Considering myself a “recovering southern Baptist” and thinking I might have a little, well actually a lot, to add beyond what I can cover via a comment, plus I think it will be a decent post on its own if Bamacrat allowed that as they once seemed to allow, I’ll try to add to what John Hubbard recently posted on Bamacrat as “Good Choice, Baptists: Part II”. John commended the Southern Baptist Convention for selecting an “outsider” named Frank Page. According to John’s source, Associated Baptist Press, Page said, “I'm not trying to undo a conservative movement that I have supported all these years." He said he would continue the trend of appointing leaders who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible but who also have "a sweet spirit."

John closed his post with:

“I haven’t been keeping up with SBC politics and don’t really know any of the candidates, but Page seems like a good choice and has his priorities straight. The most important duty of the SBC should be to organize and fund missionaries to spread the message. That’s what the Cooperative Program accomplishes. People are not lead to God through gay marriage bans and lower taxes for the wealthy. They are lead by people going out in the community and teaching the word of God. I’m glad we have a man in the position that understands the importance of the Cooperative Program and will encourage its growth.”

I'll cover the "Cooperative Program" later yet unfortunately there a small but very significant part of the CP that goes way beyond "spreading the message", at least the message that I think John is considering. I do however agree an “outsider” taking the helm at the SBC likely is better than their usual annointment yet I recall from my youth that each church essentially does their own thing. From what I’ve learned of Frank Page it appears his candidacy was partially bolstered by Baptist bloggers which I thought was rather a nice touch. Grassroots growing everywhere these days it seems. It is nice to see any populists win one. If the other candidates had Karl Rove and Swift Boaters on standby it might not have worked out as well Frank.

Dr. Page is 53 with grown kids. He is the pastor of a 4300 member South Carolina megachurch named Taylors First Baptist Church located between Greenville and Spartanburg) plus he’s a Southern boy. Some six years ago Page wrote "Trouble with the Tulip: A Closer Examination of the Five Points of Calvinism" with that being the topic of the reporting of Ken Camp of Associated Baptist Press entitled “Will election of SBC president deal blow to neo-Calvinism?” Here is the Founders Ministries Blog that seems to best deal with Page’s take on the matter and damned if I’m not totally confused. Normally when I’m struggling I dig until I have at least somewhat of a handle on something yet I could give less than a rat’s rear end over this doctrinal spat. I’m sure my enlightened sisters and/or their broods can explain since they have all or at least most of the answers, or so they "know".

The WaPo’s Tim Whitmire reporting “Page Touts Conservatism As SBC President” has me less than optimistic on the significance of Dr. Page's selection for the immediate future. The following especially influences me:

Bill Leonard, dean of Wake Forest University's School of Divinity and a frequent critic of SBC leadership, is less sure that the Southern Baptists have reached a turning point. He noted that Sutton and Floyd likely split the traditional conservative vote, allowing Page to eke out his win.

"Whether it becomes a 'kinder, gentler' denomination, publicly, depends on how much the traditional leadership _ especially certain seminary presidents respond," Leonard said in an e-mail interview.

"Page's narrow election may give false hope to many," said Robert Parham of Nashville's Baptist Center for Ethics, which also opposes the SBC leadership. "Even if Page wants to pursue a reformation, he can't overturn decades of fundamentalist control and organizations stocked with fundamentalist employees."

E. J. Dionne Jr., of WaPo fame appears in The San Francisco Chronicle with his “Evangelical evolution” yet I’m rather sure he’s being a bit too quick in his optimism.

Whatever the case, the real portion of John’s post at Bamacrat is his seemingly total blessing of the "Cooperative Program". Now I’ll agree it does some good even though it is based in evangelism via the Great Commission. I’m hardly an Evangelical and rather the Universalist or skeptic or Bokononist or … Whatever I am, I take great exception to the funding of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Here’s the deal, and the real reason for the post, straight from their “What is the CP” site:

“The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is dedicated to addressing social, moral, and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families and their faith. They also provide print resources that offer scriptural responses to the moral and ethical problems of our culture”

The good news, not that “Good News”, is that the ERLC only spends 1.49% of the money the Cooperative Program took in for this last year. From $189,000,000.00 that is still a big chunk, especially given what they do with that money and the right wingers they fund. Just recently they did this. The ERLC allows a little freelancing it seems to make Richard Land fully a tool of the Republican Party. Dr. Land and his minions appear to me to be simply some crazy wing nut partisans, lots of that going around it seems these days, even here in Alabama where they hardly stand out anymore, but darned if I want to have a church I attend shilling for and supporting the Republican Party. I beg, and I don’t use “beg” lightly, to read up on the positions that the ERLC/SBC is taking on various matters and then decide on your own. Many of their concerns and the overwhelming majority of their concerns simply don’t fit my way of thinking.

Accordingly, I will not darken the door or give one thin dime to the SBC I expect, unless I’m required to by family and social obligations of course. I’m also likely to speak out against their radical positions when given the chance. If these culture warriors are helping the Big Mules control our government then how can we let them go without challenging their approaches? Is there any doubt that Land was a Bu$hCo enabler in 2004? That he has limits, perhaps motivated most when it comes to losing tax exemptions, should not reduce his arch-conservative credentials. Land went after Mickey Mouse dammit! But most of all never forget how wired in, and it goes both ways I’d offer, Bu$hCo is with Dr. Land and his SBC/Evangelical groups. PBS Frontline piece on Land/Bu$hCo is certainly revealing. Again, my “beg” applies to the above.

Returning once again to the SBC, Southern Baptist also did the following at Greensboro:

“Messengers passed a resolution opposing the manufacture and consumption of alcohol and urging the exclusion of Southern Baptists who drink from election to the convention’s boards, committees and entities. It passed approximately by a fourth-fifths majority. Like other resolutions, it is not binding on SBC churches and entities. All total, messengers passed 15 resolutions, including one that sought to balance faithful enforcement of the United States’ immigration laws with compassionate outreach to all immigrants. It passed nearly unanimously with no debate. They also adopted resolutions that: expressed displeasure with U.S. senators who recently failed to support a constitutional marriage amendment; affirmed Christian teachers in the public schools and encouraged Southern Baptists to provide a godly influence on school systems through such means as election to school boards; and condemned all human species-altering technologies, including the creation of human-animal hybrids. "
Of course my emphasis is suplied. So that is where that “human-animal” hybrids remark in the SOTU came from! I thought Dubyah had simply mangled the King's English again. I've already posted on the school issue at Captain Bama and it was far “worser” than many folks imagined. Get a brain Morans! Radicals! Wheeler’s takes, both of them, on the whole drinking thing works for me and in honor of the SBC I’m tipping my second Bourbon and Water as I polish this thing off.

Returning to the actual Southern Baptist Convention, here's an article from Jim Morrill of The Charlotte Observer covering Richard Land and the SBC loving Bu$hCo entitled "Conservative base shows no Greensboro cracks - Rice finds warm crowd, nary a sign of fading support for GOP, Bush". The White House has the full text and even a video of Bu$hCo pandering to the base. "Activist judges" and "culture of life" and "abstinence" and "faith based" groups/initiatives and ... were all covered!Dubyah didn't mention that he'd allegedly proclaimed The Constitution as "just a goddamned piece of paper" yet if he'd cleaned up his potty mouth I bet lots of the Bible Thumpers would responded favorably. The paper this bunch likes to study on is "The Bible" and of course that supplied by the Dobsonites or former John Bircher Tim LaHaye or The Moonie Times or...

I admittedly missed “Marriage Protection Sunday" and the commentary of Barrett Duke (although the prior link mistakenly calls him Duke Barrett). Again, hell will freeze over before I'll give a dime or my time to the SBC if they continue their political activity for the ReThuglican Party. I know Dr. Evans of Auburn First Baptist has rather Progressive approach even though the SBC might frown on his positions. Still, I figure he's rare in this neck of the woods. It's a scam folks where Karl Rove is just punking you/them, and therefore "us". The fundamentalist foolishness of recent years simply has gotten to the point to where I'm not going to be a part of this denomination any longer.

To each his own." and "Whatever gets you through the night." has always worked for me. I'd like the same courtesy. At least I think I'm due some willingness to engage me rationally and politely on where I'm mistaken, with the bottom line that it is 100% my decision on what I choose to think, believe, and do. Peace ... or War!


Sunday, June 18, 2006

David vs. Goliaths

I'm reading "Hostile Takeover" by David Sirota as of late. Wonderful writer and political thinker. Young talent that will likely have a very bright future. Molly Ivins described him as, "Sirota is a new-generation populist who instinctively understands that the only real questions are "Who's getting screwed" and "Who's doing the screwing?" I was pleased to note Sirota in The Anniston Star today scolding the "centrists" and consultants that seem to want the Democratic Party to be little more than Republican Lite. Peace ... or War!


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Jim Wooten - "Nothing to see here. Move along."

I posted via Captain Plaid on the AJC's resident Tool of the Right just today with a rather long rant entitled "Wooten's World - No Doubts just Dogma". I used a variant of the above universal law enforcement line and figured it surely applies to what The Tool wrote on June 2, 2006 in this Thinking Right "thoughts for the week". One could find plenty to take exception with in nearly anything The Tool shills yet I'll just point out this gem ...

The convictions of former Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling tell us as much about the ethics and morality of the corporate world as the conviction of Linda Schrenko tells us about the ethics and morality of educators. And that is precisely nothing.

Let's begin "seeing" the "nothing" Jim. I know Lovely Linda and Kenny Boy Lay are Republicans. I'll not even bother with links as I think anybody that has been in the loop knows Jim's simply choosing, and I really hate people that are purposefully ignorant don't you, to overlook what appears to be common understandings.

I understand Kenny Boy was Bu$hCo's largest individual contributor over his political career and certainly at the Pioneer level in recent efforts. Lay's bride, named Linda herself, plus Jeff Skilling and of course Kenny Boy each kicked in $100,000 for the 2000 inaugural fund plus an Enron jet flew Bush the Elder and Bar up for the show. Kenny Boy was of course right there with Dead Eye Dick in formulating the Bu$hCo energy policies that have worked out so well, although Cheney had fought access to the records with every trick in the book, finally getting a little love from his duck hunting buddy Justice Scalia.

Lovely Linda stole over a half a million from the state and feds, with a little help from her lover of course. Family values! Ms. Schrenko was state super when I first started teaching in Georgia so I know what a twit she was. Calling her an "educator" is an insult to educators you tool. Bureaucrat. Creationism advocate. Patronage provider. Darling of the Christian right. Foe of the PTA since they were too liberal. Saboteur of Roy Barnes. Such a Bu$hCo fan that she was there when he signed No Child Left Behind into law. A total joke and a testament to what conservatives keep electing.

Kenny Boy's Enron stole from California during their mostly manufactured energy crisis. At least all that worked out for Republican Ahnuld. Enron called off the White House which let California ride this one out on their own. Enron stole from their employees and other investors plus I'm sure the taxpayers have some consequences to boot. Huge blow to Houston's economy. Enron's lies buttressed by Arthur Anderson killed off that old accounting firm. Deregulation of the energy industry pushed through by Bush the Elder essentially allowed Enron to grow into the monster it became. It was a monster you know. Huge player. Free market capitalism gone wild.

Plus there's the fact that it has taken years to bring Lay and Skilling before the Bar. Allegedly the most expensive criminal trial in history yet Jeff is now stiffing his defense lawyers for the rest of the fees. There's a special place in hell for those people. "Didn't pay your lawyer? Come on in as there's no need to wait in line." Of course Satan looks out for criminal defense lawyers!

Enron/Worldcom/Tyco ... Nothing to see folks! Schrenko ... Move along! The World of Wooten is a happy place I guess. Conservatives seemingly can often dismiss anything that challenges their certainty of "Right Thinking". Jim's maybe taking yet another one for the team? He's not above defending Ann Coulter so we at least know he's a true believer. I bet Bu$hCo is going to give you a medal Jim so keep up the good work.

Finally, the idea that this Tool has the audacity to write of "ethics" and "morality" simply floors me. Jim Wooten, you've shown us that you simply don't measure up in that facet. Peace ... or War!


Bloggered Again!

Lynn Loves Stephen? I'd tried in vain to get Blogger to act right and let me drop an image with the post below on Lynn Westmoreland's Gomer Pyle Four Commandments moment. And don't you know Lynn's high school sweatheart/wife was ready to refresh his recollection on one that he couldn't recall! This image in this post will perhaps do until I can coax some love from Blogger. Free so I feel bad complaining yet I'm having more and more troubles these days getting it to act right. I'm sure George Bu$h and/or conservatism is to blame. Peace ... or War!


Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert gets to know yet another Georgia Gooper

After Stephen Colbert “Van Dyked” Phil Gingrey and even earlier had sat down with Jack Kingston to discuss his experiences as an African-American (Kingston’s a Republican so you likely think … but he lived in Africa briefly as a young child), you’d have thought somebody would have told the Georgia Republican delegation that Colbert was just pretending to be a right wing blowhard. I know he’s originally from South Carolina, and they are all good old boys even if their names sound a little French, but Colbert is on Comedy Central! I’d read that Kingston managed to score an internship for his little girl on Colbert’s show and had even sent a letter out urging other Georgia Goopers to appear on the show yet after seeing how these talks turn out WTF was Lynn Westmoreland thinking. Do these Georgia boys not get staff to do some of the heavy lifting?

Colbert’s “Better Know a District” is of course really about allowing some politicians to reveal they are total goobers. (GOP and goober > "gooper") However, Georgia has been especially kind to Colbert. While Kingston’s 1st District covers the Savannah area, Dr. Phil’s 11th District meanders from Heard County up into Cobb County. It is essentially Newt’s stomping ground so one can imagine. I think Gingrey’s main platform was I’m pro-life, like tax cuts, value welfare … as long as it is the corporate type that helps the chemical industry, know the 2nd Amendment is the most important part of our Constitution, and think terrorists really suck. However, the man is obviously intelligent and displayed charm and grace. As a bonus Gingrey apparently defends the right of homosexuals to drive. If Colbert doesn’t want to see the “highways all gay-ed up” avoiding Midtown is a good start. Westmoreland’s district is rather close to The Highlands so naturally I was appreciative of the insight I knew Colbert would provide me when he got to know The Fighting 8th.

Going back to Congressman Westmoreland’s thinking he would not wither under Colbert, it is not like the AJC didn’t warn him! And Lynn surely heard the nasty things Colbert said to Our Leader at the White House Correspondents Dinner just recently. Busy turning back the Voting Rights Act, claiming that GA has long ago gotten its act together, the Coweta Conservative apparently didn’t notice this as well. Just short of five out of the ten isn’t bad I guess for most folks yet Westmoreland had reached his office as a strong advocate of public displays of the whole Ten Commandments. Maybe Lynn was just playing politics with the Commandments as was suggested way back in 2004? He said then “We are under consistent attack from the ACLU for displaying religious documents in our courthouses" but he surely can’t blame those godless liberals for simply not knowing them, especially as a good Baptist. I’d have thought he, even if he didn’t finish college, knew at least most of them but Brother Lynn tanked on this pop test.

It’s not like he has been too busy introducing legislation to study up on them to where you can nail even a majority is it? Then again, maybe he needed some talking points like the auto industry provided him in doing their bidding? Perhaps Westmoreland and the other kewl kids in the right wing actually need The Ten displayed in the Senate and Congress so they can actually recall them? I know the only wall of separation your Georgia co-sponsor Charlie Norwood seems interested in would be the one he wants built between the US and Mexico! Maybe Lynn’s church could develop a CD or tape series for him to listen to as he goes about the peoples and/or God’s business?

Bill Simon of the Political Vine thinks the Congressman is funnier than Larry the Cable Guy and also might have a future in acting, as long as the role is as Gomer Pyle. I’m thinking if “the base” ever sees this performance he might need something to fall back on. Peace … or War!


Friday, June 16, 2006

Southern Baptists ... A "moderate" resolution?

Tim Whitmire of the AP turns up in The Seattle Times with "Baptist leaders reject school-exit plan" reporting

The proposal, offered by Roger Moran of Troy, Mo., and Texas author Bruce Shortt, came as many of the nation's 16.2 million Southern Baptists are concerned about how classrooms are handling topics such as homosexuality and intelligent design.

Instead of putting the exit strategy before delegates to the Baptists' annual meeting, the denomination's resolutions committee called on members to "engage the culture of our public-school systems" by exerting "godly influence," including standing for election to local school boards.

Those ideas were part of a more moderate resolution overwhelmingly approved Wednesday at the final session of the meeting. Delegates also approved a resolution urging school districts to accommodate parents and churches wishing to provide off-campus biblical instruction during the school day.

Moran called the two resolutions "one more sign we're moving in the right direction."

The public-schools issue has simmered for several years. A resolution similar to the one offered by Moran and Shortt failed to pass two years ago. Delegates at last year's annual meeting approved a resolution urging parents and churches "to exercise their rights to investigate diligently the curricula, textbooks and programs in our community schools."

The proposal from Moran and Shortt complained that curricula teaching "the homosexual lifestyle is acceptable" are being implemented in schools. It also criticized a court ruling last year that banned a Pennsylvania school system's classroom mention of intelligent design, the notion that life is so complex it must have been created by a higher intelligence.

"Get a brain" indeed. The court ruling came from a Bu$h appointee, understood to be a church going Christian, who felt enough outrage at the foolishness in Dover PA that he blasted the "godly influence" that these school board members had exerted. Read, I do hope reading can be accomplished here, the "thinking" of Mr. Shortt expressed on wing nut World Net Daily. Here is the most extreme,

... Contrary to what many Christians have been led to believe, there is no such thing as a 'neutral' education," Shortt writes. "All education is religious and conveys a worldview, and there is no more important decision that we make as parents than how we educate our children."

Continues Shortt: "Unfortunately, Christian parents allow an aggressively anti-Christian institution to form the minds of their children, and the fruit of that choice is bitter. The overwhelming majority of children from evangelical families leave the church within two years after they graduate from high school; only 9 percent of evangelical teens believe that there is any such thing as absolute moral truth; and, our children are being forcibly indoctrinated to believe that homosexual behavior is acceptable." ...

"All education is religious" and "forcibly indoctrinated"? "Good grief, there he goes again!" as was written by my true believer sister just recently. Returning to Mr. Moran, according to one article I ran across, has home schooled his almost ten kids. He was at least fruitful and multiplied is seems. That these wing nuts are "messengers" speaks loudly I'd argue for this denomination.

Yet another reason to reject the radicalism and lack of reason in the Southern Baptist denomination. By the way, the above image allegedly comes from the "You Don't Speak for Me Cindy" bus tour effort of Move American Forward. Despite what "Crazy As A Run Over Dog" Ann Coulter has suggested, in as tasteless and outrageous a manner as possible, while marketing her "Godless : The Church of Liberalism", approved by America's Best Christian Betty Bowers, it appears that the Reich Wing is perfectly willing to confront ideas they disagree with such as those expressed by Cindy Sheehan.

The guy holding the "Get a Brain Morans" sign was also holding a "Go USA" sign. Go where is uncertain yet I do fear we are heading in the direction of the Morans. Peace ... or War!


Missouri Plan for Selecting Appeals Court Judges

A Birmingham News op-ed gives us "Ju$tice for $ale? - Alabamians ought to be deeply concerned about the amount of money being spent to elect supposedly impartial Supreme Court justices" and while I think just a portion of the problem I agree with the change. Now that the Business Community and a few Bible Thumpers have their folks rather in place I'd not hold my breath. The thing is that we've known we are getting some second rate candidates for a long time and we also know that the average Alabama citizen simply doesn't know enough to choose politicians much less jurists. The Alabama Bar has long urged use of the Missouri Plan for selecting judges. Damn fine idea. Peace ... or War!


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Jones School of Law gets ABA Blessings!

The Montgomery Advertiser's Mike Linn gives us the news that Jones School of Law has been granted provisional status in their long effot to become fully accredited. Although in hindsight I wish I'd have gone another direction in law schools, I can't say that our class was weak. My understanding is that our class had a higher pass rate for those first taking the Bar than the U of A and Cumberland. A few great Professors yet some others seemed to be just going through the motions or perhaps simply too busy with their caseloads to fully prepare. My biggest regret is not trying as hard as I could have. I did the reading and listened and actually learned something based on rather high Bar scores yet I know I could have worked at the deep issues a little harder.

Some professors were idealogues however that fit in just fine with some of the more extreme Faulkner crowd. Lt. Colonel John Eidsmoe was my Constitutional Law Prof. I thought some of his ideas were rather bizarre then yet now it seems he is a contributor to Council of Conservative Citizens plus a Moore-On. We were fortunate to have known each other in my timid stage. Your radical midwestern stiff ass and my current version of speaking up when I see questions that need asking would have likely bumped heads. I'd have been polite in the bumping I'd hope yet I'd bump if I thought it needed doing. I do recall one of the really sharp students expressing shock over some of your ideas. This older student, who I think blew everybody away with his Bar scores, even talked about the how and why yet I was a young pup so perhaps not listening as well back then. I'd have had serious discomfort even taking a class under you if this CCC appearance is something you think is reasonable.

The worst thing is that Eidsmoe's degrees and former teaching and military service gives legitimacy to many far right organizations that are simply far beyond the mainstream. I wonder if your family would tell you to "Just stop it!" (as a family member did with me for my limited activism in confronting what struck me as injustice and/or ignorance) or are they proud of you. With your "thinking" and "service" maybe we can arrange a trade, as my crowd would likely love having you in the fold!

Mr. Eidsmoe, your far right groups and their/your thinking continues to gain influence it seems. I fear that Lefty folks like me are often seen as "bizzaro", borrowing the recent description of my thinking on the discrimination amendment by an especially quick to judge sister. I know she'll be praying for me and perhaps even turning to such authorities as James Dobson to confirm how right she is and how wrong I am. And I bet sooner or later I'll likely be getting even more Evangelical-themed books that tells me how I'm lost or flawed or ... Peace ... or War!

Update - Late afternoon of June 16th, 2006 - A comment pointed out that John Eidsmoe has been exited from Jones some time back so I amended the post slightly. I'm pleased that he's no longer associated with Jones. I'm especially pleased the ABA is now associated with Jones.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Outlander #2 - AJC's Jim Wooten Defends Coulter

Jim Wooten of The Atlanta Journal Constitution has been a reliable source of ridicule for Captain Bama. Following in Alabama’s Attorney General Troy King’s prancing footsteps, Jim Wooten, still “The Tool”, is “Outlander of the Day” for June 12, 2006. Congrats Jim! Also, the AJC’s new opinion layout is a rather cool, especially for this rag.

Jim Wooten I think first merited a post for his position on school funding with my title as “Conservative Tool Jim Wooten on School Funding” and just the next day posted as “I rest my case on Jim Wooten's shilling!”. I’ve hit him on a long series of at least partial thinking just a few days later with “Jim Wooten's Wrong Thinking”. I then got after him for continuing to rely on The Manhattan Institute’s Jay Greene to shill ideas on public education, a particularly favorite topic of The Tool, with “Jim Wooten Needs New Source & Topic!” yet was soon posting “Jim Wooten is Right and Still Wrong” with another effort to set poor Jim on the straight and narrow with “Educating the Haves & Have Nots Plus the Tools”. “Writing” of Maureen Downey of The AJC led me to then post “Does Jim Wooten have a "toolette" at the AJC?” where Ms. Downey’s using the “noted” Jay Greene in shilling the GOP line.

Yet today I ran across Jim Wooten, via a “Hang ‘er high, that darn Ann Coulter “ “Thinking Right” column entry, defending “Crazy as a Run Over Dog” Ann Coulter’s recent attacks on 9-11 widows. She’s so off the chart on this one that skralyx at Daily Kos (tip of the tam to Digby!) points out that even RedStaters have had enough of Angry Ann. But not The Tool! His “thinking” is such that I guess Ann’s logic works for The Tool. Please read some of his/her fans in the comments section below. Scary stuff! Ann’s “meticulous research” was one of my favorites. She not only fudges footnotes yet also uses them for more flawed flaming.

Jim, you’re The Outlander of the Day, and it has been long, long overdue. I’ve challenged your sources and logic yet no responses so far. Here’s hoping that eventually your talent for synchronized shilling will be revealed for what it is. Jim, you are simply a huge Tool! So it is Peace ... or War!


Monday, June 12, 2006

Attorney General Troy King - Outlander of the Day!

Prince Troy, here's an image of William Augustus (Hanover), second surviving son of George II, later titled "Duke of Cumberland", and labeled by many Jacobites as "The Butcher", that I've been inspired to study up on just recently. Remarkably, your rise to power via Sir William's favor, plus that of F/Bob, resembles that of this "General". I'm starting an "Outlander of the Day" award to recognize such remarkable character. And guess who is my first recipient?

While Mobile’s John Tyson Jr. is running a “law and order” campaign that partially bothers this lefty, geared as a criminal defense lawyer even if not presently in the fray. I understand that DA Tyson has persecuted for years and I'm sure that influences his ideas. Also, his handlers likely know most Alabama voters respond to this type of approach. However, I also believe Alabama values loathe arrogance from those in power!

Alabama's current Attorney General Troy King is rightly ridiculed by The Decatur Daily for his response to the American Bar Association (ABA) calling for a moratorium on Alabama using the death penalty until at least some changes occur. Now while I’d like to see the death penalty taken off the table, or at least until serious questions can be resolved, although I’m sure my many Christian family members support killing by the state, which also gets to decide how a woman handles her own body according to their views. Contrast how these two candidates respond to the ABA’s recommendation, actually prepared by a team of Alabama lawyers. King shills the “liberal” and “activist” stuff nearly as well as he did back in Tuscaloosa. Let us not forget that King even had a cow when Bill Clark, a former President of the Alabama Bar Association, had the audacity to suggest mere discourse on the issue some years back!

Somebody I respect says King does a decent job on some matters yet is prone to prance around at times in demonstrating his bona fides. Prance on King! Stuff like this might get you sent home come this fall. I think even here in this Red State the “liberal” and “activist’ stuff is wearing a touch thin. With the efforts of some lefty types, or mere reasonable moderates or even thinking conservatives, to call you and your ilk on your tactics I think it will wear thinner still. However, at least you win “Outlander of the Day!” for June 12, 2006. Peace … or War!


Friday, June 09, 2006

Michael Ciamarra of The Alabama Policy Institute Shills (and Steals!) on Lawsuit Abuse

A Michael Ciamarra, the/a Vice President of The Alabama Policy Institute, drops “America's lead in lawsuits unchallenged” in my local weekly, The Randolph Leader. To have the API shilling their foolishness here, and in likely in many other papers (He made The Montgomery Advertiser) across Alabama, really frustrates me. The API and their Big Mule backers are hardly above lying yet they excel at twisting and spinning to support their shilling.

However, the most remarkable thing is that this tool of the right lifted the majority of this mess straight from Newt Gingrich. Have you ever heard of plagiarism/attribution … or Google? I expect my high school kids were smart enough to know better than straight stealing! Apparently the Right’s Mighty Wurlitzer troops need some training. From Box Turtle Ben Domenech to the replacement for Claude “The Fraud” Allen, namely Karl Zinsmeister of The American Enterprise Institute, you guys are getting sloppy! His other “source” in the US Chamber of Commerce and we know, or at least should know (I’m sorry I’m implying that I’m smarter than my sisters and/or their broods and/or others in my little village again!), how unbiased they are, especially in the 2004 election. They apparently even started this “Conservative Message Machine” way back in the early 1970s.

Stepping back in time a bit myself, likely in the early 1970s as well, I’m nearly certain that I heard my mother, hardly a political person from what I recall, once say, “Liars figure and figures lie.” Maybe she’d be pleased that I’ve referenced what I learned from her. Possibly my Dad might appreciate the political ideals I value and try to practice. I don’t expect either would be thrilled with all that I think and do and yet in carrying out my life I have usually always considered my roots and current branches. Caring for these lines and their legacies ought to be known is a given. Yet as always, I am prepared to stand alone in doing what I think is best for my world. How I attempt to show my patriotism and love for my neighbors might not be what others would choose to do, yet I benefit from the process. No profit in it, and perhaps even some negative consequences that I’ll handle as an individual surely, yet it does seem at least a little noble. Knowing that my son will be living in the world to come is certain as well. Probably quixotic but this seems like a relatively harmless way to try to move attitudes and engage with important issues. But of course the family way to judge me is that I’m just “showing off” or engaging in a pathetic attempt to prove “I am somebody!”, to which I’ll just add my own “Good grief!”

I’ve previously posted on Gary Palmer and his API. First I tackled his use of Paleos to keep the butter on the Big Mules bread. Then I bounced another’s work against Gary Palmer complaining on lack of educational progress despite the fact that his team has been winning on the “policy” making the argument that conservatism might have responsibilities for both of their concerns.

For the bottom line folks, this API is part of a “deep lobbying” tactic the Big Mules use to influence policy through pseudo “think tanks” and semi legitimate research and policy shops. Many are blessed as 501(c)(3) non-profits so the business community and the winners get to deduct their donations and then keep more of the money these organizations help them “earn” and “retain” and … Nice investment and certainly more profitable for the worker bees doing “service” at these entities than the many non-profits of the Progressive community. ALEC Watch is a good place to start in understanding how big business is not just involved at the national level.

I had wanted to respond to API President Gary Palmer for his “policy” on taxation that was contrary to University of Alabama Law Professor Susan Pace Hamill’s consistent application of her understanding of Christianity and poverty. This professor (with theological and legal papers hanging on her wall) has written and spoken often over these last few years on Alabama’s regressive tax structures. Recently she ventured into the pandering abortion legislation being considered in this session up on Goat Hill. Gary Palmer’s response was “Class Envy” that managed to get in plugs for school vouchers and family values and faith based initiatives and displaying the ten commandments and school prayer and ”liberal” bashing and .... Jim Wooten might have another member on the Olympic Synchronized Shilling Team if that sport ever comes to pass. Our Professor has long offered her own ideas on how Alabama’s poverty could be remedied from a position of I’d hope influence and legitimacy.
Gary Palmer’s authority is Marvin Olasky. Good work when you can get it Doc! Infiltrating academia is certainly one of the toughest parts of this machine’s work but thank goodness for starving schools so that money talks and bullshit walks... as in the door so they can then work under even more legitimacy. Getting them on the payroll of the state is brilliant, as is the deductibility and good press for funding certain chairs and department. Exhibit A might be Jay Greene. Even Douglas Feith, described by Bu$hCo loyalist General Tommy Franks (ret.) as “the stupidest f’ing guy on the planet”, has landed a plum job at Georgetown. Jesus General obtained his syllabus. Neo-Con Omarta? They’ll rehabilitate him at Georgetown at worst plus he can’t talk too much in the ivory tower can he?

As for another of Mr. Palmer’s authorities, the late William Temple was actually very much an advocate of the social welfare system that England has in place now. Maybe you need to think a little more on what Dr. Temple was saying rather than explaining it for us? Reading a goodly portion of his work seems like a good start. Lots of this partial reading going around these days!

Returning to the “lawsuit abuse” fantasy the business community rolls out every do often, I’ll give you portions of what Mr. Ciamarri wrote, with my comments appearing parenthetically and in bold (Which I’m sure is because I’m being “flamboyant”!) the following:

In 2004, 2.2 percent of America's gross domestic product was made up of lawsuit costs. That's $260 billion dollars in lawsuits - $860 for every man, woman, and child in the country. (“Lawsuit costs?” Doesn’t that count judgments awarded in court, by arbitration, by settlement, by … And wouldn’t that also include business claims made by companies and entrepreneurs? What about collections? My understanding, and I’ve had trouble finding authority for my belief, is that a large portion of the lawsuits filed in this nation are over business disputes. Corporations can pay their top level folks astronomical salaries and benefits compared to the worker bees yet the “trial lawyers” are surely the bad guys. Also, insurance companies failing to pay legitimate claims would be included wouldn’t they? And then there are the medical malpractice cases, just those that actually are discovered of course? Almost 200,000 Americans die while still actually in the hospital every year from medical errors according to this study. You’d include greedy pharmaceutical companies that gamed the research stats to put an unsafe product on the market wouldn’t you? I also wonder is whether the Bu$hCo White House gave Newt the figures you passed off as your own ideas? I also really enjoyed Stephanie Mencimer work in Washington Monthly entitled “False Alarm : How the media helps the insurance industry and the GOP promote the myth of America's "lawsuit crisis.")

It gets worse. On average, lawsuit costs have grown two to three percent faster than the American economy since 1950. From 2001 to 2004, the increase in lawsuit costs was more than double the rate of America's economic growth. That means more and more of our productivity is eaten up by lawsuits every year. (Part of that could be due to the fine job Bu$hCo has done with the economy yet your figures are apparently lacking in substance. Again, what are “lawsuit costs”? Is this the costs of filing, paying for depositions, travel, attorney fees, etc.? Indeed, post war America did see some jumps in “lawsuit costs” as folks were back to making a decent living and buying often unsafe cars and living large and … yet these last few years have seen a drop in filings. Notice the attribution to the following work by Ms. Mencimer linked to above (and again here) the fact that I’m placing her thoughts in quotes as follows: “According to the National Center for State Courts, a research group funded by state courts, personal injury and other tort filings, when controlled for population growth, have declined nationally by 8 percent since 1975, and have been falling steadily in real numbers since 1996. The numbers are even more dramatic in places with rapid population growth, like Texas, where the rate of tort filings fell 37 percent between 1990 and 2000. Even in liberal California, the rate of filings has plummeted 45 percent over the past decade.”)

America's lawsuit culture drives businesses overseas, scares away investment in America, and puts doctors out of business. We need a change of direction that protects the individual but doesn't cripple America's economy. (“Lawsuit culture” is to blame? I thought businesses outsourced for cheap labor and lack of regulation. Investment in American seems OK in that China and some others foreign nations are holding much of our increasing debt due to the tax cut policies of Bu$hCo. “(P)uts doctors out of business.” is part of the message and not reality as we know insurance companies don’t have anything to do with the premiums continuing to rise despite “reforms”. At least the pharmaceutical companies are being served with the drafting of the Medicare bill. As an aside perhaps, yet related to how the Big Mules try to deliver their messages, I can recall a tool from the AVALA being invited to a local civic club by one of the local car dealers several years ago. He spoke of employers being terrified of workers suing them if they get hurt and then collecting punitive damages from juries. I asked him to repeat as I thought I’d misunderstood but got the same lies. I then asked him why he was telling this lie when he surely knew workers compensation laws applied and that punitives much less jury trials were not part of the process. Realizing he was caught I guess, the man launched into an attack on me as a apparently a trial lawyer. I again asked how that changed the lies he’d just told. I could never get him to explain his lies. But then again I was probably just embarrassing my family, even though many of them butter their bread in the legal system. If not that I was just “showing off”. I couldn’t get an answer from the car dealer that brought him in to speak either. Imagine! However, since this car dealer regularly darkens the door to First Baptist Church in Roanoke often we all know who the superior human being is don’t we?)

Here's one idea. Personal injury lawyers should be held responsible for filing junk lawsuits. If a judge finds a case to be frivolous, the lawyer that filed the case should be forced to pay for court costs. This will help focus our courts on only the most worthy cases and free the American economy from the constant threat of lawsuits. (There’s Rule 11 in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure but certainly The Code of Alabama, 1975, as amended, Section 12-19-270, et seq, “The Alabama Litigation Act” applies. This is essentially what you want isn’t it? Why suggest this is not already part of the law? And “court costs” are hardly all that is involved in that attorney fees, costs, and expenses are all recoverable. Plus there are ethical standard in play. And why are “personal injury lawyers” singled out? I’m sorry, as I forgot that Newt singled them out and that you just copied and pasted. Again, I’m thinking the American economy needs freeing from plenty more than frivolous lawsuits!)

According to a 2006 U.S. Chamber of Commerce study, Alabama ranks 47th in the nation when it comes to tort reliability and a predictable civil justice system. It's time to create a 21st century system of civil justice that provides faster solutions and reduces the negative effects on our economy and still guarantees every American the right to justice. (You mean arbitration don’t you, even though I’ll admit your link seems to give the good, bad, and ugly on that process? That Alabama appellate courts are truly conservative isn’t enough? Bu$h 41 and 43 plus Reagan appointees on the Federal level must not satisfy either? Lifetime appointments to the federal courts yet you are worried about what exactly? Give me the proposal please and I’ll consider. Maybe you can lift from another darling of the conservative movement when they come up with something that actually works better?)

I’m sure Ciamarri’s family is so proud their boy made the papers, especially since he's part of the values that really count. Maybe he'll even work in a little scripture next time. Legitimate, and likely well-paid, job helping create policy to serve his world and all makes it surely seem swell I bet. Yet with a little digging and thinking I’ve perhaps shown them, and most importantly neutral readers, that there is a good bit more going on here. Plagiarism is just the tip of this iceberg! Carefully considering, which surely involves reading and thinking, seems like a prerequisite to me for understanding much of anything. In our “talking points” world perhaps this is even more so. Faith in what you are told seems to work for some yet it is a dangerous place I’ll argue. To have Ciamarri’s (or Newt’s?) arguments accepted without challenge seems plenty dangerous.

I’ll continue to close with something that I mean, namely “Peace … or War!”

UPDATE - June 12, 2006 - Perhaps does encourage "collaboration" by taking suggested language and shilling it by "activists". Amazing message machine so a tip of the tam to merely how well the Right does this work. Still, I'd think that Mr. Ciamarri, a VP with API, ought to be able to develop his own langauge. I'll give him that if he had permission, implied or implicit, to use then it "aint stealing". I will not yet change the title of my post but perhaps might in the future if I've goofed up. I've actually emailed and asked about this issue. I have not been contacted by Mr. Ciamarri or API yet want to get this right. Either as Newt's ideas or that of the API, I'd offer the opinion is wrong or at least mostly wrong. A pox on both your houses!

As an aside, Newt is often so wrong when he is wrong that it is hard for me to work with his good ideas. Plus, he often comes across as arrogant and hypocritical and ... I'd trade him for any of the Bu$hCo crowd and given the field in 2008 he is as good as any Republican so far that is flirting with running. At least Newt has a brain and after eight years of Bu$hCo we need as much of that as we can get! However, we surely can't afford much more conservatism even if handled rationally as the "philosophy" is wrongly reasoned and dreadfully implemented in today's form.

The bottom line is I don't want to assign "poor form" if in fact borrowing these ideas was allowed and certainly not if encouraged. Peace ... or War!


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Kim S. Benefield Over Gerald "Dino" Dial & $$$!

Per the figures that are nearly complete, with the one precinct being provisional ballots in Randolph County according to my understanding with likely few votes at issue, has Kim at 9302 (53.2%) and Dino at 8184 (46.8). Dino was the only one of the Three Amigos sent home of the Republican Lite crowd that was allegedly targeted by Lowell Barron. I'm naturally thrilled. I knew Dino was doing some really low stuff lately so I figured he knew he was on the ropes. Even with the polling plus what I was hearing/thinking it is nice to nail this campaign down. And to have Kim rewarded for her hard work and decency and character and ... is even better! Kudos to her and all that helped.

I'm guessing this race cost over a million, a staggering amount indeed, with the majority spent by Dino of course. There is likely some ad buys and indirect efforts by various groups outside the campaign that I've not counted. With about 17,500 votes in all, one it talking about $57.00 per voter in spending. That is ridiculous. And the thing is that I'm thinking $75.00 per vote is likely more accurate. I'm wondering if this is a record and will attempt to scratch around and find out. For such a rural district, it seems like a very expensive campaign. Kim's funding was solid yet Dino's Big Mule backers had to dip into their deep pockets to try to keep him. Now it will be interesting to see how the Big Mules take to Jim Ingram. They'll see opportunity in getting an openly Republican Senator in this slot even though Dino did their bidding as well as perhaps they could have wanted. Again, having to spend this much shows a need for some reforms. More on that later! Peace ... or War!


Monday, June 05, 2006

Gerald "Dino" Dial - To Know Me Is To Loathe Me?

Huge tip of the tam to Danny at Doc's Political Parlor for this last salvo in their top ten politcal questions, with #1 being "Who will control the Senate?". I've just lifted his text, I hope without this being too poor form, as I'm very interested in the 13th Senate District with my friend Kim Benefield going against the Clay Combover, Gerald "Dino" Dial. Here's what Danny gave us, with my emphasis supplied:

District 13 (Chambers, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Lee, Randolph):Sen. Gerald Dial's race for his ninth term in the legislature was supposed to be an easy win for the incumbent. But, Randolph Circuit Clerk Kim Benefield's full coffers have allowed her to buy a lot of expensive Birmingham TV time to show her ads in Lineville. Former state Democratic Party Chair Phillip Kinney now does opposition research for Matrix. Kinney told one of the senators in the Preuitt group that they could not find anything negative on Benefield and that they were going to have to make something up. That is why you get the ad that tries to connect Benefield with Barron who "used $5,000 of your money to pay a shoeshine man to shine shoes for senators." I must admit that if that is the worst thing you can say about Benefield, you are really stretching.

Especially since news reports said that it was Sen. Bobby Denton (D - Muscle Shoals) who paid $5,000 to the shoeshine man (though Barron approved the payment from money allotted to Denton).

The polling has had Benefield a few points ahead most of the race, and the power of incumbency was expected to help Dial make that up, but the last I heard that has still not happened. It's a long district with Dial's hometown Lineville in the middle.

One source told me that the farther you get from Lineville, the better Dial polls. The closer you get to Lineville, the worse he polls. His point, I believe, was that the less well-known he was, the better he polled because of his incumbency. The more well-known he was, the better Benefield polled.

Dial was originally expected to win in a walk, but now he's running hard. He may well lose this one.

I'm optimistic! KIm has worked hard, as she has all her life. When you talk with her you can sense her decency and smarts, two things that are hardly associated with Dino. Maybe folks that know Gerald will turn out strongly, as the more you know about Dino the less you like him. Thanks again Danny! Peace ... or War!


Gerald "Dino" Dial Winds up His Campaign in Style

Tacky style. Liar style. Racist style. Before I get off on today's Distractions and Deceptions of Dino Dial, I'll send you to The Cleburne News, reporting done by Wayne Rupple, where Larry Lee sets the record straight on Dino's lies and whining. Damned if this brave National Guard leader isn't bad to whine! Read the article to get Dino's side (or sides more accurately) to the matter yet here's what I'll send you to, with my emphasis supplied:

Lee responded by saying that he is a resident of Lee County, some of which is in District 13.

"In 1994 I ran for the state senate in District 31 (Covington, Coffee, Dale, Houston counties). was supported by the business community, especially BCA, led the primary and narrowly lost in the the Democrat primary."

He said he feels Dial's comments about his seeing a “fat state salary” is "way, way off-base and I have no clue what’s he talking about. I find it very interesting that Senator Dial is attacking me when I’m not a candidate for office."

Of the bill itself, Lee asks, "Why then was this bill supported by the Speaker of the House? Why did it pass the House with 98 'yes' votes and no 'nay' votes? Why did it come out of Senate committee with no 'nay" votes? Why did it have a total of 17 Senate co-sponsors? Why was it supported by such groups as Alabama Farmers Federation, National Federation of Independent Business, County Commission Association, VOICES for Alabama Children, Economic Development Association of Alabama, etc?

Lee maintains Dial "has very little knowledge of this bill" because the board would have been made up of such a wide array of appointments from the Governor on down that there would have been little room for one group to gain control. (Captain's comment - My understanding is that Dino did not bother attending any of the meetings as did those that supported the legislation. Ignorant on purpose? Dial actually admits that he relied on what another Senator was telling him! Dino, it is your job to know the legislation.)

"I helped draft the thing," and Dial's charges "just isn't true" he said.

I also heard the radio spot where Dino's folks, in this case named as the Alabama Retail Association according to what I've been told yet actually indirectly funded by ALFA. Dino's handlers hire some dreadful talent to sing a parody of "My Darling Clementine" with Kim Benefield as the darling of "trial lawyers". Horrible ad yet since trial lawyers are often the only thing standing between many citizens and big business running roughshod over our rights I'm not so sure that is a problem for anybody that really understands Alabama's week protections for the little man. Plus, Kim has worked with lawyers all her adult life in the Randolph County Circuit Clerk's office. Just because Dino can't seem to get along with the folks he works with I guess he assumes that if Kim is well thought of then she must be up to no good. You're projecting, as in your faults and tactics Dino.

Yet the slimiest and sorriest thing I've seen since Bu$h 41's Willie Horton TV commercial or the Wallace camp's "Wake Up Alabama" in 1970 came in my mailbox. Slick mailer that apparently Jim Preuitt is alos using in his effort to keep Dinos from going extinct with Kim linked with Hank Sanders of Selma. Dino (and fellow traveler Jim) is going after Sanders for his support of higher taxes, gay rights, and trashing the death penalty. Sanders simply believes in a Progressive tax code (even having an estate tax via the state), favored placing GLT folks under hate crimes protections, and also wanted a moritorium on the death penalty given the many problems we continue to see. The African American community is being unfairly treated plus we have common questions of innocence and simply decency and expense and ... Dino is likely sneaky enough to like the idea of linking Sanders to Kim Benefield to tap into the neo-confederate, League of the South, backwards vote.

One more day and we'll know if Dino's days are numbered. I'll be watching the Secretary of State's race as well with hopes that Ed Packard can give the good guys a chance to hold the office in the fall. I'll vote against Amendment One of course. I've got a friend running for Probate Judge as a Republican yet I'm hoping she can win her primary, especially since her opponent is an ALFA regional director. Exciting times for a political junkie! Peace ... or War!


Sunday, June 04, 2006

More Kim Benefield for Senate District 13 Press

Jerry Rutledge of The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer gives a good description of the race and has the candidates respond to four basic questions. Kim S. served her cause well while Dino fluffs the facts. Courage in the classroom? That's not what we call it now Dino! And does the U.S. really accept your Guard status? What "the Montgomery crowd throws at you" nearly made me spew. After 32 years down there you have the audacity to use that line? Take control of wasteful spending? That's a Republican line Dino! Kim quoted Thomas Friedman and the need to be preparing kids for the jobs of the 21st century. I doubt Dino has ever read Friedman much less the New York Times where he regularly writes.

Brock Parker of WTVM in Columbus gives us some good material on Dino. If the score is still tied after you being in the game for decades maybe a new quarterback is in order? And the payday lenders aren't controlled by your legislation but rather given legal status as loan sharks. You say Kim doesn't know anything about attracting industry yet 98 of 98 folks in the House thought the Rural Center concept made sense only to see you kill it dead with your hot air. Every other state that has tried the approach believe it has merit. Research says it works. Who the hell are you kidding with this logic? And even today in the Anniston Star, locked behind a subscription wall, Kim openly talked of a state minimum wage. I guarantee the only jobs your Big Mules want our folks to have are low wage ones so they'll surely want to keep you down at Goat Hill.

Dino = Democrat In Name Only = Gerald Dial = Big Mules' Boy = ...

Send a real Alabama Democrat to Montgomery to represent the 13th. Gerald "Dino" Dial has had two plus decades up on Goat Hill. We've had enough and probably too much of his "service". Kim Benefield will represent the interests of the branchheads instead of taking care of the Big Mules. Peace ... or War!


Ed Packard for Alabama Secretary of State!

Nancy Worley is of course facing opposition in the primary from one of her own employees, not to mention well-funded and clearly connected Beth Chapman seeking the office this fall. For an incumbent to have such universal scorn is odd yet both The Montgomery Advertiser and The Birmingham News are endorsing Ed Packard for June 6th. There are reasons that seem to be clear yet here's enough for me. It is going to be tough enough to hold on to this office, a critical one in that we know the GOP has a long history (Katherine Harris in Florida and Kenneth Blackwell in Ohio in recent national elections for instance) of expecting partisan politics from their Secretaries of State, so Ed Packard seems to be our last best hope given all the scandals and concerns with Ms. Worley. All things being equal, although I hate to rely on this sexism still likely present here in Alabama, it might help to have a man running for the office. Fighting off the GOP means taking advantages of any little edge. Peace ... or War!


Friday, June 02, 2006

A mere cross post on Gerald "Dino" Dial!

I posted "Gerald "Dino" Dial even spends like a Republican!" on Tin Shop Tartan yesterday and wanted to share to perhaps a larger audience (all four of you!) that stop by. Peace ... or War!


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wilmington NC in 1898 - America's Only Coup!

Captain Bama ventures far from the Highlands to Eastern North Carolina this morning. The image to the left is from a book I read with Dr. David Carter in his top drawer New South seminar several years back when spending energy and money on The Plains. Good book, as are most UNC efforts. Buy it a Powells or ...

The WaPo provides us "1898 Race Clash Ruled a Coup : Panel Asks N.C. To Consider Reparations" by the AP's Mike Baker which references Professor Gilmore's work. I knew enough about the Wilmington "Riots" to know that plenty of historians accepted this event was not completely, or perhaps even partially, spontaneous. Here's where this relates to Alabama:

Wilmington likely became a "catalyst" for the violent white-supremacist movement around the country, with other states taking note, lead researcher Lerae Umfleet said.

Later violence -- in Atlanta in 1906; Tulsa, Okla., in 1921; and Rosewood, Fla., in 1923 -- mimicked that in Wilmington, and some white leaders called on the North Carolina violence as an example to incite fear in blacks.

"Jim Crow had passed in a few other states," Umfleet said. "But the whole white-supremacy campaign in North Carolina was watched around the country. People built on what happened in Wilmington."

Glenda Gilmore, a Yale University professor who wrote about that turn-of-the-century strife in her 1996 book, "Gender and Jim Crow," said North Carolinians must understand their true heritage.

"The facts have been there for all to see -- it's the interpretation that's been a point of contention," Gilmore said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "Even the most well-intentioned white people think there was a sort of riot, when indeed it had been a racial massacre."

Before the violence, which led to a Democratic takeover from Republicans and Populists, black men in North Carolina had been able to vote for about three decades. But Democrats quickly passed voter literacy tests and a grandfather clause that disenfranchised black voters until the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

"The growth of Wilmington was stunted as a result of what happened in 1898," Joyner said. "Wilmington has never recovered economically, socially or politically."

Reuben Kolb? Anybody know what "fusion party" references? Eufaula in about 1900? The 1901 Constitution?

Here's the deal! The Big Mules (the old Planter Class and New South industrialists for the most part) knew they were done if poor whites and blacks figured out they could work together for change. Before resorting to violence you divide via "white supremacy". Intimidation can be direct or economics based. An example might be, "Sam, I'm not so sure I want to let you crop this land with what I've been hearing." Merchants and bankers not extending credit to the poor whites if they got out of line is yet another example. Just in case that sort of effort failed, the 1901 Constitution concentrated power up on Goat Hill to keep the few local abberations limited in what they could accomplish.

Although Alabama Citizens for Contitutional Reform had at one time some more easily obtained historical material (which I'd have used to provide links to my questions above) they still have much to offer on why we need a fresh start. "Coup" might be too strong yet this dreadful document comes mightly close. A hundred years is long enough! Peace ... or War!