Thoughts on Thanksgiving


JEFF MARTIN, Publisher
and daughter Olivia

By Jeff Martin

Smoke bellows from the neighboring chimneys as a nip of autumn can be felt in the air. Without so much as a care in the world, children jump in fresh piles of leaves and race bicycles down the sidewalk. From every direction the smell of food teases the senses. Front lawns are decorated with family friendly football games. There is the hustle and bustle in kitchens up and down the street, dining tables are extended and the fine crystal placed. The evening is spent playing board games and drinking hot chocolate. Two gas stations and a convenience store remain open as retail stores prepare for Friday’s sales.
   Okay, so maybe I’m describing a family Thanksgiving from 1977. This Thanksgiving we most likely will order Chinese takeout  on Thursday, but don’t fret we will break bread and feast on Friday with family or at least with those who aren’t squabbling with one another.
  In all seriousness though, Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season. It is a time of tradition. It is a time to be thoughtful of others. It is a time of giving.
  It is the time of year we put aside political differences and petty bickering and welcome extended family and friends into our homes and around our tables. It is a time of peace, understanding and reflection.
  My family is fortunate and blessed. We have much to be thankful for and very little to complain about.  That isn’t the case for everyone. The holiday season for some can be a lonely and depressing time.
   Thanksgiving also brings the ringing of the bells and I encourage everyone to give big and often. The Salvation Army, which exists to meet human need wherever, whenever, and however it can, will be collecting monetary donations throughout the city until Christmas Eve, so lets fill those red kettles up.
  Volunteers to ring the bell are always in high demand. It is a rewarding and fun activity for the entire family to participate and only takes a few hours of your time. Call 334-265-0218 to volunteer.
  Donations dropped into the red kettles, go beyond spreading holiday cheer. The money also funds the Salvation Army’s year-round programs like the shelter, soup kitchen, and emergency assistance, none of which would be possible without volunteers to ring in the donations.
   This week also marks a milestone of sorts.  I will officially hand over much of my caregiving duties of our former neighbor Patrick, who celebrated his 50th birthday on Monday, to the Central Alabama Aging Consortium. The organization provides a variety of Home and Community based services to the region’s senior and disabled populations and their caregivers. The primary goal is to develop, coordinate, and support services in the community that support an active and independent life-style where those we serve can live and thrive.
   Recently, as I delivered Patrick his weekly groceries I couldn’t help but reflect how far he has come since we found him basically left for dead a year and a half ago. Betsy and I remain grateful to all of those who helped, because it wasn’t something we could have done alone.
  The holiday comradely will be short lived as the Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers will take the field for one of the most anticipated Iron Bowls of all time Saturday.
  War Eagle, Safe Travels and God Bless.

Just like business, politics is better for us all with competition



Art Parker

By Art Parker

From the time we went to press last week I have talked to many folks in the Republican Party about the Roy Moore situation. It is hard to believe that there are people who support him unconditionally, even if he did commit some or all of the horrible acts alleged.

But does any of this make a difference?

Besides the people, the major players are the Alabama GOP, the U.S.  and the U.S. Supreme Court. Let me explain why and how only one particular vote will stop all of this.

If the Alabama GOP disqualifies Moore before the election it will not remove his name from the ballot due to Alabama law even though he can never serve in the office he seeks. The people can still vote for Moore and if his name garners more than a majority of votes cast he will not be elected and the election becomes null and void. Why? Because Moore is not a qualified candidate and his opponent, Democrat Doug Jones, failed to receive a majority. Hold on to that thought and let’s move to the second scenario.

If the GOP does not disqualify Moore then he remains a qualified candidate on the ballot, and with a majority of votes he would be elected to the United States Senate. Does this mean he will serve? Possibly no. Why? Several of my Washington sources confirm that Republicans in the Senate do not want Moore there after the numerous sex allegations have been made. The word is that the Senate Republicans will not seat him but simply expel him. How?

These are the critical passages of Article 1, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution: Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members…Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Yes, the Senate can kick out a duly elected member of the Senate.

There seems to be no doubt in my mind that the Republicans in the Senate will attempt to expel Moore, but they must have cooperation from the Democrats to do so. Moore will be among the 52 GOP Senators but I doubt that he will vote to expel himself (Of course nothing he does surprises me). That leaves 51 Republicans to expel Moore and, if all vote the same,  they will need 16 Dems to obtain the two thirds majority needed for expulsion. This puts the Dems in a tight spot since they are the primary party that screams about equality, fair treatment, etc. If they don’t vote to expel Moore then it will appear as if they support a sex predator. But the Dems may want ole’ Roy to be there because he will be a great excuse for anything. Whenever they want to point the finger at those terrible Republicans they will often mention Moore’s name first.

The final unknown is the US Supreme Court. If Moore gets SCOTUS to hear him he can even win in the long run since there is some court precedent in his favor.

So, what will happen? I don’t know but I sense more embarrassment for the State of Alabama. There is only one way to avoid further embarrassment. If we do that then this long nightmare is over.

This is not an endorsement of Jones but I do believe that everyone who usually votes Republican needs to strongly consider voting in the other direction this time. It may taste bad and you may not confess to doing it. However, if Jones is elected it will let the Republicans know one thing they do not understand.

It will let them know they have some competition. It may stop that party from slinging crap on the wall knowing they got the votes to make it stick. The same thing the Democrats did when they had no competition.

Survey says…In 2016, there were more than 40,000 motor-vehicle deaths in the US, per the National Safety Council. And while factors beyond drivers’ control, such as weather, may play a role in these fatalities, 24/7 Wall St. notes that “driver choice” (as in choosing to text or break the speed limit) is also important.The site ranked how safe each state’s drivers are based on 140,000 users with the EverDrive app, which monitors driving habits. Here, the 10 states with the safest drivers: Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, Vermont, North Dakota,    Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa.

A mess called the Alabama GOP



Art Parker

By Art Parker

On October 5th of this year, in this space, I mentioned that Alabama politics was the gift that kept on giving to a newspaper columnist. As far as the last week is concerned Christmas came about six weeks early thanks to our bombastic and controversial former Chief Justice, Roy Moore.
By now you have heard all of the allegations. To assure that the core of the controversy is uncovered let me remind you that several women claim, that when they were teenagers, Roy Moore made sexual advances towards them when he was a young assistant DA in Etowah County. These allegations would be controversial regardless of the named guilty party, but the allegations zip through a dark night’s sky like a blazing meteor since the accused is a bellowing, self-righteous, self-proclaimed Christian named Roy Moore, who is a candidate for the United States Senate.
Many question the allegations because of the timing, and yes, I must say it causes me to be a bit suspicious. Just a wee little bit.
The reactions to the allegations by Moore’s fellow Republicans is the real gift of the week. Those reactions cause me to think even less of the GOP (please remember that I think BOTH the GOP and Democratic Party are the biggest problems in this country-they are extremely corrupt and for the most part a collection of lying, greedy, self-enriching scumbags).
The Toronto Star published a very informative report last week. Yes, Roy Moore is so controversial that news he creates not only goes outside the borders of Alabama, but outside U.S. borders as well. I guess this makes Alabama politics the gift that keeps on giving to all media in North America. On Friday the Star reported that several GOP county party chairman would still vote for Moore even if the allegations were true.
But the reaction that really got my attention came from David Hall, the GOP chairman in Marion County in northwest Alabama, who reportedly said that there was nothing wrong with a 30 something year old man dating a 16-year old girl.
I couldn’t help but wonder about this Hall guy so I called quite a few friends across the state active in the GOP. Turns out Hall is a candidate for a house seat in the Legislature. He is on the powerful 21-member state GOP Steering Committee-the most powerful body in the state GOP. Also, the Poarch Creek Indians are thus far the largest contributor to his campaign (outside of loans he personally made to his campaign).
These reactions and additional information make me wonder if the GOP has become the party of grown men pursuing teenage girls and accepting gambling money. Perhaps acceptance of either depends on who is doing the pursuing, who is doing the giving and who is receiving.
Beyond the allegations come two items I believe that signal guilt by Moore. Moore has refused to a public debate with his opponent, Doug Jones. What I find interesting is that Moore’s biggest refusal came just one day before the sexual harassment story broke. Instead of just saying he would not debate, Moore made a big deal about the “disparity” between himself and Jones and therefore no need to debate. Believe me, the last thing Roy Moore wants to do now is debate his opponent. I feel certain that the Moore campaign saw these allegations coming and made sure they established their anti-debate position. In my mind, this gives substance to the allegations. Secondly, there was a former assistant DA that served with Moore in Etowah County that confirmed that Moore dated high school girls at the time. Teresa Jones told CNN that Moore’s practice was “common knowledge” back then and said, “We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall.” Since the former co-worker made her statements more women have come forward making claims consistent with others.
The bottom line of all of this is not limited to who is the real Roy Moore. It creates doubt about the identity of the Alabama Republican Party, especially when Republicans say they will vote for this character even if the allegations are true. Just don’t vote for a Democrat no matter what ‘our guys’ do.
To further minimize the integrity of the GOP one of Moore’s primary opponents, Mo Brooks, said the GOP agenda was “vastly more important than contested sexual allegations.” Brooks’ comment confirms my belief that he is one of the biggest idiots in our state. The GOP is the party of personal responsibility (which I fully agree with). How can a responsible parent place a political party agenda ahead of the proper upbringing, health, welfare and safety of their own child?
What does the party really stand for and can its members be trusted? Since coming into power about a decade ago, the Alabama GOP has given us plenty of reason to distrust it and distrust its politicians.
That trend seems to be continuing.