The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Hits

This is no surprise. Bessemer councilwoman Louise Alexander pleads not guilty. Her trial date is set for March 23.

Students are already voting in the National Mock Election. View results here . In Alabama, thus far, McCain has 51.39%, Obama has 45.9%. Nationally, Obama leads 62.1% to 34.23%. Ballots are being accepted until Tuesday, so results are not complete.

Let's look at some battleground states. Students seem pretty smart.

Colorado Obama 60 McCain 35
Florida: Obama 63 McCain 31
Georgia Obama 66 McCain 31
Indiana Obama 61 McCain 31
Missouri Obama 54 McCain 41
Nevada Obama 74 McCain 23
North Carolina Obama 57 McCain 39
Pennsylvania Obama 58 McCain 37
Virginia Obama 62 McCain 33

Wow. Maybe Obama will do that well in the real election!

It's Halloween, and we are prepared for trick or treaters.

Some years I put fake spider webs and spiders around the door, but this year I didn't need to. A Snickers bar to whoever can identify her.

For a fright this Halloween, watch this (found at blogactive):

And from the Obama campaign (also found at blogactive):

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Barack Obama and Guns

Congratulations to The Western Tribune, which announced that it will be publishing Bessemer Magazine for the Bessemer Area Chamber of Commerce.

Be sure and read my column from this week, which follows this post. A little history.

A letter in the Western Tribune made me feel good. From Dr. Doug Smith of Bessemer:

"After reading week after week of your resident liberal, socialist Democrat, Joe Openshaw, instead of responding to his bullshouvaski of misrepresentations, half-truths and outright lies about this country, the war against terrorism, Sarah Palin and John McCain, drilling for oil, on and on ad-nauseum, I would like to give you something you can hang your hat on!"

Wow! Of course, he goes on to reveal himself as one of those bitter people clinging to his gun.

But what makes me feel good is that he apparently spends a lot of time reading my column and possibly Bessemer Opinions as well. This makes me happy, because some people have to hear the truth many, many times before they believe.

Dr. Smith goes on to pick and choose votes about guns that Obama supposedly cast over the years. But to know what Obama's position is on the Second amendment, one must examine his policy statement .

It says, for instance:

Millions of hunters and shooters own and use guns each year. Barack Obama believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he respects the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms. He will protect the right of hunters and other law abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport and use guns.

For those who are slow to comprehend:

Millions of hunters and shooters own and use guns each year. Barack Obama believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he respects the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms. He will protect the right of hunters and other law abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport and use guns.

Can it be any more clear? See the policy for more. There is more.

And speaking of guns, remember how a year ago the big issue was Iraq? And the big majority of Americans were against getting us out of Iraq, and wanted to elect a president who would do that, forcing Iraq to take responsibility for their own security and all? And remember how Obama is the anti-war candidate and John McCain is the forever war candidate? Just reminding you.

Here is another reminder, with music from Les Misérables.

Bring them home.

Western Tribune Column October 29 2008

Here is my column from this week's Western Tribune. Notice that I took the high road, note that the Paper itself did not, printing an endorsement and letters for John McCain that resort to the same old lies we have heard for a year. More about that later. Here's the column.

Voting a privilege not to be taken lightly

The most memorable post presidential election photo has to be the black and white picture of Harry Truman holding up the Chicago Daily Tribune with the headline “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

Every underdog since has probably referred to that election and that outcome.

The most controversial election outcome has to be Bush vs. Gore in 2000, which resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court deciding the outcome. We are still not over that.

But controversy goes back much further, to 1796, when John Adams defeated Thomas Jefferson. The candidates remained fairly civil, but their surrogates fought for them in nasty ways. Adams was accused of being too close to Britain’s monarchy. Jefferson was attacked for his views on religion. Adams was “aloof.” Jefferson was too close to France and its revolutions.

We still have candidates accusing one another of being elite and being too close to France, or having ties to odd religion.

Has nothing changed in over 200 years?

Not really. But since that election, we have had significant changes in who votes. Wyoming led the movement to grant women the vote, allowing voting rights in 1869, and the nation followed suit in 1920, with the Nineteenth Amendment.

The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were supposed to give voting rights to men regardless of race, but not until the 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed were Blacks across the nation able to register, and now voter suppression attempts still target people of color.

This year, the candidacy of Barack Obama has inspired millions of young people who as a group historically have not voted in large numbers but are expected to turn out. Early voting in various states indicates a massive voter turnout. In 2004, 122 million people voted. Regardless of who wins, this election will be historical in the number of voters who participate.

In just a few days you will have the opportunity to take part in this historical election. It is a privilege that should not be taken lightly or ignored. Even if you see Barack Obama or John McCain at your door on Halloween, let it serve as a reminder to vote on Tuesday.

And let’s hope, for the sake of our country, that the discourse on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning is civil. The problems of our country are too great for the winner not to receive the support of all of us.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Superintendent Gets Axed, Obama Gets the Nod

Here in Bessemer we are building a new High School to replace aging Jess Lanier. I wonder who will be leading the system when it opens. I only ask because the Bessemer School Board voted not to renew superintendent Deborah Horn's contract last night (and to buy out the remainder of her current contract). All Horn did was (1)raise the quality of education in Bessemer so that all seven of our schools make "adequate yearly progress" and (2) bring the financial reserves up to "second healthiest" in the state. Oh, and (3) improve the graduation rate at the "drop out factory" to 81 per cent. What more could you ask?


There's just really not much more to say about the election. Blogging for Obama has peaked, hopefully not too early. But anyone who has halfway kept up knows what the candidates stand for and who will leave you better off four years from now.

Gee Paw, even Opie says so. If the video does not here . Thanks, Jim.

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Chaz thinks so too. He says he got detention for writing this song...

This comes from back during the primaries, so there are references to Hillary.

My favorite line is:

"The senator from Illinois should be screaming White House Ahoy..."

Look for more election season music over the next few days.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rambling up to the Closing Argument

The FBI released their hate crime statistics for 2007. There were over 7600 hate crimes last year, a 1% drop compared to 2006. In spite of the overall drop, anti-gay hate crimes saw an increase of 6%. Race, religion and sexual orientation were the leading motivators for hate crimes. Within those categories, most hate crimes were anti-black, anti-Jewish and anti-gay.

Speaking of hate crimes, two small town (listen up, Sarah) neo-Nazi skinheads planned to dress up in white tuxedos and top hats and go on a killing spree, targeting blacks and Barack Obama. CNN Story.

Meanwhile, there's Ashley Todd. You have heard the story, and seen the self inflicted backwards "B" on her face. While it seems obvious that Todd is deranged, the incident is still a grand case of race baiting. Not just by the perp, but by Matt Drudge and McCain operatives who fueled the story.

Included are WERC 960 talk show host Dominick Brascia who still has the link to the story saying the attack was for real on his site. On the day of the attack he was in a frenzy with his cohorts trying to incite fears that any black person could do this and that they are all thugs. And on the next day after the story was found to be a hoax, did he apologize? No, they mentioned it was a hoax, but then he made sure to point out that an assault against him that he had spoken of previously was by a black person...I guess that was supposed to validate his accusations, however wrong. Then they went after Obama for being a "socialist." (Proof, they said!)

You know, Brascia and most of the people screaming "socialist" and "Marxist" and "Communist" (including that reporter who interviewed Biden the other day with the most insulting and ridiculous questions so far) don't even know that the words mean. To them they are just scary words that they want to link to Obama. I mean, it worked in the 50's, so why not now?

And on the calm side of the presidential race:

Barack Obama has begun his closing argument with a speech in Canton, Ohio. The speech is about 30 minutes long. He's back to being inspirational, offering hope and a promise of a better tomorrow.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Newspaper Endorsements

I was not very surprised to see that the Birmingham News endorsed John McCain yesterday. Nor was I when I opened the Decatur Daily and found their endorsement of Barack Obama. So my curiosity would have led me to try and determine what other Alabama newspapers had done when I received an email on my blackberry from Wade who had already done the work, Alabama Newspapers Endorse Obama by 2 - 1 Margin (there you can read what the various editors had to say).

The list:

For McCain: The Birmingham News, The Mobile Press Register.

For Obama: The Decatur Daily, The Talladega Daily Home, The Montgomery Advertiser, The Florence Times Daily, The Tuscaloosa News*.

Notice that several of those endorsements are from small town papers. And remember Sarah Palin tried to claim small towns in spite of what they sometimes represent.

Obama's total for newspaper endorsements is over 173.

I really liked this one, though. Anchorage Daily News - Obama for President.

It is Sen. Obama who truly promises fundamental change in Washington. You need look no further than the guilt-by-association lies and sound-bite distortions of the degenerating McCain campaign to see how readily he embraces the divisive, fear-mongering tactics of Karl Rove. And while Sen. McCain points to the fragile success of the troop surge in stabilizing conditions in Iraq, it is also plain that he was fundamentally wrong about the more crucial early decisions. Contrary to his assurances, we were not greeted as liberators; it was not a short, easy war; and Americans -- not Iraqi oil -- have had to pay for it. It was Sen. Obama who more clearly saw the danger ahead.

The unqualified endorsement of Sen. Obama by a seasoned, respected soldier and diplomat like Gen. Colin Powell, a Republican icon, should reassure all Americans that the Democratic candidate will pass muster as commander in chief.

And on governor Palin:

Yet despite her formidable gifts, few who have worked closely with the governor would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in and juggle the demands of an economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would stretch the governor beyond her range. Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.

Three days and counting. Oh, I'm voting absentee on Thursday, probably. I might be going to a swing state to help get out the vote. Eight days for the rest of you.

* I hope Bill Maher sees this. On Real Time Friday night he challenged Tuscaloosa not to vote for McCain, saying Tuscaloosa is the least likely place to vote for Obama. We will see.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Western Tribune Column and Art Announcement

On Saturday, October 25, 2008 at Avondale Park in Birmingham...Art in the Park. Ted Openshaw will have on display and for sale his work. About a hundred other artists. 10-4

Ok I forgot about posting my column from the Western Tribune the other day. Here it is.


“Mr. Ayers, I don't care about an old washed-up terrorist.”

Those were John McCain’s words in reference to former radical Bill Ayers during the final presidential debate.

If he doesn’t care, why did his campaign begin placing Robocalls, automated phone calls, the very next day that say the following?

"Hello. I'm calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge's home, and killed Americans."

Furthermore, during the debate, John McCain said he was not running a negative campaign.

This is the most deceitful presidential candidate I have ever seen, and I can’t believe anyone would vote for him.

Barack Obama was eight years old when Ayers committed his despicable acts. Since then, Ayers has become a distinguished professor and received man of the year awards.

As William Ibershof, the federal prosecutor of the Ayers case said, "I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers’s terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child. Although I dearly wanted to obtain convictions against all the Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, I am very pleased to learn that he has become a responsible citizen.”

A responsible citizen.

I am not sure I would even assign that label to John McCain, the way he is acting.

Then there is this. After Obama explained that he voted against a ban on a procedure because it did not include protections for the health of the mother, McCain mocked “health of the mother”, saying that was an “extreme” position. If my daughter was experiencing a difficult pregnancy that was going to kill her, I would not consider it extreme to lose the fetus to save her life.

A tragedy, yes. Extreme, no.

When this particular disregard for women is considered along with his stated position of being against equal pay for women, I am amazed that any female would vote for the man. To do so would be regarding themselves as second class citizens.

Poll Results and Hallway Restore

Poll Results

The poll results to the left are pretty amazing, even though the sample was small (n=51), and the method non-scientific. There were 26 votes for Obama (Already decided + decided because of Colin Powell), or, 51%. There were 22 votes for McCain, or 43%. Undecideds, including the person who was not yet registered, totalled 3, or 5.9%. I hope that person registers by today (in Alabama); did you?

This is very close to the Real Clear Politics poll of polls, which today had Obama at 50%, McCain at 43% , leaving 7% undecided.

This makes me think that Bessemer Opinions readers are a snapshot of the nation. Even though from my site statistics I know that readers come mostly from Alabama, I also know that I have regular readers in Scotland and in South Africa, as well as occasional readers from other countries, and they may have voted.

Since Barack Obama has left the campaign trail, I will leave the supporter trail and show some pictures of my hallway project.

Preparing the Walls

Here is what you have to deal with, multiple layers of wallpaper (on the ceiling also), cracked plaster, staples holding torn wallpaper together (and papered over).

This is the original wallpaper, from the 1890's. Beautiful, but it had to make the hallway dark and dreary.

This was the second wallpaper applied, hard to know what year, I am not a wallpaper expert. I would guess in the 20's.

This paper was probably added in the 1950's.

This was a neat find. Someone had penciled a three digit phone number on the plaster. This was in the area where, oddly enough, I could tell, an early wall telephone had been removed, and the plaster repaired. So the number is not from the time of the original plastering (ca. 1895). I don't know much about telephone history in Bessemer, except I have an old Recipe Booklet from the Circle No. 1 Ladies from First Methodist Church, which has one digit (Phone 3 Searcy's Market), two digit (Phones 20 and 21 Superior Ice Cream Co)and three digit (Phone 185, 186 Anderson's Cleaners - we still use them)and four digit number (Phones 1414 - 9131 J. W. Huddleston Prescription Druggist). This booklet was made sometime after 1927 (an ad for Bentley's claims "since 1927." )
It looks like "Randall + Miller Phone 415" or something close to that.

Re-doing the hallway, also means means re-doing this scary staircase which leads down to the dungeon...uh, basement. See how it looks like steam is rising? Hmmm.

Here the walls are repaired and ready to paint. That began yesterday.

More pictures when the project is complete.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ding Dong

I tell you what. I will be Dorothy. We will let Dale Jones of The Western Star be the Wicked Witch of the West (ern Star). Now I realize the song is about the death of the Wicked Witch of the East…but… after the Wicked Witch of the West was killed later in the movie, there was supposed to be a reprise of the song sung by the Winkies (beginning with Hail Hail the Witch is Dead). But this scene was cut from the film, and the film footage of it was lost. Yada yada... Anyway, let’s pretend!

“It really was no miracle what happened was just this
The wind began to switch, the house to hitch and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch
Just then the witch, to satisfy an itch, went flying on his broomstick thumbing for a hitch
And oh, what happened then was rich…

Let the joyous news be spread, the wicked old witch at last is dead
Ding dong the witch is dead (Which old witch) the wicked witch."

Of course Dale Jones is not dead, and I wouldn't wish that on him. But, as he announced in this week's Western Star, he is moving into another chapter in his life. And his policies, which I list below, are dead. Maybe.

He also writes about having brought the newspaper "back to the basics." I guess going back to the basics includes cutting out such things the paper went from a 24 page weekly to a 16 page weekly. Basics also included plagiarism, printing inaccuracies about homosexuality and printing inaccuracies about the War in Iraq. Oh and don't forget unethical printing of letters.

So being relieved of Dale Jones helps the city of Bessemer by raising our standards. Well, I guess that depends on who replaces him.

Let's see, the editor leaves? A reporter in handcuffs? Front page "In the News" that is "old news" and was reported in last weeks Western Tribune?

Just stick to The Western Tribune for up to date stories about local news, and the best in local columnists...including Sandy Miranda, Hank Tyler, Chuck Rackley, Nancy Hartzog and Chef Francois Buffon and Pastor Doug O'Brien as well as yours truly. Gee, we have more local columnists, local ownership. It's like...we are... The Local Paper!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tipping Point

OK. Here is the crap I have to put up with. People who are ashamed of themselves and post anonymous comments say things like this:

Joe is extremely prejudiced! More so than the people he struggles to slander on a daily basis through his blog! If you don't agree with Joe, you my friend are a racist hate monger and public enemy number 1! So what does that make Joe? That's right, he is just as prejudiced as the person who puts on a white robe and burns a cross or openly speaks out against gay rights or maybe uses the "N" word. Look in the mirror Joe! Oh wait, that would be the christian thing to do.

I did not publish this comment, not because I am embarrassed at the accusation or refuse to publish opposing views, but because it is useless chatter.

First of all, why am I "extremely prejudiced?" I truly don't understand this accusation. Prejudice is "making a decision before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case or event." Unless something I post is copied (with reference) or meant to be funny, I research or confirm what I write.

Prejudice used to mean "making a judgment about a person based on their race, religion, class, etc.", but more recently has been used to describe"any unreasonable attitude that is unusually resistant to rational influence," including "race, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, and religion..."

I understand the people I speak out against. I understand their beliefs, their philosophies. That is why I speak out against them. If I make a broad statement about right wing Christians, for instance, it is because of their beliefs and actions that I consider wrong, but it is not because of their Christianity, per se. The problem is, they have warped Christianity into a divisive element so far removed from what Jesus must have had in mind that it is barely recognizable. But I digress.

Now this anonymous commenter may be reacting to the post he tried to comment on, or he may have read my column in today's Western Tribune and reached a tipping point, I don't know. I will post that column tomorrow, for those who do not subscribe to the paper.

It's almost laughable that I am compared to KKK members by a right winger just days after "they" tried to discredit a civil rights hero (John Lewis) for making the same comparison about certain elements of the McCain campaign. Because I am for human equality, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation and age (innate characteristics) and even religion and creed (chosen characteristics), I am considered prejudiced?

I've reached a tipping point myself. I am sick of anonymous commenters. Especially when I have a good idea who they are. And where they work. (I do wonder what they were doing in handcuffs in downtown Bessemer the other day, but my research hasn't turned up the reason).

I will find a way that is best to avoid anonymous postings, and my first attempt is using openID. When you comment, you will be required to use your google blogger name or one of several other ID's. I don't want to exclude commenters, I just want to exclude people who will not identify themselves. If you don't have any of the ID's offered, create one, I guess is my recommendation. We will see how this works. My other option is to require membership to the blog to post, but that is limited to 100 people. Well over 100 read each day, but I don't know how many would want to post comments, and only they would have to be members. Others could read, I guess. Help me out here fellow bloggers if you have suggestions.

If you find you cannot post a comment, and want to, email me...I will try to work around it either by posting your comment myself, with you name (or pseudonym) and the explanation that I am posting it for you, or change the way comments are handled.

In the meantime, continue to enjoy Bessemer Opinions where you can be entertained and educated on an almost daily basis.

Grasping at....Acorns

Don't forget to vote in the poll to the left. There was some question about the last response. Voter registration is closed in many states, but in Alabama you can still register through Friday.

Here is an Alabama Voter Registration form, or you can call the county registrar at the number for your county that is on the form.

The hallmark of GOP success seems to be voter suppression.

In the video that follows, Paul Weyrich, conservative activist, states:

"I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

This video shows that the fuss about ACORN being raised by John McCain and Sarah Palin is a joke. Again, they couldn't find anything of substance to base their campaign on so they get all squirrely over some nutty voter registration forms that quite frankly, were discovered by ACORN officials who brought them to the attention of officials.

In Alabama voter registration was being suppressed after Mike Hubbard, Republican Party chairman complained about efforts to register eligible inmates by raising the question of voter fraud. According to AP, Rev. Ken Glasgow sued the department of corrections and under a settlement his group will be able to post "Voting While Incarcerated" flyers on prison bulletin boards and in inmate libraries that explain how to register and vote absentee. He can still visit and inform prisoners, but will not be allowed to bring voter registration forms or mail forms for inmates.

"I'm not going to say I'm pleased, but I'm satisfied. We are trying to restore people's lives - we're not trying to cause any confusion. We are strictly nonpartisan and this is part of our ministry," Glasgow said.

Three days. I bet he and his group can get a lot done in three days.

Alabama Barack Team Bessemer has registered at least 2331 new voters in our area since July and while still working to register they are working to get absentee ballots to seniors and others too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More Intolerance, More Hate, More Republicans

Be sure to vote in the poll to the left, it will only be open for a couple of days.

Is it desperation? Are their true colors being revealed? Are people really this hateful? It's about to drive me batty, but I guess that's OK, with Halloween just around the corner. It's just more of the divisive Republican politics. Par for the course.

I write about this to some extent in tomorrow's Western Tribune column, here's a tease..."This is the most deceitful presidential candidate I have ever seen..."

But since writing that column, more has risen to the surface. More what? You decide, but it's sure not the cream that's surfacing.

Let's start with an elected official, Michele Bachmann, Republican Representative from Minnesota. I am posting a video of her interview on Hardball with Chris Matthews. But before you watch, realize that a lot of what she says about Bill Ayers and Barack Obama are just the same old talking points that have been shown to be wrong.

She says liberals are anti-American, and is calling for "penetrating expose" of congress to determine which elected officials are "anti-American." She goes on and on, and on and on...and on and on. McCarthyism is alive and well.

Since this aired on Hardball, her opponent , El Tinklenberg has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations as a result. Let's hope he unseats her.

Sarah Palin was in North Carolina the other day:

We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe" -- here the audience interrupted Palin with applause and cheers -- "We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation.

The "best" of America is in small towns, real America, pro-America, patriotic. The rest of us are, I guess, false America, anti-America, unpatriotic.

Small towns. Hmm. Let's examine some small towns in Alabama.

Cardiff, home of Knights of the Nordic Order, a Neo nazi Group.

Auburn (the Loveliest Village on the Plains) and Tuscaloosa, home of League of the South chapters, Neo-Confederate Groups.

Grove Hill, home of Master Klans of America, a KKK group.

Killen, home of National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a KKK group.

I could go on, there are 24 hate groups in our state, many of which are in small towns.

Sarah Palin was in North Carolina, where 28 hate groups are located. For instance, in High Shoals the Carolina Skinhead Alliance, a racist skinhead group, is headquartered. From the link above, you can find the hate groups in every state.

Are these the "patriotic, pro-Americans" in small towns of which she speaks so highly?

Democrats believe that there are patriotic Americans in all parts of the United States, urban areas as well as small towns, just as there a few bad apples, really bad apples, scattered here and there. And Barack Obama wants to bring people together, not divide them with false labels of "pro-" or "anti-American", "patriotic" or "unpatriotic".

And I keep getting emails about Obama being Muslim, or wanting to replace the National Anthem with the Coca Cola Theme song or some such nonsense. Are people really this stupid to believe this crap?

First of all, this country was founded on religious freedom, so what if Barack was a Muslim? Big deal. Second, if someone with a few Muslim roots and a Muslim sounding name is not to be believed when he says he is a Christian, then every bit of the evangelism and missionary work of Christians in foreign countries is worthless. Well there's "a whole nother" topic, best left for another day.

And please, verify the outlandish claims before sending them my way.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Terry Manning of the Montgomery Advertiser wrote a column about bloggers and their influence. Bessemer Opinions was (mis) quoted, but in a good way. We are "The Progressive Voice of Bessemer" and he wrote "The Progressive voice of Alabama." Well, as our influence grows, maybe so, I mean, the same issues face Alabamians as face Bessemer residents.

Read the column here.

Read all the interviews here.

In addition, a graduate program at a prominent university is including Bessemer Opinions in a research project. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

On Meet the Press yesterday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for president. This high ranking republican gave high marks to Obama describing him as a "transformational figure."

"He displayed a steadfastness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge and an approach to looking at problems, not jumping in and changing every day, but showing intellectual vigor. I think he has a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well."

He was also critical of the Republican party, which he says has become narrow, referring to the focus on Bill Ayers and the demonizing of Muslims by the party.

Here's the video, in case you missed it.

Powell is not going to campaign for Obama, but expect to see clips of this interview in Obama ads. And expect this to help influence military families and moderates to vote for Obama. Florida, Virginia, North Carolina.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Art Exhibit Update

At the Birmingham Art Association Art Exhibit at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the top award for a painting went to Ted Openshaw! Congratulations Ted. The painting is Untitled.

There are about 60 works in the exhibit. There were award winners in Painting, Drawing, Mixed Media, Photography/Digital Images and Sculpture/3D. Congratulations to all the artists, including Corey King of Skinworks in Bessemer who won an award for his drawing, One Glance.

The exhibit is called 100 Years of Diversity in Birmingham Art will be open until December 31, 2008. Most of the works on exhibit are for sale, and can be picked up after the exhibit closes. Who knew art could be created from Kudzu? Nice.

If you have never visited the Civil Rights Institute, this would be a good time to do so. In addition to the art exhibit, another exhibit titled Darkness into Life, Alabama Holocaust Survivors Through Photography and Art, is on display. Powerful images and personal stories from Alabamians impart the history of these survivors of one of the ugliest episodes in the history of the world.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Joe the Dud

So Joe the plumber turns out not to be the winner of last nights debate. Not unless you consider it a win to let the world know that:

1. You are not a licensed plumber,

2. you cheat on your taxes,

3. you are not trying to buy a business that makes $250,0000 a year,

4. you belonged to the Natural Law Party, before joining the Republican party (some confusion over this as his name was misspelled on the voter lists).

The Natural Law Party was founded in 1992 in the United States by a group of educators, business leaders, and lawyers in Fairfield, Iowa who practiced Transcendental Meditation. The Natural Law Party was a transnational political party with national branches in over 80 countries.
The party based its platform on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's view that natural law is the supreme organizing principle that governs the universe, and that the problems of humanity are caused by people acting against this natural law. The Natural Law Party claimed that it could realign humanity with this organizing principle through techniques such as the practice of Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program, and problems would be alleviated.
The various Natural Law Parties disbanded over a period of years from 2001-2006.

Yet the Republicans are still touting the guy as a hero. They can have him, after he made a "Sammy Davis" comment regarding Obama. Just another bigoted Republican hack. That's getting to be so commonplace, it's boring.

To get your mind off of politics for a bit, watch this. And be appreciative of "The Gays" for all they have brought to the world: Handbags, nice abs, women's basketball, gentrification, blogging, cargo shorts...and more! Thanks Mandy, and thanks Ty for the tip.

Back to being Joe the Stripper. That's wallpaper, of course.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Debate Winner

The winner of last night's presidential debate was Joe the Plumber (for a while he had his own Wikipedia page, now it's redirected to that link).

So let's see what the polls say. Again, call-in and text-in polls don't count. Scientific polls do.

CNN Obama 58 McCain 31

CBS Obama 53 McCain 22

Insider Advantage Obama 49 McCain 46

All that adds up to no gain for McCain.

The hardest thing to believe is that there are still people who are undecided as to who they will vote for. What does it take?

Anyway, this morning Joe the writer is about to become Joe the wallpaper stripper/painter. Let's get busy.

Washing Dust Off Your Soul

Much more of this and The Western Tribune will have a web site (hint hint. And I know just the person to run it). The following article, written by Nancy Hartzog, Associate Editor, appeared in this week's paper. The article is about my brother Ted Openshaw, his art, and an upcoming show. As the article says, you are invited to the opening reception at the Civil Rights Institute Friday, October 17, from 6 - 8 pm.

Through Art

Washing Dust Off Your Soul

World famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) once remarked, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”

Since all of us get dust on our souls from time to time, Oct. 17 through Dec. 31 is a good time to stop by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to visit a juried art exhibition hosted by the Birmingham Art Association (BAA).

“The Birmingham Art Association has held many juried shows over the years, but we are especially excited about his one, our first ever at the Civil Rights Institute,” says Dr. William Colvin, BAA vice- president.

The exhibit will feature paintings, drawings, mixed media, sculpture and digital photography.
This year’s theme is “Diversity,” and there will be 64 entries representing a range of artistic talent and sure to please a very diverse group of people.

One of the artists featured with two entries is Ted Openshaw, of Lipscomb, who moved back to the area from Clearwater, Fla. about a year and a half ago and who does oil paintings.

Openshaw studied art in high school and later with Percy Rouse in Birmingham in the early 1960s. He attended classes and participated in various workshops at the St. Petersburg Art Center and the Dunedin Fine Arts Center in Florida and has shown his work in various shows and exhibits with the Birmingham Art Association.

He’s sold quite a few paintings that hang in offices and homes in Pinellas County, Fla., Birmingham and New Orleans.

“Although I have sold some paintings, I don’t do commissioned work and I don’t paint to sell my work although it makes me feel good to know that someone wants to hang something I’ve done in their home or office,” he said.

When asked to describe his style of painting, Openshaw said, “That’s hard for me to say. I paint what I see in people and places but it’s not just reproduction.

“It’s what I see the way I see it,” Openshaw added.

The Birmingham Art Association has provided an opportunity for Openshaw and others to show their work, and according to Liz Reed, former president and membership chairman, “sees its mission to promote an interest in art and serve as a place for a new artist or emerging artist to show their work.”

The public is invited to the opening reception at the Civil Rights Institute on 16th Street North in downtown Birmingham from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 17.

Mississippi Blue by Ted Openshaw

Western Tribune Column October 15 2008

My Western Tribune column from October 15, 2008

McCain's ace in hole turns out a joker

The John McCain campaign was a hand of cards just waiting to fold under the up swell of support that Barack Obama expected after his acceptance speech in Denver. But McCain chose Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, in hopes that her experience in the Governor’s office and her fundamental Christian beliefs would excite Republicans as well as attract independents.

That strategy worked, as long as American voters were kept uninformed about her. Over time, we have learned a lot, and I could produce a long list of misstatements and missteps that she made, but the ethics violation announced on Friday trumps them all.

A bipartisan Alaska legislative panel found Palin in violation of the state ethics law. The statute says that holding office is a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal interest is a violation of that trust. In common language, she abused her power as an executive officer of the state.

Sarah Palin has been hammering the voters with questions about Barack Obama in an attempt to cast doubts on his trustworthiness. Now that she has been shown to have violated the public trust, should she be casting stones at Obama?

In past weeks Palin has claimed that her executive experience has prepared her to lead the country. Now, when we think about her executive experience, we are reminded of her abuse of power. Do we really want to send someone to Washington with that record after enduring eight years of Dick Cheney?

Moving up the ticket to John McCain, questions have been raised about his judgment. Barack Obama highlighted this argument effectively during the second debate when he questioned McCain’s judgment in voting for the war in Iraq.

Now we can really question his judgment in choosing his vice presidential pick. The investigation was authorized in July, well before he announced his choice. He or his staff had to know that the investigation was underway.

McCain is known to be a gambler, but why would a candidate take a risk with the most important decision he makes during his campaign? What does it tell us about the kind of forethought that might go into his selections for cabinet members?

McCain’s ace in the hole has turned out to be a joker, and it’s time for the voters to call his hand.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Early Voting...Tonight's Debate

Early voting has been going on in several swing states. Why don't we have this in Alabama? It would allow voting by people who may be unable to vote on November 4.

Absentee and Early Voting

Early voting differs from absentee voting in that voters may visit an election official’s office or, in some states, other satellite voting locations, and cast a vote in person without offering an excuse for not being able to vote on election day.

Early voting generally is conducted on the same voting equipment used in the regular election, as opposed to absentee voting, which is conducted on mail-in paper ballots. The time period for early voting varies from state to state, but most often it is available during a period of 10-14 days before the election, generally ending on the Friday or Saturday immediately preceding the election.

For information on voting absentee in Alabama click

Early voting is taking place in several swing states, and of course, early voters are polled just like regular voters. Here are some results, from fivethirtyeight and early voter poll results are listed alongside likely voter poll results:

In New Mexico Early voters Obama + 23% Likely voters Obama +6%

In Ohio Early voters Obama +18% Likely voters Obama +4%

In Georgia Early voters Obama +6% Likely voters McCain + 11%

In Iowa Early voters Obama +34% Likely voters Obama +10%

In North Carolina Early voters Obama +34% Likely voters McCain +5%.

This averages to 23% advantage for Obama.

Interesting observations:

In 2000 and 2004, early voters leaned toward the Republican. Bush had 62% of early voters in 2000 against Gore, and 60% against Kerry in 2004.

In past elections, early voters tended to be older, and more male than female. CW should allow that this favors Republicans, so one would expect McCain to do better among early voters.

Early voters seem to be staunch supporters, so this should not be taken as an indicator of how undecided voters will cast their ballots.

What can be learned is that Obama's base, his staunch supporters, are turning out. Barring unforeseen events, they should also turn out on election day.

Picture credit CNN Getty Images

The final presidential debate is tonight, from Hofstra University in New York. The candidates will be sitting awful close to each other. Obama better watch out, because McCain has vowed to "whip his you know what." I'd love to see them get into a scrap. Tune in.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Intellect vs....

Some people work with their minds, others use "sweat equity" to motivate.

Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize winner. Bill O'Reilly is a ...well, grumpy old man. Seems that there are a lot of those on the Right these days. Anyway, Tim Russert had them on Meet the Press in August 2004.

Those who are familiar with Krugman know that behind those scared puppy eyes the brain is always ticking. That's not to imply that he is scared of O'Reilly, Krugman always looks that way. Here, you can almost read his mind ( tax systems limit inequality...Bill, you are a blathering idiot...people think the rise in inequality was the result of impersonal forces, like technological change and globalization...not true...Bill you are making a fool of yourself, go right ahead...) as O'Reilly is throwing a fit. Watch here as the Spinmeister tries to beat up on the smart guy.

Look at how Krugman announced his award on his blog yesterday. Krugman


Now what about this. In the Birmingham News today Mike Perrin has an article about the University of North Alabama football team and coach Mike Hudspeth has worked to motivate his team. This year his theme is "Build a wall." They actually built a wall, and his point is that its not the bricks that give a wall strength, its what's between them, the mortar. "Our mortar consists of hard work, discipline, unselfishness, preparation, focus, so many things that go into the mortar."

Should have stopped there. The article goes on to describe how they built the wall.

"During two a day camp, after practice every player squeezed the sweat out of his shirt every day in a bucket. The bricklayer then bricked the wall up with each player's sweat mixed in with the mortar."

Sweat equity. Just a little yukky. But I guess it works, his team is 7-0 and ranked number 2 nationally in NCAA Division 2 football.

Maybe Auburn needs to build a sweaty wall.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bill Ayers...Marylin Shannon

A lot of people who read this blog were not around, or not paying attention to the news in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when Bill Ayers was doing his thing. But the McCain campaign is trying to paint Obama with the same brush they paint Ayers with. So I thought I would put a few facts out there.

Ayers was a member of the 60’s radical group the Weather Underground, or the Weathermen, a group that bombed public buildings to protest the war in Southeast Asia.

The Weathermen got their name from the lyrics to a Bob Dylan song, Subterranean Homesick Blues. Admit it, this brings back memories.

While Ayers has admitted to the acts for which he is accused, he was never convicted for any of them.

Much of what Ayers has said in recent years has been taken out of context. In 2001 after the 9/11 attacks he wrote a letter to the Chicago Tribune, in which he wrote, "I condemn all forms of terrorism — individual, group and official...Today we are witnessing crimes against humanity on our own shores on an unthinkable scale, and I fear that we may soon see more innocent people in other parts of the world dying in response.”

Yet people still try to portray him as a terrorist. They disregard that he is now a Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, or that he had worked extensively for social justice and educational reform. In 1997 he was awarded the Citizen of the Year Award by the city of Chicago.

Ayers was one of the three co-authors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge grant proposal in 1995 that won almost $50 million for school reform. Barack Obama was named to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge Project Board of Directors to oversee grants in the Chicago area. In addition both Ayers and Obama served on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, an anti-poverty group between 2000 and 2002. The Woods Fund of Chicago is an offshoot of the Woods Charitable Fund. Ayers is still on the board.

This is hardly an association that should reflect on Obama. Even William C. Ibershof, the lead federal prosecutor of the Weathermen Underground case thinks not. He wrote, in the New York Times on October 9, 2008, "I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers’s terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child. Although I dearly wanted to obtain convictions against all the Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, I am very pleased to learn that he has become a responsible citizen.”

But if you really want to bring up guilt by association, consider this clip:

MCCAIN SPOKESPERSON PFOTENHAUER: The article also concluded is that if Senator McCain had hung out with somebody who had bombed abortion clinics, no one would consider [raising the issue] illegitimate.

Enter Marylin Shannon. Shannon was a McCain delegate to the Republican Convention, from Oregon, who praised a woman convicted of attempted murder of an abortion clinic doctor.

From Raw Story:

McCain and Shannon appeared together at a fundraiser for the Oregon Citizens Alliance in 1993, a gathering of Christian right extremists that even fellow Republicans advised McCain not to attend because the group was so far outside the mainstream.

Speaking before McCain, Shannon offered some kind words for Shelley Shannon, who was accused and later convicted of shooting an abortion doctor: "I'm not related to Shelly Shannon, but I think she's a fine lady," the vice chairwoman of the state Republican Party said. McCain apparently said nothing to contradict that judgment, and less than three months later he voted against a bill that would make abortion clinic bombings a federal crime.

So McCain not only "pals" around with terrorist's buddies, he endorses domestic terrorism by practically condoning bombing abortion clinics. OK, that may be a stretch (although McCain's vote was wrong), wait, it's not a stretch. McCain is siding with those who promote violence against doctors. Read the Raw Story link.

Anyway, the point is, this type of guilt by association reeks of McCarthyism. Don't we ever learn?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wins and Losses

You win some, you lose some.

Here’s a win.

October 11 is National Coming Out Day, and is a good day for men and women to evaluate their lives, and if they are gay, to come out, at first to themselves, and later to others.

Coming out is a difficult process for many, but acknowledging one is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is the first step. Hey, it’s OK. You’re OK.

But don’t think that once you come out, it’s all over. It’s a continuing process. As you meet new people, some may be interested, some may be offended. You may choose not to tell some people because it could cost you, you may choose to write a book and tell the world.

Those are just some thoughts. I am not a counselor or therapist and am not really giving advice. Well, yes I am. My advice is: Feel good about yourself. You are who you are.

Here’s a loss.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has refused to issue a proclamation recognizing National Coming Out Day. After her remarks in the vice presidential debate, in which she said "If there's any kind of suggestion at all from my answer that I would be anything but tolerant of adults in America choosing their partners, choosing relationships that they deem best for themselves, you know, I am tolerant, and I have a very diverse family and group of friends.” So Alaskans Together for Equality asked her to proclaim. But, alas, she refused, even though in October she has issued proclamations for Careers in Construction Week, 10th Annual Christian Heritage Week, Biomedical Technician Week, Alaska Taiwan Friendship Week, World Farm Animals Day, Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and Grand Opening of Rilke Schule Day.

Here’s a win.

The Supreme Court of Connecticut has ruled that same sex marriage is legal. Now there are three states offering full equality in marriage. Which state will be next?

Here’s a loss.

McDonald’s caved in to the anti-gays and will no longer support the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Well I can live without a Big Mac.

Here’s a win. It’s good to end on a win.

Newsweek has Obama 52 McCain 41 in a national poll as of October 10.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Rough Seas Ahead

I am so glad that I am not a Republican today, because I would be so embarrassed to be associated with the party. McCain supporters are getting up in front of crowds and acting like complete fools. And the world is watching.

But it starts at the top. Much has been said of McCain's uncontrollable anger and his erratic behavior.

I wonder if some of his anger is due to guilt about how he treated his first wife, Carol McCain. You remember, the woman who was injured in an automobile accident while he was being held prisoner, and who he abandoned, disfigured and disabled, for his current wife Cindy.


In 1979 – while still married to Carol – he met Cindy at a cocktail party in Hawaii. Over the next six months he pursued her, flying around the country to see her. Then he began to push to end his marriage.
Carol and her children were devastated. ‘It was a complete surprise,’ says Nancy Reynolds, a former Reagan aide.
‘They never displayed any difficulties between themselves. I know the Reagans were quite shocked because they loved and respected both Carol and John.’


But Ross Perot, who paid her medical bills all those years ago, now believes that both Carol McCain and the American people have been taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel – even by the standards of modern politics.
‘McCain is the classic opportunist. He’s always reaching for attention and glory,’ he said.
‘After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona. And the rest is history.

Now, while the Republicans are having their angerfests, (after admitting that if they talk about the economy, they lose), Obama is reaching out to people in a calm and determined manner, offering hope and solutions.

So when you are navigating rough seas, like today's economy, who do you want, the calm determined captain looking ahead, or the angry, erratic captain jumping from place to place?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bradley...Reverse Bradley

Be sure to read the posts below this one. The Western Tribune has a new columnist, Sandy Miranda, and I decided to be nice and post her column (as well as my own). She's asking for responses to the questions she asks. I only ask that if you respond about her column with a comment on my blog, that you email her the same comments.

Aren't we glad that there are people who understand statistics and go to the trouble of computing the chance of everything, like Obama losing Ohio and still winning the election (70.05%) or McCain losing Ohio and still winning the election (0.33%). The folks at fivethirtyeight have loaded their site with scenarios and poll results and maps and more.

The Bradley Effect

Pundits keep talking about the Bradley effect and wondering if it will come into play this election. The Bradley effect is, of course, white guys saying they will vote for the black guy but then not doing it. Many are expecting a Reverse Bradley Effect, whereby white people won't admit they will vote for a black guy, but when it comes down to it, for the sake of their future, they vote for the black guy.

North Carolina governor Mike Easley thinks that could happen in his state. He was on the Rachel Maddow show last night and said his barber (who, he said, is a guy that can legally hold a straight razor up to your neck and ask a question, thus creating a good focus group to get answers from) is predicting just that. He speaks of white guys that have said all along they wouldn't vote for Obama that will in fact vote for him. He spoke of Obama's trips to his state, his 400 paid staffers in the state, and reminded us that Obama prepared for the debate in his state, and is connecting with people in his state.

Now try to factor this in. Ben Smith had this:

An Obama supporter, who canvassed for the candidate in the working-class, white Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown recently, sends over an account that, in various forms, I've heard a lot in recent weeks.

"What's crazy is this," he writes. "I was blown away by the outright racism, but these folks are f***ing undecided. They would call him a n----r and mention how they don't know what to do because of the economy."

Now, this kind of crap goes on, and I get questioned for making race an issue? With all this going on: Bradley and reverse Bradley and use of the N word and people shouting "Kill him" at McCain rally's when Obama's name is mentioned, do you really think it should be ignored?

No way.

Vote for that one. There you can read the history of That One and buy That One merchandise.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sandy Miranda

I want to welcome Sandy Miranda to The Western Tribune. Her first column was in this week’s paper. Will she be "a progressive" and earn a spot on Bessemer Opinions as well? Time will tell, but for now, here is her first column. Why don't you email her and let her know your opinions? She's asking.

For women only: Well, men can take a look

Hello ladies! And welcome to my world. Our world, lives and problems are probably very similar no matter your race, religion, income, age or whether you worship Alabama or Auburn.

It just so happens I live in your neighborhood and have for more than 23 years.

We’ve probably passed one another at the supermarket, cheered together at the ballpark, or shared the same pew at church.

Hopefully, God willing and planets aligned, I will be writing about issues we care about and understand, explaining issues we care about but don’t understand.

Things like the job, the home, child care, teenagers, elder care, friendships, relationships, marriage, divorce, our bodies, our looks, our mental and emotional as well as physical health.

And of course, every column will include the fun stuff – fashion, home and garden, make-up, hair, travel and so on…just not all at the same time.

The thing I look forward to the most however, is interacting with you, the reader.
Your questions and opinions are the inspiration for columns like this one.

I’m sure sometimes we will agree and sometimes disagree but boy, wouldn’t it be a boring world if everyone always thought and supported the exact same things?

Through this column I hope to expand your view of the world, inspire you to bigger and better things, give you tips to make your life easier and healthier, make you laugh, and occasionally make you cry.

So this is for you, my sisters.

But also, encourage your man to read it. There are going to be things guys should know. It might even make their lives a tiny bit easier.

I’m sure we are going to be great friends, girls. Maybe not after you read this first column, but in truth, I hope you do come back and keep coming and keep coming. Because I hope my column not only entertains you, but educates you, infuriates you and makes you laugh, not always in that order, of course.

The column is about women, women’s issues, mom’s issues, career women’s issues, any issues involving the female sex. It is about young and old, teen and middle age, every religion and every race.
Conservative? Liberal? Yep, you are welcome here as well.

Through the next few months we will agree and disagree. I can promise you that.
I can also promise if you are the type of person who spouts opinions without facts, or if you make racist, cultural, catty, mean-spirited remarks, they too will be addressed.

But you probably will not like my response to such remarks.

There’s no room in my column for mudslinging over gossipy, unproven fairy tales.

But there is ENDLESS room for heartfelt, intelligent, opinions and stories.

So to get the ball rolling, I say let’s start out with the biggest ball we can find. I’m talking about the Republican nominee for vice president, Gov. Sarah Palin. And I would like for you to provide some answers to the following questions and submit your responses on this hotter-than-fire topic:

1. Do you believe Sarah Palin was the correct choice as John McCain’s running mate?

2. Are you familiar with Sarah Palin’s family background?

3. Are you familiar with her political qualifications for the job?

4. Do you think that if should something happen to McCain, Palin could step into his shoes and become president of the United States of America?

5. In your opinion, compare Sarah Palin with Hillary Clinton.

6. Most important, did you watch the debate?

Whew. I can feel the heat already. Let’s get started ladies.

You may address your letter or emails to or

Western Tribune Column October 8 2008

Welcome to Banking's Musical Chairs

It makes you wonder: Who’s buying Wachovia? Maybe by the time this is printed we will know in this dizzying version of musical chairs.

First it was a solid bank. But it seems it was just waiting in line, as if only one financial institution per day could announce trouble. By the time Wachovia’s turn came around, they already had a suitor. They even had the help of the Feds, as the FDIC supposedly brokered the deal.

I didn’t think much about it at the time, but I thought the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was in the business of insuring our deposits. Who knew they were brokers as well?

So the first deal was with Citigroup. Now Wells Fargo says they are buying Wachovia. Or part of it, who knows?

Wells Fargo? Do they transport their money in stagecoaches? In competition with the Pony Express?

Regardless of what my bank is called next week, or next month, I have a suggestion. I see that the Wachovia branch near UAB West on 9th Avenue is scheduled to close in November. The next day, the branch at Colonial Promenade Tannehill is opening.

What makes them think that the people who live near the Bessemer Super Highway will drive all the way to McCalla to cash a check? And do the many businesses near Academy Drive want to send employees that far to make their daily deposits?

Bessemer is large enough to have three branches of the bank with the largest presence in the city. I can just see the little stagecoaches triangulating the city.

One thing I feel sure about. The money we have in banks here in Alabama is safe. State banking officials have said so, and I believe them. And congress and the president are enacting the largest rescue in history. No need to run to the ATM machine.

Opinions vary on the rescue, and no one offering an opinion, including myself, has all the information they would need to predict whether the bailout will really stop the bleeding or prevent it from happening again.

But most people do believe that without it, things might get worse as far as credit and financing goes. And with a little luck, the bailout will turn into a profitable gamble, making us taxpayers some money.

Not that we would see any of it, but that’s no surprise, is it?

A Shout Out to Bigots?

The Democrats are up 3-0 in the debate series. Here are the numbers, using a couple of the same polls I used after the first presidential and vice-presidential debates. Fox polls and Drudge polls don't count, so don't ask.

CNN Obama 54 McCain 30

CBS Obama 40 Tie 34 McCain 26


And that sheriff in Lee County, Florida who used Obama's middle name yesterday while introducing Sarah Palin may have been in violation of federal law. Story

A complaint sent to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel alleges that Scott violated the Hatch Act because his agency receives federal dollars, and Scott was engaging in political activity while on duty and in uniform. Erica S. Hamrick, senior attorney for the agency, said in an e-mail Tuesday that an investigation was being opened. Neither she nor her office could be reached for further comment Tuesday. ...

Some also are questioning whether Scott violated the county code of ethics. The statute says no county government employees are allowed to wear any uniform or clothing that would identify them as such while engaging in a political campaign not sponsored by the county, even if they are off-duty.

Some believe the comment could have had "racial connotations":

James Muwakkil, founder of the 300-member Fort Myers Coalition for Justice and a life member of the NAACP and ACLU, called for a formal apology. He said that while he supports the sheriff’s right to speak his mind, he criticized him for doing so while in uniform. He felt it was an affront to all county residents who may not share the sheriff’s views. He also felt there were racial connotations.

The entire McCain campaign is teetering toward racism. I know that one racist supporter does not mean the whole campaign is, but in Clearwater yesterday, this happened.

At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."

It's not a big jump to think of John McCain's referral to Barack Obama as a disdainful "That one" last night as a shout out to bigots.

Depersonalizing African Americans has long been a tactic of white bigots, and the use of terms such as "boy" or "that one" is easily recognizable.

Recall that John McCain voted against the law that created the national Martin Luther King Holiday in 1983, and in 1987 supported the Arizona Governor's effort to rescind the Holiday in his state. In speaking to the Arizona Teenage Republican Convention that year about the Governor's decision "McCain said that he felt (governor) Mecham was correct in rescinding the holiday." [Washington Post, 1/14/1987; Phoenix Gazette, 4/13/1987].

So it's no surprise that someone his age could still hold feelings of animosity even if, like George Wallace, he has had a change of heart in his later years. It's becoming obvious.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Best Little Boy in the World Gives Advice

The Best Little Boy in the World was written by John Reid in 1973. It was a memoir of a gay kid growing up. Twenty five years later we learned that John Reid was a pseudonym, that one could not self identify as a homosexual in the 1970's and expect to get anywhere.

Good move, Andrew. John Reid turned out to be Andrew Tobias, financial whiz and author of The Best Little Boy in the World Grows Up, as well as The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need and other best sellers. His work has appeared in Parade magazine, Time and others. (I have the two Best Little Boy books if anyone wants to borrow.)

He also is the treasurer for the Democratic Party.

And he gives advice daily (almost) on this blog where today's post outlines his four pronged approach to surviving the effects of the Bush years. Good advice. Now if I just had some money I could follow it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What I've Been Waiting For

You knew it was coming. And there couldn't be a better time.

Some of you are too young to remember these hearings in 1990, or the criminal activity that led up to them, or John McCain's link to Charles Keating. This 13 minute video will get you up to date. Now, who do you want in charge of the economy? 747 Savings and Loans institutions failed, and the cost to taxpayers was $124 billion.

Robert Bennett, the Special Counsel for the Senate Ethics Committee said during the 1990 hearings: of the five senators here before you, Senator McCain had the closest personal friendship with Charles Keating. Their friendship predated Senator McCain's political career. Senator McCain also was the only one who received personal as well political benefits from Charles Keating.” [Senate Ethics Committee Hearing into the Keating Five]

Talk about poor judgement, relationships with questionable characters, in fact, characters who have served time in prison. Maybe they will bring this up Tuesday night during the debate.

GLBT History Month

October is GLBT History Month. GLBT History Month highlights annually the achievements of 31 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender Icons—one each day—with a free video, bio, bibliography, images and other resources.

Today, award winning writer Alice Walker is featured. There's a short video plus a written biography that tells of her achievements.

GLBT History Month

Visit each day to learn about famous GLBT Americans. You can look at past days, but can't look ahead, so a daily visit is necessary.

And just to make you feel better, if the election was held today Real Clear Politics has Electoral College (No Toss Ups) numbers of Obama/Biden 353 McCain/Palin 185. Since you only need 270 votes, it looks like we have a winner.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Extra Credit!!!

Sarah Palin's shout out to the third graders and her promise of extra credit for them if they were watching should get her a lot of votes.

But regarding an actual issue, when speaking of gay relationships, Sarah Palin said, "I am tolerant."

That is supposed to make us feel better.

But was tolerance enough in 1947 when white bus drivers in North Carolina tolerated black riders as long as they sat at the back of the bus?

No, because tolerance ended when Bayard Rustin and other Reconciliation activists upset things by having blacks sit up front and whites sit in the back.

And when tolerance ended, over a two week period twelve riders had been charged with disorderly conduct or other "crimes", and resulted in Rustin and others being sentenced to the North Carolina chain gang.

Silver lining: Rustin was released after serving 22 days on good behavior. He travelled to Chapel Hill and spoke at the University of North Carolina and got the ball rolling. Within two years North Carolina had abolished chain gangs. Bayard Rustin had proven that nonviolence could topple a violent system.

Anyway, back to the debate.

Palin: "But I also want to clarify, if there’s any kind of suggestion at all from my answer that I would be anything but tolerant of adults in America choosing their partners, choosing relationships that they deem best for themselves, you know, I am tolerant... But in that tolerance also, no one would ever propose, not in a McCain-Palin administration, to do anything to prohibit, say, visitations in a hospital or contracts being signed, negotiated between parties."

Anybody that believes this stand on your head (a favorite expression of my mother). And let's see how long until the fundies skewer her over this remark.

Joe Biden, on the other hand recognized constitutional protections that gays should have:

"Absolutely. . . . Look, in an Obama-Biden administration, there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple...The fact of the matter is that under the Constitution we should be granted - same-sex couples should be able to have visitation rights in the hospitals, joint ownership of property, life insurance policies, et cetera. That’s only fair. It’s what the Constitution calls for. And so we do support it."

Poll results:

CBS: Biden won 46% Palin won 21%

CNN Biden 51% Palin 36%

A reader had these concerns about the debate and about Governor Palin.

1. Why was Sarah Palin's microphone on before and after the debate so that we could her her comments to Joe Biden and to the moderator but Joe Biden's microphone was not on?

2. When is someone going to make an issue of Todd Palin's job with BP?

3. When is someone going to make an issue of her lack of political science, law, or government education? (Like lacking the ability to name a supreme court case?)

4. During the debate she referred to Joe Biden as Joe while he addressed her as Governor Palin. (He said that would be OK).

5. If he would of been as aggressive as she was...he would have been attacked for attacking, being rude to a woman. (The bar was set so low for her that it didn't matter what she did. Biden, however was held to different standards, and surpassed expectations, according to polls.)

6. At the beginning of the debate there was a shot from the back of the stage that clearly showed her flipping through notes on her podium. (Needs no explanation. I used to cram right before big tests, too, when I didn't have a thorough understanding of the material.)

After considering the debate I don't think it will make a difference one way or the other for either candidate. The race is between Obama and McCain, and while Obama's policies were clearly put forth by Biden, and nothing but generalizations and folksy talk ("Yer darn right") from Palin, voters feel that Obama can handle the economy, as McCain drops out of the race in Michigan. Maybe I should say, "suspends his campaign."