I ain't afraid of no ghost.
The Hoover Board of Education tonight unanimously voted to accept Hoover High coach Rush Propst's resignation, but Propst will coach through the end of the season and be transferred to another job until his resignation becomes effective Aug. 31.
School board Vice President Suzy Baker said she cast her vote under duress and was disappointed with the contents of the agreement.
This is the initial report from The Birmingham News at 7:38PM
From The Birmingham News, October 30, 3:54PM:
Jefferson County sheriff's deputies announced today the seizure of $750,000 worth of cocaine intercepted on Interstate 20.
Deputies with the department's Highway Safety Unit found 10 kilos of cocaine when they stopped a 2001 Porshe Carerra traveling eastbound on I-20 near Interstate 459 about 1 p.m. Monday. Investigators found the cocaine taped and wrapped in plastic. The bundle was stored in the car's vinyl side panels.
Alfredo Portilla Palacious, a 28-year-old Mexican citizen, was taken into custody and charged with drug trafficking. His bond is set at $1.5 million.
Looks like a trend:
On Thursday, October 18, the Sheriff's Office Highway Safety Unit stopped a 2001 silver Ford Mustang for a traffic violation on I-20 near I-459.
This vehicle displayed Mexico tags. Upon further investigation, 12 Kilos of cocaine and 1 Kilo of ICE (crystal methamphetamine) were found hidden in the vehicle.
A 51 year old female from Paraeuara, Mexico, Teresa Medina Pallares, was arrested and charged with trafficking cocaine and methamphetamine. She is being held in the Jefferson County Jail on bonds totalling $3 million.
Both arrests took place on I-20 near I-459, both Mexican citizens.
Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Randy Christian said authorities are trying to determine whether the cases are linked.
Mark Steyn sees a definite upside to Fred Thompson's "laid-back" attitude:
...Contemporary politics is all about phony energy, about running around slamming doors for the sake of it — or, more to the point, opening them and tossing through a huge sack of taxpayer dollars. South of the border, presidential candidate and actor Fred Thompson is currently under fire for being too "laid-back." His debate performances are said to be "undercaffeinated." A barely discernible pause at the start of one answer was reported by the play-by-play pundits as a "senior moment."
Touted by his promoters as the new Reagan, Thompson has apparently inherited all the old Reagan's flaws. He, too, was famously lethargic, and said to doze off during afternoon briefings: in long cabinet meetings, he was prone to be prone within 10 minutes, etc. President Reagan never denied it: "They say hard work never killed anyone," he remarked, "but I figure, why take the chance?" He did, though, confess during a particularly fraught government crisis to "burning the midday oil." Ronald Reagan succeeded a chief executive who was the very definition of "phony energy," and whose failed presidency remains a monument to the folly of confusing perpetual activity with energy. In contrast to Jimmy Carter, Reagan came to office with the most fully formed political philosophy of any recent president. He had thought profoundly about the role of government and its relationship to individual liberty, and, crucially, had formed his views while doing other stuff.
Steyn helpfully points out, if after the fact, that Mitt Romney should have taken advantage of a senior moment himself:
So what I look for in a candidate is, first, an absence of phony energy and, second, signs of real energy. I can live with a Fred Thompson "senior moment" compared to most of the alternatives. In that same debate, the more damaging answer came from Mitt Romney in response to an arcane hypothetical about whether bombing Iran required congressional approval. "You sit down with your attorneys," began the former governor. "We're going to let the lawyers sort out what we needed to do and what we didn't need to do." There was no pause. Romney just rushed in to fill the dead air with all the frantic energy of an old-school disc jockey whose traffic jingle has jammed. And, as a consequence, a war-on-terror hawk came over like a Kerryesque legalistic ass-coverer. A "senior moment" to collect his thoughts might have helped.
Bill Clinton had plenty of phony energy, maybe it's a Democrat(ic) thing:
As for phony energy, consider Bill Clinton. Back in 1998, when he was fending off the first few months of the Monica business, President Clinton used to say that much as he'd like to resign, hand over to Al Gore and sit on the beach all day, he had no choice but to accept the burdens of office and "get back to working for the American people." There wasn't a single morning, he assured the public, that he didn't wake up thinking about how he could make life better for the American people. I'm a foreigner, so it's hardly my place to tell the American people that the best response to this is: "oh, bugger off, you neo-monarchical narcissist." The founding principle of the republic is that the American people are perfectly capable of making life better for themselves, and all you wannabe-king types need to do is get out of the way.
Get out of the way. Try telling that to Hillary Clinton.
One of the critical questions for Republicans, at least this one, is which candidate can beat Hillary. Do we have a conservative candidate, a true conservative, who can defeat her? Maybe we do. I agree with Mark Steyn, I can live with Thompson's so-called "senior moment", especially compared to the alternatives. Fred Thompson is the real deal in this race. Mitt Romney is a fine candidate but when it comes to conservative credentials Thompson himself says it best: "I was a proud conservative yesterday, I remain one today, and I will be one tomorrow".
There is no perfect candidate and there's nothing wrong with our party having a "Big Tent", not everyone is going to agree on everything. But we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater because we fear losing to Hillary. In 1980 Ronald Reagan carried 44 states with 489 electoral votes, beating Jimmy Carter in a landslide. The landslide was even more impressive in 1984 when he defeated Walter Mondale.
The upcoming primary process won’t be easy for any of the contestants. Smart and capable, New York’s Rudy Giuliani has a head start in the polls and fund raising. Sen. John McCain is a genuine American hero and a patriot. Gov. Mitt Romney is articulate and passionate about his politics.
But Fred Thompson can win.
I agree. What a difference a day makes.
Is Rudy Giuliani the only Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton? Former President Gerald Ford thought so:
Jerry Ford wasn't sure Hillary Clinton could be elected President, but he was absolutely certain which Republican had the strongest shot at stopping her: Rudy Giuliani.
"That would be a great contest between Hillary and Rudy," the 92-year-old former President told a reporter in May 2006.
"I think Giuliani is an electrifying guy," he added. "He's a great speaker. He's had a good record of winning in New York City, and he can be tough."
Officially, he remained scrupulously neutral in the 2008 GOP primary contest. A few months before his death in December 2006, however, Ford was asked by an old friend to predict who the Republican nominee would be.
He smiled and replied: "Well, if they want to win, Giuliani. He's really good, he's articulate - he's just a leader."
I can't speak for all Republicans, obviously, but my top priority for 2008 is defeating Hillary Clinton. It is my firm belief another President Clinton would be a disaster for our country, and this President Clinton would be far worse than the first. She is all about power and the best way to get and keep that power is to control as much of our lives as possible. One example (my emphasis):
Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that government should help working mothers and lower-paid workers by giving them more time off with pay.
Clinton said that starts with extending the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which now allows workers at businesses with at least 50 employees to take unpaid leave to care for ill family members or a new child. Clinton wants to drop the threshold to 25 employees.
The New York senator and presidential candidate said she also wants states to experiment with paid leave, especially for workers in jobs that do not provide paid time off.
So the GOVERNMENT should give folks time off with pay. Sounds good to those in our society who for whatever reason can't run their own lives and expect the GOVERNMENT to do it for them. The devastating consequences of such government intrusion into employer/employee relations are too numerous to mention but here is just one...the more money employers spend on non-productive (non-existent) employees, the less money they have available to spend on productive employees. In other words, the ones doing the work are subsidizing the ones sitting at home.
Many employers have, on their own, put policies in place for employees who need extended leave. From my own experience I can attest to that. Years ago I was the manager for 15+ employees, all of whom were women, many of them young women. At one point three were pregnant. I worked with them and they all managed to have their babies and keep their jobs. The bottom line here is that the work still has to be done. In many cases that requires hiring someone on a temporary basis to handle the work-load. It would be hard for many businesses, especially small businesses, which employers with 25 - and even 50 - employees certainly are, to pay someone to do a job while also paying someone else who is sitting at home. Every business is different. Businesses cannot set policy based on every individual need nor
can should the federal government. It is the responsibility of the INDIVIDUAL to plan and make responsible choices for themselves.
Hillary Clinton commented in response to a question "from a self-described feminist who said she is trying to decide whether to have a family, a career or both":
"Most of the young women asking me want to have both," Clinton said. "They want to have a chance to have a family if that's their choice and they want to be able to continue working and make a contribution to the family income as well as to their own satisfaction. I think we make it about as hard as we possibly can for young women.
So a confused feminist can't decide what she wants to do and Hillary says not to worry. You don't have to make a choice, the GOVERNMENT will force employers to accommodate your every whim. God save us from the feminists.
We simply cannot afford President Hillary Clinton. And that brings me back to the original question. Is Rudy Giuliani the only candidate who can beat her? I hope not. If he is the nominee I will certainly campaign and vote for him, he is hands down better than any Democrat running, but he is not a better choice than any Republican running. My hope that Duncan Hunter would get the publicity he deserves has not panned out so I'm now on Plan B, although I do hope he gets serious consideration for the VP spot. He's much, much better than Mike Huckabee, although Huckabee has done a better job of getting his message out.
So then there are two. Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.
As much as I looked forward to Thompson entering the race, I'm still on the fence. I admired him when he was in the Senate, he was an outspoken critic of government waste, fraud and abuse and there is still a boat load of that. He also advocated a biennial budget which I think has some merit. From 2002:
Thompson has teamed up with Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) to push for a biennial budget. This bipartisan measure would end the yearly budget battle in Congress and replace it with a less repetitive process that enacts a two-year budget every other year.
"We create a lot of expensive agencies and programs, and then we pretty much turn our backs on them while they run for years and years," Thompson said. "A biennial budget would give us time to delve into what's working and what's not and it would also encourage members of Congress to stay in closer contact with constituents by freeing up more time for them to spend in their home states."
I haven't heard Thompson mention the biennial budget during his campaign but maybe he'll get around to it.
I also admire Mitt Romney. For those who believe experience running a business, or a state, are important qualifications for running the United States, Romney is attractive. I'm less impressed with his record in Massachusetts, admittedly a tough job for a Republican, than I am with his role in the 2002 Winter Olympics:
Romney first gained national recognition for his role in turning around the 2002 Winter Olympics. With the 2002 Games mired in controversy and facing a financial crisis, Romney left behind a successful career as an entrepreneur to take over as President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.
Governor Romney has said he felt compelled to assume the seemingly impossible task of rescuing the Games by both the urgings of his wife, Ann, and by the memory of his father, George Romney, who had been a successful businessman, three-term Governor of Michigan, and a tireless advocate of volunteerism in America.
In his three years at the helm in Salt Lake, Romney erased a $379 million operating deficit, organized 23,000 volunteers, galvanized community spirit and oversaw an unprecedented security mobilization just months after the September 11th attacks, leading to one of the most successful Olympics in our country's history.
Yes, that excerpt is from Mitt Romney's web-site, but it is accurate, and impressive.
So those are my choices. I have no illusions that the opinion of this obscure blogger will make a difference in 2008, but it's important to me to get it right. I assume, rightly or wrongly, that other conservatives may be struggling as well. Not that I think we don't have a good line-up of candidates, I think we do. Can Thompson or Romney beat Hillary? I hope so. One thing I'm sure of, Republicans must get behind the eventual nominee 100 percent. Or Hillary Clinton will be our next President and we just can't afford that.
The wife of Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson attended the Alabama Federation of Republican Women's Convention held at the Von Braun Center yesterday:
Young daughter in arms, she danced to a live band at the Von Braun Center performing "Rocky Top."
Although in Alabama, dancing to a Tennessee state song worked for Thompson, whose husband may give those in attendance at the Alabama Federation of Republican Women's Convention hope that the GOP can win the White House in 2008.
Thompson attended a fundraiser for her husband's campaign in Birmingham on Thursday.
Fred Thompson was born in Sheffield, Alabama but was raised in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.
Jeri Thompson visited Orange Beach in July. She said she loves coming to Alabama because the state is "so supportive of our military."
Yes, we are a patriotic bunch down here.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is looking into the school's "institutional integrity and fiscal management". SACS is Hoover's accrediting body. From The Birmingham News:
The state director of the K-12 accreditation arm of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools said Thursday he has identified two areas of concern in an investigative report into Hoover High School and asked the system's superintendent for plans to address them.
Jimmie Lawrence, the state director of SACS' Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, said he asked Superintendent Andy Craig on Thursday how the system plans to resolve issues of institutional integrity and fiscal management raised in the report on Hoover High by Sam Pointer Jr. and his law firm.
Specifically, he's concerned about grade changes for football players and pressure on teachers, as well as the fiscal management of resources relating to the athletic program, he said.
This could potentially be much more serious for Hoover than the forfeited games and national embarrassment caused by Coach Rush Propst's win at all costs philosophy.
Efforts to reach Craig for comment were unsuccessful, but Hoover schools spokesman Jason Gaston said Thursday Craig has sent his action plan to SACS.
Craig last week gave the Hoover school board a plan that addresses grade-changing procedures and includes consideration of an alternative avenue for teachers to report concerns such as undue influence related to grading or academic performance of athletes. Craig also sent a memo to secondary principals and athletics directors in September outlining changes and reminders regarding athletics finances.
SACS will monitor for implementation of corrective action and, if concerns persist, possibly send a team to Hoover High, Lawrence said.
The scrutiny is the result of the investigative report prepared by retired judge Sam Pointer (at a cost of $151,000, paid for by city of Hoover taxpayers). School board member Suzy Baker puts the blame squarely on Coach Propst:
Baker lays the blame for Hoover's situation on Propst, who this week apologized for the negative attention.
"That $151,000 bill (for Pointer's report) sits at the feet of Rush Propst," Baker said. "Back in March and April when the rumblings started, Rush should have walked in (to Craig's office) and said, `We need to talk.'
"He could have saved the community and the football team the embarrassment they're in now," Baker said. "He didn't do it."
Propst had to have known what would come out in the report but chose to let it play out, totally disregarding the negative consequences it would have on the city of Hoover, the students at Hoover High School, and most importantly, his players. However, the school board bears some responsibility as well. They received the report on August 31 and chose to do nothing until it became public (under pressure) on October 13.
Propst is still fighting to keep his job. His arrogance apparently has no limit:
School board member Suzy Baker, who said this week that Propst should no longer be coach, said Propst has legal counsel with the Alabama Education Association. That's contributing to the delay in a resolution about his job status, she said. Propst has tenure, according to his contract.
The fact that he has tenure should have no bearing on this case. Propst's despicable behavior speaks for itself.
Hoover High School, once the recipient of positive national attention for its football program, finds itself back in the spotlight for the wrong reasons as more people across the nation pick up on the community's controversies.
Sports Illustrated contained a brief article in this week's issue. USA Today and other newspapers across the country have provided coverage. And "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel," an investigative series on HBO, has expressed interest in the topic.
Sports Illustrated reported on the findings in the Pointer report, describing the allegations of grade changing and adultery as "humiliating" for Hoover's football program and "far juicier" than anything on television.
A Google search of "Hoover" and "Rush Propst" finds coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, among others.
One bright spot for the Hoover football team, they beat Oak Mountain last night and qualified for the playoffs as the fourth seed in Region 6.
Bella, winner of the People's Choice award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, opened in theaters October 26. Brent Bozell III, writing for Townhall:
The makers of "Bella" are different than the average Hollywood moviemakers. They have refused projects they didn't feel were uplifting. Their religious convictions had led to a desire to make redeeming films. Their company is named Metanoia Films, after the Greek word for "conversion" or "repentance." Those are not Hollywood words. But they are words that can resonate all over the Main Streets of America.
So what does Main Street think of "Bella"? Preview audiences repeatedly have given it standing ovations.
In his review for The New York Times, Stephen Holden, calls Bella a "saccharine trifle" and ends his review with this:
If “Bella” (the title doesn’t make sense until the last scene) is a mediocre cup of mush, the response to it suggests how desperate some people are for an urban fairy tale with a happy ending, no matter how ludicrous.
I guess a woman who decides to keep her baby rather than abort it qualifies as a fairy tale in Stephen Holden's world. By the way, Mr. Holden's first paragraph contains an error. Bella won the People's Choice award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, not 2007. Just needed to point that out.
Producer and lead actor Eduardo Verástegui:
...this movie changed my life. It is a love story about a man who had everything. He lost it all, but in losing it all, he found everything that matters in life, which is family and true love and friendship and a lot of beautiful things.
The intent for this film is to promote life and family values. My goal was to make a film that I could invite my mother and my grandmother to and not have to cover their eyes during any scene.
Therefore, my Oscar is when someone tells me, “Your film changed my life.”
Time to go to the movies.
In Birmingham, Bella is showing at the Carmike Summit, today's showtimes can be found here.