Highway 431 Blog

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day-2010 ::

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Cartoon Panel ::

A panel from a Tom Tomorrow cartoon from the election cycle 10 years ago:

You can see the entire cartoon here.

Sad, but true!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Today Is The Day ::

TO VOTE! Get out there and do it!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sally Elizabeth Hurt ::

From the Washington bureau of McClatchy:

Sally Elizabeth Hurt was born on Oct. 27, 1901, in rural Alabama. She has always remembered her childhood as a happy one, going barefoot in the summer, picking flowers and making mud pies. Later she graduated from the Tuskegee Institute, worked for decades as a public health nurse, and helped the elderly prepare tax returns until she was nearly 100 years old herself.

Amazingly, the story of Sally's life is still being written. On Wednesday afternoon at the James L. West Alzheimer Center in Fort Worth, her relatives joined staff members and other residents in a lobby decorated with balloons. Sally sat in her wheelchair, frail and drowsy but very much alive. Several times in the past decade, Sally has begun to fail, only to perk right back up.

"Did you know it's your birthday today?" said Kay Sharp, the West Center's director of resident services, as she bent over Sally's chair. "You're 109 years old."

Sally herself didn't seem that impressed, but she was probably the only one at her party who wasn't. There was a big birthday cake that an aide helped Sally eat. Her family gathered around, paging through a photo album that contained a note from President George W. Bush on the occasion of her 100th birthday and photographs going back a century.

Her parents were George and Pleasant Hurt, who lived on an Alabama plantation. Sally, the youngest, followed two older siblings into the woods to pick berries and nuts and carried their books home from school until she was old enough to go herself. By then her father had taught her to read, write and do arithmetic using a slate and chalk.

In 1919, her parents sent Sally to the Tuskegee Institute, where she finished high school and three years of nurse's training. She administered typhoid inoculations after a flood in Arkansas, before returning to Alabama to work as a public health nurse among the rural poor.

"In many of the back rural areas, some of the people had never seen a nurse before," she wrote in the 1940s. "Mid-wives were still being used in large numbers. My objectives were ... to see that all school children were vaccinated against smallpox, typhoid and diphtheria, and to organize home hygiene classes. ... Many of the parents would object to having their children inoculated. But we were able to sell the people the idea that health work was to prevent disease rather than to cure one."

Her work earned her a scholarship to study at Columbia University. In 1936, she began a decades-long career as a public health nurse in Washington, D.C. Though she never married, relatives recall a profound love of children, which inspired her to establish clinics for unwed mothers, supervise school nurses, organize clubs for foster children, and teach Sunday school at her church.

"She always encouraged others to do better, to strive to improve themselves," longtime friend Cassie Cundiff wrote when Sally turned 100. "When she retired, she did private duty in homes and hospitals. There was no limit to her achievements."

Sample Ballot For Nov. 2 ::

The sample ballot for the upcoming election can be found here for all alabama counties!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A New Watering Hole In New Hope ::

I haven't stopped in yet and I'm not sure that it's even open yet, but New Hope certainly needs a small intimate little bar!

[update] I stopped in yesterday to check on opening date and guess what? It's today! I plan to stop in this evening and see what's happening.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's Cotton Picking Time ::

It looks as if the cotton harvest will be down in Madison County this year just based on what I see in the fields I drive by every day. I was over in Limestone County last weekend and the fields I saw there were much fuller with much larger plants.

Farmers have begun harvesting in the past few days and I'm constantly seeing cotton hauling trucks taking the huge bales to the gins every day. I'm going to try to pick up a pickup truck load of cotton seeds to till into my garden.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Another Ernest Nunley Update ::

I got this comment on a previous post earlier today:

Earnest, with three horses and a rubber tired wagon, spent Sept. 30 thru Oct 3 at Brady Lake Park, in central Texas. This coincided with the "Texas Muzzleloading Rifle Club" Fall Shoot. The club members were welcoming and he received hospitality and company during some beautiful weather. Good luck as Winter appraoches. ALR

Friday, October 1, 2010

From This Morning's Huntsville Times ::

Noted without editorial comment!

A 76-year-old man was severely burned in a Thursday morning home explosion, officials said.

Donald Page suffered external burns to his face and torso as well as internal burns following an explosion in his garage around 7 a.m., said Don Webster, chief operating officer for HEMSI.

Emergency officials said Page was smoking a cigarette while using an oxygen tank when the explosion happened at his home in the 100 block of Alpha Lane.

Page was transported by HEMSI to Huntsville Hospital's trauma services and is expected to be transported to the UAB burn center in Birmingham.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Alabama Football Fans! ::

Photographed a couple of years ago in Gurley, Alabama.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Yard Sale Heaven ::

I was just up in Grant visiting my vet to pick up some pills for my dog and today is yard sale day up there with sales all over the mountain. I should've taken a photograph, but I didn't. If you love yard sales you should head up there! It's also a pretty drive!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another Ernest Nunley Update ::

I got this just a few minutes ago in comments:

Ernest Nunley is back on the road and made it through Spicewood Texas today on Hwy 71 west headed toward Llano. His one horse wagon has been set up now for two horses to pull it. Pulling his wagon are Shorty and Big John, and of course he still has Snowey. Today is Saturday Sept 18th, 2010.

I didn't know that Ernest was using a wagon now, but that must be easier than just riding Snowey.

Here's a photo of Ernest riding Snowey from when he passed through here a couple of years ago:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Governer's Race Debate ::

I forgot about this debate and came into it about halfway through. From what I can see so far Sparks is winning and is highlighting more positive programs than Bentley.

[update] Unfortunately Sparks seems to have bypassed the grammer classes in school, or at least he didn't learn anything. One thing that really turns me off is bad grammer!

[update] Bentley doesn't believe that the tax code in Alabama is unfair to lower income Alabama residents? WTF!

[update] Yep, Sparks is kicking Bentley's butt on health care.

[update] Closing statements and Sparks was very forceful, but I wonder just how the few who watched this feel about the outcome of the debate. I'll also be interested in seeing how the newspapers write this up tomorrow.

I will head over to the local Democratic Headquarters this weekend and pick up a Sparks for Governor sign!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Owens Crossroads Volunteer Fire Dept. ::

The great news is that the Owens Crossroads volunteer fire department won the fire engine that was being given away by E-One, a manufacturer and marketer of emergency vehicles.

Here is the complete article about the winning fire department:

CHICAGO, Ill. -- An Alabama chief still struggles to find the words to describe what winning a new fire truck will mean to his community.

"Unbelievable, unreal -- I just can't think of all the adjectives I want to use," a jubilant Owens Cross Roads Fire Chief Dan Kelly said Monday.

Kelly said he and his firefighters are still awestruck that they were the winners of an E-ONE Tradition ES commercial pumper. The announcement was made Friday afternoon at FRI 2010 in Chicago.

The engine replaces a 1968 truck that recently failed a pump test, he explained.

The story about the rural department -- one of several hundred received by E-ONE --included a very personal tidbit along with the need for the replacement engine.

Members wrote about the dedication and devotion of a founding member, the late Robert Murray Maples, who spent a lot of his own money to keep their old engine in service for many years.

"I think we told a very touching, heart-felt story about our assistant chief of 51 years," Kelly said.

When the department was notified in April that it was one of the seven finalists, members were stunned. "I thought it was a joke at first," Kelly said. "I just couldn't believe it."

Knowing they were up against some really tough competition from other needy departments, Kelly said he brainstormed with members about how to get people to vote for them. Their efforts, that included contacting organizations across the country, paid off.

People voted for their favorite department online, and Kelly said his crew is grateful for those who chose their story.

"This is a once in a lifetime experience for our small department," he said. "We can't thank everyone enough."

While the engine was lettered as they watched, Kelly said he was so excited he didn't mention that they got the name of his department wrong. "They've promised to fix it, and add an 'S' to road," he said with a laugh. "I was just so blown away..."

Kelly said he still doesn't know when it will actually be rolling into their little town of 3,400.

E-ONE officials also haven't told them when the firefighters will get training on their new engine that comes with five-inch hose and tools.

Whenever the training is set, Kelly said he and his crew will be ready.

"The friendships I made with the folks from other departments was something else. We were close, and everybody was rooting for everybody. It was just incredible."

Late Monday afternoon, the chief still sounded like a child on Christmas morning. "I'd again just like to thank everybody involved twice or three times again. We still can't believe we're getting a new truck here."

E-ONE CEO Peter Guile said in a prepared statement, "We were again moved by the compelling nature of the stories and the immense need for equipment and apparatus in the fire service. We are very proud to be able to offer another deserving department a new fire truck and would like to thank all those who entered."

My congratulations to the Owens Crossroads fire department and to the entire community which made this possible.

I hope to have some photographs of the new fire truck after it is delivered!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Madison Co. Democratic Headquarters Grand Opening ::

Here's an update on this morning's under publicized event as published in the "Today's Events" section of The Huntsville Times:

Grand opening of Madison County Democratic Headquarters, music, food, speeches and meet and greet candiates, Old Huntsville Times building, 216 Holmes Ave., 10am., ddermody@prodigy.net

It looks like I'm going to be in town at some time during that time period and I hope to have the chance to stop by. Hope to see you there!

Note that this is a cross post and the event is this morning, Sat., September 11 at the address above.

Friday, August 20, 2010

More Ernest Nunley News ::

This from an anonymous poster earlier this afternoon:

Howdy y'all, it's 4 o'clock Friday afternoon and Ernest left our shop in Austin a little while ago heading out west towards Dripping Springs. Thank you Lord for having our paths cross. He has enriched all of us as I'm sure he does wherever he goes. My heart is happy and I can't remember the last time I had a smile this wide on my face. May his journey be filled with blessings and please give him and his horses safety on their travels.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A New Update On Ernest Nunley ::

Just received from his daughter:

im happy to say one fat cowboy is in austin TX and doing well he's working on his cart making modification to it for pasage through ruff terrain think all of you for your support and kind words it means a lot to me to see the number of pepole tuched by what my dad is doing

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Owens Crossroads Volunteer Fire Dept. ::

is currently involved in an on-line competition with seven other volunteer fire departments around the country and the prize will be a much needed pumper truck. You can go to www.e-one.com and vote for the OCR department once per e-mail address.

I visited earlier today and voted once for each of my 2 e-mail addresses and I urge you to do the same. Pumper trucks like this are extremely expensive and Owens Crossroads just doesn't have the money available to make this purchase.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Buying Coffee ::

Actually that's not what I was going to post here, but I was in downtown Huntsville around noon buying some Sumatran Decaf coffee at the Kaffeeklatch (I highly recommend it) and I passed by the courthouse on my way back to work and what did I see on the sidewalk but a guy with a hot dog cart in front of the courthouse. I didn't have the opportunity to stop, but I love the idea of being able to walk out and get a hot dog from a vendor! I would rather buy from someone like this than go to most of the restaurants around the square!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Computer Woes! ::

My modem died over the weekend plus somewhere along the way some seriously bad malware decided to take over my desktop computer so I've been gone for the past few days. I finally got the laptop back up, but I'm still working on getting the malware off the desktop. Hopefully I'll have everything sorted out shortly and I'll be back soon.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Update To The Motocycle Patrol Post ::

If the Huntsville Times had a decent web site, something other than al.com, I would post a link to the story, but today's dead tree edition had a story about 14 motorcycle patrols with state troopers on the local highways. I took the afternoon off in order to do some work around the house and, on the way home, I noticed that the police presence was heightened and tickets were being written. Glad I don't speed!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Motorcycle Cops On The Highway ::

I was making my way down Hobbs Island Road on my way home this afternoon and I ran across a motorcycle policeman writing a ticket to a Porsche driver. I assume that this was a state trooper and this was the first time I had seen one on a bike. I remember back several years when Huntsville had mounted motorcycle police and I was very happy when they went away so I'm hoping that this sighting was a relatively isolated event. I'm not terribly worried about getting stopped for speeding, but I've noticed more and more unmarked cars lately. Fortunately most of them are relatively conspicuous.

Another Ernest Nunley Update ::

I got this a little earlier from an anonymous poster:

I saw Earnest 7/28/2010 in Navasota Texas about 4:00 p.m.
I was with my Dad could not stop to talk
I am a cancer survior of 15 years ; but have lost several family and friends to this
I know the childrens situations he is talking about I worked in public schools over 30 years

If you happen to run across Ernest in his trip to California please toss him as much help as you can. The story of his quest is at this link.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

An Ernest Nunley Update ::

I got this from an anonymous poster this morning:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Earnest Nunley-One Fat Cowboy! ::":

Nunley is heading west on Texas 105(Conroe) to Texas 290, where he will head to Lubbock and then New Mexico. For more information or to make a donation to support his mission, visit www.onefatcowboy.com.
Here's a photo of Ernest when he passed through Huntsville, Alabama a couple of years ago:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Love Fest 2 ::

Happens this coming Sunday afternoon at Lowe Mill on the back dock. Here's a short blurb about the happening:

Sunday – 18th – 5-9 PM - Love Fest – Back Dock - Admission back pack or $5 donation (free admission for children 13 and under) -

This event will benefit the “Got Your Backpack” Back to School Supply Drive. Our objective is to assist families that have limited resources, with children K-8th grades, to have a successful start to a new school year. This collaborative event will feature live musical performances by Abstract Jazz Band, Canita Rogers (Neo Soul Artist) Pla Station (R&B) Band as well as youth poets and other activities. The artists are donating their time and talents to help others while providing an evening of stress free family entertainment. This family-friendly event is hosted by United Stylists, Soujourn Church, Lowe Mill, and Art n’ Soul Society of Expression along with other local/community artists.

Here's a photo from last year's event:

I don't know what the schedule for the musicians appearances are and I have little experience with most of them, but I can highly recommend Abstract. Although known a primarily a jazz band, they can get down with some great blues also.

I hope to see you there for this very worthy event which supports school children throughout the city! Last year was the 1st year for this event and the turnout was very good and we're hoping for more this year!

Let me also say that in addition to accepting a backpack as a price of admission, school supplies are also welcomed. Given the cuts and prorations of this year any help for the school children is appreciated!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Videographer's Experience On The Gulf Coast ::

Given what we've heard from other media types trying to cover the oil spill clean-up I guess this is not at all unusual:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Byrne/Bradley Debate ::

I just finished listening to what was more of a pandering to the republican base rather than a real debate, but what was even more disappointing was the performance of the "journalists" asking the questions. I wish I had recorded this, but I'm sure there will be a transcript up on the web soon. There were many patently untrue replies from both candidates which went unchallenged. The one that stands out the most for me concerns the federal response to the oil spill in the gulf. BP gets all of the press, but the response has truly been international and Exxon and Shell are both very involved in trying to solve the problem. In additon, no international involvement has been turned down and several countries have responded with offers of help and that help has been accepted.

The republicans are truly desperate!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th Of July! ::

Taken this morning in downtown New Hope,Alabama, such as it is!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ron Sparks ::

Seems to have been eerily silent in the past few weeks. I would have thought that now would have been a perfect time to be touting his agenda while the republicans are fighting each other in their run-off battle!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Cigar Box Guitar Extravanga! ::

It only happens once a year and it's on for tomorrow night at the Flying Monkey Arts Center at Lowe Mill in Huntsville. I don't know if it will be outside or inside this year, but some of the musicians will be selling some wares starting at around 12pm. At 4pm the movie, Songs Inside The Box, will be shown and the music should start at around 6pm. The musician confirmations I have seen are One-String Willie, Johnny Lowebow, Joker, Little Johnny Kantreed, and Microwave Dave. The cost for the evening is $10 and, believe me, it's well worth it!

I hope to see you there!

Friday Evening Catblogging ::

Arbus lounging on the driveway looking like she's about to pounce:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

An Ernest Nunley Update ::

From R. Rice in New Braunfels, Texas:


My original post is here, and here is a link to Ernest's web site explaining his quest which was sidetracked by a heart attack months ago.

Here is a photograph of Ernest and his horse, Snowey, that I shot on Nov. 2, 2008:

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Huntsville Times: A Waste Of Newsprint! ::

I've long been amazed at just how much goes on in and around Huntsville that the local newspaper, The Huntsville Times, turns a blind eye to and never gets reported. Just a couple of days ago some poor schmuck committed suicide in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart down in the Hampton Cove area, but I've yet to see anything reported in the local fish wrapper. Almost 13 years ago my wife was in an auto accident and spent a considerable amount of time in Huntsville Hospital and we, the family and I, became well acquainted with the nurses over a 2 month period and from them we learned of at least 2 rapes in the Huntsville Hospital parking lot in a one week period that were never reported anywhere.

There have been a couple of stories that I had some personal knowledge of and passed on tips to a couple of reporters and at least one editor with no follow-up from them and my only conclusion from this is that the Huntsville Times is nothing more or less than a shill for the local government and chamber of commerce.

It's a sad situation and I fear that there is no remedy given the blind eye turned to events which could reflect negatively on the local officials, government in general, and business interests.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Holding BP Accountable! ::

Here's the standard that BP holds it's customers to--don't you think the company should be held to the same standard?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Surprises In The Election ::

Wow, I'm surprised at the margin of defeat that Shepard lost to Raby and that Davis lost to Sparks. I really thought these 2 races would at least have been much closer! I'm also surprised by how evenly split the vote was in the republican governor's race. That should be an interesting run-off. I still haven't seen any results from treasurer and AG.

Now I'm looking forward to the general in November. Let's hope that Sparks can run a better campaign for that than he did for the primary!

[update] I see that Sherer and Nicrosi were both handily defeated by wide margins. Looks like I'm batting 0% in the primary!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Just Finished Voting ::

I just voted at the New Hope City Hall and I was surprised that there was no line, so the process was very simple and easy. When I voted there were right around 700 people who had come to the polls and this was just after 6 pm. I'm going to have to see what sort of percentage this is since I don't know how many are registered in my precinct.

I had sworn to the Davis campaign that because of his vote on the health care reform bill I would not vote for him, but I backed off that pledge, held my nose, and voted for Artur Davis for governor. If he wins the Democratic nomination, and I think he will, he will surely face an uphill battle against his republican opponent.

The only real agony I felt in the slate was the 5th congressional district race, but I ended up casting my vote for Shepard along with Jeremy Sherer for state treasurer.

I guess we'll see what the outcome is later tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day, 2010 ::

An American flag used as a curtain in a travel trailer:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Leadership Lesson ::

From the dancing shirtless guy:

This is an offering from a speaker presentation at one of my favorite web sites, TED. If you've never visited TED then I highly recommend you go there and look at their vast archive of presentations.

[note] For some reason the YouTube video is cropped. Here is a link to the full size version.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Preparing The Shuttle For Launch ::

Here is a great time-lapse compendium of what happens to get a Space Shuttle ready for launch. It really is very interesting!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The BP Oil Spill ::

Here is a truly frightening video of the damage that will be a part of the Gulf of Mexico region and our coastal areas for decades:

The video was shot by Alabama resident John Walthen as he flew over the affected area. Let's see just how the responsible parties are held responsible for this unmitigated disaster!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Horse Show ::

In New Hope this evening starting at 6pm. Just follow the signs. This is usually a fun thing and I'll try to go and take some photographs if I'm through with the yard work.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Coffee Party With Mitchell Howie ::

From Noor Gillani

Come to the next Coffey Party meeting in Madison at the Kenny Mango Coffee House (97 Hughes Rd) on Saturday, May 8, at noon to 2 p.m. and bring your friends. Our special guest will be Mitchell Howie, a Democrat running for US Congress. He will discuss his platform and answer questions during the first hour. Then we will have open civil discourse in a non-partisan spirit among grassroots citizens.

The Coffey Party is a great way to respond to the Tea Party, always through civil discourse and action. It is a national movement which is fast growing. America needs organization of citizens in a sane, civilized, humane manner to counter the weight of those in wealth and power draining our national coffers, and those right-wing Tea Party types who are ill informed and misled, and who would turn our nation over to the likes of Palin and Limbaugh and Beck etc. We mustn't permit it and have an OBLIGATION to stand up and resist and to take back our nation and re-orient it on the path to human rights, moral social justice, non-violence and back on the path of our traditional ideals of democracy and fair play for ALL. The Coffey Party is a grassroots non-partisan way to reach consensus in the best interest of the nation which is what we ALL want, Dems and Repubs. Let us unite at the grassroots and let that influence our dysfunctional congress.

Noor Gillani

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Steve Raby Event ::

I'm just passing this on for informational purposes. I've yet to decide who to back in the Democratic primary. I hope that I will be able to attend this.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Bad Weather Ends ::

At least for now. I understand there was damage in Arab and Albertville, but I have not heard an injury report yet. Hopefully there were none that were serious although the property damage sounded pretty bad. Arab seems to be hit by tornadoes pretty regularly!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Wet Weather In The Forecast ::

Looks like rain for sure tomorrow with predictions of up to 1" of rain. Just when I'm getting my lawn mower out of the shop!

Outlet Mall Shopping ::

I was off work last Monday and the wife wanted to run down to Boaz to search for socks. For some reason she's very particular about her foot covering so I humored her and we took off, fighting the road construction from Albertville to Boaz. We hadn't been to the outlet stores in several years and guess what? They're almost all gone and virtually the entire outlet area is deserted. What used to be huge parking lots teeming with people were almost empty. I had heard reports that some stores were closing, but the scope was truly astounding and I believe that this occurred before the economy meltdown of the past couple of years.
As an aside, we did find one store that had some socks the wife bought after I convinced her to buy twice as many as she originally picked up, and she loves the new ones so hopefully we will not go on the great sock search for quite some time because I imagine that this little shop will be gone before long.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Earth Day Celebration ::

Takes place this morning at Hayes Nature Preserve starting at 10am. This is usually a pretty interesting event so come on out!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Teh Crazies! ::

It being April 15th and all, I decided to drive by the post office on Governor's Drive just to see how big the tea party gathering was. As I approached and saw the parking lots and how full they were there was no doubt that this was an impressive sized crowd and, as it turns out, it was. I just drove by without stopping, but there were a lot of people assembled with stands from several of the far right politicians running for office and it looked like there was a speaker's stage set up. There was also a pretty impressive police presence. I saw at least 5 Huntsville police cars. I was hoping for some sort of counter protest, but I suppose that would have just brought more attention to teh crazies. Come to think of it, I never saw any tv trucks either. That surprises me.

I wish the progressives could command crowds like this!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Benefit For A Musician ::

Time has once again snuck up on me and I had forgotten that there is a benefit show Sunday, April 11, at the Bandito right off Huntsville's South Memorial Parkway to help with some extremely serious medical expenses incurred by local musician Lisa Busler.

Here's the blurb that was in the Huntsville Times:

Local musicians are coming together Sunday for a benefit for former Huntsville musician Lisa Busler, who is having severe medical problems, at Bandito Southside, 11220 S. Memorial Parkway.

The benefit starts at 5 p.m. and will include artists Microwave Dave, Dave Anderson, Toy Shop, Marge Loveday, Mike Roberts, Ally Free, Rob Aldridge, Dan Hardin, Kira Hughes, Turner Family Band, Tasha Jones, Jonathan Giles, Sean Hopkins, Scott Kennedy, Jerry Pearson, Scott Morgan, Lisa Graf Malone, Bobby Blount, Andrea Carden, Walker Street Opry, Neeve Weinberger, Summer Johnson, Christina Lynn, Dawn Osborne Trio and Hugh Messenger.

Robert Salinas will be the host. The benefit will include a plant sale. Donations are accepted at Redstone Federal Credit Union through the Lisa Busler Benefit Fund. For more information, call 489-3232.

That's a great lineup and I hope to see you there. It's a great time of the year to toss down a cold adult beverage, buy some plants, listen to some great music, and help a deserving person who need our help!

The Moonbuggy Races ::

are continuing today at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. If you get a chance, you should stop by for an hour or two to cheer the high school and college kids home. Their enthusiasm is great, as are their technical and creative skills. The team leading the pack going into Saturday's event is a high school team making its first appearance here and yesterday's drivers consisted of high school freshmen. This should present a nice challenge to the more experienced teams!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chicken And Egg Festival ::

This happens this weekend over in Moulton. I've never had the opportunity to go and I will be working this weekend, but the festival sounds like it would be a hoot! Go, if you can, and enjoy it!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

What Are The Chances Of Eliminating The Tax On Groceries?

From the Mobile Press Register:

Editorial: Lawmakers won't let go of grocery tax
By Press-Register Editorial Board
April 02, 2010, 5:48AM

YOU NEVER know what will pop out of the mouth of one of our Alabama legislators.

During debate in the House on the annual effort to remove the state?s 4 percent sales tax on groceries, Rep. Mac Gipson, a Republican from Prattville, apparently got confused and thought he was dealing with some big tax-and-spend bill in Washington, D.C.

Alabama and Mississippi are the only states that fully tax food, with no credits or rebates for impoverished families. State legislators everywhere else in the country have decided that taxing groceries unfairly penalizes families that use a high percentage of their meager incomes to purchase food.

Rep. Gipson, however, thinks that giving the poor a break on the food tax and replacing the revenue by taking a tax break away from the well-to-do is a Washington, D.C.-style strategy to redistribute wealth.

"The whole bill is a redistribution of wealth," he said. "Washington is doing such a good job of that I don?t know that we need to get involved with that."

He was referring to a bill written by Rep. John Knight, D-Montgomery. Rep. Knight wants to let Alabamians vote on a constitutional amendment that would drop the sales tax on groceries ? for everyone ? and replace the lost revenue by eliminating a state tax deduction for individuals with annual incomes of at least $150,000 and couples with incomes of more than $300,000.

Alabama has a regressive tax system that takes wealth from the poor and uses it to fund state services. In most state capitals, this is considered unfair and unproductive, because it hinders low-income families? efforts to rise from the bottom and achieve economic security.

Rep. Gipson evidently believes that reducing the tax burden on those who can least afford to pay is a socialist share-the-wealth scheme. We wonder whether this champion of the unfettered free market ever supported a tax break or subsidy for businesses or agricultural interests. If so, he really doesn?t mind redistributing the state?s tax burden, as long as the redistribution serves his favorite interests.

Rep. Knight?s argument for change is much better than Rep. Gipson?s strained defense of the status quo. Alabama?s upside-down structure is indefensible; it hurts the poor and it denies state government dependable revenue streams.

But that doesn?t mean the Legislature will approve Rep. Knight?s bill, or do anything to reform the tax structure. It appears most lawmakers would rather have a regressive tax system than a balanced, reliable one.

Let's look at some odd things in Alabama law. Do you know that if you buy vegetable seeds that there is no tax? Next time you buy some check your receipt and you'll see that you haven't paid whatever the tax percentage is on that. Or, even worse, if you're a new mother and buy formula you pay full tax on your the formula you buy for your baby, but, if you're a farmer with a new calf and buying formula for this calf, then you don't pay tax on that. Hardly seems fair, does it?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Links For Candidates ::

I really need to look at the sidebar more often as I didn't realize that I still had a link up for the Vivian Figures senatorial campaign. Man, wasn't that a waste of web space? Anyway, I've added the Democratic candidates for governor and the 5th congressional district over on the left although I can't find a campaign site for either Steve Raby or David Maker. As soon as I can find one for each of them I will put it up.

I guess that it's about time to get energized!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

From This Morning's Huntsville Times ::

More specifically, from the police beat report:

Big Cove Road: A home was burglarized between 10:30 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday. Four pairs of panty hose were stolen.

There must be some sort of back story to this, but we'll probably never know!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Benefit Show ::

Hopefully an upside of health care reform will be that musicians can actually get medical attention! If you would like to help someone in need of covering bills then the show is at Bandito on South Parkway Sunday afternoon and evening.

I'll be stopping in and helping!

Marge Loveday ::

Marge will be performing at Carsons in Hampton Cove tonight from about 8pm 'til 12pm. Come out and listen to some good music. I think I'll show up around 9pm.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Roland Martin On Artur Davis ::

Watch the YouTube video. Martin gets it exactly right and I hope that Artur Davis realizes that he has been called out and he has created a huge problem for himself!

Health Care Reform ::

We have health care reform in spite of Artur Davis. I will continue to pound him because of his "no" vote on the package and I will certainly fulfill my promise to him to not vote for him in his race for the governor's office!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

From Mitchell Howie ::

Forwarded by Pam Miles:

When Parker Griffith votes against the People of North Alabama

By: Mitchell J. Howie

I had a conversation the other day with a gentleman named Robert Hughes in Muscle Shoals. Mr. Hughes asked me if I were in Congress, would I vote for the healthcare reform bill being debated.

I talked with Mr. Hughes about my concerns that, even though the bill reduces the federal government's budget deficit, it might not have the muscle to bring down costs for healthcare for most families in North Alabama. I also had some concerns that with 30 million new, federally-subsidized customers, and no public option or Medicare-for-all, this bill might end up being a give-away to the big insurance corporate interests that got our healthcare system into this ditch to begin with.

I told Mr. Hughes that there were some things about the bill that I did like. In 2010, seniors whose drug costs put them into Medicare Part D's donut hole, will get a $250 rebate to help offset those costs. Next year, seniors in the donut hole will only pay for half of their prescription drug costs, and over the next ten years the hole will shrink. In a decade, all prescription drugs covered by Medicare Part D will be paid for 75% by the program, and the donut hole will be closed.

As I talked with Mr. Hughes, I thought about the fact that, under the provisions of the bill, Alabamians will no longer be able to be denied coverage by their insurance companies, because of pre-existing conditions, and they'll be able to seek preventative care without worrying about exorbitant copays. Pulling this all off while reducing the deficit sounds like a pretty good deal. In fact, once the Congressional Budget Office's final estimate on the merged package being considered by the House of Representatives this weekend came out, I set aside my reservations and decided that if I were in Congress today I would find myself voting for this bill and voting for the small businesses and families of North Alabama.

I would be voting to reduce the federal budget deficit by $130 billion over the next ten years and over a trillion over the next. I would be voting to insert a degree of protection into the healthcare coverage of 430,000 of our neighbors in the fifth congressional district, while bringing another 51,000 into the ranks of the insured. I would be voting to ensure that the thousands of individuals in North Alabama who, today, can be denied coverage because of their pre-existing conditions, are not left without care when they need it the most. And I would be voting to bring $23.4 million in new investment to North Alabama's 18 community health centers.

The fifth district's current Republican Congressman, Parker Griffith, on the other hand has made it clear that he will not be supporting the bill. He has become something of a mascot for Republican opposition to healthcare reform, since his political party flip flop in December, despite the fact that the National Republican Congressional Committee aired a TV ad just a year and half ago, citing an independent review that accused Griffith of misconduct and profiteering off of his patients.

Back on March 6th, he was tapped by his Republican Party bosses to deliver a rebuttal to the President's Weekly Message. Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, he took an opportunity that could have been used to talk about our district, to parrot the same half-truths and talking points that Republicans have offered in place of solutions since the healthcare reform debate began, over a year ago. In place of real solutions, Congressman Griffith and the Washington Republicans offer more tax cuts for the rich, and incentives for insurance companies to cover the healthy and the wealthy, while working families struggle against the status quo.

My own grandfather, Dr. Virgil Howie was a doctor in the fifth district who knew what service was about. He had one of the first medical practices to have an integrated waiting room, and during the 1950s and 1960s, he and the rest of my family faced death threats for his support of civil rights protesters. It is to continue this tradition of service that I am working for the opportunity to serve Alabama's fifth district in Congress, to ensure that the provisions of this bill can be put in place in a way that supports our neighbors and their small businesses, rather than the insurance companies.

It's my belief that North Alabama needs a Congressman who is committed to service, and who will look at issues like healthcare reform in terms of what they can do for the folks right here in North Alabama, not for how they can be exploited for political points. When the healthcare reform bill has passed, that will provide some glimmer of hope that Congress might find its way back to solving problems. North Alabama can help put service back in Washington by electing a Congressman who's committed to service and solving tough problems.

So if Mr. Hughes is reading this today, I'd like to let him know, if I were in Congress today, in light of all of the benefits that this bill will bring to our community, I would have no sane choice but to vote for this bill. However, I'm not in Congress today; Parker Griffith is. And when Parker Griffith votes against this bill, he's voting against North Alabama.

Mitchell J. Howie

107 North Side Square

Huntsville, Al. 35801

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Artur Davis' Position On Health Care Reform ::

I called Davis' Birmingham office this afternoon to ask if his position had changed on his decision to not support the pending health care reform legislation given the CBO mark-up of the long-term costs and savings. The nice lady who answered the phone was emphatic that Davis' position had not changed and that he would not be voting for the bill. I was equally emphatic in stating that if he voted against health care reform that I would never support him in his bid for the governorship and that I would very actively campaign against him. I guess we'll see what happens!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Unemployment Benefit Extension ::

Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky saw fit to hold up H.R. 4691 which, among other things, extended unemployment benefits to millions who have been out of work for months and rely on these benefits for everyday life. Yesterday, under intense pressure from both Democrats and republicans, Bunning allowed the bill to come to the floor for a vote and it passed 78 to 19 with 3 not voting. I'm sure this caused a great sigh of relief from all those affected, but guess who one of the 19 nay votes just happened to be? None other than our junior senator, Jeff (Beau) Sessions. At least Shelby had the good sense to vote yea for his constituents who absolutely do need the help.

I surely wish that we could have found a candidate in the last election cycle who could have, at least, given Sessions a run for the office!

Griffith Take Some Heat ::

Parker Griffith is getting some well deserved criticism of his mailing last week of a thinly disguised campaign mailer which was sent at the taxpayer's expense. The Huntsville Times has picked up on this and there have been several stories on broadcast news. Griffith should become a junior member of "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight"!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Mailing From Parker Griffith ::

I got a slick 4 color mailer today from Griffith. I imagine that he's feeling the heat and wants to toss some red meat to the repub base in the 5th district. Here are the questions:

1. Do you support adding nearly a trillion dollars to the national debt to provide health insurance to the uninsured in order to establish government-run health care for for everybody?



2. What is your biggest concern about the health care package?

more debt _____

more government intrusion _____

taxpayer funding of abortion _____

other ______

3. Do you support personal and business tax cuts to spur economic growth?

yes _____

no _____

4. Do you support the deployment of a missile defense system to protect all of the citizens of the United States of America?

yes _____

no _____

The mailer was addressed to resident and below that is this disclaimer:

This mailing was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense.

It is provided as a service to 5th Congressional District constituents.

printed and mailed in Alabama.

I really would like to know just how much this mass mailing cost! I think I'll call Griffith's local office Monday morning and ask and hopefully get to bypass filing a FOIA request. Let's all call and express our displeasure at our tax dollars being spent on such a biased mailing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Parker Griffith And Health Care Reform ::

I thought that I had unfriended Griffith on Facebook, but somehow he's snuck back in with his postings with the latest being his kiss-up to John Boner Boehner and being named to sit on Boehner's "Truth Squad". Here's his posting from Facebook:

Proud to be tapped to sit on Leader Boehner’s “Truth Squad” for tomorrow’s health care summit to fact-check misstatements from the Democrats.

I guess they figure that the best offense is a good defense since the repubs are the ones requiring the fact checking. I'm looking forward to tomorrows little get together!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Catblogging ::

Mother cat with her 3 nine week old kittehs:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tragedy At The University Of Alabama-Huntsville Campus ::

Looks like 3 dead and 3 injured from what I'm seeing on the news right now with the alleged shooter being a UAH faculty member who had been denied tenure.

One thing that disturbs me, other than the obvious, is why Liz Hurley saw fit to give air time at Huntsville Hospital to an alleged UAH student who had nothing to add to the story, but she advocated that students who had pistol carry permits be allowed to carry their weapons on campus. Surely only the delusional could see this as a solution to the problem of an act of violence!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A CNN Poll ::

Amazing that anyone thinks she is qualified for anything!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Still More Rain! ::

Coming down hard this morning and I'm beginning to despair of getting my yard projects done! I surely hope this spring is not as wet as 2009, but it's beginning to look that way.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Toyota Recall ::

I drive a 2004 Toyota Matrix and would not hesitate to buy another Toyota, but I'm curious about something. The recall of the Toyota vehicles is making huge news, but the Matrix is exactly the same car as the Pontiac Vibe, other than the body, so why is there no push to recall them? I suspect that at one of the Toyota suv models is also marketed as a Pontiac, but I'm not sure of that.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Interesting Drive Home ::

I was heading home this evening and was between Owens Crossroads and New Hope when I saw a hawk swooping over the road in front of me. It flew into the median, snagged a mouse, and took it's supper home.

I love nature!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Haiti Relief Show ::

Everyone had a great time last Sunday evening and the music was great with the added benefit that I saw a lot of people I had not seen in ages. I didn't take a camera with me and I was sorry that I didn't, but I will not make that mistake again.

I don't know what the total figure of money raised will be but the preliminary figure I was given yesterday was around $8500 which is not bad at all for an event that was put together in about a week and everyone who was involved should be proud of their effort!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Benefit For Haiti ::

Happening this afternoon and evening--see below. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Huntsville Concert For Haiti Relief ::

Looks like plans have been finalized for a show this coming Sunday, January 24, at Lowe Mill with music by Microwave Dave (not sure if the nukes will be there), Kush, and Ken Watters. There will also be a silent auction of donated art works. The event begins at 4pm and will run as long as the enthusiasm holds out!

If any of the details change, I'll pass them on, but I plan to be there and hope that there is a large turnout for this. Proceeds will go to Wyclef Jean's foundation for Haiti relief, YĆ©le Haiti. I'll try to get some photographs posted after the event.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Wonder ::

just how many people in North Alabama would agree with Pat Robertson about the cause of the earthquake in Haiti? Here's the video from Media Matters:

Pat Robertson is a excuse for a human being and should seriously call into question the sanity of anyone who supports him in any way!

Here is a pointed response video snagged from YouTube:

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Greek Restaurant In Huntsville ::

I had to pick up a prescription this morning at the Rite-Aid on the corner of Whitesburg and Airport and noticed a Greek restaurant across the road named Taziki's. I did a quick Google on the restaurant and see that it is classified as quick ethnic food which basically means that you order in a line and the food is delivered to your table. Unfortunately I don't think it offers my favorite Greek dish of fried baby squid, but I guess I'll have to try it out shortly and see how they do with lamb.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year ::

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!