Thursday, November 30, 2006
On this day:

Iraq's uncivil war

Columnist Ralph Peters talks sense on Iraq in today's New York Post. This is the kind of "realism" I like. Here's a taste:

The endless spitting match over whether Iraq is in a state of civil war is a media-driven grudge fight that ignores the complex reality. It's name-calling, not analysis.

A lot of this is just "get Bush" stuff from journalists whose biased reporting helped shape the dismal reality in Iraq and who now crow that they were right all along - the media as a self-licking ice-cream cone.

The good news - and, unfortunately, the bad news - is that Iraq is not in a state of civil war in the textbook sense. If it were, our military and political mission would be easier.
So, what are we to do? Peters says that we should act first and foremost to defend our own national interests, with a clear understanding that although spreading democracy may be a worthwhile objective, it is a secondary one at best:

As far as the now-pejorative term "civil war" goes, let's just let activists in or out of the media use it, if it helps them bear the dawning reality that, no, the Democrats in Congress aren't going to bring the troops home for Christmas and declare surrender.

Meanwhile, those of us who care about our country's security and who worry about the futility haunting the Middle East need to face a tougher issue than yo-mama name-calling: Iraq has deteriorated so badly it's hard to imagine a positive outcome unless we're willing to take radical, politically difficult measures.

The administration and Congress have to face a fundamental question: Which result is more important - preserving Iraq as a unified state with a facade of democratic government, or protecting our own national-security interests?

The two priorities now conflict. Really taking on our enemies - not least Moqtada al-Sadr and his legion of thugs - would require us to defy the elected Baghdad government we sponsored. To kill those who need killing to pacify Iraq and re-establish our ascendancy would mean that we would again become an outright occupying power.

Not that it really matters, but doing what it would take to win would also tear up our permission slip from the United Nations.

On the other hand, the prospect of endlessly shoring up a corrupt, divided Iraqi government unwilling to protect its own citizens, and to do so at a cost in American blood, would be a far more immoral course than ordering our troops to kill the butchers who've been assassinating them and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis. ...

A fundamental problem is that the mission in Iraq remains vague. And vague mission statements are not conducive to military success.

Generalities won't do. Let's tell our troops precisely what we expect of them: Are they there to defeat our enemies, or just to buy time with their lives in the forlorn hope that something will go right?

And let's not lose sight of the incontestable fact that, while being liked in the Middle East would be nice, being feared by our enemies is essential.

There's nothing civil about the semi-chaos defining a new kind of war in Iraq. It's a 21st-century phenomenon and our terminology has to catch up. In the meantime, we need to remember that, whatever else our government does or fails to do, its ultimate reason for being is to protect Americans and American interests.

Saving the dubious Maliki government is a secondary concern, at most. The uncompromising defeat of our enemies is what matters.

Amen to that. The message being spread throughout the Middle East today is that democracy is a recipe for civil disorder and bloodshed. That is most certainly not a message that serves America's long-term interests.

In much of Iraq, the fundamental building blocks for democracy have never existed, either before the war or now. The U.S. undertook its experiment in democracy-building before the Iraqis themselves had a chance to lay the proper groundwork; the results have been largely predictable: mounting frustration and disappointment. There are signs that the Bush administration is learning that lesson; the sooner it takes measures to act in a way that is more clearly in line with America's own interests, the better.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006
On this day:

Riley gets recommendations on public education

Mentoring for new employees and incentive pay for teachers are among the recommendations that the Governor's Commission on Quality Teaching has presented to Gov. Riley to improve the quality of public education in the state. Both are good ideas. Unfortunately, the most promising of the two - incentive pay - has been consistently opposed by the powerful Alabama Education Association, an organization rivalled by few in its commitment to mediocrity.

If Alabama is ever to achieve excellence in public education, its leaders have to free themselves from the influence of Paul Hubbert and the AEA. Ensuring that teachers are rewarded based on performance is a common-sense measure that would aid in the retention of good teachers, while encouraging all teachers - good and not-so-good - to get better. Shouldn't a public school teacher be provided with the same type of incentives that he would receive in the private sector for a job well-done? The AEA often responds to that question by saying, "No, because it would create too much competition among teachers." Faced with a self-defeating outlook like that, is it any wonder that so many parents see fit to take their kids out of the public school system?

Mobile Press-Register: "Sessions' bill promotes fairness in sentencing"

The Press-Register praises Sen. Sessions for sponsoring a bill to reduce disparities in sentences for possession of cocaine in its various forms.
SEN. JEFF Sessions has shown admirable persistence in trying to right a wrong caused by well-intended efforts to fight the nation's drug trade.

A decade ago, after he was first elected to the U.S. Senate, Sen. Sessions began talking about the need to lessen the disparity in sentencing for federal offenses involving crack cocaine and the powder form of the drug. In recent years, the former state and federal prosecutor has co-sponsored bills that would significantly narrow that sentencing gap.

Under the current law, possession of a small amount of crack (five grams) carries the same sentence as possession of 500 grams of powder cocaine. The minimum sentence for possession of five grams of crack is five years -- with no parole. ...

Referring to the sentencing disparity, Sen. Sessions told The Associated Press, "It can't be sustained on public policy arguments. Congress has mandated these sentences and we should constantly monitor what we did and adjust it for fairness."

A bill co-authored by Sen. Sessions would promote fairness in sentencing without undermining the war on drugs. The proposed legislation would raise the threshold for the five-year sentence to 20 grams of crack. It also would lower (to 400 grams) the amount of powder cocaine triggering a five-year sentence.

Like so many bills in Congress, Sen. Sessions' bill has become a victim of partisan intransigence. Most Democrats don't think the bill does enough to eliminate the sentencing disparity. Many Republicans are reluctant to support changes that would soften the mandatory sentences.

On this issue, however, Democrats and Republicans ought to be able to find common ground. Liberal Democrats insist they want legislation that closes the racial gap in sentencing. Sen. Sessions, a solid conservative with law-and-order credentials, agrees that the current law is indefensible.

The two sides need to resolve their differences and approve changes that would actually strengthen the law by ensuring that it's fairly applied to criminals of all races.
I think that the Press-Register's argument overstates the racial angle, but other than that, I agree. Sessions's bill would add a shot of sanity to the federal government's war on drugs.

Worley says she's not leaving early

She says, "I'm going to serve right on to Jan. 15, which is when the people elected me to serve and when they elected me not to serve."

To her credit, SoS-elect Beth Chapman has announced her support for Mrs. Worley's decision, saying, "I have respect for the office and for the people who put all of us in office. She was put in office by the people to serve a full four-year term."

Newspapers call on Worley to resign

The Mobile Press-Register and the Montgomery Advertiser have called on Secretary of State Nancy Worley to resign so that Republican Beth Chapman - who defeated Worley in the November 7 general election - can take office early.

Now, as y'all know, I'm no fan of Nancy Worley, but I don't see any reason why she should resign. Under our state constitution, the Secretary of State is elected to serve a four-year term. Even if Nancy Worley were the worst Secretary of State ever - which she very well may be - that doesn't take away her obligation to serve out her term; nor does it take away our obligation to honor the rules set by the constitution. If we get in the habit of demanding that elected officials resign simply because they are incompetent, our government wouldn't be able to function.

The voters spoke on November 7, and Nancy Worley will be leaving office soon enough - January 15, to be exact. Those calling for her resignation should exercise a little more patience.

Speaking of Twisted Sister...

Remember this?

Not exactly a conservative anthem, huh? Of course, they did play it in Iron Eagle.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006
On this day:

Getting in the holiday spirit

I just bought the new Twisted Sister Christmas CD - Twisted Christmas. I have a feeling the Christmas tree will go up in record time this year.

Monday, November 27, 2006
On this day:

Sports question of the day

All those who think that Bama Athletic Director Mal Moore should be trusted with hiring Mike Shula's replacement, please raise your hands.

Shula's out

The folks at are having way too much fun with this one.

Sunday, November 26, 2006
On this day:

New online encyclopedia contains 1,400 articles on Birmingham and counting

There's a new online encyclopedia dedicated to providing information on Birmingham:

The Birmingham News has the story.

B'ham News: Spending bill splits Alabama's two Senators

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions is again standing up for fiscal responsibility. The contrast displayed here between Sessions and Mr. Free-Spender himself - Sen. Richard Shelby - couldn't be greater.

Club for Growth's Andrew Roth has some additional insight on this story here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
On this day:

Westboro cult to protest at Huntsville students' funerals

Fred Phelps's despicable band of thugs plan to demonstrate here in Huntsville this weekend.

From the Huntsville Times:
In another development, members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., announced plans Tuesday to demonstrate at the funerals of the wreck victims.

The group often holds protests at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq. The church runs the Web site and is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery. The church blames homosexuality for most of the world's major problems.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006
On this day:

Milton Friedman, RIP

Last Friday, Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize winner and one of the world's most influential economists, died at the age of 94. Friedman was a tireless advocate of individual liberty and free markets. Through his scholarly research and his many writings, lectures, and debates, he brought the full force of his wit and intellect to bear against statists and economic meddlers everywhere, from the central planners of the former Soviet Union to the Keynesian "New Economists" here in the United States.

I own two books by Milton Friedman: Free to Choose, probably his most popular, co-authored with his wife Rose, and Money Mischief: Episodes in Monetary History. Free to Choose is a masterpiece - an easy-to-understand book of economic first principles that should be part of any conservative or libertarian's library. Even though it was written in 1979, it remains one of the central economic playbooks for conservatives. In it, Friedman lays out the economic arguments for privatizing Social Security, rolling back the welfare state, flattening the income tax, and providing vouchers for primary and secondary education. To find out how to go about creating a freer and more prosperous society, read Free to Choose.

I could go on and on, but there has been so much written about Friedman over the past few days that anything I could add would be trivial in comparison. I've linked to some of the best below.


Chicago Tribune

London Telegraph

Financial Times

New York Times

The Guardian

The Cato Institute

Remembering Milton Friedman

William F. Buckley, Jr.: "Milton Friedman, RIP"
Buckley says goodbye to an old friend.

National Review Editors: From "Window on the Week"
"...liberty has lost a great friend and champion."

Iain Murray: "Friedman's Legacy"
How Friedman influenced not just one Brit, but all of Britain

Tim Worstall: "His Ideas Had Consequences"
Another Brit remarks on how Friedman's ideas changed Britain

David Boaz: "The World Turner"
"Over his long life, he had the satisfaction of seeing the world turn in his direction."

Thomas Sowell: "Freedom Man"
Sowell recalls how Friedman rescued Economics.

Ben Stein: "Milton Friedman, Freedom Fighter"
Stein says that Friedman "rewrote our economic memory."

Robert Samuelson: "How Milton Friedman Changed the World"
A man of ideas in the arena

Doug Bandow: "Losing a Giant of Liberty"
How Friedman turned socialists into "intellectual roadkill"

Arnold Kling: "Milton Friedman's Case"
"Friedman won [his arguments] on merit, because his basic position was correct."

Larry Summers: "The Great Liberator"
Clinton's former Treasury Secretary makes the debatable point that "...any honest Democrat will admit that we are now all Friedmanites."

Paul Craig Roberts: "Insightful economist"
"Mr. Friedman was the great economist of our time, who more than anyone saved the economics profession from dogma."

Niall Ferguson: "Friedman is dead, monetarism is dead, but what about inflation?"
Ferguson considers the often-repeated Friedman line: "Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon."

Wall Street Journal: "Friedman's Sampler"
A compilation of Friedman's writings from the Wall Street Journal

The Telegraph: "Thatcher praises Friedman, her freedom fighter"
A quote from Lady Thatcher: "Milton Friedman revived the economics of liberty when it had been all but forgotten. He was an intellectual freedom fighter. Never was there a less dismal practitioner of a dismal science. I shall greatly miss my old friend's lucid wisdom and mordant humour."

The Economist: "An enduring legacy"
The marks of greatness.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute: "Statement on the Life of Milton Friedman"
"Many freedom fighters burn out, retire from the field, become disillusioned, even cynical. Most people grow tired when their efforts are demonized, attacked and ignored. We're all human and we can do only so much. But one individual never retreated, never retired from the war of ideas – the war to advance individual and economic liberty."

Video Links:

Friedman discusses libertarianism with Peter Robinson on Uncommon Knowledge.
Link via DartBlog. In part of the interview, Friedman discusses the South's Jim Crow laws.

Friedman discusses limited government on a very old PBS program called The Open Mind. A great video. If you want to know what Friedman believed and why he was so hated by the Left, then watch this video, in which he discusses limited government, conservatism, the minimum wage, Social Security, and welfare. (One remark: This is a great interview. This is good journalism. This is a serious, civil, exchange of ideas. Sometimes, "turning back the clock" doesn't sound like such a bad idea, huh?)

Transcripts and video samples from PBS Free to Choose TV series

Video and audio links from

Friedman Resources:

Free to Choose main web site

Friedman biography and assorted links at the Free to Choose web site

Friedman's autobiography at the Nobel Prize web site

Monday, November 20, 2006
On this day:

"A heartbreaking tragedy"

Here in Huntsville, at least three high school students were killed in a school bus crash today; several others have sustained critical injuries. Please keep them and their families in your prayers.

Sunday, November 19, 2006
On this day:

Made the switch to new Blogger software

Google released new Blogger software this week, and I just made the switch. I hope that this turns out to be a Good Thing, but I'm sure that a few bugs will rise to the surface soon enough. From the information I've read so far, readers shouldn't notice much of a difference - others than maybe a few new bells and whistles here and there - but if you find anything acting screwy (trouble posting or viewing comments, links that don't work, problems with my site feed, etc.), please let me know.

Sunday, November 12, 2006
On this day:

Heading to the desert

(And no, it's not to meet up with all the Republicans who recently arrived there.)

Later this morning, I'll be flying out to San Diego, then driving about three and a half hours over to Yuma, Arizona, where I'll be spending most of the next week. Yuma's an interesting little town. It's located just across the Colorado River from California and about 30 miles from the Mexican border. Right smack-dab in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. Lots of mountains, sand, cacti, and border patrol agents. And of course, plenty of good, authentic Mexican food. (They even have cactus soup...not that I'd recommend it.)

It's also known as the "Lettuce Capital of the World"...partly because so much lettuce is grown there (oddly enough) and partly because of the throngs of people just across the border shouting "let us come in!"

Sorry...I guess a lack of sleep has made me a wee bit insensitive. If you ever have a really early flight and think it would be a good idea to stay up all night just to make sure you get to the airport on time...don't do it!

If you picture that little spot on the U.S. weather map that is always the deepest shade of red during the summertime, that's Yuma. Fortunately, the weather is great there this time of year. All next week, the highs are supposed to be in the low to mid-80's, lows near 60, with clear skies. Should be perfect for hiking. case I don't check in before then...I'll be back in Huntspatch next Saturday. Unfortunately, when I booked my return flight, the fact that the Alabama-Auburn game is being played that day didn't even cross my mind, so it looks like I'll be watching what I can of it during my layover in Dallas. I just hope they have a good sports bar.

See y'all later, and...

Roll Tide!

K-Lo: Three cheers for Sen. Sessions

NRO's Kathryn Jean Lopez is impressed with Alabama's junior U.S. Senator.

In this post from Thursday, she says that Jeff Sessions would make an excellent Supreme Court nominee:

Is It Me

or does Robert Gates look like Jeff Sessions? I keep seeing the replay of him with Bush and Rumsfeld yesterday and always think "why is Jeff Sessions there?" There's an idea too...Rick Santorum for U.N. (POTUS apparently didn't like my SECDEF idea. Jeff Sessions (who is wonderful on judges) for SCOTUS. Of course, in the minority now, I don't think the Senate can afford life without Sessions.

One of her Alabama readers agrees:

Can I Be Senate Minority Leader?

A reader reminds me why my Sessions for SCOTUS idea is positively brilliant:

Dear KLo,

Jeff Sessions is my senator and I think he's great! He would make a fantastic Supreme Court justice. But did you know that President Reagan nominated Sessions for a federal judgeship in 1986?Democrats (probably the same dinosaur Dems who are still around) blocked his nomination after civil rights groups raised questions of racial intolerance—probably similar to what the esteemed, honorable Judge Charles Pickering had to deal with a few years ago. The Sessions rejected nomination is mentioned briefly in this column about mid-way down. I think it's a kick that after his nomination was rejected, he ran for Senate and now sits on the Judiciary Committee with some of the same twits who gave his thumbs down in 1986. Jeff Sessions rocks!

In the meantime...while we're waiting for a Supreme Court spot to come open...Lopez suggests that Sessions would be a good choice to lead the Republican Policy Committee.


I like some of the guys expected to be at the top there a lot. Mitch McConnell is expected to be minority leader. Jon Kyl will replace Santorum as conference chair. Good stuff.

But …

Kay Bailey Hutchinson is expected to get the Republican Policy Committee.

When you take a look at some of the terrific policy papers the RPC put out under an effective Kyl, it’s hard not to want a smart, solid, conservative, total team-player type in that slot. Mrs. Hutchinson is more mod.

Which brings me (back) to Jeff Sessions. I’m under no impression he wants it, but there are some rumors that some folks there think he should. I certainly think he should. He fits the aforementioned bill.

So, how ‘bout it, Senator Sessions? Run, Sessions, run! It’ll be a bit of a challenge, jumping in now. But inasmuch as the Policy Committee disseminates research on some key issues … Sessions should be there.
Sounds good to me. Sessions is an energetic, thoughtful conservative - should be a great fit for the RPC position.

Naming Sessions to the Supreme Court would be a much bolder move. He's certainly qualified, having served as a U.S. Attorney, Attorney General of Alabama, and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. But, there's no doubt that the Left would react to a Sessions nomination by regurgitating all of the outrageous charges they levied against him back when President Reagan nominated him to be a district court judge. Then again, he has friends on both sides of the aisle in the U.S. Senate, so his position as a sitting U.S Senator might actually work to his advantage. I'd sure like to find out.

Saturday, November 11, 2006
On this day:

In remembrance

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- John McCrae (1915)

Friday, November 10, 2006
On this day:

Artur Davis to challenge Sessions for Senate?

The Birmingham News reports that Rep. Artur Davis is considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2008. I've been pretty impressed with Rep. Davis. He's been one of the few voices of moderation in an overwhelmingly liberal House Democratic caucus. Still, it's not too hard to be considered a "moderate" when the standard for comparison is set by Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, and Charlie Rangel.

Davis would have a tough time against Sessions, but if he continues to vote like a "progressive" Southern Democrat - conservative on "God, guns, and gays"...moderate-to-liberal on Medicare, Social Security, and other social welfare issues - he might just have a chance. Don't count him out.

Thursday, November 09, 2006
On this day:

Riley's "coattails" may extend further than we thought

It looks like a major power shift may be under way in the Alabama Senate. Six Senate Democrats have expressed interest in joining with the 12 Republicans to form a new governing coalition in that 35-member house. This is great news for Governor Riley, and if it pans out, it will all but negate Democrat Jim Folsom, Jr.'s win in the Lt. Governor's race.

More from the Birmingham News:

MONTGOMERY - Six Democratic state senators on Wednesday invited other senators, including the 12 Republicans, to join them to form a majority that could seize control of the chamber from an all-Democratic coalition Sen. Lowell Barron has led since 1999.

"The six of us standing here today pledge to the citizens of Alabama to organize the Senate in a cooperative and bipartisan manner," Sen. E.B. McClain, D-Midfield, said at a press conference at the State House.

Sen. Larry Means, D-Attalla, said a Senate run over the next four years by the six Democrats plus whoever joins them could give Republican Gov. Bob Riley's agenda a more favorable hearing than it's had the past four years.

The six Democratic senators are McClain, Means, Tom Butler of Madison, Jimmy Holley of Elba, Phil Poole of Moundville and Jim Preuitt of Talladega.

If those six joined with the 12 Republican senators elected Tuesday, they would form a coalition of 18 senators, a majority of the 35-member Senate that in January could write the Senate's operating rules and appoint its leaders for the next four years.

Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hillssaid he saw no reason the 12 Republican senators wouldn't accept the offer to form a governing coalition with the six.
Sen. Roger Bedford (D.-Porkville) is already in full hissy-fit mode.

Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, a Barron ally, blasted the six Democratic senators for not waiting to talk with fellow Democratic senators and Democratic Lt. Gov.-elect Jim Folsom Jr. about organizing the Senate.

"They clearly want to organize with the Republicans," Bedford said. "Their districts elected them to be a Democratic state senator, to organize with a Democratic lieutenant governor. ... They clearly want to get in bed with Bob Riley and not follow the wishes of their districts."
Well, what exactly were the "wishes of their districts," Sen. Bedford? How many voters in each of those six districts voted for Gov. Riley over Lt. Gov. Baxley? I don't know the answer to that question - Alabama's Senate districts are way too gerrymandered to figure that out quickly - but I certainly have my suspicions.

Check out the Senate district map for yourself. Here's a little more info on the six defecting Democrats.
Sen. McClain represents District 19 (central Jefferson County)

Sen. Butler represents District 2 (western Madison County and most of Limestone County)

Sen. Means represents District 10 (Etowah County and western Cherokee County)

Sen. Holley represents District 31 (Coffee County, Covington County, northern Dale County, and a sliver of Houston County)

Sen. Poole represents District 21 (Pickens County, a big part of Tuscaloosa County, and northern Hale County)

Sen. Preuitt represents District 11 (Talladega County, Coosa County, eastern Elmore County, and part of Calhoun County, including most of Oxford.)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006
On this day:

Summary of Bama election results

Here's a summary of yesterday's election results, with a few links here and there.

Riley (R) over Baxley(D)

B'ham News: Riley Re-elected:Incumbent beats Baxley by more than 188,000votes

B'Ham News: Baxley lacked money and votes
Mobile Press-Register: Riley easily cruises to second term
AP: Riley beats Baxley for Alabama governor but no coattails

Lt. Governor
Folsom (D) over Strange(R)
B'ham News: Folsom declares victory in tight race with Strange
Mobile Press-Register: Folsom looking strong in bid against Strange
AP: Folsom defeats Strange for lt. gov.

Attorney General
King (R) over Tyson(D)
B'ham News: King defeats Tyson for full term
Mobile Press-Register: King looks like winner over Tyson

State Auditor
Shaw (R) over Clarke (D)

Ivey (R) over Segrest (D)

Secretary of State
Chapman (R) over Worley (D)

Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries
Sparks (D) over Lipscomb (R)
Mobile Press-Register: Sparks apparently re-elected in vote over Lipscomb
Supreme Court - Chief Justice
Cobb (D) over Nabers (R)
Supreme Court - Associate Justices
Lyons (R) over No-one (D)
Woodall (R) over Kennedy (D)
Stuart (R) over Johnson (D)
Murdock (R) over England (D)

Birmingham News: Cobb becomes first woman to lead state Supreme Court

Court of Criminal Appeals

Moore (R) over Vaughan (D)
Pittman (R) over Drake(D)
Thomas (R) over McFerrin (D)

Court of Civil Appeals
Shaw (R) over Ford (D)
Wise (R) over Patton (D)
Welch (R) over Paseur (D)
B'ham News: GOP Sweeps Appellate Courts
Public Service Commission
Parker (D) over Hooper (R)
Cook (D) over Rice (R)
B'ham News: Parker, Cook win seats on PSC
Mobile Press-Register: Cook re-elected; Parker leads

State Board of Education
Caylor (D) over Dixon (R)
Peters (R) over Williams (D)
AP: Incumbents Peters, Caylor keep their seats

Sue Bell Cobb to take charge of an "all-white" Supreme Court

Here's Chief Justice-elect Sue Bell Cobb from back in August: "When you have an all-white court, that is sending a signal that we do not want to send in Alabama."

That kind of silliness - elevating physical characteristics above character and intellect when determining one's fitness to be a judge - is one reason I didn't vote for Sue Bell Cobb.

Race and gender are fixed characteristics: they don't change...they can't be "improved" upon...they are immutable; you possess what the good Lord gave you, now and forever. Thus, whenever race and gender figure into how we treat others, we are placing limitations on ourselves that are unnecessary, unreasonable, and unjust.

In contrast, character and intellect are qualities that transcend immutable characteristics like race and gender. Having a lawyerly mind is not the exclusive reserve of men, women, or of any particular racial group. The cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice are common to men and women of all races. We all have the potential of growing in character by exercising the virtues and of growing in intellect by exercising our minds.

Don't get me wrong. I don't like the fact that we now have an "all-white court." Neither do I dislike it. Quite frankly, I don't give a damn either way. What I do care about is that we have the best judges - and that they be evaluated on how aptly they use their character and intellect to interpret the law.

Republicans win in every appeals court race but one

Unfortunately, the one appeals court race the Republicans lost was the big one: Democrat Sue Bell Cobb narrowly defeated incumbent Drayton Nabers to become the next Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

From the AP:

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Democrat Sue Bell Cobb defeated Republican Chief Justice Drayton Nabers Jr. on Tuesday in a rough-and-tumble race that was called the nation's most expensive judicial campaign of the year.

Republicans won nine other seats on three state appeals court, leaving Cobb in a familiar role as the only Democratic judge elected statewide — but this time at the head of the court system.

With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Cobb led Nabers 52 percent to 48 percent. A spokesman said Nabers phoned Cobb to concede defeat. ...

"I'm thrilled to be the first female chief justice in the history of the state," said Cobb.

And we're just thrilled to have you, Mrs. Cobb.


Drayton Nabers has been an excellent Chief Justice during his short time on the Court, so his loss is disappointing. Still, it's important to note that the Supreme Court operates as a body; it is not "ruled" by the Chief Justice. Following today's election, that body will retain its current composition of eight Republicans and one Democrat.

As Chief Justice and the Court's lone Democrat, Mrs. Cobb has a challenging job ahead of her; if she approaches it with a judicious temperament and a proper understanding of her role as the Court's chief administrator, she should have no problem rising to that challenge.

One other note on the judicial races: In addition to their 8-1 majority on the Supreme Court, Republicans will now hold every seat on both the Court of Civil Appeals and the Court of Criminal Appeals. Not too shabby, especially when you consider that as recently as 1994, all nine seats on the Supreme Court were held by Democrats, and no Republicans served on either the civil or criminal appeals court.

Democrats have got big, big problems in Alabama; today's election results serve to underscore that point.

King defeats Tyson in AG race

Republican Troy King, appointed by Gov. Riley in 2004 to replace Bill Pryor as Attorney General, has been elected to a full term, defeating John Tyson, Jr. With 2,739 of 2,904 precincts reporting, King leads 54%-46%.

An interesting fact about this race: It appears that King won in Tyson's home county - Mobile - by a landslide of 59%-41%.

SOS Worley ousted

This is one of the most welcome results of the night: Republican State Auditor Beth Chapman will replace Nancy Worley as Secretary of State. With 2,715 of 2,904 precincts reporting, Chapman leads that race 56%-44%.

It seems that Chapman's two not-exactly-tasteful-but-very-funny attack ads (this one and this one) were quite effective...especially when compared to Mrs. Worley's very ineffective response.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006
On this day:

Riley elected to second term as Governor

Governor Riley has cruised to an easy victory over Democratic Lieutenant Governor Lucy Baxley. With 2,734 of 2,904 precincts reporting, he leads 58%-42%.

A couple of interesting facts:
  • Governor Riley is the first Alabama Governor to win re-election since Guy Hunt did it in 1990.
  • If the numbers hold up, Riley will have won by the largest margin in an Alabama gubernatorial race since Democrat George C. Wallace defeated Republican Emory Folmar 1982. (The margin in that race was Wallace: 57.6%, Folmar: 39.1%, Others: 3.3%. Source: Alabama Secretary of State's Office.)

Avoid the Nancy Balls

This game is about as dumb as a vote for Nancy Pelosi.

This just in...

Many in the diplomatic community were pleasantly surprised by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's recent decision to rejoin the six-party nuclear talks. U.S. intelligence sources have now revealed a major reason for his change of heart. In a recent electronic intercept, Kim was overheard commenting on the large number of government offices that Americans will be voting on today: "I've never managed to hold even one election, but these Americans can have hundreds in just one day? How can I compete with that?"

Update: Yes, this is a joke (stupid and juvenile...but still a joke). Pronounce Kim Jong-Il's quote above as he would pronounce it and hopefully you'll get it.

Monday, November 06, 2006
On this day:

"Riley poised for big win" on Tuesday

Bob Riley leads Lucy Baxley by a whopping 59%-31% in the latest statewide poll of likely voters. Republicans also hold big leads in several down-the-ticket races. According to the AP:

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A new statewide poll indicates Gov. Bob Riley is headed to an easy re-election victory over Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley and puts Republican candidates ahead in the races for lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state. ...

Asked for whom they would vote if "the election for governor were held today," 59 percent said the Republican, Riley; 31 percent said the Democrat, Baxley; and the rest were undecided. ...

In polling on other races:

• Lieutenant governor candidate Republican Luther Strange was the choice for 50 percent of likely voters compared to 39 percent for Democrat Jim Folsom Jr. The remaining 11 percent were undecided.

• Republican incumbent Troy King had 51 percent in the attorney general's race while his Democratic challenger John Tyson Jr., the Mobile County district attorney, had 33 percent.

• Republican Beth Chapman was chosen by 42 percent of those surveyed, compared to 32 percent for Democratic incumbent Nancy Worley in the secretary of state's race.

• In the campaign for chief justice, Democratic challenger Cobb was the choice of 44 percent, while Republican Nabers was preferred by 43 percent.
I'm a little surprised (and displeased) about that Nabers/Cobb number. I hate to say it, but I think that Nabers would be well ahead if he didn't look and sound like an undertaker.

Appearances aside, you couldn't ask for a better Chief Justice than Drayton Nabers. 1) He wrote the book on "character"...literally. 2) By all counts, he has been a superb administrator for the Court - one of the Chief Justice's most important roles. 3) He is a mainstream conservative jurist who believes that legislating is best left to legislatures; he rejects judicial extremism - whether it comes from the left or the right. 4) Underscoring point 3, Nabers defeated a tough challenge from Tom Parker in the June Republican primary.

Drayton Nabers is one of the best appointments Governor Riley has made during his four years in office. If anyone deserves to be elected to a full term, he does.

Friday, November 03, 2006
On this day:

Auburn tree lighting ceremony gets a new name

The Plainsman reports:
After forming a committee and holding two open forums over an 11-month span, SGA announced this week that the new name of the former Holiday Tree Lighting will be “Holiday Celebration featuring the Lighting of the Christmas Tree.”

Wes Bonds, spokesman for the Holiday Tree Lighting/Holiday Celebration committee, said the committee got a lot of ideas from the two open forums.

“We wanted to find (a name) to encompass everything going on,” Bonds said.

The generic term “holiday” can include New Year’s Day, Diwali, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving.

SGA President George Stegall said he believes the new name is more accurate. “There’s no holiday tree; it’s a Christmas tree,” Stegall said.

Stegall said the open forums helped the decision making process by allowing the committee to hear what the students and the Auburn community thought about the event.

“Something had to be done about calling a Christmas tree a holiday tree,” he said.

The debate about the event’s name began shortly before last year’s holiday tree lighting.

Former College Republicans President Laura Steele started a petition to rename the event, which had been called the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony since its inception in 2000.

Student leaders received 20,000 e-mails over the issue, according to the Associated Press.
This is certainly a welcome victory against the Auburn PC brigades, but the fact that it took 11 months to come up with such a common-sense solution is just the latest example of how political correctness isn't just's mind-dumbing.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006
On this day:

View debates online

Alabama Public Television hosted three televised debates earlier this week:

Candidates for Governor - Bob Riley vs. Lucy Baxley

Candidates for Lieutenant Governor - Luther Strange vs. Jim Folsom, Jr.

Candidates for Attorney General - Troy King vs. John Tyson, Jr.
You can watch them online here.

University of Alabama celebrates Native American Heritage Month

No, no! It's for Native Americans*, not native Americans.

The other heritage months on the University's diversity calendar this year are:

African-American History Month: February
Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month: May
Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month: September 15 – October 15

Apparently, European Americans are too boring and unimportant to get their own heritage month. Not to mention Australian-Americans, Antarctican-Americans, and just-plain-mixed-up Americans. Diversity only goes so far, I suppose.

* Those who suffer from multicultural deficit disorder may be more familiar with the colloquial, Eurocentric term Indians; please be aware that use of this term has been anathematized by the High Priests of Diversity and Cultural Sensitivity who reign at most modern American universities, including the University of Alabama.

Alabama condom makers see hard times ahead

Withdrawal of federal $$ means that workers get the shaft.

The New York Times had this related story on Sunday. Here's an excerpt:

EUFAULA, Alabama — Here in this courtly, antebellum town, Alabama’s condom production has survived an onslaught of Asian competition, thanks to the patronage of straitlaced congressmen from this Bible Belt state.

Behind the scenes, the politicians have ensured that companies in Alabama won federal contracts to make billions of condoms over the years for AIDS prevention and family planning programs overseas, though Asian factories could do the job at less than half the cost.

In recent years, the state’s condom manufacturers fell hundreds of millions of condoms behind on orders, and the federal aid agency began buying them from Asia. The use of Asian-made condoms has contributed to layoffs that are coming next month.

But Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, has quietly pressed to maintain the unqualified priority for American-made condoms and is likely to prevail if the past is any guide.

“What’s wrong with helping the American worker at the same time we are helping people around the world?” asked the senator’s spokesman, Michael Brumas. ...

The history of the federal government’s condom purchases embodies the tradeoffs that characterize foreign aid American-style. Alabama’s congressmen have long preserved several hundred factory jobs here by insisting that the United States Agency for International Development buy condoms made here, though, probably in a nod to their conservative constituencies, most have typically done so discreetly. ...

Senator Richard C. Shelby, a Republican on the Appropriations Committee, had a provision tucked into the 2004 budget bill requiring that Usaid buy only American-made condoms to the extent possible, given cost and availability. His spokeswoman, Kate Boyd, said the agency did not tell him it was worried about the relative cost of American and Asian-made condoms.

Senator Sessions wrote Usaid a letter last year saying it should purchase condoms from foreign producers only after it had bought all the condoms American companies could make, noting it was “extremely important to jobs in my state.”

Alabama's back

The country music group, that is. From the Fort Payne Times-Journal:
The first new album from Fort Payne’s own country music super group Alabama in more than five years will hit stores today.

The entirely faith-based album, “Alabama: Songs of Inspiration” includes traditional hymns and standards, and two new songs penned by Alabama vocalist Randy Owen. The album will be simultaneously released by RCA Records to traditional retailers and by Provident Music Group to Christian retail outlets. ...

“Songs of Inspiration” is the Country Music Hall of Fame band’s first new album in more than five years, the first since the band’s farewell tour wrapped up in October 2004 and the first album with all inspirational content in the group’s history.

Included on the album are classics like “Rock of Ages,” “How Great Thou Art,” “The Old Rugged Cross,” “Amazing Grace,” “His Eye Is On The Sparrow,” “In The Garden,” and more.