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Alabama politics news and notes

Former state Chief Justice Roy Moore prays with ministers and fellow bigots from around the state on the steps of the Alabama State House before a news conference yesterday. (AP)

Have to keep wifey Katie informed about the juicy goings-on in her home state…

Of course we all know it is a foregone conclusion that Alabama is going to vote to amendment its constitution this year, telling its gay citizens that they are not entitled to civil equality by banning gay marriage. This is as safe a Red State as one can imagine (even with the Bright Blue Dots isolated in there).

So why does Roy Moore, Rethug candidate for governor, feel the need to bible-beat on this topic? My only guess is that his campaign is flagging, coffers must be emptying out, and his wife has not been successful in her transparently desperate holiday fundraising appeal to refill them (Kayla Moore: “I can think of no better time than this Holy Season to begin our campaign to return morality to our country and God to our public square.”).

That means now it’s time to bring out the homo boogeyman before the June GOP primary. (Montgomery Advertiser):

“Christians across the state have an obligation to turn out on something as important as this,” Moore said.

The outcome of the statewide referendum on same-sex mairriages is hardly in doubt — voters in Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Arkansas approved similar bans in 2004, and this Bible Belt state is overwhelmingly expected to do the same. But a political scientist said that even though Riley also supports the ban, a big turnout might help Moore a little in their primary battle.

“The most fervent anti-gay marriage voters are his voters,” said David Lanoue, chairman of the political science department at the University of Alabama. The 16 ministers at the news conference are helping organize the Alabama Coalition Against Same Sex Marriage, and Moore agreed to serve as their honorary chairman.

…Equality Alabama, the state’s largest gay rights organization, said it will encourage Alabamians to vote no on the constitutional amendment, arguing it would enshrine hatred in the state’s constitution much like the unenforceable segregationist language that remains in Alabama’s organic law.

“I hope our people will say we’ve had hate in the past, and let’s not do this anymore,” chairman Howard Bayless said. Despite the opposition from Equality Alabama, supporters say the only unknown about the June 6 referendum is the size of the margin of victory.


I’m sure Kathy at Birmingham Blues will have something to say about this gay-baiting BS from Roy. Right now she’s blogging about the low-life exploits of former HealthSouth CEO (and sleazebag supreme) Richard Scrushy. This guy is incredible.

It turns out that during Scrushy‘s trial for fraud (he was acquitted), he promised to pay a local black pastor $5000 a month to drum up support (there were seven blacks and five whites on the jury). Herman Henderson, pastor of Believers Temple Church, had an associate named Audrey Lewis, write sympathetic articles printed in the local black paper, the Birmingham Times. The PR pieces were reviewed for approval by Scrushy.

Scrushy, Henderson and Lewis.

The Richard M. Scrushy Charitable Foundation (this story gives new meaning to that word “charitable”) was already paying off the pastor to the tune of $25K, which the Believers Temple received as a “donation” during Scrushy’s trial.

Scrushy’s mistake, if you want to call it that, was not paying up on the $5K “fee” — now Henderson is squealing to the media, and Scrushy denies hiring Henderson.

Boohoo. Another corrupt corporate captain, another morals-free pastor on the take. Kathy’s right — these clowns deserve each other.

One more Scrushy story for the road…Kathy notes that at Richard Scrushy threatened to can HealthSouth’s investment bankers if they didn’t make a substantial donation to then-Gov. Don Siegelman’s lottery campaign. In this case, former gov Siegelman and his former Chief of Staff Paul Hamrick are being tried on racketeering charges; Scrushy is up on bribery charges. Jeebus. This guy really is one of those fabled captains of industry!

[Former HealthSouth Chief Financial Officer Mike] Martin testified that, at Scrushy’s instruction, he contacted one of HealthSouth’s investment bankers, William McGahan of UBS, to inquire about a sizable donation to the 1999 lottery campaign. McGahan initially refused, Martin testified.

“Well you need to tell them they’re going to be fired if they don’t raise that money,” Martin testified that Scrushy replied.

Martin testified that he subsequently had a harsher conversation with the banker using a curse word. “I told him he would be… and he would be fired – … if they didn’t raise the money,” Martin testified.

McGahan testified to the grand jury that he took that to mean he would no longer be HealthSouth’s banker unless he found a way to come up with the donation. Martin told FBI agents that Scrushy indicated the donation couldn’t have his or HealthSouth’s fingerprints on it, according to an interview summary that also was released.

For all the twists and turns, visit ScrushyWorld and Report from Birmingham.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding