Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Law Is Good, Love Is Better

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 2, 2018

It seemed like such a good idea at the time: Carve the law of the nation in stone. We citizens of another land and millennia can appreciate how final the Ten Commandments must have felt — and yet Read the rest of this entry »

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How Has the GOP Improved Alabama Quality of Life?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, August 31, 2018

In almost every measure of the quality of life, Alabama comes up short. Seriously short. Or, to couch it in somewhat Biblical terms (which most Alabamians of any political or religious stripe would understand… and, which most any reasonably well-read person would as well), “You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.” ref: Daniel 5:27 (NIV)

This is not a Republican thing, per se, nor is it a Democratic thing. It is an ongoing statement of the poor quality of of almost EVERYTHING in Alabama. The root of most every problem plaguing Alabamians lies with the state’s 1901 Constitution which, among other things, FORBIDS local self-governance known as Home Rule – the basic principle upon which our democratic republic was founded – which is that EVERY person has a voice, a vote, and a say-so in how things are run from the grass-roots level, and that all are equal under the law, which is no discriminator of persons.

That is in large part why on almost every statewide ballot there are questions pertaining to counties or cities, and why the entire state must vote on what people in the opposite sides of the state do, and why they have a say-so in other towns and cities governance. Think of it as allowing your nosy neighbors a say in how you do things in your house.

Yeah, I know… weird, isn’t it? Maybe “stupid” would be another, better, or more accurate choice of words.

In Montgomery, when the part-time Legislature with full-time pay convenes (total compensation for legislators approximates $50,000/year), they are constitutionally required and mandated to legislate local matters, because the constitution literally FORBIDS local people from making local decisions.

The legislature is further hamstrung, and the people are thereby harmed, by the inordinately short period of time to which they are similarly constitutionally constrained to meet – 30 meeting days in a  105 calendar day period. Who could get ANYTHING done for 4.8 million people in such a short period of time? Seriously… WHO?

Consider public corruption as an example of how problematic the 1901 Alabama State Constitution truly is. Most recently, the GOP-dominated Legislature, Governor’s office, individual legislators (predominately GOP), and other ancillary agencies (Alabama State Troopers/Department of Public Safety, later known as ALEA, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, etc.) were involved in corruption scandals, the likes of which the state hasn’t seen in, like… FOREVER! Seriously. The extent and degree of severity of corruption which has recently plagued Alabama is unparalleled.

Once the GOP-dominated Legislature was in power, they promptly set about improving the practically toothless Ethics Laws which many of them promised to change, if elected. Ordinarily, that’d be a good thing. Mike Hubbard became Speaker of the House, and the state’s top executive branch offices – Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Auditor, State Treasurer, and Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries – were all filled by Republicans.

Now, here’s where the problems begin.

All THREE branches of government – the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial – were touched by serious corruption. As a natural consequence, the people’s business was impeded and damaged, which also wasted the taxpayers time, money and resources to investigate and prosecute.

But perhaps the MOST costly price paid was continued damage to the state’s already tarnished image in the public eye, nationally and internationally… as if it could get any worse.

Governor Robert Bentley was the subject of Federal and State investigations over whether he misused public funds, and violated campaign finance law to further his extra-marital involvement with a female aide. Corollary to that, he was also facing impeachment… the first ever Alabama governor to face such serious public scrutiny and reprisal.

The Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and other legislators were facing investigations and indictments by the Attorney General for possible violations of ethics laws, and other related laws. Named as witnesses were many well-known, high-powered big business lobbyists, and their clients.

The State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was facing a SECOND investigation in his second elected term over his refusal to obey and uphold Federal Law, and a Federal Judge’s court order to obey the law, which meant he could face public trial by the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission (his peers), and a SECOND possible expulsion from the bench.

The Governor accepted a plea deal to two lesser misdemeanors, resigned from office, repaid monies, performed community service, and promised to never again hold public office.

The Chief Justice was found guilty and removed from the bench – a SECOND time.

The Speaker of the House and other legislators were all found GUILTY of violating the very Ethics Laws they passed – which were all felony violations.

As well, over a dozen current legislators and others (high-powered attorneys, former legislators, lobbyists, business owners, etc.) are STILL being found GUILTY of, or pleading GUILTY to violating Federal and/or state law, including bribery, mail fraud, Medicare fraud, misuse of public office, and various other forms of abuse of public trust.

And then, there’s the sheriff from Etowah County, Todd Entrekin, who was found to have LEGALLY redirected funds which were to have been used for feeding inmates (three-quarters of a million dollars), to his own personal use, to, with his wife Karen, purchase a luxurious beachfront house on the Gulf Coast.

All but one of those identified are Republicans.

But again, this is not an “Us versus Them” or “Republican versus Democrat” problem. It’s a corruption problem, the predominate root of which lies with the 1901 Alabama State Constitution. Consequently, the entire state suffers.

Harvard University’s Center for Ethics researched Legal and Illegal corruption in all 50 states three branches of government, and found Alabama wanting by most measures.

Of course, it neither helps that Alabama has a continuous and ongoing history of voting for one party, or the other – so that there’s rarely if ever a mix of parties in power. It’s quite literally, a bipolar type of operation, which goes from one extreme, to the other.

Alabama has had SIX constitutions, and the one under which it now labors is not even the best of the five which preceded it.

The state’s present constitution – the 1901 Constitution – has well over 900 amendments. That one thing alone makes it the most bloated and inefficient of any such type of governing document in the entire world – hands down, bar none.

The Dictionary of Alabama says this about Alabama’s 1901 Constitutional Convention:
“Called primarily to establish White supremacy by disfranchising Blacks, the Constitutional Convention of 1901 continues to shape Alabama politics in the twenty-first century. The convention also concentrated power in the state legislature, decreased opportunities for Home Rule, and established voter requirements that even many White men could not meet, reducing the political influence of the state’s many poor Whites. The 155 delegates to the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1901 codified Black disfranchisement and increased the political power of the state legislature at the expense of local government.”

So when combined with the fact that it STILL contains racist language, and provisions which have been Read the rest of this entry »

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Many Years, Countless Tears… But Joy Comes With The Morning.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 27, 2018

Tapestry of Saint Monica of Hippo, by John Nava (b.1947).

For many, many years Saint Monica of Hippo wept during her ceaselessly tireless prayers for her husband Patricius – a pagan whom lived in her hometown of Tagast in North Africa, to whom her parents gave her in marriage, even though she was a Christian – their son Augustine, and her mother-in-law who lived with them, to become Christians. Patricius was known for his violent temper and licentiousness, while Monica’s mother-in-law was similarly ornery and cantankerous. Her dedication and devotion to Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump is President. What could possibly go wrong? Could the Electrical Power Grid go down? Ask NIST.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 20, 2018

If the GOP and POTUS have their way, your cell phone GPS, cell phone clock, Internet clock, atomic clock, communication satellites, and countless other devices reliant upon accurate timekeeping which are not even owned by you could go awry. Even our power grid could suffer.

Why?

First, some background.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has for many years operated our national Atomic Clock. In fact, in 2014 they “launched a new atomic clock, called NIST-F2, to serve as a new U.S. civilian time and frequency standard, along with the current NIST-F1 standard.

According to the NIST’s news item, Read the rest of this entry »

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Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin passes musical scepter and crown to Candi Staton

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin (1942–2018)

On this day in which we mourn the passing of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, it seems fitting to acknowledge a similarly renown 78-year-old soul singer from the tiny north Alabama town of Hanceville whose new album will be released soon.

Aretha Franklin at FAME Recording Studios, in Muscle Shoals, AL. Her first Number One hit “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” was written for her by her friend Ronnie Shannon, produced by Jerry Wexler, and released in 1967 – was recorded at FAME Studios with the guidance and direction of Rick Hall. It almost didn’t get cut (and was the only song recorded at that session) because of tensions between her then-husband Ted White and a member of the Muscle Shoals Horn Section, and Jerry Wexler and FAME owner Rick Hall.

The two artists share numerous similarities, and could – for all practical purposes – be considered musical sisters by virtue of their musical upbringings. The producers, musicians, engineers and others – including their families – in whose orbit they traveled, are similar, if not identical, as are their life stories.

The other to whom I refer is Candi Staton.

Linked below, NPR previews the album (linked on the page) which will be released August 24, and supplies a brief story about her 30th album which is entitled “Unstoppable.”

“Unstoppable” is Candi Staton’s 30th album.

That woman, of course, is the unstoppable Candi Staton, whose previous album “Life Happens” released in 2014, was also the very last one her early mentor Rick Hall of FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals – who guided her career change from gospel to soul, including that of Aretha Franklin with her first Number 1 R&B hit “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” – produced before he died of prostate cancer on the second day of this new year aged 85. On that album, she collaborated with other Alabamians of musical renown, including Jason Isbell, and Read the rest of this entry »

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A Truly DELICIOUS Pot Pie! Beef Bourguignonne style!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 7, 2018

“Nothing says loving like something from the oven.”
anonymous

To the idea of pot pies, some folks say things like, “You know, I’ve never liked pot pies, but probably because it was always store bought.”

-or-

“He HATES pot pies. I LOVE them.”

And then, after looking at the ingredients I used, they say this…

“That recipe looks scrumptious.”

-and-

“I’ll have to try this recipe. He might eat it if I make it.”

Understand this: Most all recipes – and that means 99.99% – have their origin in someone’s kitchen – not in a giant factory vat or laboratory test tube.

Also understand this: Recipes are Read the rest of this entry »

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Love Is Bigger Than Hurt

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 13, 2018

Joseph had it tough as the second youngest in a family of 12 brothers. Picked on and hated because he was his dad Jacob’s favorite, Joseph ended up sold into slavery by his brothers. After many years of separation from his family, he again met his brothers, only this time the tables were turned: Joseph was in a position of power, and his brothers were the vulnerable ones. It wouldn’t have taken much for Joseph to Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump Nominates “Deep State” GOP Insider for SCOTUS

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brent Kavanaugh, is a jurist on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, was nominated to that position by then-POTUS George W. Bush in 2003, and approved by the Senate in a 57-36 vote May 2006.

Since then, he has become the 45th President’s nominee to replace the senior Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who announced his retirement effective 31 July 2018.

Most notably, Judge Kavanaugh was Justice Kennedy’s Law Clerk during the October Term 1993, so the two men most definitely have a relationship. Law clerks are typically hired by the judge for whom they work, and the D.C. circuit is viewed as a type of “preparatory” for the Supreme Court (SCOTUS).

White House news Correspondent for NBC Geoff R. Bennett (Twitter: @GeoffRBennett) Tweeted early yesterday morning (4:16AM 10 July) that “Source familiar tells NBC that Justice Kennedy had been in negotiations with the Trump team for months over Kennedy’s replacement. Once Kennedy received assurances that it would be Kavanaugh (his former law clerk) Kennedy felt comfortable retiring – @LACaldwellDC & @frankthorp.”

Mr. Bennett’s Tweet was essentially reiterated in a later Tweet by NBC Capitol Hill Reporter which suggested that at least one unnamed reliable source close to the White House knew in advance that Justice Kennedy and the POTUS had communicated in some way to get Judge Kavanaugh on the “short list” of potential nominees.

Ms. Caldwell deleted her original Tweet which was posted 7:14AM 10 July, but posted a screen shot of it in a later Tweet and wrote that she had done so “because it incorrectly implies a transactional nature in Kennedy’s replacement.” Her replacement Tweet stated: “To be clear: This is from one source and dont have any info on whether potus talked to kennedy about a possible replacement.” -and in a followup Tweet- “Furthermore, the five names Trump added to his list of Federalist Approved judges last November was to get Kavanaugh on that list. The other four names were considered cover, per source. In other words: the decision has been baked for a while:”

She additionally noted that Politico had also covered the story.

Presidential adviser Karl Rove (LEFT), with Brett Kavanaugh in 2004. At the time, Mr. Kavanaugh was Staff Secretary in the G.W. Bush White House.

Given Judge Kavanaugh’s bona fides as a G.W. Bush insider, and Read the rest of this entry »

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Judge Brett Kavanaugh: Liar On The Federal Bench

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 8, 2018

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh (b.1965), United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Brett Kavanaugh, who has been said to be under consideration as a SCOTUS nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, for whom he also clerked during the October Term 1993, presently has lifetime tenure as a Federal Circuit Court Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In May 2006 when he last appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee as a nominee for that position, he was asked Read the rest of this entry »

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The Power of Forgiveness

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 6, 2018

The story of Maria Goretti, the young virgin and martyr whose feast is celebrated today, is one that generations have read with a mixture of horror and fascination.Maria was only 11 years old when she was attacked and shortly died from injuries inflicted –murdered – by a would-be rapist. That’s the horrific part of her story. The fascinating part is Read the rest of this entry »

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From Pain to Gain

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, July 5, 2018

“What a life of bitterness I am leading,” said Saint Elizabeth of Portugal (1271-1336). “On whom but God can I depend?” Those anguished words came from a woman who, aged 12 was Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t Fan The Flames

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 30, 2018

In the summer of A.D. 64 a terrible fire swept through the city of Rome. Emperor Nero found himself praised for his efforts to help the victims, and accused of setting the fire. To deflect the criticism, he Read the rest of this entry »

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Shouldering Responsibility

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, June 29, 2018

The pallium is an ancient liturgical vestment worn only by the pope and a very few other high-level church officials upon whom the pope bestows it as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them. In honor of Saints Peter and Paul, today is the day of Read the rest of this entry »

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Think Before You Act

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, June 28, 2018

The church calendar identifies the second-century saint Irenaeus as a “bishop and martyr.” He was certainly a bishop (of Lyons in France), but his martyrdom may be more legendary. He is remembered primarily, however, not for his death but for Read the rest of this entry »

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The Mother Of All Role Models

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Saint Cyril of Alexandria (c. 374-444) was a scholar, writer and bishop who promoted the use of the title Theotokos (“God-bearer”) for Read the rest of this entry »

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Discover The Mystery of You

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 24, 2018

Each newborn child is a mystery about to unfold in the world. And there is always the potential for joy and pain, great good or tremendous misery. To a great extent, much of what the child becomes is contained in the context of the family: Its resources, stability, and Read the rest of this entry »

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How well do we see ourselves?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, June 22, 2018

Self-knowledge isn’t always welcome. We prefer to think well of ourselves, so if that requires a little trip to “the land of denial” now and again, it can’t be helped. Or can it? In the fourth century, when Read the rest of this entry »

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