Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Archive for the ‘– My Hometown is the sweetest place I know’ Category

Mayberry, May – ber – ry! Remember when Aunt Bea and Clara wrote their song? Whose hometown isn’t the sweetest place they know? (It could be, but might not be.) But aren’t we proud of where we are?

#ALpolitics #RoyMoore: Activist Judge

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, November 16, 2017

Activist Judge, anyone?

For many years, Roy Moore has attempted to gut the state’s “Rape Shield” law by his rulings from the Alabama Supreme Court bench as Chief Justice, and has written opinions from the bench that expressed disdain for the law, and which were totally opposite the other justices’ opinions. THAT is the very definition of an “activist” judge.

“Rape Shield” laws are designed to Read the rest of this entry »

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Mary Jo West Confirms Leigh Corfman’s Roy Moore Abuse Story

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 13, 2017

Mary Jo West confirms Leigh Corfman’s Roy Moore abuse story.

November 11 at 9:34AM

I need to say something, not because I want to get political, but because I know the truth and I need to tell it.

The now-national story about Roy Moore and Leigh Corfman is true, and I have known it for over 20 years. Leigh’s mother and step-father have been friends of mine since 1992 and I know them to be the best of people. We don’t share the same political beliefs but we love and respect each other on a level deeper than politics and these wonderful friends tell the truth. They are caring and educated and accomplished people who would choose privacy over headlines any day.

Leigh’s mother told me and others “The Roy Moore Story” in the mid-1990s, because her daughter had finally unburdened herself after years of silence and that burden lay dark and deep on a mother’s shoulders and in that mother’s heart. I listened to the same details as those that are printed now, and while some of the story has faded with time, several facts are seared into my brain: 1) the attacker was attorney Roy Moore and the victim was then teenager Leigh Corfman; 2) Roy Moore got Leigh to his house under false pretenses; 3) Roy Moore made overt sexual advances to Leigh which involved Roy Moore coming out of the bathroom undressed and ready for action; 4) Leigh was terrified and had the good sense to say NO and Roy Moore accepted her NO.

During Roy Moore’s political ascent, I’ve almost called Leigh’s mother many times to suggest that they expose who Roy Moore is at his core, but I realize that this story is Leigh’s to tell… no one else’s. Why has she not exposed him before now? Perhaps because no one likes being called a liar – and she is being called that now. Perhaps because that secret was safer locked away from the pain that she must be reliving now and having to deal with all over again.

Whatever it is, it is NOT a political conspiracy. Leigh’s parents bleed Republican red as long as I have known them…and Leigh says she has voted Republican in the last three elections. While this story has the “He said, She said” element, surely the counterbalance on the scales in Leigh’s favor is US…the group of friends who knew the story before it was a headline. There was simply no reason for Leigh to make this story up when she was young and trying to figure out life. Roy Moore’s terrifying advances surely had to complicate the path that she admitted was filled with choices she would like to redo. She owned them, admirably, but I wonder if some of her young years might have been easier if she hadn’t been abused by Roy Moore when she was 14 years old, vulnerable and confused.

Perhaps it’s simply that it’s time to shout from the rooftops that this man, Roy Moore…who wants our nation’s trust and our belief that he is a good man… simply doesn’t deserve our trust. He lied yesterday when he said he had never met Leigh Corfman. Maybe he’s gotten too old to act on his abnormal urges now, but in his heart, he still knows that when he could, he scared and emotionally scarred young women and in that chamber of his heart, his blood still runs mean and cold.

I believe in redemption and forgiveness. I’ve asked for forgiveness many times in my life, but first, you have to acknowledge that you did something wrong. And yesterday Roy Moore stood staunch and unyielding that he did no wrong. Take a lie detector test, Mr. Moore. There’s nothing fake in this story. Roy Moore is lying. This story happened and it was shared mother-to-mother with no agenda other than to get it off her chest and share her agony. Women friends do that, thankfully. Leigh’s mother told me this story when Roy Moore was a nobody…now he’s just a lying somebody.

Just because Leigh Corfman didn’t come forward and tell this horrific story about a bad man until now, doesn’t mean that it never happened. It’s her story. Yes, it was a long time coming, but Read the rest of this entry »

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Roy Moore: Threat, Or Savior? Examine his history to see!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, November 12, 2017

First of all, let me state for the record: I am no fan of Roy Moore, nor have I ever been. So  if you’re closed minded enough to shut me out at this point, it’s your loss.

As a native, and long-time (almost lifetime) Alabamian with numerous family & friends still residing there, I “have a dog in that fight,” as is said. And to be certain, I love Sweet Home. What’s NOT to like about a state with one of the nation’s most significant diversity of flora and fauna, with mountains and beaches, clean water (for the most part), and moderate climate? It’s her politicians I loathe.

Sure, whenever the word “Alabama” comes up, most folks outside the state simply roll their eyes, and shake their heads. I mean, after all, who could forget George C. Wallace who once infamously said following his 1958 gubernatorial electoral defeat, “I was out-niggered by John Patterson. And I’ll tell you here and now, I will never be out-niggered again.”

Who could forget the host state where horrific actions by former Governor George C. Wallace, who in his 1963 gubernatorial inaugural infamously said “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” and his notorious stand in the schoolhouse door a few months later at Foster Auditorium on the campus of the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa on June 11, 1963?

Who could forget the deaths of 4 little girls in the KKK bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, the Bus Boycott, lunch counter sit-ins, Bloody Sunday, Birmingham’s cruel Police Chief Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor, high-pressure fire hoses, police dogs, and the Selma to Montgomery March?

There’s no question that it is Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Will Not Progress Until #ALpolitics Has A New #Constitution

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 29, 2017

In her gubernatorial campaign bid, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb has a new ad referencing the state’s fouled budgeting, in an ostensibly humorous manner, citing repeated “borrowing” from the Educational Trust Fund as culprit.

Sue Bell Cobb’s new campaign video:

However… the ROOT of the EXCEEDING MAJORITY of the state’s problems lie with its bloated and unwieldy 1901 Constitution (now with 900+ amendments and counting, making it the world’s LONGEST, bar none), which in part FORBIDS “Home Rule,” which is the legal authority of local governments, i.e., counties and cities, to self-govern, and instead FORCES state legislators to micro-manage cities and counties, wasting precious time on exclusively local matters, rather than effectively steering the ship of state. If you’ve ever wondered why Read the rest of this entry »

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GOP Cause & Democrat Effect

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 8, 2017

POS45 and the GOP are showing the people why the Democrats will sweep the House & get control of the Senate next year. 

The GOP continually demonstrates they care NOT for humanity. Their god is money and greed. In their warped imagination, people are expendable. Protect a fertilized egg or zygote, and neglect those whom are living and breathing. Take from the poor, give to the rich. I got mine, good luck with yours.

As my late father said many times, Read the rest of this entry »

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134,971,077 Reasons So Far This Year For #ALpolitics To #LegalizeIt & #Tax #Cannabis

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 3, 2017

If one were to look at Colorado as an example of reasons to legalize cannabis, there would be at least 134,971,077 reasons this year so far to FULLY legalize it not only in Alabama, but nationwide.

You see, $134,971,077 is the “Total All Marijuana Taxes, Licenses, Calendar Year-to-Date” Colorado has collected.

ref: State of Colorado Marijuana Taxes, Licenses, and Fees Transfers and Distribution Tax Revenue from July 2017
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/revenue/colorado-marijuana-tax-data

But if one were to completely ignore the increased voluntary revenue, there are other topics raised.

And of course, opponents of cannabis legalization make assertions like DUI rates will increase. But, there’s nothing like the truth to dispel such specious claims. Remember: Specious means “superficially plausible, but actually wrong.”

So here are some facts on that very matter from Oregon, which has also legalized cannabis for recreational purposes.

“Five to ten times more drivers who were involved in fatal accidents in Oregon between 2004 and 2014 had alcohol in their system than THC. As with THC intoxication, the overall trend of alcohol intoxication in fatal accidents has been an increase since 2010, although alcohol-related fatalities spiked significantly in 2015 while THC-related fatalities decreased slightly.”

ref: 2015 House Bill 3400 DUII Legislative Report
http://www.oregon.gov/olcc/marijuana/Documents/HB3400_2015_DUIILegislativeReport.pdf

“Overall traffic fatalities increased substantially in all three states [CO, OR, WA] between 2014 and 2015 and cannot be explained by THC-related fatalities. This data illustrates that traffic fatalities overall remain a significant problem, independent of THC-related crashes.”

Logically, and rationally, legalizing Cannabis is common sense, for the following two simple reasons: Read the rest of this entry »

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Should Churches Be Taxed?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 29, 2017

In response to Lakewood Church, and Joel Osteen’s initial refusal to open the doors of that facility to be a refuge from the torrential storms deluging Houston:

If I’m not mistaken (and I could be), late former Alabama Governor George C. Wallace advocated taxing churches & other religious institutions.

I think there is genuine merit in considering the argument – pro & con – why churches should remain tax-free institutions, particularly given that their ostensible purposes include Read the rest of this entry »

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“Gotta’ Travel On” Was Early Cross Over Hit

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The song “Gotta’ Travel On,” written by by Billy Wayne Grammer (August 28, 1925 – August 10, 2011), is perhaps among the most renown songs in modern recorded history, and for good reason. It was one of the very first songs to have ever had broad “crossover” appeal.

The song’s melody is a traditional one, and the lyrics are thought to be based on a fragment of an unnamed song found in the archives of the Virginia Folklore Society entitled “Done Laid Around,” though there are versions of the song with the same title which typically use a different set of stanzas.

February 22, 1958, Pete Seeger became the first musician to have recorded it and the lyrics with which most are now familiar – which were written by Paul Clayton, David Lazar, Larry Ehrlich, Fred Hellerman, Pete Seeger, and Lee Hays. The BMI Award Winning Song is BMI Work #503008 in the repertoire, and is 100% controlled by BMI.

Pete Seeger performs “Gotta Travel On”

It was only very shortly thereafter, in 1959, when Billy Wayne Grammer recorded and released that song, that it charted on the Country (ranking 5th), Pop (ranking 4th) AND R&B (ranking 14th) music charts! That was no small feat! While not the very first such crossover song,”Gotta’ Travel On” was certainly one of the first. And in the years since, many songs have increased popularity among wider audiences by artists whose interpretations have brought nuance, and even complete change to a song.

Of the numerous musicians have since lent their interpretations to, and re-recorded “Gotta’ Travel On,” which include musical luminaries such as Read the rest of this entry »

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You CAN!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 24, 2017

My late father, who grew up in abject poverty in rural West Alabama in Lamar County, escaped poverty by serving in the Navy during the Korean War. Daddy said he asked his father – who had at most, a 3rd Grade education, and who, like him was well-acquainted with the backside of a mule and a plough – if he thought it would be a good idea for him to join the Navy. Daddy said that his father replied, “I think it’s a good idea. Maybe you won’t have to work as hard as I have.”

Daddy completed High School, which was almost an unheard-of thing for many in that era, especially in that location, and then went to Navy Boot Camp at San Diego, which is now San Diego Naval Air Station, where he experienced culture shock. Though he never identified it as such, his stories to me about his time there clearly indicate it was.

The idiomatic phrase “everything but the squeal” was a very real thing for him. That phrase means Read the rest of this entry »

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Southerners Still Want Segregated Schools Because Hatred Runs Deep In The South

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Following is an excerpt to a soul-searching article about the resegregation of schools in the South. 

After the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, racial discrimination was prohibited in any federally funded program. But in 1964, there was very limited federal aid to schools. However, in 1965, Congress passed the Elementary and Zsecondary Education Act, and there was quite a lot of federal money for schools that enrolled poor children. The Office of Education in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare took the Brown decision seriously. Top officials in the Lyndon B. Johnson told Southern districts that they would lose federal funding unless they presented real data on the racial distribution of students and faculty. 

So did the federal courts. Southern districts, governors, and legislators offered “school choice” proposals. They were a farce. Federal officials rejected them. Federal courts rejected them. 

Within ten years after the passage of ESEA, the South had more integrated public schools than any other region. 

But then the great rollback began. With more conservative justices on the federal courts, the zeal to follow through on the promise of the Brown decision faded. The Department of Education, created in 1980, never had the energy and focus of the LBJ officials. 

The authors of this article write:

“As we continue our “anti-dumbass” campaign to champion and improve Southern public schools for all students, we maintain our focus on the influence poverty, race, and racism continue to play in schools. Within the current political and cultural climate, there looms a growing sense of separation, where private interests replace democratic interests and the rich and powerful profit while the poor and underserved continue to struggle. You might think we were living in the 1930s or 1940s. This is, however, 2017, and the resegregation of public schools is increasing at an alarming rate. 

“As parents and proud Southerners we constantly ask ourselves, Read the rest of this entry »

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Playing Piano With Grandmother In The Rain

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, July 5, 2017

As a child and youth – even later in life – when visiting my maternal grandmother, I would often play her baby grand piano.

As a child, when a summer thunderstorm would approach, she would tell me to stop playing, because, as she said, lightning would strike the piano because of the metal wires in it. She falsely supposed it to be an attractive force of some type.

Of course, at the time, I thought such an idea to be preposterously absurd… and still do. And in retrospect, I saw my obedience, then rebellion, and later obsequiousness, more as a reflection of my love to, and respect for her.

Naturally, as a youth, I attempted to reason with her by asking her if she’d ever heard of, or knew anyone who’d ever had their piano struck by lightning while being played during a thunderstorm, and she said Read the rest of this entry »

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Open Letter to University of Alabama President Stuart R. Bell

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 2, 2017

July 2, 2017

Open Letter to University of Alabama President Stuart R. Bell

Re: Megan Rondini

Dear Dr. Bell,

As you know, Megan Rondini was a former honors student at the University. On July 1, 2015, Megan was subjected to a traumatic sexual encounter with the son of Terry J. Bunn, a prominent Tuscaloosa businessman and power player on Alabama’s political scene. At the time, Megan was 20-years old and had a bright future ahead of her. That future was cut short when she committed suicide on February 26, 2017.

Dr. Stuart R. Bell, PhD, is the 29th president of The University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, AL.

I understand that Terry Bunn was, and may still be, a member of the University President’s Cabinet. This group’s power inside the University is quite impressive. For all practical purposes, it is an invitation-only oligarchy. Members of the President’s Cabinet can make good things happen for the University. They can also make bad situations go away.

Terry Bunn’s son, T.J. “Sweet T” Bunn, Jr., is a real problem for you and the University. Megan Rondini filed a rape report against Sweet T fourteen days before you took office. Sweet T was a 34-year old bar regular at Innesfree Iris Pub on University Boulevard in Tuscaloosa on the night in question.

As a result of the Bunn family’s status within the University and its “pillar of society” standing in the larger Tuscaloosa community, Megan got “home-cooked” in the Tuscaloosa County criminal justice system. Former district attorney Lyn Head, acting in concert with two Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office investigators, cleaned up Sweet T’s messy situation for the Bunn family. Investigator Adam Jones transformed Megan from an alleged sexual assault victim into a criminal suspect solely because of Read the rest of this entry »

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Megan Rondini Fought #ALpolitics Corrupt Wealthy Power System

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, June 29, 2017

Megan Rondini Fought The Power Of Money

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on June 29, 2017
Used with permission

T. J. “Sweet T” Bunn, Jr., in his Tuscaloosa, AL residence

By now, a lot of people have read or heard the story about Megan Rondini and her encounter with T. J. “Sweet T” Bunn, Jr. Sweet T is the son of Terry J. Bunn, Sr., a well-known and powerful member of the oligarchy that runs the state of Alabama.

Sweet T is also the man Megan accused of raping her on the night of July 1, 2015, at his mansion in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He admits to having sex with Megan on the night in question, but claims it was consensual.

Megan was a 20-year old University of Alabama honors student. Sweet T was a 34-year old big game hunter and employee at his father’s Tuscaloosa-based construction firm.

The Deck Was Already Stacked Against Megan

At the time of the sexual encounter in question, Megan did not know how well connected Sweet T was to the governor of Alabama, the University of Alabama, and the Tuscaloosa District Attorney’s office. The Bunn family’s “pillar of the community” status in Tuscaloosa was recognized inside the local law enforcement community as well. All of these connections robbed Megan of a fair opportunity to receive justice from the night she reported her rape complaint against Sweet T until the day she committed suicide.

Megan Rondini

DCH Regional Medical Center, Tuscaloosa, AL

Following a rape kit exam at a local hospital after she escaped from Sweet T’s home, Megan entered the Sheriff’s Department as an alleged rape victim. At the most traumatic time in her life, Megan had no knowledge that the deck was already stacked against her. Once Megan named Sweet T as the perpetrator of her sexual assault, any chance she had of prosecuting a rape case against him evaporated.

What is worse, investigator Adam Jones bullied Megan by reading Miranda rights to her for actions she took in escaping from the scene of the alleged rape. Once Jones read her these constitutional rights, Megan was transformed from a sexual assault victim into a criminal suspect.

Using strong-arm tactics, criminal investigators were looking for ways to charge Megan with Read the rest of this entry »

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Megan Rondini’s @UofAlabama Death: Attorney @DonaldVWatkins Is On The Job when #ALpolitics Is Off The Clock

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

June 27, 2017

Open Letter to T.J. “Sweet T” Bunn, Jr.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Dear Mr. Bunn,

My name is Donald V. Watkins. To my knowledge, we have never met. The unfortunate incident that happened to Megan Rondini at your home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on the night of July 1, 2015, has brought us together.

You got to know Megan in life, at least on that one night in July when you admitted to having sex with her. I have only gotten to know Megan in death.

I am a trial lawyer and investigative journalist. I usually work on the difficult cases most prosecutors are afraid to touch, or on exposing the cases where prosecutors have “fixed” the outcome for the benefit of rich and powerful people.

I am very familiar with how some law enforcement investigators and prosecutors “fix” cases for the oligarchy that runs Alabama. I have seen this type of prosecutorial misconduct occur throughout my 44-year legal career. I also understand how prosecutors sometimes use the grand jury system as cover for their unwillingness to prosecute rich and powerful people. Whether a case is indicted or not often depends upon the socio-economic status of the parties involved and how a prosecutor presents the evidence and applicable law to grand jurors.

I understand sexual assault cases in Alabama (and elsewhere). To me, a sexual assault is not just a sex crime; it is an act of violence against the victim. In many cases, the deck is already stacked against female victims of sexual assaults by the very nature of our male dominated world of law enforcement.

One version of the “truth” in Megan’s case resulted in her allegations of sexual assault against you going away. Former Tuscaloosa District Attorney Lyn Head reportedly presented Megan’s sexual assault case to a Tuscaloosa County grand jury several weeks after her February 26, 2016, death and that body took no action against you.

Today, Megan is dead and you are walking around free. The criminal justice system in Tuscaloosa worked well for you. The same system failed Megan miserably.

My job is to find and report the whole truth in Megan’s case. I have been doing this kind of work for a long time.

You may be familiar with some of my most recent work. In 2014, I discovered and reported the shocking truth about the wife-beating conduct and marital infidelity involving Read the rest of this entry »

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Russians Hacked Into Election Software

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The ONLY FAILSAFE means to electronically count ballots is by using an Optical Scanning system. Votes can be counted manually, and Voter Intent can be determined by examining ballots. I write from experience as an Election Official in numerous elections. Can any electronic device be hacked? Yes. But physical ballots are the “backup” which can be examined to check against any suspicious machine, or software.

—//—

Russians Hacked Into Election Software, Databases In 39 States

The scope and sophistication so concerned Obama administration officials that they complained directly to Moscow over a modern-day “red phone.”

By Michael Riley and Jordan Robertson, Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON – Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported.

In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database. Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states, one of them said.

The scope and sophistication so concerned Obama administration officials that they took an unprecedented step — complaining directly to Moscow over a modern-day “red phone.” In October, two of the people said, the White House contacted the Kremlin on the back channel to offer detailed documents of what it said was Russia’s role in election meddling and to warn that the attacks risked setting off a broader conflict.

The new details, buttressed by a classified National Security Agency document recently disclosed by the Intercept, show the scope of alleged hacking that federal investigators are scrutinizing as they look into whether Trump campaign officials may have colluded in the efforts. But they also paint a worrisome picture for future elections: The newest portrayal of potentially deep vulnerabilities in the U.S.’s patchwork of voting technologies comes less than a week after former FBI Director James Comey warned Congress that Moscow isn’t done meddling.

“They’re coming after America. They will be back.”

– Former FBI Director James Comey testifying to the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington declined to comment on the agency’s probe.

Russian officials have publicly denied any role in cyberattacks connected to the U.S. elections, including a massive “spear phishing” effort that compromised Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, among hundreds of other groups. President Vladimir Putin said in recent comments to reporters that criminals inside the country could have been involved without having been sanctioned by the Russian government.

One of the mysteries about the 2016 presidential election is why Russian intelligence, after gaining access to state and local systems, didn’t try to disrupt the vote. One possibility is that the American warning was effective. Another former senior U.S. official, who asked for anonymity to discuss the classified U.S. probe into pre-election hacking, said a more likely explanation is that several months of hacking failed to give the attackers the access they needed to master America’s disparate voting systems spread across more than 7,000 local jurisdictions.

Such operations need not change votes to be effective. In fact, the Obama administration believed that the Russians were possibly preparing to delete voter registration information or slow vote tallying in order to undermine confidence in the election. That effort went far beyond the carefully timed release of private communications by individuals and parties.

One former senior U.S. official expressed concern that the Russians now have three years to build on their knowledge of U.S. voting systems before the next presidential election, and there is every reason to believe they will use what they have learned in future attacks.

As the first test of a communication system designed to de-escalate cyber conflict between the two countries, the cyber “red phone” — not a phone, in fact, but a secure messaging channel for sending urgent messages and documents — didn’t quite work as the White House had hoped. NBC News first reported that use of the red phone by the White House last December.

The White House provided evidence gathered on Russia’s hacking efforts and reasons why the U.S. considered it dangerously aggressive. Russia responded by asking for more information and providing assurances that it would look into the matter even as the hacking continued, according to the two people familiar with the response.

“Last year, as we detected intrusions into websites managed by election officials around the country, the administration worked relentlessly to protect our election infrastructure,” said Eric Schultz, a spokesman for former President Barack Obama. “Given that our election systems are so decentralized, that effort meant working with Democratic and Republican election administrators from all across the country to bolster their cyber defenses.”

Illinois, which was among the states that gave the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security almost full access to investigate its systems, provides a window into the hackers’ successes and failures.

In early July 2016, a contractor who works two or three days a week at the state board of elections detected unauthorized data leaving the network, according to Ken Menzel, general counsel for the Illinois board of elections. The hackers had gained access to Read the rest of this entry »

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German Grocer Aldi To Heat Up U.S. Competition

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 12, 2017

German Discount Grocer Aldi Sets U.S. Expansion Plan

Aldi says it will open nearly 900 stores, invest $5 billion over five years

Aldi says it will open 900 stores and invest $5 billion over five years. Photo by Anthony Devlin/Zuma Press

By Heather Haddon
June 11, 2017 9:00 p.m. ET

Competition in the U.S. grocery sector is about to get more fierce.

Discount grocery chain Aldi is expected to unveil on Monday plans to invest $5 billion to open nearly 900 stores and remodel hundreds more in the U.S.

The expansion, over the next five years, puts the German grocer on track to becoming the third-largest food retailer in the U.S. by store count, behind the larger Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co., and a growing threat to traditional food retailers.

Aldi said it is expected to have a total of 2,500 locations across the U.S. by 2022. Its plan comes as another German discounter, Lidl, is set to open its first 10 stores in the U.S. on Thursday as part of a multiyear expansion.

Executives at Wal-Mart and Kroger have been preparing for the growth of the discounters for years. Wal-Mart has been sprucing up its stores and slashing prices on some products in select markets, while Kroger continues to drive down costs to compete.

But the discounters could have a big impact on the U.S. grocery market as they did in Europe. Their market share there has steadily grown while traditional supermarkets have seen theirs fall.

Deep discount chains in the U.S. are expected to grow by up to 10% a year through 2020, five times the rate of traditional grocers, according to a recent report by consulting firm Bain & Co.

“It should absolutely be more than scary to traditional grocers and retailers,” said Mikey Vu, a partner in Bain’s retail practice.

Many shoppers in the U.S. are unfamiliar with Aldi. The chain has been in the U.S. since Read the rest of this entry »

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Beat the Heat with Buttermilk Popsicles?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 12, 2017

A good and longtime friend shared recently about making buttermilk popsicles at home with family, using a recipe presumably which came from Steel City Pops, a trendy nouveau foodery in Birmingham, AL. And giving credit where credit is due, Alabama has some mighty fine eateries, and an amazing wealth in it’s diversity of food. As evidence of that fact, Chef Frank Stitt, owner of Birmingham restaurants Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega Restaurant, and Chez Fonfon has been on the James Beard Foundation Award‘s radar for quite some time, and most recently, NPR recognized the excellent oysters produced by Murder Point Oysters using farming methods in that Bayou La Batre, Alabama Gulf Coast town, which were also feted by Chef Emeril Lagasse. Alabama food is a literal treasure of gastronomic proportion. And it’s not just limited to the holiest of holies… barbecue.
(👉Get your Alabama Barbecue Trail app here!👈😋)

Now, I confess an aversion to buttermilk except in cooking. And the reason, of course, is that I’ve tried it. And not just once. In fact, I recollect as a youth visiting with relatives in Read the rest of this entry »

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Jeff Sessions On His KKK “guys were OK until I learned they smoked pot” Quote

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 12, 2017

Many have said Jeff Sessions didn’t say it, and have gone back and forth on the matter.

Let’s bury that hatchet – once and for all – squarely where it rightfully belongs.

Here, from the Congressional Record, is Jeff Sessions’ 1986 testimony under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee following his nomination by then-President Ronald Reagan to a Federal Judgeship.

Recall that he was Read the rest of this entry »

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Deceit And Treachery Continue In #ALpolitics

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 21, 2017

In case you’ve been under a rock for the past 4 years or more, Alabama’s two-term Republican Governor Dr. Dr. Robert Bentley, M.D. was forced to resign from office amidst ongoing impeachment proceedings resulting from a sex & corruption scandal in which he significantly abused the power of the office for personal gain, then under pressure, and facing possible felony charges, entered a plea agreement in which he pled guilty to two misdemeanor campaign finance violations, agreed to other court-ordered stipulations including never again to “seek or serve in any public office,” pay fines & court costs, surrender campaign funds, render Community Service as a physician, submitted his resignation, whereupon Republican Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey – formerly State Treasurer – took office as Governess.

It seemed most everybody was happy as a lark.

Until…

Until those damn pesky reporters started snooping around the back door.

Then, it turns out, they found evidence that strongly suggests she isn’t in good health, and so much so to the extent that her ability to govern and think clearly may be called into question.

According to an investigative report and story by Josh Moon, a Journalist with Alabama Political Reporter, “Gov. Kay Ivey’s office declined to confirm on Thursday that she had been admitted to a Colorado hospital for “stroke-like” issues in April 2015, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency all but did. Read the rest of this entry »

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#ALpolitics: The “Alabamafication” of America

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 21, 2017

The parallels are uncannily ironic, and unmistakable.

Consider also who is Attorney General… former Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.

—//—

Twins of Deception: Robert Bentley and Donald J. Trump

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on May 21, 2017
Used with permission

We recently experienced in Alabama what the nation is undergoing with President Donald J. Trump – a seemingly endless saga in which the top executive official is entangled in a web of deception that was spun to hide a scandal that is spiraling out of control. The culprit in Alabama was former governor Robert Bentley. He was attempting to cover-up a secret love affair with Rebekah Mason, a “senior political adviser” who was married to one of Bentley’s department heads.

Bentley’s twin of deception at the national level is the “real” Donald J. Trump. The parallels between the two men and their misconduct are striking and frightening.

Bentley and Trump were viewed as long-shot political candidates who ran the table to win it all. Against all odds, Bentley became Governor of Alabama and Trump became President of the United States. Both men were unprepared to govern after they won. Because of their oversized egos, arrogance and stupidity, both men became embroiled in explosive political scandals.

Bentley fell in love with his much younger paramour and used state resources, campaign funds, and “dark money” to romance her. Trump fell in love with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and his highest-ranking KGB agents in the U.S. – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. In doing so, Trump has foolishly compromised America’s national security interests.

Bentley’s behavior as governor became increasingly erratic after Read the rest of this entry »

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#ALpolitics @Ed_Henry_HD9 Bows Out Of US Senate Race

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ed Henry’s OUT!

And he didn’t have to swing three times.

Amazing!

A news story published on Yellowhammer noted Republican State Representative Ed Henry’s withdrawal from candidacy for the U. S. Senate seat now occupied by Republican Luther Strange, an appointee of now-resigned corrupt Republican Governor Robert Bentley to fill the unfulfilled term created by Republican POTUS Trump’s nomination of Republican Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.

The Special Election will be held December 12, 2017, to choose Senator Jeff Sessions’ successor and to complete the Senate term through January 2021.

The story quoted Rep. Henry in part as saying that, Read the rest of this entry »

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You Can’t Escape #ALpolitics: Alabama’s Racist Tie-In To #MothersDay

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 14, 2017

“A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who’s done more for you than anyone in the world.”

-Anna Jarvis (1864-1948), credited as Mother’s Day foundress, quoted in her New York Times obituary

A lifelong spinster, by 1943, Anna Jarvis was so disgusted at the crass commercialization of her idea, that she began a petition to repeal the holiday proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson in Presidential Proclamation 1268

Presidential Proclamation 1268, May 9, 1914, declaring the second Sunday in May as “Mother’s Day.”

on May 9, 1914  as being the second Sunday in May, declaring the first national Mother’s Day as a day for “government officials to display the United States flag on all government buildings, and the people of the United States to display the flag at their homes or other suitable places on the second Sunday in May as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” That roughly translates as encouragement for Read the rest of this entry »

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American Poverty: Where is it, and what does it look like? Is it even what we think it is?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 12, 2017

You’ve likely seen a meme floating around referencing how America’s Most Poverty Stricken counties voted Republican.

Yes?

I decided to research the matter to see:
1.) If it was true, and;
2.) Exactly what else I’d find.

While my analysis isn’t fully complete, there are already some early fascinating findings.

Breaking down Poverty into two categories – Per Capita Income (PCI) and Median Household Income (MHI) – has shown “the usual suspects,” but exposed some not-so-usual ones, as well.

For example, we often hear that West Virginia is a very High Poverty state, along with Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Data from the United States Census Bureau (USCB) backs up those claims… yet only to a limited extent.

But, “pockets” of poverty may exist in an otherwise not-so-poor state (and they do), and a state may have a high number of Read the rest of this entry »

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#ALpolitics Remains FULL of… #Irony. Yeah… that’s it – irony. And #Hypocrisy.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 1, 2017

Brinson and attorney Jerome Teel of Jackson, TN, wrote “Redeem the Vote, A Political Revolution,” which contains firsthand stories of Brinson’s behind-the-scenes work in Washington and Montgomery politics. He and wife Pam worked with contemporary Christian entertainers to motivate young evangelicals to register to vote and turn out for the 2004 presidential election. He says their work contributed to Republican George Bush’s re-election and prompted Democrats nationally and in Alabama to start seeking his advice. He helped defeat former Christian Coalition powerhouse Ralph Reed in Georgia’s 2006 Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor by portraying Reed as a pariah who “was using the evangelical community to further his own personal ambitions and fortune.”

Apparently, Randy Brinson, a Montgomery Gastroenterologist who also chairs the Christian Coalition of Alabama, will be another contender for evangelical votes for the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by corrupt Bentley appointee and former state Attorney General Luther Strange.

Which ironically also goes to show that Alabama politics is not only strange, but that the equally corrupt evangelical religious folks – much like the Taliban – still want to be all up in yo’ shit.

If they had their way, men and women would be Read the rest of this entry »

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Governor Bentley Is Gone, But Corruption Continues Unabated In #ALpolitics

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 1, 2017

Jefferson County Officials May Walk Free

Republican Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (foreground, RIGHT), and Attorney General Luther Strange. Both men were re-elected to their positions in 2010.

Republican Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (foreground, RIGHT), and Attorney General Luther Strange. Both men were re-elected to their positions in 2010.

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on April 30, 2017
Used with permission

Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall, 52, switched from Democrat to Republican in 2011, was appointed Alabama Attorney General by Governor Robert Bentley to serve the remainder of Luther Strange's term, whom Bentley appointed to fulfill the remainder of U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions' term, who POTUS Trump nominated as U.S. Attorney General. The Alabama Attorney General's office is up for re-election in 2018.

Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall, 52, was appointed Alabama Attorney General by Republican Governor Robert Bentley to fulfill Luther Strange’s unexpired term.

Former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley made two major gubernatorial appointments before resigning in disgrace earlier this month. First, Bentley appointed Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. This appointment was designed to quash an ongoing criminal investigation by the Special Prosecutions Division of the Attorney General’s office into ethics violations and public corruption activities committed by Bentley and his lover, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. Strange, who traded his power to indict Bentley and Mason on felony charges in exchange for a senate seat, is now sinking in the pre-election polls as he heads into an August special primary election.

Republican Alabama Governor Robert Bentley & Communications Director cum-Political Advisor/paramour Rebekah Caldwell Mason

Next, Bentley appointed Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall to replace Luther Strange as Attorney General. Marshall is a 52-year old “good old boy” who was thrilled with the appointment. Bentley picked Marshall because he was generally regarded as the weakest district attorney in Alabama. Plus, Marshall had zero experience in public corruption cases. Bentley wanted to make sure that the new attorney general did not have the experience, courage, or motivation to come after him for his felony crimes.

Mississippi native Alice Martin, seen here at the National Association of Former United States Attorneys 2013 conference in Washington, D.C., has 25 years experience in Civil Affirmative & Defensive Litigation, including Criminal Prosecution & Defense. She was former Assistant U.S. Attorney in Memphis, Tennessee, and later Circuit Judge for the 11th Judicial Circuit in Lauderdale County, Alabama before President George W. Bush appointed her U.S Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 2001 to 2009. She was later Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts in 2013 in the Alabama Attorney General’s office. She earned a Bachelor of Science Nursing from Vanderbilt University and a Law Degree from the University of Mississippi. She and her husband Louis Martin live in Florence, AL and have three adult daughters.

Former United States Attorney Alice Martin was also Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts in the Alabama Attorney General’s office in 2013.

Marshall’s first act of business was to sack Alice Martin, the well-credentialed Chief Deputy Attorney General under Luther Strange. Martin was the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. As s federal prosecutor, she amassed a record number of public corruption convictions for public officials and vendors who bribed them. Her record in this regard is unmatched in Alabama history.

Matt Hart, seen here at Republican Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard’s trial, leads the Special Prosecutions Division in the Alabama Attorney General’s Office.

Marshall’s second act of business was to gut the authority and power vested in Matt Hart, the chief of the Special Prosecutions Division. Matt Hart and Alice Martin investigated former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard. Their investigation resulted in criminal charges against Hubbard. Last July, Hubbard was convicted of 12 counts of ethics violations and was ousted from office. Alabamians who championed ethical government celebrated Hubbard’s conviction. Bentley was enraged by it.

Republican U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (LEFT), with Republican U.S. Senator from Alabama Luther Strange. Strange was State Attorney General, and was appointed by Governor Bentley to fulfill the remainder of Sessions’ Senate term.

Bentley’s selection of Marshall has paid off for him. It netted the former governor a “sweetheart” plea deal that Read the rest of this entry »

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How To Have Fun In Alabama? How Far Can You Throw A Dead Fish?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 28, 2017

Mullets in a box ready for the Mullet Toss®

Southerners are quirky. There’s no denying that.

For example, this weekend will mark the 33d anniversary of a fish throwing contest on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Yes, 33 years ago, Jimmy Louis, a local musician at a bar in Orange Beach, Alabama thought it might be oddly entertaining to have people toss a dead fish across the invisible Alabama/Florida state line into Perdido Key, Florida – an adjacent unincorporated community.

Interestingly, some agreed.

And thus began the Annual Interstate Mullet Toss®.

The germ for his idea actually sprang from Read the rest of this entry »

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Corruption Runs Amok In Alabama

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, April 9, 2017

To be certain, few are likely as concerned that Alabama’s Republican Governor Robert Julian Bentley was maritally unfaithful to his wife, as they are that in the process, he abused, and misused the power and authority of his office to attempt to cover it up, and to deceive citizens and others about it. And that in that process, he is believed to have violated state, and very likely, Federal laws. The ordeal is, as things go, a drama of Shakespearean proportion and caliber.

The full report of the Impeachment Committee may be found online, and downloaded FREE from:
http://BentleyInvestigation.com/report.pdf

 

—EDITORIAL—

Whoring for Governor Bentley and Rebekah Mason

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on April 9, 2017
Used with permission

A lying, corrupt, and depraved Republican governor of Alabama is counting on Black members of the state legislature, all of whom are Democrats, to rise up and save him from impeachment.  No, this is not a Hollywood movie.  It is a real life drama that is playing out in real time in the Alabama State House.

The governor is Robert Bentley, who is generally regarded as the laughingstock of the nation today. Not only did Bentley engage in widespread public corruption and ethics violations with his married girlfriend, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, but the governor also (a) trashed the state’s two historically Black state universities, (b) deprived Black and poor Alabamians of adequate healthcare, (c) discriminated against Black voters in the state’s legislative redistricting plan, and (d) erected massive barriers to Black voter participation in the state’s electoral process.

In this Tuesday, November 4, 2014 file photo, retired physician, and Republican Gov. Dr. Robert Bentley, MD listens to a phone call as Rebekah Mason, right, announces his win for a second term as Alabama Governor, in Montgomery, AL. Bentley defeated his opponent, retired physician Democrat Dr. Parker Griffith, MD. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

Yet, Bentley and Mason still exercise a shocking degree of dominion and control over many of the state’s Black lawmakers, including some of the ones who serve on the Judiciary Committee that is conducting Bentley’s impeachment proceedings.

For a fleeting moment in time, Bentley even had Judge Greg Griffin, a Black state circuit court jurist, thinking that he had the power and authority to lawfully block the Alabama Legislature’s impeachment proceedings. The Alabama Supreme Court overturned Judge Griffin’s ruling in record time. Griffin is a Bentley appointee to the bench.

Bentley has a well-known record of treating Black lawmakers like his personal servants.  When he is not whipping them for what he perceives as “bad” behavior, the governor is making these compromised souls carry his dirty, smelly political baggage.  They dutifully accommodate the governor’s commands for a mere pat on the head.

Alabamians will witness Black lawmakers engage in political servitude to Governor Bentley this week.  Please pay particular attention to Read the rest of this entry »

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Made In Alabama: Politics Like A Shakespearean Drama Thanks To #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 8, 2017

Lies & deception have an expiration date.
The truth lives forever.

New pictures emerge of Alabama Governor Bentley and his “Political Advisor” cum mistress, Rebekah Mason. Pun intended.

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Alabama Republican Legislator’s Bill Would Put State In Pornography Business

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 7, 2017

Republican Jack Williams represents Alabama House District 47 (Hoover and Vestavia Hills) in the Alabama House of Representatives, and is Chair of the Commerce and Small Business Committee.

Alabama Republican Legislator’s Bill Would Put State In Pornography Business

Jack Williams, a Republican Representative from Vestavia Hills, who represents portions of Jefferson county in Alabama House District 47 has filed HB 428 which would “prohibit the sale of a device that provides Internet access unless the device contains an active filter that blocks access to specified types of obscene material.”

Sounds good, right?

Of course, there are plenty of off-the-shelf subscription services to which anyone can subscribe which blocks such material. And some Internet browsers have such detection systems built-in. It’s not always perfect, and when Super Bowl XXX was played in 1995, it inadvertently created some problems because the Roman numeral X was displayed in triplicate, as if it were associated with some type of pornographic exhibition, and most porn-blocking software blocked the Super Bowl website, and news articles which mentioned “Super Bowl XXX.” That was in the “early days” of the Internet and filtering. Now, Google, and other Internet search engines have made milestones in filtering out objectionable, sexually explicit, and illegal material.

No parent wants their children subjected to such material, and every adult has the right to decide whether they want to view erotic or sexually explicit material, or not. After all, that’s what freedom means… the opportunity to make a decision, even if your neighbor doesn’t like your decision, or vice versa.

But no child should be subjected to exposure to pornography. And no rational adult would even consider doing such a thing, regardless of their personal opinion about erotica, or not. That’s a good parenting decision which rightfully belongs to parents, not the government, because no one wants the government telling them how they should raise their kids… especially in Alabama. And yet, that’s exactly what Vestavia Hills Republican Representative Jack Williams’ HB 428 does.

Federal laws protect those who decide to become involved in the production of sexually explicit material, and requires proof-positive identification of all participants being aged 18, or older, at the time of production – and has, for many, many years. In fact, Congress enacted the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988 after it was discovered Read the rest of this entry »

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He’s on a roll! Why stop Governor Bentley now?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Political Corruption in Alabama – legal, and illegal – is harming Alabama by robbing its children of education, and its people of economic opportunities. As long as its citizens continue to promote corruption by electing politicians who “turn a blind eye” to it, the state will continue to fail at everything it sets its hand to do.

Alabama could be so much more. And yet, it is sadly so much… much, much less.

Inside Rebekah Mason’s Relationships With Robert Bentley, Jonathan Mason

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on March 28, 2017
Used with permission

Last March, Alabamians and the rest of the world heard Governor Robert Bentley gushing on secretly recorded audiotapes about his love for Rebekah Caldwell Mason, about how he likes to grab Rebekah’s breasts and fondle her from behind, about the pride he felt parading in front of Rebekah in his boxer shorts, and about the love couple’s need to start locking the door to his private office inside the Executive Suite at the Capitol when they are alone in the office.

What the public heard on audiotapes was first reported in September of 2015 on this Facebook page in an exclusive series of investigative articles titled, “Forbidden Love” and “Executive Betrayal”.

Bentley’s love for Rebekah drove him to: Read the rest of this entry »

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Gardening Tips and Tricks: How To Make Trees Grow Faster

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 20, 2017

“The Man Who Planted Trees,” in Mosaïcultures Internationales Competition at the Montreal Botanical Garden. Image by Flickr user AV Dezign, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

“He that plants trees loves others beside himself.”

– Dr. Thomas Fuller, MD (1654 – 1734), British physician, writer, intellectual, preacher, in Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs, 1732

Over the years, I have observed (and learned by experience) that I have quite a knack for making trees grow rapidly.

Even slow-to-moderately growing trees (such as oaks) have responded phenomenally well under my guiding hand.

What and how to accomplish that?

Aside from planting in a well-lighted area, with adequately drained, properly hydrated & fertilized soil, there is but one thing we can do to encourage growth in trees. That one thing is Read the rest of this entry »

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In Praise Of @Arbys Denali-Style Meat Mountain Sandwich: Have you tried it?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, March 18, 2017

Arby’s promotional image of their “Meat Mountain” sandwich, a “secret menu,” hand-made custom sandwich which contains every meat and cheese offering they carry.

You MUST TRY THIS!

Arby’s has a sandwich called “Meat Mountain”…

…but it’s NOT listed on the menu!

In a manner of speaking, it’s been somewhat “under the radar” except to a few with specialized knowledge of it. It’s like a word-of-mouth menu item.

Apparently, it’s been around for quite some time, at least two, and very nearly three years – at least since August 2014.

Store associates will make it for customers who ask for it by name.

What is it? Read the rest of this entry »

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Russian Meddling in U.S. Presidential Election: How Should Congress Proceed?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 2, 2017

There is clear, unambiguous evidence that “Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.”

Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment that has been provided to the President and to recipients approved by the President.”

A header appears upon EVERY page and states: “This report is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment; its conclusions are identical to those in the highly classified assessment but this version does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.”

Several “Key Judgments” are made in the report issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which is dated 6 January 2017.

Among them:
We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President elect-Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.

• We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.

• Moscow’s approach evolved over the course of the campaign based on Russia’s understanding of the electoral prospects of the two main candidates. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency.

• Further information has come to light since Election Day that, when combined with Russian behavior since early November 2016, increases our confidence in our assessments of Russian motivations and goals.

Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations — such as cyber activity — with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls.” Russia, like its Soviet predecessor, has a history of conducting covert influence campaigns focused on US presidential elections that have used intelligence officers and agents and press placements to disparage candidates perceived as hostile to the Kremlin.

• Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties.

• We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.

• Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards. DHS assess es that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.

• Russia’s state-run propaganda machine contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.

We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes.

—//—

Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking

 President Obama in December. Some in his administration feared that intelligence about Russian interference in the 2016 election could be covered up or destroyed. Credit Al Drago/The New York Times

President Obama in December. Some in his administration feared that intelligence about Russian interference in the 2016 election could be covered up or destroyed. Credit Al Drago/The New York Times

By MATTHEW ROSENBERG, ADAM GOLDMAN and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

MARCH 1, 2017

WASHINGTON — In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.

American allies, including the British and the Dutch, had provided information describing meetings in European cities between Russian officials — and others close to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — and associates of President-elect Trump, according to three former American officials who requested anonymity in discussing classified intelligence. Separately, American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications of Russian officials, some of them within the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Trump associates.

Then and now, Mr. Trump has denied that his campaign had any contact with Russian officials, and at one point he openly suggested that American spy agencies had cooked up intelligence suggesting that the Russian government had tried to meddle in the presidential election. Mr. Trump has accused the Obama administration of hyping the Russia story line as a way to discredit his new administration.

At the Obama White House, Mr. Trump’s statements stoked fears among some that intelligence could be covered up or destroyed — or its sources exposed — once power changed hands. What followed was a push to preserve the intelligence that underscored the deep anxiety with which the White House and American intelligence agencies had come to view the threat from Moscow.

It also reflected the suspicion among many in the Obama White House that the Trump campaign might have colluded with Russia on election email hacks — a suspicion that American officials say has not been confirmed. Former senior Obama administration officials said that none of the efforts were directed by Mr. Obama.

 President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Credit Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik


President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Credit Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik

Sean Spicer, the Trump White House spokesman, said, Read the rest of this entry »

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Note To @TheDemocrats & Other #NeverTrump-ers: To win in 2018, STOP THE AD HOMINEM!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 1, 2017

To be certain, I find Donald J. Trump to be a contemptible person, truly grotesque, and undignified in every manner. That being said, he holds the office of the Presidency of the United States, and regardless of the personality in it, the office is worthy of respect.

Some have found Trump’s occupancy of the office to be onerous, and his candidacy repugnantly contemptuous, and aside from discussions regarding ancillary matters such as Russian meddling in our electoral process, there very well may be significant merit to the arguments made supporting such accusations of his character flaws. However, I wish it to be made clear that there is, and must be, a separation from the personality of the man, and the policy ideas he promotes.

To illustrate the matter, consider the following online dialogue:

A: “The time for trivial fighting is behind us”. …. says the one who perpetuated the birther lie for over 8 years causing serious buildup of hate groups and encouraged barbaric behavior among the populace . ..and who led angry mobs in chanting “lock her up” … only lame minds can take this pervert seriously.

B: I dunno’. He said some things that sounded good, but then again, that’s every politician’s job… and he is one now. We’ll see how Read the rest of this entry »

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Federal Investigators Pursuing #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley #Corruption

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 15, 2017

—Exclusive Breaking News—

Feds Pull Protective Cover Off Bentley, Mason

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on February 15, 2017
Used with permission

Our Facebook news team has just learned that the U.S. Department of Justice has given federal prosecutors full authority to resume their investigation of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and his married girlfriend, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, and to prosecute them if the evidence unearthed in their investigation warrants it. The Department scaled back its earlier criminal investigation of Bentley and Mason after former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange lulled the Department into believing that he would prosecute the First Couple of Alabama on state law ethics violations.

In December of last year, Strange decided to give Bentley and Mason a prosecutorial “pass” on state ethics law violations in exchange for an appointment to the U.S. senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. This move, which may well constitute a form of bribery under federal law, has embarrassed and angered career federal prosecutors.

The move has also demoralized the Public Corruption Unit led by Deputy Alabama Attorney General Alice Martin and Unit Chief Matt Hart. Martin and Hart are seasoned professional prosecutors with a proven track-record of success in high-profile public corruption cases.

Public outcry over the unsavory deal between Bentley and Strange has reached a fever pitch in the state. Alabamians witnessed a sitting governor buy his way out of a messy state criminal investigation by appointing a greedy and selfish former attorney general to the senate seat in Washington. What is more, Bentley put off the mandatory 90-day special election for Strange’s senate seat until the November 2018 general election.

Bentley’s appointment of Steve Marshall as Alabama Attorney General pushed the public and the Justice Department over the edge. Marshall, who was a longtime district attorney in a small Alabama County, has no Read the rest of this entry »

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Answering @chrkirk: Electoral College’s Voting Problems Violates Equal Protection Clause

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 19, 2016

New York Times Op-Chart: How Much Is Your Vote Worth? This map shows each state re-sized in proportion to the relative influence of the individual voters who live there. The numbers indicate the total delegates to the Electoral College from each state, and how many eligible voters a single delegate from each state represents. Source: The United States Election Project at George Mason University.

How Much Is Your Vote Worth?
From: New York Times Op-Chart November 2, 2008
This map shows each state re-sized in proportion to the relative influence of the individual voters who live there. The numbers indicate the total delegates to the Electoral College from each state, and how many eligible voters a single delegate from each state represents.
Source: The United States Election Project at George Mason University.

Having read the article How Powerful Is Your Vote? by Chris Kirk several times, I still disagree with it. The article’s premise is that by using the Electoral College (EC) system, the votes cast in less populated states are somehow “more powerful” than those in more populated states. To posit such an assertion is to demonstrate a wholesale lack of understanding of the system. That is not to say the EC system is perfect, nor that changes to it are not needed; rather, it only acknowledges the author’s fundamentally deep misunderstanding of the manner in which the system is established, and a virtually wholesale ignorance of the Constitution.

Apparently, as evidenced by the graphic seen herein, others are similarly misguided. However, one would expect more from George Mason University. Much more, in fact. However, to understand – as I mention later – the bias is strictly and exclusively from including 2 Senators in the number of Electors. Dr. Mark Newman, PhD, who is the Anatol Rapoport Distinguished University Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan correctly writes that “The electors are apportioned among the states roughly according to population, as measured by the census, but with a small but deliberate bias in favor of less populous states.

According to the Constitution in Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 & 3, Electoral Votes in each state are equal to Read the rest of this entry »

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“Too Big To Fail” Banks Get Bailout, Gave Customers The Shaft

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 19, 2016

Chalk One Up for the Working Man

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on December 18, 2016
Used with permission

On Thursday, I tried a case for a close friend on mine in the Jefferson County, Alabama District Court in Bessemer, Alabama. My friend is a hard working Bessemer resident and family man whose world was turned upside down when Citibank sold his credit card account to San Diego-based junk debt buyer, Midland Funding, LLC. He is one of millions of bank credit card customers each year whose accounts are bundled in loan pools and then sold to junk debt buyers without the customer’s knowledge.

Midland Funding is one of several mega junk debt buyers in America. This group of financial sharks buys unsecured bank debt for pennies on a dollar and then strong arms debtors who miss one or more of their monthly payments. Midland is part of a multi-billion industry of shady financial predators.

In my friend’s case, Citibank sold his account to Midland Funding. The balance on the account was $6,800. My friend paid his credit card monthly on a regular basis, but had an unexpected hiccup in his monthly cash flow a couple of years after he opened the account. As a result he failed to make a couple of his payments on time. When this occurred Citibank sold my friend’s account to Midland, and Midland eventually sued my friend. This is how my friend became my client.

Remember, Citibank had a similar hiccup during the Great Recession of 2008. The bank requested and received a total of $181.6 billion in federal bailout assistance to keep from collapsing. In fact, Citibank led the banking industry’s “welfare queens” by receiving more financial bailout assistance than any big bank in the U.S.

Citibank’s “Thank You” to the taxpayers like my client, whose tax dollars made the financial bailout possible for these big banks, was the low-down act of selling his credit card account to a shark like Midland Funding. The big banks were quick to take taxpayer-sponsored financial assistance, but slow to give taxpayers similar financial assistance in return.

[Editor’s Note: Alamerica Bank, which is Read the rest of this entry »

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Shelby County v. Holder: What does it mean, and what’s it’s significance to you?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, December 11, 2016

Recall the recent Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder which involved Shelby County, Alabama?

The other party was Eric Holder, former Attorney General of the United States.

Essentially, that case gutted the heart of settled law which was the 1965 Voting Rights Act which protected minorities’ Civil Rights to Vote.

If you’re like most, you get your information from the MSM (Main Stream Media), which often doesn’t do a good job of explaining. And honestly, most folks are not up-to-date on Supreme Court cases. So here’s a quick explanation of how that could affect you, and your ability to vote… regardless of your skin color.

Calera is currently the fastest-growing city in Alabama. Before Calera’s local elections in 2008 the town had redrawn its city boundaries which eliminated the city’s only majority-Black district which had been represented by Ernest Montgomery since 2004, and decreased the voting-age Black population from 71-30% – even though the town’s Black voting-age population had grown from 13-16%. It did that by adding three overwhelmingly White subdivisions while failing to include a large surrounding predominately Black-populated neighborhood.

Gerrymandering Explained, by Steven Nass - original post here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203407721984998&set=a.1016032452327.2002285.1570577800&type=1&comment_id=10203461502089467

Gerrymandering Explained, by Steven Nass
See original post here:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203407721984998

The United States Department of Justice objected to Calera’s actions, and notified City Officials, who defied the DOJ’s orders and held the election anyway, which caused Mr. Montgomery to lose the election by two votes, about which he said, “they voted against me because of the color of my skin.”

Under Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Calera was required to Read the rest of this entry »

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Jeff Sessions: Suitable Or Not For United States Attorney General?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Is Republican Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III suitable to be United States Attorney General?

Some say “yes,” others say “no.”

Let’s examine his record – it should speak for itself.
The legal term for that concept is “res ipsa loquitur.”

1.) Sessions said of the SCOTUS decision in Shelby County v. Holder (570 U.S.___(2013)), an Alabama-based case which gutted important parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that “Shelby County has never had a history of denying voters and certainly not now,” even though Shelby County’s history of discrimination is well-documented and ongoing when in 2008 the small town of Calera in Shelby County drew a gerrymandered voting map which excluded their only Black councilman out of office.

Gerrymandering Explained, by Steven Nass - original post here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203407721984998

Gerrymandering Explained, by Steven Nass – Each square represents a precinct. See original post here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203407721984998

Before Calera’s local elections in 2008 the town had redrawn its city boundaries which – even though the town’s Black voting-age population had grown from 13-16% – eliminated the only majority-Black district which had been represented by Ernest Montgomery since 2004, and decreased the voting-age Black population from 71-30% by adding three overwhelmingly White subdivisions while failing to include a large surrounding predominately Black-populated neighborhood.

The United States Department of Justice objected to Calera’s actions, and notified City Officials, who defied the DOJ’s orders and held the election anyway which caused Mr. Montgomery to lose the election by two votes, of which he said “they voted against me because of the color of my skin.”

2.) When Sessions was Alabama Attorney General he supported the “separate but equal” policy ensconced in Alabama’s 1901 Constitution in Amendment 111 which to this day deprives impoverished children in Alabama of a right to public education because public support for school funding collapsed after its passage, and since the early 1990’s created enormous funding disparities in school systems statewide which remain, despite legislative attempts to remedy.

3.) Sessions voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (Public Law 103–322).

4.) Sessions is a fierce opponent of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973(a)) and called it a “piece of intrusive legislation.”

5.) Sessions voted against Read the rest of this entry »

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Hillary & Trump: Two Deeply Flawed Candidates

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 18, 2016

By many accounts, the 2016 Presidential Election year is a complete campaign in the ass. Two deeply flawed candidates manipulated and exposed deeply flawed processes in both major political parties, not the least of which is for the GOP, how to vet their candidates more thoroughly, and have the ability to remove them from official party candidacy, and for the Democrats, how to maintain candidate neutrality, and prevent party officials from influencing candidates of the top officials’ choosing toward nomination. I predict many much-needed changes on the horizon for both parties… following the November General Election.

—/—

by Gary Cosby, Jr.
Used with permission

WARNING:  This is a long post. It is also my final political post before the election.

I am not an editorial writer but today I am going to play one on Facebook. First, let me say, everyone is welcome to comment; however, if your comment uses foul language or is abusive to anyone else, your comment will be deleted. One of the great problems we have today is our lack of ability to disagree and still have civil discourse; therefore, we will practice it or be censured. Keep in mind, this is my opinion and you do not have to agree with it. Thank your First Amendment rights for that.

By now, we all know this presidential election cycle has presented us with the two poorest candidates in memory, perhaps in all of American history. Certainly there have been poor candidates running for one party or the other throughout our history but not facing one another in the same election.

They have turned the presidential debates into bad Saturday Night Live skits. In fact, I doubt the writers of SNL would have been able to dream up anything this hideous. The American political scene will never be the same and Read the rest of this entry »

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Terrorism In The South

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 6, 2016

quantrills-raiders-1924-reunion

Reunion of Quantrill’s Raiders, circa 1924, Oak Grove, Missouri. The first official reunion occurred in 1898, more than 30 years after Quantrill’s death and the end of the Civil War. The circled figure is Jesse James. Image from the Jackson County Historical Society and the Truman Library.

quantril-reunion-1901

The 1901 reunion of Quantrill’s Raiders in Blue Springs, MO. Note the tag in the upper LEFT corner of the image. Sim Whitsett was at this reunion and is probably in this picture. Also in the picture is Frank James (center front, named). The first picture of the Quantrill veterans (Sim Whitsett was in attendance) was taken at the 1900 reunion. The picture is of a parade of the attendees on horseback. The 1901 is the first group photo in which the faces of individuals can be (barely) distinguished.

In response to a post expressing justifiable criticism of terrorism at home and abroad, it occurred to me that terrorism itself is nothing new… not even in the United States. So, I thought to share a brief overview of it, which appears as follows.

—/—

You forgot all about the War Between the States.

The Southern rebellion, of course, was often comprised of loosely associated rag-tag bands of incompetents and criminals, which thrived and often deserted formal association with the Confederate Army, and ransacked their way throughout the countryside.

mosby-uniform-night-of-stoughtons-capture

John Singleton Mosby, image from his memoir. His note reads: “This picture is a copy of the one taken in Richmond in January 1863: The uniform is the one I wore on March 8th 1863 on the night of General Staughton’s capture. John S Mosby”

The rebels were known for such terroristic activities as Read the rest of this entry »

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Give To Those Who Ask

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, September 12, 2016

Some time ago, I had a change of heart on a rather simple matter,

and which was one of faith.

Since the summer of ’93 I had heard that Read the rest of this entry »

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The @JusticeDept Readies Its Case: 10 Questions About United States v #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley, @rebmason, et al

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 19, 2016

USA v. Robert J. Bentley, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, and Other Co-Conspirators

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on April 19, 2016
Used with permission

Alabama Governor Robert J. Bentley, 73, and political consultant Rebekah Caldwell Mason, 40, are expected to be charged by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) for using Bentley’s position as governor to execute a wide ranging racketeering conspiracy involving wire and mail fraud, tax fraud, bribery, money laundering, the unauthorized use of the federal National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the Law Enforcement Tactical System (LETS) databases, and related criminal charges.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and paramour-cum-Senior Political Advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason

As we announced exclusively on April 9, 2016, federal prosecutors in Washington have decided to expedite the initiation of public corruption charges against Robert Bentley and Rebekah Mason. This article takes you deep inside the criminal case against the governor and his married lover.

Mason, a mother of three young children, is trying to stay out of jail by cooperating with the federal probe. She does not have the financial resources to mount a spirited or sustained defense to the expected criminal charges.

Bentley, whose criminal defense attorneys are paid from campaign funds and personal savings, is helping Rebekah Mason fund her criminal defense by keeping Jonathan Mason, her husband, on the state payroll as the director of Serve Alabama at an annual salary of $94,000. This financial assistance, however, is woefully inadequate considering the tidal wave of legal trouble Rebekah Mason faces.

Robert Bentley, Rebekah Mason and other co-conspirators are staring down the barrel of a criminal indictment that is expected to exceed ninety felony charges once the case has been presented to a federal grand jury. Bentley will be named as the “ringleader” of the racketeering conspiracy.

The commonly asked questions about the governor’s criminal conduct and Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley Abused Office As Evidenced By Aircraft Use

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 11, 2016

—UPDATED 13 April 2016 to add helicopter/wallet detail.—

Alabama Governor Bentley used numerous state aircraft several hundreds – perhaps even thousands – of times, including ones registered to, or leased by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and Alabama Department of Transportation – not just the governor’s “official” craft, and used state money to pay for even more charters with numerous other private firms.

 

In fact, since the day of his initial inauguration, he and former wife Dianne flew 749 times – more than TWICE as much as former Governor Fob James.

 

The number of aircraft flights taken by former Alabama First Lady Dianne Bentley, and paramour Rebeka Caldwell Mason are telling.

The destinations and purposes for many, if not most, of the trips – including ones he made for campaigning – were purposely vaguely listed to Read the rest of this entry »

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Homeless Veterans: A Rational Perspective

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, February 19, 2016

Let’s get some perspective.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s January 2012 annual point-in-time count found that 633,782 people across the United States were homeless, 57,849 of which were veterans.

  

However, Read the rest of this entry »

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What Underutilized Renewable Alabama Resource Could Catapult The State Economically?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 14, 2016

Soon, the Alabama state legislature will reconvene, and soon enough, they will – once again – be faced with enormous fiscal shortfalls.

And, once again as well, the Republican super-dominated Alabama state legislature will be reticent, reluctant, and recalcitrant to raise taxes… except upon those least capable of paying them. I refer, of course, to the impoverished, which – according to the United States Census Bureau – comprise nearly 20% of Alabama’s population. And with a population estimated at 4,849,377, that’s 901, 984 people, who annually, according to the research, Read the rest of this entry »

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