Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘governor’

Right Wing Political Religious Zealots

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 24, 2017

If Right Wing Religious Zealots get total political control, we could have this here in Gilead… er, the good ‘ol USA!

Watch The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu!
https://www.hulu.com/the-handmaids-tale

Indonesian men caned for gay sex in Aceh

Two men have been caned 83 times each in the Indonesian province of Aceh after being caught having sex. The men stood on stage in white gowns praying while a team of hooded men lashed their backs with a cane. The pair, aged 20 and 23, were found in bed together by vigilantes who entered their private accommodation in March. They have not been identified. Gay sex is not illegal in most of Indonesia but it is in Aceh, the only province which exercises Islamic law. It is the first time gay men have been caned under Sharia law in the province. The punishment was delivered outside a mosque in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-39996224

Public caning, Dover, Delaware, 1910.

A respondent wrote: “Yeah! and we want to Read the rest of this entry »

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Deceit And Treachery Continue In #ALpolitics

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

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

It seemed most everybody was happy as a lark.

Until…

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

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

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

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#ALpolitics: The “Alabamafication” of America

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

The parallels are uncannily ironic, and unmistakable.

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

—//—

Twins of Deception: Robert Bentley and Donald J. Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#Breaking #News – #ALpolitics Corrupt, Scandalized Republican @GovernorBentley To Resign Later Today

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 10, 2017

No love lost.

See also: http://www.al.com/news/montgomery/index.ssf/2017/04/alabama_gov_robert_bentley.html

http://whnt.com/2017/04/10/governor-robert-bentleys-office-in-negotiations-to-set-terms-of-his-resignation-sources-say/

www.alreporter.com/2017/04/10/gov-robert-bentley-reaches-agreement-resign

By Josh Moon and Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — Gov. Robert Bentley has agreed to resign later today, several sources have confirmed to the Alabama Political Reporter.

The Governor reached an agreement with state lawmakers and law enforcement officials early Monday morning to step down. The terms of the deal were not immediately available.

Bentley’s resignation comes after a tumultuous weekend following the release of a salacious report from the House Judiciary Committee’s special counsel, Jack Sharman.

Sources told APR on Sunday that a steady stream of Bentley’s friends and confidants have spoken to the governor since the Friday release of Sharman’s investigative report. That report and its supporting documentation revealed embarrassing details about Bentley’s relationship with former aide Rebekah Mason and provided evidence of potential criminal misuse of state resources…

 

–BREAKING NEWS—

Governor Robert Bentley Is Resigning

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on April 10, 2017
Used with permission

It started with a special series of exclusive investigative articles published on this Facebook page. This first series of articles was titled, “Forbidden Love – Robert Bentley’s Secret Love Affair”. This historic four-part series was published on September 4, 9, 11, and 13, 2015. It detailed Governor Bentley’s secret love affair with Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What Underutilized Renewable Alabama Resource Could Catapult The State Economically?

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

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

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

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#ALpolitics Robert @GovernorBentley Update

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Robert Bentley Update

by Donald V. Watkins
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Our report for the U.S. Department of Justice on Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s criminal conduct in office has been written and vetted by our editors and attorneys. The report, which grew out of our Read the rest of this entry »

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Criminal Conduct Update: #ALpolitics Robert @GovernorBentley

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 16, 2015

Robert Bentley Update

by Donald Watkins, Monday, 16 November 2015 8:30PM CST

Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley, MD - (R)

Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley – (R)

Our report for the U.S. Department of Justice on Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s criminal conduct in office has been written. The report, which grew out of our Facebook news team’s special series of investigative articles titled “Forbidden Love” and “Executive Betrayal“, is undergoing a review by our editors and legal team. The report is tentatively scheduled to be delivered to the Justice Department on Read the rest of this entry »

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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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#ALpolitics @GovernorBentley Hoodwinks @YHN & @ALdotcom

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bentley Hoodwinks Yellowhammer News and AL.com

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour/ Rebekah Caldwell Mason, Communications Director cum Senior Political Advisor

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour/ Rebekah Caldwell Mason, Communications Director cum Senior Political Advisor

by Donald V. Watkins
Published via Facebook Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Used with permission

Once again, Governor Robert Bentley has hoodwinked Yellowhammer News and AL.com. This time, Bentley has deceived these two news organizations by providing them with a handful of sanitized text messages between Rebekah Caldwell Mason and himself in response to their separate Open Records requests for emails and text messages between the two lovers.

Like former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Bentley withheld the more embarrassing text messages about his illicit love affair with Rebekah from public disclosure. Of particular significance are the text messages where Bentley describes his true love for Rebekah, including a text message Bentley thought he was sending to Rebekah that he mistakenly sent to his former wife Dianne instead.

Yellowhammer bought into Read the rest of this entry »

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Department of Justice Report on #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley Now Underway

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 15, 2015

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour/ Rebekah Caldwell Mason

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour Communications Director/Senior Political Advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason

DOJ Report on Bentley Underway

By Donald V. Watkins
Published via Facebook October 11, 2015, 9:54am
Used with permission

Our Facebook news teams is in the process of preparing a detailed prosecutorial memorandum on Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s misuse of taxpayer and donor money to carry on a love affair with Rebekah Caldwell Mason, his senior political advisor. It is anticipated that the report will be Read the rest of this entry »

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Key Questions for #ALpolitics Mainstream Journalists

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Key Questions for Mainstream Journalists

By Donald V. Watkins
Posted to Facebook 6 October 2015
Used with permission

I know it is not my job to tell mainstream media journalists what questions to ask Governor Robert Bentley (assuming they have the courage to ask him any questions about his infidelity scandal), but I would suggest the questions below for them ask the governor (assuming they want to regain their credibility):

1. Why did you hire David Byrne as your chief legal advisor after he presided over the massive collapse of Read the rest of this entry »

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A Simple Guide For #ALpolitics Mainstream News Media Organizations

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 5, 2015

A Simple Guide For Mainstream News Media Organizations

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on October 5, 2015
Used with permission

I have a simple guide for Alabama’s mainstream news media organizations that want to assail or independently confirm the accuracy of our exclusive reporting on Governor Robert Bentley’s martial infidelity and misuse of taxpayer and donor money. Before starting, I want to note that I hold the individual record in Alabama for exposing the highest number of major corruption scandals involving public officials. Thus, I am going to give my fellow journalists some simple tips on effective investigative journalism as it relates to the governor’s cheating scandal.

First, ask for all of the text messages between the governor and Rebekah Caldwell Mason from January 2011 to the present. These records are public documents under Alabama’s Open Records Act. They are not confidential or privileged documents. They are Read the rest of this entry »

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#ALpolitics @GovernorBentley: Alabama’s “Counterfeit” Leader – Epilogue

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 4, 2015

Epilogue: Governor Robert Bentley, Alabama’s “Counterfeit” Leader

By Donald V.Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on October 4, 2015
Used with permission

Since our initial September 4, 2015 edition, we published a series of articles titled, “Forbidden Love” and “Executive Betrayal.” Those articles disclosed a flaming love affair between Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and Rebekah Caldwell Mason, his married paramour and Senior Political Adviser. The adulterous love affair was underwritten by taxpayers, donors to the governor’s campaign organization, and contributors to a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation that Bentley used as a slush fund to sponsor his personal affair with Rebekah.

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour/ Rebekah Caldwell Mason

Alabama Governor Bentley with paramour/ Rebekah Caldwell Mason

Infidelity between two married “Christian” lovers is a moral and religious issue. The use of state and federal funds along with donor money to carry on and conceal the affair is a criminal matter.

Bentley’s case is dripping with evidence of wire and mail fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, misuse of public funds, and Read the rest of this entry »

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David Byrne: #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley’s Consigliere – Part 3, Executive Betrayal

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 25, 2015

Executive Betrayal – Robert Bentley’s Fleecing of Taxpayers and Donors – Part 3

David Byrne – Governor Bentley’s Consigliere

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on September 25, 2015
Used with permission

Bobby Lowder was the founder, President, CEO & Chairman of the Board of the failed Colonial Bank. During his tenure there, he was widely known as a manipulator, and micromanager of Auburn University, where he was also a member of the Board of Trustees, and donor. During his tenure there, the university experienced many scandals, including use of Lowder's private jet, and his undue influence upon the university president. He was named to be reappointed to the Auburn University Board of Trustees by Governor Bentley, though a a civil lawsuit in the Lee County Circuit Court asserted that Bentley's actions violated Alabama's Open Meetings Act. Under such pressure, Lowder withdrew his name from consideration, served the remainder of his term, and departed. Colonial BancGroup eventually came under Federal scrutiny & investigation for fraudulent practices, and on August 14, 2009, was closed by banking regulators, with all deposits and branches purchased by BB&T.

Bobby Lowder was the founder, President, CEO & Chairman of the Board of the failed Colonial Bank. He was widely known as a manipulator and micromanager of Auburn University, where he was a member of the Board of Trustees, and donor. During his tenure there, the university suffered many scandals, including use of Lowder’s private jet for recruiting an Athletic Director & Head Football Coach that violated NCAA rules. His undue influence upon the university extended even to the university president, who was fired after a No Confidence Vote by the Board of Trustees. Governor Bentley named Lowder to reappointment to the Board after Lowder donated $25,000 to Bentley’s gubernatorial election campaign. A civil lawsuit in the Lee County Circuit Court complained that Bentley’s actions violated Alabama’s Open Meetings Act, and under such pressure, Lowder withdrew his name from consideration, and shortly thereafter, the Alabama State Senate voted him off the board.

On August 14, 2009, federal and state regulators took control of Colonial BancGroup, a regional banking powerhouse based in Montgomery. The seizure of Colonial Bank’s 346 branches and $26 billion in assets made it the sixth-biggest bank failure in U.S. history, the worst of 2009, and the third largest during the credit crisis that plunged the financial markets into turmoil in 2008. Colonial’s collapse cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation $2.8 billion. Colonial’s shareholders lost billions of dollars in stock value. Thousands of bank employees lost their jobs.

David B. Byrne, Jr. David Byrne was admitted to the bar in 1966. He received his B.S. from The University of Alabama and his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law. David was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Jasons, Beta Gamma Sigma, Phi Eta Sigma, and Phi Alpha Delta. Professional Profile: Assistant U.S. Attorney, 1971-1974 Special Assistant Attorney General, State of Alabama, 1998 - Present Fellow, American Bar Association Fellow, American Board of Criminal Lawyers Fellow, Alabama Law Foundation Member, Advisory Committee on Criminal Procedure, Alabama Supreme Court, 1985 - 1989 Guest lecturer, University of Alabama (Criminal Procedure) Montgomery County Bar Association (President, 1985) Federal Bar Association (President, 1989) Member, Panel I State Bar Character and Fitness Committee Alabama Trial Lawyers Association Listed in The Best Lawyers in America (1991 - Present) United States Army, 1966 - 70, Captain, JAGC USAFR, 1971 - Present Military Judge, Colonel USAF Trial Judiciary, 1993 - Present

David B. Byrne, Jr. was admitted to the bar in 1966. He received his B.S. from The University of Alabama and his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law. He was
Assistant U.S. Attorney, 1971-1974, Special Assistant Attorney General, State of Alabama, 1998 – Present; United States Army, 1966 – 70, Captain, JAGC
USAFR, 1971 – Present
Military Judge, Colonel USAF Trial Judiciary, 1993 – Present

Although the public focused on the failed leadership of Bobby Lowder, Colonial’s founder and CEO, it was David B. Byrne, Jr., who was Read the rest of this entry »

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#ALpolitics @FirstLadyDB: Strength in the Face of Domestic Abuse

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dianne Bentley: Strength in the Face of Domestic Abuse

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on September 23, 2015.
Used with permission

Governor Robert Bentley abused Dianne Bentley emotionally, psychologically, and verbally. The abuse started when Rebekah Mason became Bentley’s closest advisor and lover during the governor’ first term in office. Bentley’s domestic abuse of Dianne was pervasive, degrading, and ugly, and his malicious words and deeds, ultimately left Dianne feeling irrelevant, disgraced, and utterly inadequate.

As Bentley’s romance with Rebekah Mason heated up, so did his abuse of Dianne. Though not physical in nature, Bentley’s abusive conduct was so disparaging towards Dianne that even the couple’s four sons and some of his grandchildren have felt the need to disassociate from him.

Once Bentley became governor, he changed. He was Read the rest of this entry »

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#ALpolitics @GovernorBentley’s CPA & Fundraiser Leaves Over Unethical Request

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, September 19, 2015

Mike Echols, CPA, Mike H. Echols is a CPA living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Echols was born on December 22, 1951, has one daughter Christy (LeFon), and is married to Amy Echols (nee Amy Celeste Holt of Montgomery, Alabama). Her son is Christopher Gattozzi. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Kentuck Art Association in Northport, Alabama. She is the marketing director at the Tuscaloosa accounting firm JamisonMoneyFarmer PC. Echols studied at the University of Alabama from 1970-1974, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. He belonged to the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. Echols is the owner of Michael H Echols & Associates, PC. (aka Echols, Michael H & Associates P.C. and Echols Coogler and Associate PC CPA) Echols is a member of the Alabama Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs. Echols is also associated with Project Delivery Systems, Llc; Northport Professional Properties, Llc and Victory Ink Company, Inc. Echols belongs to Franklin Resources Group which is a public relations and lobbying firm based in Montgomery, Alabama, that is associated with many state-wide political action funds. Echols is a founding member of Tusco PAC, whose purpose is “to support candidates with a pro-business philosophy.” To support candidates with a pro-business philosophy. – See more at: http://openbama.org/pac/index/778#sthash.cWbsbhOo.dpufHe chaired the T Town PAC II, which was Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s largest source of campaign money in 2010. Echols received the 2003 Advocate of the Year Award from the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce for “his advocacy role on be behalf of his clients, business owners, and the community’s business climate through his counsel, active political involvement on behalf of business issues, consulting and support relationships.” Echols has chaired several statewide PACs, six of which have routinely made contributions in local elections. Alabama Political Reporter’s Beth Clayton reported, “In addition to chairing the T Town PAC II, Echols has been listed as both the chair and treasurer of numerous other PACs: Capital PAC, CMG PAC, GOTV PAC, KAW PAC, Pride PAC, Pride PAC II, T Town PAC, T Town PAC II and Tusco PAC, many of which are dissolved.” Echols was the treasurer for mayoral candidate Sammy Watson in 2005. Commenting in a Tuscaloosa News article by Stephanie Taylor about the Tuscaloosa Firefighters Public Relations Fund having contributed $40,000 to mayoral candidate Walt Maddox and $10,450 to City Council candidates in 2005 Echols said, “I don’t believe you saw any one group of special interests have that much money in a single race. Do people expect anything in return for making contributions? If they don’t, I’m proud of them.” Echols was the chair of Educate Tuscaloosa PAC, as reported by Jamon Smith in The Tuscaloosa News, which supported only non-incumbent school board candidates. The ET PAC’s campaign postcards and website had the same P.O. Box 2663 that was also found on the campaign materials of Lee Garrison, who ran successfully for the chairman of the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education. PACs associated with Echols contributed to incumbents in the 2013 Tuscaloosa municipal elections, including Mayor Walt Maddox and Council Members Bobby Howard, Bob Lundell, William Tinker, Harrison Taylor, Cynthia Almond and former Council Member Lee Garrison. Echols was the primary deal maker in 2012 for the proposed lease agreement between the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Tuscaloosa County Park & Recreation Authority, as Laurie Johns explained it, “involving a parcel of property next to Northridge High School which had come to be designated for use as a ‘public school facility’ without the input of the Board of Education.”

Mike Echols, CPA
Mike H. Echols lives in Tuscaloosa, AL, and was born December 22, 1951. He has one daughter Christy (LeFon), and is married to Amy Echols (nee Amy Celeste Holt of Montgomery, Alabama). Her son is Christopher Gattozzi. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Kentuck Art Association in Northport, AL, and is the Marketing Director at the Tuscaloosa accounting firm JamisonMoneyFarmer PC.
Mike studied at the University of Alabama from 1970-1974, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. And as a student, belonged to the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.
He owns Michael H Echols & Associates, PC, (aka Echols, Michael H & Associates P.C. and Echols Coogler and Associate PC CPA), is a member of the Alabama Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs, and is associated with Project Delivery Systems, LLC; Northport Professional Properties, LLC and Victory Ink Company, Inc.
He belongs to Franklin Resources Group, a public relations and lobbying firm based in Montgomery, AL, associated with many state-wide political action funds, and is a founding member of Tusco PAC, whose purpose is “to support candidates with a pro-business philosophy.”
Echols has chaired several statewide PACs, six of which have routinely made contributions in local elections. Alabama Political Reporter’s Beth Clayton reported, “In addition to chairing the T Town PAC II, Echols has been listed as both the chair and treasurer of numerous other PACs: Capital PAC, CMG PAC, GOTV PAC, KAW PAC, Pride PAC, Pride PAC II, T Town PAC, T Town PAC II and Tusco PAC, many of which are dissolved.”

EXCLUSIVE BREAKING NEWS—

Mike Echols Splits From Bentley

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on September 18, 2015
Used with permission

Governor Robert Bentley’s long-time personal CPA and heavy hitting moneyman for the Robert Bentley Campaign Committee, has split from the governor. Echols, who handled the financial books and records for both the Bentleys and the Campaign Committee, resigned his post over a disagreement with Bentley about Rebekah Mason, the governor’s mistress and married paramour.

The precise nature of this dispute, which occurred several weeks ago, is not known at this time.

What is known, however, is that Bentley wanted Echols to do something questionable with the financial records relating to Rebekah Mason. The governor’s request did not sit well with Echols, a respected Tuscaloosa accountant and well-known PAC organizer. During a heated exchange between the two men, Echols refused the governor’s request and turned over the various checkbooks and financial records in his custody to Bentley. With this handover, the professional relationship between Echols and Bentley ended.

Echols has been Bentley’s accountant for many years. He was also the Campaign Committee’s accountant in 2010 and 2014.

In a slick move that is expected to become the focus of First Lady Dianne Bentley’s divorce proceedings, as well as law enforcement agencies in Washington, the governor stashed Read the rest of this entry »

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#ALpolitics @GovernorBentley’s Forbidden Love – Part 4

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 13, 2015

Forbidden Love

Robert Bentley’s Secret Love Affair – Part 4

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on September 13, 2015
Used with permission

State of the Union

The state of Alabama is flat broke.
The Legislature is in the midst of the Second Special Session
that was called to pass a
General Fund budget for 2015-2016,
having failed the task during both the
Regular Session
and the
First Special Session.

Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, (R, 79, Lee County/Auburn) is indicted on 23 state Felony Ethics Violation charges, which he earlier championed and helped pass, though he now claims they're "unconstitutional."

Mugshot, Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, (R, 79, Lee County-Auburn) is indicted on 23 state Felony Ethics Violation charges, changes to the law which he championed, and with the legislature, helped pass in 2010, though he now claims they’re “unconstitutional,” and “vague.”

Alabama has been named one of the most corrupt states in America by researchers at Harvard University.

Mike Hubbard, Alabama’s speaker of the house, is currently Read the rest of this entry »

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Bentley’s Real Executive Protection – Part 3, Forbidden Love: #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley’s Secret Love Affair

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 11, 2015

Bentley’s Real Executive Protection

Forbidden Love – Robert Bentley’s Secret Love Affair – Part 3

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on September 11, 2015
Used with permission

George L. Beck, Jr., is the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, which includes Montgomery.

George L. Beck Jr. was sworn in as the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama on July 6, 2011. He was nominated by President Obama on March 31,2011, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 30, 2011. Prior to being appointed, George Beck served as Deputy Attorney General for the State of Alabama for eight years, and Judge Advocate General for the Corps of Alabama Army National Guard for over thirty years, retiring at the rank of Colonel. He joined a private law firm in January 2004 where he remained until he was confirmed as U.S. Attorney. Mr. Beck received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University and his law degree from the University of Alabama.

George L. Beck Jr. was sworn in as the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama on July 6, 2011. He was nominated by President Obama on March 31,2011, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 30, 2011.
Prior to being appointed, George Beck served as Deputy Attorney General for the State of Alabama for eight years, and Judge Advocate General for the Corps of Alabama Army National Guard for over thirty years, retiring at the rank of Colonel. He joined a private law firm in January 2004 where he remained until he was confirmed as U.S. Attorney.
Mr. Beck received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University and his law degree from the University of Alabama.

President Obama appointed Beck to the top federal prosecutor’s job in Montgomery in 2011. Beck’s Senate confirmation took a mere three months from the date of his nomination, even in the midst of a gridlocked Congress, because Beck enjoyed the support and loyalty of Alabama’s two Republican senators, as well as its Republican governor and state attorney general. For all practical purposes, Beck is a “closet” Republican.

Beck received his law degree from the University of Alabama, where he was a law school classmate and personal friend of David Byrne, Governor Robert Bentley’s chief legal advisor. Over the years, the two men formed Read the rest of this entry »

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When Will Alabama’s D-I-V-O-R-C-E From Robert Bentley & GOP Be Final?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, August 28, 2015

It seems that after 50 years, Dear Old Governor Bentley’s wife Dianne has filed for divorce citing “such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together.”

Seriously, divorce is a tragedy. The real reason behind First Lady Dianne Bentley’s divorce was infidelity.

And yet we know the real reason, which is sort of Ashley Madisonesque in nature, because Governor Bentley has been continually screwing over the state for the last 5 years.

Of course, impotence could also factor into the mix, since he’s quite obviously had a hard-on for them, rather than her.

We should thank Alabama’s former First Family for such a fine example of Family Values to the state’s citizens.

Rumor has it, also, that the Governor spoke with Senator Cam Ward who exults under a DUI charge, keeping his Driver License, while any other lowly peon would have to walk, ride a bicycle, take a taxi, public transportation, or beg a ride, and whom also is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Governor Bentley asked Ward saying, “What can I do to a woman that I cannot do to you?”

Ward allegedly replied, Read the rest of this entry »

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UPDATED: If #ALpolitics Would #ExpandMedicaidNow, They Could CUT Medicaid Co$t$ More Than 50%

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 6, 2015

UPDATE: Tuesday, 11 August 2015
CORRECTION ADDENDUM

In my first & earlier calculations, I inadvertently overlooked multiplying the Annual Medicaid Spending in Alabama figure (which is a TOTAL of $5,241,269,869) by 70%, which would represent the portion paid for by the Federal government. Alabama’s 30% share of that figure (the share paid for by the state) would be $1,572,380,960.70. It would also be reasonable to expect that Expanding Medicaid in Alabama to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level would increase total economic activity (through Medicaid spending) in the state at least 38%. So to Expand Medicaid, the baseline figure for TOTAL Medicaid spending (combined Federal and State funds) would approximate $7,232,952,419. According to the provisions of the law, Alabama’s sharing portion (if Governor Bentley chose to Expand Medicaid) would still be 2016-100%; 2017-5%; 2018-6%; 2019-7%; 2020 and beyond-10%. The corrections to the figures herein are dollar amounts only (based on the $7,232,952,419 total expanded figure), not the %ages. Data & figures are now also shown in table format.

Folks, it may (or may not) surprise you to know a sampling of the collective thoughts of our wrong-wing friends, and relatives on matters political in Alabama, especially as they pertain to Medicaid.

Here’s a verbatim excerpted sampling of what I came across today.

• No one want increased entitlements. Too much waste and abuse. get a job folks. no to medicaid
• Medicaid is a lifestyle
• scare tactic. nursing homes overcharge. working people of Alabama are tired of taking care of lazy people
• ask any hospital administrator or physician in private practice. Medicaid devalues services. Reject medicaid

I dare say, MOST are clueless about the genuinely tangible economic and public health benefits Medicaid provides to this state, and the revenue and jobs it creates. All they hear are the wails and moans of representatives and/or senators – mostly of whom, if not exclusively, are Republican.

Where does Alabama's Medicaid money come from? Where does it go?

Where does Alabama’s Medicaid money come from?
Where does it go?
Source: Alabama Medicaid Agency Annual Report – FY 2012

Medicaid is a Federal/State matching/sharing program which provides (pays for) healthcare services for the impoverished wherein states pay a minority matching portion, while the Federal Government through CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) pays the majority portion. Within reasonable guidelines, the states have broad discretion and liberty to operate Medicaid according to the way they see fit, and the needs of the residents they serve. There are, however, certain minimums standards to which every state must adhere.

Under the provisions of the OLD law, the states that do NOT Expand Medicaid pay a higher %age rate for their services than they would if they were to Expand Medicaid to provide services to those whom are at 138% of the Federal Poverty guidelines – which is what the PPACA provides. The PPACA is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act- though it’s more often called the ACA “Affordable Care Act,” and colloquially referred to as “ObamaCare.”

Under the provisions of the PPACA, states that choose to Expand Medicaid will have 100% of those costs paid-for by the CMS beginning 2014, until 2016. The incentive for expansion is based upon Read the rest of this entry »

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Reasons Why Ohio Governor John Kasich Will Be Our Next President

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 24, 2015

There are numerous reasons, actually.

Here are a few:

He has an excellent political background/pedigree/experience.
• In 1978, aged 26 he was elected to the Ohio State Senate’s 15th Senatorial District, and remains OH’s youngest ever elected state senator
• In 1982, he was elected to the US House of Representatives 12th Ohio District, where he served from ’83-2001 (was re-elected 8 times) by at least 64% each time
• In 2010, he was elected governor, and in 2014 re-elected in a landslide, carrying all but 2 counties (86/88) – including the traditionally Democratic-leaning Hamilton county, where Cincinnati is located

Ohio Governor John Kasich (2010 & 2014)

Ohio Governor John Kasich (2010 & 2014)

He has done quite well by Ohio voters.
• His approval rating (always fluctuating for any elected figure) among Ohioans, has been as much as 77%.
• He expanded Medicaid in Ohio (which reduces uncompensated care & increases hospitals’ solvency)
• He saved $3Billion in the Medicaid budget, and slowed growth in the plan from 9%-3%, the lowest rate nationally
• He used cost-saving reforms & turned a $6-8 Billion Ohio budget shortfall into a balanced budget without raising taxes
• During his first term as governor, he grew the “Rainy Day Fund” (surplus) from $890M-1.5B
• In his first budget, he implemented a Personal Income Tax cut
• In his second budget, he implemented a 10% Personal Income Tax cut, and a 50% Small Business Income Tax cut
• During his first term as governor, he created 316,800 new jobs, and the state Unemployment Rate fell from 9.4% to 5.1%
• Education funding is at the highest level it’s ever been
• Because of Criminal Justice reforms, Ohio’s recidivism rate (reoffending) of prisoners is the lowest in the nation
• He has vigorously worked Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama’s Fine Kettle Of Fish

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 24, 2015

Someone asked:
“Getting Alabama’s voters to overhaul the state constitution seems like a pipedream. Do we accept things as they are, and go about our business? I’m ready to overthrow ALL of Montgomery, purge the place, and start over.”

I responded as follows:
There’s certainly no question we’ve a fine kettle of fish to fry. These clowns have NO agenda, and are just flying by the seat of their pants, inventing some asinine idea at the drop of a hat, one day to the next.

Sadly, the people, for the greatest part, are blithely unaware of the shenanigans and goings-on amongst the Goat Hill Gangsters. The “media” – by which I mean Read the rest of this entry »

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Sara Palin… Need anyone say more?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, January 31, 2015

Others have said it for so long that it’s old hat.

But finally, it seems that the “Right Wing” is awakening to the fact that…

 

NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE          www.nationalreview.com

Sarah Palin Slips into Self-Parody

Her recent performance in Iowa should disqualify her from any role in the GOP going forward.

By Charles C. W. Cooke

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#ALpolitics Inauguration Day 2015: Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, January 19, 2015

Oh! The Irony!

Every quadrennium, January 19 commemorates a special event in Alabama. It is Inauguration Day, when a new Governor takes the Oath of Office, and a new administration of state government begins. Second, this year, January 19, 2015 is unique because it marks the simultaneous and concurrent celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Ironically, Alabama commemorates the birthday of Robert E. Lee, General of the Confederacy, in conjunction with MLK Day.

Commemorative marker, Jefferson Davis Confederate Presidency Oath, Alabama State Capitol Buiding, Montgomery

Commemorative marker, Jefferson Davis Confederate Presidency Oath, Alabama State Capitol Building, Montgomery

So, today marked a triple peculiarity; 1.) a re-elected governor sworn in on; 2.) the day the state and nation celebrate the life and Civil Rights accomplishments of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and; 3.) the state celebrates the birthday of the General of the Confederate Army, Robert E. Lee.

There could hardly be any greater irony.

Freedom and equal rights under Constitutional law is simultaneously celebrated with the memory of a rebellious, oppressive regime which had a vested interest in indentured servitude… more often known as “slavery.” Patterson Hood, founder of the alt-rock Southern Rock group Drive-By Truckers, has described it as “the duality of the Southern thing.”

It reminds me of a hit song in the late 1970’s by a Christian Rock duet named DeGarmo & Key entitled “God Good, Devil Bad” which partial lyrics were:
“I met a man in the Nassau hotel,
“A stranger to my eyes.
“He had a tattoo on his arm of Jesus
“And the Devil side by side.
“I found the nerve so I said “Hey buddy!
“Just whats the matter with you?
“Don’t you know that you can’t serve two masters
“A real man’s gotta choose!”

“I said… Read the rest of this entry »

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Analysis: Alabama Unemployment Higher Than Stated

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bentley UR Tweet 10-17-14

Alabama Governor Bentley claims he, and his policies – whatever they are (he has none… just look for your self) – have been responsible for declining Alabama Unemployment. Fact is, he’s blowing smoke.

Bentley UR Tweet Claim 10-17-14

Alabama Governor Bentley claims he, and his policies – whatever they are (he has none… just look for your self) – have been responsible for declining Alabama Unemployment. Fact is, he’s blowing smoke.

Alabama’s Republican Governor Robert Bentley, MD has crowed about “success” in lowering Alabama unemployment during the past 4 years of his term.

However, to be certain, a random statistical examination of the state’s Unemployment rate shows that it is very likely, AT LEAST two points higher than reported.  Here’s how.

Unemployment is calculated as a simple average. Take the number of people working, added into the number of people NOT working, AND who WANT to work, divided by the people who are available to work, gives the unemployment rate.

Here’s how the Bureau of  Labor Statistics defines the parameters of the equation:

What are the basic concepts of employment and unemployment?

The basic concepts involved in identifying the employed and unemployed are quite simple:
• People with jobs are employed.
• People who are jobless, looking for a job, and available for work are unemployed.
• The labor force is made up of the employed and the unemployed.
• People who are neither employed nor unemployed are not in the labor force.

Simply put, the formula is:

Unemployment Rate = Unemployed


Employed + Unemployed

 

However, if you’ve had a college course in Statistics – and most folks in Alabama have not (it’s part of maintaining the policy of “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”) – then you’d understand that a random sample of the set would show essentially the same results.

And face it… most folks in Alabama DO NOT HAVE A COLLEGE EDUCATION. In fact, according to the Alabama Department of Education, Alabama’s High School Drop Out rate is 28%. Page 2, Frame 2 of the linked document shows the 2010-2011 TOTAL Graduation Rate as 72%.

Face it… ALABAMA IS

Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Governor Bentley Broke 20 Promises From 2010 Campaign

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 13, 2014

Broken Bentley Campaign Promises2sB

Robert Bentley, MD will say ANYTHING to get elected. In fact, he did. Is there any reason to believe he won’t do it again? He had no intention of fulfilling any of those promises. And that, my friends, is the definition of a sociopathic liar.
Sociopathic Liars are defined as someone who lies continuously in an attempt to get their own way, without showing care or concern for others. These individuals are goal-oriented. Even though it might seem hard to believe, lying is focused – they are focused on getting their own way. Sociopaths don’t have a lot of respect or regard for the feelings and rights of others. They tend to be charismatic and charming, but they will use their exceptional social skills in a self-centered and manipulative manner.

Having met with Alabama Governor Bentley a couple times, I can attest that he came across to me as a “nice guy,” a decent human being.

However – and to be absolutely certain – when I refer to Robert Bentley, or Governor Bentley, I mean to refer to him as an elected political figure, nothing more. And in that sense, as a legislator from Tuscaloosa, he was an inept, do-nothing, milquetoast, mamby-pamby, clueless, bumbling, cowardly, lazy, yellow-bellied, gutless, craven, unimaginative, clueless, pedestrian, hackneyed, lame and feeble Representative.

As Governor, he has given Alabama all that, and more… in spades!

As an elected official, Governor Bentley is a liar, and there are LITERALLY 15-20 broken promises he made while in the 2010 campaign that were very likely the hopes upon which Alabamians hung their hat, and ideas for which they cast their vote. His Democratic contender – Ron Sparks – was a man who, as Secretary of Agriculture and Industries, had his finger on the economic pulse of the state of Alabama. Ron was the man whom opened doors of market opportunity for Alabama’s farmers to sell poultry in foreign markets. Ron regularly communicated with the captains of industry in Alabama, as well the numerous entrepreneurs, small businesses owners, and Mom & Pop shops, which are the lifeblood of any economy.

Bentley’s campaign is nothing more one Broken Promise after another. It is a history of lies, infidelity, and willful deception. To characterize his administration as duplicitous would be generously diplomatic. To say it has been treacherously fraudulent would be more accurate.

Here are what I consider the Top Ten Bentley Campaign Lies from 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Governor Bentley OK’d $580K Trooper Gate pay, lied about it

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 13, 2014

#ALPolitics @GovernorBentley OK’d $580K #TrooperGate pay, lied about it  http://j.mp/TrooperGate

Alabama Republican Governor Robert Bentley, MD, OK’d $580,000 Trooper Gate pay, then lied about it
http://j.mp/TrooperGate

Bentley Punished DPS Bosses for Questioning Lewis’ Gigantic Overtime Pay

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on October 12, 2014
Used with permission

Retired state trooper Capt. Mark Whitaker ran the Protective Services Division and Capitol Police in the Alabama Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) until this year. This is the DPS division responsible for guarding and driving Governor Robert Bentley. Wendell Ray Lewis was a sergeant under his command.

While running his division, Whitaker learned that Lewis’ overtime pay was pre-approved by Bentley and never to be questioned. This was even true with regard to Lewis’ claimed entitlement to 24 hours of overtime for a single day. Prior to Lewis, Whitaker had never seen a trooper make a claim for or receive 24 hours of overtime pay for a single day.

On January 14, 2014, Whitaker was called into then-DPS Director Hugh McCall’s office where McCall told Whitaker that his entire division would be transferred to the newly created Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (“ALEA”). As a result of the transfer, Whitaker, a highly respected captain, would fall under the command and supervision of Lewis, who at that time was a sergeant. Unbelievably, Captain Whitaker would be reporting to Sgt. Lewis.

This order came directly from Governor Bentley.

This humiliating role reversal was the ultimate insult for Whitaker, a career officer who had climbed the ranks within DPS and earned his command position. According to published reports, Whitaker believes this demeaning and insulting personnel action – a captain reporting to a sergeant – occurred merely because he sought to question Lewis’ overtime pay in the months prior.

“This is what I get for doing my job,” Whitaker complained to McCall at the time. He retired soon after.

Whitaker is the second high-ranking trooper to retire over the Bentley-Lewis overtime pay scandal. In 2011, Major Marc McHenry, now retired, served as the DPS chief over Protective Services and the Capitol Police. Lewis also worked under McHenry.

When McHenry realized in 2011 that Lewis had accumulated a gigantic amount of overtime pay, he tried to put an end to Lewis’ financial windfall. At the time, troopers were not being paid for overtime. They were given time off instead.

McHenry sent the issue to Lewis’ supervisor, and two days later he was 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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Pride and Prejudice: Things Alabama will never hear Governor Bentley say

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, June 13, 2014

For your benefit, here is a brief record of things no Alabama resident will never hear Alabama’s Republican Governor Robert J. Bentley, MD, say:

‘I was wrong, and I apologize; please forgive me.’

‘Even though I’m the Chief Executive Officer of the State of Alabama, the legislature and I haven’t accomplished everything for the people that we hoped to do.’

‘I accept full responsibility for the sexual crimes, atrocities, horrid conditions and deaths from neglect & violence in Alabama’s prisons.’

‘I have asked for the resignation of Mr. Kim T. Thomas, Esq. as Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections, whom I also appointed January 17, 2011.’

‘Even though out of all 50 states Alabama’s personal income tax structure is well-known, and highly documented to burden the most poverty-stricken, I have done nothing to correct, change or modify it.’

‘While increasingly, today’s jobs require a highly-educated and healthy workforce, I have done nothing to promote either.’

‘Even though I said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of our citizens,” I have Read the rest of this entry »

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Why did Parker Griffith vote AGAINST the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, June 6, 2014

English: , member of the United States House o...

Official portrait, Parker Griffith, MD as freshman member of the United States House of Representatives, Alabama 5th Congressional District.

53rd Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Jr., MD - campaign photograph

Campaign photograph – 53rd Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Jr., MD

As a politician, Parker Griffith has been described as “maverick.”

To describe it diplomatically, he has been “somewhat unpredictable.”

To be blunt, he’s a loose cannon.

His most recent political aspiration includes 2014 candidacy for Alabama governor under the Democratic ticket, challenging first term Republican Robert Bentley (described as “wildly popular”), whom is similarly a retired physician, and former Alabama State House Representative from Tuscaloosa, whom has publicly announced his opinion that he will be re-elected during a tour of Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, where sexual assaults, and abuses of innumerable kind have become so rampantly commonplace that Alabama’s prison system is verging upon federal takeover.

It was during his tour of that prison that “Our kindly country doctor governor toured Tutwiler in early March and quietly said, “we are probably going to have to build some new prisons in my second term.””

Griffith’s greatest obstacle is his past. More specifically, the greatest mountain he must conquer is his decision to switch parties (from Democrat to Republican) while in his first term in Congress, which abruptly ended his political aspirations.

The nightmare of his actions still haunts Alabama voters, many whom have not forgotten – including those in his hometown, Huntsville & Madison County. Like the ghastly spectre in Charles Dickens’ classic fiction “A Christmas Carol,” Parker Griffith must come face-to-face with the Ghost of Election Past, and Bentley with the Ghost of Alabama Yet to Come.

And in this real-life play, Bob Cratchit is played by the people, while 18.1% of the state’s population (the state poverty rate) are cast as the sickly child, Tiny Tim. They and others are the ones whom are denied by the Scrooge, played by Governor Bentley and Republican-dominated state legislature.

In reality, Griffith and Bentley play dual roles in this real-life political /social /medical /economic drama.

Charles Dickens circa 1850: he ‘kept on going by taking on too much’. Photograph: Herbert Watkins

Is there salvation for Griffith?

Will Bentley expand Medicaid?

Can anyone really help the citizens of Alabama?

Tune in next time! when we hear _?_ say…

Griffith’s last foray into politics – as Representative for Alabama’s 5th Congressional District – did not bode well, for after the first full year of a two-year term, he announced he was changing political party affiliation, for which he was resoundingly criticized at home by his constituency, in the press for his actions, and then subsequently resoundingly defeated by GOP challenger “Mo” Brooks in the 2010 Republican primary.

When he represented Alabama’s 5th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, Parker Griffith voted against Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Common Core Textbooks: Who Calls the Shots?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 5, 2014

Alabama continues to be the butt of every joke – from the psuedo state motto “Thank God for Mississippi,” to those which are more biting – every laughingstock must have its basis in truth.

And the truth is undeniable.

Alabama consistently ranks below practically every marker for achievement, success, well-being and health.

Alabama has been on the wrong side of history, which for many, dates back to the days of the Civil War… which ended in 1865.

One could hardly imagine that an event settled nearly 150 years ago would motivate so many to such an extent that they would behave so vociferously, so negatively so vehemently and violently. And yet…

To be certain, Alabama has wonderful people – people who are kindhearted, generous to a fault, loving, diligent, creative, honest, conscientious, forthright, compassionate, intelligent, and more. And yet, for all those positive character qualities, there is always at least one bad apple that spoils the whole bunch, that sours the deal, that gives the entire state a black eye. Such is the case with those naysayers whom oppose Common Core educational standards.

There are people who, when faced with evidence, continue to choose to believe a lie. For example, there is a “Flat Earth Society,” whose members state that their purpose (according to their website) is to establish “… a place for free thinkers and the intellectual exchange of ideas.” “Free thinking” and “intellectual exchange” must acknowledge the truth of facts. And the fact is, that Earth is NOT flat. Any assertion contrariwise is so preposterously absurd that is it is not merely asinine, it is psychotically deranged to so believe.

Such problems of belief contrary to the truth are among those which face Alabamians. From a scientific, factually valid perspective, a belief is an idea held to be true, even though there may be insignificant or no evidence to support the idea held to be true, or the outcomes which would naturally emerge from the same. From there, it’s a short step to conspiracy thinking, Area 51 space aliens and the loony bins that still walk among us. But those lunatic fringe elements exist in every state, not exclusively in Alabama.

Nevertheless, former Alabama Governor Bob Riley has again written of his support for the attainment of educational excellence in state public schools, his first OpEd – Why I Support Common Core Standards – having been published in the conservative digest National Review.

 

***

 

RILEY: The truth about Common Core textbooks

In Alabama, final selections are made locally

By Bob Riley
Friday, May 2, 2014
Just about everyone is familiar with the old idiom “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s a valuable metaphor, but as it turns out, it’s also very useful literal advice as it relates to the growing public policy debate over Core State Education Standards.

My wife Patsy and I are very lucky to have all our children and grandchildren living close to us. We love being part of their daily lives and watching our children raise families of their own.

A fifth-grade teacher helps students at Silver Lake Elementary School in Middletown, Delaware (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) Photo **FILE**

A fifth-grade teacher helps students at Silver Lake Elementary School in Middletown, Delaware (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) Photo **FILE**

A few weeks ago, one of our daughters shared with me a textbook belonging to her son, a public school student in Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham, Ala. Something on the cover of my fourth-grade grandson’s textbook alarmed her, and after she showed it to me, it triggered an investigative instinct in me as well. On the cover, in bright red letters, unmistakable, were the words “Common Core State Standards.”

“If you want to know why so many people do not like Common Core, there it is,” said my daughter. Parents are under the impression that a central, national entity is dictating what our children read and learn, she continued, and every time a parent disagrees with the subject matter or struggles with a new method of math, we do not have to look far to find where to place the blame.

Then she asked me: “If there is no required reading list, no required curriculum for Common Core, why are these books labeled as belonging to and adhering to Common Core?”

Quite frankly, I did not know the answer. I was certain that no single organization in Washington D.C. or elsewhere dictates what children in the Homewood public schools read. I could not explain, though, why my grandson’s textbook made it appear that such a group does in fact exist.

I did what I always do when I don’t know the answer to something — I ask someone who does know.

Betty Winches is the assistant superintendent of instruction for Homewood City Schools, a top-rated public school system, and for years I have known her to be a world-class educator and academic leader in the schools. So I asked her the same question that my daughter asked me: “If there is no Common Core reading list or curriculum, why are the textbooks in Homewood’s schools labeled “Common Core?”

The answer, as Betty explained to me, is 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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Alabama Medicaid Incompetency: State must repay Federal Childrens Health Insurance Program $88,197,498

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, December 20, 2013

Did you know? (No, you probably didn’t.)

In a report dated August 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) conducted a criminal and administrative investigation and found that Alabama claimed, and was paid millions in unallowable performance bonus payments under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIRPA).

This FRAUD was because of INCOMPETENCY in Alabama governance.

The HHS OIG found that the Alabama state agency overstated its FYs 2009 and 2010 current enrollment in its requests for bonus payments. The State agency overstated its current enrollments because, rather than Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Governor Bentley demonstrates fiscal incompetence

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 1, 2013

Part of the Great Hypocrisy of Alabama‘s über GOP-dominated state government is that on September 18, 2012, voters approved the Governor’s request to take money from the Alabama Trust Fund using the specific language in the Special Election to Amend the state’s Constitution “to provide adequate funding for the State General Fund budget”… “by transferring funds from the Alabama Trust Fund to the State General Fund beginning with the state’s 2012-2013 fiscal year and concluding with the state’s 2014-2015 fiscal year.”

It’s equally important to understand and know, that the time of the election, however, there was no repayment plan, and only recently has the legislature acted, and has the governor signed, to repay any monies taken.

And now, the Governor wants to TAKE $6 Million earmarked for the State Parks and put it into the General Fund.

It’s prima facie evidence of utter incompetency, pure & simple.

More to the point, however, specifically regarding any contract with private entities to operate any private enterprise on public property, it seems to me that such an operation is also prima facie evidence of incompetency because to do so says in essence that ‘we’re not capable, nor do we have the ability to operate any operation profitably.’ And that, my friends, is a most damning indictment.

It’s bad not only for that reason, but because since private enterprise holds the key to the operations, they can call the shots, and raise the prices (cost of operations) at will, by merely citing an increase in cost of operations (without justification or evidence). And then, the state is left holding the contractual bag, while the private entity claims squatter’s rights on public property.

Gov. Robert Bentley says Gulf convention center a key to help parks survive funding cuts

By Mike Cason | mcason@al.com
March 27, 2013 at 10:39 PM, updated March 28, 2013 at 7:02 AM

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Gov. Robert Bentley said Wednesday he hopes to help minimize the effect of funding cutbacks on the state parks system.

Bentley’s budget plan for fiscal 2014 called for taking $6 million earmarked for state parks and placing that money in the General Fund.

This week, State Parks Director Gregory Lein wrote a letter to elected officials and others saying some parks could close and Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Governor Bentley Refuses to Help State’s Citizens

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 16, 2012

Not only are you, Governor Bentley, an embarrassment to the state and nation, but as a physician, you discredit the healing arts & profession, and contribute to sickness, disease and ill health of the people of the great state of Alabama.

Feds allow more time on health insurance exchange decision, but Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says no thanks

By Kim Chandler | kchandler@al.com
on November 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM, updated November 16, 2012 at 5:35 PM

AL Gov Robert Bentley

Alabama Governor Dr. Robert Bentley, MD (R), adamantly refuses to help the state’s citizens by making a list of health insurance carriers, called an “exchange.” – (AP photo)

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — At the request of some GOP governors, the federal government is giving states another month to decide if they want to run a state-based health insurance exchange.

Gov. Robert Bentley is saying no thanks to the extra time, saying his decision stands to not set up a state exchange.

“The extension from HHS did not change the governor’s decision,” Bentley Press Secretary Jennifer Ardis said in an e-mail.

Bentley, as other GOP governors have done, announced Tuesday that he would not set up a state exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

Bentley made the announcement official in a two-sentence letter today to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

“This letter serves as official notification that Alabama will not be setting up a state-based health insurance exchange, nor do I intend to pursue a partnership exchange,” Bentley wrote.

Today had been the deadline for states to decide whether they want to set up and run their own state exchange, essentially a marketplace for people and businesses to shop for insurance with some people getting subsidies to offset their costs.

Sebelius sent a letter Thursday to Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia saying that deadline has been extended until Dec. 14.

The governors, on behalf of the Republican Governors Association, had requested more time to make a decision, according to the letter from Sebelius. Both Jindal and McDonnell have said they don’t plan to set up an exchange.

“We are confident Governors will have enough time to Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Governor Robert Bentley MD to voters: Trust me. I’ll pay it all back.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Would you trust this man?

He’s a damn politician… and a GOP one, at that.

The problem is, that he’s NOT yet shown any plan on how or when he’ll do that.

But!

Whatever you do, please… DO NOT raise property tax rates on Corporate Timber owners.

Nope.

Not at all.

Never.

They should pay much less than residential property owners.

And for goodness sake, PLEASE do NOT raise the state income tax rate on the wealthiest, who are documented to already pay a lower rate than the working poor in the state.

Hell no.

Don’t do that.

Gov. Robert Bentley: $437M from trust fund would be paid back

Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2012, 7:00 PM     Updated: Tuesday, August 21, 2012, 7:17 PM
By The Associated Press

AL Gov Robert Bentley MD -small

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley: Trust me I want to borrow your money. Trust me. I promise to pay it back. Trust me.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Robert Bentley and legislative leaders said Tuesday they are committed to paying back the money if Alabama voters agree to take more than $437 million from a state trust fund and use it to Read the rest of this entry »

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