Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Hughston Hurrah (Edition 2010)

As a few of you may remember, in October 2008, just a few weeks before the advent of this blog, I shocked many of my friends and colleagues by endorsing Barack Obama for President.  (On a side note, I find it odd that Mozilla still hasn't updated the Firefox spell check to include both his first and last name).  It's been no secret since then that I have been becoming progressively more... well... progressive.  Furthermore, since it was obviously my support that pushed Obama through to the end of the race for a victory, I feel the need to again relay my thoughts and endorsements for the 2010 midterm election (specifically here in Alabama, although there will be a few exceptions).

For those of you unfamiliar with the daily cable news-ish show, The Colbert Report, I will explain to you the concept of the "Colbert Bump." The site, Wikiality, defines the "Colbert Bump" as follows:

  • The Colbert Bump is the curious phenomenon whereby anyone who appears on The Colbert Report gets a huge boost in popularity, causing them to win elections, receive massive increases in money in (making Colbert the greatest fundraiser ever), receive major awards and even get laid (The Colbert Bumpin' Uglies).
  • The Colbert Bump is the surge of enthusiasm The American Public has for a politician, candidate for office, author or other personality after they appear on The Colbert Report. Dr. Stephen Colbert, the host of the show, has suggested that the bump is "good for at least a couple of points." Findings, however, show that the bump raises the poll numbers for political candidate by no fewer than 10 points. This was first evidenced in the 2006 midterm elections. 
  • The Colbert Bump gives more cash to Bump-recipients (44% more) than non-Bump-recipients, which is more than Mitt Romney gave to himself.
My new creation, the "Hughston Hurrah", is meant to do that exact same thing.  So, with the 2010 midterm elections less than two weeks away, it's time to release the Hughston Hurrah by sharing my endorsements for this year.

Let's begin with the "other category"

Now let's move on to some Alabama stuff.  We'll start with how I feel about the proposed amendements.

  • Amendment 1: (HB 242 “10 Mill Ad Valorem School Tax – Fees for Assessment”)  No, because I question the motives of those who wish to assess fees and commissions for the collection of already approved taxes.
  • Amendment 2:  ( HB253 “Special County Educational Taxes”) Yes.  While I so rarely agree on anything with my former state representative, Richard Lindsey, I know the trouble that Cherokee County has had just simply renewing the millage rate for the property tax for education. Because of the influx of people (specifically those from across the state line in Georgia) due to the increasing popularity of the Weiss Lake Community, the last vote barely met the requirement.  Elderly voters with no stake in the community don't want to support the local schools with tax revenues and if this helps, then I'm for it.  I must also clarify that I do agree with a supermajority being needed to raise taxes on most issues, but perhaps education funding is different (especially in a climate where the State funding levels are constantly dwindling).
  • Amendment 3:  ( SB121 “Highways and other roads”)  Maybe.  I must admit that I'm torn on this Amendment.  On the one hand, I seriously hesitate to take any money out of the Alabama Trust Fund.  Our state (like many others) is still in financial crisis and as part of the interest from that trust fund fuels our general budget, I worry about the implications of such a large removal of funds, $1 billion total over ten years.  However, I also know that our infrastructure is in desperate need of repair.  Our roads and bridges are literally falling apart beneath us and need to be fixed or replaced.  Honestly, I may not make up my mind on this one until I have the ballot pen in my hand.
  • Amendment 4:  (SB339 “Don’t mess with Blount County”)  Not voting.  While I'm fairly sure that I support this piece of legislation, I'll opt out of voting because of my beliefs about home rule.  The intent of this bill is to stop municipalities in Blount County from imposing taxes on those outside their city limits.  While the tax was meant to make those withing the police jurisdiction of a city help fund their police protection, "taxation without representation" just always has a bad ring to it.  However, as I also am a firm believer in local autonomy, I believe that the people of Blount County should be the only ones deciding laws for Blount County and as such would encourage anyone that doesn't reside there to join me by not voting.
And now for the moment you've all been waiting for, the Alabama elections.  I'll not endorse a candidate in nearly every race by any means but here's my pick of the litter, starting from the bottom of the ballot and working up.

  • For Commissioner of Agriculture, Democrat Glen Zorn for not being endorsed by Dale Peterson.
  • For State Treasurer, Democrat Charles Grimsley for not being names "Young Boozer"
  • For Secretary of State, Democrat Scott Gilland
  • For Supreme Court Place 3, Democrat Mac Parsons because maybe he will actually do something
  • For State Representative District 39, Republican Tim Sprayberry because his opponent and I have a long history of mutual dislike.
  • For Attorney General, Democrat James Anderson.  I'm not too thrilled about him by any means but I really don't like Luther Strange
  • For US Rep in the Alabama 3rd, Democrat Steve Segrest.  I campaigned several times for Mike Rogers but he has very much let me down lately on several issues.  For example, on DADT
  • For US Rep in the Alabama 7th, Democrat Terri Sewell.  I'm new to the 7th and am not too familiar with it's politics yet, but she has a great first name :)
  • For US Senator from Alabama, Democrat William Barnes.  He doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning but I once heard Senator Shelby say that he would never for any reason vote to end the war in Iraq.  Despite the fact I disagree with him on other things, he lost me 100% that day.
  • For Lieutenant Governor, Democrat Jim Folsom, Jr.  Kay Ivey is about the sweetest lady in the whole world if you talk to her over lunch but after the PACT disaster and her switching election races when she saw she wasn't going to win governor, I just can't vote for her.  Not to mention, I think Folsom has been doing a good job running the State Senate and I like his track record of supporting higher education.
And now for the "big one" this year.  After meeting both candidates personally, attending one debate, watching several others on tv, spending lots of time on their campaign websites and reviewing their policy standards, I'll endorse for Governor of Alabama....  Drumroll please...


That's right folks, write in.  While I'd pick Ron Sparks between the two of them, I honestly can't support either one of them enough to give a honest endorsement.  I believe Dr. Bentley would be a horrible choice for governor based on his racist stances on immigration, his biased disapproval of healthcare, his idiotic claims not to get paid until "Alabama reaches full employment," and many other reasons that I could go into further detail on.  However, I'm not really sold on Ron Sparks either.  I like his stances on healthcare and immigration and although I disagree about the need for a lottery (perhaps the subject of a later blog post) it is not enough to make me not vote for him.  Yet, he ties every single issue back to it.  I'm told that he has done some amazing things as Ag. Commissioner but he doesn't talk much about them.  Everything relates back to the need for a lottery and if you want to be a single issue candidate, I'm going to treat you as one.  (Even though in all reality, I may still vote for the guy in hopes he grows the mustache back).  But, like I said, I just can't support either one of them enough to openly endorse them.  So write in whoever you want and maybe we'll get lucky.

Well, folks, that has been this year's edition of the Hughston Hurrah.  I hope you'll join us again in 2012 as we vote for anyone but Sarah Palin.

Thanks for reading and as always I am most sincerely yours,

The Apprentice Philosopher