Let's clean out the notebook ...
• I should start out by noting I am pro-life in general, so the idea of a challenge to Roe v. Wade is not really beyond my desire. As a Christian, I would welcome that. Apparently, the Alabama Legislature welcomed it.
But there are limits.
And then there are things that outright backfire on you.
With a plate full of items to consider this session, the Republicans were determined to get a bill passed that the U.S. Supreme Court would consider; that seems true in several states, particularly in the South. But to get their attention, Alabama legislators decided to go for a "clean" bill, without exceptions except to save the life of the mother. Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth overdid his role by gaveling to avoid any amendments and taping a video to defend no exceptions, which caused some turmoil.
When it passed, we became a national news story again, and now, for the sole reason of being recognized above other states in creating an appeal to high courts, Alabama has now become a focal point. We have lost at least one, maybe two tech prospects in Birmingham, what little film production business may be boycotted (Georgia is looking to lose much more, as notices are already coming in), and "Saturday Night Live" showed the faces of all senators who voted for the bill, including Sen. Majority Leader Greg Reed, R-Jasper. (They also went overboard with Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman and some others, laughingly noting they were "real names.")
Meanwhile, news analysis from the New York Times notes the John Roberts Supreme Court is not tender to overturning precedence, and would rather tweak here and there on points. A clean, simple overturn of Roe v. Wade that Alabama picked is not likely to be considered.
With lawyers all in the chamber, you would think they would know this. Some probably do. I suspect for many it was a ploy aimed at pleasing voters for their own political benefit. However, others probably felt they had to vote for it to save face, even if they preferred amendments. And others took it they had to vote their religious beliefs, regardless.
For me, it is rare when I find myself aligned with Pat Robertson and Donald Trump, but I have to agree with them that perhaps adding exemptions for rape or incest would be appropriate. In a perfect world, a woman in that situation could simply offer up for adoption - but to go through forced trauma and anguished emotions already, and then deal with a baby for nine months seems so horribly unbearable that I lean to that not being bearable. The physical well-being of the mother might be saved, but she might be so emotionally crushed it could harm the bond with and upbringing of the child. I think some Alabama legislators, if Roe v. Wade were struck down, would add those exemptions in real world situations.
But last week was not a real world, but a legal situation. You might explain that to a constituent, but patients are already being confused by these bills, calling to clinics to see if they needed to cancel, according to one TV report I saw. People across the nation are not understanding action to leave off exemptions and see us being cruel. They think we are being real world. And with the Roberts court's inclinations, I see this as backfiring and hurting our economy and our Christian witness. We were swinging for the stands and will be lucky to get a single.
For those who say that we have to suffer our Christian witness, we do. I dread some of the response for even saying I am pro-life. But one has to be smart in our witness, too; sometimes our Bible heroes knew when to speak and when to walk away. A more nuanced bill that would line us with other states and which would be more designed for the Roberts court would have been a better witness than making us look like we don't care about those women dealing with rape and incest. I understand the purpose, but I don't think we were very smart with how we dealt with this.
• The first candidate to declare for the Walker County Commission is now the first to get out. Thomas McCarty had announced on Facebook he would run for District 4 and had even set up a page there for that purpose. However, late last week he said he realized his desire to be a candidate turned out not to be at a level to run a successful campaign. So he is ending his campaign and working behind the scenes to get other conservative candidates elected.
• The Daily Mountain Eagle's first Facebook stream of the Walker County Commission took place Monday. Ad director Jake Aaron, who is very involved in our social media efforts, wound up bringing two tripods, one for the phone and the other holding two microphones, placing them on the wall, right of the doorway leading to the commission offices.
The video was fine, but some said they wanted better audio. To be truthful, we've talked before about acoustics in that room, as I've seen older people ask for speakers as they can't hear. Publisher James Phillips is in his 40s and he had trouble hearing some low-speaking people from the back of the room. We were suggesting afterward this might be the time for the county to get mics and a speaker system for the commission chambers.
The video is archived on our Facebook and, while it was really a bread-and-butter meeting, we would appreciate it if you would watch it and let us know what we could do better. We don't have the budget of NBC News, but we would like to know where you think we can improve, as the technology has surprisingly advanced to do a lot of things. (It is amazing that the video quality that you see on the tape was taken with a cell phone on a tripod.)
By the way, for those of you holding your nose to yet at the online activities, keep in mind that the Boston Globe just reported this year it now has more online subscribers than it has weekday print subscribers for the first time, as it likely the first traditional regional daily to do so.
• I was thinking the allergies were improving earlier this past weekend, and had even gotten off the meds. But by Tuesday I was coughing again. I just know I will be glad to see the grass clear off its pollen, as that is the big problem at the moment.
• Who was the big winner on "Game of Thrones" now that it is over? I was. I missed every single show, and judging from how unhappy fans were with the ending, I can safely feel I didn't miss anything. With Trump as president, I don't need another fire breathing dragon in my life. (On the other hand, I downloaded the last two "Big Bang Theory" episodes after a long absence and was quite pleased.)
• My awakening to Airport Road work was rude and quick Tuesday. I was leaving Woodland Villa Apartments, and right at Airport Road, a crewman was holding a stop sign to prevent me from coming in. I had to go north a short ways on Airport, east on Pineview Road and then south again on 14th Avenue, making my way to Walston Bridge Road to get to Highway 118. Thankfully, I was going that direction anyway to get to the dentist. But, yes, the next six months could be interesting. (The next day, I was allowed south on Airport, so it will change on a dime.)
An even bigger surprise was that in talking to others that day, many people had no idea the work was planned. I thought it had been talked about enough, but some were shocked to find out it was a major project that would take months.
• To clarify something I forgot to add to the Jerry Bishop story, the funds for the roof repairs on the main Walker County Courthouse will come from the county's capital improvement fund. Revenue comes from the state to build up that fund.
By the way, Bishop told Rotary Club of Jasper members he and his wife, Harriet, will next month celebrate their 48th anniversary. "My hero is my wife," he said, noting she raised their sons when he was working in the mines and started businesses.