Highway 431 Blog

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.