Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘enterprise’

Why #ALpolitics Should’ve Elected @RonSparks2010 – @GovernorBentley In His Own Words: “I had no clue.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Having made no bones about it, I remain searingly and scathingly critical of Alabama Governor Robert Julian Bentley, a retired physician-turned-Republican legislator from Tuscaloosa, who is twice elected governor – in 2010, and in 2014.

While I wished him well after his initial victory in the governor’s race against his Democratic opponent then-Secretary of Agriculture and Industries, Ron Sparks, he has disappointed the state since Inauguration Day 2011 when he put his foot in his mouth at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, Montgomery, where on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 17, 2011 – mere hours after taking the oath of office and inauguration – he said in part, “There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit. But if you have been adopted in God’s family like I have, and like you have if you’re a Christian and if you’re saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister. Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”

It was at that point that Rebekah Caldwell Mason became his Communication Director, and later, Senior Political Advisor-cum-paramour.

More to the point, however, I have maintained that among other things, as an elected official, he has been feckless, and clueless.

But, let’s let him speak for himself.

Here’s in part what Governor Bentley said in a speech to a statewide gathering of city officials in Montgomery, May 2013, “You know where I came up with that idea? Ron Sparks. Read the rest of this entry »

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Examining Right Wing Rhetoric in Memes

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 27, 2015

How accurate, or true are Right Wing statements?

How accurate, or true are Right Wing memes?

Regardless of one’s political beliefs, party affiliation, or ideological inclination, it’s always good to consider the truth of statements in memes that – like flotsam and jetsam – are dispersed throughout the Internet… particularly upon Social Media sites such as FaceBook, and Twitter. And unfortunately, in many cases, they are the veritable garbage, the effluent detritus of communication.

So… let’s examine some of the argument in the meme seen here, and see if it still holds water.

Government has necessary services, and provides the same.

Consider road construction as one example.

To create & build roads (which themselves increase opportunity) government must purchase things – raw materials, and manpower, among them.

Now… exactly where is any “government factory” for that, eh?

That’s correct – there is NONE.

EVERYTHING “we the people” by and through our government – at ALL LEVELS, Federal, State, and Local – purchase comes from the Private Sector!

EVERYTHING!

Consider also what may be the greatest example of Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Democrats Vote to Save Jobs: ABC Privatization Bill Dies in Senate Committee

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A bill by State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) to privatize the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has died in the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee by a 7-6 vote along party lines, with one Republican voting ‘NO.’ The vote received applause from attendees.

A substitution bill presented by Orr would’ve changed the suspension penalty for Selling to Minors from one year to one week, and increased taxes, was also adopted along party line vote.
Orr said earlier that, “Part of our job is to downsize government,” and demanded a committee vote be taken on his bill today.

Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Administrator Mac Gipson testified that employees are paid from mark-ups from sales in the state’s 176 ABC stores. He also noted that by comparison, there are 587 private package stores in the state.

In Alabama, liquor is marked up at Read the rest of this entry »

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What is it like to be a Woman Business Owner & Inventor Terrorized & Threatened by Right Wing Extremist Gun Owners?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, May 3, 2014

More power to you!

The GOP has been hijacked by extremist elements.

It’s time to put those sorry, low-life punks in prison for collusion, terrorism and anti-American activity.

***

***

‘Smart’ Firearm Draws Wrath of the Gun Lobby

By JEREMY W. PETERS
APRIL 27, 2014

Belinda Padilla is trying to market a new .22-caliber handgun that uses a radio frequency-enabled stopwatch to identify the authorized user so no one else can fire it.  Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Belinda Padilla is trying to market a new .22-caliber handgun that uses a radio frequency-enabled stopwatch to identify the authorized user so no one else can fire it.
Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Belinda Padilla does not pick up unknown calls anymore, not since someone posted her cellphone number on an online forum for gun enthusiasts. A few fuming-mad voice mail messages and heavy breathers were all it took.

Then someone snapped pictures of the address where she has a P.O. box and put those online, too. In a crude, cartoonish scrawl, this person drew an arrow to the blurred image of a woman passing through the photo frame. “Belinda?” the person wrote. “Is that you?”

Her offense? Trying to market and sell a new .22-caliber handgun that uses a radio frequency-enabled stopwatch to identify the authorized user so no one else can fire it. Ms. Padilla and the manufacturer she works for, Armatix, intended to make the weapon the first “smart gun” for sale in the United States.

But shortly after Armatix went public with its plans to start selling in Southern California, Ms. Padilla, a fast-talking, hard-charging Beverly Hills businesswoman who leads the company’s fledgling American division, encountered the same uproar that has stopped gun control advocates, Congress, President Obama and lawmakers across the country as they seek to pass tougher laws and promote new technologies they contend will lead to fewer firearms deaths.

Lately, there has been little standing in the way of the muscle of the gun lobby, whose advocates recently derailed Mr. Obama’s nominee for surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, a Boston doctor who has expressed alarm about the frequency of shooting deaths.

And despite support from the Obama administration and the promise of investment from Silicon Valley, guns with owner-recognition technology remain shut out of the market today.

“Right now, unfortunately, these organizations that are scaring everybody have the power,” Ms. Padilla said. “All we’re doing is providing extra levels of safety to your individual right to bear arms. And if you don’t want our gun, don’t buy it. It’s not for everyone.”

In Georgia on Wednesday, Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law a bill that allows people to carry guns in bars, government buildings and even some churches. The National Rifle Association called the measure historic.

In West Virginia, one of several Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

Report

Slick Moves

The SEC could help tackle corruption in resource-rich countries around the world — but the oil industry is getting in the way.

Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, is regarded as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. And American oil lobbyists are only making the situation worse: They are exploiting Angola by seeking to delay and weaken the implementation of a crucial U.S. transparency law.

That law, Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, also known as the Cardin-Lugar amendment, promises a breakthrough in preventing dirty deals and illicit payments being made for natural resources around the world, similar to the shady transaction recently uncovered by Foreign Policy. If implemented fully, the law would make U.S. oil and mining companies disclose the payments they make to governments across the world, including in Angola. However, oil lobbyists have been making misguided arguments that laws in Angola and three other countries prevent the required disclosures.

Off Shore Oil Drilling Rig

Off Shore Oil Drilling Rig – MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

Angolan officials secretly profiting from the country’s oil riches is not a surprise. It is only the latest episode in a sad history that goes back for decades. Global Witness, where we work, began exposing the complicity of the international oil and banking industries in the plundering of state assets during Angola’s 40-year civil war in our 1999 report A Crude Awakening. This was followed by our 2002 report All the Presidents’ Men, which called on the oil companies operating in Angola to “Publish What You Pay” (PWYP). Under this rallying call, Global Witness co-launched the PWYP campaign, which is now an international coalition of more than 790 civil society organizations in over 60 countries, including Angola, advocating for transparency laws such as Section 1504.

These efforts are intended to prevent scandals similar to the Trafigura deal covered in Foreign Policy, which provide a glimpse of the endemic corruption in Angola‘s oil industry. Only a few days before Foreign Policy published its story, media reports about leaked documents relating to other corruption claims caused the share price of SBM Offshore, a Dutch oil services company operating in Angola, to plummet 17.9 percent when markets opened. SBM released a statement challenging the validity of the leaked documents, saying that they are partial, taken out of context, contain outdated information, and are not representative of the facts. SBM had also already disclosed to its investors that it was conducting an internal investigation into questionable payments in Angola. However, the dramatic stock drop suggests that SBM investors had not anticipated the scale of the corruption risk exposure.

Another oil services company active in Angola, Weatherford International, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and headquartered in Switzerland, has recently pleaded guilty to violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), including bribery of the executives of Sonangol, Angola’s state oil company. It has agreed to pay fines of $253 million to settle the case, one of the largest FCPA settlements ever.

These cases illustrate the urgent need for transparency in Angola’s oil sector. The successful implementation of Read the rest of this entry »

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Offshoring American Enterprise: Good, Bad, or Indifferent?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, August 24, 2013

I may step on a few toes with my next remark, but I can always apologize, and ask forgiveness if it so be the case that my remarks are found offensive.

However, suffice it to say, that our nation’s Congress, has, for at least the past 20 years, or so – and even moreso in the past decade plus – embarked upon a very Read the rest of this entry »

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Walking on Holy Ground: Colonel Sanders’ Kentucky Fried Chicken Cafe & Museum, Corbin, KY

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 6, 2013

While in Kentucky, make certain you visit the National Corvette Museum, in Bowling Green.

Journeys

In Kentucky, Fried Chicken History

By
Published: August 24, 2012

WHEN making his rounds as a traveling salesman for a Chicago printing company, Duncan Hines would occasionally pull off the Dixie Highway in Corbin, Ky., and eat at Sanders Cafe. In the 1939 edition of “Adventures in Good Eating,” his pioneering restaurant guide, he recommended the cafe and its adjoining motor court as “very good place to stop en route to Cumberland Falls and the Great Smokies,” highlighting its “sizzling steaks, fried chicken, country ham, hot biscuits.”

The Sanders Cafe and Museum in Corbin, KY / Jonathan Palmer for The New York Times

The Sanders Cafe and Museum in Corbin, KY / Jonathan Palmer for The New York Times

The cafe is still there, only now it incorporates a museum and holds down a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, for one huge, unignorable reason. The owner, chef and resident genius of the place was none other than Colonel Harland Sanders, who, on this hallowed ground, cooked the first batch of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Cumberland Falls does not work the magic it once did, and Corbin itself is not high on anyone’s list of tourist destinations. But the Colonel Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum is a modest must. In addition to capturing a pivotal moment in the mass-marketing of American vernacular food, it evokes a dreamlike time, before the arrival of the Interstate System and its proliferation of fast-food restaurants and chain hotels, when traveling the American highway was a thrilling, high-risk proposition, with marvelous discoveries and ghastly disappointments waiting at every turn.

In its present form, the Sanders Cafe and Museum was born in 1990, the 100th anniversary of Colonel Sanders’s birth. JRN, a Tennessee-based company that operates nearly 200 KFC franchises in the Southeast, was about to open a modern KFC restaurant next to the old cafe. To mark the great birthday, it put out a call for artifacts and memorabilia that would allow it to celebrate the Colonel, his cafe and his fried chicken.

All sorts of stuff Read the rest of this entry »

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President Barack Obama to visit Chattanooga, Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 28, 2013

Chattanooga is an old, old, old, old city.

It’s older than Civil War old.

Throughout the city there are narrow streets, many (if not most) of which need widening and repaving. Interstate 24, which leads into the city, is in sore need of widening. Because of the twisting, winding route it takes as it leads into, through and around the city and it’s numerous mountains and hills, it can be treacherous. When any slowdown for any reason occurs, traffic can be backed up for 15-20 miles, or more. When wrecks occur on that route, they’re often fatal, and create even longer delays. The only other major route into the city is US Highway 72. There is no bypass. If there are problems on either of those two routes, significant delays can take hours. (See a Google Map of the area.)

It has a university – University of Tennessee, Chattanooga – with other smaller colleges & universities nearby (Lee University, in Cleveland & Southern Adventist University, in Collegedale). One of three hospitals in the area (each which has numerous campuses) Erlanger, is a Level One Trauma Center, and teaching hospital for the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Memorial Hospital, is part of the Catholic Health Initiatives system, and is a teaching hospital, while Parkridge Hospital is operated by TriStar Health.

Because of industrial waste released by area manufacturing, in 1969, Chattanooga had the filthiest air in the nation. The Tennessee River which serves as a boundary for the area was equally polluted. For many years, troubles GALORE plagued the city, including economic inequality, poor race relations, deteriorating economic infrastructure, rapid population decline, and departure of industry.

Recognizing that the city and area residents were suffering a slow suicide, officials and interested citizens embarked upon a plan to revitalize the area, including cleaning up industrial waste, reinvigorating the economy with employment opportunity, and looking forward, rather than backward.

EPB (Electric Power Board), one of the public utilities in the area, came upon an idea to infuse their power grid with Fiber Optic cable to enable better response times, to pinpoint areas of concern, and to re-route electricity during power outages when lines were downed by trees or severe weather. They faced stiff opposition in the form of legal fights by Comcast (principally), yet were successful in overcoming. In turn, they sold High Speed fiber optic Internet Connectivity to area residents at a significantly reduced cost in comparison to the Wall-Street-traded Comcast. They also provide better service.

While the area’s renaissance is by no means complete, it has advanced with enormously significant strides.


 

Obama to visit uneven Chattanooga area recovery


published Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Mike Pare, deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Mike Pare MPare@TimesFreepress.com phone: 423-757-6318

Mike Pare, Deputy Business Editor, Chattanooga Times Free Press; MPare@ TimesFreePress.com phone: (423) 757-6318

by Mike Pare
view bio

When President Barack Obama flies into Chattanooga on Tuesday to tout new economic initiatives, he’ll see a city recognized in a national study as a metro area emerging from the recession as an “economic frontrunner.”

Area Development, a national business magazine covering site selection and relocation, ranked metro Chattanooga at No. 86 — in the top quarter — among 380 metro areas examined for the study titled “Leading Locations for 2013.”

While in Chattanooga Obama is expected to unveil new ways to spur the nation’s sluggish economic recovery.

At the Amazon distribution center at Enterprise South industrial park, the president will see a growing, state-of-the-art distribution facility with 1,800 full-time jobs created since 2011. The Chattanooga facility, along with Read the rest of this entry »

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Magic City Brewfest: Renewed excitement in 7th year with passage of Alabama’s Homebrew Law

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 2, 2013

Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!

Moylan's Kilt Lifter is poured during the 2013 Magic City Brewfest, Friday, May 31, 2013. (Tamika Moore | tmoore@al.com)

Moylan’s Kilt Lifter is poured during the 2013 Magic City Brewfest, Friday, May 31, 2013. (Tamika Moore | tmoore@al.com)

Cheers to beers: Alabama raises a glass to home-brew, Brewfest and craft breweries

(Gallery by Tamika Moore | tmoore@al.com)

Kathryn Tuggle | ktuggle@al.com By Kathryn Tuggle | ktuggle@al.com
Follow on Twitter
on June 02, 2013 at 8:56 AM, updated June 02, 2013 at 9:39 AM

This weekend Birmingham played host to a sold-out Magic City Brewfest at Sloss Furnace, featuring more than 200 different beers from more than 70 craft brew­eries around the nation. Although 2013 marked the seventh annual Brewfest, it was the first since home­brew became legal in Alabama, thanks to legislation passed in May.

Because home-brewers in Alabama can now share recipes and bond over their successes and struggles, Brewfest has a renewed “electricity” in the air, said Gabe Harris, president of Free the Hops, the grassroots non­profit that worked to help pass the home­brew bill.

“It feels great to have home-brew legal in Alabama,” Harris said. “Every craft brewer at Brewfest started out as a home-brewer, and everyone is really excited to be here this year.”

Because craft brewers across the state feel passionately about spreading the home­brew “gospel,” the Home-brew Association set up a tent at Brewfest specifically to edu­cate people about the brewing process.

“We’ve had tons of peo­ple at the tent asking some really intelligent questions,” Harris said.

Spencer Overton, home­brew manager at Birming­ham brewery and bar Hop City, said Birmingham is now on the “cutting edge” of craft beer. Read the rest of this entry »

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Climate change benefits English wine growers now producing high quality sparkling wine

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 29, 2013

British winemakers credit climate change for boom in bubbly sales

By , Published: April 28, 2013

CUCKMERE VALLEY, England — Blessed with soil similar to France’s Champagne region, vineyards in England nevertheless produced decades of low-grade goop that caused nary a Frenchman to tremble. But a Great British fizz boom is underway, with winemakers crediting climate change for the warmer weather that has seemed to improve their bubbly.

Sparkling wine undergoes an early fermentation process at the Ridgeview Wine Estate in East Sussex, England. Warmer summers are producing wines competitive with some from France. - GRAHAM BARCLAY/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Sparkling wine undergoes an early fermentation process at the Ridgeview Wine Estate in East Sussex, England. Warmer summers are producing wines competitive with some from France.
– GRAHAM BARCLAY/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Increasingly hospitable temperatures have helped transplanted champagne grapes such as chardonnay and pinot noir thrive in the microclimates of southern England, touching off a wine rush by investors banking on climate change. Once considered an oxymoron, fine English sparkling wine is now retailing for champagne prices of $45 to $70 a pop. In recent years, dozens of vineyards have 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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Georgia Wine Exportation Increases

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 17, 2013

While this story is about the nation known as Georgia, given the numerous convoluted and antiquated laws governing beverage alcohol in the Southern United States, it could very well be Georgia… Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, or Arkansas.

Something Old, Something New: Georgian Wines Adapt To Changing Market

April 17, 2013

by Glenn Kates

KISISKHEVI, Georgia — Seven years ago, Burkhard Schuchmann, a retired German railroad executive, arrived for the first time in this lush region, where the snow-capped Caucasian mountains cast a long shadow over the grapevines that line the low-lying fields.It was 2006 and Russia had recently imposed a crippling embargo on Georgian wine.Schuchmann decided to open a winery nevertheless.

“To see it from today’s point of view, Georgians can be lucky that the embargo came,” Schuchmann says. “Because then they were forced to [focus on] quality and to think about marketing. There was no need before.”

After mostly “satisfactory” inspections by Russia’s consumer-rights agency in February and March, Georgian wines will soon be sold in Russia again. But Russians, perhaps expecting the sweet, syrupy taste of years past, may be surprised by the changing nature of Georgian vintage.

Georgian makes new wine

Burkhard Schuchmann opened a winery in Georgia because he thought he could compete outside of Russia by modernizing the industry.

In 2005, Georgia exported 80 percent of its wine to Read the rest of this entry »

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Tennessee may modernize antiquated beverage alcohol laws

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tennessee has some very strange and peculiar laws regarding the regulation of beverage alcohol, most of which remain rooted in the Prohibition Era, and in in fear.

And, true to form, it would be no wonder that Baptists – the arch-conservative religious political right wing activists of the right wing party – are directly involved in efforts to keep the state mired in the antiquated bad old days of yore.

Tennessee is unique in the regard that state law forbids sale of wine except in state-licensed liquor stores. To clarify, the state of Tennessee has an unusual combination of laws that forbid sales of wine in any other type store save one that sells liquor. Further, sales are prohibited on Sunday. Beer, however, is able to be sold in grocery stores… but only if the ABV (Alcohol By Volume) is under 6%.

Alabama once had a similarly prohibitive content law, along with bottle size restriction – which severely limited the sales of domestic and imported craft/micro brew beers and ales. Alabama no longer has such prohibitive limitations.

And then, if one considers the implications of that law – mandating the sale of wine be exclusively limited to sales in liquor stores – the state actually sanctions the liquor enterprise itself, rather than being a neutral, regulatory body. In Tennessee there are no state-operated liquor stores as there are in Alabama. To have a state-run enterprise is not contradictory to the free market, because the state is a direct competitor in the market, which frequently has the lowest priced products, because taxes are the markup/profit margin for the state. Contrasting that model with the private retailer, the private retailer must make a profit atop the taxes which the state charges (after they purchase from the state at a wholesale cost – the same cost the state sells to the general public), thus increasing the retail price above what the state sells it.

Supporters and opponents of a bill that would let grocery and convenience stores sell wine undertook one final push to sway Tennessee lawmakers Monday ahead of a make-or-break vote in the state legislature.

Liquor store owners, grocery store operators, wine shoppers, a sheriff, an addiction specialist and a minister were among the people allowed to testify at a special hearing held a day before the Senate State & Local Government Committee is to vote on the biggest rewrite of Tennessee’s liquor laws in decades. Members guarded Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama State House Committee OKs Home Brew Bill

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Finally!

Little by little, in some regard, Alabama is moving into the 21st century.

House committee approves bill that would legalize home brewing of beer

By Mike Cason | mcason@al.com
February 20, 2013 at 5:35 PM

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee today approved a bill that would allow those 21 and older to make home brewed beer, wine, mead and cider for personal use.

Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Huntsville. (Robin Conn/The Huntsville Times)

Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Huntsville. (Robin Conn/The Huntsville Times

The bill, by Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Huntsville, would limit the total production to 15 gallons every three months.

The committee approved the bill after a public hearing, putting it in position for consideration by the House of Representatives.

Several home brewing enthusiasts spoke in favor of the bill.

Jason Sledd of Huntsville told the committee he took up home brewing as a hobby last year.

“At the time, I had no idea what I was doing was illegal in the state of Alabama,” Sledd said.

Sledd said he learned home brewing was illegal after joining a home brewers club.

Rep. Berry Forte, D-Eufaula, said he was opposed to the use of alcohol because of what it had done to some family members. He asked Sledd whether he brewed beer in front of his children.

Sledd said he did, and said he was teaching them the responsible way to use alcohol.

“They will have years of experience of seeing an adult drink alcohol and not being intoxicated,” Sledd said.

Joe Godfrey, executive director of ALCAP, Read the rest of this entry »

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Growing America’s Middle Class and Increasing Profitability

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Some time ago, a friend shared an unsolicited comment about “ObamaCare” before all the ruckus over it had reached the SCOTUS. He had observed about a fellow he knew and described as “a snaggle-toothed Tennessee hillbilly,” whom had joined the United States Army. He observed that the fellow had some health needs, among them poor dentition and the need for corrective lenses. Upon his enlistment, he noted that the fellow was given proper healthcare, and all of his needs – food, clothing, housing, and healthcare – was provided by the United States government.

“Now, why did they do that?,” he asked rhetorically.

Answering his own question, he said quite simply, “because they know Read the rest of this entry »

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Big Business Profit Model Harms Long Term Profitability

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Perhaps the most telling rationale, or motivation for the course upon which corporations have set is explained in this statement by ANDREW SMITHERS: Yes, the current way in which managements are rewarded is perverse from an economic viewpoint. Adam Smith pointed out that some characteristics of human beings such as greed, which are often unpleasant at a personal level, can nonetheless bring social benefits. But this is not necessarily the case under current remuneration systems; greed is increasingly the cause of harm rather than help to the economy.

The long and short of it, is greed. And in that paragraph is the solitary mention of the word or practice.

Philosophically, this time, this period in our nation’s history – and in the history of the world, and in the greater, long term picture of humanity – is yet another prime example, and case in point illustrating why and how the selfishness of greed is unsustainable and genuinely evil.

Capital Wins, Labor Loses, But Andrew Smithers Says It Can’t Go On

MAKING SENSE — December 26, 2012 at 4:48 PM EDT

BY: PAUL SOLMAN

Warehouse manager at operations desk on computer. Photo courtesy of John McBride & Company Inc.

Warehouse manager at operations desk on computer. Photo courtesy of John McBride & Company Inc.

Paul Solman: Jon Shayne is not just the world’s No. 1 econo-crooner, belting out economics tunes of his own invention under the stage name Merle Hazard at his own website and for the PBS NewsHour audience on inflation, on the Greek debt crisis, on the euro crisis in general, on too-big-to-fail banks, and most recently, on the fiscal cliff.

No, Shayne/Hazard is no one-trick pony. He is also a noted money manager, recently highlighted by Forbes magazine for his perspicacity in stock-picking. Wrote Forbes: “If you follow the stock market, Jon Shayne is worth a good, long listen. Especially now.”

Having listened to Jon plenty over the past few years, I agree, especially with his emphasis on the increasing share of national income commanded by the owners of capital, in contrast to labor. This angle is the focus of Forbes’ story as well.

So I asked Jon to elaborate for the Making Sen$e audience. He has done so by interviewing the person who inspired his thoughts on the subject, British economist Andrew Smithers, who formerly ran the asset management business of S.G. Warburg, and now Read the rest of this entry »

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Hostess with the mostess? Try CEO with the mostess. Hostess executives attempted to deceive investors, creditors & legal system before filing bankruptcy.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 19, 2012

As the saying goes, It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.”

At this point, apparently, she’s not yet begun, although she is “in the house.”

And, from our “WTF?!?” files, comes this item:

In early February, Hostess had asked the bankruptcy judge to approve a sweet new employment deal for Driscoll. Its terms guaranteed him a base annual salary of $1.5 million, plus cash incentives and “long-term incentive” compensation of up to $2 million. If Hostess liquidated or Driscoll were fired without cause, he’d still get severance pay of $1.95 million as long as he honored a noncompete agreement.

The committee representing Hostess’s unsecured creditors alleges that information it has gathered suggests “the possibility” that the company converted a chunk of its top executives’ pay from performance-based bonuses to salary, “at least in part to sidestep” rules designed to ensure that companies in bankruptcy aren’t enticing their employees to stay on board with the promise of cash, according to documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y.

This solitary example is a wonderful one for illustrating what is WRONG with corporate governance and corporate operations in the United States. It’s an even more sad commentary that laws must be enacted to require people to do the right thing. At this juncture, the judge overseeing the Hostess Brands Inc. bankruptcy is doing precisely that.

Hostess and Bakers Union Asked Accept Strike Mediation

The judge overseeing Hostess Brands Inc. declined to approve the company’s liquidation today and asked management and the bakers’ union to enter mediation tomorrow to resolve the strike that the maker of Twinkies and Wonder bread said forced it to shut.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain said at a hearing in White Plains, New York, that there are “serious questions as to the logic behind the decision to strike.” Hostess and the bakers’ union agreed to Drain’s request to enter confidential mediation under his supervision.

“To me, not to have gone through that step leaves a huge question mark over this case which I think will only be answered in litigation,” Drain said. “My desire to do this is prompted primarily by the potential loss of over 18,000 jobs, as well as my belief that there is a possibility to resolve this matter, notwithstanding the losses the debtors have incurred over the last week or so.”

Hostess CEO & executive pay outrageous

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Hostess hasn’t spoken with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union since August, said Heather Lennox, a lawyer for the company. Hostess is seeking permission from Drain to pay bonuses to key managers while closing operations that will leave most of its 18,500 workers unemployed. Any agreement arising from the mediation would probably come too late to save the company, Lennox said.

“Things have gone too far to repair themselves under the current form,” Lennox, a partner at Jones Day, told Drain. “It would be very hard for us to recover from this damage even if there were to be an agreement in the near term.”

‘Best Shot’

“Our best shot is to see what we can sell as going concerns and have the company continue that way,” she said. The hearing to consider Hostess’s request to wind down was postponed until Nov. 21.

Hostess said Nov. 16 that it would shut, claiming that a weeklong strike by the bakers’ union forced liquidation. The union blamed management’s concession demands, while some employees blamed both sides. Strikers were still outside the company’s facilities today, Hostess’s lawyers said.

Corrina Christensen, a spokeswoman for the bakers’ union, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the mediation.

Teamsters

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, whose members distribute Hostess products, had ratified a new contract with 8 percent in wage concessions and 17 percent in benefit reductions.

“The Teamsters will closely monitor the mediation between the BCTGM and Hostess management and assist in any way we can to help the two sides reach an agreement that keeps the company’s doors open,” Ken Hall, the Teamsters general secretary- treasurer, said today in a statement.

The judge may be creating risk for both sides that encourages them to reach a deal, Ken Russak, a bankruptcy attorney at Frandzel Robins Bloom & Csato in Los Angeles, said today in an interview. “The bankruptcy judge would much prefer to have the parties work something out than having to Read the rest of this entry »

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