Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘family’

How Has the GOP Improved Alabama Quality of Life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, here’s where the problems begin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All but one of those identified are Republicans.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Discover The Mystery of You

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

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

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Beautiful Inside And Out

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Saint Rose of Lima by Claudio Coello (1642–1693), in the Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

Appearances rule in pop culture. The beautiful people occupy the covers of magazines and get all the buzz for their many sightings and multiple marriages. We are likewise bombarded with the externals of clothing and housing and vehicles, as if looking good will somehow increase our internal value. Saint Rose of Lima, born Isabel Flores de Oliva (1586-1617), a lay member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic in Lima, Peru, was by all accounts an exceedingly beautiful woman, and because she was Read the rest of this entry »

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Forgiveness Made Real In Boston

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 17, 2017

Woodcut image of the 1834 burning of the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

In 1834, the Irish Catholics of Boston were ready to avenge the ransacking and burning of an Ursuline convent by a Protestant mob. (See also: http://www.celebrateboston.com/crime/ursuline-convent-destruction.htm) But on August 17 of that year, Bishop Benedict Fenwick preached a message of forgiveness in the cathedral and effectively stopped any retribution and bloodshed. Matthew’s gospel today (Matthew 18:21—19:1) challenges us to forgive unconditionally. It is possible. Forgiveness works. We all have someone we could forgive today. It can make a real difference.

—//—

21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22Jesus answered, Read the rest of this entry »

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Refraining From Negative Personal Criticism

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, August 12, 2017

Do you ever negatively criticize people? Perhaps even, those closest to you – meaning loved ones, and dear friends?

Why is it that such seems to be the case, more often, than not?

To refrain from negatively criticizing people is a loving decision that I’ve made which respects people.

It doesn’t mean that I always agree with their decisions, but it allows Read the rest of this entry »

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Bitter Criticism Is Like Cyanide To Relationships

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Most people muddle through life without ever thinking about what they do, why they respond the way they do, how they can become better people, improve their emotional stability, change they way they respond, or increase their understanding of others or their relationships with them.

Why?

It’s not as if people are born as experts on themselves or human relationships. And merely “being oneself” is no guarantee of anything remotely resembling self understanding.

It’s important to talk about how we feel, and what we think without negative criticism from each other. Open lines of communication are imperative to maintaining and nourishing relationships. Communication must be ongoing, open, honest, and without strident tones and condemnation.

It would seem reasonable then, to seek understanding not only about oneself, but about others, and relationships, and to endeavor to improve oneself and one’s relationships with others… especially and particularly familial and spousal relationships. Could it be that bilateral lack of such effort – aka LAZINESS – is responsible for the increase in divorce rates in America? For lack of genuine emotional intimacy? Lack of sexual intimacy? Lack of proper parenting?

People are not born smart. We’re born stupid. It’s a choice to remain that way.

—//—

“People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need.”
– Gary Chapman

It’s Not Me, It’s You: Why Criticism Poisons Happy Marriages By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott 

Criticism is an insidious behavior that comes into marriage and eats at the core of our identity. Few things will shut down intimacy quite like being criticized or controlled, and it is capable of immobilizing your emotional health and personal growth, especially within your relationship.

Nobody enjoys being criticized or picked apart, but it’s especially painful when your spouse – your soul mate – is the one being critical and hurtful to you. It’s demoralizing to be treated this way when you’re doing your best to make a contribution and add value to your relationship… but you get criticized instead of appreciated. Criticism can easily break a heart, and that’s a terrible place to be in your marriage.

What makes a person critical?

We often refer to critical people as “control freaks” or “high-maintenance people.” Control freaks are compelled to Read the rest of this entry »

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Be A Model

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Virgin Mary

Remember when you first realized that you were becoming like your mother? Or turning out to be just like your father? Kids do tend to grow up to be like their parents. Just like Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anne, were the good ground from which the seed of goodness grew, we can Read the rest of this entry »

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We’re All Family Here

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 16, 2017

One of the little miracles of faith is its power to make strangers into family. People who might never have known or even chosen to be with one another find themselves together in 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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Bring Peace To Family Feuds

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

Keeping peace in a family isn’t always easy. But imagine the difficulty when relatives get into a fight and they command armies. Such was the problem Saint Elizabeth faced 670 years ago when war broke out between her son, the king of Portugal, and her grandson, the king of Castille. But all it took was 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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Batteries Not Included

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

Needing some batteries – AAA & 9v – for some handheld electronic gizmos, I stopped in at the nearby Batteries+Plus store.

While checking out, I asked the clerk if sales were strong today, and remarked, “Moms need batteries too!”

With a wink and a nod, he knowingly acknowledged innuendo in my remark with a smile and a laugh.

“You know,” I said, “we never think of our mothers as sexual beings, and yet…” 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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I had a Late Term #Abortion.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 21, 2016

I HAD A LATE TERM ABORTION.
IT IS NOTHING LIKE DESCRIBED BY TRUMP.
PLEASE DON’T BASE YOUR VOTE ON THE FEAR MONGERING HE IS DOING.
PLEASE READ MY EXPERIENCE:

I had to have a late term abortion. It was the worst moment in my life. What made it even worse was the State of Utah had made it illegal. I had one dead twin. The other had severe Spina Bifida, and would only have lived with life support, in great pain, for a few days.

by Alyson Draper
October 19 at 8:46pm · Midway, UT
used with permission

I lay on the hospital floor, bawling hysterically, for twelve hours, waiting for an ethics committee of the health care corporation 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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Meteorology, Mama & Baby -or- How I Was Befriended By Luck

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 10, 2015

It was Easter Sunday, 2010, and unknown to me, dumb luck had befriended me.

Pure dumb luck.

Even scientists believe in it.

In 1996, Duncan C. Blanchard, a meteorological researcher then affiliated with the State University of New York at Albany, authored a scientific paper entitled Serendipity, Scientific Discovery, and Project Cirrus” published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society in which he cited Project Cirrus (1947-52), a period and project of research from which “many serendipitous discoveries and inventions were made, opening up areas of research still being pursued today.”

Blanchard’s work was cited a decade later in 2006 by David M. Schultz, who was then affiliated with the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, and the NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma in a research paper entitled The Mysteries of Mammatus Clouds: Observations and Formation Mechanisms. In it he wrote that what little we know about mammatus clouds was, because of their nature, “obtained largely through serendipitous opportunities.”

In other words, what little we know about the clouds (so named after human breasts because of their appearance), has been obtained by pure dumb luck – although, being prepared, and being in the right place at the right time does account for something.

In conversation recently with a dear, and longtime friend, I shared about Read the rest of this entry »

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What are taxes for? Who should pay them? Should you pay more, or less?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 31, 2015

Kroger Tools for Schools Drive sign

Kroger Tools for Schools Drive sign

It infuriates me to see signs & posters like these, because THAT is what taxes are for!

And, if there aren’t enough taxes collected from the wealthy (and obviously, there aren’t), then we see “drives” and other collection points like this.

Just this evening, in conversation with my neighbor, she shared with me about how her co-worker – a young, single mother – recently confided in her, and said that she didn’t earn enough money to make ends meet – to pay the rent, keep the lights turned on, and feed her family and that she regularly has to go to a local food pantry (which itself often runs out of food because the need is so great) to augment her meager ability to purchase food – and that she, herself, didn’t have supper because she chose to feed her children, instead.

My neighbor remarked, Read the rest of this entry »

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All You Need Is Love

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 8, 2015

I recollect, a few years ago, having gone with a dear friend to the apartment where her former husband lived.

He had died alone.

D’Angelo (not his real name) was a retired Army NCO, whom had volunteered for service. He was genuinely a “squared away” soldier, and rose to the rank of First Sergeant (E-8), which rank is politely nicknamed “Top,” because, aside from Sergeant Major which is also an E-8 position, it is the highest rank and position a NCO can obtain.

His generosity was well-known, and his humility, honesty and genuine love for his fellow man was evident throughout his life. And though he was a good man with many admirable character qualities, a congenial fellow, well liked – even loved – by many, it seemed he never could win the battle over the bottle.

What little I knew of him from others’ reports and my own limited interaction with him, he was an honorable family man. And yet, Read the rest of this entry »

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On the Bleeding Edge of the Front Line

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 7, 2015

Uncle Dean never spoke to his blood relatives about his WWII service – even though they inquired – which was for them, perplexing, and they eventually stopped asking. However, he voluntarily spoke at length about it with me.

Perhaps it was because we shared a common bond of military service, I don’t know. They never understood why he didn’t talk about his experience. His Purple Hearts, Bronze and Silver Stars, and other medals of valor that Read the rest of this entry »

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The U.S. Economy In 6 Simple Pictures

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Picture #1:

It’s fairly explanatory. American corporations are making profits hand over fist. They’re making more profit now, than before the “Great Recession.” In fact, they’re making more than DOUBLE from their lowest during that time.

Corporate Profits After Tax

Corporate Profits After Tax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the rest of this entry »

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Cheap Beer And Chili

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 10, 2014

It’s getting much cooler – chili, in fact…

Earlier, I had purchased ingredients to make chili. Among them, cheap beer. For me, that would be Pabst Blue Ribbon.

There were a couple left over from making that delicious batch of comfort food, which was well worth the extra effort. So, not recollecting to have ever tried a PBR – at least not in many years – I opened one up.

Wow…

First sip of a PBR in a ~very~ long time.

It was a 16oz “Tall Boy,” and so, not having a larger capacity glass, I poured, and drank it from a jar.

Naturally, your nose goes in the opening as you put it to your mouth for that first sip, and you breathe in some of the brew’s smell.

It was like I was Read the rest of this entry »

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How Successful Is It To Drug Test Public Assistance Welfare Recipients?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 5, 2014

UPDATE: 07February2016
http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2016/02/07/drug-testing-benefits-tennessee-yields-only-65-positives/79776756/

Since implementation of a law began July 1, 2014, the Tennessee Department of Human Services found only 65 out of 39,121 people who applied for a cash assistance program known as “Families First in Tennessee,” tested positive for illegal substances, or medicines for which they had no prescription.

That’s less than 1% of all applicants who tested positive.

That information was provided provided to The Tennessean by the Tennessee DHR.

An extra 116 refused to participate in an initial drug screening questionnaire, which automatically disqualified them for benefits.

The average monthly benefit of the cash assistance program was $165 per month in December – or $1,980 per year. If they otherwise would have qualified to have received assistance, the total value of the benefit to the 116 people who refused to take the test would have been $230,000 annually – if they had otherwise qualified for benefits.

Since the law began, 609 people have been asked to take a drug test: 544 tested negative, and 65 tested positive. Of those who tested positive, 40 were referred for substance abuse evaluation, and 13 enrolled in a drug treatment facility or recovery support group as a condition of receiving benefits.

The total cost to Tennessee taxpayers so far has been $23,592.

There’s a meme which circulates on FaceBook and presumably, in other places as well, which appears similarly as this:

Drug Test Public Assistance Recipients

Drug Test Public Assistance Recipients Meme

Honestly, the idea is a failure.

But you’d rarely – if ever – hear about it’s failures.

Florida was the first state to tread that path. What they learned was surprising. And then, the law was struck down by a Federal court. The states that embark upon Florida’s path will be wa$ting their citizen$ taxe$.

Only 2.6% of Florida applicants failed the drug test.

“Because the Florida law requires that applicants who pass the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This is more than would have been paid out in benefits to the people who failed the test. As a result, the testing cost the government an extra $45,780.”

The purported savings in Florida’s program will be negligible after administrative costs and reimbursements for the drug tests are taken into account.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/us/no-savings-found-in-florida-welfare-drug-tests.html

But it wasn’t limited to Florida. Read the rest of this entry »

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Easy #Bacon Wrapped #Chicken #Tailgating #Recipe

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 12, 2014

Sweet Baby Chicken Bacon Wraps are a tasty combination of sweet and spicy.

With only four ingredients, or more, it’s a quick, easy, simple, affordable and satisfying heavy hors d’oeuvre to make for a crowd. Unless you’re cooking for the Los Angeles Rams.

As we march our way into the holiday season Hades, this is sure to be an outstanding addition to your next party or family get together. Even tailgating!

Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps

Yield: 12-15 wraps

Ingredients: Read the rest of this entry »

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A Father’s Day Essay

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 15, 2014

This year, 2014, my Pop will begin his 82d year of life in good health.

I am blessed, fortunate, happy and to be envied to have him with me now. Some of my peers’ fathers have been long departed.

A friend once said to me that “we never truly become men until our father dies.” In that sense, I suppose I’m still a youth… even though my teen years have been long departed.

My Daddy - v42

My Dad – When he looked at this photo, he said with a smile, “Who’s that? I’m going to have to get a new mirror!” I love my Pop. He’s a swell fellow – a real gentleman – with quite a life’s story! Raised in poverty in rural West Alabama, he knows how to pick cotton by hand, remembers when electricity came to his family’s house, the electrician’s name who wired their house, and so many other hard-scrabble stories of a life unknown to many of us in this day & age.

My dad is a Southern man. Having grown up in abject poverty in rural West Alabama, he was not merely acquainted with “everything but the squeal,” but was intimately familiar with a very real daily struggle for existence, where food was precious, and life even more so.

On occasion, I still hear him recall with utter amazement how much food he saw wasted – literally thrown into the garbage at San Diego Naval Station – where he attended Basic Training before shipping off to serve in the Korean War aboard the U.S.S. Juneau – CLAA-119, also known as “The Galloping Ghost of the Korean coast.” To his then-18-year-old eyes it was a culture shock which he remembers to this day. In his first day there, he saw more food thrown away than he had ever seen in his still-tender life. The adage “waste not, want not” is practically embedded into his DNA.

For those unfamiliar with the term “everything but the squeal,” it refers to the use of every part of the hog for food, and material. Nothing would be wasted. The fat would be rendered into lard, some of the meat would be preserved by smoking, while some parts were made into sausage. It was also time in which neighbors would help one another in the preparation of the animal. (If you’re interested in seeing & reading about some of the various aspects of hog butchering, see here.) It was only many years later that electricity came to my dad’s house – and he remembers the electrician’s name, and date the house was wired.

I recall tales he shared with me of his youth of “hog killing time,” which refers to the first enduring snap of cold weather, which was the proper time to slaughter a hog because the preservation of it’s parts would be more readily facilitated. That is, spoilage would be significantly reduced, because it could be stored in cooler conditions. Their “refrigerator” was an ice box – literally. ‘What’s an ice box?,’ you may ask. An ice box is literally a box into which a 100 pound block of ice was placed to cool food items. Not many items, mind you, because the creek was still a location where food items which readily spoiled were placed. Milk, dairy, meat and select other foods were regularly stored in a special box made to keep critters out, and keep food cool by the running water.

Naturally, not having electricity also meant that the meals were prepared in a “wood cook stove,” literally an implement which had to be tended night and day by his mother to prepare the family meals. Temperature regulation was achieved by moderating the amount of wood, the type of wood (seasoned dry or unseasoned green), and the variety of wood (species, such as oak, hickory, pecan, birch, pine, etc.).

Suffice it to say, his was a hard scrabble life. And it’s certainly neither joke nor exaggeration to say that they were so poor, someone had to come from Washington to tell them there was a Great Depression going on!

Dad honored his father and mother. He was Read the rest of this entry »

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Teaching Jobs Lost Under Alabama Governor Bentley

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 8, 2014

Yet more bad news from Governor Bentley’s incompetent, do-nothing administration.

Chalk up more jobs lost.

This is a DIRECT RESULT of the closure of the International Paper manufacturing facility in Courtland.

And the best worst part is, he’s playing with our children’s lives.

Be certain to thank him at the ballot box this November.

And the bad, sad news is undeniable: Alabamians are “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

When will Alabamians learn?

Wait… if the residents are “largely poor” they’re certain to be “uneducated, and [therefore] easy to command.”

Remember the cheer” We like it, we love it… we want some more of it!

Or if not, how about the line in the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist?

Please, sir… I want some more“.

Alabama obviously likes it, and hasn’t gotten a bellyful yet.

Again… apply the circular logic of:

“largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

(Board Of Education) BOE cuts local funded teacher units

Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 6:00 am

The Lawrence County Board of Education continued to take steps to solidify the county’s financial footing Monday night, eliminating five certified positions in an effort to cut the number of locally funded teacher units.

Superintendent Heath Grimes said more cuts could be on the horizon.

“We have to start focusing on building our financial reserves and this is one step in doing that,” he said. “We’ve been working closely with the state Board of Education to get a plan in place to build a one-month operating reserve and this is one of the suggest measures.”

Lawrence County’s one-month operating cost is roughly $3.2 million. Grimes said the board has $1.5 million in reserve.

“It’s important to understand that, yes, we are Read the rest of this entry »

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Inequality in Government: Is there Racism in Mississippi? In 2014? Say it ain’t so!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 4, 2014

It occurred to me recently in a couple conversations I had with friends in various parts of our United States, that equal representation is a matter with which we still struggle.

While on occasion I’ve opined about injustice through inequality – the United States’ Constitution guarantees Equal Protection and Equal Rights under law via the 14th Amendment – it occurred to me recently that there are some who “just don’t get it.”

More to the point, I was spurred by a photograph sent to me by a friend in one of our Northern sister states – the Land of the Frozen Chosen, sometimes also referred to as “The Great White North.”

In gentleness, I refer, of course, to Minnesota.

It was a photograph of my friend’s co-worker which sparked my interest, and subsequent curiosity.

The co-worker was Afro-American, aka “Black.”

I was somewhat surprised to see a Black person in Minnesota, so I queried the Census Bureau for some Quick Statistics about our United States.

Here’s what I found:
Only 5.5% of Minnesota’s population is Black.

In comparison to the United States at large, 13.1% of our American population in general is Black. And in Alabama, 26.5% are Black, while in neighboring Mississippi, 37.4% of that state’s residents are Black. Alabama’s Eastern neighbor Georgia has a closely similar percentage with a 31.2% Black population, while Tennessee is nearly half, with a 17% Black population.

Examining some other states, I found that Alabama’s Southern neighbor, Florida has a very closely similar Black population with 16.6%, while Louisiana’s Black population is just about double with 32.4%. The “Natural State” of Arkansas has a 15.6% Black population, while North and South Carolina are almost evenly tied with 22 & 28% respectively.

On the other hand, Texas has a lower Black population than either Tennessee or Arkansas with only 12.3%.

Kentucky? Only 8.1% of Kentuckians are Black.

Interestingly, of the 16 players on the Kentucky Wildcats Basketball team, only 6 are not Black. In other words, 62.5% of the team is Black – a clear majority. And yet, the state’s general population is completely and disproportionately unrepresentative of the team.

What about Virginia? With a 19.7% Black population, Virginia stands in distinct contrast to West Virginia, which only has a 3.5% Black population – a very stark contrast, indeed.

But what about some of the other Midwestern states?

Missouri has an 11.7% Black population, while only 3.2% of corn-fed Iowans are Black.

From Minnesota moving West, South Dakota has a mere 1.7% Black population, while Montana…

Well.. there just about no Black folks in that state, at all. Only a mere 0.6% – 6/10ths on one percent – of that state’s residents are Black.

A casual observation would be that it’s mighty White up North.

But let’s bring it back on home to Mississippi…

In a recent post shared by someone else on Read the rest of this entry »

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There’s something to be said for mothers

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 21, 2013


1“Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord,a for this is the right thing to do. 2“Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”b

4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” cf.Ephesians 6:1-4 NLT

Politically, it certainly seems that Southerners have been more often wrong, than correct.

And today, continuing the tradition of Radical Liberal Republicans who endeavor to remove voting rights and foist more atrocities upon the nation, they continue to be “right” about being wrong.

Consider the following:

SUNDAY Aug. 18, 2013

“On this date in 1920, the 19th Amendment Read the rest of this entry »

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Minnesota State Fair New Foods for 2013

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Minnesota State Fair is just a few months away!

The MSF is the Granddaddy of ’em all. Not only is it one of the oldest state fairs – since 1859, the only years it missed were 1861, 1862, 1893, 1945 & 1946 – it’s also the most well-attended, and the land where it all occurs is quite large. In fact, it’s ginormous!

The good people in Texas claim theirs has the highest attendance, and I suppose if the Minnesota State Fair was TWO WEEKS LONG like the TSF is, it’d put the Lone Star State to shame. However, the MSF is a 12-day event, and for that time, it draws a bigger crowd than the TSF.

Minnesota State Fair - August 22 Labor Day, through September 2, 2013

Minnesota State Fair – Thursday August 22 Labor Day, through Monday September 2, 2013

Apologies to those Longhorns.

I’ve been to the MSF once – just once –  and, I’d like to go again.

Yes, I would. It’s HUGE!!

Of course, in all fairness – yes, it’s a bad pun, but hey! It works! – I’d also like to go to the Texas State Fair, as well.

I happened to see the menu for the “new” foods appearing this year at the 2013 Minnesota State Fair. It’s Read the rest of this entry »

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Radical Republicans, TEApublicans and other Governmental Deconstructionists

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 17, 2013

Audits, liens, garnishments: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) goes to amazing lengths to ensure you comply with your taxes but what happens when they turn that energy to making sure you also comply with their political agenda? As recent scandals have shown, that’s exactly what they are doing! Our response: its time we abolished the IRS.

“The IRS has admitted to unfairly targeting conservatives, hassling adoptive parents, throwing lavish conferences, attempting to censor pro-life groups and has leaked confidential tax information for political ends — and this is the agency we are going to trust with enforcing Obamacare?”

Tear it down.

Break it up.

Destroy it.

Kill it.

We hate it.

That’s the message of the modern Republican party.

We hate you.

We love BIG BUSINESS.

We think you ought to believe the way we do, think the way we do, act the way we do.

Be different!

Join the crowd!

Yes, the irony is abundant.

The message quoted above is a direct e-mail message from Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Republican Introduces Bill to Eliminate Overtime Pay

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, April 21, 2013

I wouldn’t have believed it had I not read it for myself from the official Congressional website.

U.S. Representative Martha Roby, a Republican from Alabama’s 2d Congressional District has introduced H.R. 1406, officially named the “Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013” which would END the requirement of the Fair Labor Standards Act for employers to pay Time-and-a-Half to employees for every hour worked over 40 in one week.

http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/1406

The Congressional Budget Office has reported on the bill, and in part wrote that: Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama is USA’s 2d most religious state

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 18, 2013

Alabama also ranks up there in poverty, divorce, sexually transmitted diseases, lack of a high school education, spousal abuse, and…

Thank God for Mississippi, eh?

Gallup: Alabama 2nd most religious state in America

By George Talbot | gtalbot@al.com
on February 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM, updated February 17, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Alabama ranked as the nation’s second most religious state in 2012, behind Mississippi and tied with Utah, according to a new survey by Gallup.

The Washington, D.C.-based polling firm found that 56 percent of Alabama residents identified themselves as “very religious” – based on saying religion is an important part of their daily life and that they attend religious services every week or almost every week.

Alabama trailed only Mississippi, its Deep South neighbor, where Read the rest of this entry »

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Reasoned Debate: Our Second Amendment Rights & Preventing Firearm Violence

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, January 26, 2013

Alabama State House GOP "Dare Defend Our Rights" gun logo

Alabama State House GOP “Dare Defend Our Rights” gun logo, from the FaceBook page of Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn

Recently in another Social Media forum, a long-time friend had posted a link to a site operated for the Alabama State House GOP faction, which is a so-called “supermajority” in that state’s elected legislative body. That site may be found here: http://ALHouseGOP.com/WeDareDefend/.

Perceiving that that those political ideologues were very likely drumming up support for their positions based upon pure emotion and fear, rather than reasoned, rational and informed debate, I initially responded by quickly writing a somewhat sarcastic response, precisely worded to give pause for thought. My initial response elicited a query, to which I delightfully replied more eruditely.

The exchange as it exists presently, now follows.

Me: Yeah. Alabama was wrong on their right to segregation and their right to deny civil rights, too.

Friend: So, do you support the 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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Draught Raises Corn Price, Milk Profits fall, Cows get Slaughtered

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Regardless whether global climate change is man-made, or cyclical… it’s going to affect us all, and we would be wise to DO SOMETHING to PRESERVE, PROTECT and DEFEND ourselves NOW!

Milk-Cow Drought Culling Accelerates as Prices Jump: Commodities

U.S. milk production is headed for the biggest contraction in 12 years as a drought-fueled surge in feed costs drives more cows to slaughter.

Output will drop 0.5 percent to 198.9 billion pounds (90.2 million metric tons) in 2013 as the herd shrinks to an eight- year low, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. Milk futures rose 45 percent since mid-April and may advance at least another 19 percent to a record $25 per 100 pounds by June, said Shawn Hackett. The president of Boynton Beach, Florida-based Hackett Financial Advisers Inc. correctly predicted the rally in March.

Dairies in California, the top milk-producing state, are filing for bankruptcy, and U.S. cows are being slaughtered at the fastest rate in more than a quarter century. Corn surged to a record in August as the USDA forecast the smallest crop in six years because of drought across the U.S. Global dairy prices tracked by the United Nations rose 6.9 percent last month, the most among the five food groups monitored, and that will probably mean record costs next year, Rabobank estimates.

“Farmers can’t afford to buy as much grain and protein, and that affects milk production,” said Bob Cropp, an economist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison who has been following the industry since 1966. “In California, there’ve been some foreclosures and some sell-off of cows quite heavily. You’re going to see that in other parts of the country.”

Mercantile Exchange

Class III milk, used to make cheese, jumped 22 percent to $21.05 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange this year. That’s more than 21 of the 24 commodities in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index, which rose 1.8 percent. The MSCI All-Country World Index (MXWD) of equities climbed 12 percent, and Treasuries Read the rest of this entry »

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The Theory of Everything

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 7, 2012

I’m elated to learn that there is a “Theory of Everything.”

As I delved further into it, I found that Read the rest of this entry »

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Economic Research: The Dismal Science finds poverty & inequality greater in U.S.

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

Poverty, inequality and redistribution

Focus

Jan 17th 2012, 20:27 by The Economist online

Poverty inequality & redistribution 20120121_WOC400 Governments can reduce poverty and inequality through taxes and cash transfers. Successful programmes such as Progresa-Oportunidades in Mexico and Bolsa Família in Brazil have helped reduce poverty and inequality in the last couple of decades, but compared with rich countries, Latin American countries still fall short. According to a new report by the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, Chile is Read the rest of this entry »

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