OnPolitix

Political Divide Widens

August 10th, 2014 at 3:27 pm by under FOX10 News, OnPolitix

UPDATE: I received word on Tuesday, August 12 that Congressman Byrne has agreed to co-sponsor this resolution.

The Pew Research Center recently published an essay about the American public’s political attitudes and values.

In this Thursday, July 24, 2014 photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, with her daughter Maya in her arms, in his Santa Marta residence, at the Vatican. Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence, which was later overturned, left Europe on Thursday, July 31, 2014, for the United States, where she will make her new home. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, File)

AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano, File

Evidence of the increasingly polarized public could be seen graphically by looking at a scale of political values over a period of 20 years, 1994 to 2014.  As the report described it, “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades”.  As a result, more Democrats and Republicans see opposing parties as a threat to the nation’s well-being.  When it comes to political compromise, the study says liberals and conservatives define ideal political compromise as “one in which their side gets more of what it wants”.

This may be why there is such a political gulf between Democrats and Republicans over a seemingly innocuous resolution currently before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

House Resolution 440 would congratulate Pope Francis on his election and recognize his “inspirational statements and actions”.  Introduced on December 11, 2013, it reads as follows:

RESOLUTION

Congratulating Pope Francis on his election and recognizing his

inspirational statements and actions.

 

Whereas on March 13, 2013, Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires,

        Argentina was elected Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church;

Whereas his election marked the first time a Pope from the Americas has been

        selected;

Whereas he is the first Jesuit to become Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church;

Whereas he took the papal name of Francis, becoming the first pope to take the

        name of St. Francis of Assisi, who was known for his devotion to

        humility and the poor;

Whereas he has demonstrated his humility by choosing not to live in the lavish

        Apostolic Palace, living instead with the clergy and lay people in the

        Vatican guesthouse;

Whereas on March 28, 2013, he broke from tradition during the washing of feet,

        when he washed the feet of 12 criminals, including two women, becoming

        the first pope to include women in the rite;

Whereas on November 6, he displayed his charity by caressing a man with severe

        disfigurement, drawing comparisons to the actions of his namesake, St.

        Francis, whose kiss of a leper forever changed his life by solidifying

        his commitment to the poorest among us;

Whereas when asked to describe himself during an interview with a Jesuit

        magazine, he replied “I am a sinner”;

Whereas his emphasis on humanitarian efforts to alleviate suffering serves as an

        inspiration to Congress and all Americans;

Whereas his humility, his commitment to economic justice and improving the lives

        of the poor, and his outreach to individuals from all walks of life have

        been universally praised and are living examples of Jesus Christ’s

        message; and

Whereas his call to end inequality has echoed across the globe and brought millions together in solidarity:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives congratulates Pope Francis on his election and recognizes his inspirational statements and actions.

 It turns out Democrats and Republicans can’t even agree on this.

203 Democrats, including Alabama’s Terri Sewell, have agreed to co-sponsor the resolution, but only 20 Republicans are willing to join them.

What could be so controversial?  For starters, it was sponsored by a Democrat from Connecticut, Rep. John Larson.

Bradley ByrneAlabama’s First District Congressman Bradley Byrne is not one of the 20 Republican co-sponsors.  “I don’t think this particular one has ever come on our radar,” said a member of his staff.  An offer to “check with the legislative team” about his position has produced silence, so far.

The Hill, which reports on Congress, opines that the Pope may be “too liberal” for Republicans.

Rep. Larson has asked House Speaker John Boehner to request a vote on the resolution.

Unless something changes though, it may not have a prayer.

 

 

 

 

 


Fun with voting, part 2

November 17th, 2012 at 3:23 pm by under FOX10 News, FOX10 Politics, OnPolitix, OnPolitix - Alabama, OnPolitix - Campaign Curiosities, Uncategorized

Back on Election Day, I told you about the problem I had when I went to vote..

I’m just glad I didn’t need my voter registration card, which arrived in the mail on Friday, November 16.

Now, I can’t blame the Postal Service for late delivery, because the postage wasn’t printed on the card until November 15.  Take a look for yourself…


Cloudy forecast for higher education?

November 9th, 2012 at 3:56 pm by under FOX10 News, FOX10 Politics, OnPolitix, OnPolitix - Alabama, OnPolitix - Florida, Uncategorized

I was talking to a college administrator this week and asked him to look into his crystal ball to predict the future of American higher education, post-election.

It became a lesson on the ”lesser of two evils”.

The Republicans, he told me, tend to favor “for profit” institutions, which most liberal arts schools are not.

The Democrats, he said, would like to see an expansion of the two-year community college system, which would impact the enrollment (and cash flow) of four-year traditional institutions.

With research showing that 1 in 5 households faces student loan debt, can graduates of 4 year schools pay off their ever growing debt while earning entry-level salaries–providing they can find work at all?


“You say I already voted?”

November 6th, 2012 at 2:04 pm by under FOX10 News, OnPolitix, OnPolitix - Alabama, OnPolitix - Campaign Curiosities, Uncategorized

I got a shock when I handed over my driver’s license to election officials this morning, only to find out I had already voted.

Except I hadn’t.

My wife did vote by absentee ballot and someone working for the court wrote the information for my wife, next to my name.

That’s when was sent to the corner to enter the World of the Provisional Ballot.

I had to give information dating back to where I was born (I was tempted to write “next to my mother”, but didn’t), when I was born, etc., then seal that in an envelope, and seal that envelope in another envelope before inserting my now, double-sealed ballot in a yellow cardboard box with a slit in the side.

But at least I did get a lot of personal attention and an “I Voted!” sticker.

 


Notes from London – Reception at Whitehall

July 9th, 2012 at 10:40 am by under FOX10 News, OnPolitix - Alabama, OnPolitix - Florida

The Sunday reception at Whitehall was a great place to network in a relaxed setting.

I can’t imagine another occasion where I could have had a one-on-one conversation with Florida Governor Rick Scott for 10 minutes (I found out his wife comes from Mobile).

I sat and talked with former Alabama Governor Bob Riley (who said he feels fine after his motorcycle wreck in Alaska).

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward thought it was important to make the trip to London–spent a good deal of time speaking with him. Also talked with Mobile Mayor Sam Jones and County Commissioners Connie Hudson of Mobile and Tucker Dorsey of Baldwin.

I also discovered that Congressman Jo Bonner is a pretty fine photographer. :)

On a crowded train to Farnborough now, ready for the first day of the International Air Show.


Airbus celebration in Mobile!

July 2nd, 2012 at 11:39 am by under FOX10 News, OnPolitix - Alabama, Uncategorized

Former Ala. gubernatorial candidate donated sperm to lesbian couples

December 13th, 2011 at 3:59 pm by under OnPolitix, OnPolitix - Alabama, OnPolitix - Campaign Curiosities

A former Alabama gubernatorial candidate and staunch opponent of gay marriage has reportedly been donating sperm to women in New Zealand–some of whom were lesbian couples.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Bill Johnson, a conservative Republican who unsuccessfully campaigned for the governor’s spot in 2010, used an online alias, advertising his “services” to couples who were unable to conceive on their own.

Johnson allegedly met with at least 9 women who received sperm donations from him, 3 of whom are now pregnant. At least one of those couples were lesbian couples.

“When I married (my wife) I knew we couldn’t have any more children,” Johnson told the Herald, acknowledging that he donated sperm because “having children of my own was a need that I have.”

The Birmingham native has been in Christchurch, New Zealand since this spring, helping with earthquake relief efforts.

The newspaper says it spoke with Johnson while he was dining with one of the women he helped impregnate, saying “There is nothing my wife would want to give me more in the world than a child of my own.” The couple, who have been married 8 years, are unable to have their own children because Johnson’s wife, Kathy, has had a hysterectomy.

Kathy Johnson, a former two-time Miss Alabama and Miss America Finalist, was not as supportive of her husband’s decision, telling the paper “My heart is broken.”

“He assured me I was everything he wanted and my children would be his,” she told the paper.

Kathy Johnson has three children from a previous marriage.

“My heart is broken,” she said. “I have no idea what life holds for us in the coming days.”

When Johnson was asked whether his wife knew about the sperm donations, Johnson replied simple: “she does now.”

After the initial story broke, Johnson claims the paper used unethical and illegal tactics, including phone and internet hacking. The paper claims it received an “anonymous” tip via email.

The two Johnson’s both have long histories working in state government and charity organizations.

Bill was a former Birmingham City Councilman, director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, and an education advocate for the company Ceres Environmental, who is helping rebuild Christchurch and Haiti after devastating quakes there.

His wife, along with her pageant career, has directed organizations including The Alabama Campaign to Prevent Teen pregnancy, Children First Foundation and the Alabama Broadband Initiative, as well as working for the state finance department as a public affairs director.

One lesbian couple, who are now pregnant, said that Johnson gave them permission to come forward with their story. Johnson did not respond directly whether his feelings on gay marriage had changed or whether he felt same-sex couples should be allowed to raise children.

The paper also asserts Johnson could face trouble in New Zealand, as state law only allows one donor to provide sperm to no more than 4 families. It is also unclear whether Johnson followed that countries guidelines on private-party assisted pregnancy.


Where were you on November 22, 1963?

November 22nd, 2011 at 3:11 pm by under FOX10 News, OnPolitix, Uncategorized

It was an awful day that changed the world.

I was in grade school, and had just come back from lunch (in those days, we left to walk home at 11:20 and had to be back in class by 1:00).  It was a normal day, except for the sight to our teachers unexpectedly huddled around transistor radios.   Nothing unusual was said during classtime, but as we left for the day at 3:30, the sixth grade teacher Mr. Egan looked sternly at all of us and told us to “go straight home”.  It was an odd message, and within minutes, I knew why.

Our hometown newspaper had already published a special edition and the black and white television, sitting on the sewing machine cabinet in our kitchen, broadcast the news about the assassination of the President in Dallas, Texas.

To those of us from New England, John Kennedy wasn’t just the President; he was our President.  He was a New Englander, and like so many in my hometown, he was a Catholic New Englander.

The idea that someone would shoot and kill our President was truly unthinkable.  These were the days before excessively violent video games and movies and non-stop crime coverage gradually desensitized the country.

In the days that  followed the assassination, our little television was on all the time, even as we were gathered around the kitchen table for lunch on Sunday.  That’s when I watched the murder of the President’s accused assassin live.  I remember Tom Pettit’s professional reporting as the country watched Dallas police wrestle nightclub owner Jack Ruby to the ground, and heard Lee Harvey Oswald groan as he died.

For my generation, November 22, 1963 was the day where innocence was lost.


Former governor’s fate up to a three-ring-binder?

November 3rd, 2011 at 4:03 pm by under OnPolitix, OnPolitix - Alabama
Don Siegelman

Don Siegelman

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman has postponed a seven-year sentence for three years, only serving 9 months in a federal prison.

Why? Because the 11th Circuit Appeals court says that not is all as it may have seemed in his 2006 corruption trial.

Siegelman’s lawyers are back, after successfully having some charges dropped in a 2009 appeals hearing. This time, Siegelman says that one of the key witnesses in his case, aide Nick Bailey, was coached by federal prosecutors. (more…)


Teacher says no way to comply with Fla. voting law

November 3rd, 2011 at 11:21 am by under OnPolitix, OnPolitix - Campaign Curiosities, OnPolitix - Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – A Florida Panhandle teacher whose $1,000 fine for turning in student voter registration applications late says she was unaware of a new 48-hour deadline.

Dawn Quarles says there’s no way she could have gotten them mailed to the Supervisor of Elections office in time.

The Pace High School teacher may be the first person fined for violating Florida’s new election law. The old law gave third parties 10 days to turn in applications.

The Republican-sponsored law has drawn fire from critics who say it will suppress voting by minorities, young people and the elderly who often tend to vote Democratic.

Quarles agrees.

She called the new law “crazy” and said it’s an example of why the United States has the worst voter turnout among the Western democracies.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)