Highway 431 Blog

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Funding Education In Tough Economic Times ::

Here's a great editorial from the January 30th edition of The Anniston Star:

The Anniston Star

Economic reality
In our opinion

Yes, the economy has soured.
Yes, tax revenue is falling.
Yes, people from the heights of Goat Hill to the swamps of south Alabama are going to have to make hard choices in the next few years.
However, a choice that should not be made is whether to cut funding for public education.
Our public schools do many wonderful things. They provide a place where children can grow and develop. They provide a structured environment to complement, supplement and enhance what is provided at home.
They offer opportunities for extracurricular enrichment that would not exist for many children if these schools were not there ? and yes, that includes football.
And they teach. Our public schools provide knowledge and skills that will make the state of Alabama prosper. They are the best investment Alabamians can make, and on every level the state gets more in return for the amount of money that is spent.
Yet, now we are talking about cutting education because the money isn't there.
Here is the dose of reality: The money is there. It has been for decades. But the state's leaders ? governor, senators, representatives ? have lacked the courage to raise it.
Instead, Alabama has historically taken money from those who have the least. No wonder this state often falls short on so many important categories.
The state income-tax system favors the well-to-do.
The state property-tax system favors the well-to-do.
The state sales-tax system favors the well-to-do.
To paraphrase President Barack Obama in his inaugural address, the state cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.
Oh, the prosperous will cry that you are waging class warfare. Well, class warfare is what the prosperous have waged against the poor ever since the prosperous stole votes to ratify the state Constitution that governs Alabama today.
Oh, the prosperous will cry, you want the state to spread the wealth. Well, is that any worse than using the state to concentrate wealth with the prosperous?
If there ever was a time when the people sent to Montgomery need to address the inequities that exist in this state and confront reality, this is it.

This should be passed around and shared with everyone! The Anniston Star seems to be the exception rather than the rule with regards to our state's newspapers tackling tough issues head-on.

Alabama's Senators On The Daily Show ::

I was busily honing my woodworking skills yesterday evening by putting together a precut and predrilled tv stand from the local big box store and I had The Daily Show on in the background. Stewart went into one of his political rants, which I love, and whose pictures should flash across the screen but both of Alabama's senators. This episode isn't up on The Daily Show web site yet, but probably will be later today. Check it out if you get a chance.

[edit] The show I was watching on Friday was actually the show from Thursday and the link above does take you to the show referencing Mr. Potato Head (Shelby).

Friday, January 30, 2009

Bright And Griffith On Their Stimulus Vote :;

"I feel strongly that the American people must have confidence that a recovery package is worth its tremendous price tag," Rep. Bobby Bright, D-Montgomery, said. "Congress could have done this by simply focusing on investments in infrastructure and targeted tax relief for individuals and small businesses, but this legislation includes billions in additional spending that will have little effect on the economy."

"We need to jumpstart our economy and create new jobs, but this bill does not do enough to cut taxes, support small businesses or invest in our research and development programs," said Rep. Parker Griffith, D-Huntsville.

Let's find some new candidates!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Parker Griffith Has A Big Shovel ::

And he is digging his hole deeper and deeper after having been one of 11 members of the House of Representatives to vote against the stimulus bill today. And, oh yeah, so did Bobby Bright. So far Griffith is 1 for 3 in my book with his sole distinction being his vote for SCHIP and another e-mail is in order although his office still has not responded to my last one.

I think we should start right now looking for a candidate to run against him in '10!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Decent Weather For A Change ::

But why can't we have 2 days like this on a weekend? I can hear the chirping of insects all around me when I step outside. Nothing like spring fever in January.

What Hampton Cove Needs! ::

Is a Starbucks! It's rough having to drive over the mountain in either direction just for a decent cup of coffee!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Accountability For Rove And The Bush Justice Department? ::

And it's about time since Rove has been so successful in avoiding having to appear before John Conyer's House Judiciary Committee. Here are a couple of snippets from the Raw Story piece:

The subpoena, approved by an earlier vote of the House, was issued pursuant to "authority granted in H.R. 5 (111th Congress), and calls for Mr. Rove to appear at deposition on Monday, February 2, 2009."

Specifically, it enjoins Rove "to testify regarding his role in the Bush Administration’s politicization of the Department of Justice, including the US Attorney firings and the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman."

"Mr. Rove has previously refused to appear in response to a Judiciary Committee subpoena, claiming that even former presidential advisers cannot be compelled to testify before Congress," Conyers' office wrote in a release. "That 'absolute immunity' position was supported by then-President Bush, but it has been rejected by U.S. District Judge John Bates and President Obama has previously dismissed the claim as 'completely misguided.'"

This news was a bit of fresh air to me today after having been inundated with the news that catastrophic job losses continue unabated.

On another note, there is another piece in Raw Story about the possibility of a special prosecutor being asked for to investigate the Paul Minor case in Mississippi. More good news on the accountability front!

A good source for background on both the Paul Minor and Don Siegelman cases is The Legal Schnauzer. Do a search for either name and you will find a wealth of information of just how corrupt the Bush justice department has been in both Alabama and Mississippi!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Car Chase ::

I saw my first car chase this evening! I was pulling out of the Starbucks on Airport Road when a car, with its lights off, came screaming out a couple of blocks east of me with a police car in hot pursuit. Almost immediately another police car came around the corner and as I pulled out I saw the car and the following police turn right onto Whitesburg Rd. By the time I got up there 4 or 5 more police cars had screamed down Whitesburg and were long gone. Being naturally curious I turned right and went down just post Four Mile Post Road without seeing any excitement so I turned around and headed home. Hopefully there will be some news of this in tomorrow's newspaper.

Too much excitement for an old man!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Day Begins ::

And what a day it promises to be!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Recall Petition In Alabama ::

John Ehinger had an interesting opinion piece in today's Huntsville Times regarding the lack of recall of our elected officials in Alabama on any level.

I'm glad to see someone addressing the lack of a recall law in Alabama and I've often wondered why the citizenry doesn't push for one given the quality of some of our elected officials. Of course most of the elected officials, for obvious reasons, have no desire to pass a recall law and they argue that the electoral process every four years is, in essence, a recall opportunity. This seems to me to be a particularly specious argument. Here are some snippets from Ehingers article:

Because the change is so fundamental to the way government and politics function in Alabama, it would require a constitutional amendment. That means to get the power of recall, state voters would have to approve it in a referendum.

According to the proposal by state Rep. Allen Treadaway, a Republican from Morris, voters unhappy with an elected official would have to gather signatures equal to 30 percent of those who voted in the last election in the relevant jurisdiction. First, notification would have to be filed with the secretary of state or a probate judge (depending on the office of the person at issue), and the petitions with sufficient valid names would have to be completed within 160 days. The recall election would be set 60 to 80 days later.


Actually, even the mere threat of recall might persuade some officials to conduct themselves honorably and responsibly and to do what they say they're going to do. Appropriate behavior from those in office is preferable to continually throwing out one official and replacing him or her with another.

(added emphasis is mine)

This is a constitutional amendment I could get behind and I hope that it gains some traction! I'll be letting my elected officials know how I feel about this and I hope that you will also!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Sunday Concert On The Mall ::

I happened to be in town this afternoon listening to WLRH and they were rerunning, as usual, yesterday's "Prairie Home Companion" so I switched the dial over to the APR station over in The Shoals, 100.7 (I forget the call letters) and they were broadcasting the concert live and it was simply marvelous! My question is why did WLRH here in Huntsville not broadcast this?

I've expressed my disappointment with some their programming decisions in the past so I guess I'll be sending off another e-mail to WLRH management!

"In Spite Of Ourselves" ::

John Prine and Iris Dement on this Sunday morning:

I've long tried to find an Iris Dement show within driving distance with no luck. I'm going to suggest to the management at Merrimack Hall that they book her and I will certainly go!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Mismatch ::

Mmmmm, I just got ready to leave to drop off my recyclables and happened to look down and see that I had on two different shoes. I don't know how many people would have noticed this, but I'm glad I caught it before anyone else did!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Things Have Been A Bit Hectic ::

I'm still around, but I have been busy lately and haven't had time to do much posting. The news of the further delay of the fiasco that is the new jail hasn't gotten nearly as much attention as it should have and I fear that this construction will continue to be little more than a huge money pit for some time to come! Too bad some of that wasted money couldn't have gone to treatment programs for those with drug and alcohol problems, not to mention the growing homeless problem in the city!

I've been having some minor computer glitches which have slowed me down a bit. I put in another gig of ram last week and now, for some reason, every once in a while the computer will spontaneously shut down during the boot process. Once it boots up everything seems to be ok. I bought a new video card to replace this lousy GForce card before Christmas and didn't realize there was a new PCI factor so it won't work and I have to exchange it. Oh yeah, when I put the new ram in I had to take the Turtle Beach sound card out and I messed up one of the output connections so I'll have to take the computer apart again and try to fix that. There's always something!

On a bright note I bought myself a guitar this afternoon in hopes of finding some musical ability deep down within myself. That might be a struggle!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Parker Griffith Out Of The Gate On The Wrong Foot!

So, Griffith, in one of his first official acts, votes against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. I can't say that I'm surprised and I was looking forward to this vote to see which side of pay equity he would come down on. That question has been answered and I have fired off an e-mail expressing my dismay, as one who volunteered some time to help get him elected, that he feels the contribution of women to our workforce is worth so little to him and, by reflection, the employers of north Alabama. Thankfully the act passed the house by a vote of 256-163 and will now move to the U.S. Senate. I look forward to some exploding heads in the republican ranks!

There is a good little discussion in comments over at Left in Alabama and I urge everyone to read the posts.

Contact information for Parker Griffith:


District Office
Parker Griffith 200 Pratt Avenue, N.E. Suite A
Huntsville, AL 35801
Phone: (256) 551-0190
Fax: (256) 551-0194

From reading the posts on LiA it seems that Griffith's local office is as clueless and stonewalling as Bud's office was. Let's hold their feet to the fire and let Parker Griffith know how we feel!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away! ::

And don't come back for many more days!

Parts of the road I live on are experiencing a bit of flooding although nothing of consequence right now, but tomorrow morning could be another story given the amount of rain we have had today with the prospects for more overnight. I normally leave home at about 5:45am so it's pretty dark and I usually go a back way to Hobbs Island Road and there is a creek at the end of that road which did flood last time we had a rain such as this. I think I'll drive around tomorrow morning just to be safe.

In the meantime I'm thinking of stocking my backyard with bream so I can just fish off the back porch, or, for that matter, I could do the same in the front yard.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Computer Problems Abound!

The desktop is experiencing severe problems-the keyboard is not working and the OS has shut down a couple of times meaning I have to post from the ancient laptop. I just got another gig of ram via UPS this afternoon and I was going to install that anyway. I also have a new video card to install so I guess I'll just shut it down and take it apart. Hopefully we'll be back up and running soon.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Day, 2009! ::

I actually saw the new year in last night! I can't remember the last time I did that.