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"Welcome To The Democratic Party" - New Ad Campaign By Volunteer Group

by: countrycat

Thu Sep 18, 2014 at 09:20:08 AM CDT

A volunteer group of Democrats, the "Brite Blue Dot" group, released two excellent YouTube ads supporting Medicaid expansion in Alabama.  The ads point out that lack of Medicaid expansion hurts working people in the state - "people who get their hands dirty every day" - and asks why these people don't deserve the same health care opportunities as lawyers & bankers.

Brite Blue DotGood question, but the only answer Governor Bentley & the GOP supermajority can give is .... "because Obama." 

From the Brite Blue Dots release announcement:

"The inspiration for these spots came from input received from volunteers making calls on behalf of AL  Dem candidates. Bob Parker of OTMDems realized while making these calls himself that MANY people polled agreed with MANY of the Dem positions, but do not consider themselves to be Democrats and would never vote for one."

These spots remind everyone that ordinary working people are in the same boat in Alabama and we're all pretty much the same:  "approachable, decent, and All-American." 

The producers urge everyone to share the spots widely - and not just with their Democratic friends and relatives:

*The goal is for our folks, who tend to discuss these topics in safe silos with other Democrats, to step out and share these soft-spoken spots with EVERY ONE of their FB friends, no matter their political stripe. If Blue Dots throughout the state would do that with all the spots that are produced, it would basically create FREE advertising for all of the AL Dem candidates, whose coffers are not as full as their GOP counterparts.

We MUST get the word out about us and our stand on the issues to voters outside of our bubble. In lieu of expensive TV spots, sharing spots via FB could have a great impact. It helps reach those sitting on the fence and those not in love with their GOP candidates. "

That this effort is being conducted by volunteers who basically paid for the production costs by selling bumper stickers illustrates two important points. 

  1. It highlights the weakness of the Alabama Democratic Party at the state level.  For decades, the party relied on a small group of high-dollar donors to fund party operations and relied on the voter "habit" of voting for Democrats locally if not nationally.

    The party has not only been slow to respond to the new reality, the leadership has been actively hostile to greater grassroots participation and fundraising.

  2. It highlights the energy and enthusiasm of grassroots Democrats.
    The state party leadership is busy staying in power, but  grassroots activists have a loftier goal: rebuild the party from the bottom up. 

    Democrats can win on the issues in Alabama. We can recruit great candidates (there are many running this year!).  And we can build strong local party organizations - with or without help from the top.
Kudos to the Brite Blue Dots for seeing the need for better party branding taking on that project.  They are actively soliciting donations to help produce more spots:
Creation and production has all been done on the BBD dime. So basically, proceeds from sales of the bumper stickers produced these spots. Anyone sporting a Dot sticker, lapel pin, etc, should feel more than a bit of pride and ownership. Blue Dot folks helped make this effort happen.

If folks want to help us produce more videos, it would be great if they “Dotted Up” for election season by visiting www.britebluedot.com Otherwise, the best thing they can do is like them on YouTube and share them on Facebook.  

Both videos are on the flip.  Please watch and SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!


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Alabama Announces New Warning Label For Cars: A TEA Party Specialty License Plate

by: countrycat

Wed Sep 17, 2014 at 14:18:13 PM CDT

Forget the importance of constitutional law, soon Alabama car owners will be able to declare the supremacy of "moral law" via their license plates.  The Alabama Department of Revenue has announced that the "Foundation For Moral Law" received at least 250 pre-orders of a "TEA Party inspired" tag & all motorists will soon be able to purchase one.  Alabama warning label

The foundation's president, Kayla Moore is the wife of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, a former president of the organization.  It's a 501(c)(3) organization, so when someone purchases the $50 speciality plate, the Foundation receives $41.25 of the purchase price.

That money will support efforts to stop marriage equality, support Hobby Lobby, encourage public sectarian prayer at government meetings, and fight the Affordable Care Act.  Don't everybody line up at once, now!

On the bright side, it's kind of like having a warning label attached to a vehicle.  The "Choose Life" tags perform the same function.  The new option will take its place in the Alabama generic specialty tag lineup, along with the "Kappa Alpha Psi," the Freemasons, "Friends of Coal.

While we're on the topic of specialty tags, keep in mind that the "Spay & Neuter" tag is not exactly what it seems to be.


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Anti-Choice Harassment Continues In Huntsville - Even Though Clinic Is Closed

by: countrycat

Wed Sep 17, 2014 at 10:10:28 AM CDT

Huntsville's only women's clinic is closed temporarily, so what's a bored abortion opponent to do?  Why, protest at the previous location of course.  The fact that it's occupied by a female OB-GYN who is pro-choice just puts the cherry on top.
For months, we've been following the saga of Huntsville's Alabama Women's Center as it struggles to comply with the TRAP (Targeted Regulations Against Abortion Providers) bill passed by the GOP supermajority.  (Part of the bill was struck down by a federal judge.  Read coverage of the hearings here.) 

 The clinic closed at the end of June - temporarily - while it relocated to a new building & installed required upgrades to comply with the TRAP law.

As of now, the clinic remains closed, pending final inspection and approval from state & local government.  Not surprisingly, the state is taking its time sending someone up here and the city is now embroiled in a lawsuit over the zoning. 
That's right campers!  The supermajority's TRAP law is costing taxpayers money at the state and local levels.  That's quite the twist on their pledge of "fiscal responsibility."
So, with the actual clinic closed, what's a dedicated anti-choice protester to do with his/her time?  Maybe they could volunteer to help with the many humanitarian needs in our community: the hungry, the homeless, the kids needing mentors, sick people without medical care, elderly & homebound residents who need a helping hand.....
NOPE.  This Huntsville group has decided to go "back to the future" and protest at the old clinic location.  You know: the one where abortions are no longer performed and the place where a private physician has set up an OB/GYN practice.
This isn't the first time protesters have tried to disrupt this doctor's private practice.  They picketed her old office as well - directly across from a middle school school.  Why their intense interest and determination to disrupt a private medical practice?

She used to be a physician at the clinic, but folded under the pressure & threats from the anti-choice zealots.  It's understandable: many doctors have to make the same choice to protect themselves, their families, and employees.  But here's the thing: the protesters won.  They forced her to stop working at the clinic - but they're still harrassing her and her patients.
It seems that these goons just can't stop yelling at pregnant women - even women who are hoping to carry their pregnancies to term. 
The word "bully" just doesn't seem to cover it. 
The photos accompanying this post were taken yesterday outside the doctor's office.  If you're confused by the "White Abortionist" sign, just understand that the doctor's last name is hyphenated and the protesters apparently have problems with proper punctuation. 

Want to join the fight against anti-choice extremism?  Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates (ARRA) is an excellent resource for news and activism alerts.


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AL-05 - Mo Brooks Agrees To TV Debate With Independent Candidate Mark Bray 10/30

by: countrycat

Wed Sep 17, 2014 at 07:00:00 AM CDT

Well, here's one way that Rep. Mo Brooks is a better candidate than Governor Robert Bentley: he's not afraid to debate his opponent.  WAAY-TV in Huntsville announced that it will be sponsoring "an exclusive, televised debate" between Congressman Brooks & challenger Mark Bray on Thursday, October 30 from 6-7pm.

debate chicken

It gets better, campers!

The live debate will follow a "Lincoln-Douglas" format, allowing both candidates to interact directly with each other and discuss the issues they believe are most important in Alabama's Fifth Congressional District. Rep. Brooks (R-Huntsville) and Bray (I-Huntsville) are both guaranteed equal speaking time per the rules agreed upon by both campaigns. The debate will take place in the WAAY 31 studios, and will be moderated by longtime station anchor Erin Dacy. The event will be the only televised debate in this year's congressional cycle.

I did debate in high school & college and NOTHING keeps you on your toes more than what we called "LD Cross-ex." 

That's a real debate where the participants ask each other questions and respond.  No canned speeches allowed. Will the participants follow the rules?  Let's hope so.  This should be one of the best hours of the fall campaign.

In the meantime, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley not only refuses to debate opponent Parker Griffith, he's stated that he doesn't feel the need to even campaign, just wield a pair of scissors.

Hubris.  It'll get you every time.  Just ask the ancient Greeks.


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Greedy Vets Club Newsletter: "Alabama Vets Are Under Attack!"

by: countrycat

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 09:45:28 AM CDT

With less than a month left in his term as Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (ASBVME) president, Athens veterinarian & kill shelter owner Dr. Robert Pitman penned a farewell newsletter column for Alabama's veterinary community.  

Titled "Veterinary Profession Is Under Attack," Pitman's column is a study in both paranoia and misinformation.  It also shines a bright light on the reason he's in business: money, money, and more money.

Think about it.  Walk into a Wal-Mart or other department store right now and you see a Wal-Mart pharmacy on the left and a Wal-Mart optical on the right.  If the current trends continue, there will be a Wal-Mart Veterinary Services managed and operated by a store manager with no training in veterinary medicine or the proper care and treatment of animals.

Did you see the problem here?  The doctors at the optical "stores" within Wal-Mart, Costo, Sears, etc. are not "managed" by the retail store manager.  It's made quite clear that the doctors are working independently of the retail store & patients pay the doctor directly, not Wal-Mart.

So what would be the problem with a Wal-Mart veterinary clinic with an independent veterinarian working there?  How is that different from the Banfield Pet Hospitals located inside PetSmart stores?  If there's a problem with them, the ASBVME has so far failed to take action.   

Another "we're all about the money" tidbit is located on page 8 of the 16-page newsletter.  It warns veterinarians about holding off-site rabies clinics:  (the strange grammar & punctuation is from the newsletter, not LIA)

"The ASBVME has received numerous calls and complaints from Veterinarians conducting Rabies Clinics and Microchip Clinics off premise of a duly licensed veterinary premise.  We must remind you the Rabies Clinics must be conducted only by the appointed Rabies Officer in each county.  Clinics can only administer one (1) year Rabies Vaccines (no 3-year vaccines)."

Undoubtedly, the first sentence refers to at least one incident from earlier this year where a complaint about "unfair competition" shut down a vaccination & microchip clinic in Wilsonville. 

Also on page 8 we find an ugly attack on the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association (ALVMA) and Dr. Margaret Ferrell.  Remember, this is the largest group of veterinarians in the state and it supported the low-cost spay/neuter clinics until Dr. Pitman sued the organization and formed his own Greedy Vets Club - the Alabama Veterinary Practice Owners Association (AVPOA).

The author, Dr. Craig Wyatt (owner of Cheaha Animal Hospital), whines that he wasn't able to vote in the recent election where ALVMA members selected Dr. Margaret Ferrell of the Alabama Spay & Neuter Clinic to replace Dr. Pitman on the ASBVME board because he doesn't belong to the organization.  Well duh.....   The ASBVME is busily preparing a new kangaroo court to put their new board member on trial, so the October meeting should be very interesting.

He writes:  "The ALVMA is doing nothing to help veterinarians out.  They have not been a voice to help veterinarians with the bad publicity we receive from the press."

I certainly hope he's not this clueless in his veterinary practice!  The ALVMA hasn't "helped veterinarians" with the bad press because it has nothing to do with the bad press.  That is all coming from Dr. Robert Pitman, the other ASBVME members, and their DJ lawyer.

Page 10 of the newsletter contains an article from the Athens News-Courier about the Affordable Care Act & walk-in clinics.  Apparently, the only reason for inclusion in the ASBVME newsletter is that it feeds Dr. Pitman's Wal-Mart vet clinic paranoid fantasy.

But the most fun part for us here at Left In Alabama is Dr. Pitman's defensive remark on page 3 regarding "those who label veterinarians the 'Greedy Vets Club'...."  Thanks for helping us publicize that label, Dr. Pitman!

But, ahem...  Perhaps Dr. Pitman has some reading comprehension problems.  We have never labeled all veterinarians as the "Greedy Vets Club," just Dr. Pitman, his ASBVME cronies, and his new group, the AVPOA.  

If you don't like being called out on greedy behavior that helps increase the number of homeless animals, the suffering that comes from that, AND the increased costs to taxpayers to handle the problem, well... there's a simple solution.

Stop it.  Just stop.  And please... quit whining. 


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SD-01 - Mike Curtis: "We Have To Work Together" To Get Alabama Back To Work

by: countrycat

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 08:04:04 AM CDT

Mike Curtis, Democratic candidate for SD-01, has some very definite ideas about education and economic development.  He served as a county commissioner & understands how these two issues complement each other.  

Mike Curtis

Left in Alabama interviewed him at a recent event (see Part 1 of the interview).  In this clip, Curtis is answering our question about Alabama's policy of handing out industrial "incentives" but never doing the follow-up work to see if the state got its money's worth.  

I'll have to give a shout to our Shoals Economic Development Authority because for some industries that have come in, they have given incentives.  But on their (the industries') part, they had to provide "x" number of jobs by this date.  They had to meet "x" amount of payroll.  And if they didn't, the incentives were brought back.

If we do it that way, I don't have any problem with it.  But really, times have changed.  Used to, industry came in because they liked the work force - and that's where education comes in.

David Bronner has been our number one industrial recruiter in Alabama, and what did this supermajority do?  They make him report to a 3-member political board.  

But he'll tell you that, when a business comes in, the first thing they want to know is: "What kind of education system do you have for my workers and their families?"

Curtis mentioned Alabama's prison overcrowding problem also, noting education could be a powerful way to divert young people from a life of crime. 

He also wants the state - and country - to focus on reviving our industrial base.  That is one way we can begin rebuilding and strengthening the middle class:

I am so fed up with everything I pick up saying "Made in China" or "Made in Mexico."  It's the big corporate world.  If you can have child labor over here working for 50 cents an hour, 24/7 and still charge the same for the products....

We have to get our workers back to work here in American and here in Alabama.  We have to work together, but there's no working together right now. 


Learn more at Mike Curtis' campaign Web site & get campaign updates & event announcements at his Facebook page

State Senate District 1 stretches from the Shoals all the way to Madison County.  It's a breathtaking piece of gerrymandering. 


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Silicon Valley Big Shot (& Romney Supporter) Calls Senator Jeff Sessions An "Odious Hack"

by: countrycat

Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 12:09:13 PM CDT

Wow. Even some big-name Republican contributors can't stand Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III either.  Facebook board member and prominent venture capitalist Marc Andreesen tweeted about Alabama's junior senator and slammed Sessions' statements on immigration and high-tech workers.

During a speech on the Senate floor last week, Sessions said "Why doesn't Mr. Zuckerberg call his friend (former Microsoft Chairman Bill) Gates and say, 'I have to hire a few hundred people, do you have any resumes you could send over here? Maybe I wouldn't have to bring in somebody from a foreign country to take a job that an unemployed American might take.' 

In response, Andreesen retorted:

Outright slander from an odious hack. Mark has directly & indirectly created 10s, maybe 100s, of thousands of US jobs.

And then followed up with:

Andreessen went on to describe Sessions' comments on Facebook's immigration activism as seeming "clinically insane," stressing the number of jobs created by the social media giant.

Andreessen's criticism wasn't limited to just Sessions, however. He added a parting shot, saying Sessions' comments are the "kind of thing that will guarantee that the Republican Party never wins a national election ever again." 

This is from a self-described "former Democrat" who backed Clinton & Gore, but decided it was time to "make the switch" when he turned 40. That unusual political mid-life crisis turned Andreesen into a big-time Mitt Romney supporter who donated $100k to the campaign via a super PAC. 

Although Andreesen is quite possibly correct that it will be some time before we elect another Republican president, Alabama's senator is sitting in a pretty safe seat.  The Alabama Democratic Party failed to field even a sacrificial candidate, leaving law professor Victor Sanchez to fight to get ballot access as an independent candidate.


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Police Militarization Trickling Down To Universities & Community Colleges

by: countrycat

Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 06:00:00 AM CDT

The frat parties must be a lot wilder now than when I was in school.  Why else would American colleges & universities need MRAPs, M-16s, & mortuary wraps?  The increasing militarization of local police forces (even in Alabama) has gotten a lot of attention lately, but the military hardware flowing to American campuses has gotten less attention.Campus Military Police

Until the Chronicle of Higher Education, pointed it out with a laser sight:

More than 100 colleges and universities have received equipment from the Department of Defense 1033 program since 1998, including office supplies, guns, vehicles, and even grenade launchers. Browse the complete list below. 

The Chronicle has requested but not yet received complete data from Alabama, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington D.C. 

An addendum notes that some articles may have been returned to the DOD, but you have to ask why the colleges received this stuff in the first place?  For example:

University of Alabama in Huntsville 

  • 5 M-16s
  • 1 typewriter
  • 18 Axes 
(from high tech to low)  

Arizona State University 

  • 70 M-16s 

Butte College Police Department 

  •  4 M-16s 

Saddleback College Police Department 

  • Mine Resistant Vehicle 

Eastern Connecticut State University Police Department 

  • 21 M-16s 

University of Delaware Police Department 

  • 10 M-16s
  • 100 Gauze Bandages (think that's enough?) 

Purdue at West Lafayette University 

  • 25 M-16s  

University of Maryland at College Park Police Department 

  • 1 Armored Truck
  • 4 M-14s
  • 50 M-16s
  • 16 12 Gauge Riot-type Shotguns 

Lincoln University (MO) Police - is kind of old-school 

  • 20 Bayonets  

Hinds Community College - well... isn't 

  • 1 M-79 grenade launcher 
  • 2 M-16s 

University of Akron - tends toward practicality 

  •  34 pairs of "extreme cold weather drawers."  ie... long underwear
  • 40 blankets
  • 72 pairs of cold weather overalls
  • 2 pressure washers 

University of Cincinnati Police Department - things get grimmer farther South 

  •  11 M-16s 

Mid-America Christian University - um... Onward Christian Soliders? 

  •  5 .45 handguns
  • 1 M-14
  • 5 M-16s 

And the creepiest?  James Madison University got 12 mortuary wraps.

Let's think for a minute about the kind of training US soldiers get before we turn them loose anywhere with M-16s.  Let's think how much training police officers get before they start patroling.  Now, let's think about local college and university security offices & police departments.

Are you feeling safe yet?

At Kent State,  National Guard troops fired 64 rounds at a group of unarmed students, killing 4 and wounding 9.  The volley lasted 13 seconds.  Think of the casualty count if they'd been half-trained college security guards firing M16s.

What kind of country are we becoming & how much are we willing to accept?


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Decatur Animal Control Director Latest Casualty In Spay/Neuter Clinic Dispute?

by: countrycat

Thu Sep 11, 2014 at 12:30:39 PM CDT

Decatur Mayor Don Kyle fired Carol Wicks, director of the Decatur animal shelter, yesterday and listed a variety of complaints against her.  But this one really stood out: Another allegation claimed she “alienated the local veterinarian community” by using a spay/neuter clinic in Huntsville rather than hiring local veterinarians.

So... a public employee who wanted to stretch every dollar she could, save taxpayer money, and treat more animals didn't play well with the local Greedy Vets Club? 

This action comes several weeks after Kyle placed Wicks on administrative leave and had her escorted from her office.  Reportedly, he was angry that the department (which recently faced staff cuts) wasn't responding to "coyote calls."

Ginger Speidel, a 16-year volunteer at the shelter, said two police officers escorted Wicks from the Beltline Road Southwest building Wednesday. She said the city also changed the locks on the shelter.

“It’s like the Spanish Inquisition,” Speidel said. 

It sounds like Mayor Kyle convened his own "Kangaroo Court" modeled on the one the ASBVME used against Dr. Weber.  The charges against Wicks sound sort of familiar - as does the conduct of the mayor:

“You have been insubordinate in your dealings with me concerning the conditions of the facility, refusing to implement my suggestions, publicizing our discussions, forwarding emails intended for you only and intentionally trying to embarrass or publicly demean me to avoid following my directives,” Kyle wrote in a letter to Wicks on Aug. 20.

Kyle and Wicks had a public dispute last October, when Wicks said she could only meet a directive from Kyle on reducing the population of the shelter by killing 100 healthy, adoptable animals. A public furor followed, with stories published internationally. 

In both Kyle’s list of allegations and his termination letter, he references minutes of a meeting of the Animal Shelter Board that he said detailed problems at the shelter.

The City Clerk’s office, the repository of minutes of city boards, on Wednesday provided the most recent minutes it had received from the Animal Shelter Board. They were from a March 20, 2013, meeting that included no criticisms of Wicks. Wicks is listed as having attended that meeting and all other meetings in 2012 and 2013. 

Oh, but there was a board meeting last November that Wicks' wasn't invited to.  It's a lot easier to demean and denigrate someone who's not physically present, after all.

Mayor Kyle seems to want to model the Decatur shelter after Dr. Robert Pitman's "Dog Pound" in Athens.  It's a kill shelter where ASBVME board member and spay/neuter clinic opponent, Pitman receives $300,000 each year in public money to house & kill unwanted animals.  A decrease in the stray population decreases his income.

While Wicks was working to create a shelter where cats & dogs have a reasonable chance of being adopted - and using volunteers as much as possible to save money - Kyle has a different vision for his city's animal control department:

“The City Council wanted a greater emphasis on adoptions,” Mays said. “From the beginning, Mayor Kyle wanted a ‘catch-and-kill’ pound. Carol tried to do what the council wanted, and the mayor couldn’t accept it.”

Wicks has an attorney & is preparing to fight her termination.  Let's hope for her sake - and for Decatur's animals - that she wins. 


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AL-05 - Mark Bray: Running To Serve The People & District - Not Himself

by: countrycat

Tue Sep 09, 2014 at 09:30:46 AM CDT

AL-05 Independent candidate Mark Bray stressed his "true" independence last week while speaking to a heavily Democratic crowd in Madison.  "I'm not a Republican," he told the crowd.  "In fact, some in the Republican party have been trying to label me a Democrat.  But I'm neither.  I chose Independent because that's exactly who I am." 

Mark Bray

Bray urged the crowd to move beyond partisan labels, stressing that no matter what our party, religion, background, etc. that we're all pretty much the same underneath:

"I've visited police officers, firefighters,  first responders, doctors, nurses.... and you know what we all are?  Problem solvers!  That's what we all are: we get up every day and we do our jobs & we solve the problems that are in front of us. 

But Washington is unable to do what we do every day."

Bray said that he has seen a hunger for new faces & new solutions.  People are tired of the rhetoric and the gridlock - particularly young people. 

"Something is happening in this country.  I'm not the only Independent out there.  There are 92 Independents for Congress (House & Senate) this year.

This is a movement. People are tired - I'm tired - of partisan politics.  I'm tried of good bills & good solutions  to the problems we all know we face sitting in committee because both parties at the national level want to use it to pound the other one in the next election. 

If they continue, and we don't send someone up there who can lead and put solutions on the table, you will continue to see voter apathy.  

You'll see a generation aged 40 & under - they believe we've lost already.  They don't think this country can be saved.  I wouldn't be running if I believed that."

With no Democrat in the race, Bray is the district's only hope to get "foot-in-mouth Mo" out of Congress.  This district is incredibly dependent on Federal spending, from the defense installations in Huntsville to NASA to TVA  to disaster aid after tornadoes & floods.  And yet we have a Congressman who goes out of his way to insult the administration, his colleagues, and turns his back on his fellow Americans who have also suffered national disasters - even as he represents the most tornado-prone area in the country.

Learn more about Mark Bray at his campaign Web site and find him on Facebook.  He personally answers messages: you'll never get a canned "thank you for contacting me" response from Bray.  

The entire 6-minute clip of his speech is on the flip.


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SD-13 - Darrell Turner: "We've Been Left Behind In East Alabama"

by: countrycat

Mon Sep 08, 2014 at 17:05:28 PM CDT

The people of State Senate District 13 haven't had adequate leadership for years, says Democratic candidate Darrell Turner.  He's stepped up to challenge incumbent Senator Gerald Dial, a man who drew the lines for his own "dream district" as chair of the legislature's redistricting committee.

Darrell Turner

Dial got a huge scare in the "Republican wave" year of 2010, when he almost lost to Democratic challenger Greg Varner by about 400 votes.  Concerned by Dial's actions in the legislature (we've covered his antics here at LIA), Turner decided to run and "bring representation back to the people."

During an interview last week with LIA, Turner discussed his priorities for District 13.  "We've been left behind in East Alabama," he explained. Turner noted that "some people" are doing great, but then described the poverty rates, high unemployment rates, and lack of infrastructure needed to attract industry.

He mocked Senator Dial's support for a bill that would have replaced all Alabama public school paper textbooks with digital textbooks on iPads & computers.  Most of those systems require students to access content online to take quizzes and do homework, so Turner wondered if Dial has actually visited the district lately:

"Cell phone service in large parts of the district is practically non-existent.  

I'm not against progress; I'm for progress.   But I don't know that rural East Alabama is ready to go 100% digital.  

Many children don't have cell phones.  They don't have phones in the homes. Many homes in the district don't even have indoor plumbing today.  We're living in another time in East Alabama."

Turner also discussed concerns that his opponent is out of touch with the district.  Dial is, after all, the Senator who announced that he was "too busy" to meet with constituents during the 2010 legislative session. 

"The people of East Alabama haven't had representation in a while.  If you're a special interest and you're connected, it's easy to get in and talk to whoever you want to see.  But let some Regular Joe go to the statehouse and ask to speak to the Senator.... he's hard to find."

Turner won't be hard to find. He pledges to stand up for the people that Dial has either forgotten about or never cared about in the first place.

Watch the video clip - and then donate at Darrell Turner's campaign Web site



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Calling Young Alabama Reproductive Justice Activists! Training in Tuscaloosa Oct. 24-26th

by: countrycat

Mon Sep 08, 2014 at 15:29:07 PM CDT

URGE - Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity - invites young (age 17-25) Alabama activists to attend the "Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute" training in Tuscaloosa next month.  The weekend-long retreat will "introduct young activists to the reproductive justice movement and basic organizing skills.

Travel & hotel expenses are covered!  The last day to apply is September 15, so please help get the word out.  Apply at http://www.urge.org/get-involved

About the organization:

URGE envisions a world where all people have agency over their own bodies and relationships, and the power, knowledge, and tools to exercise that agency. URGE builds this vision by engaging young people in creating and leading the way to sexual and reproductive justice for all by providing training, field mobilization, and national leadership for a youth-driven agenda 


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National GOP Fundraising Appeal: Get Your GHWB "Rainbow Socks" While You Can!

by: countrycat

Sun Sep 07, 2014 at 16:19:19 PM CDT

Is this a clumsy outreach to the GLBTQ community or just a bizarre new fashion trend? The GOP is offering contributors an "opportunity" to be a fashion plate:  "Bold Socks Aren't Just For Fridays, Anymore!"  Get your George H. W. Bush rainbow socks while they last, campers.  What a fashion statement to pair with your deck shoes at the Kennebunkport Yacht Club....  All for the bargain price of $35/pair.

Seriously, this is what happens when I check my spam folder - a truly bizarre, but seemingly earnest fundraising email from the national Republican Party.  Can't wait to see Pat Robertson sporting a pair on the 700 Club next week.

GHWB Rainbow Socks 

This is a cartoon just begging for a caption, but I've had a long, busy weekend.  Y'all offer your suggestions! 


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SD-01 - Mike Curtis: "Government Works When You Compromise."

by: countrycat

Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 14:47:59 PM CDT

During a short interview with Left in Alabama at the Hot Dogs & Yellow Dogs event 9/4, Mike Curtis outlined some of the major reasons he's running for the seat of retiring Senator Tammy Irons.  Curtis served one term in the Alabama House before losing his seat in 2010.  He's also served on the Lawrence County Commission, and his knowledge and experience would be a welcome addition to the fractious Alabama Legislature.

Mike Curtis

We started out asking him about his campaign & why he decided to step up and run again.  His first reason?  Term limits.  That sounds a bit incongruous, but Curtis explained his reasoning perfectly: 

  • He suggests a limit of 3 terms, which gives the incoming senator/representative a "learning" term: how legislation moves, how the chamber works, establish relationships, etc.
  • But after that, representatives become more interested in keeping their jobs than doing their jobs, so they don't serve their districts as well.
  • Refreshingly, Curtis noted that "it's time to get some younger people in government."

He also decried the way the GOP supermajority has run the Legislature since winning in 2010: 

As a Democrat, I never had to sign a pledge that I would support what the Democrats told me to do down in Montgomery.  If I thought the bill was good for my district & the state, it didn't matter who sponsored it, I voted for it.

That's not happening now.  We have a supermajority down there in Montgomery that is a dictatorship. There's no debate on bills.  When I was in the house from 2006 to 2010, we clotured bills maybe 3 times.  This supermajority in the House has already clotured over 400 times.

That's a dictatorship & a lot of people don't know that's happening.  

Curtis also wondered when teachers "became the enemy" in this state.  A child & grandchild of teachers, he recognizes the value of quality education in Alabama and expressed willingness to work with people of good will no matter what the party.  "Without compromise in politics," he noted, "you can't get anything done."

Well... you can if you have a supermajority and invoke cloture 400 times, but that doesn't mean that the legislation is helping the state as a whole.  Big business & wealthy contributors are doing great.  The unemployed workers & struggling small businesses?  Not so much. 

Learn more about Mike Curtis at his campaign Web site and/or connect with him on Facebook.


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Why Doesn't Alabama Vote? Take The Survey.

by: countrycat

Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 12:15:00 PM CDT

In Alabama, the number of people registered to vote & the number of registered voters who actually turn out both have declined.  In 1998, almost three quarters of eligible Alabama residents were registered and 51% voted in that year's election.  But in 2010, voter registration had falled to 63% and participation in the election was just 43%.

ballot box

What the heck happened?

Empower Alabama wants to know and is asking people to fill out a short voting survey.  Do you vote in midterm elections?  Why or why not?

Take the survey & let's find out what's going on. 

About the group:  Empower Alabama is a grassroots campaign that never stops, regardless of the election calendar.  We are working year-round to engage citizens, to educate voters, and to elect outstanding local leaders. 

We believe that Alabama can do better. The Alabama Legislature should reflect the people of Alabama.  As it stands now, too many Alabamians are not engaged in the political process and aren’t being represented.  


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