Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Make French Bread

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 14, 2018

By definition, classic, authentic French bread has only 4 ingredients:
1.) Flour
2.) Salt
3.) Yeast
4.) Water

For some, baking is a mysteriously puzzling process. For others – as with math – it comes easily. Either way, it’s a learned process, can be taught, and the products it produces may be further developed, refined and enjoyed.

At the most basically fundamental level, making bread is the transformation of raw grains into deliciously tasty finished products. An entire language surrounding the baking of bread has arisen, and as our understanding of the art and science of bread-making continues to be developed, new terms may emerge. However, there remain time-tested terms about which many have heard – even if they’re not fully understood – and it is with those most basic terms and processes that French bread is understood, and made.

So in order to understand the how’s and why’s of bread-making, it’s equally important to understand the historical context in which French bread emerged.

Unlike bread in general, French bread’s history is relatively new, per se, and dates to the mid-to-late 1700’s – a revolutionary era in which France and the United States were forming.

Like the American Revolution, the French Revolution gave power to the people who were also subjected to abuse by terror-inducing government actions, including the forced quartering of troops (lodging & feeding) in private residences without either invitation by, or reimbursement to, the owners, and included shortages and rationing of staple food supplies because of many continuous years of harshly inclement climate and weather conditions resulting in crop failures, and other agricultural catastrophes.

Market speculation didn’t help matters, and prices for all foods rose rapidly, precipitously and exponentially, especially and particularly for wheat, and significantly adversely affected the poor and impoverished, who could no longer afford to buy flour. And what flour they were able to afford was of grossly inferior quality and poorly milled, which processing left many bran hulls in the final product.

But the pièce de résistance was mass starvation.

While the few wealthy elites had plenty of money to afford all kinds of food, the majority did not, and were literally starving. Consequentially, crimes of theft, murder, and prostitution were common because people didn’t have enough money to feed their families, and resorted to such activities merely to stay alive.

King Louis XVI and his royal entourage at the royal castle in Versailles were isolated from, oblivious, and indifferent to the escalating crisis of the people’s suffering. And while in response to the appellate courts’ orders to reduce spending, he did so begrudgingly, most of his token attempts to pacify by claiming reform were thwarted by his appointed judges.

During the age of Enlightenment many writers, pamphleteers and publishers informed or inflamed public opinion, and used opposition to the government as a resource to mobilize public opinion in opposition to the monarchy, which in turn tried to repress what became known as “underground” literature. Today, they would be called the “fake news” media.

Complaints of the era included Read the rest of this entry »

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First Lady Melania Trump Calls For Firing Of Deputy National Security Advisor Mira Ricardel

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Various news gathering and reporting agencies have said today that First Lady Melania Knauss Trump is seeking the firing of Deputy National Security Advisor Mira Ricardel, allegedly because she was disgruntled over the way her October trip to Africa was handled.

First Lady Melania Trump in Egypt, the last stop after visiting the African nations of Ghana, Malawi, and Kenya in October 2018.

Stephanie Grisham, Press Secretary and Communications Director for the First Lady, made an unprecedentedly terse statement that, “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.”

While Ms. Grisham offered no explanation for the complaint, others have said the basis of the request for her ouster is “over seating on the plane and requests to use National Security Council resources” during the First Lady’s solo trip to Africa. One White House staff member who declined to named for fear of retribution, defended Ms. Ricardel and said “Mira Ricardel is one of the highest ranking women in the Trump administration,” and noted that Ms. Ricardel “has never met the first lady.”

Mira Ricardel, Deputy National Security Advisor

Ms. Ricardel is top deputy to National Security Advisor John Bolton who is now in Singapore with Vice President Pence, where they are attending the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Ms. Ricardel’s clash with the First Lady’s staff came after she threatened to withhold National Security Council resources during Melania Trump’s trip to Africa last month unless she or another NSC official was included in her entourage. She did not go.

John R. Bolton, National Security Advisor

The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Bolton has resisted requests from White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to fire Ms. Ricardel, who Mr. Bolton hired April 23, 2018 from the Department of Commerce, and had previously worked in the Department of Defense under President George W. Bush.

John F. Kelly

Trump administration officials concede that Ms. Ricardel is widely disliked by many White House staffers because she’s considered inflexible and obsessed with process, which has complicated coordination between the National Security Council and other cabinet-level agencies. One White House official who declined to be named for fear of retribution, said Ms. Ricardel’s behavior has “sort of alienated everyone” at the National Security Council, except for Mr. Bolton.

Before her dust-up with the East Wing, Ms. Ricardel had regular conflicts with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, which contentious relationship is a well-known grudge within the Trump administration.

James N. Mattis, Secretary of Defense

Ms. Ricardel’s disputes with Mr. Mattis preceded her role as Deputy National Security Adviser and originated with Read the rest of this entry »

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Kyrsten Sinema Makes Arizona & American History

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Arizona Representative Kyrsten Sinema D-CD9, has won the Senate race against opponent AZ Representative Martha McSally, R-CD2.

Arizona Representative Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat who represented Congressional District 9, has won election over Representative Martha McSally, a Republican who represented the state’s Congressional District 2.

Her election is historical for at least two different reasons, the first being that she is the state’s first female US Senator, and second, she will be the first openly bisexual Member of Congress. She is also the first Democrat Arizonans have sent to the Senate since 1995 after Democrat Dennis DeConcini’s loss to Republican John Kyl.

Following the death of Republican Senator John McCain, who since 1987 was the state’s longest-serving senator, Republican Arizona Governor Doug Ducey temporarily appointed Kyl in September 2018 to fill the remainder of the term of that vacated seat. In a press conference following Governor Ducey’s announcement, Mr. Kyl said he would not seek re-election for the remainder of the term in the 2020 Special Election to fill the seat.

Reps. Sinema and McSally were campaigning for the seat vacated by Read the rest of this entry »

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Voting Problems Exist Because There’s No National Uniform Voting Standards Law

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 10, 2018

Cindy McCain, widow of late Arizona Republican Senator John McCain (1936-2018)

Cindy McCain, widow of late Republican Arizona Senator John McCain, on Thursday, November 8, 2018 criticized the Arizona GOP about a state GOP-initiated lawsuit over counting mail-in ballots by Tweeting, “ I am one of those mail in ballots. I was under the impression my vote was always counted.

Her Tweet was in response to the Arizona GOP’s efforts to get a judge to issue orders to stop counting mail-in ballots in the race for US Senate to fill the seat being vacated by Jeff Flake, a Republican. The two candidates, Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema find themselves in extremely close competition.

 

 

Both candidates are also Arizona Congressional Representatives. Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has represented the 9th Congressional District, while Republican Martha McSally has represented the 2nd Congressional District.

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/415894-cindy-mccain-rips-arizona-gop-for-suing-over-counting-mail-in-ballots-i-am

In court Thursday morning November 8, 2018, state Republican leaders were challenging mail-in ballots in Yuma, Navajo, Apache and Maricopa counties after the GOP parties in those counties filed a lawsuit challenging the way counties verify signatures on mail-in ballots that are dropped off at the polls on Election Day. The lawsuit did NOT allege any type of fraud.

The US Census Bureau estimated the 2017 population of Apache County as 71,606; Navajo County as 108,956; Yuma County as 207,534; and Maricopa County as 4,307,033. Maricopa County is location of the PhoenixMesaGlendale, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area. Together, those four counties comprise 66.9% of Arizona’s 7,016,270 estimated 2017 population.

Maricopa County Judge Margaret R. Mahoney

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Margaret Mahoney ruled that the counties should continue doing what they’re doing, and set another hearing for 2 p.m. Friday. And as of Friday morning, Sinema had a 9,000 vote lead over McSally. However, by Friday afternoon, her lead had expanded to over 20,000 votes.

When the two parties met in court, there was little fanfare, no grandstanding, and no contentious sparks flew, so it made for very poor political theatre, though others nationally attempted to inject false explosive allegations and deceptive narratives into the matter by deliberately gross mischaracterization.

The primary point of the suit involved a much more mundane matter, and specifically, the legal challenge was focused upon on a lack of procedural consistency in the time frame that counties allowed voters to correct signature “issues” on mail-in ballots.

And in only a matter of minutes after the AZ GOP held a grandstanding news/press conference in which they made accusation saying, “The Democrats are stealing the election and we’re not going to allow it,” and immediately before the court hearing, all of the counties and the Republican groups had come to an agreement, which Judge Mahoney approved with no fanfare.

The settlement, was that all of Arizona’s 15 counties would allow voters to verify the signatures on their ballots through 5 p.m. on Nov. 14.

Martha McSally, R-AZ

Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ

And the overriding irony of the matter, is that the counties whose election practices they ended up changing, were largely run by Republicans.

As of Saturday, 10 November, the Democrat Kyrsten Sinema still had about a 20,000 vote lead over Republican Martha McSally, according to The Arizona Republic, online as AZCentral, which is the state’s most-widely circulated newspaper.

There were also an estimated 360,000 outstanding ballots still being counted statewide. Of those, an estimated 266,000 are from Maricopa County.

For now, Sinema is leading in Maricopa and Pima counties by a net 83,652 votes. McSally’s lead in the state’s other 13 counties is 65,113.

Arizona’s protracted vote-count is due in large part to the need to verify signatures for those who vote by mail, which represents the bulk of ballots.

So far, the Democrat Sinema is winning the Republican-leaning Maricopa County by 3.3 percentage points.

One reason the race and ballot count is so hotly contested, is because the Republicans are in jeopardy of losing a Senate seat in the state for the first time in 30 years. As well, what also makes this race particularly interesting, is that Maricopa County has traditionally been a GOP stronghold, where Republicans outnumber Democrats by 130,000.

But, in essence, here’s a nut of what’s been happening not only there, but in other states, as well.

In some states, there are so-called “exact match” laws, rules, or regulations concerning the signatures of voters who cast absentee, or mail-in ballots, and in essence, those “exact match” laws, rules, or regulations give broad discretion to anyone counting those ballots to exercise their personal opinion – untrained, non-expert, unscientific independent judgment – about someone’s signature, specifically, whether they believe it was signed by the person who attested to signing it, or not. In other words, no expertise is required.

That is problematic for several reasons, not the least of which is that voter’s signature can change for many reasons, and over time, most people’s signatures do change. Voters who live with a disability, including many elderly voters, are more likely to vote absentee, due to accessibility issues. It is also more likely that their signature looks different than it did when they first registered to vote. Some degenerative diseases or disabilities with periodic symptoms do not affect a voter at the time of registration but may result in tremors or other symptoms that change the way someone signs their name.

People with eyesight loss often have signatures that change overtime. For example, in New Hampshire, Mary Saucedo, is 95 years old and legally blind. She votes with the help of her husband and cannot sign the same way twice. There are many people like Mrs. Saucedo, who for a variety of reasons, rely on another person to help them sign their ballot envelope – which is legal, and an important component of making voting accessible for people living with disabilities.

Mary Saucedo

Women, who more often change their name upon marriage or divorce, are also affected. The significance of a hyphenated last name or the presence or absence of a spouse’s last name can be an important part of a person’s identity. People who do not speak or write English as their first language and have had to learn to sign their name in a different language are another group adversely affected. And members of the military and voters living overseas who vote by absentee ballot are more likely to experience signature match issues simply by dint of relying on the absentee voting process.

So-called exact match signature matches tends to affect other vulnerable groups as well.
People who are transgender may have a different signature, and use a different name than when they initially registered to vote. Due to a plethora of legal, financial and societal barriers, legal name changes are not always possible. If they sign with a name that does not match the name in their voter registration file, or attempt to recreate their old signature, it may trigger a signature mismatch.

The U.S. Constitution protects voters’ due process rights. The concept of due process of law requires that all citizens be given fair notice and opportunity to be heard before having one’s rights taken away. The right to vote is a precious one that cannot be stolen from voters without due process.

Absentee ballots are intended to make voting more accessible for qualified voters, not to disenfranchise various, or often-marginalized populations.

So, in essence, because of well over 50+ differing rules, regulations & laws concerning #voting, #Congress should establish National Uniform Voting Standards to which ALL states & localities must comply. It’s preposterously ABSURDLY ASININE to have so MANY contradictory laws on a fundamental Constitutional RIGHT!

For example, in #TNpolitics #TNgov, there are 95 counties – each with different laws concerning voting, machines, polls, hours of operation, etc., because Tennessee state law allows counties to set their own rules concerning such matters. Now, multiply that by AT LEAST 50 states, and you’re only starting to see the magnitude of the problem – the veritable tip of the iceberg.

In our United States, there are 3,007 counties and 137 county equivalents for a total of 3,144. And according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 19,354 “incorporated areas” (cities and towns) in the United States.

The Federal government uses the term “county equivalent” to describe non-county administrative or statistical areas comparable to counties. For example, in Louisiana there are parishes; and in Alaska, there are organized boroughs; and in the District of Columbia; and the independent cities in Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, and Nevada are equivalent to counties for administrative purposes.

Andrew Gillum, Tallahassee, FL Mayor

Rep Ron DeSantis, FL CD6

Some laws relating to voting are completely arcane and bizarre. For example, in 35 states and many localities, an election with a tie-vote is decided by a coin toss.

In October 2016, the Bradenton Beach, FL mayoral race, was determined by drawing cards.

In 2015, a Mississippi state legislative contest was decided by drawing coffee straws.

And in 2012, a city council race in Webster, Texas, was decided by the roll of the dice, which didn’t go exactly as planned. “The decisive roll followed two failed attempts. [The first] roll skipped off the table,” triggering a reroll. “When the second throws yielded a tie,” the other candidate “said she became ‘frayed around the edges,’ ” as ABC News wrote.

Presently, in #Broward County, FL, it’s a veritable redux of the events which led to Bush v Gore in December 2000, with improperly handled or lost, miscounted or uncounted #ballots. Republican Ron DeSantis has declared victory over Democratic challenger, Andrew Gillum, Mayor of Tallahassee, while votes counted in Broward County since Tuesday have significantly narrowed GOP leads in the Senate race, in which Former Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, has about a 15,000-vote lead over incumbent Senator, Democrat Bill Nelson with more than 8.1 million ballots cast. And in the governor’s race, at first blush, while Mayor Gillum conceded, on Saturday, 10 November 2018, 12:08PM though, he later Tweeted that “I am replacing my earlier concession with an unapologetic and uncompromised call to count every vote.

The Republican Ron DeSantis lead Democrat Andrew Gillum by about 36,000 votes.

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis leads by 0.47 percentage points, a margin that would require a recount under Florida law. A recount is mandatory if the winning candidate’s margin is less than 0.5 percentage points when the first unofficial count is verified Saturday by Florida’s secretary of state.

Democrat Andrew Gillum, the Mayor of Tallahassee, trailed by about 1 percentage point and fewer than 80,000 votes when he conceded Tuesday. As the vote gap narrowed, Gillum said he wanted to see every vote counted, indicating he would not stand in the way of a recount.

Stacey Abrams, D, former Minority Leader, Georgia State House of Representatives, district 89

Brian Kemp-R, Georgia Secretary of State

In #Georgia, the Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, is declaring himself the winner of the Governor’s race over Democrat Stacey Abrams, the minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives – an unmistakably clear Conflict of Interest – while uncounted ballots – at least 3291 military absentee, and 21,190 provisional – remain uncounted in Georgia’s 159 counties. The key number however, is 26,000 – which is roughly the number of votes needed to force the contest into a December 4 runoff.

Kemp, who resigned as Secretary of State Thursday, November 8, 2018 at noon, claims that even if Abrams got all the remaining uncounted ballots, he’d still win. Departing Governor Nathan Deal-R, appointed a temporary successor as the Secretary of State.

There’s practically NO STANDARD UNIFORMITY concerning #voting-related matters in our United States. It’s an unnecessarily confusing mishmash hodgepodge of often-conflicting laws, rules & regulations varying town-to-town, county-to-county & state-to-state. It could NOT be more All Fouled Up!

The Constitution, in Article I, Section 4, specifically gives Congress the power to regulate the “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections.”

For example also, #ALpolitics is only 1 of 8 states that STILL allows straight-party/ticket #voting, i.e., voting for ALL candidates of 1 party with 1 ballot mark. #Felony #disenfranchisement varies in all 50 states, and in some states (ME & VT), felons can vote while incarcerated.

In some states, ONLY the Governor can restore #VotingRights, while in others, it’s semi-automatic, while yet in others, ex-cons must ask for it to be returned – it’s not automatically restored upon fulfillment/completion of sentence. In other words, one CANNOT TRULY fully “pay one’s debt to society.”

Another illustration how problems made by lack of National Uniform Voting Standards #VotingMatters is poll hours. #ALpolitics State law mandates 7A-7P operation. That’s not so in all states. A state could legally limit poll hours to 3 & limit site to 1 because there’s NO Federal prohibition against it.

The net effect of all this is #VoterSuppression. When there are SO MANY varying laws on #VotingMatters, #voting participation declines & only those seriously committed to voting do so. THAT MUST CHANGE. The MORE people vote & participate in #government, the better we’ll all be.

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How To: Increase Voter Access, Voter Participation, Vote Security, Voting Ease

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Today is Election Day!

The 2018 Mid-Term Elections are NOW underway!

Which brings us to another point:
With the proliferation of confusing and contradictory laws varying from state-to-state, often-unnecessary voter purges, voter suppression efforts, disenfranchisement attempts, and often outright intimidation, it makes perfectly good sense for Congress to step up to the plate, and take control of the 50-state hodgepodge patchwork mishmash voting-related varieties to establish National Uniform Voting Standards.

They certainly have the authority, as evidenced by the various laws concerning voting, including the 15th Amendment, 19th Amendment, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (aka Motor Voter), and others.

Now, they should act!

There are MANY excellent examples we could follow, including Read the rest of this entry »

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“Newt Gingrich Says ‘You’re Welcome'” Reveals GOP Strategy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 15, 2018

I find significant ignorance, irony, even hypocrisy in Newt Gingrich’s political theories.

There’s no denying that he has significantly influenced American politics, and by some standards, coarsened it, even made it highly unpalatable. It is undeniably unpleasant – even for numerous long-time observers, participants, and others.

But moreover, I find Gingrich’s model deeply, and inherently flawed.

But first, to set the background, here’s the transcript of a brief interview NPR’s Rachel Martin had with The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins as heard on NPR’s Morning Edition on Monday, October 15, 2018, about his recent interview with Newt Gingrich.

NOTE: ADDITIONAL ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY FOLLOWS THE TRANSCRIPT.

Rachel Martin: “Newt Gingrich will tell you he saw something in Donald Trump early on, that made him believe Trump could win the presidency. And that ‘something’ Gingrich saw, has a lot to do with how he sees himself. The former Speaker of the House made a name for himself by breaking a lot of political mores, and refusing to compromise with the other side – much like President Trump.

“The Atlantic magazine’s McKay Coppins spent some time with Newt Gingrich recently, for a profile he did. It’s called ‘Newt Gingrich Says ‘You’re Welcome.'”

In the opening of the brief interview, Rachel Martin begins by saying, “So… you went to spend some time with Newt Gingrich, and he suggested that you do so at the Philadelphia Zoo.”

McKay Coppins: [chuckles] “That’s right!”
Rachel Martin: “How come?”

Coppins: “Well, he is a famous animal lover. He, ah… you know, donated to zoos around the world. He… he loves animals. But I think also, what became clear to me as I got there, is that, he ah… he sees animals as Read the rest of this entry »

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Ever Had A Bad Restaurant Experience? Here’s What You Can Do.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 7, 2018

Ever been to a busy restaurant?

Who hasn’t?

By “busy,” I mean one with many customers/patrons while you’re there. It could be any style restaurant, of course, such as a fast-food place, but more particularly, I mean to refer to restaurants that have wait staff.

In such a busy restaurant, the place will typically be crowded, practically all seats will be filled at every table, and if there’s a bar counter with chairs, it’ll be filled up too. And  on football game days, some restaurants are filled to capacity, often just as much as they’re filled on weekends year round.

It seems eating/dining out is a type of American pastime. It’s common to hear others say “go there, try that, try the new dish” at this, that or the other restaurant.

Doubtless, at some time or another, at any type of restaurant, we’ve experienced slow or poor service, and even poor quality of food in some of them. Even the well-known Waffle House chain restaurant can have moments when they’re overwhelmed with customers, thereby stressing the cook and wait staff.

So, think about how long it took you to be seated, then be waited upon, then to get your drinks, and then food, and how well (or not) your needs were attended do during the meal.

With any crowded restaurant, the large number of patrons can overwhelm the wait staff, and the kitchen staff. Yes, it can be frustrating, but you’re hungry and/or have made plans or reservations, so you don’t want go to another restaurant – and often won’t. After all, you’re already there. And it’s a hassle to do that. Right? So, you settle, suffer, and endure the poor service.

The source of the problem, and the primary matter to be addressed is inadequate staffing. What is a proper ratio of waitstaff to customers? And what is a proper ratio of kitchen staff to customers? How many chefs and line cooks does it take to support a given amount of tables during peak hours? How many bussers and host staff are needed? How many bartenders? An effective staffing ratio is the answer to those questions and others related to effective, efficient service in a full house restaurant.

In a restaurant that seats 100 people, it would be absurd to imagine that only 1 waitstaff could effectively meet the needs of all 100 patrons. Similarly, it’d be equally preposterous to think that only 1 cook could effectively or simultaneously prepare enough food for 100 patrons. That’s completely ignoring the number of Read the rest of this entry »

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Political Power Hunger: What Goes Around, Comes Around -or- Brett Kavanaugh Loves Merrick Garland, And Other Absurdities

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 5, 2018

“In the 12 years you’ve been on the D.C. Circuit,
of all the matters that you, and Chief Judge Garland have voted on together,
that you voted together 93% of the time.
Not only that, of the 28 published opinions that you’ve authored
– where Chief Judge Garland was on the panel –
Chief Judge Garland joined 27 out of the 28 opinions you issued when you were on the panel together.
In other words,
he joined 96% of the panel opinions that you’ve written,
when he was on the panel with you.
And the same’s true in the reverse.
Of the 30 published opinions that Chief Judge Garland has written on a panel,
you’ve joined 28 out of 30 of them
– over 93% of those opinions.“

– TX US Senator Ted Cruz (R), as Senate Judiciary Committee member to Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where Merrick Garland is Chief Judge

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (b.1970), Official portrait

Like many, it disgusts me to see the shenanigans that is now passing as a nomination process for Justice to the United States Supreme Court. And just to be clear, I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of any political party.

So, how did we get into this disgusting fray in which a Supreme Court nominee is alleged to have committed felony acts as an older teen?

How did a Constitutionally Mandated process, such as a Supreme Court nomination, become a national disgrace, a veritable circus of hyperbole, scandal, disgrace, outpouring of debauchery, immorality, and even international embarrassment?

In order to answer those questions and more, we must first examine the irony of hypocrisy in an historical context.

Antonin Scalia (1936-2016), Associate Justice, 2013 portrait.

• On February 13, 2016, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, aged 79, was found dead, apparently having died in his sleep while on a quail hunting trip at Cibolo Creek Ranch near Shafter, one of many Texas ghost towns. Of note, he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 1986 after nomination by then-POTUS Ronald Reagan.

President Barack Obama (b.1961), Official portrait, Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

• On March 16, 2016, Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

Posted in - Business... None of yours, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Posted in - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man? | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Posted in - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., WTF | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Posted in - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News, End Of The Road | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Posted in - Even MORE Uncategorized! | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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 »

Posted in - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man? | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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