Honore may primary Vitter

Great news in the land of my birth from BayouBuzz:

The Louisiana Weekly and Bayoubuzz.com have learned that the hero of Hurricane recovery, General Russell Honore is seriously considering entering the Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate seat against incumbent David Vitter.   Honore, a Republican since the Reagan Administration and a registered Louisiana voter from his Zachary home, has spoken to friends and supporters in the last two weeks signaling that he is, according to one, “more than 50% sure that he will run.”

While polls show Vitter as the clear favorite in both the primary and the general election, one very senior Louisiana Republican predicted that if Honore runs, “He wins”.  As that GOP party elder further explained… “All he has to say is ‘Stuck on Stupid’, and Vitter is toast.

Military voters, who constitute a plurality of the Republican electorate, will flock to Honore, and the party leader in question also believes that the General’s race will matter to primary voters less than his social stands.   Honore admitted through aides to the Weekly that he is “pro-life and pro-family”.

I think that Louisiana GOP voters would welcome an alternative to Vitter (infamous for his involvement with the DC Madam) and that Honore would win the Primary.

Sue Schmitz Facebook – Update

Marisa, one of Sue Schmitz’ supporters, found her way here and said that she didn’t find my commentary about her Facebook post even “moderately amusing”.  She believes that the point of my post was to make “random stale jokes here and there about her (Schmitz’) guilt”.  She thought it was “repugnant” to quote her public words without her “notification” or “opinion”.   Marisa also thought that making fun of people who defended Schmitz by claiming “injustice” was “skeezy”.  I see it as exposing the mental gymnastics and hypocrisy Democrats resort to in excusing the flaws of their politicans.

BTW if I were a newspaper editor following the ASNE Code of Ethics they suggest that people be given a chance to respond to a public accusal (I believe the comment section here suffices),  and I’m not accusing these people of anything more than willful blindness and poor judgment.

Marisa says that “Ms. Schmitz is the reason I was blessed with a strong understanding of government in high school, including that which is and is not corrupt”.  My original comment about Marisa was that “She must have missed the part about public corruption and the legal system” in school.  From her comments we can also assume she wasn’t taught much about the First Amendment (more “stale” humor – but certainly not “random”).

Marisa did make one valid point:  she said that Sue Schmitz did not create the page and that I should have pointed that out.  OK.  It seems that Sue Schmitz’ son created the page and posts using a picture of his Mom.

I would like to thank Marisa for taking the time to comment.   This provides an opportunity to update the post and highlight some of our neighbors who’ve publicly commented on Sue Schmitz’ son’s Facebook fansite.  Just like last time, those who offered prayers and support will not be mentioned, but those who rail against the “injustice” and their quoted words will be noted.

Meagan Imsand – “The injustice that surrounds you situation breaks my heart”.

J Ricky Sizemore – “What has happened is nothing more than a political persecution, a misuse of judicial authority and a travesty of justiice”.

Kelli Morgan – “I wish there was something we could all do about this ridiculous injustice”.

Susan Young Guffey – “I would just like to say, “this whole thing sucks big time. Its such bull crap! I don’t believe any of it… What I think happened is you stepped on some wrong toes and now someone has the opportunity to get you back”.

Elizabeth Moore Willingham – “What an injustice”.

Kristi Brown Combs – “Mrs. Schmitz is no criminal! I’m so upset over the ruling and sentencing”.

Daniel Lofgren – “This trial was nothing but a trumped up political witch hunt. In this state, if there is wrong doing in government, it goes unpunished. Only the innocent trying to affect change suffer”.

Jane Shrewsbury Hillis – “This was a witch hunt and you know it!!! This is a great idea..having a FB page!!!”

Yolonda Ary – “I have known you for many years and I know what they accused you of is absolutely absurd”.

Chris McGinty – “Mrs. Schmitz, what has happened to you is an atrocity, period”.

Sue Schmitz (who isn’t really Schmitz, but might be her son) – “First they came for the Communists... Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me”.

Sue Schmitz (again) – “Please write Congressman Griffith, Senator Shelby, Senator Sessions, The Huntsville Times, and local media to show the power of the people of a democratic society and to shine the light of truth on this issue”.

Travis Large – “I wont stand for it and I damn sure dont believe all this foolishness!!!”

Kammie Bullen Lee – “I am very sorry for what has happened to you in this republican inspired witch hunt! The press and the U.S. attorney’s office have not treated you fairly. It is frightening to think we live in a country where a person can be tried, convicted, sentenced and threatened with seizure of family property on evidence that a few people have decided that person has not worked hard enough! Your true mistake was being a Democrat during a Republican witch hunt! I am glad to see that Alice Martin and the rest of her cohorts are going out with the rest of the Bush Administration!”

This update includes the willful blindness exhibited by these people through ‘yesterday’.  No stale humor this time – these people’s words mock themselves…

This guy has a bright future as a Birmingham Democrat

“My campaign is not based on a foundation of lies… It’s just the information I provided to the people is false.”

That’s how Antwon Womack defended his decision to continue running for the Birmingham Board of Education after the Birmingham News reported “that he lied about his age, education and residence while campaigning”.

The Birmingham News wrote “Candidate Antwon Womack says he will stay in race despite falsified biography”, which describes Womack’s campaign of deceit.  The comments are fascinating, and provide even more context to his story.

Womack applied for a “scholarship” to the Democracy for America (formerly Dean for America) ‘Nutroots Nation’ National Convention, claiming to be “Dr. Antwon B. Womack” in his application (excerpts below):

I have been apart of the Alabama Governemt for more then 8yrs. I have have the opporunity to be Chair of many organization throught out the State of Alabama, I have also been Campaign Chair for more then 3 campaigns in the last 2yrs. I am currenlty the State Director of Youth Affairs for the Alabama Young Democrats, Fmr.Youth City Council President of the City of Birmingham

And this is what Womack envisions as his future:

I see my self if not elected as a School Board member, I see myself running for State Senate of Alabama and finishing up my carrer for life

Lying Democrat in training…

MORE:

Here’s a post from The Caputo Report, “Birmingham School Board Candidate Lies about Bio, Vows to Continue Campaign”:

…the reputation of our city and our region have been severely tarnished because of the ethical lapses of a long (and regrettably growing) line of  local elected officials.  Simply put, if Birmingham is to succeed, Birmingham cannot tolerate any more ethically challenged politicians.

Pascal Caputo is a good source of information from Birmingham and Jefferson County – I should add that his Facebook post alerted me to this story.

MORE:

James Butts of the Alabama Young Democrats commented that “Antwon Womack is not now, nor has he ever been, associated with the Alabama Young Democrats”.  So Womack fabricated that part of his biography too.

For those Democrats who get upset that I harsh on your party for public corruption – how many Democrats pleaded guilty just this week?  Within the last month?  This year?  How much have Democrats stolen from education or public works?  How many were leading Democratic Party officials (Bill Blount was former Party Chairman, Roy Johnson was former Speaker Pro Tem of the State House, and Governor Don Siegelman)?

And then we’ve got those who are just a little bit unethical – voting other legislator’s machines, double-dipping, and goodness knows what else.

Instead of complaining about my comments, how about voting for honest and ethical candidates for a change.

How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company

John McWhorter wrote an article in City Journal “Thus Spake Zora”, about Zora Neale Hurston from Notasulga Alabama – she was a novelist and playwright and one of the best writers of the 20th century.  The article is part biography and part book review, and it provides an unusual look at race and politics.  McWhorter calls Hurston “America’s favorite black conservative” due to her self-help politics and anti-socialism.  City Journal is a must read – add it to your favorites.  From the article:

Hurston held a fiercely asserted black conservative politics akin to Clarence Thomas’s. Her most famous statement in this vein comes from “How It Feels to Be Colored Me,” an essay of 1928: “I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. . . . I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature has somehow given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it.”

Even though she died in 1960, her words are prescient:

In saying that the black vote should not be one “dark, amorphous lump,” she anticipated today’s black conservatives in pointing out the pitfalls of reflexively supporting one party: “It’s time for us to cease to allow ourselves to be delivered as a mob by persuasive ‘friends’ and become individual citizens.”

Though her works show tremendous pride in black culture, her view of race is evident in this quote:

Now, suppose a Negro does something really magnificent, and I glory, not in the benefit to mankind, but in the fact that the doer was a Negro. Must I not also go hang my head in shame when a member of my race does something execrable? . . . The white race did not go into a laboratory and invent incandescent light. That was Edison. . . . If you are under the impression that every white man is an Edison, just look around a bit.

If you’re like me, you laughed a bit at that, but her underlying thought is spot on – and illustrates a big difference in thinking between conservatives and liberals – we think of people as individuals and liberals think of people in terms of collective factions. 

And to explain the title of this post, there’s this:

“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against. But it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company!”

Anyway, it’s a nice article about one of our own, even though not every Alabama conservative is a Hurston…

The rest of the story

I read the same story in two newspapers today: one in the Huntsville Times and the original one in the Tennessean.  Imagine my surprise to find that the Times edited out important information.

The Huntsville Times ran the story by Lucas Johnson with the headline “Anti-reform rally in Nashville fizzles” (I couldn’t find a link at al.com but the article was on page A-5).  The article was about an ObamaCare protest organized by Independent Party director Tom Kovach and his disappointment that he was the only protestor who showed up for a protest.  The Times included negative quotes from the Tennessee Democratic Party and mentioned that the “failed protest stood in contrast to a rally on Thursday in which chanting, sign-carrying supporters of health care reform backed up traffic” in Nashville.

What the Times left out was that Congressman Jim Cooper (D) had scheduled an appearance, then cancelled the event, leaving only that guy to show up:

Rep. Jim Cooper, a Nashville Democrat, canceled an appearance Friday at a first day of school celebration at West End Middle School after hearing that Kovach’s group planned to attend and raise the health care issue.

So the Times didn’t think that Congressman Cooper hiding from his constituents was important?  Or that the Congressman’s cancellation may have contributed to the protest’s “fizzle”? 

This comparison illustrates the sedulous liberal bias that permeates the Times, and even though it appears the new editor has taken some steps to de-hack the paper, much of the hackery remains.

MCGOP – 15 August 2009

Bill Johnson, Republican candidate for Governor, was the guest speaker this morning at the Madison County GOP breakfast.

Johnson said he was “conservative enough” and “tough enough” to be Governor of Alabama, and tough enough to stand up to this “socialist President”.

He said that he had real experience fighting against Socialists, from trying to volunteer as a medic in Afghanistan against the Soviets, to spending 9 months as a medic with the contras in Nicaragua (fighting against the same communist who currently runs the country – Daniel Ortega).

Johnson addressed the stories of his tax troubles head on and this is his account: while he was in Nicaragua, the IRS filed a return for him and taxed him $12,000 on an assumed $35,000 income (he really made less than $600).  He says it took ten years to finally settle with the IRS, and that his ‘taxing’ experience inspired him to “never vote for a tax” when he served as a Birmingham City Councilman.

Johnson spoke of his experience with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), starting with his appointment as Assistant Director and then his promotion to Director.  He told how ADECA has supported the BRAC and applauded Huntsville’s “salesmanship” in the BRAC process.

Johnson recognized Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle in the audience, and commented that when ADECA asked for a list of stimulus projects – Huntsville submitted a list asking for roads, while other areas asked for golf courses.

Johnson closed by saying he would focus on schools and public safety, plus bringing more business to Alabama.

More about the meeting:  dignitaries attending included Representative Mike Ball (District 10), Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks, Madison County School Superintendent Dr. Terry Davis (who gave the invocation), Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, and Huntsville City Councilman Bill Kling.

Candidates for office included John Wilson, running to represent State Senate District 9 (South Huntsville, Marshall and Blount Counties) and Jim Patterson of Meridianville, running for State House District 21 (MY DISTRICT!).

The meeting was anything but boring - there were several new people joining us and the mood was pretty upbeat.  Of course, one of the hot topics of conversation was the Madison County Occupational Tax – more on that in another post… 

Next month’s speakers will be GOP candidates for the office of Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, Dorman Grace and John McMillan.

Les Phillip Decatur Health Care Town Hall

From the Les Phillip for Congress campaign:

Republican Les Phillip, candidate for Congress will hold a Town Hall meeting on healthcare this Tuesday at 6:30 PM at Wilson Morgan/Adventure Park Pavilion in Decatur.  The public will be invited to express their opinions and concerns about the pending healthcare bill before Congress.

 

Les Phillip remarked, “Our town hall meeting in Huntsville was such a success that our campaign was asked to hold others across the district.  This is a chance for voters in the Decatur area to be engaged in the national discussion on healthcare reform.”

Jeff Sessions Health Care Town Hall

More than 400 people packed into two rooms at Dowdle Hall this morning to discuss health care with Senator Jeff Sessions.  Almost everyone at the event supported Sessions – maybe a dozen people supported ‘the Obama plan’ (or 3%).

As Senator Sessions was being introduced by the Hospital Administrator, a woman asked if she could say a prayer for the event – I thought uh oh, Sessions should have brought his own prayergiver.  Sure enough, the lady exhorted the crowd to pray for the President and to quit complaining about his policies.  She later held up a ‘protest’ sign during the event.

Robyn McGlohn of WAFF48,  WHNT19 (who picture the only two protesters outside the event and note that “the majority” of the crowd supported Sessions – 97% is only a majority),  and WAAY31 covered the event.  So did Patricia McCarter of the Huntsville Times, who wrote this disappointing article, “Hundreds attend U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions’ health care reform town hall in Huntsville” - McCarter used more virtual ink on Obama supporter Eddgra Fallin than she did on the Senator.

Sessions began by speaking about the “out of control” TARP program, which he said was a “product of panic, rather than thought”.  “There is no plan to get the country back on firm financial footing.  This is unsustainable”.  Sessions said “nothing is free” when noting that the interest payments on the national debt would rise from $170 billion to $800 billion in the next 10 yeays, not including Obama’s health care.  He said Medicare is projected to be broken by 2017 and that the Feds have plans to shift costs to the States.

“I’m worried about the future of the country”.

Here are my notes from Senator Sessions’ Q&A (I couldn’t see many of the questioners because of the crowd).  Even though my notes are abbreviated, I hope you get the gist of the Q&A:

Q = denied coverage for pre-existing condition
A = “I support addressing the issue”

Q = want all insurance to be like USAA (mistakenly claims that USAA is a Govt program)
A = USAA is not Govt.  Portability of insurance from employer-based to family-based (would be a big change).

Q (might have been Mo Brooks – I thought I recognized his voice) = How can the Govt generate economic growth so people have jobs and can pay for health insurance?
A = lower tax rates

Q = “I’m not an insurance company employee, redneck, nazi, mobster, racist, or teabagger”; I am concerned about “the dismantling of the country in one year”.  Where in the Constitution does it say that health care is a right?  Where does it say that illegals get health coverage from the Govt?
A = It doesn’t. ”enumerated powers”

Q = We’re “living under a Fascist regime”.  Explain why voter intimidation charges against the Black Panthers were dropped.
A = wrote a letter to Attorney General Holder asking for an explanation.  “sanctity of ballot”.

Q = Comment on protestor sign saying that ’700,000 Alabamians don’t have health care’ – says not true.  Asks about tort reform.
A = reform to make more like workers’ compensation;  litigation reform could save 5-30%.

Q = Govt access to bank accounts for health care
A = “not sure”, audience member quotes from one of the bills saying it’s true. Sessions says that Congress should take time to have a national discussion over the final version of any bill before voting.

Q = Why should Americans pay for illegals’ health care?
A = “it ought not be our policy”, “committed to a lawful system of immigration”

Q = What can citizens do to find common ground?
A = “amazed at how sophisticated people are” and well-informed.  Poor people have Medicaid.  Seniors have Medicare.  Hospitals treat everyone.  Problem is cost.

Q = Obama claims that he can create or save jobs with Govt spending.
A = tax cuts create jobs

Q = Need more town halls.  Govt can’t run business.  Who protects the rights of those who pay the bills?
A = “well said”

Q = Need balanced budget amendment.
A = “I couldn’t agree more”.  “Sound currency is a moral obligation”.

Q = AL Hospital Association – thanks for working on wage index, Medicare negotiation
A = hospital and ambulance reimbursement rates are lower for rural areas vs cities, and different between regions – shenanigans.  50% of health care cost is Medicare and Medicaid.

Q = “horrified at spending”.  Czars circumvent Congress.
A = “It’s a BI-CZAR situation” (heh)  Congress doesn’t do enough oversight, 2 year budgeting would allow for more oversight.

Q = “thank audience for being well-behaved”  (I know this is a condescending setup)  “Health care is a right”.  Likes 1) portability; 2) reform denial of coverage and 3) workers comp for tort reform.  “Do you affirm that health care is a right, and should it be universal”.
A = “not universal”, “Constitution does not define health care as a right”.

I met a guy who was taking notes for his Facebook page – as soon as I get the link, I’ll post it so you can see his notes…

BTW both Mo Brooks and Les Phillip attended the town hall.  Can you imagine the sacrifice both these guys will be making – they’ll be attending meetings like this all over North Alabama just about every day for the next 9 months.

Les Phillip health care town hall

More than 200 people attended a standing-room-only Health Care Town Hall with AL05 GOP Congressional candidate Les Phillip.  Phillip was joined on stage by Ed Henry (candidate for State House District 9 and cardiac CT specialist) and General Jim Link (Phillip’s Campaign Chairman).  Dale Jackson of WVNN 770AM / 92.5 FM emceed the event.

Challen Stephens of the Huntsville Times (ed. – Update) wrote “Phillip defends ‘best’ health care”:

After audience comments, from either side, Phillip would respond. He often shared his personal philosophy.

He stood by free market’s ability to shape health care. “Competition has worked every place we’ve tried it in our economy.”

He called for tort reform to keep down malpractice costs. Attorneys “will take any case to try to exploit a tragedy.”

He said it’s not fair to “transfer wealth” through tax-backed health care, suggesting that nonprofits receive tax breaks to care for the poor.

The provision of health care isn’t in the Constitution, he said often. “The government should only be in the business of removing impediments to business.”

Vinnie Blandin of WHNT also covered the event.

Unlike what we’ve been seeing on TV, the event wasn’t particularly rowdy.  I’d say about 90% of the crowd was GOPish.  The only semi-rowdy guy (who extolled the advantages of the Cuban health care system)  wasn’t a Democrat either (he dislikes Parker Griffith).  And there was another guy, who wasn’t really rowdy, just strident in his insistence that Phillip was mischaracterizing everything.

Phillip began by asking the crowd if anyone supported the Obama health insurance reform plan, and then immediately called on those who raised their hands for their rationale for supporting it.  I thought that was a smart move – ensuring that opposing views got heard.

Phillip then spoke about the health care reforms he supported:  allowing interstate competition of health insurers to reduce cost and raise quality, making insurance people-based instead of employer-based, tort reform to reduce malpractice costs, and health savings accounts.

Dale Jackson then took the microphone around the room for the Q&A session.  Phillip and Henry answered the questions to the crowd’s satisfaction and applause, and questioners with opposing viewpoints got to have a dialogue with Phillip and Henry.  Dale did a good job of balancing the time available and ensuring that as many questions as possible were answered.  A common theme was taking personal responsibility.  Phillip and Henry stayed after the event for about 30 minutes to speak with people.

I usually take extensive notes, but not this time, so I won’t list all the Qs and As.   Some of the people I recognized were Ralph Timberlake (opposing view – I’ve seen him at City Council meetings – and often agree with him there) and one of my favorites, Jackie Reed (supporting view).

However, I do want to comment on what happened after the event:  I got to meet Dave Driscoll – noted local businessman and Democrat.  We talked a bit about his Flashpoint comments from a few weeks back, then about politics and blogging, then mostly about Huntsville.  I asked him if anything we’d written was untrue (he said we had a difference of political opinion) and I asked him to be sure to correct us if he ever read anything that wasn’t right.  This is a personal habit of mine – I can’t stand to be wrong – not that I’m never wrong, but I prefer to have my wrongness corrected, so that I can learn.  Anyway, Driscoll is a nice guy and I enjoyed meeting him.

I want to mention again that Ed Henry is running for Alabama State Representative in District 9, over in Morgan County.  He handled himself extremely well during the Q&A and of course he knows a lot about health care.  The seat is currently held by Ronald Grantland (D).

MORE:  I didn’t have time last night to post what I think of as the best part of last night’s event.  I was able to join Les Phillip, some of his campaign staff, and Dale Jackson after the event.  Les was gracious enough to answer one of my more pressing questions:  “What is your favorite dish to cook?”   I ask that question because 1) I’m a foodie, 2) it reminds us that there is more to life than politics, and 3) it draws out a good personal story.

Les did not disappoint, he told us about preparing Thanksgiving dinner and drew hearty laughter (and knowing comments) from the table when he said his wife and kids preferred cranberry sauce from the can.  His favorite dish to cook: a macaroni salad with lots of cheese recipe that he learned from his father – which Les makes for Thanksgiving along with the rest of a traditional dinner.

GOP 5th District Meeting – 11 AUG 2009

I attended the 5th Congressional District Republican Committee meeting tonight, held at the ‘new’ Greenbrier (Berzett’s).  I saw commenters StatsMan and Professor Tom, and just for StatsMan’s benefit I’ll mention that I had the small pork plate with slaw (excellent) and fried okra (I love fried okra).  Professor Tom says I seem younger on the Internet, so I think I’ll move here. 

I went mostly for an excuse to eat at Greenbrier, plus I wanted to see grassroots politics in action, and maybe even see the GOP candidates for Congress.

Sure enough, both Mo Brooks and Les Phillip were there, and I had the pleasure of sitting with fellow history geek Les (he likes Rome and WW2 in Europe).  For real, I have the opportunity to talk with a guy who might be our future Congressman, and we talk about Roman history.

I also had the pleasure of meeting some Facebook friends from Florence in real life – which was pretty cool – I was late getting onboard FB but it is a vital tool for politickin’.  The Lauderdale GOP recommended that each County organization get on Facebook and get some fans (I’m a fan!).

The meeting part was as boring as you’d expect from roll calls and approving old minutes and treasurer reports, but it was interesting to hear from people representing all the counties in the 5th District.

Brooks and Phillip got two minutes each for quick speeches: Mo’s speech focused on his experience, Les’ speech focused on his leadership. Both candidates made good speeches, with touches of greatness at times.  Mo resonates with his track record as an elected official and seasoned campaigner.  Les resonates with his military service and business experience (plus he mentioned bringing the well-respected General Jim Link on as his Campaign Chairman).  This is going to be a fun race for me, but it’s going to be tough on those guys.