Carthago delenda est

Stop shouting! posted “My Rebuttal to a Progressive who Admonished Me to Play Nice….”;  read the whole thing (tip to Legal Insurrection):

I am tired of being told to sit down and shut up.

I am tired of being told what I can and can not say.

What is “acceptable”, while my ideas and values are mocked and trampled.

Enough. I have had enough.

I remained stoic when your acolytes spit on my car and called my husband a “baby killer” when I crossed through your phalanx at Walter Reed to take my children for medical care. I refused to respond as you smashed your fists into the hood of my car, destroyed my mirrors with bottles and keyed my doors in California, my children mute and terrified as you screamed your hate and bile…

I have been silent long enough. I have bent, I have yielded, I have endured slander, dishonesty, ad hominem attacks and actual physical threats.

Anger is a powerful motivator.

I began to push back…

Get used to it. Don’t think for a moment you’ve earned the right to open your mouth in protest…

Yes, we will burn down the house of Progressive Democrats and lay waste to the entire construct of the welfare state…

Carthago delenda est…

The author is a military spouse and mom of 4. 

“This is the Happy Warrior; this is he Whom every Man in arms should wish to be”.  Wordsworth wrote the poem for her…

City Council should boot the boot

The Huntsville City Council reportedly will vote on the “Fightfighter Boot” ordinance at the December 2 meeting.  The Firefighter Boot Ordinance would allow firefighters to collect money from motorists at city intersections to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Let me praise Huntsville’s public safety professionals for a minute.  I was in an accident several months ago and the firefighters who responded were compassionate and professional, as were the police and paramedics.  It is disconcerting to regain consciousness as firefighters are assessing your injuries – the firefighters were calm and thorough – I was in good hands.

Keeping that in mind, I agree with Police Chief Mark Hudson that the Firefighter Boot ordinance endangers public safety:  “I’ve been doing this 30 years and have never seen a pedestrian win a pedestrian-vehicle crash”.

I think that the Firefighter Boot ordinance promotes an unnecessary risk for the volunteers panhandling at intersections.  The firefighters proved that they can raise money for charity without the ordinance ($16,500 for breast cancer equipment).  I urge the Council to vote NO to the Boot.

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Councilman Mark Russell “says the Rocket City needs a written policy spelling out what incentives it is willing to offer to lure new shopping”:

“It seems that over the past year, many more developers are calling me and asking for the City Council to get involved in their projects,” Russell said recently. “The environment’s changing … and I just want to make sure the city isn’t missing out on any opportunities because we don’t have a (retail incentive) policy.”

His resolution would allow any retailer that spends $30 million-plus building a new store in Huntsville to keep as much as half of the local sales taxes that it generates — up to $2 million a year.

In a rare instance of disagreement with Russell, I don’t like this “retail incentive policy” because it subsidizes only one class of business - major retailers.  I’m not a fan of government interference in the free market.  For example, this policy might reward a WalMart, but not a Star Market or Hibbett’s Sports or Mama Annies.  Note that I like WalMart but I don’t think they need a subsidy.  Also note that if the incentive brings IKEA or Nordstrom to Huntsville, I like it (ack! slippery slope).

Even worse, the policy subsidizes “new construction” while we have numerous empty big box stores.

I am all for City policies (and fairly applied incentives) to encourage and support retail and commercial business – but this doesn’t do it for me (the bike rack requirement didn’t either).

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James at Huntsville Development News announced that he started working for the City this week as a retail specialist with responsibilities ranging from “mapping out vacant and underused retail properties throughout the city, to locating potential grocery store sites/chains for under served urban areas (like the NW and SW sides).”

Since part of my job is to come up with ideas to improve areas of the city, you may see more “Ideas” posts for general neighborhoods and corridors. My hope is that I will be able to get valuable input from you, the reader, on as many ideas as possible.

I encourage you to add Huntsville Development News to your favorites.  Thanks to Mayor Tommy Battle for making this happen - gathering data to support decision-making - what a concept!

Jane Smith joins GOP

Madison County Circuit Clerk Jane Smith announced today that “I am officially joining the Republican Party… For those of you who know me, this is no surprise… I will be proud of the stand I take here today… We must join together as conservatives and Republicans… Standing on the sidelines is not an option… [we need] change from the Courthouse to the Statehouse to the White House.”

Brian and I attended the Madison County Republican breakfast this morning, along with a couple of hundred officials, members, and fellow travelers.

State Representative Howard Sanderford (R-20) announced that five Democratic Representatives will be joining the GOP, further confirming the rumors that have been floating around since Phil Williams (R-6) mentioned the gains earlier this week.  Sanderford noted that there are just a few white Democrats left in the State Legislature, and not that many more black Democrats.

I think that the national Republican conservative / Democratic liberal realignment rolled into Alabama state politics this year, completing a process that has been building for years.    I think that we will see a GOP realignment at the County level and it won’t take long to realize those gains.  The dam burst in the November elections here in Madison County with every Democrat at the county level being defeated.  There are one or two more local Democrats I’d like to see come over.

To take Sanderford’s point to the next level, I think that we’ll see a realignment in the black community.  The GOP has some work to do to make that happen, but blacks are more conservative than liberal and aren’t being served by corrupt Democrats and liberals.  Some people might be surprised when this happens here in Alabama – but I think black folks will come home to the GOP.

Coroner-elect Craig Whisenant spoke to the crowd for a minute, saying that his plan to reform the Coroner’s office is coming together.  Once he takes office (note that the Democrats and The Times are complaining about him before he’s even been sworn in), I think we’ll see some positive changes in the office.  I chatted with Whisenant after the meeting (first time to talk in real life) and he said that he will send us details of the plan soon.

Jindal – American Rights

National Review Online posted “American Rights, American Responsibilities” by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal:

In America today, we need to trust ourselves not look to others to take care of us. As a society, we bloom when we allow individuals to work hard and enjoy what they can achieve. Economist and Nobel laureate F. A. Hayek rightly credited the “unchaining of individual energies” with creating and sustaining the West’s freedom and prosperity. Only individuals create and dream, something Americans have recognized since the nation’s founding. That is why we Americans reject collectivism. We do not believe that, in the words of one turn-of-the-century German thinker, “The individual is nothing in relation to the course [of time], the species is everything.”

…Today, we have taxpayer dollars going to banks, investment houses, and automakers, and financial firms that are judged “too big to fail.” Our government is supposed to be a “partner” with these businesses. As one businessman told me, that’s like an alligator having a chicken as a partner for dinner. I believe big government should not be picking and choosing which companies we will bail out or rescue. That political competition lets the best lobbyists determine the winner.

…Consider the words of Harry Hopkins, who oversaw both the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the distribution of funds from the Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA) under FDR during the Great Depression. “I thought at first I could be completely non-political,” Hopkins said (as quoted by Robert E. Sherwood in the definitive Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History). “Then they told me I had to be part non-political and part political. I found out that was impossible, at least for me. I finally realized that there was nothing for it but to be all-political.”

…Yet today there are still some people who want to harp on America’s limits. They still say that our best days are behind us. These big-government advocates tell us their failures are the best Americans can do. Forget cooking up anything new — let’s just divide the old American pie into smaller, equally unsatisfying pieces.

That is all bunk. It’s not a sunset but a sunrise that still starts America’s day.

I hope Bobby Jindal runs for President someday, but Jindal said today “I’m not running for president in 2012. Period. No ifs, ands or buts, no caveats,” Jindal said. “We have made great progress in Louisiana, but we’ve got a lot more work to do.”

Public Policy Polling says Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee are the leading Republican Presidential candidates for 2012, followed by Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.  I Stand with Mitt.

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BTW – To save you from having to look it up, the “German thinker” Jindal referred to was Ludwig Büchner in The Power of Heredity and Its Influence on the Moral and Mental Progress of Humanity published in 1882.

BridginGaps and Opening Doors

The UAH Education Department hosted the Huntsville Education Summit entitled “BridginGaps and Opening Doors” yesterday.  Other than the intentional, edgy, silly spelling of “bridging gaps” (see how the “G” bridges the gap!), what really sets me off is that the keynote speaker is a Marxist.

Yes, I know that I make up words and intentionally misspell words at times, but then, I’m not an “educator”… 

As for Dr. Ron Glass (who is not the fabulous actor) being a Marxist, look at who he proudly refers to as his “mentors”:  ”two of the premier educators for justice and democracy the world has ever known, Paulo Freire and Myles Horton. I hope my own work keeps alive their spirit, their ideas, and their commitment to making this a better world for everyone.” 

Freire wrote “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” and inspired The Freire International Project for Critical Pedagogy:

The Freire Project is dedicated to building an international critical community which works to promote social justice in a variety of cultural contexts. We are committed to conducting and sharing critical research in social, political, and educational locations.

The project promotes research in Critical Pedagogy, and brings together local and international educators. We are committed to continuing the global development of Critical Pedagogy and to highlighting its relevance with marginalized and indigenous peoples…

Critical Pedagogy is a domain of education and research that studies the social, cultural, political, economic, and cognitive dynamics of teaching and learning. Critical Pedagogy emphasizes the impact of power relationships in the educational process.

Of interest to me was the listing of Antonio Gramsci as one of the “Important Figures” in the critical pedagogy movement.  If you’ve ever wondered how we got here (failing schools), thank Gramsci:

In his theory of hegemony Gramsci argued that in modern industrial societies, it was also necessary to control culture. Culture is controlled not by way of coercive force but through the winning of consent…

This elevation of the importance of culture, Gramsci argued, also increased the need for intellectuals in modern societies. Organic intellectuals, Gramsci wrote, are individuals who resist hegemony and help bring their fellow citizens a sense of historical consciousness of themselves and the society. These organic intellectuals were to be distinguished from traditional intellectuals, Gramsci concluded, whose charge is to maintain existing power relations, to create and deliver sanitized information that supports the existing hegemonic order. One can quickly discern how important Gramsci’s work is for the evolution of critical theory and especially for critical pedagogy.

You see, traditional methods of teaching were tools to oppress “individuals whose economic interests were not served by free market policies”.

Myles Horton founded the Highlander School (and that’s enough said about his Marxism).

Read about some of Glass’ published works while you’re checking him out and you’ll see that it’s not just his “mentors” that reveal his ideology.

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Crystal Bonvillian of  The Huntsville Times wrote “Need for partnership with community a hot topic at education summit”:

Since the early 1980s, school reform has been more about social mobility and social efficiency, Glass said, adding that educators need to be able to focus more on setting strong standards of learning and less on testing their students…

“It’s easy to look at the students in front of us and test them,” Glass said. “But maybe we’re looking in the wrong place.”

The right place to look, he indicated, is into the community. If educators look into their community and help to solve the needs of it and individual families, then student achievement will rise.

Glass said educators need to align their innovations with the needs of the family and the community, mobilizing all possible resources to do so. That includes social, cultural and health resources.

“Is our children learning?”

You already know the answer to that question.  The more time “educators” spend on “social mobility” and “social efficiency”, the less time they’re teaching math and science.  Do the Chinese who own your mortgage care about “marginalized” peoples?

***

I cannot adequately express my disappointment at UAH for expecting anything good to come from people who think like that.  However, I remind myself that it -is- the Education Department…  Let’s remind them of the true history of Marxism – tens of millions of people dead and hundreds of millions of people enslaved and impoverished.

To the local educational community – this is not the way to gain my trust (or my tax dollars)…

What can you do for me

“What can you do for me” by Utah Saints hit #10 on the music charts in the UK in 1991.   I think that it’s a catchy title for this post – alas without the sampling and dance beat.  My newly-elected State Representative Jim Patterson (R-21) asked me to make a list of what I want the legislature to work on, so here it is in no particular order, and I probably forgot something.  There’s room in the comments for your suggestions and thoughts.

 More below the fold…

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As much a part of Huntsville as the stars in the sky

Huntsville's own since 1944

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Huntsville, get ready for a treat – Huntsville’s own Star Market is coming to Bailey Cove, in the former Southern Family Markets location.

Marian Accardi of The Huntsville Times wrote “Star Super Market will open Thursday on Bailey Cove Road”:

“This is a great time to be opening a grocery store because this is one the busiest times of the year for the grocery industry,” said Darden Heritage, the owner of the Star Market stores and pharmacies.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be Thursday at 9:30 a.m., and the store will open for business at 10. The store will open with 120 part-time and full-time employees…

It will be a couple of weeks before the Madison County License Department’s satellite office opens in the store, said Heritage, and a U.S. Postal Service contract station should be open around the first of next year.

License Director Mark Craig said residents will be able to obtain vehicle and boat titles and renew and replace driver’s licenses at the satellite office. A tax collector drop box will be provided for payments.

Star is locally owned and operated and their commitment is “to serve every customer with courtesy, while offering the best value possible”.  Star offers a superlative butcher shop, great wine and beer selection, nice cheeses, fresh produce, Zapp’s chips, Green Mountain soap, and Terry’s Pizza.

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Star is opening a new store and hiring 120 employees in the midst of troubling economic times.  Southern Family Markets employed 75 people when it closed due to “disappointing financial performance”.  As far as I know, Star isn’t getting a TIF or tax incentives.  There’s room in the comments section for discussion as to why Star thinks they’ll be successful…

I, Robot

Alabama Robotics Technology Park

Alabama Robotics Technology Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Governor Bob Riley cut the ribbon at the Alabama Robotics Technology Park today at Calhoun Community College.   The Phase I Robotics Maintenance Training Center opened today, with the Phase II Advanced Technology R&D Center scheduled for a February opening.  The Phase III Integration and Entrepreneurial Center is TBD.   The building is contending for a LEED Gold designation and features high efficiency mechanical and electrical systems; stormwater and rainwater capture systems; and high performance air filtration systems.  The high-bay facility also features an overhead bridge traveling crane.

Gov. Riley gave a good speech and soon-to-be-former Speaker of the House Seth Hammett made a good speech; the others could learn from them…

 

View from the balcony

View from the balcony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a City, County, or State politician.  I asked several of the legislators what were their Top Three priorities – each of them answered Ethics Reform and Jobs.  Some added union reform, charter schools, or more jobs to their lists.  They were all looking forward to a Special Session to get at Ethics Reform.

I, Robot

I, Robot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The facility was equipped with several robots distributed on the main floor and in the classrooms.  More than 25 companies partnered with ARTP to provide equipment and services:  ABB, Fanuc, Kawasaki, Kuka, Mitsubishi, Motoman, OTC, Staubli, Cloos, Wolf, Omron, Rockwell, Cognex, Creform, Fronius, Gorbel Cranes, Lincoln Electric, Miller Welding, MESA, SKS, Innovation, Continental, Cisco, Airgas, Irby, Valley Air Supply, and Daikin.  If you do business with these folks – thank them.

I, Robot

I, Robot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not going to embarrass this young man too much, but the Calhoun PR group pissed me off with a show of silliness.  This guy was only following orders (the door was ‘exit only’ for the event - I walked out and then tried to get back in – but none shall pass, except for those who are more equal than others), but the PR Director who walked me around the halls to show me a different door only for me to end up on the other side of THAT door was the worst type of bureaucrat.  The PR person even got defensive as I was asking questions about the facility.  You see the results of that PR effort here… FAIL! 

Calhoun did do a good job of organizing and promoting the event – they even provided a ‘Legislative Luncheon’ to the worthies who attended.  Ethics reform?   Anyone?   Did the kids from the local school robotics teams get fed, too?

The rise of civilization

Fair and balanced Fox News wrote “Beer Lubricated the Rise of Civilization” (tip Instapundit):

Signs that people went to great lengths to obtain grains despite the hard work needed to make them edible, plus the knowledge that feasts were important community-building gatherings, support the idea that cereal grains were being turned into beer,  said archaeologist Brian Hayden at Simon Fraser University in Canada.

“Beer is sacred stuff in most traditional societies,” said Hayden, who is planning to submit research on the origins of beer to the journal Current Anthropology.

…”It’s not that drinking and brewing by itself helped start cultivation, it’s this context of feasts that links beer and the emergence of complex societies,” Hayden said.

…”Feasts are essential in traditional societies for… developing more complex kinds of societies,” Hayden explained. “Feasts are reciprocal — if I invite you to my feast, you have the obligation to invite me to yours…”

“In traditional feasts throughout the world, there are three ingredients that are almost universally present,” he said. “One is meat. The second is some kind of cereal grain… The third is alcohol, and because you need surplus grain to put into it, as well as time and effort, it’s produced almost only in traditional societies for special occasions to impress guests, make them happy, and alter their attitudes favorably toward hosts.”

Free the Hops fully supports “the rise of civilization”.

We’re doing our part by supporting the Brewery Modernization Act:

If passed, breweries can sell on-premises like a brewpub, or to wholesalers, or to both. Although the breweries must be licensed, they do not need to be located in an historic building, have no production cap, and can be located in any wet county or city. There is also no requirement for a brewery to operate a restaurant in order to sell beer on-premises, although they certainly can and many probably will.

The passage of the Gourmet Beer Bill led to the start up of three breweries in Huntsville (we have a total of four).   That is new economic activity.  The Brewery Modernization Act has the potential to create an entire new industry in Alabama – and that means JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!

The Republican Revolution

From Alabama Republican Party Chairman Mike Hubbard:

It’s no secret that Tuesday’s election results represented an historic and seismic shift in Alabama’s political power structure.  For the first time in 136 years, Republicans won majorities – and decisive majorities, at that – in both the House and Senate, and GOP candidates captured every constitutional and statewide judicial office up for grabs.

Only two Democrats, Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb and Public Service Commission President Lucy Baxley, currently hold statewide office, and they did not appear on the ballot during this election cycle.

Many credit this stunning turnaround to voter dissatisfaction with the ultra-liberal policies of President Barak Obama, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and an out-of-control Democrat congressional majority, and there is no doubt that it played a major factor in Tuesday’s results.

But if anger over an increasingly intrusive government created the wave, the Alabama Republican Party should be credited with working over the past 3 ½ years to raise the money and resources, assemble a world-class staff and develop and implement the plan needed to ride that wave through the ballot box and onto victory.

When I was tapped as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party almost four years ago, we launched Campaign 2010, a fundraising and campaign effort with the goal of changing control of the Alabama House and Senate. Many people scoffed at the $4 million fundraising goal we set, but, in the end, we actually raised $5 million.

The resources were used to supplement the campaigns being run by Republican candidates in dozens of legislative districts and helped fund polling operations, direct mail efforts, research and consulting support and the most aggressive “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV) program in our Party’s history.

Those efforts paid off dramatically on Election Night. Democrat-controlled legislative district after district began falling like dominoes early in the evening, and as the night wore on, the good news kept coming.

Democrat House Majority Leader Ken Guin of Carbon Hill was trounced by Richard Baughn, a UPS delivery driver whose profession had been belittled by his opponent, and Senate Democrat Rules Committee Chairman Lowell Barron of Fyffe, who was considered the most powerful member of the Alabama Legislature, was sent packing, as well.

Before Tuesday, Democrats held 60 seats in the Alabama House and Republicans held 44, but today, those numbers are almost exactly reversed, with 62 GOP House Members. The Senate showed 20 Democrats and 14 Republicans on its rolls before the election, but today it is a 22 to 12 margin in favor of the GOP.

But as much as we Republicans would like to sit back and enjoy the victory, we are now faced with a much tougher, more important and unavoidable task – governing.

The newly minted House and Senate majorities met in Montgomery this week to choose their nominees for leader in both chambers.  State Sen. Del Marsh (R–Anniston), who served as the Republican Party finance chairman and played a large role in our victory, was chosen to serve as the Republican Caucus’ nominee for Senate President Pro Tempore.

When Republican House members met on the same day, I was humbled beyond belief after our caucus put my name forward as its candidate for Speaker of the House. While the result will not be finalized until an organizational legislative session, I look forward to filling the role.

You can expect the new Republican majority to run the Legislature much differently than the old Democrat majority with an emphasis on openness, transparency and, above all, fairness to all who serve.

Make no mistake that our state will face severe challenges during the upcoming quadrennium. A flat-lined economy worsened by Obama’s “stimulus” and out-of-control spending by Congressional Democrats promises that we will have deep revenue shortfalls in both the General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets. Difficult decisions on spending will no doubt be required.

Indictments, vote-buying and wiretapped evidence of questionable actions by legislators, lobbyists and employees alike have shaken the public’s already tepid confidence in our body.  Rebuilding the public trust will require the commitment of both political parties and ethical, above-reproach behavior by our members.

Either current Gov. Bob Riley or Gov.-Elect Robert Bentley are expected to call a special session on toughening ethics laws, which was the cornerstone of the Republican agenda, and that will allow us to turn our attention to our other top three priorities of jobs. . .jobs. . .and jobs.

I truly believe that the Republican Revolution we saw in Alabama on Tuesday will lead to a new way of doing things in Montgomery. It is a new day for Alabama and a new hope among our citizens that state government can soon be worthy of the great men, women and families that it serves.  For that, we can all be thankful.