Homily: Alabama and the GOP’s Future (plus Tweets)

It’s been almost a week since I did a tweets post, so you may have been wondering where I was. Mostly, I’ve been out of town at medical appointments. For obvious reasons, I don’t announce when I’m leaving town on the internet ahead of time! When I got back, it took me a couple of days to recover. Anyway, I’m pretty much back to normal now. (Well, normal for me.) So normal service will resume!

I got back on Alabama’s election day. It was about 8pm Alabama time when I turned on CNN and within about thirty minutes it was exciting to realize I was going to be proven wrong. Although Doug Jones was still behind at that point, it was pretty clear to me that the results that were in were from counties that support Roy Moore. The outstanding results were from the high population area, and all those were going strongly Democratic.

As always, there were a lot of factors contributing to a Jones win. Turnout was very high – around 40% – which was double what was expected. A lot of that extra turnout was amongst black voters. Apparently more blacks cast a vote for Doug Jones this week than for Barack Obama in 2012!

Alabama is a state that makes it harder than just about any other for those that are more likely to vote for a Democratic candidate to vote. (Read the article at the link – you’ll find it shocking the lengths Republicans in Alabama go to in order to suppress the black vote.) Despite this, or maybe because of it, there was a huge black voter turnout. Blacks voted almost exclusively for Jones (98% of women and 93% of men). Black women in particular, who were twice as likely to vote as black men, were a big help to Jones.

There was one more thing that was the tipping point though. On Sunday, the other Alabama senator, Richard Shelby, said he couldn’t vote for Roy Moore in good conscience. He made an announcement on national television that he would write in a candidate rather than cast a vote for Moore. He was putting #CountryBeforeParty. In total, 1.7% of voters did that. If those voters had given their vote to Moore instead, he would be the new senator.

Despite all the flaws in Roy Moore as a candidate, he came very close to winning in Alabama. With a better candidate, it is likely the GOP will take the seat back in 2020 no matter how well Jones performs.

However, there is a lesson Democrats in deep-Red states should learn from this election. There is a tendency in such states for Democrats to not bother voting because they are so sure the Republicans will win. But the values of the Republican party are actually not those of the country as a whole anymore. There has been a change in recent years. A majority now support things like marriage equality, Obamacare, and even women being able to choose whether they have an abortion or not.

The US saw the change recently in Virginia where, for example, a transgender woman took the seat of the man who promoted a “bathroom” Bill. Emily’s List used to support just a few hundred women. Now it’s thousands.

Further, young people are getting involved much more than in the past and they overwhelmingly support the Democratic party. As well as the reasons above, their better record on the environment is a big reason for this. The GOP is the only major political party in the world that denies man-made climate change. Young USians, in contrast, mostly accept the reality of science.

It’s a truism that people get more conservative as they age, but they do not get stupid. They generally retain their principles too. The GOP’s supporters are dying off. They have the reputation as being only for old, rich, white, men for a reason. In the future, there just won’t be enough of them to win elections.


Political Tweets

Some interesting data on the Alabama special election.
(Via Ann German.)


Can you see what’s happened? 😀
(Via Ann German.)


Just sayin’.
(Via Ann German.)


On Fox News yesterday they were complaining about the amount of negative news re Trump. It was a result of an analysis by a right-wing media organisation(the name of which I forget). BUT WTF DO THEY EXPECT! There is too much from Trump that IS negative. This tweet …


Got this response …
(Via Ann German.)


Oh, and by the way, Fox News had to apologize this week for an error. They wrongly accused a Moore accusers of forging his name in her school yearbook.


Human Rights Tweets

A lot of women will be able to identify with Lucinda Franks, who wrote the article in the link. I know I can.
(Via Ann German.)


This is extremely concerning.
(Via Ann German.)


CNN and the New York Times are reporting that Trump’s daily security briefings are deliberately structured to avoid talking about the Russia situation. The reason? It sends Trump off track and they can no longer reason with him.


What a ghastly woman!


Quinnipiac University is a respected pollster. This result means that there is bi-partisan support for an investigation.


Religion Tweets

(Via Ann German.)


Gun Safety Tweets

Makes you think.
(Via Ann German.)


Wow! There are some very disturbed people out there.


Funny Tweets

Only in Japan! The Bing translation isn’t much help:

Using the tape measure tables cross a dangerous Undertow.

(Via Ann German,)


Oh, the irony!


Entertainment Tweets

The first Star Wars movie came out when I was thirteen. I knew the dialogue off-by-heart. I’ve been a fan ever since! The latest movie premiered in New Zealand yesterday, but I won’t see it before it comes out on video.


I didn’t know he ever wore a uniform!


I was a big fan of this show as a kid (and still am!).


History Tweets

(Via Ann German.)


I actually remember is being recommended to women to use the hula hoop while doing the housework to maintain their figures!
(Via Ann German.)


Very interesting. (Well, I think so anyway, and it’s my website.)


Scenic Tweets

What a gorgeous setting!




Science Tweets

Very cool!


Space Tweets


I don’t know Sean Carroll, but I know I like him! 😀


Marine Tweets

I think stingrays are beautiful.


Pareidolia! (There’s a study that says you’re neurotic if you see faces in things, but I think that’s ridiculous. Now if you started believing the faces were real, that would be a different story!)
(Via Ann German.)


This is sad news for New Zealand!



Reptile Tweets



I wonder what they were doing with it?


What’s the bet this was a religious thing?!


Actually, I find this a bit scary.

Other Animals Tweets

The latest Cute News.


A cool video from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust about the county’s woodlands.


How to get a girlfriend when you’re an Arctic Squirrel.


This looks very cool. I wish I could go.


Great pic.


A happy ending.


Bird Tweets

Very cool, and what a gorgeous bird!


What a cool birthday gift!


As Ann German commented when she sent me this, “Lovely.”


Very cool. Good job NZ Department of Conservation!


Dog Tweets

This is especially for my sister Brenda, who very kindly had me to stay earlier this week.


What a poser!


Brilliant! This will make you laugh!


Cool story!


And another one to make you laugh!


Cat Tweets

This kid’s parents are starting it out right!


Poor kitty!


That’s one cute kitty!

A very patient cat!

A film festival to look forward to!

A note to end on?



If you enjoyed reading this, please consider donating a dollar or two to help keep the site going. Thank you.



54 Responses to “Homily: Alabama and the GOP’s Future (plus Tweets)”

  1. j.a.m. says:

    “The GOP’s supporters are dying off.”

    Well, yes, everybody’s dying off. Seems to be a fact of life.

    The ideals and principles upon which this country was founded, and that have made it the shining city on the hill, will endure forever, as long as people yearn to breathe free.

    The Republicans at least occasionally pay lip service to those ideals. The only thing that Democrat politicians seem to stand for is concentrating power in their own grubby hands and keeping the population servile, stupid and poor. They represent everything that people come to America to escape.

    • Linda Calhoun says:

      What I always notice about your comments is that your worldview seems to contain absolutely no shades of gray.

      We all understand your complete disdain for those of us with differing viewpoints. You have repeated yourself endlessly. We get it, OK?

      What, exactly, is it that you are hoping to achieve by coming here daily and alleging the total perfection of your tribe and the total horror of everyone else?

      And, if you’re so right about everything, and your tribe is so perfect, then why do you continue to hide behind anonymity? Why not have the pride in your beliefs and the courage of your convictions?


    • nwalsh says:

      You ceased being the shining light atop the hill several decades ago. Like you’re the only functioning democracy?

    • “The only thing that Democrat politicians seem to stand for is concentrating power in their own grubby hands and keeping the population servile, stupid and poor.”

      It seems to me that’ both parties in the US want to keep the population servile, just to different things. As for stupid and poor, the Republicans win that one hands down. Karl Rove, for example, has openly said that too much education for the masses is a dangerous thing. And the discredited “trickle-down” economics that they embrace is what keeps people poor. Those that get rich in the US have a great life, and it’s possible to do that there, but more and more the advantages of coming from wealth are important.

  2. BigBillK says:

    I find it quite interesting that the delusional morons who run their mouth about “personal responsibility” and “morality” etc. etc. voted over 80% for two sexual predators for the highest offices in the US. Their reason? Because…because…because abortion! Apparently, in addition to being morally bankrupt hypocrites, they’re too stupid to realize that by encouraging and giving their stamp of approval to the sexual predation of vulnerable young women and girls, they are increasing the liklihood for the need for services to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

    • nicky says:

      The thing is that it has been well established that if you want to reduce the number of abortions, a comprehensive sexual education program with availability of contraception works incomparably better than criminalising abortion. So it appears, ‘ because abortion!’ in itself is not the reason. I think most of them do not really care about ‘abortion’.
      I suspect that denying women control over their reproduction and body, keeping them ‘in their place’ in other words, is the real motive for wanting to criminalise abortion.

      • j.a.m. says:

        Suspect all you want, but that’s nonsense.

        • nicky says:

          Nope, it is not. The facts are there, 2 illustrations:
          – The Netherlands, where the legalisation of abortion was combined with a comprehensive sexual education program had the lowest abortion rates in the world (until recently, that is, the Muslim immigrant population has relatively high abortion rates).
          – Romania, where abortion was used as’contraception’ had the highest abortion rates. Until dictator Ceausescu decided birthrates were too low, and abortion was made illegal overnight. A great peak of births followed (with an accompanying peak in numbers of abandoned children), but about a year later the birth rate was back at it’s previous level. No import or production of contraceptives. Conclusion: abortion went underground.

          • j.a.m. says:

            Those anecdotes do not justify your vile “suspicion” — i.e. you cynical impugning of the motives of those who would defend the right to life.

          • nicky says:

            @j.a.m. It is but a suspicion, and I presented it as such, I do not see how that is vile.
            Since the facts are so clear and established, why don’t they agitate for a comprehensive sexual education program if they really wanted to reduce the number of abortions?

          • Trevor says:

            The Christianist/GOP don’t want to reduce abortions. They oppose safe abortion, they oppose sex education, and they oppose access to contraception. What they really want is to control women’s sexuality by making them afraid of pregnancy.

          • j.a.m. says:

            Nobody opposes sex education or access to contraception. That’s just a ridiculous distortion of reality. If anything, it is the abortion industry that aggressively opposes making most contraception available without a prescription.

            Conscientious parents want their children to learn the full truth about family life from a trustworthy source in a trustworthy setting. Government-run schools flunk on both counts. And parents certainly have a right and duty to care about who’s giving their minor children intimate advice and access to contraception.

            I’m aware of only one other controversy remotely related to the subject of contraception, and that is Obama’s efforts to force employers to provide insurance coverage for abortifacients. That dispute had nothing to do with family planning per se, nor had it anything to do with anybody’s “access” to these drugs.

            Bear in mind that an argument carries more weight when does not depend on distorting the facts and impugning other people’s motives.

          • IUDs are NOT abortifacients. Learn some science. And there are millions of religious conservatives, including in your own religion of Roman Catholicism, that absolutely do oppose contraception. The pope says they should!

          • j.a.m. says:

            @HH: Yeah, but the claim was that the GOP opposes “access” to contraception. That’s not true.

          • It is if they support those who want to prevent access.

          • nicky says:

            @jam, I did not claim the GOP opposes contraceptives. I claimed that if those (whether GOP or other) vociferously opposing abortion were serious in that claim, the would put there energy in agitating for comprehensive sexual education combined with easy access to contraceptives.

          • nicky says:

            ‘ they’ would put ‘their’ energy…., with spellchecker one should always proofread, sorry.

    • Exactly. Evangelical Christians are also some of the few that still rail against contraception. In NZ, education in schools re safe sex and the use of contraception is what is credited with reducing our abortion rate. Religious conservatives, with all their guilt and dirty minds around sex, are the ones that make it hard for victims of sexual predators to speak out. There are two main reasons victims don’t speak out. The second is that won’t be believed. The first is what people will think of them – the guilt, feeling dirty, and a whole host of similar things as if it’s their fault. All those feelings come from the way they’ve been taught to think about sex by religion.

    • Yakaru says:

      Indeed. Some forms of religion arise largely from a basic failure or refusal to deal with sexuality responsibly.

  3. rickflick says:

    Welcome back Heather.

  4. Jenny Haniver says:

    When I was young I used to be quite a hipster, so to speak, with a hula hoop. I’ve recently tried to redevelop my skill but for the life of me, I can’t get my hips to do the right thing any longer. Yet it’d be a great limbering exercise for older us folks. Well, if I can’t do that, I’m getting a pogo stick — good for bones and balance.

    What’s going on with the woman kissing the snake? It looks like it’s a constrictor, so wouldn’t qualify as “snake handling” in the American sense (where people handle poisonous snakes in a religious context). Perhaps it’s something to do with Eve and the serpent? If so, what?

    • nicky says:

      They have terrible teeth though, that woman’s face will bear the scars for life, I fear.

    • Don’t try and make sense of religion! The easiest thing is to remember that it doesn’t make sense. That’s why you need faith!

      • j.a.m. says:

        Religion makes no sense until you consider the alternative.

        • You mean logic and science? How do those things not make sense?

          You seem to have the idea that without a belief in a supernatural being, people are unable to appreciate, understand or experience things like love, literature, art, music, or just the beauty of a sunset.

          • j.a.m. says:

            The alternative to religion is to deny that there is any transcendent truth or meaning. That doctrine beggars belief more than any religious tenet.

          • Rubbish. The reason most of us have no time for religion is because we prefer the truth! And you’ve just said too what I said in my last comment – you think it’s not possible to have meaning in your life without belief in the supernatural. Atheists have just as much meaning in their life as anyone else. In fact, I suspect we have more as what we believe comes from the truth and not a myth.

          • j.a.m. says:

            Atheism is a wholesale rejection of truth, indeed of the very possibility that truth is real. If only nature is real, then where in nature is truth?

            And what is meaning, if it does not proceed from transcendent truth? Is not what you call meaning merely a feeling?

          • Your comment makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. If I’m reading you right, you think Truth and God are synonyms, and that facts aren’t true. I don’t know how you can function in the real world like that.

          • j.a.m. says:

            Yes, God is truth. If you don’t believe in God, and you believe that the physical world is all there is, then what do you mean by “truth”? Is it true that “Honesty is the best policy”? Or that “All men are equal”?

          • It’s true that water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. It’s true that humans developed from other animals via evolution. We are not the result of any of the creation myths of the various religions. Facts are true. God is not a fact. You believe he is real. He is real for you. That does not make him reality. Yes, the physical world is all there is, but there is also imagination. What we imagine may or may not be true. God is part of your imagination. I don’t deny that it’s possible that God is real, but I think it’s highly improbable. It’s also possible that there’s a teapot orbiting the Sun between Earth and Mars (Google Russell’s teapot), but it’s improbable and I don’t think it’s there. Whether it’s there or not, it’s not a fact until it’s proven. There is no proof of God’s existence. Some people believe he is real. That’s all.

            We don’t need belief in a god to have a full and wonderful life. In fact, you could argue that it’s more likely if you don’t believe in a god. This is all there is. We have to make the most of what we have.

          • j.a.m. says:

            But what do you mean by “truth”? If the physical world is all there is, and empiricism is your only tool, then you really are denying that truth as such exists: There are only meaningless patterns of data, observed and predicted in an endless cycle. In a world where everything blindly fits into a preordained but quite meaningless pattern, there is no place for a unique, unrepeatable human person who breaks the pattern — an “I”, or a “you”, much less an “us”. There is no possibility of meaning or value or identity. That’s what one signs up for when they choose such a worldview. So they make the most of it.

          • Sorry. but what a load of rot.

          • j.a.m. says:

            How so?

        • Trevor says:

          Your religion seems to have turned you into a vile person. Perhaps it’s not the cause, perhaps your vileness is what attracted you to it. But either way, you offer this blog nothing except risible putdowns and insufferable arrogance. You’re not a good advertisement for any version of christianity. If you were truly christian, rather than a republican first, that reaction would trouble you. But it won’t, because your real religion is feeling superior.

  5. nicky says:

    Brugge (Bruges) is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Western Europe. Worth a visit.

  6. Lee Knuth says:

    Glad you’re back. Missed your tweets and your take on what is happening.

  7. Yakaru says:

    Regarding rays doing cool acrobatics–

  8. j.a.m. says:

    What some foolishly deride as “trickle-down” economics is the system that has taken in generation after generation of wretchedly poor people from every corner of earth, in their tens of millions, and made their descendants rich beyond their imagination. If somebody told you it’s been discredited, you should come here and see for yourself.

    • No, that’s not what did it. Globalization is what did it, Globalization has made the whole world much wealthier and pulled literally billions out of poverty. Unfortunately it has left some behind, so there is more work to do.

      Trickle-down makes the rich richer. Ask a real economist about tickle-down. 90% of them will tell you that it doesn’t work. It seemed logical when people thought of it – a rising tide raises all boats etc. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in reality. We have years of hard data as proof now. Few people still cling to it.

      The three richest men in the US – Bezos, Gates, and Buffet, who together are worth the same as the entire bottom 50% of your country, all say trickle-down doesn’t work. It made them wealthy, but it made the poor poorer.

      • j.a.m. says:

        Globalization indeed is a factor, to the extent that the initial colonization and peopling of the Americas was motivated by trade. And since the founding of the republic, population growth was fueled by immigrants, as I said. Their success, and America’s, was due to their own ingenuity, and the freedom to unleash it. It was not due to big government programs or redistribution schemes. Nor was foreign trade a big factor.

        No “real economist” uses the term “trickle down”, because it’s not an economics term, just ideological gibberish. We have centuries of real life data proving that free enterprise, beyond the reach of grasping politicians, produces the best results for all. Come and see for yourself.

        • Mark R. says:

          Are you asking Heather to come to America and see for herself something better than what she knows and experiences in New Zealand? Do you even read what she writes here? What an insult to her. I wish she would banish you, but she won’t; she is a better person than you. Yes, an atheist is better than a christian. Does that trouble you? It should. It is an obvious reality to me.

          I’ve traveled the world enough to realize America aint shit. You’re blind if you think this country is somehow special or “exceptional”. Under our new world order under this dip-shit in chief, things are spiraling down and down. Sorry you still think people should come here to learn about freedom and whatever else you think we have to offer. Did you know that tourism to America has dropped 4% since the election…that’s $billions$. Who wants to visit a country that elects a pussy grabbing, scumbag, punk-ass fool? If I didn’t live here, I wouldn’t visit during this time of obfuscation and hate. People like you really need to pay attention to how the rest of the civilized world considers us now. Not good. People like you just need to consider. A tall order, I know.

        • So, everyone who rushed to California for the Gold Rush was successful, and no one ripped off anyone or got rich by exploiting others, and if someone didn’t get rich it wad his own fault for not working hard enough.

          People succeeded in the early days of the US. Many more were exloited, and died of that exploitation. Farmers got rich through the use of slave labour. Rail builders got rich by under-paying, over-working, working people in dangerous circumstances via which they were often killed, housing them in disgusting circumstances etc. Sweatshop conditions and slums were common.

          Land was stolen from those already living there, and if the Native Americans complained they were killed. Then there were incidents like the Trail of Tears.

          You have a very romantic view of history. It also doesn’t seem to to consider the suffering of Native Americans, slaves, other ethnic groups (like the Chinese who were used for the most dangerous parts of rail building and died in droves) etc. You need to educate yourself.

  9. Mark R. says:

    So much good shtuff in this one. Sorry about your life challenges right now. Arrgh. Though I must say when you take a break, you come out swingin’. Now that PCC(E) is off to India, we’re gonna need you to pick up the slack. Just kidding. This time of year is so damn busy, I can’t keep up with posts anyway…always late to the party.

    I’m really freaked that trump advisers water down his daily intelligence briefs and purposely leave out anything “Russian” or anything that “irritates him”. WTF squared. We’re screwed. Basically giving Putin the green light to keep meddling as he’s been meddling in our elections because it never happened. Trump is handing over so much power to the Pute it’s boggling to the mind. And why do so many still think it’s a conspiracy theory? America is seriously doomed if things continue like this. Of course the Pute told his minion he’s doing a great job. Then trump broadcast’s that to the world. “Putin said I’m doing a great job”. Just a fucking bumbling fool and wreck of a human. Sad.

    • It worries me a lot too. I don’t think he’s doing it deliberately, but Trump is giving Russia and China the space to be the dominant world powers.

      Too many people don’t think for themselves. Trump has been on a campaign to discredit the media so the US people don’t trust them and only trust him. He’s succeeded with a significant proportion of the population, and in many parts of the country that proportion is a sizable majority. If anything is found against Trump, those people will believe his denials over the facts. He is further dividing an already divided country.

      • Mark R. says:

        “I’m the Divider in Chief, there’s never been such a great divider, god divided the red sea, but I divided an entire country. I’m greater. Are you tired of my greatness yet?”

      • j.a.m. says:

        The lamestream media discredited themselves way before Trump. Then the Internet came along, and suddenly the great unwashed, the deplorables, suddenly found themselves empowered to hold the big media accountable. Credit Trump with being astute or instinctive enough to get that.

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