Mary Scott Hunter Campaign Kickoff

From Mary Scott Hunter:

We will be kicking off our campaign for State Senate this Friday at Lyn’s Gracious Goodness (2306 Whitesburg Drive S) at 5pm.

I know that everyone is busy this time of year, but I really need your presence at this event. So many of you have already committed so much to us, please come on Friday so I can shower you with my praises in public!

I need you there so the public can see the people who are supporting me.  I have learned that people are more impressed by who supports you than what you have to say. I could not be more proud to have you as my support team.

Please join us Friday for an hour and help me show district 7 who I am and why I will be the best choice for State Senator!

Paul Sanford Says Budget Management Crucial to Saving Jobs

From a Press Release by Paul Sanford (note to other candidates: we’ll post your stuff, too):

Republican State Senate candidate Paul Sanford today said the 6.7 percent unemployment rate in Alabama must be addressed by the Legislature when it convenes next month in Montgomery. The jobless figures were just released and reflect the rate of unemployed Alabamians as of December 31, 2008.

Sanford credited Governor Riley for an economic growth policy that has brought new business and jobs to Alabama. He said the economic incentives offered in recent years by the state to businesses considering Alabama have been a major attraction. Sanford warned that if the budget deficit is not fixed, incentive offers to businesses will no longer be available. “The Legislature must plan a budget based on realism, not pie-in-the-sky projections, or we will continue to dig ourselves deeper into a hole,” Sanford said. “And if we are not able to attract businesses through incentives, the jobless rate will continue to climb,” he added.

Alabama’s jobless rate has traditionally been well below that of the national average, but according to the latest figures, that gap is narrowing. Unemployment on the national level is currently at 7.2 percent. “In recent years, Alabama has been able to market itself as the best destination for businesses to locate. My goal is to make our state a breeding ground for new business opportunities and job growth,” Sanford stated.

2009 Madison County Legislative Forum

I attended the Legislative Forum tonight and signed up to speak. My issue was Free the Hops. I think I said something like:

I live in Representative Hinshaw’s district. I am speaking in support of Free the Hops, which is a bi-partisan grassroots organization formed to reform Alabama’s Beer Laws.  I know that many of you Representatives and Senators have supported Free the Hops in the past, and I hope that it will pass this time.  Thank you.

Brief. Much less than the three minutes allotted.

The Legislative Delegation present included Senator Arthur Orr (R – 3), Representative Mac McCutcheon (R – 25), Representative Sue Schmitz (D – 6), Representative Howard Sanderford (R – 20), Senator Tom Butler (D -2 ), Representative Randy Hinshaw (D – 21), Representative Butch Taylor (D – 22), Representative Laura Hall (D – 19), and Representative Mike Ball (R – 10).

Senate 7 GOP candidates Roger Richardson, Mary Scott Hunter, and Paul Sanford were there campaigning (as was Democrat Laura Hall – in the delegation).

Leading Democrat Doug Dermody and Leading Republican Elbert Peters were there, as well as many other civic leaders including Susan Newman, Mark Russell, Judge Frank Riddick, Sandy Kirkendall, George Barry, Will Culver, Stan Simpson, and Laurie McCauley.  The irrepressible Jackie Reed was there too.

The rules: people signed up to speak for a max of three minutes, and legislators did not answer questions or submit to polling – they could address an issue if they wanted to. The gist of issues surfaced included (keep in mind I don’t do shorthand, I scribble, and I don’t know most of these people – apologies if I misspell your name and don’t explain your issue fully):

1. McNeal and Erbert of AEA – does Walmart pay AL income tax? AEA says no. (Butler says their analysis is correct)

2. Richardson of MADD. Family killed by drunk driver.

3. Hall of MADD. Paralyzed by drunk driver.

4. Hall of MADD. Husband paralyzed by drunk driver.

5. Brinkley – Midwives.

6. Group of students – Youth Advocates in Action. Chewing tobacco.

7. Soule – Partnership for Drug Free. Criminalize Salvia.

8. Fagan – Eviction laws.

9. Hogan – Dangerous dogs (Hinshaw agrees that issue needs to be addressed).

10. Robertson – Rural “Roads by Prescription”.

11. Doug Seay – Pirates. Just kidding, Doug is recovering from surgery and had a patch on his eye. He went on to speak about Constitutional Reform (Hinshaw and Taylor support).

12. Timberlake – transparency, open meetings compliance, waive tuition for Seniors at Universities.

13. Cox – no Senate 7 representation during session, restore APT ‘For the Record’ funding.

14. Davis – Mental Health.

15. Holman? – Medicare funding.

16. Brown – chewing tobacco sales to minors.

17. Johnson – Family Services Center.

18. Jackie Reed – (I really love her, she does a great service for Huntsville and says what needs to be said) quit stealing education money from children, build more jails for sex predators, “we want your name on that button” (vote your own machines).

19. Sasan – Proration, if kids don’t have a school program they’ll find their own program (crack, meth, teen pregnancy).

20. Gurley Mayor Simpson – fund small town infrastructure.

21. Stenburg? – County School Impact Fee.

22. Balch – film industry incentives (Sanderford co-sponsored bill).

23. Masterson – empty Senate 7 seat.

24. Holsenbeck? – ACCR, need to raise taxes, end payday loan business misery.

25. Me – Free the Hops.

26. Zieger – Alabama Family Rights Organization, 50 / 50 parenting.

27. Kozinski – oppose Real ID and biometrics.

28. Foster – supports Fair Pay Act.

On a more personal note, I had the pleasure of meeting Will Culver, our new City Councilman. He is a serious guy who seems to want to represent all of the people in his district, not just the ones who voted for him.  Even with his law enforcement background, he was surprised when I mentioned that Huntsville is #83 nationally for crime and #2 in Alabama, according to FBI statistics aggregated by CQ Press. Also:

http://www.flashpointblog.com/2008/11/29/us-city-crime-rankings/

http://www.flashpointblog.com/2008/09/16/crime-in-the-us-2007/

I asked Representative Hall to consider responding to the Flashpoint Senate 7 questionnaire.

And best of all, Representative Hinshaw said he reads Flashpoint occasionally, and he said he thinks we’re “fair” to him.  In real life, I like Randy and have campaigned both for him and against him (remember he switched parties).  He doesn’t know this (well, he might now), but he is probably the person most responsible for me becoming as pro-life as I am now. Go figure.

UPDATE:

John Peck of The Huntsville Times wrote an article about the forum: “People Talk, Politicians Listen”.

Cheers Y’all

The Nook is hosting a tasting event for Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company Monday at 6PM.

The Nook is at 3305 Bob Wallace Avenue (just west of Bob Wallace and Triana) and they have the best selection of beer in Huntsville. 

The owner of Lazy Magnolia will be there, and she’ll be telling people all about her products. If you buy a Southern Pecan Ale plus Another Beer, you’ll get a free Lazy Magnolia glass.  BTW, Emeril serves Lazy Magnolia at his Gulf Coast Fish House, it is that good.

Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale is the first beer in the world, to our knowledge, made with whole roasted pecans.  The pecans are used just like grain and provide a nutty characteristic and a delightful depth to the flavor profile. This beer is very lightly hopped to allow the malty, caramel, and nutty flavors shine through.  The color is dark mahogany.

Free the Hops will be there, promoting CHANGE! in Alabama’s beer laws and signing up members for their special interest group lobbying organization. Now, if only the Legislative Forum served beer…

Politics goes so good with beer – The Pixies

The Eleventh Commandment

Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.

I won the chance to run against Brown after a Republican primary campaign that was very bitter at times, largely because of the lingering split between conservatives and moderates in the state party. My principal opponent in the primary was George Christopher, a former mayor of San Francisco who tried simultaneously to portray me as a right-wing extremist and attack me because I’d admitted having been in Communist front groups – without mentioning that I’d resigned and declared war on them as soon as I’d realized what they were.

The personal attacks against me during the primary finally became so heavy that the state Republican chairman, Gaylord Parkinson, postulated what he called the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican. It’s a rule I followed during that campaign and have ever since.

Ronald Reagan

Personally, I don’t see examining someone’s record as violating the 11th Commandment.  In my opinion, a candidate’s voting record, contributions / contributors, associations, and even character are appropriate areas of discussion. Holding someone accountable for their actions is normal for a Republican, but let’s try to do it with a smile.

Remember that Reagan referred to President Ford as a “poor leader”.  The ‘Bolding’ is mine:

He (Ford) also faced rebellion from the right. Conservative Republicans rallied around California governor Ronald Reagan, who ran an aggressive campaign against the incumbent. Reagan criticized Ford’s policy of detente with the Soviet Union; he disagreed with Ford’s pardon of those who had dodged the draft during the Vietnam War.

He also blamed Ford for the budget deficit, and referred to him as a poor leader…

The primary race bruised Ford, putting him behind Carter in some polls by as much as 33 points. Ford cut into the lead after the first debate, trailing by 10 points, but suffered another setback when he said Poland and Eastern Europe were free from Soviet domination.

Ford narrowed the lead in the closing days in what was considered a spectacular comeback, thanks, in part, to Carter’s famously ridiculed remarks to Playboy about lust in his heart. The primary with Reagan also toughened Ford up for the general election campaign. Rather than stage a passive, “Rose Garden” strategy — which he had considered — Ford campaigned aggressively down the stretch.

I like sunshine. It’s good for you (Vitamin D).  It also helps expose “false flag” candidates:

“Traditionally, the party does not get involved in our primaries, but this is a unique situation where the Democratic Party and the AEA are fully funding candidates to run as Republicans,” GOP Chairman Mike Hubbard said in an unusual news release Friday. “And we believe we have a responsibility to alert all Republicans to this situation prior to Tuesday’s primary election.”

Republican Troy “Skip” Smithwick of Sylacauga, who is running against incumbent Stephanie Bell of Montgomery, raised $238,400 for his campaign – $235,000 of it from PACs heavily funded by AEA, records show. Paul Christopher of Mobile, running against incumbent Randy McKinney of Orange Beach, raised $158,175 – $150,000 of it from Democratic PACs and AEA-funded PACs.

The money dumped into the two candidates’ campaigns is unprecedented for a state school board race, GOP officials said.

“We encourage all Republican voters to not allow the Democrats to hijack our primary, specifically in the election for the state board of education, which, based on the levels of corruption that have been exposed, is the last place Democrats need to be in control,” Hubbard, a state House member from Auburn, said in his statement.

In my opinion, this is not what we have in the Republican Senate 7 Primary.  Our candidates have support from prominent local Republicans.  I don’t see any of them as ‘RINOs’, ‘phony trial lawyers’, “AEA Democrats”, or ‘bought’.  The above story illustrates that when the Democrats or AEA buy a candidate, they’re willing to pay big money…

In fact, I see money from Democrats as a signal that maybe they know that we have a chance of winning this seat, and that maybe someone is hedging their bets. We are going to need, and we have a good chance of picking up, more conservative Democrats who aren’t comfortable voting for someone as liberal as a Laura Hall.

As we get to know them and their positions on issues, I think we’ll get more comfortable with the candidates and be able to make an informed choice on Primary Day.

EDIT:

I removed the totally embarrassing mistake from the text – I think I’ve suffered enough.  The mistake will be forever remembered in the comments…

Alabama’s Poet Laureate

Or not.

A few months ago, I posted this poem at Doc’s (think of the meter as an untraditional Dr. Suess verse form):

Lilly Ledbetter lost a lawsuit,
Lex lata limitations.
Litigation is her legacy,
And Liberal Liability Legislation.

Yes, it’s bad, but YOU try to make a poem about it that’s halfway legally sound…

She’s back in the news. The “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009″ H.R. 11 IH passed the House on January 9, 2009 by a mostly Party-line vote of 247 – 171 (note that Dem. Rep. Parker Griffith voted against the Act – good for him).  The bill S. 181 passed the Senate on January 22 by a mostly Party-line vote of 61 – 36 (note that Senators Sessions and Shelby voted against the Act – good for them; also note that we’ll probably see the same GOP crossovers time and again).   Unfortunately, it will be signed into law by President Obama.

The Lilly Ledbetter Act is a job-killing bill for business, but a new source of revenue for trial lawyers who can file lawsuits against businesses based on complaints from decades ago, even if the business has new owners.

FYI – Alabama’s Poet Laureate is Sue Walker of Mobile.

Here’s some of her prize-winning poem God Rap:

God’s got Alzheimer’s—that’s my latest theory
This planet is forgotten and man it makes me dreary
Half the world is starving and children are dying
Mothers are bereaved and fathers are crying
The other half is rich and making lots of money
But go out to the streets and I tell you it ain’t funny ’cause
God’s got Alzheimer’s—that’s my latest theory
This planet is forgotten and man it makes me weary.

And then there’s Where Joy Resides:

JOY JOY JOY JOY JOY oi oi oi oi oi,
reverberations sounding its sometimes inscrutable presence
in your life, sounding the iambic beat of your heart.

And then there’s this:

there once were two friends getting into the shoal,
so she lifted her feet off the warm brown sand,
and was never again seen on land.

OK, so that one is really from the Random Kid’s Poetry Generator.

Maybe my poem’s not so bad after all…

Senate 7 Campaign Finance Reports

Via Doc’s (Danny sure does get up and on the computer early – please be sure to visit his site and reward his industriousness), here is his summary of the Secretary of State’s 45-day Campaign Finance Reports search.

GOP Candidate Contributions Ending Balance
Sam Givhan $20,848.00 $20,348.00
Mary Scott Hunter 20,750.00 20,750.00
Roger Richardson 2,850.00 336.58
Paul Sanford 800.00 4,894.89
Allan Rhodes 0 0
Peter Wright No report submitted

Using the SOS CFR search function and choosing “Form 2 – Contributions”, here are some details (local donors over $1000 and all PAC contributions are listed):

Sam Givhan - in addition to himself and family, major contributors include: William and Laurie Chapman $2500, WL PA PAC $1000 (PAC), John Schultz $2500, Bill and Eloise Propst $2500, Michael and Emily Reiney $2500, plus many other contributors (4 PDF pages).

Mary Scott Hunter – TN Valley Citizens for Economic Development $1500 (PAC), Melissa Brinkley $1000 + $500, Ronald and Cynthia Gray $1000, Rod Stakely $1000, Timothy Stewart $1500, plus many other contributors (4 PDF pages).

Roger Richardson – himself plus other contributors (2 PDF pages).

Paul Sanford – contributors on 1 PDF page.

Here is Doc’s summary of the Democrats:

Democratic candidate Anthony Daniels reported $4,007 in contributions and an ending balance of $78.15. Fellow Democrats Laura Hall and Sherryl Snodgrass Caffey did not file reports. In her last report in January of 2008, state Rep. Hall filed an annual report showing a campaign balance of $8,979.35.

Form 2 Contributions for:

Anthony Lee Daniels, Jr. – one local contributor (several from Washington DC) on 1 PDF page.

UPDATE:

Givhan – the “WLPA PAC” is the Wilmer & Lee, PA PAC, headed by ‘Scribble’ Lee.  Contributors are Wilmer & Lee PA, recent disbursements include $1000 to Mo Brooks (R) and $1000 to Bob Harrison (D). Givhan works at Wilmer & Lee.

Hunter – the “TN Valley Citizens for Economic Development PAC” is headed by Steve Raby, who was mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for the office. Contributors include several Nursing Homes (Parker Griffith?),  Laura Hamilton (D), Hinton Mitchem (D), Lowell Barron (D), and Milton McGregor. Recent Disbursements include Parker Griffith (D), Sue Schmitz (D), and Randy Hinshaw (D); plus a relative pittance to Glenn Watson (R).

The TN Valley PAC contribution to Hunter has me asking Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

UPDATE:

Mike Ball (R – 10) commented on the “TN Valley Citizens for Economic Development PAC” at Doc’s:

I don’t think that a contribution from Raby by itself means a GOP candidate is “bought”. He gave me a contribution in 2006 and I sure ain’t “bought”. While Raby usually works closely with Dems, he also does some independent contract lobby work. Among his clients are the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

The Caputo Report

I just found this Birmingham blog The Caputo Report (“Fighting for a Better Birmingham Region”) via Doc’s.  It is the ‘official blog’ of the Birmingham Regional Chamber’s Public Policy Division, written by Pascal Caputo.  I like it already. Caputo has a guest post from State Senator Scott Beason (R – Gardendale) promoting Birmingham’s Northern Beltline plus a post supporting Free the Hops (notice that Dan has already commented there – he’s a pathfinder).

Roads and beer don’t normally go together well, but Caputo pulls it off brilliantly :)

Gator Navy going after Pirates

Never Retreat, Never Surrender

That’s the motto of the USS San Antonio (LPD17), which is hunting Somali pirates, serving as the flagship for Combined Task Force 151.  This ship was built in New Orleans at Northup Grumman Shipbuilding Avondale Shipyard (BTW, Intergraph was on the project team – Integrated Data Environment).  Note that the LPD17 program is billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule:  “The first-in-class ship was delivered late and incomplete at $1.8 billion, $1 billion higher than planned. Two InSurvs — one in 2005 and a second in 2007 — made clear the ship would have long-term problems.”

Intergraph says: “The resulting collaborative computing environment is expected to contribute to more than $4 billion in estimated savings over the life of the ship class through decreased manufacturing rework and increased collaboration and innovation.”  I just threw up in my mouth a little…

Many of the system engineering problems on the LPD 17 can be attributed to the software-based design tool used by the contractors. The contractor selected a 3-D model to fulfill Navy requirements, the Integraph software package, which had been used in large construction efforts but not fully adapted for shipbuilding.”

The StrategyPage article describes the ship as a “sad sack”: because of quality issues and because the ship was deployed without its complement of LCACs (big hovercraft) or EFVs (amphibious vehicles) or helicopters or Marines.

“It has a crew of 360, and normally 720 marines and all their equipment are carried. For the anti piracy mission, there are only a few hundred specialist personnel embarked, including a platoon of American marines and a platoon of army military police.”

“Apparently, only three HH-60H helicopters (a seagoing Blackhawk) are on board, and none of the usual amphibious vehicles or hovercraft. However, the San Antonio could handle any of the helicopters used by the 15-20 warships in Task Force 150, as well as UAVs. The San Antonio also has an extensive and very modern CIC (combat information center) for use by Task Force commanders. Communications are excellent as well, including a satellite Internet link. The well deck could accommodate small patrol boats or USVs (unmanned surface vessels used for patrolling).”

Fair winds and following seas…

MORE:

Spanish parliamentary has agreed on Wednesday (January 21) anti piracy decision, where they will send troops to chase Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, as part of EU anti piracy mission.

The parliament has reached the decision which will deploy 395 troops in the Gulf of Aden. Spain has been operating off Somali waters since last year. It already has a P-3 maritime surveillance plane with 70 troops at a French air base in Djibouti, just north of Somalia…

And More:

South Korea’s cabinet has approved on Tuesday (20 January) to join the Seoul administration anti piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden, while the government will send a warship and 310 troops to combat piracy off Somalia, South Korea media reported.

Cabinet officials ratified the plan to dispatch a Navy destroyer — the Ganggamchan — and about 310 troops to the waters off the Gulf of Aden, ministry officials said.
The dispatch of a destroyer, which must be approved by parliament next month, would mark the first-ever overseas combat deployment by the country’s navy.

With the motion, the Navy will send the 4,500-ton Ganggamchan that will be carrying three high-speed boats, along with a helicopter.

And more (from January 8):

The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) has established Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) specifically for counter-piracy operations.

Naval ships and assets from more than 20 nations comprise the Combined Maritime Forces. U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Terence “Terry” McKnight has been named the commander of the new task force which will be fully operational by the middle of January.

The CMF created the Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA) in the Gulf of Aden in August of 2008 to support international efforts to combat piracy.