Tin Shop Tartan - Randolph County Alabama's Own Snarky and Surly Scot Gets All Native

Blogging from the suburbs of the Tin Shop community, Captain Plaid brings Progressivism, and a share of Quixotic angst, to the ridges and hollows of Randolph County, Alabama. Hardly a booster yet rooted here enough to fight, Plaidsters can perhaps find like cause in trying to build local solutions to global concerns. Education, environment, economy, entertainment, engagement ... Trust the Tartan!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ideas from Russell Lands on Lake Martin?

David Irvin of The Montgomery Advertiser gives Randolph County something to think about with his "Lake Martin land deals helping save town in tough times" where he, in part, writes,

Much of Russell's land is still undeveloped. That's key to nearby Alexander City, which is seeing its largest employer continue to struggle.

Russell Corp. began scaling back its work force eight years ago and so far has cut more than 4,000 jobs, the equivalent of one-third of the town's population. It has found a savior in billionaire investor Warren Buffett, but no one knows what the $600 million acquisition means for the 3,000 in Alexander City still employed by the clothing maker.

Despite the cutbacks and uncertainty, something peculiar is happening.

The number of people living in Alexander City has not fallen since the layoffs began, and sales tax revenue has increased -- from $5.8 million annually in 1998 to $6.8 million in 2005.

Part of the reason: Lake Martin.

"It's extremely important," said Mayor Barbara Young. "Anything that Russell Lands does will affect us."

While Lake Martin in some ways started a little rough, they've seen upscale progress that can serve as a model in part for Randolph County. Russell Lands is different indeed yet Alabama Power could very serve as a local comparison. Alcohol sales would be a good start for development on our Lake Wedowee. Plus it makes sense for the whole county to move past fundamentalist acting as our local Taliban. Slow development that respects the environment, quality of life, investment locally, building codes, ... would be other things to consider. Peace ... or War!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Hyundai Chairman Collared by The Man in Korea

An AP report on MSNBC is reporting the arrest of Hyundai Motor Co. Chairman Chung Mong-koo. The report reads in part,

Prosecutors on Friday arrested Hyundai Motor Co. Chairman Chung Mong-koo in an embezzlement and slush fund scandal engulfing South Korea’s largest automaker, an official said.

Chung’s arrest, announced by prosecution spokesman Kang Chan-woo, came late Friday, after the Seoul District Court issued a warrant.

Prosecutors suspect the 68-year-old Chung of embezzling company funds to create a slush fund and of causing damage to the company. ...

Prosecutors have raided Hyundai and three of its affiliates — Kia, logistics unit Glovis Co. and auto-parts maker Hyundai Autonet — and questioned key officials.
Prosecutors say officials embezzled money from affiliates to create the slush fund and used it, via at least two lobbyists, to seek favors from the government.

The lobbyists have been arrested on charges of receiving money from Hyundai in exchange for promises to help it win construction approvals and permits, and other business favors.

It is unclear if the lobbyists bribed government officials. It is illegal in South Korea to accept money in return for exercising influence.

Chung spent about 15 hours at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul for questioning earlier this week. His son, Kia President Chung Eui-sun, spent about 18 hours there last week.

Let's keep our fingers crossed that this will not derail the KIA plans for West Point. Peace ... or War!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Arrest Warrant Sought for Hyundai/Kia Leadership

Cheon Jong-woo and Lee Jin-joo report via Reuters that Hyundai/Kia leadership might be looking at trouble with The Man. They write, in part, that,

South Korean prosecutors sought an arrest warrant on Thursday for the chairman of Hyundai Motor on charges of misusing company funds, striking a blow to the country's family-run chaebol conglomerates. ...

Besides seeking an arrest warrant for Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Mong-koo, prosecutors also sought to indict but not detain Chung Eui-sun, the chairman's son and president of Kia, senior prosecutor Chae Dong-wook told reporters.

Not great news yet one can likely bet that capitalism in the global economy marches on. West Point and our area as a whole is counting on Kia and it would be a shame to see these plans crumble. Peace ... or War!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Governor Riley - What about Michael Scanlon?

Vanessa Burnside reports in today's The Randolph Leader "Governor promises widening of 431" yet I'm a touch confused on how Alabama's Governor can claim credit for this activity on a U.S. highway. Also, the article says the county was forced to hire a lobbyist to get the work done. I suggest Mike Rogers, Richard Shelby, and Jeff Sessions might have accomplished this sans lobbying. Also, the reporting stated, "The governor pointed out that no story of scandal has appeared in the news regarding anyone in his administration." Though not currently in Montgomery, a former press secretary tied in with Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay and now convicted of bribery named Michael Scanlon has given $100,000 to four PACs that contributed heavily to the Governor in 2002. While Alabama law unfortunately allows deniability Bob Riley might not be perfectly clean. Peace ... or War!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Our Local "Foodsheds" include ATL & B'ham & ...

Mother Jones gives us "No Bar Code" reporting on Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm in rural Virginia. 550 hilly acres provides this “Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-lunatic farmer” a “ministry” where he attempts to "convince even a fast-food junkie that buying a pastured broiler from Polyface Farm qualifies as an act of social, environmental, nutritional, and political redemption." In part, the article reads as follows:

... the same stew of food fears and food pleasures (and food memories) that has driven the growth of the organic food industry over the past 20 years—that, and the satisfaction many Polyface customers clearly take in spending a little time on a farm, porch-chatting with the Salatins, and taking a beautiful drive in the country to get here. For some people, reconnecting with the source of their food is a powerful idea. For the farmer, these on-farm sales allow him to recapture the 92 cents of a consumer’s food dollar that now typically winds up in the pockets of processors, middlemen, and retailers.

I asked Joel how he answers the charge that because food like his is more expensive, it is inherently elitist. “I don’t accept the premise,” he replied. “First off, those weren’t any ‘elitists’ you met on the farm this morning. We sell to all kinds of people. Second, whenever I hear people say clean food is expensive, I tell them it’s actually the cheapest food you can buy. That always gets their attention. Then I explain that, with our food, all of the costs are figured into the price. Society is not bearing the cost of water pollution, of antibiotic resistance, of food-borne illnesses, of crop subsidies, of subsidized oil and water—of all the hidden costs to the environment and the taxpayer that make cheap food seem cheap. No thinking person will tell you they don’t care about all that. I tell them the choice is simple: You can buy honestly priced food or you can buy irresponsibly priced food.” ...

So much about life in a global economy feels as though it has passed beyond the individual’s control—what happens to our jobs, to the prices at the gas station, to the votes in the legislature. But somehow food still feels a little different. We can still decide, every day, what we’re going to put into our bodies, what sort of food chain we want to participate in. We can, in other words, reject the industrial omelet on offer and decide to eat another. This might not sound like a big deal, but it could be the beginnings of one. Already the desire on the part of consumers to put something different in their bodies has created a $14 billion market in organic food in the United States. That marketplace was built by consumers and farmers working informally together outside the system, with exactly no help from the government.

Mr. Salatin has written "Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer’s Guide to Farm Friendly Food". Randolph County could very well support this type of approach as close as we are to major markets in Atlanta and Birmingham. I'll ponder some more yet feel free to give me your ideas should you stumble across this post. Peace ... or War!

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Anniston Star - Local Progressivism

While I expect many locals are avoiding any newspapers or media that doesn't suit their world view with another good section not very motivated beyond keeping up with NASCAR and American Idol, I grew up reading The Anniston Star. Solid resource that continually ranks as one of my favorite sources. The 24th brings us an Editorial entitled "A postmodern presidency". If you don't understand "postmodernism", borrowing from Foxworthy, then you might be from Randolph County. Try this resource. Print media takes work to follow and I continue to think that hyperlinked blogging in many ways can be superior. Understanding complex issues beyond the talking points and spin is critical to be an informed and competent citizen. Peace ... or War!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Values - "God, Guns, & Gays" Guarantees "Greed"

I dropped a post on Captain Jimi about two Anniston Star editorials that I labeled The Anniston Star Confronts God's Ordained Party. Truly the GOP is rolling out the old reliables in their false "culture war" that will seimply put the Big Mules back into power. Getting regular folks in the rural heartland and middle class families in the burbs to vote against their own economic interests has perhaps been the most amazing political stunt in history yet it seems to work for the Right.

Working from a Mobile Register opinion, I also posted Gerald Dial Single-handedly Talks Alabama Center for Rural Development to Death on Captain Bama. Dial is the Big Mules boy up on Goat Hill. And what was the Governor doing letting his neighbor pull this stunt. If the Riley administration had cared about rural Alabama he'd have gotten this through the Legislature. It is time we had a Senator that cared more for the branchheads than the Big Mules.

Thundering outside yet hopefully no hail in this storm. I heard several people say their property was seriously beat up from Wednesday's storm. Peace ... or War!

Korean Media Reports Delays in Georgia Kia Plant

Walter Woods of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting "Scandal forces another delay for Kia plant" with references to several sources in Korea. Mr. Woods writes,

A widening bribery scandal in South Korea has scrapped another groundbreaking party for Kia Motors' new factory in West Point, starting the first ominous rumors that the $1.2 billion plant may be in jeopardy.

Accusations of graft and financial misconduct at Kia and its parent, Hyundai, could disrupt the Georgia factory's construction "for a long time," an unidentified senior Kia official told the Korea Times on Thursday.

At the same time, Chosun Ilbo, another Korean newspaper, reported that Hyundai has virtually suspended new overseas business plans while it's engulfed in the corruption investigation.

Korean prosecutors suspect Kia and Hyundai raised multimillion-dollar slush funds to bribe public officials and illegally transfer ownership of the company from Chung Mong-Koo, Hyundai's chairman, to his only son, Kia President Chung Eui-sun. Investigators on Thursday questioned the Kia president as part of their probe. His father could face similar questioning next week.

Governments, businesses, and individuals have already made many claims and plans in anticipation of this plant coming to West Point. Scandals slam across the world could very well influence us right here.

Hyper-competetive capitalism merges with corruption? Welcome to yet another dark side of globalism. An often ignored reality of unregulated free market capitalism is that you don't always have to be a player to lose in the game. Peace ... or War!

Update - Evening of April 21, 2006 - A young man wearing a white Hyundai golf shirt and black trousers was asking for directions at a store that I stopped by this afternoon in Franklin. He appeared to be of Korean ethnicity. Perhaps no need to panic and yet I do think the above is a good illustration of globalism.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Just twenty one more days of "Let me get a big 'hell yeah' from the redneck girls like me"

I came over to school pumped up. Teaching Europe with my theme for today as "Sex, drugs, and Rock & Roll" as we tackled the differences between the United States and Europe. Building off 420 Day and how Europe deals with recreational drug use. We had riot photos from last fall and even more recently as to labor conflicts. I had many cartoons, including one of Condi as Europe sees her. She was in a domatrix get up over an Islamic prisoner. I was loaded with goodies and hooks and tricks and "fun stuff" so I figured most things we'd do would be enjoyed. Yet ... the rednecks struck again.

In my first class, two girls are free drawing the Confederate Battle Flag with serious effort instead of watching a clip of Roman ruins and Pompei and ... I tried to redirect but the wanted to show their Lost Cause bona fides more than learn what we were covering. I erupted with the idea that they'd likely see a few more battle flags in Heard County in their life. I finished with the suggestion that if they could draw one so detailed from memory it was clear they had the image imprinted in their minds. So perhaps seeing something of culture and interest beyond their small world would be a wise idea. It got worse after this "college prep" class.

So many know little beyond drugs/drinking, dirt track racing, coon hunting, rooster fighting, speakers, ... This one or that one has a relative in jail it seems every few days. They seem to like and trust me so I am told things often that perhaps other teachers don't hear. There are some amazing kids over here and I "like" nearly every one I teach. But they surely make me sad!

However, some simply can't be taught in a traditional setting. "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig." often comes to mind. I think long and hard how to teach the best I can with twenty or more kids seated inside a concrete block room. I know a few learn and yet I often feel so ineffective. Without making excuses, if I had a few less Unreconstructed Rebels I'd likely get a little more done as far as helping these kids learn. So many have really never been exposed to anything of substance beyond their small worlds. The anti-intellectualism over here in Heard County plus my own neck of the woods runs I think to many levels.

Soldier on I will. But then I'm going to try to address at least some of the above concerns. As a society we must do better. These kids and their kids deserve solutions not excuses. As a nation we've got to find a way to break this cyclical poverty and deprivation. Peace ... or War.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Early Presidential Primary Only Cost Us $1/Person and it will be money "Well Spent!"

The Randolph Leader is surely correct in scolding the Goat Hill crowd for failing to pass certain legislative needs. The editorial from today's Leader singles out the following:
One the lawmakers consider to be a success gives them a way around the prohibition against "pork" funds to be dished out at their discretion, though this may not be one they want to talk about. Meanwhile, one bill that died would have banned senators and representatives from serving more than 12 years. Another that died would have banned political action committees from transferring money among themselves, an action that is regularly used to hide the source of campaign contributions. Other bills that died would have returned power to the people, including one that would have let voters decide whether to call a convention of elected delegates who could have proposed a new state constitution.
Amen! Especially the part about the Constitution! Dean Wysner, I'm still waiting to hear from you on the facts I sent you to contradict what those slick Alfa boys are telling you. While I also agree that $3,300,000.00 would go a long ways to meet the many needs we have in Alabama, the cost, if we work from a population of 4.5 million, is maybe a dollar from each citizen. And I think it might be worth it. Here's why:
  • Campaigns will spend significant amounts on media buys, lodging, supplies, staffing, food and drink, ... This may be especially so in 2008 in that neither of the major parties have an incumbent or front runner. Some of that money will cycle through our economy.
  • Some of the wing nuts, like those in from the 2000 primary in South Carolina such as Bob Jones, would possibly expose the intolerance often present in today's GOP to the balance of the nation. We've certainly plenty of fundamentalist pharisees such as John Giles, Roy Moore, Tom Parker, ... Bu$h zigged right to take SC from McCain in 2000 and then tried to play "compassionate conservative until he got in office. If the candidates had a few more Southern states to work in it might be more "revealing" to the balance of the nation.
  • Alabama leaders would get some exposure to the national candidates. Just having a serious Democrat, not a DINO like some of our state candidates, campaign down here might move the state and local party to the left toward more Progressive ideas.
  • National Democrats must learn to work better in The South. Foxes in the Henhouse argued that Lefty ideas can and will sell if presented the right way. We don't want to take your guns. We don't tax working folks to the benefit of the GOP Big Mules. We like the idea of tolerance and civil rights. We look out for our troops and veterans. We take care of the land, water, and air. We want your kids to have a chance to learn and reach their highes potential. We want you to have good and affordable health care. We will not outsource our government functions to our big business cronies. We ... Yet at times the candidates and the national party can't seem to get that message across effectively.
  • Third party or darkhorse candidates could perhaps tackle a small state like ours. It might be that Alabama could discover somebody that was overlooked elsewhere.
  • Alabama citizens, including our kids, could take part in a national campaign where some serious political players would perhaps share their experiences and ideas. Right now we are simply left out, this being especially so with our state's tendency to vote for the ReThuglicans. Doors might open up for some young talent to go to DC.
  • Our voters might get to hear Progressivism for perhaps the first time. So many local people cringe when they hear "liberals" yet once they listen to a reasoned explanation of what that means the shift can and will occur. The Mighty Wurlitzer has been belting out the music down here for far too long.
I'll amend later when I have a little more time to stew and link and organize. Might not work out the way I hope it could yet perhaps. Hope springs eternal. Peace ... or War!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Some Solutions for Randolph County Children?

I attended a meeting at the courthouse examining treatment options for juveniles and adults that are or might be facing criminal charges. Good presentations from several folks that I'll return to when I have more time. Partial solutions maybe from an initial think yet it was good to see some concern. Again, I'll return to these complex issues.

I also was able walk around Wedowee and was thrilled with some of the antiques and art and florists and ... I know lake traffic drives lots of their economy yet the rest of the county could perhaps tap this market as well. Their wide street makes their arrangement less ideal compared to what could be a more intimate setting in Roanoke and Wadley. Yet at least their buildings aren't falling down.

Rode up to my not so humble abode up on Lake Wedowee. If a little more humble, I might still own it and not have had such an adventure these last few years. Was a little disappointed in some of the development as it was somewhat tacky. Looking at the lakefront makes me think that area is really congested and tight compared to other portions of the reservoir. Still, this lake is amazing. I hope we can manage to create some more appropriate locations for the public to be able to enjoy this lake. So far Alabama Power has hardly done all they could do to serve the lower hald of the county on this one.

Which leads me to my last issue. I talked with a few folks on the wet-dry issue. I'm all for it and what it could lead to for our county. I think some leadership from just a few forward thinking people could make a difference here. More posts to follow on this issue for certain yet the thing comes down to what it always does ... preachers and bootleggers, including the legal efforts across the lines. If young folks will get out and vote with some older folks willing to speak against the fundamentalists then it will pass.

So what does the above have to do with children. Education and helping and opportunity and recreation and money and modernity and ... working together. Peace ... or War!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Red State Rap - FU NY Prince

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Clay County Native Son Slurred by Activist Judge!

Team Tartan's "Crazy as a Run Over Dog" Club adds a new member in Tacky Whacky Tom Parker. "Judge" Parker hits close to our Highlands with his disrespect for Justice Hugo Black. This solid jurist and statesman got his start across the river in Clay County. Who is the "activist" judge now? Peace ... or War!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Localism from the "Moonbat" Mothership

The Democratic National Committee has announced a Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fifty State Canvass on April 29, 2006. Here's the e-mail from Governor Dean and I'll send you to the 50 State Strategy. If anyone is interested I'd be pleased to participate or help organize. As for the title to the post, better a "moonbat" than a ReThuglican. Peace ... or War!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bu$hCo and the GOP/Big Mules in East Alabama

I was of course thrilled to read Kim S. Benefield's candidate profile in The Randolph Leader today. No link is available so you'll just have to buy a paper. Kim is of course running for Alabama State District 13 against Gerald Dial. Kim is running on "Better jobs and better education with no more taxes on working families!" and will not head down to Goat Hill to do the bidding of special interests. Note how Gerald Dial has been endorsed by the Business Council of Alabama. Business thy name is Bu$hCo so Senator Dial likely would fit in up in DC.

Glenn Greenwald is a regular read for Captain Plaid. Today he points out how many Republicans are abandoning Bu$hCo yet Jeffy B. Sessions appears to still be a loyal water carrier for W. Right now I think only Utah, Wyoming, Alabama, Idaho, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Nebraska have favorable approval ratings for Bu$hCo. Peace ... or War!

Monday, April 10, 2006

MSNBC Reports on LaFayette & Joe Louis Barrow

I was aware that Joe Louis lived north of LaFayette yet it is nice to see local coverage on the national stage. MSNBC even quotes District Judge Calvin Milford who of course married a Roanoke girl, namely Sharon Rice. Peace ... or War!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Women just 11.4 % of Alabama Legislature!

"Number of women legislators still low" according to Bob Johnson of The Associated Press as reported by The Montgomery Advertiser. Of course our own Kim S. Benefield is going to improve these state numbers when she takes down Gerald Dial in the race for Alabama Senate District #13. Peace ... or War!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Kim S. Benefield to Challenge Gerald Dial

My spies report that retiring Randolph County Circuit Clerk Kim Benefield is perhaps not finished with politics. She is allegedly going to take on Gerald Dial in the primary for Alabama Senate 13. Jim Ingram is running as a Republican per the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. I will work like a dog for Kim S. Good sensible woman. Gerald Dial is an idiot. Peace ... or War!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Political Compass - Where Do You Fall?

Some Brits have created a nice tool for figuring out where you fall on two continuums of Economic Left (Collectivism) vs. Right (Neo-Liberalism) and Authoritarian vs. Libertarian. Take the test and let me/us know. Using the 2004 Presidential election, I'm David Cobb mostly yet close to Ralph Nader in the left/libertarian quadrant. (Ghandi is a little to the left of me from a historical perspective.) Returning to 2004, Bu$h is slam across the compass! Peace ... or War!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Does Demon Drink Drive Development?

The Randolph Leader, in reporting that legislation limiting houseboat and "cigarette" boats on Lake Wedowee is likely about to be blessed by Goat Hill, gave us some information relating to the "Wet-Dry" issue here in the County. Vanessa Sorrell Burnside writes,

Would these same developers want Randolph County to go 'wet'?

"They're not going to come over here to a dry county. The hospitality industry and recreational destinations depend on alcohol sales for their business," said Hooton.

Although Hooton said a petition to put the wet-dry vote on the ballot would need to occur, he said he is not aware of one circulating now. He said, "The lake did not have the immediate benefits to the area that everyone expected but it's now starting to hit its stride. If we can bring about planned development, it can be something for everyone to be proud of and receive benefits from. Something's going to happen."

I agree with Matt Hooton and hope we'll see a petition soon. I'd certainly be pleased to help with any such effort and I think others would as well. Perhaps with some leadership willing to stand against the fundamentalist and bootleggers and Chambers County line merchants and ... the progress can begin. I've previously posted some thoughts on "demon alcohol" so I'll not repeat the arguments again. Peace ... or War!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Kia President Banned from Leaving South Korea

This might not be good for our locale! The Montgomery Advertiser, via AP reports, is reporting that "Kia president Chung Eui-sun -- son of Hyundai Motor chairman Chung Mong-koo -- is prohibited from leaving South Korea." Earlier in the piece it is reported, "Prosecutors in South Korea say they have banned the president of Kia Motors Corporated from leaving the country amid a widening probe into suspicions the automaker allegedly created slush funds to bribe government officials."

Silly Koreans, kick backs are for kids. American businesses and politicians can show you how it is done! Campaign donations are of course a basic yet "unconnected 527s" allow unlimited "soft money" creativity. You can even do the third way "deep lobbying". In fact I know somebody that is about to have some on his hands. I'm sure he'd be happy to educate you if you'll pay the greens fee and perhaps also .... Peace ... or War!

Update - 4/5/06 - Steve Dean of the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce tells me that all is well and the travel ban has been lifted.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Randolph County Relay for Life Tops $170,000.00

The Randolph County Chamber of Commerce reports the above GREAT news. One of the top twenty in the whole state! I'd anticipate per capita that we'd be right at the top. Peace ... or War!

Highway 431 Improvements to the South

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that "The project is the 16-mile, two-lane stretch roughly from Russell to Barbour County will complete the widening project and make travel in those parts much safer." Best case has the work completed by the Alabama DOT in 2008. I've driven that stretch and it is dreadful. While much of the road around here is safer than when I was a stripling there is still a need to improve 431. Locating the Big Box Mart and some of the new buildings in Roanoke such as the movie rental stores and the like along 431 has hardly made it "safer" due to congestion and folks pulling out suddenly and ... Great planning hardly I'd offer. Likewise, 22 can be a killer as well. The proper development does require good infrastructure such as solid roads. Peace ... or War!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Funeral, Families, Fundamentalism, & Future

I attended a graveside service for Lee Handley today. I always enjoyed Lee and found him a smart and compassionate man. Lee of course had serious health problems, perhaps caused by his service in The Vietnam War. I recall several discussions about Agent Orange being at least part of the cause for his Parkinson's. I know he experienced less than ideal care via the VA and that he had trouble with the expenses of his medicine. Either is not acceptable in this country, certainly not for a veteran. When I ran across this first HuffPo post by Dr. Peter Rost, formerly with Pfizer, and then his second post as well, I had to think of Lee's experience with Big Pharma. Damned disgrace!

I also walked along the front of Cedarwood and saw the graves of several important families in Roanoke's history. I was of course there at the Handley plot. I was standing with many of the Phillips family. I looked around and saw many still with us from the McMurray line. Old Roanoke indeed! I wondered what families, if any, could step up in today's global economy and carry a good portion of the community with them? These old patriarchs built many of the buildings that still stand, even if perhaps not in ideal conditions, in downtown. I know they were likely thinking ahead to have accomplished so much in our locale. And yet I also know they'd have not recognized the modern economy and culture. I also pondered how they'd react to our spaceport/jail?

I posted on Captain Jimi a piece on how the GOP has claimed God as their own. I was building off Kevin Phillips WaPo piece where he draws from his "American Theocracy" work recently published. Also, this Phillips commentary increasingly frightens me with his seemingly solid thinking on massive credit/finance powers at work on the global stage.

Looking back in part to perhaps better understand where we are going, I dropped in a Captain Plaid post off the WaPo's inequality series. Supply side economics really never seemed to work that well yet in today's increasingly multi-national world it may even even yield no rising tide. I also did a Captain Bama post prompted by Mr. Ayers's Anniston Star op-ed from today that suggested a shift away from government serving the needs of the elites, as happened at times in our history, could very well soon occur. Each paper provided me grist to consider my increasingly clear belief that DC and Goat Hill must develop policies that will benefit the branchheads here in Randolph County. We can and should do all in our power locally yet without some assistance on up the food chain we'll likely see little change.

Peace ... or War!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Roanoke's Spaceport (or Jail?) is U,G,L &Y!

"U - G - L & Y, you ain't got no alibi, you ugly (stomp, stomp or clap, clap) you ugly!" was a cheer we used back at dear old Handley High in the 80s. And I've already blogged on how wonderful the renovations and additions are at HHS. But within hollering distance we see Roanoke's new spaceport/jail being "assembled". I can't use "built". It is the ugliest damn thing I've ever seen, and that's compared to our dreadful downtown. Decay on Main Street and Dome Pods on "Back Street". It's like left over props from Star Wars. "Luke, have you fixed those hydrators?"

While I agree that we might need improvements to our jail, or even perhaps a new facilty, and I know this got lots of beds for the buck, I can't imagine choosing this option. For one thing Roanoke simply operates a "revenue" court at times. I know for a fact a current councilman scolded a former City Judge for not raking in enough cash. On multiple times actually ... although the first times were rather informal.

Of course District Judge Whaley has set the bar rather high for stuffing the jails plus providing free labor to his Randolph County Engineer brother-in-law. There is probably no way a county of our size needs this many jail beds yet perhaps as time allows either myself or a helpful person could track down some comparisons. Peace ... or War.

UPDATE : April 2, 2006 - I have continued thinking about how Roanoke took potential parking for a still longed for downtown "revival" effort to create the spaceport/jail. I tried to rally the powers that be several years ago on the idea of taking the old Deli building, I think Lamar Davis owns it now, and tearing it down. I'd thought the City could put a courtyard/walk through to that parking out on backstreet. Of course comprehensive reforms like codes and nuisance enforcement and all of that was in the mix, although I was holding back on those ideas. Finally, to put any jail, especially this ugly thing, where folks can see it seems plain short sighted. Most places I've seen tend to hide their jail! Razor wire, geo-domes, ... right in the business district. WTF were/are these "leaders" thinking?