Warm Southern Breeze

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Archive for the ‘- My Hometown is the sweetest place I know’ Category

Mayberry, May – ber – ry! Remember when Aunt Bea and Clara wrote their song? Whose hometown isn’t the sweetest place they know? (It could be, but might not be.) But aren’t we proud of where we are?

Inequality in Government: Is there Racism in Mississippi? In 2014? Say it ain’t so!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 4, 2014

It occurred to me recently in a couple conversations I had with friends in various parts of our United States, that equal representation is a matter with which we still struggle.

While on occasion I’ve opined about injustice through inequality – the United States’ Constitution guarantees Equal Protection and Equal Rights under law via the 14th Amendment – it occurred to me recently that there are some who “just don’t get it.”

More to the point, I was spurred by a photograph sent to me by a friend in one of our Northern sister states – the Land of the Frozen Chosen, sometimes also referred to as “The Great White North.”

In gentleness, I refer, of course, to Minnesota.

It was a photograph of my friend’s co-worker which sparked my interest, and subsequent curiosity.

The co-worker was Afro-American, aka “Black.”

I was somewhat surprised to see a Black person in Minnesota, so I queried the Census Bureau for some Quick Statistics about our United States.

Here’s what I found:
Only 5.5% of Minnesota’s population is Black.

In comparison to the United States at large, 13.1% of our American population in general is Black. And in Alabama, 26.5% are Black, while in neighboring Mississippi, 37.4% of that state’s residents are Black. Alabama’s Eastern neighbor Georgia has a closely similar percentage with a 31.2% Black population, while Tennessee is nearly half, with a 17% Black population.

Examining some other states, I found that Alabama’s Southern neighbor, Florida has a very closely similar Black population with 16.6%, while Louisiana’s Black population is just about double with 32.4%. The “Natural State” of Arkansas has a 15.6% Black population, while North and South Carolina are almost evenly tied with 22 & 28% respectively.

On the other hand, Texas has a lower Black population than either Tennessee or Arkansas with only 12.3%.

Kentucky? Only 8.1% of Kentuckians are Black.

Interestingly, of the 16 players on the Kentucky Wildcats Basketball team, only 6 are not Black. In other words, 62.5% of the team is Black – a clear majority. And yet, the state’s general population is completely and disproportionately unrepresentative of the team.

What about Virginia? With a 19.7% Black population, Virginia stands in distinct contrast to West Virginia, which only has a 3.5% Black population – a very stark contrast, indeed.

But what about some of the other Midwestern states?

Missouri has an 11.7% Black population, while only 3.2% of corn-fed Iowans are Black.

From Minnesota moving West, South Dakota has a mere 1.7% Black population, while Montana…

Well.. there just about no Black folks in that state, at all. Only a mere 0.6% – 6/10ths on one percent – of that state’s residents are Black.

A casual observation would be that it’s mighty White up North.

But let’s bring it back on home to Mississippi…

In a recent post shared by Read the rest of this entry »

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No More Alcohol in Gasoline?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 17, 2014

Recently, I received an email message from a friend, one who is highly intelligent, and who has a phenomenal diversity of life experiences. The item had a video to a Faux News video segment, which is included in this post, at the conclusion.

My response to the half-truthed item follows.

Here’s hoping you and others find it informative, and helpful.

While I have neither been the type to proclaim THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING! nor believe there is conspiracy against me, nor the paranoid type that imagines “the government” is out to get me (and therefore neither view nor read Fox News), I do think there is some credence to the item. (Of course, a “Snopes check” shows a mix of half-truths. But, if it ain’t all true, it ain’t true – kinda’ like the gas, you know.) More details on that follow.

In a story published published Saturday, February 1st, 2014, the Chattanooga Times-Free Press wrote how some motorists in that area are preferring 100% pure gasoline over the 10% Ethanol blend. (I happened to read that story at the time it was published.)
http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2014/feb/01/some-motorists-want-their-gasoline-corn-free/

While residing there, I also noticed the same, and noticed that the price for 100% pure gasoline is higher than for the 10% ethanol blend. One day, while pumping the 100% gasoline at a Chattanooga gas station, I happened to speak with a gent at the adjacent pump about the difference. He shared an observation with me which I thought quite interesting, and one which certainly seemed reasonable.

He said that in an “accidental” experiment, he purchased some 10% ethanol blended gasoline for use in his lawn mower. He then poured some of the 10% ethanol blended gas into a glass jar, and let it set out at least overnight (or a bit longer). He observed that it had become cloudy from the accumulation of humidity.

While I’ve never tried such an experiment, I do note that many years ago, on occasion, I would run my little carbureted Toyota’s gas tank empty, and would then fill it up with 1 gallon each of Methanol, 100LL, Toluene, Xylene and Methyl Ethyl Ketone. I did so for at least two reasons: 1.) to get any water in the fuel tank & system out, and; 2.) to “clean out” any deposits that may have formed in the fuel system.

Of course, Gasoline and Water are different for several reasons, not the least of which is that Read the rest of this entry »

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In Defense of #Infrastructure Spending

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 22, 2014

At the federal level, TEApublican types have decried our national deficit, much – if not most – of which came about as a result of placing the price of a decade of warfare on a proverbial credit card. I refer, of course, to the Persian Gulf War, Gulf War II, Operation Desert Shield/Storm and the invasion of Afghanistan, etc., all of which occurred during the previous administration.

Compounding that problem was that corporate and personal income tax rates upon the wealthiest was cut, while simultaneously, the veritable house of cards was crumbling, having been built upon the miry, sinking sands of Wall Street deregulation & greed gone wild.

Nevertheless, as our nation has struggled and clawed its way back to some semblance of fiscal sanity, there have been voices arising whom assert that the federal government’s “bailout” of banks & other large, corporate enterprise has been a gross mistake, and that such a bailout should have never occurred. And, while there will doubtless be volumes written, and debates held about the good and the bad of the ordeal, what’s been done, has been done, and it’s practically all over, but the crying. So the only thing we can do now, is live & learn, and move on.

And yet, respecting one underlying problem which arose corollary to the matter, is the loss of jobs here at home. Again, it was complicated by ‘globalization,’ which – good, bad, or indifferent – is Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Medicaid Incompetency: State must repay Federal Childrens Health Insurance Program $88,197,498

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, December 20, 2013

Did you know? (No, you probably didn’t.)

In a report dated August 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) conducted a criminal and administrative investigation and found that Alabama claimed, and was paid millions in unallowable performance bonus payments under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIRPA).

This FRAUD was because of INCOMPETENCY in Alabama governance.

The HHS OIG found that the Alabama state agency overstated its FYs 2009 and 2010 current enrollment in its requests for bonus payments. The State agency overstated its current enrollments because, rather than Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Lawmaker Arthur Orr has Big Idea to Destroy State’s Competitive Business

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Alabama State Senator Arthur Orr (R, Decatur) has proposed eliminating the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board‘s retail outlets statewide.

Senator Orr represents the Third District, which includes Morgan, Madison and Limestone counties in the Alabama State Senate.

He attempts to justify his position by asking a rhetorical question, on pretense of being modern: “The fundamental question, I think, for us as legislators and as a state, is, should the state of Alabama Read the rest of this entry »

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Government Spending

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, September 14, 2013

More than a few folks recall the significant benefit the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) provided this nation, and how our nation’s infrastructure (roads, waterways, electrical power grid, etc.) grew during that time. In Monte Sano State Park, in Huntsville, Alabama, there are cabins which are STILL standing, and which are in EXCELLENT repair, that were constructed by the CCC. It is testament to their quality, and to the effort to put people to work in this nation in the aftermath of the Great Depression.

Sadly, this largely Republican-led, “just-say-no” congress has done NOTHING to produce or encourage any type of jobs. That is to say, they have written NO BILLS to promote, encourage or stimulate hiring. NONE.

And yet, there is a sure-fire, time-tested way to get folks back to work – and what is being done about it?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Sweet Soul Music Alive & Well in Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 5, 2013

‘Paperboy’ hot off the press

By Robert Palmer Staff Writer | Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013 11:00 pm

MUSCLE SHOALS — Eli “Paperboy” Reed isn’t 30 years old yet, but the singer and guitarist is steeped in southern soul as well as rhythm and blues in a way one would expect from a much older person.

Reed was at FAME Recording Studios last week, recording two tracks, one of which is slated to be on the soundtrack CD of the movie “Muscle Shoals.” He chose Jimmy Hughes’ classic “Steal Away,” one of FAME’s earliest hits, for the soundtrack.

Eli "Paperboy" Reed

Eli “Paperboy” Reed, left, sings along to a track Wednesday during a recording session at FAME Recording Studios. Reed, who is highly influenced by the Muscle Shoals music scene, recorded two songs at the studio. Photo by Allison Carter/TimesDaily

Wednesday afternoon, he was working with a horn section on a rousing version of the Violinaires’ 1960s gospel song “I Don’t Know What the World Is Coming To.” He said the song could be included as a bonus track on an upcoming CD.

For Reed, a student of soul, R&B, blues and gospel, the visit to FAME and Muscle Shoals was a dream come true.

“ ‘Steal Away’ has become my song” in live performance, he said of the 1964 hit that launched FAME Records. “I’d read Peter Guralnick’s ‘Sweet Soul Music,’ and I knew that was from FAME and Muscle Shoals.”

Reed grew up listening to his father’s record collection and playing harmonica to his guitar tunes.

“I discovered Muscle Shoals when I got into rhythm and blues and reading liner notes on record jackets,” he said.

As a teenager, he said, he Read the rest of this entry »

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Remarks by President Barack Obama at Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Amazon Distribution Center on Jobs for the Middle Class, 07/30/13

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

July 30, 2013

Remarks by the President on Jobs for the Middle Class, 07/30/13

Amazon Chattanooga Fulfillment Center
Chattanooga, Tennessee

2:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Chattanooga!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Tennessee.  (Applause.)  It’s great to be here at Amazon.  (Applause.)

I want to thank Lydia for the introduction and sharing her story.  Give Lydia a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  So this is something here.  I just finished getting a tour of just one little corner of this massive facility — size of 28 football fields.  Last year, during the busiest day of the Christmas rush, customers around the world ordered more than 300 items from Amazon every second, and a lot of those traveled through this building.  So this is kind of like the North Pole of the south right here.  (Applause.)  Got a bunch of good-looking elves here.

Before we start, I want to recognize your general manager, Mike Thomas.  (Applause.)  My tour guide and your vice president, Dave Clark.  (Applause.)  You’ve got the Mayor of Chattanooga, Andy Berke.  (Applause.)  And you’ve got one of the finest gentlemen I know, your Congressman, Jim Cooper.  (Applause.)  So thank you all for being here.

So I’ve come here today to talk a little more about something I was discussing last week, and that’s what we need to do as a country to secure a better bargain for the middle class -– a national strategy to make sure that every single person who’s willing to work hard in this country has a chance to succeed in the 21st century economy.  (Applause.)

Now, you heard from Lydia, so you know — because many of you went through it — over the past four and a half years, we’ve been fighting our way back from the worst recession since the Great Depression, and it cost millions of Americans their jobs and their homes and their savings.  And part of what it did is it laid bare the long-term erosion that’s been happening when it comes to middle-class security.

But because the American people are resilient, we bounced back.  Together, we’ve righted the ship.  We took on a broken health care system.  We invested in new American technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil.  Changed a tax code that had become tilted too much in favor of the wealthy at the expense of working families.  Saved the auto industry, and thanks to GM and the UAW working together, we’re bringing jobs back here to America, including 1,800 autoworkers in Spring Hill.  (Applause.)  1,800 workers in Spring Hill are on the job today where a plant was once closed.

Today, our businesses have created 7.2 million new jobs over the last 40 months.  This year, we’re off to our best private-sector jobs growth since 1999.  We now sell more products made in America to the rest of the world than ever before.  (Applause.)  We produce more renewable energy than ever.  We produce more natural gas than anybody else in the world.  (Applause.)  Health care costs are growing at the slowest rate in 50 years.  Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.  (Applause.)

So thanks to hardworking folks like you, thanks to the grit and resilience of the American people, we’ve been able to clear away some of the rubble from the financial crisis.  We’ve started to lay a new foundation for a stronger, more durable America — the kind of economic growth that’s broad-based, the foundation required to make this century another American century.

But as I said last week, and as any middle-class family will tell you, we’re not there yet.  Even before the financial crisis hit, we were going through a decade where a few at the top were doing better and better, but most families were working harder and harder just to get by.  And reversing that trend should be Washington’s highest priority.  (Applause.)  It’s my highest priority.

But so far, for most of this year, we’ve seen Read the rest of this entry »

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President Barack Obama to visit Chattanooga, Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 28, 2013

Chattanooga is an old, old, old, old city.

It’s older than Civil War old.

Throughout the city there are narrow streets, many (if not most) of which need widening and repaving. Interstate 24, which leads into the city, is in sore need of widening. Because of the twisting, winding route it takes as it leads into, through and around the city and it’s numerous mountains and hills, it can be treacherous. When any slowdown for any reason occurs, traffic can be backed up for 15-20 miles, or more. When wrecks occur on that route, they’re often fatal, and create even longer delays. The only other major route into the city is US Highway 72. There is no bypass. If there are problems on either of those two routes, significant delays can take hours. (See a Google Map of the area.)

It has a university – University of Tennessee, Chattanooga – with other smaller colleges & universities nearby (Lee University, in Cleveland & Southern Adventist University, in Collegedale). One of three hospitals in the area (each which has numerous campuses) Erlanger, is a Level One Trauma Center, and teaching hospital for the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Memorial Hospital, is part of the Catholic Health Initiatives system, and is a teaching hospital, while Parkridge Hospital is operated by TriStar Health.

Because of industrial waste released by area manufacturing, in 1969, Chattanooga had the filthiest air in the nation. The Tennessee River which serves as a boundary for the area was equally polluted. For many years, troubles GALORE plagued the city, including economic inequality, poor race relations, deteriorating economic infrastructure, rapid population decline, and departure of industry.

Recognizing that the city and area residents were suffering a slow suicide, officials and interested citizens embarked upon a plan to revitalize the area, including cleaning up industrial waste, reinvigorating the economy with employment opportunity, and looking forward, rather than backward.

EPB (Electric Power Board), one of the public utilities in the area, came upon an idea to infuse their power grid with Fiber Optic cable to enable better response times, to pinpoint areas of concern, and to re-route electricity during power outages when lines were downed by trees or severe weather. They faced stiff opposition in the form of legal fights by Comcast (principally), yet were successful in overcoming. In turn, they sold High Speed fiber optic Internet Connectivity to area residents at a significantly reduced cost in comparison to the Wall-Street-traded Comcast. They also provide better service.

While the area’s renaissance is by no means complete, it has advanced with enormously significant strides.


 

Obama to visit uneven Chattanooga area recovery


published Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Mike Pare, deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Mike Pare MPare@TimesFreepress.com phone: 423-757-6318

Mike Pare, Deputy Business Editor, Chattanooga Times Free Press; MPare@ TimesFreePress.com phone: (423) 757-6318

by Mike Pare
view bio

When President Barack Obama flies into Chattanooga on Tuesday to tout new economic initiatives, he’ll see a city recognized in a national study as a metro area emerging from the recession as an “economic frontrunner.”

Area Development, a national business magazine covering site selection and relocation, ranked metro Chattanooga at No. 86 — in the top quarter — among 380 metro areas examined for the study titled “Leading Locations for 2013.”

While in Chattanooga Obama is expected to unveil new ways to spur the nation’s sluggish economic recovery.

At the Amazon distribution center at Enterprise South industrial park, the president will see a growing, state-of-the-art distribution facility with 1,800 full-time jobs created since 2011. The Chattanooga facility, along with Read the rest of this entry »

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Black Journalist Confesses: “I’ve used the n-word.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 30, 2013

This Op-Ed speaks volumes.

Read on.

Confession of a black journalist: Like Paula Deen, I’ve used the n-word (Opinion from Anthony Cook)

Anthony Cook, Huntsville Times Community News Director

Anthony Cook, Huntsville Times Community News Director

By Anthony Cook | ACook@al.com
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on June 25, 2013 at 8:18 AM, updated June 25, 2013 at 12:57 PM

When I first heard about the dust-up over food mogul Paula Deen saying the n-word, my first reaction was “Um … OK.”I considered it just that – a dust-up. Big deal.But when it was reported that her extremely popular cooking show was being dropped from the Food Network, my thoughts changed to: “This is a big deal.”I’m guilty of spending the occasional Saturday morning in front of the tube with my wife, watching Paula whip up some Southern comfort food.When I heard she’d used the n-word at some point in her life, I wondered how I’d view her the next time she was on TV, concocting something you could almost taste through the screen and telling us “This is so good, y’all.”

But, apparently that’s not gonna happen. Not only has Food Network dropped her show, but Smithfield Foods has dropped her as a spokeswoman, and QVC and Walmart are considering doing the same.

This writing isn’t a defense of Paula Deen. She’s a big girl. She can take care of herself. And those businesses that are dropping association with her are just that – businesses. They have to consider the bottom line, which can be greatly affected by blows to their image. They essentially have been left with no choice.

I began to see the hypocrisy of expecting white people to adhere to a standard that I was not upholding myself.

As a black man, this writing is my attempt to point out Read the rest of this entry »

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“Shadrack McGill.” Need I say more?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Shadrack McGill makes Alabama a laughingstock.

Or rather, it’s his wife who does so.

Of course, the state apparently don’t need that much help to appear as such, anyway.

FYI, the man in question Read the rest of this entry »

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Magic City Brewfest: Renewed excitement in 7th year with passage of Alabama’s Homebrew Law

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 2, 2013

Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!

Moylan's Kilt Lifter is poured during the 2013 Magic City Brewfest, Friday, May 31, 2013. (Tamika Moore | tmoore@al.com)

Moylan’s Kilt Lifter is poured during the 2013 Magic City Brewfest, Friday, May 31, 2013. (Tamika Moore | tmoore@al.com)

Cheers to beers: Alabama raises a glass to home-brew, Brewfest and craft breweries

(Gallery by Tamika Moore | tmoore@al.com)

Kathryn Tuggle | ktuggle@al.com By Kathryn Tuggle | ktuggle@al.com
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on June 02, 2013 at 8:56 AM, updated June 02, 2013 at 9:39 AM

This weekend Birmingham played host to a sold-out Magic City Brewfest at Sloss Furnace, featuring more than 200 different beers from more than 70 craft brew­eries around the nation. Although 2013 marked the seventh annual Brewfest, it was the first since home­brew became legal in Alabama, thanks to legislation passed in May.

Because home-brewers in Alabama can now share recipes and bond over their successes and struggles, Brewfest has a renewed “electricity” in the air, said Gabe Harris, president of Free the Hops, the grassroots non­profit that worked to help pass the home­brew bill.

“It feels great to have home-brew legal in Alabama,” Harris said. “Every craft brewer at Brewfest started out as a home-brewer, and everyone is really excited to be here this year.”

Because craft brewers across the state feel passionately about spreading the home­brew “gospel,” the Home-brew Association set up a tent at Brewfest specifically to edu­cate people about the brewing process.

“We’ve had tons of peo­ple at the tent asking some really intelligent questions,” Harris said.

Spencer Overton, home­brew manager at Birming­ham brewery and bar Hop City, said Birmingham is now on the “cutting edge” of craft beer. Read the rest of this entry »

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God is punishing Oklahoma with tornadoes.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 1, 2013

Recently, Moore, OK was devastated by a mile-wide twister.
Serves ‘em right.
God hates fags.
Our government should do nothing.
Everybody knows, this is an act of God.
God is punishing Oklahoma for their wickedness.
This is purely a religious matter, and government should get out of the way.
This has NOTHING to do with climate change.
Insurance companies should cancel & deny coverage.
They have that right.
Tough luck.
Suck it up.
Oh… wait.
It was.

The reader should understand, this is PURE SARCASM.

What is sarcasm?

Simply put, sarcasm is Read the rest of this entry »

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Senator Jeff Sessions REFUSES to give up part of his salary for sequestration

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 27, 2013

Be sure to ask Sen. Sessions if he is going to voluntarily give up a portion of his Senatorial salary since the Senate last month passed a measure urging their members to forgo 20% of their salaries as part of sequestration.

Kudos, however, to Sen. Bob Corker R-TN, who has NEVER pocketed any of his Senate salary.

Why?

He donates it ALL to charity.

Why?

He’s worth over $19 Million.

Few senators sacrifice pay amid cuts

By Russell Berman – 04/03/13 05:00 AM ET

Only a few senators are planning to forfeit a portion of their salaries to charity or the U.S. Treasury while sequestration is in effect, according to a survey conducted by The Hill.

The Senate last month passed a measure urging members of the upper chamber to forgo 20 percent of their salary during sequestration. Most senators, however, are keeping quiet on whether they will follow through.

During a marathon session of budget votes, the Senate approved by voice vote an amendment from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) calling on lawmakers to donate 20 percent of their pay to charity or return it to the U.S. Treasury.In his floor speech, Graham noted that about 500,000 to 600,000 federal employees will be furloughed because of sequestration and that senators should “feel what other people are feeling.”

Yet in a survey of Senate offices by The Hill, only Graham and Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) have indicated they would give up some of their take-home pay.

In a recent press release, Begich — who is up for reelection in 2014 — said Read the rest of this entry »

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China hacks Army’s Redstone Arsenal computers in Huntsville, Alabama, steals military secrets

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 3, 2013

Among defense contractors, QinetiQ North America (QQ/) is known for spy-world connections and an eye- popping product line. Its contributions to national security include secret satellites, drones, and software used by U.S. special forces in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Former CIA Director George Tenet was a director of the company from 2006 to 2008 and former Pentagon spy chief Stephen Cambone headed a major division. Its U.K. parent was created as a spinoff of a government weapons laboratory that inspired Q’s lab in Ian Fleming’s James Bond thrillers, a connection QinetiQ (pronounced kin-EH-tic) still touts.

QinetiQ’s espionage expertise didn’t keep Chinese cyber- spies from outwitting the company. In a three-year operation, hackers linked to China’s military infiltrated QinetiQ’s computers and compromised most if not all of the company’s research. At one point, they logged into the company’s network by taking advantage of a security flaw identified months earlier and never fixed.

“We found traces of the intruders in Read the rest of this entry »

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Would President Obama privatize TVA & Kill the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shoals: Privatizing TVA is ‘a bad idea’

By Mike Goens
Managing Editor
Matt McKean/TimesDaily
4/21/13

Anglers fish below thousands of feet of power lines that run from TVA’s Wheeler Dam turbine systems. Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. Matt McKean/TimesDaily

Anglers fish below thousands of feet of power lines that run from TVA’s Wheeler Dam turbine systems. Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. Matt McKean/TimesDaily

If President Barack Obama needs help orchestrating an effort to privatize TVA, he shouldn’t expect much support from the Shoals.

Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. They fear a privately owned TVA will lead to higher electricity rates, job cuts, more flooding problems and navigational issues on the Tennessee River and other waterways under TVA’s jurisdiction.

“The first questions you need to ask are what’s the gain for government and what would be gained by the community,” said Steve Hargrove, manager of Sheffield Utilities. “If the purpose is to make things better and there is reason to think it’s possible, I would be the first one interested in sitting at the table and talking about it. I just don’t see advantages of privatizing at this time.”

Obama brought the issue to the table through his 2014 budget proposal, which was released last week. He said selling TVA should be explored as a means to increase revenue by as much as $25 billion, money that could reduce the federal deficit and pay for other government services.

Hargrove has a unique perspective to the debate, having worked at TVA for 33 years before retiring as plant manager at Colbert Fossil Plant. He became manager of Sheffield Utilities in December.

His department purchases electricity from TVA and provides power to about 19,000 customers in Colbert County.

“I am a believer in the private sector, but I would fear their mission would be different than TVA’s,” Hargrove said. “The mission of TVA is not to make profit, and the mission of the private sector is to make a profit. They have to answer to a board that wants to maximize profits. When your primary goal is to make a profit, that becomes a higher goal than helping the community.

“TVA has had its problems, and bad decisions have been made, but its mission is good and they are an established part of the communities.”

Hargrove said residential rates for TVA customers in the Southeast are among the lowest 25 percent in the country and Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama’s Republican Legislators take over State’s Schools… even though they’re not failing.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, March 10, 2013

The lack of news outlets in the states three major newspapers all which publish only three editions weekly (Birmingham News, Mobile Press-Register, and the Huntsville Times, now known as “Alabama Media Group” which newspapers are all owned by the same privately held mega-firm that owns Sports Illustrated & Conde Nast – Advance Publications, aka Newhouse News) has – in my estimation – contributed to the demise of public involvement in governance, and to a great degree, influenced voters from participating in their own governance by keeping them ignorant.

However, that does NOT mean that there is no news, nor does it mean that there is a news blackout. What it means is that in those three major cities in the state, there is a dearth of reporting of state events.

For example, the Montgomery Advertiser reported recently that in an email message to his staff, Governor Robert Bentley “demanded that his cabinet members and the state employees who work for them not discuss with state legislators any concerns they might have with a proposed overhaul to state law enforcement agencies.

““I do not want any cabinet head or any member of their department to lobby against this. Tell your employees to contact ONLY Blaine Galliher if they have any questions or concerns. NO ONE is to talk to members of the House or Senate in opposition to this legislation,” Bentley wrote in an email sent to cabinet members by his executive assistant on Feb. 12.””

Governor Bentley is showing his true face… that of a tyrant.

The year Alabama legislators took over schools

by Wayne Flynt
Special to The Star
Mar 10, 2013
Gov. Robert Bentley talks with reporters in Montgomery last week. Photo: Dave Martin/Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley talks with reporters in Montgomery last week. Photo: Dave Martin/Associated Press

My father grew up poor and never finished high school but was incredibly resourceful. He could “figure things out.” He did his own plumbing, wiring and construction. But on occasion, Dad’s chief asset became a liability. So confident was he in his ability to fix anything that he refused to admit that he didn’t know everything.

That is a good description of the new Republican Legislature. They were elected for good reasons: The hubris, arrogance, excesses, patronage abuse, corruption and demagoguery of Democrats. But the 2013 Legislature reminds me lots of the Democrats they replaced.

Republicans, who hold all state offices and a veto-proof majority in the Legislature, have decided that they know better than anyone how to do everything.

Take education, for instance. Three successive reform-minded state school superintendents — supported by a business community concerned about the loss of one-third of Alabama manufacturing jobs since 2000 and fearful that schools were not producing a labor force skilled enough to compete in the global economy — began reforming education.

They introduced model early childhood programs, world-class math and science curricula, a reading initiative widely copied nationwide, tougher graduation standards, and took over failing schools and malfunctioning systems characterized by patronage politics and financial profligacy (think Birmingham).

Education reformers organized A+ Education Partnership and joined this battle. Their hugely successful “best practices” center and life-changing college-readiness program that enrolls record numbers of students in demanding advanced placement courses constitute instances where Alabama set national standards rather than followed them.

So what does the new Republican Legislature do? Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama State House Committee OKs Home Brew Bill

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Finally!

Little by little, in some regard, Alabama is moving into the 21st century.

House committee approves bill that would legalize home brewing of beer

By Mike Cason | mcason@al.com
February 20, 2013 at 5:35 PM

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee today approved a bill that would allow those 21 and older to make home brewed beer, wine, mead and cider for personal use.

Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Huntsville. (Robin Conn/The Huntsville Times)

Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Huntsville. (Robin Conn/The Huntsville Times

The bill, by Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Huntsville, would limit the total production to 15 gallons every three months.

The committee approved the bill after a public hearing, putting it in position for consideration by the House of Representatives.

Several home brewing enthusiasts spoke in favor of the bill.

Jason Sledd of Huntsville told the committee he took up home brewing as a hobby last year.

“At the time, I had no idea what I was doing was illegal in the state of Alabama,” Sledd said.

Sledd said he learned home brewing was illegal after joining a home brewers club.

Rep. Berry Forte, D-Eufaula, said he was opposed to the use of alcohol because of what it had done to some family members. He asked Sledd whether he brewed beer in front of his children.

Sledd said he did, and said he was teaching them the responsible way to use alcohol.

“They will have years of experience of seeing an adult drink alcohol and not being intoxicated,” Sledd said.

Joe Godfrey, executive director of ALCAP, Read the rest of this entry »

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