Posts Tagged ‘government’
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 7, 2014
The SEC could help tackle corruption in resource-rich countries around the world — but the oil industry is getting in the way.
Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, is regarded as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. And American oil lobbyists are only making the situation worse: They are exploiting Angola by seeking to delay and weaken the implementation of a crucial U.S. transparency law.
That law, Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, also known as the Cardin-Lugar amendment, promises a breakthrough in preventing dirty deals and illicit payments being made for natural resources around the world, similar to the shady transaction recently uncovered by Foreign Policy. If implemented fully, the law would make U.S. oil and mining companies disclose the payments they make to governments across the world, including in Angola. However, oil lobbyists have been making misguided arguments that laws in Angola and three other countries prevent the required disclosures.
Off Shore Oil Drilling Rig – MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images
Angolan officials secretly profiting from the country’s oil riches is not a surprise. It is only the latest episode in a sad history that goes back for decades. Global Witness, where we work, began exposing the complicity of the international oil and banking industries in the plundering of state assets during Angola’s 40-year civil war in our 1999 report A Crude Awakening. This was followed by our 2002 report All the Presidents’ Men, which called on the oil companies operating in Angola to “Publish What You Pay” (PWYP). Under this rallying call, Global Witness co-launched the PWYP campaign, which is now an international coalition of more than 790 civil society organizations in over 60 countries, including Angola, advocating for transparency laws such as Section 1504.
These efforts are intended to prevent scandals similar to the Trafigura deal covered in Foreign Policy, which provide a glimpse of the endemic corruption in Angola‘s oil industry. Only a few days before Foreign Policy published its story, media reports about leaked documents relating to other corruption claims caused the share price of SBM Offshore, a Dutch oil services company operating in Angola, to plummet 17.9 percent when markets opened. SBM released a statement challenging the validity of the leaked documents, saying that they are partial, taken out of context, contain outdated information, and are not representative of the facts. SBM had also already disclosed to its investors that it was conducting an internal investigation into questionable payments in Angola. However, the dramatic stock drop suggests that SBM investors had not anticipated the scale of the corruption risk exposure.
Another oil services company active in Angola, Weatherford International, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and headquartered in Switzerland, has recently pleaded guilty to violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), including bribery of the executives of Sonangol, Angola’s state oil company. It has agreed to pay fines of $253 million to settle the case, one of the largest FCPA settlements ever.
These cases illustrate the urgent need for transparency in Angola’s oil sector. The successful implementation of Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Business... None of yours, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: abuse, Africa, Angola, BIG OIL, bribe, business, Congress, continent, corruption, Dodd-Frank, Dodd-Frank Act, drill, Energy, enterprise, European Union, Foreign Policy, gas, Global Witness, government, greed, history, human rights, ilicit, illegal, influence, international finance, law, lobby, lobbyist, Mining, money, New York Stock Exchange, news, NYSE, Offshore drilling, oil, politics, power, regulation, resources, SBM Offshore, SEC, Securities & Exchange Commission, Stock Exchange, Switzerland, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, UBS, United States, Wall Street, war, wealth, Weatherford International | Leave a Comment »
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 »
Posted in - Even MORE Uncategorized!, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know | Tagged: Alabama, Congress, David Nuttall, Democrats, economic, economic expansion, economic infrastructure, economy, entrepreneurship, Federal government of the United States, government, High-speed rail, history, infrastructure, Interstate Commerce, Interstate Highway System, law, local, maglev, money, monorail, north Alabama, people, politics, private enterprise, Republican, Russia, safety, tax policy, taxes, tea party, train, transportation, United States, Wall Street | Leave a Comment »
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 »
Posted in - Business... None of yours, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: abuse, ACA, Alabama, Alabama Legislature, Associated Press, Barack Obama, Bentley, budget, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, children, CHIP, CHIRPA, CMS, Crimson Tide, defraud, federal, Federal government of the United States, fraud, GOP, government, governor, health, HHS, incompetence, incompetency, insurance, Medicaid, Mississippi, money, Montgomery Alabama, news, Obamacare, OIG, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, politics, PPACA, quiet, Republican, Robert Bentley, Robert J. Bentley, State Children's Health Insurance Program, United States, waste | 2 Comments »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Your Tax Dollars at Work: U.S. Air Force Mothballs $1.6 BILLION of New Aircraft
Nearly 13 years ago, in a speech given at the Pentagon, Monday, September 10, 2001, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said in part that, “We cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. We maintain 20 to 25 percent more base infrastructure than we need to support our forces, at an annual waste to taxpayers of some $3 billion to $4 billion.”
As part of the Joint Cargo Aircraft Program, the Air Force ordered $1,600,000,000 worth of Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, abuse, Air Force, Alenia Aeronautica, Alenia C-27J Spartan, Arizona, boneyard, Davis–Monthan Air Force Base, Department of Defense, DoD, Donald Rumsfeld, Forestry Service, fraud, government, Manhattan, Pentagon, SecDef, Secretary of Defense, Special Operations, Tucson, United States Air Force, United States Coast Guard, United States Special Operations Command, USAF, video, waste | Leave a Comment »
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 »
Posted in - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Uncategorized | Tagged: ABC, Alabama, Alabama Senate, Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, Alcoholic beverage control state, Arthur Orr, Bentley, business, California, competition, Decatur, Distilled beverage, employment, Free Market, government, jobs, merchant, Mississippi, National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, Orr, Republican, retail, sales, United States, Washington | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, August 24, 2013
I may step on a few toes with my next remark, but I can always apologize, and ask forgiveness if it so be the case that my remarks are found offensive.
However, suffice it to say, that our nation’s Congress, has, for at least the past 20 years, or so – and even moreso in the past decade plus – embarked upon a very Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Business... None of yours, - Did they REALLY say that?, - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man? | Tagged: Africa, Ancient, Ancient Egypt, Big Business, business, corporation, Democrat, Egypt, employees, enterprise, entrepreneurship, faith, Golden Parachute, GOP, government, Hebrew, Hebrew language, Hebrews, history, jobs, money, Moses, people, Pharaoh, policy, politics, profit, prophet, religion, Republican, Seychelles, tax, United States, values | Leave a Comment »
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 | firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cheers to beers: Alabama raises a glass to home-brew, Brewfest and craft breweries
(Gallery by Tamika Moore | email@example.com)
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 »
Posted in - Business... None of yours, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: AL, Alabama, ale, Art, beer, Birmingham, brew, brewski, business, craft, craft brew, craftbrew, creation, creativity, drink, enterprise, entrepreneurship, government, history, Homebrew, Homebrewing, law, legislation, micro, North Carolina, Overton, private enterprise, sales, Sloss Furnace, Spencer Overton, twitter | Leave a Comment »
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.
He donates it ALL to charity.
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 »
Posted in - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man?, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: avarice, Bob Corker, budget, Chuck Grassley, Claire McCaskill, DC, Democrats, GOP, government, Graham, greed, Jeff Sessions, Lindsey Graham, money, Nancy Pelosi, news, pay, politics, Republicans, salary, senate, senators, sequestration, sequster, taxes, treasury, wages, Washington DC | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, May 25, 2013
Ross Perot was right.
Scene: 1992 Presidential Debate: Former Arkansas Governor William Jefferson Clinton – D, President George H. W. Bush – R, and Ross Perot – I.
White Male Audience Member: Yes, I’d like to direct my question to Mr. Perot. What will you do, as President, to open foreign markets to fair competiton from American business, and to stop unfair competition here at home from foreign countries, so that we can bring jobs back to the United States?
Ross Perot: That’s right at the top of my agenda.
We’ve shipped millions of jobs overseas, and uh… we have a strained situation because we have a process in Washington, where after you’ve served for a while, you cash in, become a foreign lobbyist, make $30,000 a month, then take a leave, work on presidential campaigns, make sure you got good contacts, and then go back out.
And if you just want to get down to brass tacks, the first thing you ought to do is get all these folks who got these one-way trade agreements that we’ve negotiated over the years, and say ‘fellas, we’ll take the same deal we gave you.’ And they’ll gridlock right at that point, because, Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Business... None of yours, - Did they REALLY say that?, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: 1992, Bill Clinton, debate, economy, employers, George H.W. Bush, Giant sucking sound, government, history, jobs, labor, money, Perot, policy, president, presidential, Ross Perot, United States, Washington, Washington D.C., Washington DC, worker | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 20, 2013
The Texas State Legislature doesn’t think public tax dollar$ should go to private schools.
But Alabama’s State Legislature just OK’d & Governor Bentley signed the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013 (HB 84), aka the School Flexibility Bill, aka the Private School Voucher Act.
Posted in - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News, - Transfer: How do we get THERE from HERE? (Add a 'T'.) | Tagged: Alabama, Alabama Legislature, Associated Press, Bentley, children, education, government, HB 84, law, legislature, money, Montgomery Alabama, people, poor, poverty, Private school, rich, Robert Bentley, Robert J. Bentley, sick, state, Tax credit, taxes, Texas, Texas Legislature, TX, wealthy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, April 21, 2013
I wouldn’t have believed it had I not read it for myself from the official Congressional website.
U.S. Representative Martha Roby, a Republican from Alabama’s 2d Congressional District has introduced H.R. 1406, officially named the “Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013″ which would END the requirement of the Fair Labor Standards Act for employers to pay Time-and-a-Half to employees for every hour worked over 40 in one week.
The Congressional Budget Office has reported on the bill, and in part wrote that: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: Alabama, cheat, child labor, compensation, Congressional Budget Office, deception, Egypt, employees, Fair Labor Standards Act, family, GOP, governance, government, Hewlett-Packard, industrialist, labor, law, Let my people go., liars, management, Martha Roby, Moses, offshore, offshoring, overtime, overtime pay, pay, Pharaoh, policy, poll, radical, rate, Republican, Right to Work, Robber Baron, Robber Barons, Roby, Southen Poverty Law Center, steal, taxes, Tea Party movement, theft, theives, Time-and-a-half, unfriendly, United States, United States House of Representatives, unjust, weasel, Wikipedia | 153 Comments »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 17, 2013
While this story is about the nation known as Georgia, given the numerous convoluted and antiquated laws governing beverage alcohol in the Southern United States, it could very well be Georgia… Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, or Arkansas.
Something Old, Something New: Georgian Wines Adapt To Changing Market
April 17, 2013
by Glenn Kates
KISISKHEVI, Georgia — Seven years ago, Burkhard Schuchmann, a retired German railroad executive, arrived for the first time in this lush region, where the snow-capped Caucasian mountains cast a long shadow over the grapevines that line the low-lying fields.It was 2006 and Russia had recently imposed a crippling embargo on Georgian wine.Schuchmann decided to open a winery nevertheless.
“To see it from today’s point of view, Georgians can be lucky that the embargo came,” Schuchmann says. “Because then they were forced to [focus on] quality and to think about marketing. There was no need before.”
After mostly “satisfactory” inspections by Russia’s consumer-rights agency in February and March, Georgian wines will soon be sold in Russia again. But Russians, perhaps expecting the sweet, syrupy taste of years past, may be surprised by the changing nature of Georgian vintage.
Burkhard Schuchmann opened a winery in Georgia because he thought he could compete outside of Russia by modernizing the industry.
In 2005, Georgia exported 80 percent of its wine to Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Business... None of yours, - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: agriculture, Alcohol, Arkansas, beverage, Bidzina Ivanishvili, booze, bottle, business, drink, enterprise, entrepreneur, Europe, export, farming, food, Georgia, Georgian wine, government, history, import, industry, investment, liquor, marketing, money, Moscow, regulation, rural, rural life, Russia, Schuchmann, Southern United States, Soviet Union, Tbilisi, tradition, wine | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 15, 2013
Las Vegas has the highest metropolitan suicide rate in the U.S.
“I’ll add that there’s one more feature here, of Las Vegas, which I think bears mentioning. And that is what I kinda’ think of as a sort of “frontier culture” mentality among residents, and I think, even among visitors.
“That Las Vegas is this sort of place of place of total license. You know… its the ‘Wild West,’ it’s an open frontier for all kinds of immorality and exploration of vice, and… the entire self-branding of Las Vegas as this place where that is not only tolerated, but actually sanctioned.
“You know, the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” kind of mentality – produces, I think, a kind of… sort of libertarian ethos of ‘go it alone, do it yourself.’ And help seeking in this sort of framework is perhaps not accepted or valorized the way it is other parts of the country.
“These kind of cultural arguments are always very hard to make. They always sound deeply unscientific. But, in a lot ways, I think that’s exactly where a lot of the explanatory power comes from… is in this understanding the culture and values underlying people’s behavioral sense.”
- Matt Wray, sociologist, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, and co-author of a 2008 paper entitled “Leaving Las Vegas: Exposure to Las Vegas and Risk of Suicide” / excerpted from Freakonomics Radio, episode #92 “Gambling With Your Life,” released April 27, 2011
Of late, attention has been increasingly given to the suicide rate of veterans returning home from the horrors of war in the Middle East, specifically, from their numerous extended tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While in retrospect, many acknowledge that Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man? | Tagged: 2003 invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, Air Force, Al Qaeda, Arabian Peninsula, Army, budget, CNN, death, Death of Osama bin Laden, Democrat, drones, Esquire, expense, Explanatory power, extremism, faith, George W. Bush, government, GWOT, help, insanity, Iraq, Las Vegas, Las Vegas Nevada, Leaving Las Vegas, Libertarian, List of countries by suicide rate, Matt Wray, mental health, Middle East, military, news, Osama bin Laden, Pakistan, Peter Bergen, Philadelphia, policy, politics, radical, religion, Republican, soldier, spending, Taliban, Temple University, terror, United States, United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group, USA, Vega, Vegas, war, wouned warrior | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 1, 2013
Part of the Great Hypocrisy of Alabama‘s über GOP-dominated state government is that on September 18, 2012, voters approved the Governor’s request to take money from the Alabama Trust Fund using the specific language in the Special Election to Amend the state’s Constitution “to provide adequate funding for the State General Fund budget”… “by transferring funds from the Alabama Trust Fund to the State General Fund beginning with the state’s 2012-2013 fiscal year and concluding with the state’s 2014-2015 fiscal year.”
It’s equally important to understand and know, that the time of the election, however, there was no repayment plan, and only recently has the legislature acted, and has the governor signed, to repay any monies taken.
And now, the Governor wants to TAKE $6 Million earmarked for the State Parks and put it into the General Fund.
It’s prima facie evidence of utter incompetency, pure & simple.
More to the point, however, specifically regarding any contract with private entities to operate any private enterprise on public property, it seems to me that such an operation is also prima facie evidence of incompetency because to do so says in essence that ‘we’re not capable, nor do we have the ability to operate any operation profitably.’ And that, my friends, is a most damning indictment.
It’s bad not only for that reason, but because since private enterprise holds the key to the operations, they can call the shots, and raise the prices (cost of operations) at will, by merely citing an increase in cost of operations (without justification or evidence). And then, the state is left holding the contractual bag, while the private entity claims squatter’s rights on public property.
Gov. Robert Bentley says Gulf convention center a key to help parks survive funding cuts
By Mike Cason | firstname.lastname@example.org
March 27, 2013 at 10:39 PM, updated March 28, 2013 at 7:02 AM
MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Gov. Robert Bentley said Wednesday he hopes to help minimize the effect of funding cutbacks on the state parks system.
Bentley’s budget plan for fiscal 2014 called for taking $6 million earmarked for state parks and placing that money in the General Fund.
This week, State Parks Director Gregory Lein wrote a letter to elected officials and others saying some parks could close and Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Did they REALLY say that?, - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: $6 million, Alabama, Alabama Trust Fund, Bentley, budget, fiscal, GOP, government, governor, Gulf Shores Alabama, Gulf State Park, Hurricane Ivan, news, politics, Republican, Robert Bentley, State park | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, March 24, 2013
The word ‘encyclopedic’ is often thought of as meaning voluminous, or containing great, or significant knowledge. However, even a casual examination of the word shows something entirely different.
In the middle of the word is ‘cyclo,’ which as we would imagine, refers to something circular, or round. Who hasn’t heard of a bi-cycle, a cycle with two wheels?
And then, there’s ‘pedia,’ and we’ve all heard of ‘pediatrics,’ the health practice concerned exclusively with children. Children, of course, need instruction and teaching.
Thus, we can Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man?, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: blog, children, college, corn, Corn on the cob, education, elementary, Encyclopedia, Experience point, Foreign exchange market, Foreign exchange trading, Fruit and Vegetable, government, grammar school, high school, instruction, investment, Middle School, policy, politics, Public policy, Risk aversion, school, schooling, taxes, teaching, university | Leave a Comment »
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
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 »
Posted in - Did they REALLY say that?, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: AEA, Alabama, Alabama Legislature, Auburn University, Bentley, Birmingham News, Democrats, education, George Wallace, GOP, government, hubris, Huntsville Times, K-12, legislature, Middle School, Montgomery Advertiser, politics, Republican, Republicans, Robert Bentley, Robert J. Bentley, school, schools, stupidity, taxes, United States, Wayne Flynt | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Tennessee has some very strange and peculiar laws regarding the regulation of beverage alcohol, most of which remain rooted in the Prohibition Era, and in in fear.
And, true to form, it would be no wonder that Baptists – the arch-conservative religious political right wing activists of the right wing party – are directly involved in efforts to keep the state mired in the antiquated bad old days of yore.
Tennessee is unique in the regard that state law forbids sale of wine except in state-licensed liquor stores. To clarify, the state of Tennessee has an unusual combination of laws that forbid sales of wine in any other type store save one that sells liquor. Further, sales are prohibited on Sunday. Beer, however, is able to be sold in grocery stores… but only if the ABV (Alcohol By Volume) is under 6%.
Alabama once had a similarly prohibitive content law, along with bottle size restriction – which severely limited the sales of domestic and imported craft/micro brew beers and ales. Alabama no longer has such prohibitive limitations.
And then, if one considers the implications of that law – mandating the sale of wine be exclusively limited to sales in liquor stores – the state actually sanctions the liquor enterprise itself, rather than being a neutral, regulatory body. In Tennessee there are no state-operated liquor stores as there are in Alabama. To have a state-run enterprise is not contradictory to the free market, because the state is a direct competitor in the market, which frequently has the lowest priced products, because taxes are the markup/profit margin for the state. Contrasting that model with the private retailer, the private retailer must make a profit atop the taxes which the state charges (after they purchase from the state at a wholesale cost – the same cost the state sells to the general public), thus increasing the retail price above what the state sells it.
Supporters and opponents of a bill that would let grocery and convenience stores sell wine undertook one final push to sway Tennessee lawmakers Monday ahead of a make-or-break vote in the state legislature.
Liquor store owners, grocery store operators, wine shoppers, a sheriff, an addiction specialist and a minister were among the people allowed to testify at a special hearing held a day before the Senate State & Local Government Committee is to vote on the biggest rewrite of Tennessee’s liquor laws in decades. Members guarded Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Business... None of yours, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: Alabama, beer, beverage, Bill Ketron, business, drink, enterprise, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, food, government, grocer, grocery, grocery store, Ken Yager, laws, Liquor store, merchandizing, merchant, modernization, Nashville, Nashville Tennessee, opportunity, retail, Revenue, sales, senate, Senate State & Local Government Committee, taxes, Tennessee, Tennessee Baptist Convention, Vanderbilt University, wholesale, wine | Leave a Comment »