Highway 431 Blog

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ernest Nunley-One Fat Cowboy ::

I got this from an anonymous poster earlier today:

Ernest is fine. He was in Walker Louisiana last night and heading into Baton Rouge today. Thanks to all well wishers. I hope others post his sightings.


Here's my earlier post before Ernest's heart attack. The post should explain Ernest's quest.

Tuesday Stuff! ::

Ron Sparks today did exactly what I expected him to do and announced that he will remain in the Alabama governor's race. I thought before his announcement that this would be the correct move for him especially since he doesn't live in the 5th district. The republicans in the race would have pounded him on this alone and Sparks would have started out in a hole. Sparks has statewide name recognition and that will only improve with his campaign for governor.

That being said, I am still on the fence with who I plan to support in the governor's race.

I had a bite to eat this evening at the Bandito Burrito on South Parkway and listened to Marge Loveday play and sing for a while. If you get a chance to see her at any of the local music venues, I highly recommend that you do.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Parker Griffith Turns Tail ::

and runs from those who elected him! I can't say that I'm surprised and I really think that he has painted himself into a corner given that he will probably face to repubs in the primary. Now we have to find a credible Democrat to make the run although time is already short.

I hope that everyone who gave some bucks to Griffith asks for them back. I donated some time to his campaign so I'm out that, but at least it was an eye opening experience!

Remembering Frank Zappa ::

on his birthday:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Light Rain Falling ::

Maybe it's beginning to taper off soon. The road I live on runs alongside the Paint Rock River for a bit before deadending at a private farm, but the river is higher than I have ever seen it and one owner of a get-away trailer is lucky it didn't get any flood damage. Actually he may be lucky that it hasn't floated down the river!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Our Heisman Trophy Winner! ::

Great news! University of Alabama's Mark Ingram has won the Heisman Trophy for 2009!

Our congratulations to Mark Ingram and the entire Alabama football team!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Alabama vs. Florida ::

Today is the big day which will probably determine the national college football championship for 2009. I normally don't care at all about football, but I have been following Alabama closely this year and I'm looking forward to a great game later this afternoon.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My First Christmas Card ::

of the season came from Netflix! How bad is that?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving To All! ::

Don't have much to say today other than "Happy Thanksgiving". Here is a photograph I shot in downtown, such as it is, New Hope last year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Salute To Veterans ::

From the sixth graders in New Hope, Alabama! Click the photograph to see it full size.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Parker Griffith's Statement ::

on his no vote on the health care bill:

“I voted against the proposed health care legislation today because a public option has remained the foundation of the bill’s aim. This bill is bad for our patients, bad for our North Alabama hospitals, and bad for our nation's bottom line.

“Improving the best health care system in the world to include the millions of Americans without access to affordable care is a worthy goal, but we cannot do it by reforming a system around a scarcity. As the House and Senate come together, I am hopeful that we see a reform package that aggressively addresses the growing problem of physician shortages in America and increases access to those without insurance without adding trillions to our growing debt."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Laid Off ::

I found out a couple of days ago that my next door neighbor has been laid off. She worked at SCI for 27 years and would have been eligible for full retirement benefits in 3 more years. I can't say that I'm at all surprised given what I've heard over the years about how crappy SCI is to their employees.

Justice Served? ::

From al.com (via Yahoo News):

ALBERTVILLE, AL. - A Marshall County woman who made national news after she was arrested for having her 13-year-old daughter ride in a cardboard box atop her van began today serving five days in the City Jail here after she pleaded guilty to endangering her child.

City Judge James D. Walker sentenced Jackie Denise Knott, 37, of Albertville to 90 days, but suspended 85 days and placed her on two years probation. He also fined her $500 and ordered her to attend parenting class and drivers education school and serve 40 hours of community service.


The actual time to be served seems awfully light to me given the scope of the child endangerment involved!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

BBQ! ::

My neighbor, Mike, competes in competition BBQ events kinda as a hobby unrelated to his full time commercial plumbing business. His business has been a little slow lately and he has been setting up his smoker at Keller's Grocery just inside Marshall County and selling pulled pork, chicken, ribs, and fixins on the weekends. A couple of weeks ago I got his chicken kabobs for lunch and they were fabulous. Today I got a slab of ribs which were extremely good and which I would highly recommend.

Mike has no web site and does not advertise his BBQ business. He has a phone number, but I'm hesitant to pass it on without his OK so if you happen to be between Huntsville and Guntersville on Hwy 431 and pass by Keller Grocery, just inside the Marshall County line, stop by and try out his food. I'll guarantee that you will not be disappointed and I would further posit that a trip down just pick up some of Mike's cooking would be well worth the trip. He also has cole slaw and tater salad, but I haven't tried those yet. Maybe next weekend!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Joe Bonamassa ::

Joe will be playing in Birmingham at 8pm tonight at Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center - Jemison Concert Hall. I surely wish I could make it, but if you're in the Birmingham area and like some high energy blues and rock check it out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tony's New Mexico Book ::

Tony Triolo spent several days in New Mexico with another mutual friend this past summer and he has produced a book of his work. The book is available for preview and purchase at this link. Take a look!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Parker Griffith's Response On Net Neutrality ::

I received this e-mail today from Griffith's office:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me with your concern. I welcome any opportunity to communicate with North Alabamians when I cannot be home and speak to constituents face to face.



In your message, you expressed your opinion on the concept of Net Neutrality. Like you, I recognize the powerful role the internet plays in our society and economy. Just recently, I signed on to a letter addressing broadband policy to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Genachowski. You may be pleased to hear that in this letter I urged the FCC to reiterate, and not repudiate, its commitment to competition, private investment, and a restrained regulatory approach.



Like you, I believe in a transparent process and stand ready to work with both sides in Congress to ensure that we maintain a free and open environment for all Americans.


I have asked for a clarification on what Griffith considers to be "a restrained regulatory approach", and made the point that most of the world has much better and faster internet access at a lower cost. I eagerly await his response especially since so few of us are offered any sort of ISP competition.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Parker Griffith And "Net Neutrality" ::

I understand that Parker Griffith signed a letter to the FCC this past Friday expressing his opposition to the concept of Net Neutrality. Griffith once again chooses to represent the huge telecom and cable companies at the expense of the constituents who elected him. I just sent Griffith an e-mail expressing my outrage and asking to explain his position. You can also send an automated e-mail to Griffith expressing your support for Net Neutrality at this link.

Here's a copy of the automated e-mail that's sent to Griffith:

Oct 19, 2009

Representative Parker Griffith
Cannon House Office Building, Room 417
Independence Avenue and 1st Street, SE
Washington, DC 20515-0105

Dear Representative Griffith,

An open Internet provides the foundation for innovation, free speech
and democracy in the United States and around the world. But Washington
lobbyists are more concerned with corporate profits than with a
free-flowing Internet. They have convinced some members of Congress
that Net Neutrality is bad for business, but don't be fooled.

We, the undersigned, demand rules that protect Net Neutrality by
keeping the Internet free from blocking, censorship and discrimination.
It's vital that the FCC move forward on its rulemaking to safeguard the
open Internet. Hundreds of millions of Internet users -- people like us
-- need Net Neutrality now.

Some members of Congress have fallen prey to phone and cable company
lobbyists and are pressuring you to pull back from your rulemaking
plans. These lawmakers aren't representing the public interest, and
they don't speak for us. Please stand firm in support of Net
Neutrality. Millions of Americans -- the folks whom Congress was
elected to represent -- are with you.

Sincerely,


Friday, October 16, 2009

Beau Sessions Believes In Rape! ::

I just saw the Daily Show bit about the republicans voting against the Al Franken bill designed to protect employees of government contractors who are victims of heinous crimes. Here's the clip:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rape-Nuts
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview


Our own Jeff Sessions comes out forcefully for rapists and, once again, embarrasses humanity and the state of Alabama! I have long been under the impression that "officers of the court" are supposed to seek truth and justice. Hypocrisy, thy name is Jeff Sessions!

[This video was a pain to post--I snagged it from Crooks & Liars and it had several html errors in it which I had to fix--my brain is too tired after this workweek to be trouble shooting html!]

The Life Cycle Of A Blog Post ::





From Wired magazine. Pretty cool!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Signs Of Fall ::

I guess that one of the signs was the weather alert yesterday, but I drove down to the Lake Guntersville Dam a short while ago and noticed that the leaves are starting to change and the squirrels and chipmunks are scurrying around looking for plant kingdom nuts. I do believe that this is my favorite time of year and I'm going to try to go fishing tomorrow if the weather will co-operate!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Darwin Award In The Offing ::

From WAFF news:

ALBERTVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A woman was arrested after police discovered a teenager inside a cardboard box on the roof of a vehicle.

Jackie Denise Knott charged told police she had a good reason. Albertville police said the mother told them she was trying to carry a cardboard box, but it wouldn't fit in her minivan. She claimed her daughter was just making sure the box was secure on the van roof.

Drivers in Albertville couldn't believe what they saw Wednesday morning. A minivan was driving down U.S. Highway 431 with a large cardboard box on the roof. But it wasn't the box that raised concern - it was the 13-year-old sitting inside of it.

Many drivers called police and officers quickly pulled Knott over. Albertville police arrested her and charged her with endangering the welfare of a child. Officers said her reasoning behind her actions was astonishing.

"The box was too large to get in the van, so more or less, she needed a paperweight," said Albertville Police Officer Jamie Smith.

Officers asked Knott about the safety of the child and she responded.

"She told the officers she had the box tied to the roof with a wire close hanger," Smith said

The child was not hurt. She was turned over to a relative's custody at the scene and DHR is investigating.

"For the child's sake, more than anything, nothing turned out bad," Smith said. "Obviously a gust of wind, an 18-wheeler passing by could have thrown the box off the top of the van. It could have turned out very bad."

Knott was transferred to the Albertville jail where she posted a $500. WAFF 48 News tried contacting her, but were unsuccessful.


Once again I'm speechless!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Alabama Football ::

Both Alabama and Auburn won today and both are now 5-0 overall. Why isn't Auburn ranked any higher than they are?

Friday, October 2, 2009

5:30 am ::

And it's raining on this Friday morning already.

Parker Griffith Jumps On The Xenphobia Bandwagon ::

From the Sept. 30 issue of The Huntsville Times:

U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith, D-Huntsville, returned from a personal tour of a U.S.-Mexican border crossing saying the U.S. has "failed in our fundamental duty to secure our borders."

"Every day, individuals that are a threat to our communities and our nation attempt to enter this country illegally," Griffith said in a statement released by his Washington office. "We must do more to stop them."


I have to shake my head whenever I hear the politicians demonize the undocumented aliens residing and working here simply because they will not acknowledge that the problem could be easily solved on the employment level if there was any sort of will to do so. Employers love the cheap labor that pads their profit margins! If anyone truly wanted to end illegal immigration all that would be required would be meaningful sanctions for companies and individuals who hire the undocumented!

I also think that a very meaningful argument can be made that our undocumented residents, in general, provide a net economic benefit to our economy, but that is a topic for another day.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Birther Infomercial To Air In Huntsville ::

I've been seeing some information on this for the past day or so, but without any details until those supplied by Justin Elliott at Talking Points Memo. Here are some highlights (?) of the informercial:



Here are the cities where it's running:

*

Chattanoga, TN
*

Memphis, TN
*

Shreveport, LA
*

Springfield, MO
*

Abilene, TX
*

Lubbock, TX
*

Macon, GA
*

Savannah, GA
*

Huntsville, AL
*

Jacksonville, FL
*

Tallahasseee, FL


I caught a glace at a schedule a few minutes ago, but I can't seem to find it right now. I believe that this ran locally sometime in the early morning hours this morning, Friday. Anyone happen to catch it?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We're #37! ::



Also, North Alabama Healthcare For All has a Facebook page up. Just go befriend everyone there right now!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Snippet From The New Clinton Memoir ::

Hitting home:

* In 1997, when Senate Republicans were opposing Clinton's pick for CIA chief, Anthony Lake, Clinton told Branch he considered Senator Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican (who had once been a Democrat) and a leading Lake detractor, to be a dogged and spiteful man. Clinton added that Shelby was supported by two GOP "know-nothings" on his Senate committee, Jon Kyl of Arizona and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Inane "Best Of" Awards ::

Newspapers seem to love these things for some reason, but I've got to agree with this weeks selection of Angel's Island coffee shop as the best around. I don't buy coffee out much this time of year, but I've always found Angel's coffee, service, and ambiance to be first class. I will occasionally stop into a Starbucks, but I often find the coffee stale and the service spotty, at best.

Congratulations to Angel and wishing her the best. I'll have to stop in soon for a large cup of decaf!

The vote is now open for best landscape services in huntsville! Ho Hum!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rep. Joe Wilson (Idiot-SC)

Although I am a resident of Alabama and I have not lived in South Carolina for many years I still own a bit of property there and I have no compunction about expressing my feelings to those who purport to represent the interests of S.C. in Congress. I have e-mailed Wilson in the past with concerns and, to his credit, he responded to my concerns however unsatisfactorily, but his actions last evening were beyond the pale and I immediately sent an e-mail to my representative, Parker Griffith, urging him to both sponsor and support a motion of censure for Joe Wilson's blatant disrespect for the office of the presidency. I don't expect much from the DINO!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Why A Public Option is needed ::

at the very least! From MoveOn and R.E.M:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday Kitteh Blogging ::

Been gone for a while due to a nasty cold, but thankfully no aches, pains or fever so I guess I didn't have the pig bug.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Roger Alan Wade ::

At the KaffeKlatsch tomorrow evening. This should be a raucous show. I may try to get in early.

A Bumper Crop Of Peppers ::

Each year I plant peppers, primarily Habañeros, with the occasional Jalapeño. This year I planted a few more Jalapeño plants than Habañero, but I'm getting more of both varieties than ever. I did a bunch of jars of Habañero pepper jelly last weekend and I have enough peppers left to do quite a few more. I've been giving away Jalapeños as fast as I can pick them. I will make some more jelly this weekend since I have several people asking for some.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I Couldn't Agree More!

Medicine in this country - for the most part, is nothing more than guesswork in a white coat.

-George Carlin

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Water Tragedy Or An Exercise? ::

I was down at Ditto Landing a couple of hours ago and the rescue squad was gearing up to go out. I didn't ask what was going on and they were in no hurry so either they were preparing for an exercise or for a recovery effort. I hope it was an exercise!

I never cease to be amazed at the stupid things people do on the water. I love being on the water and I have always placed safety first. The only close call I ever had was an outboard fire from a split fuel line once, but it was not a big problem. The wife was prepared to abandon ship, but a cooler head, mine, prevailed. Cost me $2.00 to fix that problem. I have always felt that panic is the leading cause of marine deaths.

As an aside, I spent 4 years in the US Navy and never set foot on a ship!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Past 2 Weeks ::

Have not been terribly good ones. A co-worker's mother passed away and another had a heart attack although he is back at work now. Hopefully things will get better, but in the meantime here's one of my favorites, Neko Case:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bad News ::

But it's not as bad as I thought when I heard about it yesterday. A co-worker stopped me in the hallway and told me than another co-worker in a different division had had a massive heart attack the night before. Now D. is only, I would imagine, in his early 40's and this sort of thing happens to younger people, but later in the day we found out that he is doing much better and the problem, although serious, may not have been as serious as first thought so we'll be waiting 'til Monday for more news.

The doctors seem to think that the heart attack was caused by an infected tick bite which caused fluid build-up around the heart. As one who lives in what passes for "the country" these days I often get several ticks on me in a day of working in the yard so I will be even more extra careful in spraying myself down and finding the little insects!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

1st Pepper Harvest ::

My pepper plants are wildly prolific this year and I just harvested my first batch of Jalapeños along with a couple of Habañeros although I will have tons more Habañeros soon. I started growing peppers several years ago with no clear direction in mind so I scratched my head when I had a basketful of ripe Habañeros and Jalapeños trying to decide what to do with them. I eventually found a recipe for Habañero pepper jelly so I make a few dozen jars each year.



I primarily use the jelly as a glaze for cooking,it's especially good on chicken, but I generally wind up giving most away and everyone likes it (some people absolutely love it!). I just get a kick out of making it although it is time consuming and expensive to make. I guess it's kinda a once or twice a year hobby!

Parker Griffith's Plan For Health Care ::

Is that he has no plan. Here is his response to my e-mail urging his support for single-payer:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me with your concerns. As your representative, I value maintaining an open dialogue with my constituents, especially on issues as important as health care.



As you know, the question of how to improve our health care system has divided lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. As a physician who spent 30 years treating patients from across North Alabama, I have a different perspective on this issue than others in Congress. I am concerned that the current health care legislation falls short of meeting its goals of reducing costs, increasing access, and protecting a patient's right to choose. Because this piece of legislation would have such a large and lasting impact on our nation, I want to make my position on this issue clear.



Our first priority is to make sure that we do nothing to harm our current system. We have the best health care system in the world, but we must reduce costs and increase access to the system. To meet these challenges, we must encourage greater competition in the health care market. One of the best ways to do this is by allowing individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines and by requiring providers to cover pre-existing conditions. While I believe it is necessary to increase competition in the health care market, I do not favor a government-sponsored health care option. I believe that a public option would result in less consumer choice and too much government involvement in health care.



Along with increasing competition in the health care market, any effective and sustainable reform must also be carried out in a fiscally responsible manner. As a fiscally conservative member of the Blue Dog Coalition, I am committed to supporting reform that takes into account our growing deficit. Expanding access to health care is vital, but we must not do so at the expense of our children's and grandchildren's futures.



One of my main priorities during the health care debate is to encourage Congress to take a thoughtful and bipartisan approach to reform. Wide-sweeping reform cannot be passed overnight. All our options must be carefully considered before finally settling on a package that is in our nation's best interest. To encourage this type of approach, I recently introduced legislation, H. Res. 643, which requires any major reform bill to be available to the public and Members of Congress at least a week prior to the final vote on the bill.



As the debate over health care reform continues, the key for Congress and the American people is to remain focused on health care reform's primary goal: improving our current system of care while also saving families, small businesses and the government much-needed money. Again, I appreciate your input on this issue. For more information on the health care debate, I encourage you to visit my website at http://griffith.house.gov where you can view daily news updates regarding health care reform as well as read my health care principles and correspondence with other constituents on this issue.



Sincerely,

Parker Griffith
Member of Congress The office of Representative Parker Griffith of the 5th District of Alabama is not responsible for any electronic transmissions that are not sent from the dr.griffith@mail.house.gov email address.


I added a bit of emphasis to a couple of his points, but Griffith obviously has no desire for any meaningful change. The constituents of North Alabama who cannot afford health care, and there are far more than most people think, should be outraged at Griffith's stand on health care reform. He stated at his health care town hall meeting that he felt that health care was a right and I agree with that, but he certainly shows no leadership in making that right available!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Health Care Reform Poll On Parker Griffith's Web Site ::

I went to Parker Griffith's web site to express my displeasure with his stance on health care reform and came across this poll:



Time to rally the troops and turn the tide on the outcome shown here!

A Product Of The California School System ::

This child certainly got left behind!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Kitteh Blogging ::

Arbus resting on the garage windowsill.



I'm either slowly cleaning up the garage mess or, quite possibly, making it worse!

Bought A Lemon? ::

I've seen this car several times and wondered just what the backstory was. Someday maybe I'll get to talk to the owner and find out just what went on.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Love Fest 2009 ::

I spent some time last Sunday afternoon and early evening down at Huntsville's Lowe Mill enjoying the first annual Love Fest. This was a benefit to collect school supplies and money to buy school supplies for school children whose parents have a tough time buying the necessities for the coming school year.



Entertainment was provided for the entire family with some attractions for small children and poetry readings and music for the older attendees. Music was provided by the reggae band Kush which was joined for this event by local horn player Ken Watters. The event was a rousing success and we're already looking forward to next year.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bobby Bright Dodges Questions ::

Not to mention being a fashion disaster!



It's about time he learned that actions have consequences!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Good Music For A Good Cause ::

It's called "Love Fest 2009" and will happen this coming Sunday evening at Lowe Mill on Seminole Drive.



Here's a bigger image of the invitation.

The price of admission is a backpack which will be donated to a Huntsville student and will, hopefully, be filled with supplies when the new school year starts in a few weeks. If you forget to pick up a backpack then a $5 donation will get you in to hear the music of Kush, a wonderful Reggae band, and Ken Watters will be playing with them.

If you've never been to Lowe Mill or experienced The Flying Monkey Arts Center, please, come on down. Lowe Mill is one of Huntsville's greatest assets!

Sessions vs Sotomayor ::

I have been following the judiciary committee hearing very closely, sometimes on tv, but mostly via webcast from Cspan and the embarrassment that is Beau Sessions doesn't disappoint, but I'm truly amazed by the senator from my home state of South Carolina, Lindsey Graham. I kept hoping that Sotomayor would jump up and pinch the little bastard's head off!

Monday, July 13, 2009

BeauSnark! ::

The Sotomayor confirmation hearings begin today so we have ample opportunity to marvel at the oratorical skills of Jeff Sessions!

Someone fire up the TiVo!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Morning With The Cats ::

Here's Missy, the mom, hanging out by the pepper and tomato plants.





And here is her kitten, now named Arbus, lounging on the garden hose. I don't see how this could be comfortable, but cats seem to like to lounge in what I would consider the most unlikely places!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Good Friend Needs Some Good Vibes! ::

My friend Bill who lives up in Louisville had an angioplasty yesterday morning and hoped to go home this afternoon, but, alas, there seems to be a complication which we hope is minor and he may get to go home tomorrow but, more likely, Saturday. I'm not particularly religious, but I do believe in the power of good thoughts so I'm hoping that everyone will emit some good vibes for Bill!

Raging Rainstorm ::

I got stuck down on South Parkway this afternoon in a downpour so heavy and wind-driven that I had to stop for about 10 or 15 minutes 'til it abated a bit. I just didn't trust all of those cellphone and texting users all around me to keep themselves safe, much less me so I pulled over thinking that this was a good thing for my yard and for my tomatoes and for my peppers! Got home and there was nary a drop in my yard!

I was still glad to see that someone got some rain!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Over The Rhine ::

Huntsville is a pretty lousy music town. I miss the old TipTop Cafe!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Excitement Down The Street ::

I don't know what was going on but we had fire trucks, police and an ambulance going by a while ago. The ambulance left with sirens screaming so I suppose it's a medical emergency. I hope whoever was inside is OK!

Little Animals ::

I like living out in the country! I had to go to the store a short time ago and crossed the little creek right at Hwy 431. Something was scurrying across the road so I slowed down. As it turned out it was a baby Beaver carrying a freshly cut twig. He is still far too small for an entire tree!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th Of July ::

Everyone be safe with those legally purchased miniature explosive devices!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Parker Griffith's Health Care Town Hall Meeting ::

Well, I was able to get to the Davidson Center with time to spare as the event started a few minutes late. Everyone seemed happy with the turnout although I was hoping for more and there were adherents of both sides in attendance.

After an introduction and some opening remarks by Griffith the floor was quickly opened to questions, or what should have been questions but which devolved into long dissertations. There were obviously strong feelings on both sides with those opposed to a government option or single-payer seeming to be the loudest. There were tales of woe when dealing with insurance companies and hospitals, but far too much time was spent on personal statements when the time would have been much better spent asking clear, concise questions of Griffith. Many more people could have been accommodated.

Griffith seemed open to supporting a government option in health care coverage and made it a point to say that he would be introducing legislation to require lawmakers to utilize the government option for their own health care if it becomes law. Seems like more than a bit of pandering to me, but we'll see what happens. I didn't detect any support from Griffith for a single-payer system. This didn't really surprise me, but I will continue to push him to support just such a system.

The cost of health coverage drew some commentary, but I felt that the question of cost continues to be terribly misunderstood. Most people look at their paycheck and only see the premium deduction without also considering what the employer has to pay. My personal deduction is right at $170/month, but the total with what my employer pays is just under $900/month. I also have a health savings account which I use for deductibles and miscellaneous medical expenses which is another $1950/year so I am very aware of what the insurance companies and big pharma get from me each year. These are costs which must be addressed.

I would have also like to have seen more discussion about the lack of competition between insurance companies here in Alabama. Blue Cross has just over 80% of the market sewn up and Griffith said that he would support legislation requiring insurers to compete nationwide. That, coupled with a government option, could help to lower costs, but I am once again skeptical!

One thing that Griffith said was interesting to me. He stated, and later reiterated, that he felt that health care was an inherent right rather than a privilege. I was happy to hear this, but I couldn't help but think that he left unstated "if you can pay for it"! I hope I'm wrong. Maybe I'm just getting too suspicious in my old age!

I hope the town hall meeting becomes a regular event here in Huntsville, but everyone should be more focused with their comments and questions!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Video Spoof Of The Mark Sanford Affair ::

This is too rich! As a native of South Carolina and as someone who still owns property there I do not hesitate to endorse this spoof of the hypocrisy of Mark Sanford!

Tomato Pie ::

My first stab at this is in the oven right now. My fingers are crossed and if it turns out ok I'll post the recipe.

I thought I knew every way there was to cook tomatoes!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Restaurant Review ::

The wife wanted to do some shopping over in Madison so we took a quick trip over there late this morning and stopped off in Hampton Cove to eat lunch at The Mandarin House (I think that's the name). It's in the little strip shopping center next to the Wal-Mart and the lunch was great and I recommend The Mandarin House highly. The lunch buffet was sumptuous and fresh and the service was excellent! If you visit don't pass up the coconut shrimp!

Thunder? ::

Blue skies outside with no clouds, but I hear thunder in the distance. Could use some rain.

[update] 10:30 am and still booming. Apparently what I'm hearing are implements of destruction being tested out on Redstone Arsenal.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Confronting Griffith About Health Care ::

TOWN HALL MEETING

HEALTHCARE REFORM

with

U.S. CONGRESSMAN

PARKER GRIFFITH



Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 5:30 – 6:30 PM

Davidson Center 3D Digital Theater

U.S. Space and Rocket Center

1 Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL 35805


I might be a few minutes late, but I think I can make this one to let Griffith know in person how I feel about reforming our health care system and I hope we can fill the hall with reformers!

A Coral Snake ::

I forget where I ran across this story a couple of days ago, but I did save the link to the original post about this reclusive snake being found down in Coosa County. (I'm gonna have to get out a map to see just where that is) Apparently this is the first one to be spotted that far north in around 40 years!



I was driving from Andalusia to Shorter to meet Eric Soehren, with whom I’m co-editing a book on natural communities of Alabama. Later we were to drive to Auburn to meet with Debbie Folkerts, our other co-editor. I was still a few miles south of Montgomery when Eric called with the big news that Nick Sharp and Josh Landrum (his co-workers at ADCNR State Lands Division) had just gotten a CORAL SNAKE at one of the red-cockaded woodpecker sites that was recently acquired by Forever Wild. I was very familiar with this area of natural longleaf pine north of the Hatchet Creek arm of Mitchell Lake about an hour north of Montgomery, having monitored that woodpecker population for several years before the state acquired it. I’d seen a pigmy rattlesnake and an eastern coachwhip in that area before, and while coral snakes had crossed my mind, one had never crossed my trail the way Nick’s did. It happened fairly early in the morning, which is when Dr. Bob Mount says most Alabama specimens have been encountered. Nick gingerly scooped it into his backpack and called Eric, who was taking the day off to work on the book. Eric and I had nowhere to be until 4:00, so we decided to chuck the book for a while and run up to see and photograph the snake, so we planned to meet in Montgomery to ride together. Then I got the idea that we really ought to get a tissue sample for future DNA study, since we’d be releasing the snake rather than collecting it as a voucher. I called Jimmy Stiles, who had more experience than me in collecting snake tissue, and he advised a small clip off the tail tip. But what to preserve the tissue in? Eric and I ended up meeting at an ABC store and buying a small bottle of Bacardi 151 (75 % alcohol) rum, which had enough ethanol in it to do the trick.


I'm not sure why this story interested me so much, but it did.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Buying Face Time With Parker Griffith ::

This from Political Party Time:



* For: Parker Griffith (D, AL-5)
* When: 2009-06-16 (6 p.m.)
* Where: Bobby Van\'s Grill - 1201 New York Ave, NW Washington, DC
* Type of Event: Dinner
* Contribution Information: $5000 Host; $2500 Sponsor; $1500 PAC; $1000 Individual
* Make Checks Payable To: Parker Griffith for Congress - 499 S. Capitol Street SW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20003
* RSVP: Lindsay Angerholzer | Alden Knowlton; 202-488-1445; Alden@Sutters-Mill.com
* Distribution Paid for by: DCCC



I wonder what the take was from this event!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Shopping For Food ::

I was at the Target on Bailey Cove earlier today and they had fresh ears of corn 10 for $1. Don't know how long this will run, but it's a great deal!

Dr. Kenneth Pitts ::

I have been seriously derelict in posting the past few days about things and people who I care very much about and I need to comment on the article in Friday's Huntsville Times about Dr. Pitts. Here are a couple of excerpts followed by my thoughts:

Usually, the nurses hear Dr. Kenneth Pitts coming before they see him: There's the singing, the tap of fancy dance steps in the hallway, the calls of "Where's my hug?" as he passes nurses and patients.

"He gets off the elevator dancing a gig - literally dancing," said Bonnie Rausch, R.N., a charge nurse on the fifth floor at Huntsville Hospital for Women. "Everybody is in a lighter mood when he comes here."

[snip]

before she told her own pastor. She asked if he would go see her.

"I knew Dr. Pitts had a busy day planned, but I asked him anyway," Rausch said, taking a short break during a morning shift last week. "They had never met, but that didn't stop him from walking to room 327. He held hands with my frightened sister and with my mom and formed a circle, and they prayed. This helped ease my sister's fears and gave her peace."

[snip]

Jasmine Hill, a unit secretary and patient care technician, knows Pitts both as a colleague at the hospital and as a patient. She and her husband's first child miscarried last fall.

"I could not imagine going through that with any other doctor," Hill said. "I don't think I've ever seen Dr. Pitts down or upset, even if something is not carried out according to his orders. And he's like that in his office, too. He doesn't start an exam or leave without a word of prayer."

[snip]

Pitts, who only agreed to be interviewed when Dahlin, Rausch and some other nurses insisted it might inspire others, is glad if anything he does brings comfort to anyone.

But he insists he's doing nothing that can't be done by anyone else, too.

"The whole essence of what I do is, I enjoy the Lord," Pitts said. "The whole idea is: It ain't for you; it's for God's children."


On January 23, 1998 my wife was in a horrific traffic accident and lingered between life and death for several weeks. Our oldest, D., was pregnant at the time and Dr. Pitts was her obstetrician. My wife was in a coma for 5 weeks eventually spending 8 weeks in Huntsville Hospital and another 8 weeks in the Health South Rehab hospital. During that entire time I don't remember a single day when Dr. Pitts didn't stop in to visit and say a few words of encouragement.

Taylor was born a week after J. was released and had the honor of cutting her umbilical cord! Dr. Pitts will always have a special place in our hearts!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Broken Masthead ::

The masthead should be back soon. The photograph is hosted on another web server and I unfortunately missed the renewal message so I'm waiting for the techies to get me back up on the web.

Let me put in a good word for Web HSP. They have hosted 2 of my web sites for several years and I only recall one time that we were down for something other than one of my boneheaded moves. They always respond quickly to any concerns and everything is extremely stable. You can probably find some cheaper hosting, but I'd rather pay a bit more for the service that Web HSP provides.

Earnest Is Back On The Trail ::

Earnest passed through here last November on a quest to reach California. The original post is here. Not long after leaving this area Earnest had a heart attack and spent some time recovering, but he is now back on the road. I don't know if he's starting over or starting from where he left off, but if you happen to see him on the road riding Snowey keep in mind that he could use some help.



Here is his explanation of his quest:

Hi!!
I 'm One Fat Cowboy (Ernest Nunley) and this is my horse Snowey.

I am traveling across America by horseback.
Please, keep the children for whom I am riding,
Snowey and myself in your prayers.
We have alot of rough miles ahead of us.
After completing 400 miles of our journey,
we have 3100 miles left to go.
Just me and my horse against the elements,
with no comforts of home.

Hopefully, this trip will accomplish several goals:

*Bring awareness that there are still way too many children
suffering from Catastrophic diseases and cancer,
as did four of my family members,
whom did not live to adulthood.

*Not all children that need help are physically
or mentally ill, but have parents that are too self involved.

*That you are the one who can make a difference,
by the donation of your time and/or money,
to the different charities, organizations or churches
that provide services for these children.

*To honor the memory of all the children who have succumbed
to childhood cancer and other illnesses like my family members.

As for me personally, it will give me a chance to meet people
and talk about my favorite subjects. Those subjects being
children and horses. It will, also, reunite me with my brother in
California that I have not seen in 17 years.
I will, also, join the ranks of a very few, in recent times,
that have ridden horseback from coast to coast.

The only way I can accomplish this is
with God's help through you.
Any donations, horse food, use of pasture,
food, board, cash, etc. will be appreciated!

I am not affiliated with any charity or group
so anything you give is strictly to help Snowey and Myself
complete this Quest.


I also just found this You-Tube video of a conversation with Earnest posted just a couple of days ago:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blackberries ::

While cutting grass yesterday afternoon I noticed that the blackberries are starting to ripen. Seems to be a little earlier this year, maybe because of all the rain we had earlier. I guess I'll brave the chiggers and ticks and pick some later today.

Ticks have been especially bad this year. A couple of weeks ago I was cutting grass on the riding mower and I found 8 or 10 on me from one corner of the yard. That had never happened before.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hot Days ::

I spent a good portion of the day on the riding lawn mower and was it ever hot out! I can't wait 'til August!

Flag Week-Saturday

We're looking at mid 90 temps today so I thought that I'd post the flag and snowman photograph.



Everyone have a great weekend!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Flag Week-Monday ::

This monument is erected over the mass grave site of 67 victims of the Cleveland School Fire of May 17, 1923 at Beaulah Methodist Church in the Charlotte Thompson community outside of Camden, South Carolina. My stepfather and baby brother are buried in this cemetery and my brother lives just down the road!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flag Week-2009 ::

The Huntsville Times Bows To More Wingnut Pressure ::

From this morning's Huntsville Times:

Beginning Monday, readers will see two new names in our mix of writers billing themselves as conservative commentators: Linda Chavez, who debuts Monday, and Michelle Malkin on Thursday.

Chavez replaces Kathleen Parker, whom many of our conservative friends have been unhappy with. Malkin will substitute for one of the two days conservative Thomas Sowell is published each week. Our picks were among the recommendations offered by readers when asked in December for suggestions


Kathleen Parker is one of the few conservative writers who generally espoused a rational point of view from the conservative side and I could read her columns without a gnashing of teeth. Given that the editors of The Times bowed to pressure and will be publishing the hate-filled screeds of Michelle Malkin I expect little more from Linda Chavez with whom I am not familiar.

As an aside, Kathleen Parker splits her time between Washington, D.C. and my hometown, Camden, S.C. where she is associated with Reid Buckley's The Buckley School Of Public Speaking. I always thought that sharing a cup of coffee with her in the coffee shop on Camden's Broad Street would be an interesting experience!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Still Around! ::

I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth-just been busy with stuff around the house including working on my redneck convertible, shown below:



I broke a drive belt a couple of weeks ago and replacing it has been a struggle, but I think I have it done now and I'll start putting everything back together this evening after work. Since I had it up on blocks I went ahead and put on a new blade. May as well do it all at once.

Last Saturday evening I went to the first horse show at the New Hope Saddle Club arena. Everything seemed a bit stiff, but this is the first show and should loosen up for the next one in July. I still shot a bunch of photographs and here is one:



Oh yeah, the computer. I have everything to put my new computer together since the old one was fried by lightening so that will be this weekend's project!

No shortage of things to do!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

More Baby Birds ::

Each year the little wrens like to nest in my fern and this year is no different.



We've already had a successful nesting in the wreath on my front door. That one was easier since I don't have to water the wreath. This will make 10 baby birds this year on the front porch and I think there were some on the back porch but the nest is in a corner that is very difficult to get to.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Music For Meds ::

A reminder that there is a benefit show this Sunday at Crossroads benefiting the Huntsville Community Free Clinic. Information is here. Festivities start at 2pm with a suggested donation of $10 and should run well into the evening. A very worthy cause and I'm hoping to spend some time down there.

Good music for a great cause! Hope to see many friends listening to the music and drinking a cold adult beverage or 6!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Computer ::

I've finally got all of the new ingredients for my new computer and I'm getting ready to start putting it together. This one should be a pretty kick-butt box although I hate the thought of reloading all of the software. Here are the components:

Gigabyte EP45-UD3R motherboard
Intel 2.6ghz DuoCore processor
320Gig Western Digital C drive
2 500Gig Western Digital hard drives on a raid 5 array
4 gigs of Crucial ram (Mobo will handle 16 gigs)
Gonna reload XP-pro right now as an operating system

I haven't bought an off the shelf desktop computer since 1998. The prices are great from Dell and the other manufacturers, but I like knowing exactly what is inside my boxes. If there is a problem I generally know exactly how to fix it and the hardware upgrade path is much easier.

The new laptop has served me well since my old desktop was killed by lightening, but I just don't like doing any sort of graphics with the laptop screen. Hopefully I'll be back up running early next week at the latest.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Response From Parker Griffith ::

I e-mailed Griffith about a month ago specifically stating my thoughts on the health care debate and expressly emphasizing my support for a single-payer system covering all residents. What I got back was a boiler-plate response which only marginally addressed my health care concerns.

Here is the response in its entirety:

Thank you for your message. Your input has been very helpful to me as a freshman member of the 111th Congress. The concerns of North Alabama are always my top priority, and I am grateful for the time you took to raise your concerns.



Let me tell you about some of the issues Congress has focused on since the beginning of this year.



Our most pressing issue has been the economy. Congressional mail bins have swelled with Tea Bags that symbolize the frustration at Congress's recent spending measures. I meet with small business owners, educators, laborers, and local representatives to listen to problems brought on by the recession and to develop solutions. In short, I am working to ensure that the tax dollars deducted from your paycheck are spent wisely and with great care.



Families are cutting back to preserve the lifestyle that they have worked to achieve. Easing the burden shouldered by honest, hard working taxpayers who have taken out responsible mortgages and paid their bills on time should not be the victims of an irresponsible and deceitful financial system. My fellow conservative Blue Dogs and I are doing all that is within our power to keep Congress on the fiscally conservative path.



Congress is also taking on the challenge of solving our nation's energy problem. When having this debate, I believe it is important to consider every possible outlet. We must take an "all of the above" approach that would include alternative fuels, increased domestic drilling, nuclear power, renewable energy, and an investment in the technology of tomorrow. We must find a path that lowers the cost of energy and lessens America's dependence on foreign oil. This is essential to our economic security and our national security.



As you know, Congress is aiming to overhaul our health care system before the year is out. As a physician for nearly 30 years, health care is an extremely important issue to me. I have seen firsthand the need for improvements to our health care system. Being able to access affordable care is not a Republican or Democratic issue; it is an issue that affects every person throughout our nation.



I believe that any reform we consider must focus on critical issues including: increasing access to primary care, investing in prevention and well-being, reducing costs, eliminating the disparity between care in our rural and urban areas, and ensuring that those that like their current health care plan get to keep it.



Also, missile defense is one of my top priorities as it affects so many aspects of life in North Alabama. From job security to national security, the Tennessee Valley's quality of life depends on the success of our missile defense program. Recent missile tests in Iran and North Korea have reinforced the need for a strong missile defense budget that will keep our homeland safe. As the 111th Congress continues with its legislative agenda, I will fight for our successfully proven missile defense projects to be properly funded.



Again I thank you for your input, and I encourage you to continue to contact me in situations where I can provide you assistance. It is an honor to be your representative


This seems to me to be nothing more than a form response intended to cover any and all constituent communications. I expected more from Parker Griffith when I campaigned for him and donated a bit of time to aid his campaign!

We need a true progressive challenger to Griffith in the next election cycle, but I'm afraid that the North Alabama moneyed interests are far too happy with his blue dog philosophy!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sessions Does Hannity ::

I know, not an attractive visual, but they're actually talking about the use of e-verify in regards to employment of the undocumented:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thunder In The Distance Once Again ::

Just what I need--more rain!

Music In Alabama ::

I just wanted to take the opportunity to highlight several musical happenings coming up on us soon.

The first is down in Montgomery and features blues artist Kenny Neal who will be appearing at the Capitol Oyster Bar on May 28. If you've never seen Neal then you would be in for a treat as he is one great blues player and does a really good show! As an aside, his father (now deceased) was Raful Neal, one of the legendary blues harmonica player.

Details of the show, such as admission price, are thin, but I highly recommend Kenny Neal who, by the way, has played Big Spring Jam as well as, as I recall, either Crossroads or Humphrey's.

I do plan to spend some time this weekend at Lowe Mill attending the 5th Cigar Box Extravaganza. The music starts at 6pm, but cigar box guitar builders and musicians will be showing their wares starting earlier in the day and I believe there is a film screening at 4pm. The Huntsville event is a huge deal in the world of cigar box guitar proponents land deserves our support. Admission is $10.

On Sunday, June 7, Crossroads in Huntsville will host a benefit titled "Music For Meds 'The Sweet Healing Power Of Music'". Doors open at 1:30pm with a suggested mininum donation of $10.

This show is to benefit the Huntsville Community Free Clinic which offers medical care to the poor and uninsured in Madison County. I can think of no better way to show our support of this worthy cause than by showing up to listen to hours of good music accompanied by cold adult beverages (responsibly consumed, of course)!

Jeff Sessions Embarrasses Himself Again ::

Apparently Jeff Sessions doesn't know which Supreme is retiring. I was flipping through the channels last evening and happened upon Session's mug on Fox News with Greta Van Susteren so I stopped to hear just what he was saying knowing that it would be about Sonia Sotomayor. Apparently the clip was recorded earlier, but Sessions referenced Sotomayor replacing a retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. I wonder if that would be a manifestation of wishful thinking on his part, but it is actually Justice David Souter doing the retirement bit. You would think that the ranking republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee would know which Supreme Court justice was retiring!

Here is Sessions official statement regarding the Sotomayor nomination:

"The president's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court today is an important step in a constitutional process that includes the advice and consent of the Senate. I congratulate Ms. Sotomayor on her nomination.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee's role is to act on behalf of the American people to carefully scrutinize Ms. Sotomayor's qualifications, experience, and record. We will engage in a fair and thorough examination of Ms. Sotomayor's previous judicial opinions, speeches, and academic writings to determine if she has demonstrated the characteristics that great judges share: integrity, impartiality, legal expertise, and a deep and unwavering respect for the rule of law.

"Of primary importance, we must determine if Ms. Sotomayor understands that the proper role of a judge is to act as a neutral umpire of the law, calling balls and strikes fairly without regard to one's own personal preferences or political views.

"President Obama has stated his desire to have a full court seated at the start of its next term, a reasonable goal toward which the Judiciary Committee should responsibly and diligently move. But we must remember that a Supreme Court justice sits for a lifetime appointment, and the Senate hearing is the only opportunity for the American people to engage in the nomination process. Adequate preparation will take time. I will insist that, consistent with recent confirmation processes, every senator be accorded the opportunity to prepare, ask questions, and receive full and complete answers.

"I look forward to the coming months as we move forward with this process. As I told the president this morning, I will do all I can to ensure that Ms. Sotomayor receives a fair hearing before the Committee. I firmly believe that the American people deserve a full and thoughtful debate about the proper role of a judge in the American legal system, an issue that will be central to our review of Ms. Sotomayor's record."


I look forward to many cringe inducing statements and questions from our ranking representative on the Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearings!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday Kittenblogging ::

along with some other thoughts. Here are the 2 remaining kittens. They're at that terminally cute stage as their personalities start to develop and their natural curiosity takes over.



My yard finally dried out enough to allow me to cut the entire 1 1/2 acre today. This is the first time it has been this dry since before Christmas and I rushed to get it all cut before the rain moved in today although the afternoon rains were pretty light. The surrounding area is composed of clay so with the rains we have had this year the water has not soaked in and neither has it evaporated.

Right now I'm sitting out on the back porch listening to The Folk Sampler on WLRH and waiting for Microwave Dave to come on. It's a nice cool evening and the hummingbirds are all over my feeders out here! I hear the geese flying somewhere in the distance, but I don't see them. Life is pretty good!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Moving Out Of Councill Courts ::

I've been following this story with interest and it seems to me that the only ones happy with razing Councill Courts and moving at least some of the residents to south Huntsville are the developers and the city administration.

With drawings of a bustling plaza across from Huntsville Hospital, T1 Development Group on Monday pitched a four-story project called Resonant Pointe. The first floor would include restaurants and retail; the second floor would hold offices; and the top two floors would be filled with small, affordable condos.


I'll be curious to hear just what the developers consider to be "affordable condos"!

I'm really surprised that the area around Lowe Mill hasn't taken off as something of an artist's colony. That area around Governor's Drive would seem to me to be a prime area for revitalization, especially given the wonderful use of the old Lowe Mill building.

I lived for quite some time in Atlanta and witnessed the changes in the Little Five Points area along with Inman Park. When that area was essentially revitalized the artists, writers, and musicians moved on to the Grant Park area and did much the same. After I moved to Huntsville, Atlanta's Cabbagetown neighborhood, which had been a mill village devolving into a drug neighborhood, was discovered by these same artists and revitalized. I really see no reason why this shouldn't be happening around Governor's Drive and Lowe Mill!

Another thing I would love to see are neighborhood food markets such as Star Market in Five Points. Before I moved to Huntsville I lived in Midtown Atlanta and could walk to most convenience and entertainment centers that I required, but it takes the residents to make an area such as this happen!

Light Rail For Huntsville? ::

I was very happy to see the prospect of light rail for the Madison County area highlighted on the front page of The Huntsville Times yesterday.

Doug Gooch says he always gets the same reaction when he talks about plans for a light train running from Bridge Street and Cummings Research Park onto Redstone Arsenal: "It makes too much sense, it'll never happen."

Gooch is an experienced developer, not only a dreamer. He thinks the time is right for a light rail line to deal with the rapid, BRAC-related growth at the arsenal and in Huntsville, and serve as a catalyst for developing a true communitywide public transportation system over a couple of decades.


Before I moved to Huntsville just over 20 years ago I lived in midtown Atlanta and there were stretches of several months where my car would sit idle. I could walk to and from work and if I had to take a longer trip then MARTA trains and buses provided generally hassle-free transportation. If you don't have a car around Huntsville or Madison then you are in a really terrible position given the sad state of public transportation. I would happily utilize a park-and-ride to get to and from work.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cigar Box Guitar Extravaganza ::

Set aside Saturday, May 30 for the cigar box players to perform at the Flying Monkey Arts Center. It'll cost you $10, but it will be well worth it. The show starts at 4pm and I definitely plan to be there.

Actually, I'm building (very slowly building)a cigar box guitar so I'm really looking forward to this!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rylee's 1st Birthday! ::

I just got photographs e-mailed to me of her 1st birthday party which was last week so I'm subjecting each and every one of you to my youngest granddaughter's photographs!





Unfortunately she lives about 40 miles on the north side of Nashville so we can't spoil her as much as we would like, but we do have several birthday presents for her when she visits in a couple of weeks!

Health Care Reform ::

I just fired off an e-mail to Parker Griffith stating my support for a single payer system of providing health care to all U.S. residents. I have talked to my personal physician as well as the pharmacists I use and they all support a change to the way health care is provided in the U.S. and I made sure to pass this information on to Griffith.

His track record of replying to my e-mails is terrible, but I'll wait and see what response I get. Bud Cramer at least always replied to my e-mails although, more often than not, we were on opposite sides of an issue.

Sessions and Shelby almost never offer the courtesy of a reply!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Weather Woes! ::

We had a quick thunderstorm roll through yesterday morning. The storm was basically a small insignificant one other than lightening popped my house with the result that I now have a dead desktop computer, answering machine, and garage door opener.

I bought a new power supply for the computer yesterday evening, but that doesn't seem to be the problem so I suppose the next move will be a motherboard. It is time to build a new computer anyway and I was pricing components yesterday so I guess I'll bite the bullet and move on up to a duo core processor.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

New Artist's Space ::

I met a couple of friends up at The Flying Monkey yesterday evening in order to check out the new 3rd story artist spaces and I was more than amazed at the turnout. The parking lot was full and everyone was having a really good time. We browsed the layout and met and talked to a few of the artists.

Lowe Mill should become a real asset to the local community and I'm looking forward to spending more time there. Check out their web site as they have a Saturday open market, a food vendor, frequent music, and Lowe Mill is also home to The Alabama Filmmakers Co-op.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm Curious About The Story Behind This Wreck ::

About a week and a half ago I went up to the Wal-Mart at Hampton Cove and came across this wreck down by the Flint River. This relatively new pickup had obviously gone off the road and rolled at least once. What has made me curious is that the truck is still there as evidenced by this photograph I took yesterday with the Flint River flooding around the truck. In a normal wreck situation a wrecker would have hauled this off long ago.

Does anyone from around Hampton Cove know the backstory?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Confirmed-Sessions To Become Ranking Member Of Judiciary ::

So, let's get this straight. In 1986 then president, Ronald Reagan, nominated Jeff Sessions for a seat on the U.S. District Court in Alabama. At that time the Judiciary Committee was controlled by Republicans and they could not see fit to pass on Sessions' nomination to the entire Senate given Sessions' racist past.

Senate Democrats tracked down a career Justice Department employee named J. Gerald Hebert, who testified, albeit reluctantly, that in a conversation between the two men Sessions had labeled the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU ) "un-American" and "Communist-inspired." Hebert said Sessions had claimed these groups "forced civil rights down the throats of people." In his confirmation hearings, Sessions sealed his own fate by saying such groups could be construed as "un-American" when "they involve themselves in promoting un-American positions" in foreign policy. Hebert testified that the young lawyer tended to "pop off" on such topics regularly, noting that Sessions had called a white civil rights lawyer a "disgrace to his race" for litigating voting rights cases. Sessions acknowledged making many of the statements attributed to him but claimed that most of the time he had been joking, saying he was sometimes "loose with [his] tongue." He further admitted to calling the Voting Rights Act of 1965 a "piece of intrusive legislation," a phrase he stood behind even in his confirmation hearings....

Another damaging witness--a black former assistant U.S. Attorney in Alabama named Thomas Figures--testified that, during a 1981 murder investigation involving the Ku Klux Klan, Sessions was heard by several colleagues commenting that he "used to think they [the Klan] were OK" until he found out some of them were "pot smokers." Sessions claimed the comment was clearly said in jest. Figures didn't see it that way. Sessions, he said, had called him "boy" and, after overhearing him chastise a secretary, warned him to "be careful what you say to white folks." Figures echoed Hebert's claims, saying he too had heard Sessions call various civil rights organizations, including the National Council of Churches and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, "un-American." Sessions denied the accusations but again admitted to frequently joking in an off-color sort of way. In his defense, he said he was not a racist, pointing out that his children went to integrated schools and that he had shared a hotel room with a black attorney several times.


And this happens just in time for the Judiciary Committee to consider President Obama's selection to replace Souter. I cringe thinking of how citizens of Alabama will be perceived after being forced to listen to the tortured logic coming from Sessions!

Blue Skies! ::

Finally, after all of the rain of the past few days, not to mention the tornado alarms going off yesterday afternoon.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sessions Touted To Replace Specter On Judiciary? ::

Just what we need-the buffoon from Alabama to get even more embarrassing face time in the national media:

Meanwhile, RedState's hogan wants Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to replace ex-Republican Arlen Specter (D-PA) as the Ranking Member on the Judiciary Cmte: "Jeff Sessions should be Republican Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee. Not [UT Sen.] Orrin Hatch. Not [IA Sen.] Chuck Grassley. [...] To have Orrin Hatch or Chuck Grassley at the helm would be an unmitigated disaster. Each are cut from the same cloth -- that of the old guard Republicans in the Senate who have given us the train wreck that the Party has become. They would hire terrible staffers who would neither be the smartest lawyers nor actually conservative -- and, potentially, maintain a significant number of Specter's former staff. Jeff Sessions, on the other hand, would field a talented team who could educate America on just who America is getting in the next Supreme Court justice."


Remember when Reagan tried appointing Sessions to the federal bench?

Sessions entered national politics in the mid-'80s not as a politician but as a judicial nominee. Recommended by a fellow Republican from Alabama, then-Senator Jeremiah Denton, Sessions was Ronald Reagan's choice for the U.S. District Court in Alabama in the early spring of 1986. Reagan had gotten cocky by then, as more than 200 of his uberconservative judicial appointees had been rolled out across the country without serious opposition (this was pre-Robert Bork). That is, until the 39-year-old Sessions came up for review.

Sessions was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. The year before his nomination to federal court, he had unsuccessfully prosecuted three civil rights workers--including Albert Turner, a former aide to Martin Luther King Jr.--on a tenuous case of voter fraud. The three had been working in the "Black Belt" counties of Alabama, which, after years of voting white, had begun to swing toward black candidates as voter registration drives brought in more black voters. Sessions's focus on these counties to the exclusion of others caused an uproar among civil rights leaders, especially after hours of interrogating black absentee voters produced only 14 allegedly tampered ballots out of more than 1.7 million cast in the state in the 1984 election. The activists, known as the Marion Three, were acquitted in four hours and became a cause célèbre. Civil rights groups charged that Sessions had been looking for voter fraud in the black community and overlooking the same violations among whites, at least partly to help reelect his friend Senator Denton.

On its own, the case might not have been enough to stain Sessions with the taint of racism, but there was more. Senate Democrats tracked down a career Justice Department employee named J. Gerald Hebert, who testified, albeit reluctantly, that in a conversation between the two men Sessions had labeled the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU ) "un-American" and "Communist-inspired." Hebert said Sessions had claimed these groups "forced civil rights down the throats of people." In his confirmation hearings, Sessions sealed his own fate by saying such groups could be construed as "un-American" when "they involve themselves in promoting un-American positions" in foreign policy. Hebert testified that the young lawyer tended to "pop off" on such topics regularly, noting that Sessions had called a white civil rights lawyer a "disgrace to his race" for litigating voting rights cases. Sessions acknowledged making many of the statements attributed to him but claimed that most of the time he had been joking, saying he was sometimes "loose with [his] tongue." He further admitted to calling the Voting Rights Act of 1965 a "piece of intrusive legislation," a phrase he stood behind even in his confirmation hearings.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu In New Hope! ::

I stopped at a little local convenience store just a few minutes ago and the big news was that apparently there has been a case of swine flu in New Hope and that workers from city hall had gone to the Piggly Wiggly and stocked up on bleach and gloves in order to do battle with the dreaded virus!

There might be some degree of over-reaction involved, but I'd rather see proactive action rather than reactive!

School Closings In Madison County ::

Apparently two students at Heritage Elementary School in Huntsville are being treated for symptoms of the latest flu outbreak with the result that all county schools, as well as the Child Development Center on Redstone Arsenal and the child care center at Marshall Space Flight Center, will be closed for the remainder of this week.

This seems to be a very reasonable proactive response to the threat of a major flu outbreak!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Will Sessions Follow Specter? ::

The thought of this happening just drives me to hysterics! I'm glad it could never happen.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More Cute Critter Photographs ::

They're now about 3 weeks old and rapidly developing personalities, not to mention curiosities! I'm seriously thinking of keeping the little grey one on the left, but the others will be up for adoption. The mother is a really sweet cat who adopted me about a year ago as a kitten herself.



And here are the little baby birds which were born yesterday in my front door wreath. Not much to look at other that little balls of fluff right now, but we should be able to get photographs of open mouths soon!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kittens Nursing ::

Panoply Time ::

I haven't been in several years, but I'm gonna try to make it down this afternoon or early evening. Actually, what I really want is a panorama photograph of the park during panoply and I think I may be able to get that from one of the parking garages.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Catblogging ::

Now taking orders for kittens--have 4 little females which are now almost 3 weeks old!



Missy, the mother, is a fabulous loving cat although apparently a bit of a feline slut!

I have nursing photos which I will put up tommorow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tragedy On The Streets ::

I happened to be at the Books-A-Million on Airport Road last Friday evening and I was leaving just after 9pm to go across the mountain, but the intersection was blocked by emergency and police personnel. I pulled into the Shell store on the corner to see if there was an easy way around the wreck. I parked and walked up to the corner and knew immediately that this was going to be devastating although my preliminary thoughts were not as bad as how this wreck ultimately turned out.

Two young and promising lives were lost. Two families are grieving. Multitudes of friends are grieving for this loss.

From today's Huntsville Times:

The man charged in the fatal wreck involving two young Huntsvillians has outstanding warrants for driving under the influence, police said.

Felix Dominguez Ortega, 25, has also been arrested under the name Adan Herrera with a birth date of Aug. 8, 1985. Police said Ortega also used the name Reynaldo Martinez and Juan Sanchez.

[snip]

Ortega is charged with two counts of murder. Leigh Anna Jimmerson, 16, and Tad Mattle, 19, were killed when Ortega's pickup truck hit their car Friday night at the intersection of Whitesburg Drive and Airport Road, police said. Jimmerson was a sophomore at Grissom High School and Mattle graduated from the school last year.


The official story is that Ortega hit a car in an apartment complex, left, was reported, and was being followed by a Huntsville police officer who was simply trying to get his license number. This looks to me to be another instance where the lawyers are salivating over the potential lawsuits with the city of Huntsville.

Thought #1: This is just a terrible and senseless loss of life.

Thought #2: The time is long past for a citizen's review board regarding police actions in Huntsville!

The city of Huntsville just settled one lawsuit costing 3 million dollars.

The widow of Darren Spurlock is suing for 5 million over the police chase leading to the death of her husband on Redstone Arsenal. I expect that the city will settle for 3 million on that one after throwing as many roadblocks as possible for the the next few years.

I expect this latest accident to lead to multi-million dollar lawsuits for the city also!

Unfortunately, there's much more to this story which I think will play out over the coming months.