Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Alabama Prison System Teetering on Federal Takover

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 7, 2014

Every single word in this OpEd is spot-on.

Alabama is on the verge of a complete takeover of it’s prison system. That is a VERY sad indictment, and fact. Further, most Alabamians are COMPLETELY unaware of the dangers the state faces.

Alabama is a state in crisis.

Fiscal crisis from a failure of long-term management, unwise, unsound policy, unnecessary prolonged and costly legal battles at the state and federal levels over inane laws which have had no positive effect upon the state, from policies and procedures which have only burdened the people, tax giveaways to corporations, funded corporate welfare, an inequitable personal income taxation system which has hampered and hamstrung state growth, and further placed the state’s citizens into poverty.

Face it folks… I don’t give a damn about what political colors you wear, or how or what you describe yourself as politically in Alabama… if everything were peaches and cream in the state, then why in the Hell is the state’s poverty level 18% – 4 percentage points ABOVE the national average?

Why is the state sick in their persons? Of all states, Alabama continually ranks high in rates of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc., even among CHILDREN!

Why does the state have a high crime rate?

Why are Alabamians largely “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”?

WHY?

WHY?!?

WHY!?!

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Why Alabama Cannot Wait on Prison Reform: Guest Opinion

Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (center), speaks  speaks to media members during a tour as Kim Thomas, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections (left) and warden Carter Davenport listen at the St. Clair Correctional Facility Fri., March 16, 2012 in Springville, Ala. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale)

Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (center), speaks speaks to media members during a tour as Kim Thomas, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections (left) and Warden Carter Davenport listen at the St. Clair Correctional Facility Fri., March 16, 2012 in Springville, Ala. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale)

Guest opinion By Alabama State Senator Cam Ward
August 06, 2014 at 9:00 AM, updated August 06, 2014 at 9:05 AM

By Cam Ward

Prisons are an issue that would never rank high on any list of priorities for the people of Alabama and understandably so.  With unemployment hovering near 7 percent and many schools in need of repair, people ask me why prison reform should be a major subject at this time. The answer is simple – because our failure to maintain a good corrections system is going to push over a fiscal cliff that we may never recover from.

For years as our corrections system became more crowded the political leadership in Montgomery turned their eyes to issues more palatable to the voters during election time. The general feeling for decades has been “let’s wait and deal with that when we have more money.”

As we waited our system grew to 192 percent capacity and despite this incarceration rate our state has the 8th highest violent crime rate in the country. Both of these statistics point to a failing system of corrections.

In addition to allowing for a broken system to continue down a path of inefficiency we have also created a fiscal nightmare of the likes our state has never seen before. While we spend Read the rest of this entry »

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To What Extent is the American Economy Propped Up by Arms Sales?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What should one expect when the whole damn defense industry has been whored out to arm the krazees of the world?

In a very prophetic manner, in his Farewell Address to the nation, January 17, 1961, then-President Dwight David Eisenhower warned about the “military industrial complex,” saying:

“We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United State corporations.

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

US sells $11 BILLION worth of arms to Qatar

Published time: July 15, 2014 09:46
Edited time: July 16, 2014 12:55

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar's Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

Washington and Doha have signed the largest arms deal of the year, preparing to enhance Qatar’s military capabilities with $11 billion-worth of Apache assault helicopters, PAC-2 missile defense complexes and Javelin man-portable anti-tank missiles.

The deal has been signed on Monday in Pentagon by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Qatari Defense Minister Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah. Altogether Qatar is buying 10 batteries of Patriot missile defense systems and 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles manufactured by US defense industry giants Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, and 24 Apache helicopters made by Boeing, an anonymous US official told the AFP.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Pitchfork in the Road: America’s Economic Future – Poverty & Insurrection, or Abundance & Peace?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 28, 2014

“How much is enough?” is a qood question to ask many folks, especially some among the Wall $treet crowd.

And to be certain, the two principles of “the worker is worthy of their hire,” and “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain” are equally compelling ethics.

As those two ethics concern our nation’s economy, we can point to times in history where various nations suffered revolution, and the most common causes of revolution.

In fact, I wrote at length about it in this blog in 2011, and observed in part that, “…it’s not as if uproars have never happened before. They happen with great regularity and frequency. In fact, they’re quite predictable. Yes, predictable. It’s called “history.” The maxim goes something like this: “Those who forget the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.” And so, any reasonable or prudent person should ask, “What are the lessons of history?””

Just remember this: Food, Clothing, Shelter. If you can’t get them with what you have, you’ll fight, kill, go to war, or civil insurrection, to obtain the basic necessities of life.

The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats

By NICK HANAUER
Nick Hanauer is a Seattle-based entrepreneur.

July/August 2014

Memo: From Nick Hanauer
To: My Fellow Zillionaires

You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud. But I saw pretty quickly, even back then, that many of my customers, the big department store chains, were already doomed. I knew that as soon as the Internet became fast and trustworthy enough—and that time wasn’t far off—people were going to shop online like crazy. Goodbye, Caldor. And Filene’s. And Borders. And on and on.

Nick Hanauer

Nick Hanauer
With over 30 years of experience across a broad range of industries including manufacturing, retailing, e-commerce, digital media and advertising, software, aerospace, health care, and finance. Hanauer’s experience and perspective have produced an unusual record of serial successes. Hanauer has managed, founded or financed over 30 companies, creating aggregate market value of tens of billions of dollars. Some notable companies Include Amazon.com, Aquantive Inc., (purchased by Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion), Insitu group (purchased by Boeing for $400 million), Market Leader (purchased by Trulia in 2013 for $350 million). Some other companies include Marchex, Newsvine, Qliance, Seattle Bank and Pacific Coast Feather Company. – Photo by Robbie McClaran

Realizing that, seeing over the horizon a little faster than the next guy, was the strategic part of my success. The lucky part was that I had two friends, both immensely talented, who also saw a lot of potential in the web. One was a guy you’ve probably never heard of named Jeff Tauber, and the other was a fellow named Jeff Bezos. I was so excited by the potential of the web that I told both Jeffs that I wanted to invest in whatever they launched, big time. It just happened that the second Jeff—Bezos—called me back first to take up my investment offer. So I helped underwrite his tiny start-up bookseller. The other Jeff started a web department store called Cybershop, but at a time when trust in Internet sales was still low, it was too early for his high-end online idea; people just weren’t yet ready to buy expensive goods without personally checking them out (unlike a basic commodity like books, which don’t vary in quality—Bezos’ great insight). Cybershop didn’t make it, just another dot-com bust. Amazon did somewhat better. Now I own a very large yacht.

But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

At the same time that people like you and me are Read the rest of this entry »

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Howard Baker 1925 – 2014: Photographer, United States Senator, Ambassador

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, June 26, 2014

Howard Baker, 18 years United States Senator from Tennessee, Republican Majority Leader, widely respected by Democrats & Republicans as “the quintessential mediator, negotiator and moderator,” Chief of Staff to President Ronald Reagan, Ambassador to Japan under President George W. Bush, and award-winning Photographer has died aged 88 in his Huntsville, Tennessee home of complications from a stroke Saturday, 21 June 2014.

He said of his photographic hobby that it “may be the only place where I can reasonably aspire to perfection.”

Mr. Baker began his photographic hobby as Read the rest of this entry »

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Who Pays Unskilled Labor US $80,000/year?!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 22, 2014

“For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”
-1Tim5:18

Lately, much has been made of raising the Minimum Wage, which does nothing more than establish a minimum standard.

But who cares about minimums?

We should strive to exceed!

Some well-known, publicly-traded, highly profitable firms, however, revel in greed, and wallow in the slop, when they can do far better for the employees who operate their businesses.

The question is often asked “why pay unskilled workers $10 or even more per hour?”

It’s a valid question, and deserves a genuinely thoughtful response.

So, let’s pose that question to BIG OIL COMPANIES in Williston, North Dakota, where…

“oilfield companies pay unskilled 19 year-olds $80,000 a year.”

 

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/mall-middle-what-used-be-nowhere

by Dan Weissmann
Monday, June 16, 2014 – 15:21

Williston, North Dakota, has the nation’s highest rents. Thanks to the fracking boom, a basic apartment in Williston costs more than something similar in New York or San Francisco. And it comes with a lot fewer amenities.

For instance, shopping. If Walmart doesn’t have it, the nearest outlet is at least two hours away. Now, a Swiss investment firm has announced plans to 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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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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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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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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Congressional Budget Office: Offshore Corporate Tax Havens Cost each Citizen $1259

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, April 17, 2014

Historically, our nation has prospered when tax rates on the ULTRA wealthy and corporations were highest.

In the period following World War II, under President Dwight David Eisenhower – a Republican, and former Supreme Allied Commander / 5ive Star General – Corporate Tax rates have continually declined.

Now, during the Obama administration, they are at the LOWEST they have EVER been.

Corporate Income Tax Rates have continually declined

Corporate Income Tax Rates have continually declined the peaked during the Eisenhower administration. The formula is: b/(a+b) Where (a) Corporate Profits After Tax (without IVA and CCAdj), Billions of Dollars, Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (CP); And (b) Federal Government: Tax Receipts on Corporate Income, Billions of Dollars, Not Seasonally Adjusted (FCTAX)

Tax Havens Leave U.S. Filers $1,259 Tab Each, Report Says

U.S. taxpayers would need to pay an average of $1,259 more a year to make up the federal and state taxes lost to corporations and individuals sheltering money in overseas tax havens, according to a report.

Tax haven abusers benefit from America’s markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law -– all supported in one way or another by tax dollars -– but they avoid paying for these benefits,” U.S. Public Interest Research Group said in the report released today, the deadline for filing 2013 taxes.
ref: http://www.uspirg.org/reports/usp/picking-tab-2014

“Instead, ordinary taxpayers end up picking up the tab, either in the form of higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increases to the federal debt,” it said.

In total, the U.S. loses $150 billion in federal revenue and another $34 billion in state revenue annually because of money parked in tax havens, the Boston-based consumer advocacy group concluded.

That’s almost Read the rest of this entry »

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Perspective – By the Numbers: How has Job Loss under Governor Bentley & the GOP affected Alabama?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 14, 2014

It’s easy to talk about “the jobs situation” in Alabama. It’s especially easier to talk about it when it doesn’t affect you… directly. It’s like armchair quarterbacking.

There’s probably much truth to the statement that Alabama’s legislators aren’t directly affected by job loss in the state. They have jobs. As musician Steve Miller sang in his song “Take the Money and Run,” they make their “living off other people’s taxes.” That goes for Republicans AND Democrats. Such an observation, of course, is not to demean those who do “make their living off other people’s taxes,” because our military, public safety and others vital to our local, state and national well-being are among them. It is however, an acknowledgment of, and call to responsibility – not merely accountability – because accountability is the only remnant once responsibility has departed. And that is how the “Blame Game” is played.

In the previous entry entitled “Analysis – Examining the Record: Is Alabama Governor Bentley a “Jobs Creator” or a Drag on the State Economy?,” we looked at facts & figures about job loss & job creation during Governor Bentley’s administration.

In this entry, we examine some details on the extent of the damage done to families & individuals under his administration.

And so, let’s again refer to some previously-mentioned facts & figures, and introduce some new ones so that we can better understand the nature, scope and and extent of the situation, and corresponding problems Read the rest of this entry »

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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 someone else on Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s all about the money… says Hobby Lobby Store Lawyer Paul D. Clement to SCOTUS.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 28, 2014

Here, all along, we’ve been made to believe that Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. – a privately held firm headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which boasts themselves “as a major private corporation in Forbes and Fortunes list of America‘s largest private companies,” – objects on religious grounds (even though their owners are Protestant) to providing insurance coverage to their employees, which insurance includes coverage for female contraceptives.

Here is their attorney – Paul D. Clement, himself the 43d former Solicitor General of the United States – arguing their case:

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
Docket Number: 13-354
Date Argued: 03/25/14 Read the rest of this entry »

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Ignorance abounds in Alabama… but, there are signs of hope & change!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen it with my own two eyes.

Alabama State Senator Bryan Taylor's (R) response to a query on McCarthyism.

Alabama State Senator Bryan Taylor’s (R) response to a query on McCarthyism.

In a recent news report, it was mentioned that Alabama State Senator Bryan Taylor – whose Twitter presence and moniker is @SenBryanTaylor – recently Tweeted in response to a query mentioning late former United States Senator Joe McCarthy, that “Never heard of the guy, so I guess I’ll have to get the book, study up on him, and see if its credible.”

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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BIG OIL’s Corrupting Influence in American Politics: Propping up Corrupt Regimes to Prop Up Profits

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 7, 2014

Report

Slick Moves

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

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 »

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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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Dumb Dope Smugglers Lose Little Load

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 23, 2013

From the third episode of “dumberer & more dumberer” comes this asinine item.

Officials: Package at Daikin plant marijuana, not bomb

By Eric Fleischauer Staff Writer | Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013 9:54 am

Authorities have determined a suspicious package attached to a rail car in Decatur was not a bomb but contained marijuana, Morgan County officials said.

The rail car contained toxic gas and was at the Daikin America plant on State Docks Road.

Investigators said they believe the marijuana had been on the rail car since it was in Mexico. They said the package was the size of a large telephone book and contained 1 to 2 kilograms of marijuana. They believe the rail car entered the United States in Brownsville, Texas.

The package was in the dome on top of the rail car. It was discovered when

Read the rest of this entry »

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