The more the merrier

But the fewer the better fare.

John Heywood, Proverbs, 1546.

There are seven candidates in the Republican Primary for Governor.

The Huntsville Governor’s Forum (March 2, 2010) starts at 6PM and ends at 8PM.  That’s about 17 minutes per candidate, not counting the Pledge of Allegiance; Invocation; recognition of Young Republicans and Right On; introduction of panelists and panelist questions; &c.

A draft schedule might look like this:

- Pledge of Allegiance (>1 min), Invocation (1 min – we will remember to bring our own preacher), and Recognition of MCYR and Right On (3 min) = 5 minutes
- Each candidate makes 3 minute speech (x7) = 21 minutes
- Panelist 1 Introduction and Question (2 minutes) plus seven 2 minute responses = 16 minutes
- Panelist 2 = 16 minutes
- Panelist 3 = 16 minutes
- Round robin – each candidate asks one other candidate a question (7 questions at 1 min each plus 7 responses at 2 min each plus 30 second rebuttal) = 25 minutes
- Closing = 3 minutes

No, the draft doesn’t equal 120 minutes, but honestly it was drafted for a 6:15 PM start (105 minutes).  It’s still a tight schedule.  I may not get in my Free the Hops question, after all.

We may not even get in a question (suggested by a local honcho) about economic development: why did the State give Thyssen-Kruppe a billion dollars but not fund BRAC, especially since the average TK job pays like $40K and the average BRAC job pays like $70K?  What are you gonna do about it?

Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress and that comments (especially from candidates / consultants) are welcome.  However, the schedule will be set fairly soon.

Here are some details about the Huntsville Governor’s Forum.  The Governor’s Forum will be held on Tuesday March 2, 2010 at the Space and Rocket Center’s Davidson Center.  All seven GOP candidates have said they will attend.  

A private reception will precede the Governor’s Forum.  The MCYR and Right On will cover the event expenses from $50 per person contributions to attend the reception.  The contribution also includes reserved seating at the Forum.

MCYR and Right On are also covering expenses from $400 sponsors.  Sponsors receive two tickets to the reception.  Sponsors also receive recognition on invitations and programs, plus big screen promotions during the reception and after-forum meet and greet.

After the Forum, I’m guessing that the candidates will hang out and talk politics for awhile…  Just about every other GOP candidate in the area will show up to talk politics too.  I’m also guessing that we will have a good crowd – IIRC the Center has about a 1400 person capacity.

Can Parker Griffith win the GOP Primary?

Representative Parker Griffith’s switch to the GOP has been the topic of discussion here in Huntsville for… hours,  now.

I saw Griffith on Hannity tonight, hosted by Mark Steyn.  Griffith performed well, calling out Democrats as “far-left extremists” and saying that he had no idea that the national Democratic Party was filled with leftists (if only he read Flashpoint).  Griffith said that the Democrats were weak on Defense and NASA – he must only read The Huntsville Times not to have known that before the election.  Griffith mentioned that he is “pro-life” and “pro-Second Amendment”.  Griffith also said that there was no place in the Democratic Party for moderates or conservatives and that he expected more Blue Dogs to switch.  Griffith described himself as “an independent conservative”.

Griffith’s switch is a big coup for the national GOP, signalling to conservative and moderate Democrats that their party has been taken over by leftists and that there is no room for them in the Democratic Party.

But can Griffith win the GOP Primary? 

Griffith has FIVE MONTHS to win over GOP Primary voters, many of whom remember the Huntsville Hospital “unwarranted pain and suffering” documents – which implied that Griffith was a monster.  Griffith either plans to ignore those voters or somehow mitigate the damage caused by last year’s campaign.

Griffith must somehow make peace with Dale Jackson of WVNN, who is engaged in a death match against him.  Facing Dale on his radio show could mitigate this issue, since IIRC the death match began because Griffith didn’t carry out his promise to appear.   Jackson doesn’t reach all of AL05, but I think he’s influential in Huntsville. 

IMO these two issues only reach Huntsville GOP primary voters.

Another mostly Huntsville factor is the Tea Party.  My guess is that the Tea Party had some role in electing Senator Paul Sanford and Representative Phil Williams – so they’re on a roll.  Christie Carden of the Tea Party said that she doesn’t consider Griffith to be a “constitutional conservative”, which is her biggest criteria for voting (she’ll vote for Griffith “when pigs fly”).  Clearly Griffith has his work cut out there.

The biggest obstacles Griffith faces are Mo Brooks and Les Phillip.  Both of these guys are solid conservatives, but each has a weakness: Mo may be too well-known (some people don’t like him) and Les is not well-known enough (he’s a rookie).  However, Griffith has many times more campaign funds than both of them combined.  There’s a good chance that Griffith will draw much more money due to the power of incumbency.

I don’t know if Griffith’s switch will encourage others to enter the getting-crowded race.  Wayne Parker and Todd Slyman are still out there. 

In real life, I spoke with some influential local ‘establishment’ Republicans today who said they are voting for Griffith.

‘Young GOP’ posted a comment at Doc’s Political Parlor that I think makes some good observations:

As far as the GOP side, it will be interesting to see if Griffith can convince enough Republicans that he is more than just a turncoat scoundrel, he will surely have the support of the NRCC and the DC GOP. He could, and a crowded primary helps his chances. He will win the outlying rural counties(Lauderdale, Jackson, Lawrence, and Colbert) handily, but the vast majority of the GOP primary vote comes from the urban and suburban areas of Madison, Morgan, and Limestone counties. The real question is whether he can convince enough Arsenal defense workers, Hampton Cove housewives, and young affluent Madison couples that he is the genuine article. If he wins the primary, he is in a very strong position for the general.

Mo Brooks is the current GOP frontrunner to challenge Griffith. He has the money and connections but is often seen as unlikeable and disagreeable, it remains to be seen if he can expand his power base outside South Huntsville. Les Phillip is very charismatic and has a great story but the GOP power brokers are holding back as of now to see if he has a chance, money is also a big struggle for him. I think Wayne should stay out of this one, his money base has already solidified around Brooks and I doubt the 4th time will be the charm. Guthrie does not need to even try. Slyman and Dr. Mancuso could be longshots, but no one really knows much about them. This will all be very interesting…

BTW Griffith didn’t respond to our AL05 Questionnaire back in May 2008 (we got a response from 5 of 7 candidates).  It didn’t seem to hurt him back then, but it’s a new ballgame now.

Parker Griffith switches to GOP

Politico reports that Representative Parker Griffith (D-AL05, soon to be R-AL05) will announce that he is switching parties.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1209/30896.html

Griffith’s party switch comes on the eve of a pivotal congressional health care vote and will send a jolt through a Democratic House Caucus that has already been unnerved by the recent retirements of a handful of members who, like Griffith, hail from districts that offer prime pickup opportunities for the GOP in 2010.

The switch represents a coup for the House Republican leadership, which had been courting Griffith since he publicly criticized the Democratic leadership in the wake of raucous town halls during the summer.

Griffith, who captured the seat in a close 2008 open seat contest, will become the first Republican to hold the historically Democratic, Huntsville-based district.

Dale Jackson of WVNN blasted the switch, saying ”Any GOP organization that does not repudiate him immediately will lose my support.”

http://theattackmachine.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/is-rep-parker-griffith-d-switching-parties/ 

As for me, I said before the election that I could VOTE FOR Griffith based on his positions on many issues. Then the Huntsville Hospital mess surfaced – and as far as I’m concerned it’s not resolved.  I’ll need some convincing that Griffith isn’t the monster that the GOP made him out to be.

It seems like the deal was made with Washington DC Republicans – I don’t know if they thought about the locals back here at home.

Interesting times…

Malreporting at the Huntsville Times

Way back in November of 2008, The Huntsville Times ran an article by goodthinker Shelby Spires, ‘Both candidates support missile defense’, which contained this rebuttal to concerns that Obama would cut missile defense:

Continued support for missile defense programs seems a lock for either a John McCain or Barack Obama White House given their campaign statements… 

This bit of propagandawise deserves to be unstuffed from the memory hole, in light of Sunday’s headline ‘Bill will send billions here’, again written by versificator Spires.

The Times headline obscures this 20% cut to one of Huntsville’s top employers:

Spending for the Missile Defense Agency comes in at $7.7 billion, down some $2 billion from fiscal year 2009.

Or in other words, in 1983 the chocolate ration was 30 grams per week and in 1984 chocorats went up to 25 grams per week.

The Ministry of Truth Huntsville Times – all the news that’s fit to misprint…

Thanks to waltm for the idea of the Orwell 1984 theme.

March 2 Gubernatorial Forum Format

Right On Huntsville and the Madison County Young Republicans are hosting an Alabama Republican Gubernatorial Forum in Huntsville on March 2, 2010.  The forum will be held at the Davidson Center (ASRC) and all of the candidates have committed to attend.  This will be the largest debate in the State and will be a great event for Huntsville.

The rough plan is to host a reception with the candidates before the debate, then debate for two hours, then maybe spend some time with the candidates after the debate.  We’ll have a moderator and a few panelists who will ask questions in their areas of interest.  Two hours sounds like a lot of time, but with so many candidates time will be short.

I volunteered to help with the debate format and to help generate the questions (Free the Hops?).

The Commission on Presidential Debates developed the ‘Guide to Hosting Your Own Debate’, which provides good information, a checklist, and a suggested format.  Check it out (this is a summary – lots of detail at the link):

This guide uses the following checklist to help you prepare for your debate…

  • Budget
  • Debate Hall
  • Furniture/Stage
  • Electrical
  • Printed Materials
  • Labor
  • Security
  • Videos/Transcripts
  • Internet
  • Debate Site
  • Candidate Negotiation
  • Format
  • Audience
  • Noise
  • Community Interest
  • Cameras
  • Safety
  • Media
  • Post-Debate Activities

Candidate Negotiation
The debate sponsor and the participants must agree on the details and terms of the debate… In handling negotiations, you need to be a firm and fair facilitator. Candidates will be particularly interested in the format issues which follow.

  • Selection of questioners
  • Debate topics
  • Debate length
  • Opening and closing statements
  • Questions and answers
  • Timing the debate and selecting a timer
  • Order of speakers

Opening and Closing Statements
Will the candidates have opening and closing statements? Prepared statements reduce the amount of time for questions, so consider limiting them to two or three minutes. The presidential debates have included two-minute closing statements.

Questions and Answers
Consider setting time limits for both questions and answers. Questions in the 1996 presidential debates were limited to 20 seconds in length. Citizen questioners in the 1992 and 1996 town hall debates were asked to keep their questions short and limited to one topic. Candidates in the presidential debates were given two minutes for answers and one minute for rebuttals.

We’ve already worked out some of the details, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.  One of the more important tasks now is to contact SPONSORS for the event (a great deal at $400).  We expect 1,400 (Davidson Center capacity) politically active people to attend the debate – sponsors get advertised at the event.  Note that there are a limited number of sponsorships available.

Milblogs go silent

Milblogs all over the country are going silent until December 18, 2009. 

Silent, that is, except for a post supporting CJ Grisham. 

The Huntsville City Council and the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education both meet Thursday night (Dec 17).  Each of these bodies has the power and duty to help make this right.  The City needs to ensure that Police do not chill Freedom of Speech.  Plus I expect the HPD to apologize to Master Sergeant Grisham for their actions during the PTA meeting and for their unacceptable response to his complaint.  The Board of Education needs to apologize to Master Sergeant Grisham for trying to destroy his career.  The Board also needs to investigate the Schools’ actions and take corrective actions.

Board member Jennie Robinson should use tomorrow’s meeting to either fulfill her promise to call for Superintendent Moore’s resignation or explain how being lied by the Administration is now acceptable.

It should be obvious to City leaders  elected officials that this issue is not going away – you can’t ignore it – it keeps growing.

Blackfive

C.J. has earned accolades and respect, from the White House on down for his honest, and sometimes blunt, discussion of issues — particularly PTSD.  In the last few months, C.J. has seen an issue with a local school taken to his command who failed to back him, and has even seen his effort to deal with PTSD, and lead his men in same by example, used against him as a part of this…

On Wednesday 16 December, readers will have the chance to imagine a world without milblogs, and to do something about it.  Those participating are urging their readers to contact their elected representatives in Congress, and to let their opinions be known to them and to other leaders in Washington. 

Some milblogs will remain silent for several days; some just for the day.  All have agreed to keep the post about the silence and C.J. at the top of their blogs until Friday 18 December.

CDR Salamander

Army Master Sgt. C. J. Grisham has always led from the front, from combat that earned him the Bronze Star with V device, to doing right by the men he led. His honesty won him readership and respect, from the White House on down. Yet, when he stood up for his children in school, his command did not stand by him.

 Ace of Spades

This is not a group apt to fly off the handle and complain at small slights. As a group they are, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, “more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” I think the fact that they have taken this step shows the importance they attach to this issue.

Confederate Yankee

There are good reasons for the military to restrict what milbloggers post—kissing up to small-minded, small-time local politicians isn’t one of them.

 Hugh Hewitt

New and old media should be covering this story.

Argghhh!!!

Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information about the military, and military operations, to the public.  They have provided vital context and analysis on issues critical to operations and to the informed electorate critical to the Republic.

If you want to help CJ Grisham with his legal expenses please contribute at RFCU.  You can even fill out a slip at the drive-through and help out with your pocket cash.  Grisham hired attorney Neal Puckett (“When your future is on the line”) to defend him in the Article 15.  Local litigator Joel Jaqubino of  Wolfe, Jones, Wolfe, Hancock, and Daniel  is pursuing legal remedies for Grisham.

Grisham Legal Fund
c/o Redstone Federal Credit Union
220 Wynn Drive
Huntsville, AL 35893

We can’t undo what’s been done to the Grisham family, but we can make it right.

UPDATE:

Instapundit

MILBLOGS GO DARK FOR THE DAY, in support of C.J. Grisham.

Note to Huntsville officials – Instapundit by itself gets 435,000 visits per day (that’s like 9 times the circulation of  The Huntsville Times).  Add to that all the readership of all the Milblogs and Huntsville’s getting to be (in)famous…

Heckuva job, Dr. Moore.

Wintzell’s needs a beer intervention

I ate at Wintzell’s in Huntsville (University and Wynn) today.  They made a lot of changes to the former Green Hills Grille - moved some fixtures around, rebuilt the bar, and of course changed the decor.  They brought up some staff from Mobile (black shirts) and some from Guntersville (red shirts) to help train the Huntsville crew (blue shirts).

The food was great, as expected.  The service was excellent and the staff was friendly, as expected.  I like Wintzell’s.

However – Wintzell’s needs a beer intervention.  They have 10 beer taps and serve six beers (four taps are duplicates).  Their best beer on tap is Sam Adams – the rest are Bud Light and PBR type products.  They serve Olde Towne in the bottle, but have a very limited beer selection.

IIRC the Washington Square restaurants (Humphreys, Masons, Chophouse) sell more Olde Towne beer than all other beer brands combined.  Huntsville likes (and buys) local products.  I suggest that Wintzell’s try serving Olde Towne and Good People beers, made in Alabama, to go with their Alabama restaurant.

While we’re at it, maybe Olde Towne or Good People (or the soon-to-open Straight to Ale) could brew some ‘Oyster Stout’.

Think global. Drink local.

Good People Brewing Company of Birmingham is gearing up to hit the Huntsville market, with the help of our friends at Birmingham Beverage Company (distributor for Olde Towne, Sweetwater, and Orval among many other great beers).

The Nook had a keg of Good People Coffee Oatmeal Stout recently, and the Good People printed up a flyer describing how that beer affected the local economy.  Here is a summary of the flyer:

Ever thought of the many persons / organizations affected by the simple act of ordering a GPBC Coffee Oatmeal Stout and the exponential power of supporting your local economy?  While you are enjoying your pint, you are supporting the following organizations:

Good People Brewing Company and…
.  their accounting, legal, advertising, etc. services
.  local transportation companies
.  utility companies providing energy / water used at brewery
.  local / county / State taxes

Primavera Coffee Roasters located in Cahaba Heights.

J3 Organics uses spent grains (brewing by-product) donated by Good People as composting medium.

Continental Bakery uses donated spent grains in some of their products.

Birmingham Beverage distributes the beer: employing people, paying taxes, etc.

Free the Hops gets support from Good People to raise awareness of craft beer and lobby for better Alabama beer laws.

Pubs and restaurants sell the beer:  employing people, paying taxes, etc.

… the power of supporting your local economy is pretty incredible, not to mention you get a pretty good beer out of the deal.

BTW the Nook has a keg of Good People’s Snake Handler American Double India Pale Ale set aside for a special occasion – I’m looking forward to getting snake bit.

The Nook Christmas Party is Monday, 14 December 2009, starting at 5PM.  The featured beer is Left Hand Brewing Company’s Fade to Black Export Stout (from Colorado).  One of the great things about The Nook is that it’s got a nice crowd, for example I got to say hi to State Representative Laura Hall (D – 19) last time I was there.  She was enjoying a tasty Belgian Lambic, if you must know…

Time to call in the world

 Huntsville received some press in the current issue of the Military Times (Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times, and Marine Times).  Normally, being part of a story read by more than 300,000 military people would be a good thing for the City.  However, this story is partly about the Huntsville City Schools and the Board of Education – and their foul treatment of Master Sergeant CJ Grisham.

Bouhammer’s Afghanistan Blog posted the Army Times article “The Rise and Fall of a Military Blogger”:

…he (CJ Grisham) is an unabashed con­servative with razor-wire wit who has cast stones at what he calls “Repugnicans” and “Dumbocrats” alike but has also been to the White House twice — invited first by President George W. Bush, and more recently by President Barack Obama for roundtable discussions on military outreach.

All this while remaining a top­rated senior noncommissioned officer, a troop-leading first sergeant and an active counterin­telligence agent, according to his fitness reports. “A true Soldiers’ Soldier. Promote to SGM immedi­ately,” gushed his senior rater in Grisham’s most recent evaluation in June

Grisham’s most recent battle with his superiors grew out of his blogging about disagreements he had with the local school board after they decided to im­plement a student uniform policy halfway into the year without input from parents.

Grisham, who had two kids in the school, posted unflattering video he shot of school officials fumbling through a meeting. School offi­cials called the Army to complain. His company com­mander, Capt. Brian Hawkins, called Grisham in to talk about it. “I felt like this was a matter be­tween him and the school,” Hawkins said. “They were con­cerned about him being a threat. I can tell you he’s not a threat. I read what he wrote. I didn’t take it as threatening.” Hawkins’ message to the school: “If you feel threatened by him, if you feel threatened by anyone, you should call the police.” School officials instead took their complaints up the chain of command.

In the weeks that followed, Grisham says, Redstone Arsenal garrison commander Col. Robert Pastorelli and Command Sgt.

Maj. Rickey Cooper repeatedly called him on the carpet, ordering him to remove posts.

Grisham said he was ordered to see investigators at Criminal In­vestigation Command to deter­mine whether he’d broken any laws.

“They said the only threat I made was to threaten a lawsuit and, of course, that’s not illegal,” Grisham said…

“It’s not a lawful order and it goes to the heart of free expres­sion,” said Capt. Mike Lebowitz, an Army lawyer for the Virginia National Guard who regularly lectures at Yale University on mil­itary free speech issues. “Filming anyone at a public meeting is fair game.” “I don’t know how he disgraced the NCO Corps,” said Sgt. 1st Class Chad Vervaet, an instructor at the NCO Academy, who has moved his son out of the same school because of problems there.

“This never should have been a military issue in the first place. I was at all the same meetings at the school with C.J. and he never once threatened anyone.” “This is a failure of leadership on the Army’s side,” said Dale Jack­son, a former soldier and local radio journalist who has been cov­ering the controversy. “Instead of the commanders protecting their soldier, they just tried to make the problem go away by telling C.J. to shut up. Except C.J. stood his ground. He’s not one to be bullied.”

Blackfive posted “Military Times covers CJ Grisham”:

Now, pray that there is not yet more retaliation against him for defending himself.  Given all that has gone on, I have no faith or confidence that he will not face official, or more likely unofficial and potentially illegal, retribution for standing up for himself. 

Frankly, I still hope that Congress or others might like to look into all that has happened, from the initial IG investigation and ruling on same, and have already suggested same to some members of Congress.  Yes, I really do think it has reached such a point as what has happened smells to high heaven, from the school system on to command functions. 

Mayor Battle – I know you don’t like this kind of negative publicity – can you and Chief Reyes please review HPD’s involvement in this?

Huntsville Board of Education – this is not over, you will not be able to avoid it, just make it right.

Dr. Robinson – you said “I absolutely believe that Dr. Moore is telling the truth…If I didn’t have faith in her to that extent (telling the truth), I’d be asking for her resignation”.  At the last School Board meeting, you said you had “since learned that her comments weren’t accurate”.  Follow through with your promise.

And to the guy who accused CJ of bringing the spirit of terror into the school, read this:

Grisham took down a squad of Iraqis when his counterintelligence detachment got pinned down in an ambush.

He earned the Bronze Star with “V” after rushing through the gunfire by himself with just a 9mm pistol and a hand grenade.

E-mails didn’t skip critic Christy

Kudos to The Huntsville Times for putting Climategate on the front page in “State climatologist John Christy, a critic of global warming, mentioned in leaked ‘Climategate’ emails”.

It’s about time that the global warming fraud gets widespread notice.  The data was manipulated to support the fraud and now we know that the raw data has been missing for 20 years (the dog ate my data).  The problem is that the Obama administration still supports the faked conclusions and is apparently willing to destroy the economy to further the ‘green’ agenda. 

The earth warms, the earth cools.  It happens all the time.  This global warming fraud is a socialist attack on capitalist economies.  China is the biggest polluter in the world, and constricting the US economy is the answer. Huh?

All of this is breaking as Obama arrives in Copenhagen, Denmark, this week for a global summit on climate change. The president is expected to pledge the United States will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Christy maintains that the steps being proposed “won’t have much effect” on the air, but will affect the economies of the nations that follow them.

Does Christy ever worry that he might be wrong?

“What I fear most is a government going down the road of centrally planned solutions,” Christy said.

Welcome back Lee Roop, fairly nice job on the article.