Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Big Beer Still Bets on Lager

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, June 20, 2014

If you’re a beer drinker, if you enjoy quaffing the suds, a cold one after work, or on a summer day, you may be interested to know that Anheuser-Busch (now Anheuser-Busch InBev), Molson, Coors (now MolsonCoors), Miller (now SABMiller) are NOT American-owned companies.

That’s right.

They’re foreign-owned, multinational corporations – every one.

The Craft Brew Beer industry in America is the antithesis of Big Beer, which in large part, developed as a result of consistently poor quality products made by Big Beer, and their inattention to customers. The emergence of me-too wanna’ be ‘craft brewed beers’ made by Big Beer is a sure sign that they’ve noticed what’s happening – a reduction in beer consumption, i.e., their sales.

Those sales have gone to micro & craft brewed beer, and their American-made, locally-sourced mom & pop competitors.

More power to locally sourced craft brewed beers!

Cheers!

***

Why Lager Is the Future of Craft Beer

BY Jason Notte | 06/19/14 – 10:00 AM EDT

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) — Small craft brewers and the craft divisions of huge international breweries can talk about wheat beers, shandies and even IPA all they’d like: This is still lager country.

Despite recent gains by craft beer and recent shifts by Anheuser-Busch InBev, MolsonCoors and SABMiller toward brands including Blue Moon, Shock Top, Goose Island and Leinenkugel’s, the overwhelming majority of beer sold in this country is lager or some derivative thereof. It’s been so relentless and pervasive that even hard-line craft beer advocates have begun embracing it in its light, familiar form.

Consider that MolsonCoors/SABMiller’s MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev still sell about 74% of the beer this nation drinks. Consider further that Corona and Heineken make up roughly another 10% of that market. Throw Pabst, Modelo and newly “craft” brewer Yuengling into the equation and 18 of the 20 best-selling beers in the U.S. are some form of either lager or pilsner.

You can argue that most are losing sales — and many including Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Lite and Busch are. But import brands including Heinkeken, Corona and Modelo saw sales rise even during the recession. The same holds true for Coors Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Yuengling, with each posting double-digit percentage point gains in 2012 alone, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights.

The problem isn’t lager, but the overall beer market. The Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau reported a 1.5% decrease in overall beer sales and a 2.6-million barrel loss in beer production. That’s basically akin to shutting down Boston Beer’s Samuel Adams brand (which produced 2.7 million barrels in 2012) for an entire year. Beer consumption overall has fallen in four of the past five years, with many of the slumping mainstream brands responsible for the damage. That has reduced reduced beer’s share of the overall alcohol market from 55% in 2000 to 49% in 2012. Meanwhile, craft beer volume increased by an estimated 15% last year, with imports putting up roughly 5% growth.

The Beer Institute, a beer industry organization based in Washington, points out that Read the rest of this entry »

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A Father’s Day Essay

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 15, 2014

This year, 2014, my Pop will begin his 82d year of life in good health.

I am blessed, fortunate, happy and to be envied to have him with me now. Some of my peers’ fathers have been long departed.

A friend once said to me that “we never truly become men until our father dies.” In that sense, I suppose I’m still a youth… even though my teen years have been long departed.

My Daddy - v42

My Dad – When he looked at this photo, he said with a smile, “Who’s that? I’m going to have to get a new mirror!” I love my Pop. He’s a swell fellow – a real gentleman – with quite a life’s story! Raised in poverty in rural West Alabama, he knows how to pick cotton by hand, remembers when electricity came to his family’s house, the electrician’s name who wired their house, and so many other hard-scrabble stories of a life unknown to many of us in this day & age.

My dad is a Southern man. Having grown up in abject poverty in rural West Alabama, he was not merely acquainted with “everything but the squeal,” but was intimately familiar with a very real daily struggle for existence, where food was precious, and life even more so.

On occasion, I still hear him recall with utter amazement how much food he saw wasted – literally thrown into the garbage at San Diego Naval Station – where he attended Basic Training before shipping off to serve in the Korean War aboard the U.S.S. Juneau – CLAA-119, also known as “The Galloping Ghost of the Korean coast.” To his then-18-year-old eyes it was a culture shock which he remembers to this day. In his first day there, he saw more food thrown away than he had ever seen in his still-tender life. The adage “waste not, want not” is practically embedded into his DNA.

For those unfamiliar with the term “everything but the squeal,” it refers to the use of every part of the hog for food, and material. Nothing would be wasted. The fat would be rendered into lard, some of the meat would be preserved by smoking, while some parts were made into sausage. It was also time in which neighbors would help one another in the preparation of the animal. (If you’re interested in seeing & reading about some of the various aspects of hog butchering, see here.) It was only many years later that electricity came to my dad’s house – and he remembers the electrician’s name, and date the house was wired.

I recall tales he shared with me of his youth of “hog killing time,” which refers to the first enduring snap of cold weather, which was the proper time to slaughter a hog because the preservation of it’s parts would be more readily facilitated. That is, spoilage would be significantly reduced, because it could be stored in cooler conditions. Their “refrigerator” was an ice box – literally. ‘What’s an ice box?,’ you may ask. An ice box is literally a box into which a 100 pound block of ice was placed to cool food items. Not many items, mind you, because the creek was still a location where food items which readily spoiled were placed. Milk, dairy, meat and select other foods were regularly stored in a special box made to keep critters out, and keep food cool by the running water.

Naturally, not having electricity also meant that the meals were prepared in a “wood cook stove,” literally an implement which had to be tended night and day by his mother to prepare the family meals. Temperature regulation was achieved by moderating the amount of wood, the type of wood (seasoned dry or unseasoned green), and the variety of wood (species, such as oak, hickory, pecan, birch, pine, etc.).

Suffice it to say, his was a hard scrabble life. And it’s certainly neither joke nor exaggeration to say that they were so poor, someone had to come from Washington to tell them there was a Great Depression going on!

Dad honored his father and mother. He was Read the rest of this entry »

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*!* ATTENTION ALABAMA RESIDENTS *!*

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 14, 2014

ATTENTION ALABAMA RESIDENTS:

Please continue to fund out-of-state K-12 schools, and send Tennessee, Georgia & Florida kids to college by purchasing Tennessee, Georgia & Florida Lottery tickets.

• Today, in Tennessee, over 100,000 students benefit annually, and Republican Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill written by Republican TN legislators which will pay for 2 years of community/junior/technical college education for every Tennessee high school graduate.

• In Georgia, over 1,600,000 students have benefited from Georgia Lottery.

• In Florida, over 650,000 students have received over $4,290,000,000 since 1986 to attend higher education.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Pride and Prejudice: Things Alabama will never hear Governor Bentley say

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, June 13, 2014

For your benefit, here is a brief record of things any Alabama resident will never hear Alabama’s Republican Governor Robert J. Bentley, MD, say:

 

‘I was wrong, and I apologize; please forgive me.’

‘Even though I’m the Chief Executive Officer of the State of Alabama, the legislature and I haven’t accomplished everything for the people that we hoped to do.’

‘I accept full responsibility for the sexual crimes, atrocities, horrid conditions and deaths from neglect & violence in Alabama’s prisons.’

‘I have asked for the resignation of Mr. Kim T. Thomas, Esq. as Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections, whom I also appointed January 17, 2011.’

‘Even though out of all 50 states Alabama’s personal income tax structure is well-known, and highly documented to burden the most poverty-stricken, I have done nothing to correct, change or modify it.’

‘While increasingly, today’s jobs require a highly-educated and healthy workforce, I have done nothing to promote either.’

‘Even though I said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of our citizens,” I have Read the rest of this entry »

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Microsoft pulls Skype v5.0 from Apple App Store: Is Skype dead for Apple iOS?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, June 12, 2014

Apple App Store iPhone screenshot of Skype, by Microsoft

Apple App Store iPhone screenshot of Skype, by Microsoft, shows unavailable software when attempting to update Skype.

Microsoft announced two weeks ago that their Skype software division had produced a new version for iOS devices.

According to MSFT, the highly anticipated version 5.0 was supposed to be “remastered for iPhone,” and described as “the most refined version yet,” and was promised to be “faster, smoother, more integrated, smarter.”

Suddenly, to the dismay of many iOS device users, the Skype software was no longer available, and had pulled from the Apple App Store.

The solitary cryptic response Microsoft/Skype offered was “We are in the process of Read the rest of this entry »

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Bureau of Labor Statistics Labor Force Participation Reports May 2014: Don’t Believe the “Spin”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 8, 2014

This will be of interest to the curious, especially those who seek and search for the truth.

Asserting to cite data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), CNS News recently reported that the Labor Force participation rate was at a 36-year low.
The headline to that story reads:
37.2%: Percentage Not in Labor Force Remains at 36-Year High
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/372-percentage-not-labor-force-remains-36-year-high

Upon examination of the BLS website, the data was found to be honest and accurate.
http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000

Information on the data set presented is:
Data extracted on: June 8, 2014 (4:07:31 PM)
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
Series ID: LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title: (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status: Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data: Percent or rate
Age: 16 years and over

Following is the chart as shown on the BLS website:

Chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of Labor Force Participation, Seasonally adjusted http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000

Chart #2: From the Bureau of Labor Statistics of Labor Force Participation, Seasonally adjusted http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000 Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate, age 16+

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the information is accurate – that is, if it accurately represents the thing it purports to represent – then there is a genuine cause for concern, perhaps even alarm. But first, sometimes, information has to pass the “smell test.” If it just doesn’t sound right, dig a little deeper.

However, there is a DEFINITE skew which, when considered, renders the interpretation of the findings questionable, at best.

Since there are TWO separate entities reporting the SAME information, how could it possibly be inaccurate, or incorrect?

Let’s consider further, to determine if such alarm might be genuinely warranted.

Searching for Labor Force Participation Rate datasets from Read the rest of this entry »

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Why did Parker Griffith vote AGAINST the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, June 6, 2014

English: , member of the United States House o...

Official portrait, Parker Griffith, MD as freshman member of the United States House of Representatives, Alabama 5th Congressional District.

53rd Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Jr., MD - campaign photograph

Campaign photograph – 53rd Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Jr., MD

As a politician, Parker Griffith has been described as “maverick.”

To describe it diplomatically, he has been “somewhat unpredictable.”

To be blunt, he’s a loose cannon.

His most recent political aspiration includes 2014 candidacy for Alabama governor under the Democratic ticket, challenging first term Republican Robert Bentley (described as “wildly popular”), whom is similarly a retired physician, and former Alabama State House Representative from Tuscaloosa, whom has publicly announced his opinion that he will be re-elected during a tour of Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, where sexual assaults, and abuses of innumerable kind have become so rampantly commonplace that Alabama’s prison system is verging upon federal takeover.

It was during his tour of that prison that “Our kindly country doctor governor toured Tutwiler in early March and quietly said, “we are probably going to have to build some new prisons in my second term.””

Griffith’s greatest obstacle is his past. More specifically, the greatest mountain he must conquer is his decision to switch parties (from Democrat to Republican) while in his first term in Congress, which abruptly ended his political aspirations.

The nightmare of his actions still haunts Alabama voters, many whom have not forgotten – including those in his hometown, Huntsville & Madison County. Like the ghastly spectre in Charles Dickens’ classic fiction “A Christmas Carol,” Parker Griffith must come face-to-face with the Ghost of Election Past, and Bentley with the Ghost of Alabama Yet to Come.

And in this real-life play, Bob Cratchit is played by the people, while 18.1% of the state’s population (the state poverty rate) are cast as the sickly child, Tiny Tim. They and others are the ones whom are denied by the Scrooge, played by Governor Bentley and Republican-dominated state legislature.

In reality, Griffith and Bentley play dual roles in this real-life political /social /medical /economic drama.

Charles Dickens circa 1850: he ‘kept on going by taking on too much’. Photograph: Herbert Watkins

Is there salvation for Griffith?

Will Bentley expand Medicaid?

Can anyone really help the citizens of Alabama?

Tune in next time! when we hear _?_ say…

Griffith’s last foray into politics – as Representative for Alabama’s 5th Congressional District – did not bode well, for after the first full year of a two-year term, he announced he was changing political party affiliation, for which he was resoundingly criticized at home by his constituency, in the press for his actions, and then subsequently resoundingly defeated by GOP challenger “Mo” Brooks in the 2010 Republican primary.

When he represented Alabama’s 5th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, Parker Griffith voted against Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Secretary of State Errs in Poll Watcher Guide: Photo Voter ID Law Disenfranchises Elderly Voters in June Primaries

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 3, 2014

{Tuesday, 10 June 2014: Update/Annotation/Correction noted in response #2. Ed.}

Today (June 3, 2014) in Alabama was primary election day. It is a day the party faithful – Democrats and Republicans – went to the polls to cast ballots for the candidates of their choice.

In Alabama, citizens cannot vote for candidates of their choice in both parties. They must choose either/or. Only in the November General Election can they “split the ticket” and vote for Democrats and Republicans.

In my way of thinking, that is a shame… and a crime, because it disenfranchises those whom would vote by requiring them to identify – against their will – as a member of a political party.

As I write, the polls have closed (they’re open from 0700 – 1900… or if you prefer, 7AM – 7PM), and already, there have been reports throughout the state that irregularities have occurred. Some voters – specifically, the elderly – have been denied the right to vote.

Voter fraud? 92-year-old great-grandmother’s expired driver’s license unacceptable for voter ID

http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/06/voter_fraud.htm

AL Ballot Security Manual

Photograph of the “Alabama Ballot Security Manual: A Practical guide for Poll Watchers, Alabama Primary Election, June 3, 2014

93-year-old black man disenfranchised by Alabama voter ID law

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/voter-id-law-disenfranchises-93-year-old-black-man

As well, there are inconsistencies in official information produced by the Secretary of State specifically for the purpose of Poll Watching & Voter Identification.

In a document entitled “Alabama Photo Voter ID Guide” available on the Alabama Secretary of State’s website Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Common Core Math

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 29, 2014

According to Dr. Tommy Bice, Alabama State Superintendent of Education, high schools in the state have achieved an 80% graduation rate. While that sounds impressive, there is an underlying problem, which is this:

How do we know that the children being graduated are competent?

Competency is exemplified as being able to do something successfully. So if merely graduating high school was sufficient demonstration of competence, everyone with a high school diploma would be competent. But sadly, we know that is NOT the case. For example, one need only look to private high schools to so illustrate. Very few private high schools have any such problems. And, it is not to say that all public schools suffer problems. And yet, it is evidence as well that many courses taught in 1960, or even 1860 at the “high school” level are more advanced than those taught today.

For example, consider the following courses of study were required for a diploma of graduation from Middletown City High School, Connecticut in 1848: Read the rest of this entry »

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We All Love… Silly Pet Pictures

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Presenting Izzy, the dog.

Seen here, Izzy, the dog has “rescued” a discarded empty of chips from the trash bin, apparently in hopes of obtaining a smidgen of a tasty morsel. / Photo by SRL

Do Animals

Things like this – Cat LOL videos, stories of animals having friendships, and other similarly expressive photos & stories (such as the depressed goat which was separated from, then was reunited with it’s longtime donkey companion) – are quite fascinating.

The reason why should be self-evident. Which is, that we find them humorous or entertaining because we ascribe human traits to animals.

From childhood, I never considered the Read the rest of this entry »

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Cry Me A River

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Oh, PLEASE!!!

“The response claims that it would cost Sterling $300 million to $500 million in capital gains taxes if he is forced to sell now rather than pass the team to his heirs.”

According to Forbes magazine, Donald Sterling has a net worth of US$ 2BILLION, and the Value of the Los Angeles Clippers team, Read the rest of this entry »

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Secession: We Fought A War Over This

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 22, 2014

Secessionist billboard campaign by League of the South, as seen in Montgomery, Alabama

Secessionist billboard campaign by League of the South, as seen in Montgomery, Alabama

Hate, or Heritage?

Recent news reports indicate that a billboard campaign through Lamar Advertising by League of the South in the Southeastern United States of Florida, Alabama and Georgia, has met with opposition. The billboards prominently displayed one word – SECEDE – which almost completely filled the area, listed their group name, and a URL. The campaign billboard locations were in Montgomery, Alabama, Tallahassee, Florida with another one planned for Atlanta, Georgia in the summer. More specifically, League of the South and their 15,000 members have been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “a neo-Confederate group that advocates for a second Southern secession and a society dominated by “European Americans,” and since 2000, “the SPLC began listing the league as a hate group.”

Michael Hill, President, League of the South, a racist white supremacist neo-Confederate group headquartered in Killen, Alabama

Dr. J. Michael Hill, PhD, President, League of the South, a racist white supremacist neo-Confederate group headquartered in Killen, Alabama

It is a description to which Read the rest of this entry »

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Why the LGBT community should support Shirey Ice Cream in Florence, Alabama

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Edwin Markham, American poet,

Edwin Markham, American poet

Outwitted

He drew a circle that shut me out–

Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.

But Love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle that took him in!

by Edwin Markham, April 23, 1852 – March 7, 1940

That brief poem, or epigram, by Edwin Markham summarizes succinctly the idea upon which I will expound in this entry.

In the past several days, it came to light that a Shoals area Alabama entrepreneur, Garrett Shirey – who, with his brothers Reese & Austin, are founders and co-owners of Shirey Ice Cream in the northwest Alabama town of Florence, population 39,447 – had Tweeted at least two uncharacteristic and very unbecoming messages. The specific dates and times they were made, and the content can be seen in the screen shot images of the Tweets, both which appear later in this entry.

First, some background.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Ohio Farmer Shoots, Kills Sugar Creek Ohio Girl, Claims he thought she was a “Groundhog”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, May 10, 2014

From our

“Are you an absolute moron?”

files comes this item:

“Groundhog Girl” is Sugar Creek, Ohio Shooting Victim

Ohio Farmer Claims He Mistook Young Girl for a Groundhog, and Shot Her

If you have EVER taken a hunter gun safety course, or been in the military, one the CARDINAL RULES is, If you don’t have a clear view of what you’re aiming at, DO NOT SHOOT.

In fact, Remington Firearms calls it the:

4th Commandment of Firearm Safety

Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.

You can’t stop a shot in mid-air, so do not fire unless you know exactly where your shot is going and what it will strike. Never fire at a sound, a movement or a patch of color. A hunter in camouflage can easily be mistaken for a target by an impulsive shooter. Before you pull the trigger be absolutely sure of your target and what’s behind it. Make sure your shot has a backstop such as a hillside or dense material like sand.

Remember, bullets can travel great distances with tremendous velocity. Know how far your shot will go if you miss your target or the bullet ricochets.

 

The National Shooting Sports Foundation similarly ascribes it as the 4th most important rule, and writes:

4. Be Sure Of Your Target And What’s Beyond It

No one can call a shot back. Once a gun fires, you have given up all control over where the shot will go or what it will strike. Don’t shoot unless you know exactly what your shot is going to strike. Be sure that your bullet will not injure anyone or anything beyond your target. Firing at a movement or a noise without being absolutely certain of what you are shooting at constitutes disregard for the safety of others. No target is so important that you cannot take the time before you pull the trigger to be absolutely certain of your target and where your shot will stop.

Be aware that even a 22 short bullet can travel over 11/4 miles and a high velocity cartridge, such as a 30-06, can send its bullet more than 3 miles. Shotgun pellets can travel 500 yards, and shotgun slugs have a range of over half a mile.

You should keep in mind how far a bullet will travel if it misses your intended target or ricochets in another direction.

 

The Texas State Parks & Wildlife Department says similarly, and names that principle as 3d most important by writing:

  • Be sure of your target and what is in front of and beyond your target.
    Before you pull the trigger you must properly identify game animals. Until your target is fully visible and in good light, do not even raise your scope to see it. Use binoculars! Know what is in front of and behind your target. Determine that you have a safe backstop or background. Since you do not know what is on the other side, never take a shot at any animals on top of ridges or hillsides. Know how far bullets, arrows and pellets can travel. Never shoot at flat, hard surfaces, such as water, rocks or steel because of ricochets.

In fact, the oft-reviled National Rifle Association (NRA) says the exact same thing:

  • Know your target and what is beyond.
    Be absolutely sure you have identified your target beyond any doubt. Equally important, be aware of the area beyond your target. This means observing your prospective area of fire before you shoot. Never fire in a direction in which there are people or any other potential for mishap. Think first. Shoot second.

Man thinks woman is groundhog in tall grass, shoots her

Kristin Anderson, WKYC
1852 EDT May 8, 2014

SUGAR CREEK TOWNSHIP, Stark County, Ohio –

On the LEFT is a rodent commonly known as a "groundhog," or "woodchuck," which scientific name is Marmota monax. On the RIGHT is a human being, a young lady (now deceased, and about whom this story is written), which scientific name is homo sapiens.  Examine the two images, and tell me you could "mistake" one for the other.

On the <LEFT< is a rodent commonly known as a “groundhog,” or “woodchuck,” which scientific name is Marmota monax. It’s length approximates between 18-30 inches, walks on four legs, though it may stand when alerted, and weighs between 5-10 pounds. It is further characterized by dense, brown to gray colored fur.
On the >RIGHT> is a human being, a young lady (now deceased, and about whom this story is written), which scientific name is homo sapiens. She obviously has long blonde colored hair, no fur, stands approximately 5 feet tall, weighs at least 100 pounds, and walks on two legs.
Closely examine the two images, and tell me you could “mistake” one for the other.

A 22-year-old woman from New Philadelphia is dead after a farmer mistakenly shot her thinking she was a groundhog in the tall grass.

The shooting happened Monday in Sugar Creek Township in Stark County.

Sheriff George Maier says Read the rest of this entry »

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Teaching Jobs Lost Under Alabama Governor Bentley

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 8, 2014

Yet more bad news from Governor Bentley’s incompetent, do-nothing administration.

Chalk up more jobs lost.

This is a DIRECT RESULT of the closure of the International Paper manufacturing facility in Courtland.

And the best worst part is, he’s playing with our children’s lives.

Be certain to thank him at the ballot box this November.

And the bad, sad news is undeniable: Alabamians are “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

When will Alabamians learn?

Wait… if the residents are “largely poor” they’re certain to be “uneducated, and [therefore] easy to command.”

Remember the cheer” We like it, we love it… we want some more of it!

Or if not, how about the line in the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist?

Please, sir… I want some more“.

Alabama obviously likes it, and hasn’t gotten a bellyful yet.

Again… apply the circular logic of:

“largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

(Board Of Education) BOE cuts local funded teacher units

Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 6:00 am

The Lawrence County Board of Education continued to take steps to solidify the county’s financial footing Monday night, eliminating five certified positions in an effort to cut the number of locally funded teacher units.

Superintendent Heath Grimes said more cuts could be on the horizon.

“We have to start focusing on building our financial reserves and this is one step in doing that,” he said. “We’ve been working closely with the state Board of Education to get a plan in place to build a one-month operating reserve and this is one of the suggest measures.”

Lawrence County’s one-month operating cost is roughly $3.2 million. Grimes said the board has $1.5 million in reserve.

“It’s important to understand that, yes, we are Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Common Core Textbooks: Who Calls the Shots?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 5, 2014

Alabama continues to be the butt of every joke – from the psuedo state motto “Thank God for Mississippi,” to those which are more biting – every laughingstock must have its basis in truth.

And the truth is undeniable.

Alabama consistently ranks below practically every marker for achievement, success, well-being and health.

Alabama has been on the wrong side of history, which for many, dates back to the days of the Civil War… which ended in 1865.

One could hardly imagine that an event settled nearly 150 years ago would motivate so many to such an extent that they would behave so vociferously, so negatively so vehemently and violently. And yet…

To be certain, Alabama has wonderful people – people who are kindhearted, generous to a fault, loving, diligent, creative, honest, conscientious, forthright, compassionate, intelligent, and more. And yet, for all those positive character qualities, there is always at least one bad apple that spoils the whole bunch, that sours the deal, that gives the entire state a black eye. Such is the case with those naysayers whom oppose Common Core educational standards.

There are people who, when faced with evidence, continue to choose to believe a lie. For example, there is a “Flat Earth Society,” whose members state that their purpose (according to their website) is to establish “… a place for free thinkers and the intellectual exchange of ideas.” “Free thinking” and “intellectual exchange” must acknowledge the truth of facts. And the fact is, that Earth is NOT flat. Any assertion contrariwise is so preposterously absurd that is it is not merely asinine, it is psychotically deranged to so believe.

Such problems of belief contrary to the truth are among those which face Alabamians. From a scientific, factually valid perspective, a belief is an idea held to be true, even though there may be insignificant or no evidence to support the idea held to be true, or the outcomes which would naturally emerge from the same. From there, it’s a short step to conspiracy thinking, Area 51 space aliens and the loony bins that still walk among us. But those lunatic fringe elements exist in every state, not exclusively in Alabama.

Nevertheless, former Alabama Governor Bob Riley has again written of his support for the attainment of educational excellence in state public schools, his first OpEd – Why I Support Common Core Standards – having been published in the conservative digest National Review.

 

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RILEY: The truth about Common Core textbooks

In Alabama, final selections are made locally

By Bob Riley
Friday, May 2, 2014
Just about everyone is familiar with the old idiom “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s a valuable metaphor, but as it turns out, it’s also very useful literal advice as it relates to the growing public policy debate over Core State Education Standards.

My wife Patsy and I are very lucky to have all our children and grandchildren living close to us. We love being part of their daily lives and watching our children raise families of their own.

A fifth-grade teacher helps students at Silver Lake Elementary School in Middletown, Delaware (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) Photo **FILE**

A fifth-grade teacher helps students at Silver Lake Elementary School in Middletown, Delaware (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) Photo **FILE**

A few weeks ago, one of our daughters shared with me a textbook belonging to her son, a public school student in Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham, Ala. Something on the cover of my fourth-grade grandson’s textbook alarmed her, and after she showed it to me, it triggered an investigative instinct in me as well. On the cover, in bright red letters, unmistakable, were the words “Common Core State Standards.”

“If you want to know why so many people do not like Common Core, there it is,” said my daughter. Parents are under the impression that a central, national entity is dictating what our children read and learn, she continued, and every time a parent disagrees with the subject matter or struggles with a new method of math, we do not have to look far to find where to place the blame.

Then she asked me: “If there is no required reading list, no required curriculum for Common Core, why are these books labeled as belonging to and adhering to Common Core?”

Quite frankly, I did not know the answer. I was certain that no single organization in Washington D.C. or elsewhere dictates what children in the Homewood public schools read. I could not explain, though, why my grandson’s textbook made it appear that such a group does in fact exist.

I did what I always do when I don’t know the answer to something — I ask someone who does know.

Betty Winches is the assistant superintendent of instruction for Homewood City Schools, a top-rated public school system, and for years I have known her to be a world-class educator and academic leader in the schools. So I asked her the same question that my daughter asked me: “If there is no Common Core reading list or curriculum, why are the textbooks in Homewood’s schools labeled “Common Core?”

The answer, as Betty explained to me, is Read the rest of this entry »

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What is it like to be a Woman Business Owner & Inventor Terrorized & Threatened by Right Wing Extremist Gun Owners?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, May 3, 2014

More power to you!

The GOP has been hijacked by extremist elements.

It’s time to put those sorry, low-life punks in prison for collusion, terrorism and anti-American activity.

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‘Smart’ Firearm Draws Wrath of the Gun Lobby

By JEREMY W. PETERS
APRIL 27, 2014

Belinda Padilla is trying to market a new .22-caliber handgun that uses a radio frequency-enabled stopwatch to identify the authorized user so no one else can fire it.  Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Belinda Padilla is trying to market a new .22-caliber handgun that uses a radio frequency-enabled stopwatch to identify the authorized user so no one else can fire it.
Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Belinda Padilla does not pick up unknown calls anymore, not since someone posted her cellphone number on an online forum for gun enthusiasts. A few fuming-mad voice mail messages and heavy breathers were all it took.

Then someone snapped pictures of the address where she has a P.O. box and put those online, too. In a crude, cartoonish scrawl, this person drew an arrow to the blurred image of a woman passing through the photo frame. “Belinda?” the person wrote. “Is that you?”

Her offense? Trying to market and sell a new .22-caliber handgun that uses a radio frequency-enabled stopwatch to identify the authorized user so no one else can fire it. Ms. Padilla and the manufacturer she works for, Armatix, intended to make the weapon the first “smart gun” for sale in the United States.

But shortly after Armatix went public with its plans to start selling in Southern California, Ms. Padilla, a fast-talking, hard-charging Beverly Hills businesswoman who leads the company’s fledgling American division, encountered the same uproar that has stopped gun control advocates, Congress, President Obama and lawmakers across the country as they seek to pass tougher laws and promote new technologies they contend will lead to fewer firearms deaths.

Lately, there has been little standing in the way of the muscle of the gun lobby, whose advocates recently derailed Mr. Obama’s nominee for surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, a Boston doctor who has expressed alarm about the frequency of shooting deaths.

And despite support from the Obama administration and the promise of investment from Silicon Valley, guns with owner-recognition technology remain shut out of the market today.

“Right now, unfortunately, these organizations that are scaring everybody have the power,” Ms. Padilla said. “All we’re doing is providing extra levels of safety to your individual right to bear arms. And if you don’t want our gun, don’t buy it. It’s not for everyone.”

In Georgia on Wednesday, Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law a bill that allows people to carry guns in bars, government buildings and even some churches. The National Rifle Association called the measure historic.

In West Virginia, one of several Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Teen Pleads Guilty to Racist High School Bomb Threat

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 2, 2014

How did all this unfold?

A teacher found a notebook left behind by the teen, in which he had written a detailed plot for bombing the school, and named students who he would kill.

“… apparently, not one faculty member or administrator at the racially mixed school intervened in the blatantly racist behavior until early January, when a teacher found one of Shrout’s notebooks left behind in a classroom. In it, the teacher discovered detailed plans for mass murder.

“Shrout allegedly named and targeted five black students and a black teacher for serious harm in a series of bomb attacks, using improvised hand grenades that authorities say he was assembling in his military family’s home. A white classmate, who Shrout suspected of being gay, was also on the alleged hit list.

“The authorities were alerted to the journal and Shrout was arrested and charged with felony attempted assault. “By his own admission, he is a white supremacist, but we haven’t been able to link him to any specific organization or any organization to him,” Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor told the Intelligence Report in an interview about Shrout and his plans, which Shrout had “obviously put a lot of thought into.”

“When sheriff’s investigators searched the teenager’s home they discovered a couple of dozen small tobacco cans and two larger metal containers marked “Fat Boy” and “Little Man.” The names are apparent references to the code names “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” used for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan by the United States during World War II. All of the containers were filled with pellets and had holes drilled in them. Sheriff Taylor said other ingredients needed to complete the devices, such as black powder and fuses, were not found. Read the rest of this entry »

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