Archive for January, 2011

He ain’t heavy, he’s my governor

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Sigh. And we’re on the national stage again.

“So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior…”  I don’t even have to finish it, do I? We all know how that one usually ends up. In the Dexter Avenue Memorial Baptist Church—how stunningly, ironically appropriate—Governor Doctor Doctor Bentley informed all us non-believers that while he may be our governor, he does not consider us his brothers or sisters.

My brothers and sisters over at Political Wire are all stirred up by this report. Predictable comments, the kind that make you cringe, about “why didn’t we just let the South go,” etc.  It hardly seems worth it to protest “Hey, I live here njoy electronic cigarettes. We’re not all like that!”

So what’s the course for Alabamians like me, who find this kind of speech quaint at best, and abhorrent when it comes from the lips of an elected public official? Do we continue to stay here, feeling like Margaret Mead documenting the behaviors and social customs of an alien tribe? Assemble our tiny crowd of liberal friends and hope that perhaps our grandchildren will see a different Alabama (although that’s not likely since our children have all fled the state)? Or do we upturn our lives to make the difficult move to some state where a man like this couldn’t make the primary even as the dark horse that Bentley was?

A Study in Contrasts

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Then-Presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy in 1968, speaking after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Possible Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, speaking after the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, which left six people dead micro electronic cigarette and fourteen injured:

Sarah Palin: “America’s Enduring Strength” from Sarah Palin on Vimeo.

You know what, Sarah? If you don’t want other people to make this all about you, try leading by example.

Damsel in Distress

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog has a post up about Glenn Beck’s ridiculous open letter to Sarah Palin, in which he urges her to get protection for her family because “[a]n attempt on you could bring the republic down.”  Really, Glenn?  A republic that has survived the assassinations of four Presidents and attempts on the lives of five others?  Only if you could use this hypothetical attempt to foment the armed revolution you so desperately crave.

I clicked on one of the links in Steve’s post, and it took me to another right-winger applauding Glenn Beck and standing up for poor, victimized Sarah.  This person seems to have lost the plot completely:

This weekend made Online Blackjack me very sad for our country that so many would willingly try and destroy a political foe by tying her to the railroad tracks of terror and violence.

That’s what made you sad about this weekend?  Not the deaths of six people and injury of fourteen more?  Nope, Sarah Palin is the real victim here.  Let’s mourn for her.  Never mind the irony of using this particular metaphor for a woman who repeatedly accused then-Presidential candidate Obama of “pal[ling] around with terrorists”.   She’s been wronged, and her groupies will walk right over the bodies of the dead to defend her.  Those who note her inflammatory rhetoric are just a bunch of Snidely Whiplashes going after poor Nell Fenwick.

Tom Delay Sentenced to 3 Years

Monday, January 10th, 2011

…per MSNBC.  I’ll add a link as soon as one pops up Online Blackjack.  Cue a Rick Perry pardon in 3…2…1…

UPDATE: Here’s a link.

Soul Searching? Maybe, Maybe Not

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Paul Krugman:

When you heard the terrible news from Arizona, were you completely surprised? Or were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?

Put me in the latter category. I’ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since the final stages of the 2008 campaign.

Yeah, me too.  There’s a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth going on from the “no one could have seen it coming” crowd, which seems to be made up primarily of people who want to make this into an unfortunate isolated incident — and anyway liberals and conservatives are equally bad, right?

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Cal Thomas Tries to Revive “Death Panel” Lie

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

I missed this scolding when it was printed in the Birmingham News, but, fortunately, local attorney Jo Alison Taylor wrote a brilliant response that caught my eye this morning.  According to Cal Thomas, we all owed Sarah Palin an apology in December because Obama had managed to sneak through the “death panels” after all.  That would be the “death panels” that PolitiFact called the political lie of the year in 2009.

Now we learn, courtesy of one of the ridiculers — The New York Times — that [Palin] was right. Under a new policy not included in the law for fear the administration’s real end-of-life game would be exposed, a rule issued by the recess-appointed Dr. Donald M. Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, calls for the government to pay doctors to advise patients on options for ending their lives. These could include directives to forgo aggressive treatment that could extend their lives.

Why, that sneaky Obama. How dare the President make a recess appointment? He should wait around for the Republicans to stall it for months on end instead. And how devious of him to allow patients the opportunity to discuss end-of-life plans with their physicians — and allow physicians to be paid for providing their professional services.

Here’s a little background:

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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) Shot

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

She was holding a “Congress on Your Corner” event outside a Tucson Safeway.  Reports are sketchy — CNN says at least twelve people were injured.  Please send good thoughts and prayers to Tucson.  It doesn’t sound good.

UPDATE:  NPR is reporting that Rep. Giffords and six pokies through shirts others are dead.  I don’t know what to say.  My sympathies to all the family members and friends who lost their loved ones today.

2nd UPDATE:  CNN had a hospital spokeswoman on who says Rep. Giffords is in surgery.  My hopes are with her.

Read It and Weep

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi has just published a scathing profile of newly minted House Speaker John Boehner.  It opens with this:

John Boehner is the ultimate Beltway hack, a man whose unmatched and self-serving skill at political survival has made him, after two decades in Washington, the hairy blue mold on the American congressional sandwich. The biographer who somewhere down the line tackles the question of Boehner’s legacy will do well to simply throw out any references to party affiliation, because the thing that has made Boehner who he is — the thing that has finally lifted him to the apex of legislative power in America — has almost nothing to do with his being a Republican.

The Truth About the Tea Party

The Democrats have plenty of creatures like jane krakowski pokies Boehner. But in the new Speaker of the House, the Republicans own the perfect archetype — the quintessential example of the kind of glad-handing, double-talking, K Street toady who has dominated the politics of both parties for decades. In sports, we talk about athletes who are the “total package,” and that term comes close to describing Boehner’s talent for perpetuating our corrupt and debt-addled status quo: He’s a five-tool insider who can lie, cheat, steal, play golf, change his mind on command and do anything else his lobbyist buddies and campaign contributors require of him to get the job done. [emphasis mine]

…and it pretty much goes downhill from there.  It’s well worth the read, but I do have one question — why didn’t Rolling Stone run this piece before the election?

Bentley to Release Names of Donors for His $1.2 Million Inaugural

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Now, before we all get excited about Bentley’s belief in “total transparency”, let’s recall that the evil corrupt Don Siegelman started this practice in 1999:

Alabama, like most states, doesn’t provide tax dollars for an inauguration and requires a new governor to raise money to pay for the events. For many years, governors acknowledged the donors in their inaugural programs, but did not disclose publicly how much they gave.

That changed in 1999 when Gov. Don Siegelman announced each contribution to his $1.4 million inauguration. Gov. Bob Riley continued the practice with his $1.3 million inauguration in 2003 and his $1 million event in 2007. Their lists looked like a who’s who of Alabama corporations. [emphasis mine]

For some reason, al.com edited the AP story to leave out that tidbit of information.  Hey, at least we know who’s buying influence.  Here’s what they get for their dollars:

Donors are being asked to contribute between $5,000 and $100,000. In return, they get tickets to a private prayer breakfast that begins the inauguration and the ball that ends it. They also get special seating at two free, public events: the parade up Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue at 9:45 a.m pokies online game. and the swearing-in ceremony at noon in front of the Capitol.

Buried at the bottom of the AP article is this little tidbit, which may disturb me more than the spectacle of a $1.2 million party:

Bentley set up his fund raising for the inauguration and transition as a charitable organization. [emphasis mine]  If there is any money left, it will be turned over to the state government and will not go to him or his campaign account, he said.

So not only do donors get access and influence, they also get a tax deduction.  Something is wrong with this picture.

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UPDATE: After asking a history expert (i.e., my boss), I discovered that inaugural funds have been set up as charitable organizations for years.  I had forgotten that former Gov. Guy Hunt was convicted of taking $200,000 in leftover inaugural funds for personal use.  According to Wikipedia, he used the money for marble showers and lawnmowers.  Still, as Del points out in comments, it doesn’t seem quite fair for the corporate fat cats to get to write off their donations when us average citizens have to pay for our own holiday parties — without a tax deduction.

Moonpie madness

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Well, it’s chocolate coating and marshmallow filling…so I suppose in a way the Moon Pie is at least as good an emblem of racial harmony as black & white piano keys. Anyway, that was the experience our family had last night at Mobile’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration.

For the past few years now, we’ve dropped a Moon Pie in Mobile to mark the transition from old year to new. It was councilman Fred Richardson’s idea. Fred is something of a character, and his idea didn’t sit well with lots of folks who felt that a Moon Pie was kinda tacky. (more…)