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.)

Sibling rivalry as Ohio brothers vie for mayor

October 27th, 2011 at 9:30 am by under OnPolitix, OnPolitix - Campaign Curiosities

Jim and Lowell KrumnowA small town in Ohio may soon be trading one Krumnow for another, as the mayor is being challenged by his younger brother, a city councilman.

Lowell Krumnow, 54, who has been mayor of the Village of Elmore since 1992, is being challenged by his older brother, James “Jim” Krumnow, 58, in the city’s non-partisan election November 8.

According to village councilperson Rick Claar, Lowell Krumnow served on the village council from 1982 until 1992, ultimately becoming its chairman. In 1992, he was appointed Mayor after the incumbent resigned his seat to move to a neighboring town.

Lowell’s brother, Jim, was elected to the village council in 2002, essentially to “cancel out” what his brother was doing, Claar said.

“They are polar opposites, Jim and Lowell,” Claar said. “Jim hates politics, and the only reason he got into the council was to counteract what his brother was doing.”

According to Claar, Lowell has been a major supported of industry recruitment and infrastructure upgrades. Lowell has said he supports installing a new $1 million power substation to prevent outages and increase power output to help recruit industry. The town suffered a major power outage recently, and the subsystem is necessary to keep up with population and business growth, Lowell says.

The city is also facing an almost assuredly mandatory sewer and waste-water plant system upgrade, and Lowell’s plan is to join the city’s own 4 water wells with a nearby water system. The total cost of the regional water system upgrade would cost about $4 million–a plan to Jim is vehemently opposing.

“With Lowell’s push to get more business here, we have a problem with some of our water treatment as far as how we can serve some of the new businesses coming to the area,” Claar said. “Lowell really wants to get some new business in here, and Jim is saying we don’t need any of that stuff. If people want to keep our rural atmosphere then we don’t need water systems, we don’t need to spend the money on that substation.”

Lowell is also working with the council and neighboring city and county governments to develop a Joint Economic Development District, another proposal his brother is fighting tooth and nail.

“Jim doesn’t want anything to do with it because he things this whole area should stay as it is: lots of farm land,” Claar said.

While the two brothers have remained “mostly civil,” Claar said, it is clear that the gloves are off in this political street fight to govern a village of no more than 1,400.

“It’s been kind of fun, seeing all the attention going on about this rivalry,” Claar said. “They really haven’t gone at each other too much, they’ve been pretty civil.”

Even so, Claar and other media outlets report the relationship between the two brothers can be described as “distant.” Even though they live less than five doors down, the two communicate through others, and when in public together rarely speak to one another.

Lowell, who has served for almost 30 years in village government, seems confident about his chances of re-election. But Claar and others in town have warned him not to declare victory just yet.

“When you serve that long, you’re bound to end up making someone mad,” Claar said. “And from my standpoint, everybody is trying to embrace what Jim is wanting to do: expand.”

The two even differ on one of the town’s highlight events: motor casket racing. Each year near Halloween, village citizens attach caskets to motorized chassis and race them around the town. The tradition, started by Lowell some years ago, is unpopular with his older brother.

“Jim’s not really keen on it,” Claar said.

Sources: The Blade, AP, Politico.com