Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘Democrats’

Original Russian Tea Recipe

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Holiday season is again upon us, and many folks – particularly Southerners – are familiar with a tasty warm beverage known as “Russian Tea.”

Exactly how and where the recipe developed, and how it came by that name is somewhat unclear, but “the font of all knowledge” – and I sarcastically refer to Wikipedia – cites an article entitled “Russian Tea is Favorite Recipe in the South” by Cecily Brownstone in the November 27, 1976 issue of Kentucky New Era newspaper in Hopkinsville.

Interestingly, the story which is perhaps the newspaper’s most renown is the August 1955 Kelly-Hopkinsville Alien Encounter, which may also be known as “Kelly Green Men Case,” or the “Hopkinsville Goblins Case.” It’s a precursor of sorts to a “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” type story in which five adults and seven children reported to Hopkinsville Police that “little men with big heads and long arms,” presumably alien creatures, were attacking their farm house, and that they’d held them off with gunfire “for nearly four hours.” It all started around 7PM when one of the men went out of the house to get a bucket of water, and lasted until 0330 – that’s 3:30AM.

Who knows? Maybe they’d had too much Russian Tea. Anyway, I don’t think you’ll be doing any hallucinating, or discharging any firearms after drinking this, so it’s pretty tame stuff… unless you start adding Kentucky Bourbon or other liquor to it.

Anyway…

Spiced Tea infusion recipe in Joy of Cooking, p40

Spiced Tea infusion recipe in Joy of Cooking, p40

However, as seen in the image herein, the Read the rest of this entry »

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Can @realDonaldTrump this?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Day 5: The standard has been set… by a Black man.

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – the huge government bureaucracy established by Executive Order 13228 under President George W. Bush on October 8, 2001 – and it’s subsidiary bureaucracy the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), from 2009-2015, President Barack Obama has deported over 2.5 Million illegal immigrants… more than the George W. Bush administration.

Statistics for this year (2016) are not ready, because… the year hasn’t ended. Duh!
So, there are more to be added to the “we kicked you out because you broke the law” rolls.

Really? Obama deported more illegals than Bush?

Yup.

He’s deported so many illegals that he’s been nicknamed the “Deporter in Chief.”

In fact, he’s deported MORE than any other administration in history.

MORE than Reagan.

MORE than George H.W. Bush.

MORE than Clinton.

MORE than Carter.

In fact… MORE than ALL OF THEM COMBINED!

Oh yeah.

Ouch… that’s gotta’ smart!

The Office of Immigration Statistics (a subsidiary of the Department of Homeland Security), says Read the rest of this entry »

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The Great Unknown… Or Not: Separating #Fact From #Fiction: @realDonaldTrump’s First 100 Days – Realistic, Or Idealistic?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 12, 2016

November 11, 2016
Day 3: Still thinking

Yesterday, President Obama met with Donald Trump at the White House. It was the first time either of them had met. According to brief remarks made to the Press afterward, their collegial meeting lasted about one and a half hours.

The erudite will recall that “the first 100 days” is taken from a radio address given by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first term in office, in which during his first 100 days , and modeled after his plan to get Americans back to work, protect their savings and create prosperity, provide relief for the sick and elderly, and get industry and agriculture back on their feet.

Having read Trump’s goals for his first 100 days in office, it seems to me that there are some ideas I can support. Yet, there’s some pure bluster and ignorance designed for purely emotional appeal. I’ll separate fact from fiction, and we’ll have to wait and see how it all pans out.
See: donald-trumps-contract-w-american-voter

Trump’s objectives are in bold, my comments follow.

—/—

First: Constitutional Amendment for Congressional Term Limits – I have long supported that idea. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R), however, opposes them – as, presumably, do some others. Whenever their income source or security is potentially challenged, they’ll fight. Which is probably all the more reason it ought to enacted. A Lifetime Limit of Eight terms in the House of Representatives (2 years x 8 terms=16 years), and a Lifetime Limit of Two terms in the Senate (2 terms x 6 years=12 years) for a combined total of 20 years Lifetime Total ought to be enough for anyone.

Second: Federal Hiring Freeze, to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health) – I can understand that, and could go along with that for a period of time. Realize also that whenever any public action is required to be taken – such as “extreme vetting,” it is done by Federal Employees. So if their numbers are reduced, as a natural result, expect slow-downs and delays in any actions undertaken.

Third: Require that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated – That’s unrealistic, and impracticable. It may be nice to think about, but as a blanket statement, it’s simply unrealistic.

Fourth: A 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service – TOTALLY in favor of this idea.

Sixth: Lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government – Totally in favor of, and the ban should extend to ALL former Federal Employees.

On the same day, I will begin taking the following 7 actions to protect American workers:

FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205 – I have long advocated for changes to NAFTA, and other Free Trade deals to which the United States is a party.

SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership – TOTALLY in favor of this idea.

THIRD, I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator – Some say “yes,” some say “no,” but there is no disagreement China has bought American currency on the FOREX (Foreign Currency Exchange Market), and has purchased American indebtedness (T-bills, and other bonds). Mr. C. Fred Bergsten, Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, put it this way: “Currency manipulation occurs when 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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Why @HillaryClinton’s @StateDept Quid Pro Quo Pay-To-Play Is A Corrupt Practice

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 28, 2016

Accountability is what remains once responsibility has fled. The citizens of the United States must demand higher standards from their public servants, and officials, and severely punish violations of the same.

—/—

Bill and Hillary Clinton, Meet Jozette Berry, Alisha Cole and Lashonda Smaw

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on August 28, 2016
Used with permission.

Former Jefferson County, Alabama revenue clerks Lashonda Smaw, Alisha Cole, and Gazette Berry (pictured from left to right). They engaged in the same unethical conduct that is involved in the Hillary Clinton "cash for prioritized access" scandal. Each woman was investigated, criminally charged with felony ethics violations, and convicted in court. Their total take in gratuities was $120. The total gratuities involved in the Clinton scandal is $156 million, and nobody is under a criminal investigation.

Former Jefferson County, Alabama revenue clerks Lashonda Smaw, Alisha Cole, and Gazette Berry (pictured from left to right). They engaged in the same unethical conduct that is involved in the Hillary Clinton “cash for prioritized access” scandal. Each woman was investigated, criminally charged with felony ethics violations, and convicted in court. Their total take in gratuities was $120. The total gratuities involved in the Clinton scandal is $156 million, and nobody is under a criminal investigation.

In 2013, Jozette Berry, Alisha Cole and Lashonda Smaw were Jefferson County, Alabama revenue clerks who worked in the downtown County Courthouse and the Center Point Satellite Courthouse. These low-level public servants accepted cash gratuities for cutting people to the front of the 4-hour long, slow moving, car tag line. Cole was caught accepting $20 on two occasions in August 2013. Berry and Smaw were caught accepting $40 on a single occasion in April 2013.

After a local Fox TV news team publicly exposed this criminal conduct, there was immediate and widespread condemnation of the women’s actions. It made national news. This was declared an ethics violation on the part of each woman.

In December 2013, a Jefferson County grand jury indicted Berry, Cole, and Smaw for using their public office for personal gain, which is a felony in Alabama and an ethics violation as well. Each woman faced 2 to 20 years in prison, if convicted.

These women did not have friends in high places. They were not connected to the Obama White House, or the U.S. Attorney General, or the Director of the FBI. They did not hold any political office. They did not have New York spin-doctors or high-powered lawyers to argue that they had done nothing wrong. In short, they had no one who could “fix” their criminal case, or make it go away.

Jozette Berry and Lashonda Smaw, who are black, eventually pled guilty. Alisha Cole, who faced two felony counts of ethics violations, went to trial and was convicted. Berry received a sentence of 12 months of hard labor in the county jail. Imposition of Berry’s sentence was later suspended and she was placed on 2 years of unsupervised probation. After her conviction, Cole received a three-year suspended sentence and two years of unsupervised probation. Smaw’s sentence for her ethics violation is unknown at this time.

The guilty pleas for Berry and Smaw and guilty verdict for Cole ended a multi-year joint criminal investigation by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Public Corruption and White Collar Crimes Unit, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and the Birmingham Police Department. After the criminal cases ended in May 2015, the local DA proudly released the following statement: “We are grateful to have partners in law enforcement who are Read the rest of this entry »

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Racism & Bigotry Abounds in the #ALpolitics State Democratic Executive Committee

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 12, 2015

racist: rāsəst:
A person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.

bigot: A person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.

As a noun, racism is “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.”

Yesterday – Saturday July 11, 2015 – the State Democratic Executive Committee of the Alabama Democratic Party met in Montgomery. The ostensible purpose of that meeting was to elect members to fill vacancies in the party.

Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley

Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley

Things didn’t go well.

But then again, things haven’t gone well for the Alabama Democratic Party for quite some time.

The reason why is quite simple, and can be summed up in one word: Mismanagement.

Chairwoman Nancy Worley, former Secretary of State, and former teacher from New Hope, in Madison county (in the northernmost part of the state, bordering Tennessee), has Read the rest of this entry »

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How Much Could Alabama Save By Not Paying Legislators?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, April 30, 2015

UPDATE: Sunday, 14 June 2015 – Found following main body

Today (Thursday, 30 April 2015) the Alabama State Senate knocked off at 11:30, and reconvened 1PM. It’s also the final day of the Legislative Session for the week – they only work three days each week – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

An hour and a half – that’s a nice, long lunch break for a wealthy man, a powerful man – not a working man. It’s pretty cushy for someone who works three days a week, only 30 days a year. Reckon how your boss would respond if you asked for a three-day work week and a 30-day work year?

How long do you get for lunch?

Most folks get 30 minutes.

The Alabama Senate gets THREE times longer than most working folks.

But then, excesses in Alabama state politics is nothing new.

Recall that – by law – the Alabama Legislature is limited to work <30 days/year (in a 105 day period) & for that privilege, citizens & taxpayers fork over $50K+/yr in pay & compensation to them – 35 in the Senate, and 105 in the House.
TOTAL=140 men (mostly) & women.

In stark contrast, New Mexico’s State Legislators are a Volunteer Legislature (they’re elected, yes, but unpaid), and during Session, by State Law receive a Daily Federal Per Diem, and Two-Way Mileage once during a session EXCLUSIVELY.

Legislative pay in Alabama has been a hot-button issue, particularly in recent years – and, it’s unnecessarily complicated. By State Constitutional Law, their “official” pay is Read the rest of this entry »

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Presidential Political Prophesy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 12, 2015

As we wind down the final two years of President Barack Obama’s second term, speculation is arising concerning who will become the GOP’s Presidential nominee. At this point, there is much less speculation among Democrats about who will contend for the race, although Hillary Clinton does seem to be positioning herself early for a run at the Democratic party’s nomination.

Given the increasing inoperability of the radicalized GOP (even though they have wrested solid control of the House and Senate, but not enough to override a presidential veto), and their tendency toward government shutdown, brinksmanship, and extremism, some have said they would prefer to see a Democratic presidential successor, though there may be little evidence to support the notion such a thing will occur.

Some have said “That doesn’t help the Democrats” and that, “a Republican president doesn’t help anyone but corporations.” While there may be merit to both statements, it should be observed that a spirit of cooperation has become eroded to the point that there seems little chance that statesmanship and compromise for the good of the whole will occur… even given the Republican majority in the House and Senate. The radicalized GOP’s infighting even has Speaker Boehner up in arms, and not merely for his impotence and inability to control the party now hijacked by Right-Wing Extremists.

Which is where we begin the prophesy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Prison System Teetering on Federal Takover

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

Every single word in this OpEd is spot-on.

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

Alabama is a state in crisis.

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

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

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

Why does the state have a high crime rate?

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

WHY?

WHY?!?

WHY!?!

***
***

Why Alabama Cannot Wait on Prison Reform: Guest Opinion

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

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

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

By Cam Ward

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

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

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

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

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Alabama Secretary of State Errs in Poll Watcher Guide: Photo Voter ID Law Disenfranchises Elderly Voters in June Primaries

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 3, 2014

{Tuesday, 10 June 2014: Update/Annotation/Correction noted in response #2. Ed.}

Today (June 3, 2014) in Alabama was primary election day. It is a day the party faithful – Democrats and Republicans – went to the polls to cast ballots for the candidates of their choice.

In Alabama, citizens cannot vote for candidates of their choice in both parties. They must choose either/or. Only in the November General Election can they “split the ticket” and vote for Democrats and Republicans.

In my way of thinking, that is a shame… and a crime, because it disenfranchises those whom would vote by requiring them to identify – against their will – as a member of a political party.

As I write, the polls have closed (they’re open from 0700 – 1900… or if you prefer, 7AM – 7PM), and already, there have been reports throughout the state that irregularities have occurred. Some voters – specifically, the elderly – have been denied the right to vote.

Voter fraud? 92-year-old great-grandmother’s expired driver’s license unacceptable for voter ID

http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/06/voter_fraud.htm

AL Ballot Security Manual

Photograph of the “Alabama Ballot Security Manual: A Practical guide for Poll Watchers, Alabama Primary Election, June 3, 2014

93-year-old black man disenfranchised by Alabama voter ID law

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/voter-id-law-disenfranchises-93-year-old-black-man

As well, there are inconsistencies in official information produced by the Secretary of State specifically for the purpose of Poll Watching & Voter Identification.

In a document entitled “Alabama Photo Voter ID Guide” available on the Alabama Secretary of State’s website Read the rest of this entry »

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Congressional Budget Office: Offshore Corporate Tax Havens Cost each Citizen $1259

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

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

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

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

Corporate Income Tax Rates have continually declined

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s almost Read the rest of this entry »

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Analysis – Examining the Record: Is Alabama Governor Bentley a “Jobs Creator” or a Drag on the State Economy?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 12, 2014

When campaigning for the office of Alabama’s Governor, Robert Bentley – a retired dermatologist physician who at the time was an elected representative from Tuscaloosa County – promised if elected governor that, “I will forgo a salary as state representative for the rest of my term and will not accept a salary as Governor until Alabama reaches full employment.”
ref: http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2010/06/robert_bentley_extends_no-sala.html

When pressed on the matter, he later defined “full employment” as having state unemployment somewhere around 5%. It is a promise to which, as of the date of this entry – 12 April 2014 – he has kept. In other words, Alabama has NOT reached “full employment,” and he has not been paid a salary. He has, however, been compensated for out-of-pocket expenses (the governor’s office has a budget, so why would he personally have any such expenses for work in an official capacity?), though he has received – as legislator, a legally-mandated $1.00 per month salary. Since his election to the governorship, he has not received a salary.

Let’s examine Governor Bentley‘s employment record.

During Governor Robert Bentley’s watch, International Paper – the large paper mill formerly known as Champion Paper, in Courtland, and the largest employer in Lawrence County – closed and cost the area economy & state 1100 jobs. Those jobs were Read the rest of this entry »

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In Defense of #Infrastructure Spending

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 22, 2014

At the federal level, TEApublican types have decried our national deficit, much – if not most – of which came about as a result of placing the price of a decade of warfare on a proverbial credit card. I refer, of course, to the Persian Gulf War, Gulf War II, Operation Desert Shield/Storm and the invasion of Afghanistan, etc., all of which occurred during the previous administration.

Compounding that problem was that corporate and personal income tax rates upon the wealthiest was cut, while simultaneously, the veritable house of cards was crumbling, having been built upon the miry, sinking sands of Wall Street deregulation & greed gone wild.

Nevertheless, as our nation has struggled and clawed its way back to some semblance of fiscal sanity, there have been voices arising whom assert that the federal government’s “bailout” of banks & other large, corporate enterprise has been a gross mistake, and that such a bailout should have never occurred. And, while there will doubtless be volumes written, and debates held about the good and the bad of the ordeal, what’s been done, has been done, and it’s practically all over, but the crying. So the only thing we can do now, is live & learn, and move on.

And yet, respecting one underlying problem which arose corollary to the matter, is the loss of jobs here at home. Again, it was complicated by ‘globalization,’ which – good, bad, or indifferent – is Read the rest of this entry »

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Senator Jeff Sessions REFUSES to give up part of his salary for sequestration

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 27, 2013

Be sure to ask Sen. Sessions if he is going to voluntarily give up a portion of his Senatorial salary since the Senate last month passed a measure urging their members to forgo 20% of their salaries as part of sequestration.

Kudos, however, to Sen. Bob Corker R-TN, who has NEVER pocketed any of his Senate salary.

Why?

He donates it ALL to charity.

Why?

He’s worth over $19 Million.

Few senators sacrifice pay amid cuts

By Russell Berman – 04/03/13 05:00 AM ET

Only a few senators are planning to forfeit a portion of their salaries to charity or the U.S. Treasury while sequestration is in effect, according to a survey conducted by The Hill.

The Senate last month passed a measure urging members of the upper chamber to forgo 20 percent of their salary during sequestration. Most senators, however, are keeping quiet on whether they will follow through.

During a marathon session of budget votes, the Senate approved by voice vote an amendment from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) calling on lawmakers to donate 20 percent of their pay to charity or return it to the U.S. Treasury.In his floor speech, Graham noted that about 500,000 to 600,000 federal employees will be furloughed because of sequestration and that senators should “feel what other people are feeling.”

Yet in a survey of Senate offices by The Hill, only Graham and Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) have indicated they would give up some of their take-home pay.

In a recent press release, Begich — who is up for reelection in 2014 — said Read the rest of this entry »

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Would President Obama privatize TVA & Kill the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shoals: Privatizing TVA is ‘a bad idea’

By Mike Goens
Managing Editor
Matt McKean/TimesDaily
4/21/13

Anglers fish below thousands of feet of power lines that run from TVA’s Wheeler Dam turbine systems. Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. Matt McKean/TimesDaily

Anglers fish below thousands of feet of power lines that run from TVA’s Wheeler Dam turbine systems. Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. Matt McKean/TimesDaily

If President Barack Obama needs help orchestrating an effort to privatize TVA, he shouldn’t expect much support from the Shoals.

Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. They fear a privately owned TVA will lead to higher electricity rates, job cuts, more flooding problems and navigational issues on the Tennessee River and other waterways under TVA’s jurisdiction.

“The first questions you need to ask are what’s the gain for government and what would be gained by the community,” said Steve Hargrove, manager of Sheffield Utilities. “If the purpose is to make things better and there is reason to think it’s possible, I would be the first one interested in sitting at the table and talking about it. I just don’t see advantages of privatizing at this time.”

Obama brought the issue to the table through his 2014 budget proposal, which was released last week. He said selling TVA should be explored as a means to increase revenue by as much as $25 billion, money that could reduce the federal deficit and pay for other government services.

Hargrove has a unique perspective to the debate, having worked at TVA for 33 years before retiring as plant manager at Colbert Fossil Plant. He became manager of Sheffield Utilities in December.

His department purchases electricity from TVA and provides power to about 19,000 customers in Colbert County.

“I am a believer in the private sector, but I would fear their mission would be different than TVA’s,” Hargrove said. “The mission of TVA is not to make profit, and the mission of the private sector is to make a profit. They have to answer to a board that wants to maximize profits. When your primary goal is to make a profit, that becomes a higher goal than helping the community.

“TVA has had its problems, and bad decisions have been made, but its mission is good and they are an established part of the communities.”

Hargrove said residential rates for TVA customers in the Southeast are among the lowest 25 percent in the country and Read the rest of this entry »

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How out of touch with reality is the GOP?

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

The GOP recently acknowledged that, among other aspects of their party’s alienation from the American mainstream, they need to modify and change not merely their image, but their appeal to Hispanics, which have largely voted for Democratic candidates.

The irony of their acknowledgment is that they want to do the very thing they’ve demonstrated why and how they’ve alienated themselves from the American mainstream… hire a Mexican to do their work.

As reported in VOXXI, by Grace Flores-Hughes on March 19, 2013, “The Republican National Committee plans to hire political directors from the Hispanic, Asian, African American communities as well as from women’s groups.”
Read her story: “The ambitious coming out of the Republican Party”

The numbers prove it: The GOP is estranged from America

By Andrew Kohut, Published: March 22

Andrew Kohut is the founding director and former president of the Pew Research Center. He served as president of the Gallup Organization from 1979 to 1989.

In my decades of polling, I recall only one moment when a party had been driven as far from the center as the Republican Party has been today.

The outsize influence of hard-line elements in the party base is doing to the GOP what supporters of Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama’s Republican Legislators take over State’s Schools… even though they’re not failing.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, March 10, 2013

The lack of news outlets in the states three major newspapers all which publish only three editions weekly (Birmingham News, Mobile Press-Register, and the Huntsville Times, now known as “Alabama Media Group” which newspapers are all owned by the same privately held mega-firm that owns Sports Illustrated & Conde Nast – Advance Publications, aka Newhouse News) has – in my estimation – contributed to the demise of public involvement in governance, and to a great degree, influenced voters from participating in their own governance by keeping them ignorant.

However, that does NOT mean that there is no news, nor does it mean that there is a news blackout. What it means is that in those three major cities in the state, there is a dearth of reporting of state events.

For example, the Montgomery Advertiser reported recently that in an email message to his staff, Governor Robert Bentley “demanded that his cabinet members and the state employees who work for them not discuss with state legislators any concerns they might have with a proposed overhaul to state law enforcement agencies.

““I do not want any cabinet head or any member of their department to lobby against this. Tell your employees to contact ONLY Blaine Galliher if they have any questions or concerns. NO ONE is to talk to members of the House or Senate in opposition to this legislation,” Bentley wrote in an email sent to cabinet members by his executive assistant on Feb. 12.””

Governor Bentley is showing his true face… that of a tyrant.

The year Alabama legislators took over schools

by Wayne Flynt
Special to The Star
Mar 10, 2013
Gov. Robert Bentley talks with reporters in Montgomery last week. Photo: Dave Martin/Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley talks with reporters in Montgomery last week. Photo: Dave Martin/Associated Press

My father grew up poor and never finished high school but was incredibly resourceful. He could “figure things out.” He did his own plumbing, wiring and construction. But on occasion, Dad’s chief asset became a liability. So confident was he in his ability to fix anything that he refused to admit that he didn’t know everything.

That is a good description of the new Republican Legislature. They were elected for good reasons: The hubris, arrogance, excesses, patronage abuse, corruption and demagoguery of Democrats. But the 2013 Legislature reminds me lots of the Democrats they replaced.

Republicans, who hold all state offices and a veto-proof majority in the Legislature, have decided that they know better than anyone how to do everything.

Take education, for instance. Three successive reform-minded state school superintendents — supported by a business community concerned about the loss of one-third of Alabama manufacturing jobs since 2000 and fearful that schools were not producing a labor force skilled enough to compete in the global economy — began reforming education.

They introduced model early childhood programs, world-class math and science curricula, a reading initiative widely copied nationwide, tougher graduation standards, and took over failing schools and malfunctioning systems characterized by patronage politics and financial profligacy (think Birmingham).

Education reformers organized A+ Education Partnership and joined this battle. Their hugely successful “best practices” center and life-changing college-readiness program that enrolls record numbers of students in demanding advanced placement courses constitute instances where Alabama set national standards rather than followed them.

So what does the new Republican Legislature do? Read the rest of this entry »

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What will President Obama do in his next four years?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 26, 2012

Obama and the Road Ahead: The Rolling Stone Interview

In an Oval Office conversation with a leading historian, the president discusses what he would do with a second term – and his opponent’s embrace of ‘the most extreme positions in the Republican Party

by: Douglas Brinkley

Obama on Rolling Stone 20121023-obama-1169-306x-1351006174

Photo by Mark Seliger

Barack Obama can no longer preach the bright 2008 certitudes of “Hope and Change.” He has a record to defend this time around. And, considering the lousy hand he was dealt by George W. Bush and an obstructionist Congress, his record of achievement, from universal health care to equal pay for women, is astonishingly solid. His excessive caution is a survival trait; at a time when the ripple and fury provoked by one off-key quip can derail a campaign for days, self-editing is the price a virtuoso must pay to go the distance in the age of YouTube.

Viewed through the lens of history, Obama represents a new type of 21st-century politician: the Progressive Firewall. Obama, simply put, is the curator-in-chief of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier and the Great Society. When he talks about continued subsidies for Big Bird or contraceptives for Sandra Fluke, he is the inheritor of the Progressive movement’s agenda, the last line of defense that prevents America’s hard-won social contract from being defunded into oblivion.

Ever since Theodore Roosevelt used executive orders to save the Grand Canyon from the zinc-copper lobbies and declared that unsanitary factories were grotesque perversions propagated by Big Money interests, the federal government has aimed to improve the daily lives of average Americans. Woodrow Wilson followed up T.R.’s acts by creating the Federal Reserve and the Federal Trade Commission and re-establishing a federal income tax. Then, before the stock market crash in 1929, the GOP Big Three of Harding-Coolidge-Hoover made “business” the business of America, once more allowing profiteers to flourish at the expense of the vulnerable.

Enter Franklin Roosevelt, a polio victim confined to a wheelchair and leg braces. His alphabet soup of New Deal programs – the CCC and TVA and WPA – brought hope to the financially distraught, making them believe that the government was on their side. Determined to end the Great Depression, Roosevelt was a magnificent experimenter. Credit him with Social Security, legislation to protect workers, labor’s right to collective bargaining, Wall Street regulation, rural electrification projects, farm-price supports, unemployment compensation and federally guaranteed bank deposits. The America we know and love today sprung directly from the New Deal.

For the next three decades, the vast majority of voters benefited from Roosevelt’s revolution. And every president from FDR to Jimmy Carter, regardless of political affiliation, grabbed America by the scruff of the neck and did huge, imaginative things with tax revenues. Think Truman (the Marshall Plan), Eisenhower (the Interstate Highway System), Kennedy (the space program), Johnson (Medicaid and Medicare), Nixon (the EPA) and Carter (the departments of Energy and Education). Whether it was Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy going after the Mob or LBJ laying the groundwork for PBS, citizens took comfort in the knowledge that the executive branch was a caring iron fist with watchdog instincts that got things done.

It was the election of Ronald Reagan that started the Grand Reversal. Reagan had voted four times for FDR, but by 1980 he saw the federal government – with the notable exception of our armed forces – as a bloated, black-hatted villain straight out of one of his B movies. His revolution – and make no mistake that it was one – aimed to undo everything from Medicare to Roe v. Wade. Ever since Reagan, both the New Deal and Read the rest of this entry »

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Presidential Geography: Alabama & Mississippi – Two very solidly Red(neck) states

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 12, 2012

To be certain, this ain’t your daddy’s Republican party.

It’s a party hijacked by radicals – genuine radicals – whose solitary bent is the destruction of government. Tear down this, destroy & eliminate this, that and the other, shift responsibility to the states for various programs, knowing full well that they do not, and will not have the ability to fully or appropriately fund them because tax rates continue to decline… it’s a “Starve the Monster” approach which has been taken – quite literally.

We have experienced already the devastating effects of it – significant tax cuts and a 10-year long war which has driven up the deficit, a BIG BUSINESS Bailout resulting from financial deregulation, which has cost jobs, houses, increased homelessness & bankruptcies, and off-shoring of American manufacturing.

And all this is predicated – so they purport – to be symptomatic of “a welfare state” that rewards so-called “welfare queens” who have children precisely to obtain more welfare money (a genuine misnomer if ever there was one)

But the biggest question is: What’s for dessert?

I don’t think we want to know.

FiveThirtyEight – Nate Silver’s Political Calculus
October 11, 2012, 6:24 pm

Solid South Reversed, but Still Divided by Race

By MICAH COHEN

We continue our Presidential Geography series, an examination of each state’s political landscape and how it’s changing. Here is a special two-in-one look at Alabama, the Yellowhammer State, and Mississippi, the Magnolia State. FiveThirtyEight spoke with Marvin King Jr., an assistant professor of political science at the University of Mississippi; Natalie Davis, a professor of political science at Birmingham-Southern College; Jess Brown, a professor of political science and justice studies at Athens State University; and William H. Stewart, a former political science professor at the University of Alabama.

One recurring theme in the states we have profiled so far has been the exodus of Southern whites from the Democratic Party, yielding a striking transformation. The Solid South — so named for the regional hegemony of Democrats — has been reversed, and states that were once Democratic from top to bottom are becoming (or already are) equally Republican.

The evolution has progressed particularly far in the Deep South, but Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas are all at different stages.

Arkansas is Read the rest of this entry »

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Necessary but Not Sufficient: Why Taxing the Wealthy Can’t Fix the Deficit

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 4, 2012

NOW OR NEVER | SEPTEMBER 2012

Necessary but Not Sufficient:
Why Taxing the Wealthy Can’t Fix the Deficit

By David Brown, Gabe Horwitz, and David Kendall

In this paper we shatter the myth that taxes on the wealthy can come close to solving our long-term budget problem. We readily acknowledge that raising taxes on top earners is necessary, but it is not sufficient to solve the looming fiscal crisis. And we make clear that if entitlements are left on autopilot, burdensome middle class tax hikes become inevitable.

Even a 50% tax rate on the wealthy can’t fix the deficit.
Even 50% taxe rate on wealthy can't fix deficitThis is the first in a pair of papers that demonstrate that purely ideological fixes will not sufficiently address our fiscal issues. Our other report, Death by a Thousand Cuts: Why Spending Cuts Alone Won’t Fix the Deficit, proves that a cuts-only strategy cannot solve our budget woes without severely compromising our safety, security, and economic growth. Together, these papers make the case that a big and balanced fiscal package is the preferred way to avoid the fiscal cliff, prevent deficits from exploding in the future, and allow our economy to grow.

To stabilize the debt and create a positive economic climate for U.S. growth, most mainstream economists agree that annual deficits must be reduced to 3% of GDP. The question is: how do we get there?

In order to demonstrate that taxes alone cannot solve our budget woes, we explore three budget scenarios, all of which rely solely on Read the rest of this entry »

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