Tell me things that matter



Art Parker,
Managing Editor

By Art Parker

They engage in worthless conversation. They lie. They are more concerned about money than they are about solving problems. Who are these despicable characters?

   Party political candidates and politicians. And rest assured, they reside in both major political parties, and the political parties are public enemy number one. It’s not the media as President Trump claims.

   The parties want power and a politician wants power. They hitch their mule teams together and go to work, usually by raising money, telling lies and spewing rhetoric only to gain a vote.

   The real hope of someone running for office, especially in Alabama, rests upon their ability to rise to even higher office. To do that they often try to convince voters that they are a bigger Christian than their opponent, they are pro-life and are fully against abortion, they have a bigger idealistic relationship with President Trump than their opponent, and of course they will make sure no one monkeys with our gun rights by protecting the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

   Political parties want you to believe things that will put them in power. They will not tell you this but actually they want you to trust the party and vote that way…all of the time. In other words be stupid, do not pay attention and let us solve all of your problems. 

   And how has that worked out for us? 

    Not very well.

   Let’s examine how much of this plays out in Alabama. I quickly make up my mind not to vote for a candidate for office in Alabama if they make a big deal about the Second Amendment and gun rights. I’m not against guns. I love the Second Amendment. But what I do not like is someone running for office on the state level saying they will take care of our gun rights. Why? Because it is red meat for the GOP base. Issues about our gun rights and the Second Amendment will not be determined on Union Street in Montgomery. The Federal courts will decide those issues. Any candidate that uses this tactic is either really ignorant when it comes to the law or is intentionally trying to bamboozle us into voting for them. Whatever the case they do not deserve our vote and we obviously cannot trust them.

   You can say the same about abortion. State legislatures can dance around the issue and come up with all kinds of laws regarding this subject. But the instant their effort encroaches upon Roe vs. Wade, or other similar cases, such as Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, then the U.S. Supreme Court will make all decisions. There are only nine folks that have the power and ability to determine a woman’s right to an abortion and they wear black robes and do business at One First Street in Washington D.C.

   We have already seen the Trump factor in Alabama. Those running for office claim to support Trump more than the other guy. Almost one-hundred percent of these candidates do not know Trump and never will, but they are quick to act as if they possess a “buddy-buddy” relationship with the President. Using President Trump as an election tool does nothing more than perpetuate the dependency of the electorate upon others to make their voting decisions. It is no different than someone entering the voting booth and pulling a straight ticket, thinking that is the truth, the light and the way. 

   I won’t even begin to tell you how my Christian faith is insulted when a politician tells me he/she deserves my vote because they are a Christian. We should be mindful that some of the biggest Christians in Alabama history have been convicted of corruption, especially in the last ten years.

    To all of the candidates and politicians in Alabama, especially this year, I say: Don’t tell me what a big Christian you are, or that you protect gun rights and all the other bull you have been telling us. Tell me how you will solve the problems of state government, such as the problems with Medicare, corrections and the lack of state troopers on the road.

   Tell me about those things. If you have any answers at all.    

A great time of year



Art Parker,
Managing Editor

By Art Parker

From the Fourth of July until the middle of August is a great time of year, especially this year. The runoff election is over and the General Election is three months away. That’s a good thing. We get a break from all the lies we hear from those saying they will do the right thing for us.

    It is still a great time of year with or without an election cycle. There is not too much going on. School is out. Folks are vacationing. While the Alabama heat is unbearable I still love this time of year. Contrary to many others I would rather be in the heat of summer and its long days as opposed to the cold of winter and its short miserable days.

    It’s also the time of year when I can see a great deal of work coming. The real busy time of year. Football season brings about loads of work, especially before the season starts. When the regular football season ends then the holidays are upon us. Another busy time.

So what is so special about right now, you ask?

   My tomatoes.

   That’s right.

   To me I live for the summer days when I can eat fresh, southern tomatoes. Not those counterfeit things they grow in California or those winter tomatoes from Mexico. Those are just not the real thing.

   A tomato grown in the south, in the summer, is the finest tomato in the world. As Mrs. Parker says, “They are too die for.”

   I think what makes it so special for me is that I do not need to buy them. I just go to my backyard. That’s what makes them even better. Christine and I plant several plants in our special raised beds every year. We made the beds, we plant the plants. I call it the Parker farm.

    I love watching them grow, obviously not by the minute, but as time goes by. The first week or so after planting I wonder if they will grow. It builds anxiety within me. I must have a homegrown tomato.

After a couple of weeks I see progress. After a month I see those beautiful yellow buds. The excitement builds. A few weeks after that I see those little-bitty tiny green things, like an alien is sticking its tongue out at you. If my wife sees it first she says, “Honey, come look at this.” 

   When one gets about half its final size the excitement grows. When it begins to turn red I begin to salivate and become impatient. And finally the day comes.

    Christine and I have a ritual. The day before our first harvest she runs to the store and gets a loaf of white bread, something we usually don’t eat. She makes sure we have the proper mayo, none of this healthy stuff…you must have the real thing. Of course she buys a new can of pepper because I love pepper on a tomato. And she makes sure we have plenty of bacon.

    For dinner the next day we pick the first tomatoes, cook the bacon, and enjoy a delicacy beyond compare-the southern grown tomato and bacon sandwich. Then, of course I usually make the traditional tomato sandwich, without the bacon. Believe me, I’m happier than a hog in the slop. There is nothing like it.

   For the balance of the summer (and in to September, and hopefully October) the backyard tomato is king at the Parker house. You can only imagine how many we have. This year we planted seven plants. Yes, we eat them all. Every single one. When there is one that needs plucking we pluck it…and devour that sucker.

   We lay off the bread pretty much after disposing of the initial loaf. I eat tomatoes with breakfast. If you have never done that you need to try. It’s wonderful. We eat many salads in the summer because of the tomatoes and other fresh produce readily available. I’m the salad maker. I pile everything in the salad bowl and save the tomatoes until last. Then, I cover everything else with my backyard yield.       

It’s almost sad since I can see that the days are numbered for my tomato plants. But while I got ‘em growing I’m gonna eat ‘em. In fact. I’m off to the back yard to pluck a couple now. 

   It’s a great time of year.    

Two down, one more to go



Art Parker,
Managing Editor

By Art Parker

Every election-day Steve Flowers and I talk and/or send text messages to one another trying to get a grip on things. Last Tuesday was no different and we both agreed there would be a low turnout. And it was.

   A Primary Election and Primary Runoff day is when many folks are elected, especially in Alabama, which is nearly a one party state. A runoff often answers the final question as to who will serve and we should have big turnouts on those days.

   But we don’t. That’s a shame.    

   Last week I read an interesting passage in a piece in The Huffington Post that was published last year: 

57 percent of Americans voted in the last Presidential election. 93 million Americans stayed home. To put it differently, more Americans did not vote in the last presidential election than there are citizens of Egypt, Germany and Iran. Nearly twice as many Americans did not vote in the last Presidential Election as the total number of people killed in the Second World War. 7-million more Americans did not vote in the last Presidential election than the record setting 86-million people who watched the final Presidential debate.

    A Presidential election always creates the greatest turnout and really that race affects us much less than people realize. I still subscribe to the theory that state and local government impact our lives far more than the federal government. Just let your garbage go uncollected or have part of it scattered in your yard because the city sanitation workers did a poor job. You will not watch the Presidential debate because you will be out there cleaning it up and, you are more likely to call someone at the city the next day and complain because you’re mad as hell. When the police take much too long to respond to your call you will not even think about Trump and Putin being too buddy-buddy.

     Yet for state and local elections our failure to vote is much greater than it is in Presidential election years. And what’s worse, we pay virtually no attention to who these people are and what, if they are an incumbent, they have done.  

    Okay. So much for that. What did happen despite the low turnout was a partial draining of the swamp-to put it in modern terms. 

    The biggie in my book was the victory of Will Ainsworth over Twinkle Cavanaugh in the Lt. Governor’s race. This is terrific news for Alabama since Cavanaugh represents the old guard and is a soldier in the Bob Riley/Mike Hubbard camp. Any victory over Riley’s army is welcomed news in my book.

    Stan Pate defeated long time legislator Gerald Dial for the Agriculture and Industries top job. I view this as good news as well.   

    Montgomery’s Alvin Holmes, who has been hanging around the State House since I was a sophomore in college, was walloped and will not return to the Alabama House of Representatives. I must admit that I will miss ole Alvin. I didn’t agree with Holmes that much but he was very entertaining. I do believe he represented the people of his district far better than most members of the legislature.     

    Of the results I find most disturbing is the U.S. Second Congressional District, a seat that will be retained by Martha Roby after she defeated Bobby Bright, and will almost certainly prevail against her general election opponent. I really think re-electing Roby will be the continuation of a disaster. I am convinced that Roby lacks what it takes to be effective in Congress and she will continue to be a ‘yes man’ to whatever the party bosses tell her to do.  

    Next up is the General Election in November. We have a race for Governor, A young mayor from Tuscaloosa, Walt Maddox, will challenge incumbent Kay Ivey. I’ve already made up my mind and believe Ivey needs to go to the sidelines. Like so many, she has been hanging around too long.    

    The best news is that all of the lies and advertising are over…for now. We will see some of the same old stuff come around about Labor Day. And then we will be subject to all of this campaign stuff again.

     I bet you just can’t wait.