Highway 431 Blog

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Big Dog In Huntsville ::

From Thom in comments:


President Bill Clinton will speak at a fundraiser for Hillary Rodham Clinton in Huntsville.

The event will be Saturday morning, February 2, at the home of a local attorney Tommy Siniard.

The cost is $1,000 entry or $2,300 to be a "VIP Host," which includes a picture with the former President.

I have the same problem with Clinton's visit as I did with Obama's last year. The movers and shakers get some access for their money and there is little exposure left over for those without the price of admission.

I realize and appreciate the importance of money needed for campaign financing, no matter how obscene, but Huntsville is home to at least 3 major universities and the youth vote will be very important in this election and this segment of the voting population needs to be energized by each of the candidates!

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions ::

Still an embarrassment to the state of Alabama as well as to humanity!

I was flipping through the channels this afternoon and stopped at C-Span with Kit Bond (Rethug-Missouri) speaking for a FISA bill with immunity for the telecoms which would also presumably give the Bush crime regime immunity. After spouting his drivel for a couple of minutes the camera panned over to "Beau" Sessions who was, as I near as I could tell, playing the straight man to Bonds comedic character and was feeding him talking points. A couple of my co-workers started watching with me with the resulting laughter at Sessions' inanity causing us to double-up.

I got the impression that there were few, if any, senators in the chamber and their performance was primarily for the C-Span cameras, but I wish that all of the citizens of Alabama could see "Beau" Sessions for the buffoon that he is!

Please, someone kick some life into Vivian Davis' campaign!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Internet Woes ::

I don't know if my ISP is just incredibly slow tonight or if a lot of the sites I visit are inundated with traffic, but I'm have an very difficult time getting to what should be sites experienced in high traffic!

Happenings In North Alabama ::

I thought that I was pretty good about following what was coming up here in north Alabama, but I've decided I'm continually behind in knowing what is happening in a lot of areas. John Edwards had originally scheduled a visit to Huntsville Wednesday, but the news is that this visit has been canceled and he will be going to New Orleans. The latest from al.com is that John Edwards will be at the Huntsville Airport Thursday morning for an appearance:

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards will fly into Huntsville Thursday morning for an airport press conference.

The event is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Huntsville airport. The Edwards campaign originally had scheduled the press conference for today but canceled it in favor of a campaign trip to New Orleans.

Edwards will be back in Alabama Saturday for an afternoon appearance in Birmingham. A campaign spokeswoman said the time and place of that appearance has not yet been decided.

The campaign of GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain also announced today that he will be in Birmingham Saturday afternoon for a rally at a downtown hotel.

Alabama voters go to the polls Feb. 5th to cast ballots in the state's presidential primary, one of 22 primaries and caucuses being held on that day.

And McCain will be in Birmingham Saturday afternoon. I'm glad to see that candidates are at least making some sort of appearance in Alabama! I'm hoping that I will be able to take a couple of hours off Thursday morning to at least make an appearance and show my support for John Edwards.

Dr. Doug Phillips is also making appearance on Monte Sano Mountain this evening. I didn't find out about this until about 4pm and was unable to rearrange my schedule althought I am a fan of Discovering Alabama on Alabam Public Television! Phillips' show is a wonderful resource for educating citizens of Alabama on the wonderful natural surroundings we have here in Alabama.

I follow the local media pretty closely, but I seem to miss a lot more than I should and I don't know how to remedy this. I have yet to decide if this is a failing on my part or simply a local failing of PR campaigns.

Politically I get e-mails from all of the top tier Dem candidates, but I'm not sure that the candidates, other than Obama, are doing a good job of publicizing their appearances.

I will continue to urge the Democratic candidates to become more high profile in Alabama. I really don't think that this is such a red state as it has been profiled.

And where is the Vivian Davis Figures campaign?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Obama In Birmingham ::

Here are some details:

Stand for Change Town Hall with Barack Obama in Birmingham

Bartow Arena
University of Alabama at Birmingham
617 13th Street South
Birmingham, AL

Sunday, January 27
Doors open: 12:00 p.m

Here's the link to the page where you can order tickets:


or you go to the local Huntsville office and request tickets.

Obama for America - Huntsville
2227 Drake Ave SW
Building 27
Huntsville, AL 35805
9 a.m.-9 p.m.

I wish could make it, but my schedule for the weekend will not allow the trip. Please, someone go down and post some photographs!

Obama Headquarters In Huntsville ::

I went down to the grand opening of the Obama office here in Huntsville last Tuesday evening and I must say that the energy displayed was electric and I gained a huge amount of respect for his ground organizers here in Alabama! There were probably between 55 to 75 people attending in one capacity or another and the crowd was wonderfully diverse. I'm still sticking with my support for John Edwards, but all Obama supporters should drop by his office and show their support.

The only problem is that the office is stuck back off of Drake Avenue and I had to drive around for a few minutes before finding it. The address is:

2227 Drake Ave., Building 27

Monday, January 21, 2008

Obama Headquarters In Huntsville ::

It's about time someone opened an office up here in north Alabama and thanks to Mooncat for the news.

Join the Movement

Please join Huntsville for Obama for the opening of the Huntsville Campaign Headquarters. Meet local Obama supporters and learn how you can get involved. Change can’t happen without you!

The event will be held at:
Brahan Spring Professional Village
2227 Drake Avenue
Suite #27
Huntsville, AL
on January 22, 2008 at 6:30 PM.

This timing should be good for me and I am going to try to make an appearance. I don't currently support Obama although my wife does and I think I will pick up some campaign swag for her!

When Obama made a quick appearance in Huntsville last year I was vocally critical of him for spending his time with the political and business elite while virtually ignoring the student community that is so important to Huntsville. In fact, I fired off an e-mail to the Obama campaign expressing my displeasure and, to their credit, I got a timely response addressing my specific complaint. I have to say that the Obama organization impressed me with this response and I will support him if he is the eventual nominee, but I'm leery of his positions on most issues and I keep hoping against hope that he will flesh out his policies.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Night On The WWW ::

It's been cold here in north Alabama today and I don't believe that the temps made it above freezing, at least at my house. The wind died down later in the day which was a relief because the wind chill was pretty brutal this morning. My car needed washing, but that task will have to wait for a warmer day.

I also want to note that Glynn Wilson has a re-design of The Locust Fork Journal up and I have updated my link over on the sidebar. This link is to his frontpage, but his blog is here. Be sure and make The Locust Fork Journal a regular stop on your journeys around the web!

I have been keeping most of my plants in the garage during the winter, but I surveyed the rooms today and I'm going to be bringing most inside. I don't think that the cold will really bother them, but I'm sure they'll be much more comfortable inside.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Werner Dahm Passes Away ::

There is surprisingly little news up today of the passing of one of the original members of Wernher Von Braun's team of rocket scientists who were resettled in the U.S. following the end of WWII. Werner Dahm had worked up until just a few short years ago before he was debilitated by an auto accident. Here is a photograph of Dahm taken in early 2007 by my co-worker, David Higginbotham:


I never knew Dahm, but all of those I work with who did know him remember him as a very dynamic individual!

(cross posted at The Haze Filter)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Winter Wonderland!

Or at least it looked that way as I left work this evening although the precipitation seems to have turned to rain now. That's fine with me. In my mis-spent youth when I was in the Navy I spent a year on the island of Adak in the Aleutians and I saw more than my share of snow there; not to mention -65° windchills from 125mph winds. We haven't had a good ice or snow storm here in several years so we're overdue, but I don't think this will be it!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Geese In The Sky ::

I needed to pick up some things at the Wal-Mart this morning and decided to make the trek into Guntersville to do the shopping. I hadn't been around there in a while and I thought that there might be an opportunity of 2 for a photograph (I was right). Just past Claysville I looked up and there were hundreds of geese v'ing up to fly over to the lake and it was a glorious sight! I see flights of 10 to 20 geese often, but this had to have been the biggest flock I have ever seen.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Southern Bypass

Also known as the Patriot Parkway has been granted funding for a feasibility study for creating a toll road across Redstone Arsenal by the state. From today's Huntsville Times:

MONTGOMERY - A contract for a feasibility study on building the Southern Bypass in Huntsville as a toll road was approved Thursday without comment by the joint legislative contract review committee.

A $150,000 contract between the Alabama Department of Transportation and Columbia, S.C.-based Wilbur Smith Associates will take effect once it's signed by Gov. Bob Riley.

I'm curious to see a justification for this road which seems to me to be an upside down project which I cannot see taking traffic off of the major bottleneck which is Memorial Parkway. I just can't see the need for a shortcut from I-565 to Hobbs Island Road. I would think that a loop around Huntsville would be much more efficient!

Mayor Loretta Spencer endorsed the concept of a toll road years ago when serving as chairman of the City Planning Commission. She reiterated that support Thursday in a meeting with Times editors and reporters. Noting the area's growing traffic (a Redstone general recently told her of 165 more families moving soon under the BRAC transfers) and the years it would take to build if dependent totally on highway allocations, Spencer agreed a toll road could speed construction.

"We have to be realistic. We do have a responsibility to move traffic," she said.

I will reiterate my stance that the residents of Huntsville, Madison and Athens will never use a toll road enough to justify the cost of construction regardless of the toll fee!

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Immigration Commission Meeting

was apparently a relatively rowdy affair! I wish I could have made it and not have to rely on the local news media for the play-by-play, but I'm afraid that was not possible. Here are a few snippets from today's Huntsville Times:

As police tried to quiet the taunts, the first Hispanic speaker of the night continued to argue that undocumented workers aren't criminals, that there were more worthy topics for statewide study.

But after an hour of hearing just the opposite, after hearing a series of speakers suggest everything from illegal immigrants drive down working wages to they spread leprosy, the audience loudly objected.


Rosa Toussaint Ortiz, raised in Puerto Rico but a Huntsville resident since 1985, suggested the state ought to create a panel to instead probe domestic violence, or homelessness, or why so few blacks are involved in local politics.

"Where are the African Americans?" she asked repeatedly, pointing at the largely white and middle-aged audience. At that point, a police officer had to walk into the center of the hall to stop the public hearing and calm the crowd.

Once Ortiz regained the floor, she concluded: "Fear is driving much of the conversation over immigration."

Somewhere in all of these pleasant back-and-forths the Huntsville police had to step in to restore some order, but the dialogue continued to be heated:

Phil Goodale, chapter leader of the North Alabama Minutemen, linked illegal immigration to tuberculosis and drugs in public schools. "We need to end public assistance period for any undocumented people."

Marie Gray, also of the Minutemen, earned one of many loud rounds of applause when she said: "This is not about race. It's not even about a particular group of people. It's about the law." She said some illegals may be hard workers but others may be drug smugglers or rapists.

I was more than a little taken aback to find that we have a chapter of the Minutemen somewhere around here and I'm not at all sure if this thought doesn't frighten me much more than the thought of illegal immigrants!

Two hours into the public hearing, Jose Guerrero of Athens became the second Hispanic speaker to approach the microphone. He told the audience he felt like a goldfish in a bowl of piranha.

Guerrero, who was born in the states, praised the United States and asked of the panel only one thing: "Tell the governor there are Hispanic citizens out there, too."

I have long felt that the only answer to the immigration problem is some sort of amnesty program, but if we keep losing construction jobs at the pace we have for the past few months there will be no jobs even for the undocumented ones!

Go read the Huntsville Times article for more of the flavor for the love felt amongst the two sides!

[a further update] Here is what Bud Cramer has to say over on his official House website:

"Our communities should not have to cope with the influx of those who break our laws and settle in our area illegally. Anyone who wishes to enter our country must follow our nation's immigration rules and procedures and those who choose to bypass the system and enter our country unlawfully should be sent back to their home country. I do not support an Amnesty program.

"Illegal immigration jeopardizes our national security. We cannot protect our nation if we are unable to control our borders and know who is entering and leaving our country.”

Bud's immigration position page has his less than progressive views on dealing with immigration. Go read it all!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Immigration Commission To Meet In Huntsville ::

A meeting of The Joint Interim Patriotic Immigration Commission will meet at 6pm Thursday in the Beck Room of the Huntsville Museum of Art seeking input from the local public.I'm going to try to make this meeting if my schedule will allow it! I'm really curious to hear what the north Alabama public has to say about our current immigration policy (or lack of).

I have yet to hear any rational policy other than some sort of amnesty and logical path to at least guest worker permits. Some big businesses in this area, not to mention the construction industry, rely on immigrant labor and I really hope to hear what their solution to the immigration problem may be! Here are the members of the commission:

Gov. Bob Riley’s appointees:

Jay Reed (chairman), Birmingham, vice president, Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc.

Bill Cotter, Enterprise, contractor.

Patricia DeVane, Dothan, native of Guatemala who became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Jed Downs, Dothan, construction.

Ronnie Mobley, Delmar, cattle rancher.

Ricky Walker, Holly Pond, head of Tyson Foods Inc. in Alabama.

Elois Zeanah, Tuscaloosa, Republican activist.

Lt. Gov. James Folsom’s appointees:

Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale.

Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville.

Sen. Hinton Mitchem, D-Union Grove.

Chris Issacson, executive president, Alabama Forestry Association.

Wendy Padilla Madden, Hoover, immigration attorney.

Dennis Maze, Cullman, poultry producer.

Jacquealine Myers, professor, Alabama State University.

House Speaker Seth Hammett’s appointees:

Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur.

Rep. Randy Hinshaw, D-Merdianville.

Rep. Rod Scott, D-Fairfield.

Boyd Campbell, Montgomery, general counsel, Alabama Center for Foreign Investment.

Elia Ordonez, Huntsville, Hispanic Programs Officer in Marshall Space Flight Center’s Equal Opportunity Office.

Oliver Washington III, Theodore, greenhouse operator.

Ricky Wiggins, Andalusia, turf farmer.

Just looking over the commission members there seems to be representation of industries which are most dependent on immigrant labor. This should be interesting!

Clemson Once Again Snatches Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory ::

I spent some digital time this morning e-mailing my Auburn friends congratulations and tomorrow morning I will be forced to listen to crowing from my co-worker, Merry!

I glad I don't take football very seriously!