Thursday, November 09, 2006

Signing off...

I'll be heading to the Smokies for a short family vacation. We'll be leaving early tomorrow and get back late on Sunday. I'll be back with you on Monday or Tuesday. Dan, Danny, Gunny, Mike, Matt, Paul, Robert, Zac, Arlen, Loretta, Don, Wheeler, Jeff, Kathy, Cathy, Altoid, Dr. Steven, Lee P, and anyone I might have missed... Keep an eye out while I'm gone, and don't let them blow anything up until I get back. To Corporal Bonehead (you know who you are)... Thanks for FINALLY calling Mom. The weekend of peace was worth it! I love, er... like, er... am fond of, er... I don't loathe you, and I could possibly tollerate your existence, my snot-nosed little brother.

This is just too COOL!!!

I got mentioned in the Press-Register, thanks to an article on bloggers written by Dr. Steven Taylor, a fellow blogger over at PoliBlog. (I've added a link to by Blogroll.) I wasn't even aware of the article until I stumbled upon a mention over at Jeff Vreeland's Politics in Alabama. I'm just giddy that someone noticed little ol' me! I can't begin to say just how honored I am that someone would mention me in what I believe to be one of the best publications in the state. Thank you so much, Steven!

Big Boys and Big Girls

There are exactly two moments during the last six years during which I thought President Bush could not have been more presidential and dignified. The first was after the attacks on September 11, 2001. The second was yesterday.

Usually, he comes across as cocky, arrogant, and (to put it as mildly as possible) a jerk. I think that the results from Tuesday's elections finally got through to him, though. We aren't seeing the usual "talking down" and defiance that we've seen so many times before. He's let Rummy go. He wants to work with the Democrats. There have been no temper tantrums-- at least not from this administration. I can't say the same about all of the pundits, losers, and supporters, but these are the exception and not the rule. The Republicans, I am happy to say, do not appear to be sore losers. They definitely have one up on the Democrats, there.

The Democrats thus far appear to be good winners, too. I haven't seen any real gloating thus far. They have said that they want to work with the Republicans to make America better. And if the Democrats and the Republicans want to work together (finally!), then I applaud that decision. It's about time. I'm sick of the divisiveness that we've seen over the last 12 years. It was mostly brought on by the Republicans and their supporters, but they now appear to be willing to change that. If they mean what they say, then I'm proud of them.

It's such a refreshing change from just four years ago. (Heck! It's a refreshing change from just two days ago!) You may remember the day after elections in 2004. Fox News pundits were smirking and screaming, "It's the morals, stupid!" (Dangerous words, considering that the higher the pedestal you place someone on, the farther they'll fall. And fall, they did.) Republicans wanted to take away what little power the Dems had left and snatch the filibuster out from under them. (Thank goodness for the Republicans that John McCain had the foresight to nix that plan!) There was a declaration of mandate, and power was used as if there was one, with little regard to public opinion. Democrats fired accusations and slurs, and Republicans fired back. Republicans were heartless. Democrats were chickens.

The fact that a president was almost kicked out of office by a guy whose only real platform was, "I'm not him." was overlooked. That was a boon that shouldn't have been ignored. Two years later, it caught up with the Republicans. Nancy Pelosi is already promising to run a virtually corruption-free Congress. She needs to be careful about that. But the main thing that I'm seeing more than anything else is how civilized both sides are being. I'm happy. I'm really happy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Thoughts on the 2006 Midterm Elections

I've covered Alabama's election, now I want to talk about the country as a whole. Honestly, I wasn't expecting the Dems to have as big a victory as they did. I expected a win in the House and an even split at best in the Senate. For the Dems to win the Senate, they were only allowed to lose one Senate seat. As I'm writing this, they are a defeated George Allen away from a simple majority. (Technically, they'll have 49 seats with two Dem-leaning independents.)

Part of me wonders what is coming next. So far, this promises to be interesting, and the newly elected haven't even begun their terms. I figured that it would at least be February before anything changed, but then I turned on Fox News. Donald Rumsfeld is stepping down!

Over at Alablawg, this election was summed up the best way I've ever heard it:

"I'’m really hoping the Democrats take congress. It isn'’t that I think they will do a good job. It'’s more like choosing Raymond '“Rain Man'” Babbit over Hannibal Lecter to babysit your kids."

Yep. That pretty much says it. I guess that's why I'm happy to see things end up the way that they did. If Allen concedes, the Dems will have a one vote majority in the Senate and a nice majority in the House. They still have to get through a Republican president with veto powers. Considering that they have such a small majority, they'll actually have to work together to get their legislation passed. Maybe it will turn out better quality legislation. If it doesn't, there's a small enough majority that we can easily remedy that in two years.

Do I expect this to solve all of our problems? Absolutely not. I don't expect them to get half of their agenda pushed through in the next two years. That doesn't mean that they can't do something, anything. Doing so would be a vast improvement for the Democrats. Nothing scares me more than the words "Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi" except for maybe "Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert." It's not that Pelosi doesn't scare me. It's just that she scares me less than Hastert.

I realizedlised that we could be well on our way to having our first female president, but I'm not talking about Hillary Clinton. I think that the Dems will get a little too big for their britches and go after President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and the cabinet. If they get them all removed from office, Pelosi is next in line. Yikes! I don't think it will happen, but it's a scary thought, nonetheless.

People are talking about impeachment, though. I think Rumsfeld saw it coming, too. That's why he left. It's going to put him in a decent position to be pardoned by President Bush just in case anything happens. And while I believe that Bush deserves to be removed from office, I think that impeachment could be the single dumbest move that the Democrats make should they choose to do so. They've been given an opportunity to prove themselves. There is only so much that you can do in two years. If they are bogged down in impeachment proceedings, they'll slow themselves down.

The thing that I find most encouraging is the response from China. They're upset because they believe that the election of a Democratic majority will mean that Americans will stop paying for Chinese goods and labor and start paying for American goods and labor. They're upset because they believe that Democrats are more likely to act in the better interests of American lower and middle classes and small businesses rather than the interests of large corporations.

Things should get more interesting around February or March. I haven't figured out yet whether the Dems will screw it up (again) or redeem themselves, but anything could happen.

UPDATE: Altoid links to this post here.

Thoughts on the Alabama 2006 Midterm Elections

Wow! I mean... Wow! I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry right now. There's so much to cover after last night's results and this morning's fallout.

I'll start with Alabama's election. Governor Bob Riley was given a second term. He's done a decent job thus far, so I can't complain. I found myself hoping that Lucy Baxley didn't miraculously pull out a win. She was starting to get on my nerves toward the end. If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I voted for Loretta Nall. I'm a little upset that I don't know exactly how many votes she received. Nobody has really reported on it.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the people of Alabama did not elect a lobbyist as their lieutenant governor. I can't get over Jan "paid-for-by-Alabama-Power" Cook's election to the Public Service Commission. On the plus side, they didn't elect Perry "biggest-ever-fine-from-the-Ethics-Commission" Hooper, Jr.

Nasty campaign tactics turned out to be the downfall of many a Republican across this state. When Twinkle decided to call up constituents to accuse Dem candidates of supporting a gay agenda, it backfired. Three out of four Dems targeted were elected. The one candidate who lost only lost by 95 votes. Alan King and Sherri Friday both won their races, and it was in part thanks to the anger over the campaigns run by their opponents.

There was one Democrat in particular that I was not happy to see win. Larry Langford. I can't believe I have to put up with him for another term. Oh, well. At least I don't live in Jefferson County. To those of you who do, you have my sympathy. (By the way, has anyone heard about Larry's friend, Sheila Smoot, paying herself out of her campaign funding even though she's unopposed?)

Amendment Two passed with flying colors. It's good news for those areas with their own school districts. I haven't heard anything on the St. Clair County home rule bill, though.

UPDATE: Altoid links to this post here.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day Blogging at The Anniston Star

The Anniston Star will be keeping up an election day blog with updates throughout the day. You can visit them by clicking here.

Last Minute Election Resources

I meant to post this yesterday, but I ran out of time. I've pretty much shut down shop for the election year, but I'll be back discussing politics and whatever else happens to catch my eye just as soon as this thing is over. I'll also be posting my thoughts on the results tomorrow morning. Dan has posted an excellent list of election resources. His list includes newspaper endorsements and local blogs (even this one). Please go on over there and check it out.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Endorsements for the 2006 Election

I will not be covering all offices because some are uncontested and because I only feel comfortable endorsing those races inside my own district. I will only include information about who is running, my endorsement, and information on why I am endorsing that candidate. Incumbents will have an asterisk (*) next to their name. That being said, here's the list

Governor Candidates include Bob Riley (R)*, Lucy Baxley (D), and Loretta Nall. Ms. Nall will not be listed on the ballot, but she is actively running a write-in campaign. All of these are decent candidates, but I'm an ultraconservative at heart, and I'm tired of the bipartisan system. That being said, the Libertarian gets my vote every time. I will be voting for Loretta Nall.

Lieutenant Governor Candidates include Luther Strage, III (R) and Jim Folsom, Jr. (D). Alabama has some of the largest utility rates (particularly for natural gas) in the country. Mr. Strange is a former utility lobbyist. I will be voting for Jim Folsom, Jr. (D).

Attorney General Candidates include John Tyson, Jr. (D) and Troy King (R)*. Both candidates are promising to be tough on crime, and I believe them. Tyson, however, seems to focus on crime prevention more than King. I will be voting for John Tyson, Jr. (D).

Secretary of State Candidates include Beth Chapman (R) and Nancy Worley (D)*. What can I say about Nancy Worley that hasn't already been said by several Republican and Democratic registrars, a federal judge, and Watchman South (see my sidebar)? I will be voting for Beth Chapman (R).

US Congress (District 6) Candidates include Spencer Bachus, III (R)* and Warren Grayson (I). Warren Grayson will not be featured on the ballot but has run a write-in campaign for the position. I'm no big fan of the work that Rep. Bachus has done over his last term, and I'm voting against incumbents this year unless they've given me a good reason not to do so. He hasn't. I will be voting for Warren Grayson (I).

State Auditor Candidates include Janie Baker Clarke (D) and Sam Shaw (R). This is a tough race because both candidates are well qualified, and I haven't seen one negative ad. Since the office pretty much doesn't do anything important and could pretty well be eliminated, you could effectively vote for someone based on a coin toss. Being a former registered Republican, I'm going with the Republican. I will be voting for Sam Shaw (R).

State Treasurer Candidates include Stephen Segrest (D) and Kay Ivey (R)*. You may remember Steve Segrest as the guy who got beaten in the 2002 primary by Nancy Worley in his run for Secretary of State. In other words, a majority of voters decided that Worley scared them less than he did. 'Nuff said. I will be voting for Kay Ivey (R).

State Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Candidates include Ron Sparks (D)* and Albert Lipscomb (R). Sparks has been doing a decent job thus far. He has also been endorsed by the Alabama Farmers Federation. I will be voting for Ron Sparks (D).

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Candidates include Sue Bell Cobb (D) and Drayton Nabers, Jr. (R)*. I'm deciding my support here based on the endorsement of the FOP, since both candidates are good choices. It's mostly because I believe that our judiciary should be appointed. The last thing I want is a judge who is basing his decisions on potential political backlash. This will be the only judicial office that I list here, and the only one that I vote for. I will be leaving the others blank, since I don't know enough about the candidates to make a decent decision. I will be voting for Sue Bell Cobb (D).

State Public Service Commission (Seat 1) Candidates include John Rice (R) and Jan Cook (D). This commission regulates Alabama's utility rates, and Alabama has some of the highest. I took that into consideration when going over these candidates. Jan Cook has received much of her campaign funding from PACs that are affiliated with Alabama Power. (H/T to Dan at Between the Links for finding the Mobile Press-Register article.) I will be voting for John Rice (R).

State Public Service Commission (Seat 2) Candidates include Perry Hooper, Jr. (R) and Susan Parker (D). Perry Hooper has already had one run-in with the Alabama Ethics Commission. I will be voting for Susan Parker (D).

Statewide Amendment Number One This amendment will allow the City of Prichard to create a duty-free tax zone for imports from Mobile County. It also gives them some power over their property taxes. Only citizens of Prichard should vote on this amendment. I will be leaving it blank.

Statewide Amendment Number Two This amendment will only affect those areas with school districts. The best I can tell, if you plan on having your own school district someday, this will affect you, so it would be appropriate to vote for or against it. This is not a bill that will raise taxes or raise money for education. It will simply require that the money for the school district (at least 10 mills) will come from property taxes instead of elsewhere (like sales tax). I will be voting "yes."

Statewide Amendment Number Three This is nothing more than an amendment regarding Macon County's Board of Education. Only those living in Macon County should vote. I will be leaving it blank.

St. Clair County "Junkyard Bill" I'm not sure exactly how this will appear on the ballot, but I can tell you what it's about. It will give the county the authority to enforce laws similar to rules set up by neighborhood associations, covering everything from noise to leash laws to weeds. It really depends on how you feel, here. I like the idea of home rule, and this treads on home rule a bit, but I also know that Argo would never enforce a leash law or noise ordinance, and I'm a little desperate for it right now. I'm unable to walk to the mailbox with my daughter because people let their dogs roam. My husband is one of those who detests the idea of someone telling him what to do on his property. He'll probably vote "no." I will be voting "yes."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tidbits From Elsewhere - 11/1/06

Slashdot is running an interesting bit on how to sue spammers and auto-dialers.

Lee P and Altoid are both covering a somewhat humorous story about Sen. Jeff Sessions and some condoms. Puns are a-flyin'! They'll bring you to your knees-- with laughter...

Alabama Improper is talking about holidays.

Gun Toting Liberal and many others are talking about Kerry's speech. You know the one.

And Loretta Nall has posted her responses to the questions asked at the recent debate. I have to admit that I'm impressed.