Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘politics’

“Stupid is as stupid does.” Alabama State Idiot/Auditor Jim Zeigler Shoots Off Mouth, Website Violates @Wikimedia Trademark

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 21, 2015

“If you need to carry a gun in church, His Grace is NOT sufficient, and stop pretending you believe that it is.”

Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler has – like many Alabama politicians – stuck his big flat foot into his gaping stupid mouth… again.

This time, he’s on record as saying that, “Church attendees should pack. Each church should have a vigilance committee of individuals who pack and who develop their own plans for defense from an attack. Calling 911 and waiting for government defense will not work. Without armed citizens in the church congregation, they are sitting ducks for criminals and terrorists.”

Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler Tweet

Late night Tweet by Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler, which, as one respondent wrote, “I’ll attribute this to tequila shots.”

Until he was elected to the office of State Auditor, Jim Zeigler was merely a laughingstock and perennial candidate for various state-level offices having campaigned six times, whose Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama May 2015 Unemployment Higher Than Reported

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 20, 2015

Alabama Unemployment Rates May 2015 by County with Totals

Alabama May 2015 Unemployment Rates by County with Totals

According to the Alabama Department of Labor, the Seasonally Adjusted preliminary state Unemployment Rate for May 2015 was 6.1%. The Not Seasonally Adjusted rate was 6.2%.

However, as I have written previously (October 2014, Analysis: Alabama Unemployment Higher Than Stated), the rate is subject to flaw precisely because it is Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama State Senator Larry Stutts sued for malpractice… again

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 13, 2015

Alabama State Senator Larry Stutts has once again been named in another malpractice lawsuit in which a patient of his retained placental tissue, and suffered excessive bleeding following delivery of her baby.

The new case is oddly reminiscent of an older case in which Stutts was named defendant, in which his patient retained placental tissue and suffered excessive bleeding, and later died. The new case’s Plaintiff, Greta C. Cooper, did not die.

Read the PDF file of the 2015 Lawsuit against state Sen Larry Stutts

The suit alleges, among other things, that Stutts failed to order powerful antibiotics to be administered EXCLUSIVELY by Licensed Professional Nurses, and that two RNs with Gentiva Home Health Services in Russellville, Alabama, then taught the Plaintiff’s husband how to administer the medication, and that as a result of his failure to properly order, blood levels of the medication were also not taken which resulted in overdose toxicity.

Dr. Larry Stutts, DVM, MD (R), who was first a veterinarian, then became an Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OBGYN), upset 32-year veteran Alabama Senate District 6 State Senator Roger Bedford (D) by 67 votes in the 2014 November General Election. Stutts is also president of Colbert Obstetrics and Gynecology, PC (his private medical practice), located at 1120 S Jackson Hwy #104, Sheffield, AL 35660, (256) 386-0855.

Alabama District 6 State Senator Dr. Larry Stutts, DVM, MD

Alabama District 6 State Senator Dr. Larry Stutts, DVM, MD

Alabama State Senate District 6 encompasses all of Franklin County, and portions of Colbert, Marion, Lauderdale and Lawrence Counties in NW Alabama.

Interestingly, Sutts wasn’t the GOP’s original candidate for the Senate District 6 race. Jerry Mays was the original GOP candidate, but dropped out of the primary. In response to Mays’ decision, on March 20, 2014, State Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead announced that the Alabama Republican Party Candidate Committee had met and named Larry Stutts, who resides in Tuscumbia, to replace Mays candidacy. Stutts had never been in any elected political office.

Stutts is the same physician who was years earlier named in another lawsuit in which his patient Rose Church – a newlywed, and healthy 36-year-old Registered Nurse – died, which in turn, Read the rest of this entry »

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If Alabama Was A Loaf Of Bread

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 31, 2015

If Alabama was a loaf of bread, candy canes and root beer floats.

Pineapple ice cream cotton candy, pecan pies, Festhalle chicken, eggs ample, cinco de mother may I?

Johnny Monkeyshines, Goat Hill Hamburger Helper, largely poor, uneducated and easy to barbecue.

W.C. Keller, Bellingrath Handyman, Werner von Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama State Legislature Could Undo DOJ-ADOC Tutwiler Agreement & Force Federal Takover

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 29, 2015

To The Reader:
If you are not a regular follower of Alabama politics, some, or perhaps most, of the items mentioned herein may very well be alien to you. Yet even if you are – even to a small extent – an adherent of the same, it very well may still be strange to you. It’s strange to most… save for those who wallow in such mire, namely, the Alabama Legislature and politicians in Alabama.

What I write herein this blog, and this entry in particular, contains fact, and opinion. It’s difficult to NOT have opinion when faced with facts… particularly when innocent lives are at stake. And innocent lives ARE at stake in Alabama.

I ask your indulgence.

From Day One of his first term in office (January 17, 2010) Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s administration has been pockmarked with allegations of corruption, wrong-doing, violations of Federal Law, incompetence, lies, thefts, and deceptions.

I have written and opined about Governor Bentley’s bald-faced lies from his first campaign for governor (Alabama Governor Bentley Broke 20 Promises From 2010 Campaign), and his propensities and predilections toward falsehoods are well-documented in other news media from his campaign for a second term as governor, and after his re-election.

Examples include:
23-Felony Ethics Count indicted Rep. Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) re-elected GOP Speaker of the House
Rep. Greg Wren (R-Montgomery) plead guilty to misdemeanor Hubbard-related ethics charge and resigned his House seat
Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) charged with perjury and false statements related to Lee County grand jury in January in Hubbard case
Moles in GOP Attorney General Luther Strange’s office attempting to corrupt Hubbard’s prosecution
Prison rapes & long-term cover-up of criminal wrongdoing at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, and Alabama Department Of Corrections (ADOC)
ADOC purchased on the black market medicines to be misused for execution, which the FDA seized
ADOC neglected prisoners’ minor healthcare problems, which lead to their death
Legislature reneged repayment on money “borrowed” from Alabama Trust Fund

Facing an immediate General Fund Budget shortfall of $250 Million, and a projected $750 Million long-term deficit, shortly after re-election to a second term, Governor Bentley reneged on a campaign promise to not raise taxes. The most fearfully pressing of the concerns remains the prospects of a Federal take-over of the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC). At 200% capacity, and grossly understaffed, the ADOC is still teetering upon the precipice of a Federal take-over by the Department of Justice. The DOJ took over California’s Prison System with with much less overcrowding, approximately 140%.

The DOJ sent Governor Bentley a 36-page “love letter” dated January 17, 2014 which was entitled Investigation of the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women and Notice of Expanded Investigation in which they detailed numerous counts of prisoner abuse, sexual abuse of prisoners, criminal activity by guards upon inmates, and other horrific crimes against humanity.

USDOJ Tutwiler ADOC Findings 1-17-14

Only today, Governor Bentley crowed about reaching a 65+ page Settlement Agreement with the DOJ in which ADOC and the State of Alabama promised to “implement all policies and procedures required by the agreement within nine months of the effective date of the Agreement,” and which “will terminate when Defendants have achieved substantial compliance with each provision of the Agreement, and have maintained substantial compliance for three consecutive Court-filed compliance reports.”

ADOC-DOJ-Settlement-Package-05-28-15

While there is a nine month implementation time line, there is a possibility of 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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How To Get Elected In Alabama: Convince the “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command” to vote for you.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 14, 2015

It’s a classic variation upon the theme of a “straw man argument.”

But if you’re like most folks in Alabama, you’re probably so “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command” to know what that is.

So, I’ll tell you.

You cite an example of thing you oppose (and which many others would oppose) – even though it’s false (example: “The air in our city has killed thousands of babies!”) – and hammer on it, until you beat it up. Never mind that the example you use is pure bullshit and a total lie. That way, you get your opponent distracted from the REAL issues by responding to your bullshit lies. Studies have shown that when you repeat a lie – even if you are repeating it to refute it – the repetition can reinforce the lie in the minds of some people.

Read on.

Insight: How To Get Elected In Alabama

By Hardy Jackson

In my more than half-a-century of following politics — state, local and national — I cannot recall such a general disgust with the quality of the folks who govern us.

How, I hear it asked repeatedly, did these people get elected?

The answer, of course, is that they got the most votes.

But that is not the answer most people want.How to Get Elected in AL politics

What they want to know is how these politicians were able to convince a majority of Alabama voters to cast a ballot for them.

Well, I’m gonna tell you.

Today, politicians in Alabama get elected because they have mastered a strategy that has gotten Alabama politicians elected as long as there have been politicians and elections in this state.

Here is how it works.

First, a candidate must convince voters that Read the rest of this entry »

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Examining Right Wing Rhetoric in Memes

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

How accurate, or true are Right Wing statements?

How accurate, or true are Right Wing memes?

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

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

Government has necessary services, and provides the same.

Consider road construction as one example.

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

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

That’s correct – there is NONE.

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

EVERYTHING!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Alabama Governor Bentley signs Executive Order No.4 Creating Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Yesterday, Monday, April 6, 2015, Alabama Governor Robert J. Bentley, MD signed Executive Order No.4 creating a 38-member “Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force.”

Though the unspoken ostensible purpose of the task force is to likely make recommendations to the Governor for the expansion of Medicaid in Alabama, it’s being couched to the less-than-observant (or less-than-smart, take your pick), as a home-grown alternative to the big bad wolf of D.C. known as “ObamaCare.”

Again, for the benefit of the uneducated, in addition to decreasing fraud, waste and abuse, increasing efficiency, eliminating discrimination against women, children & people with “pre-existing” conditions, mandating numerous improvements to the quality of the delivery of healthcare from all states in order to receive payment (performance-based payment), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (sometimes abbreviated as ACA, though popularly known as “ObamaCare”), contains a provision encouraging (but not requiring – that decision was made the U.S. Supreme Court) the state’s governors to expand Medicaid for their impoverished residents. The law provides for 100% payment for so doing, then gradually declines to 90%.

Governors in Kentucky and Arkansas have decided to Expand Medicaid in their states, and are already enjoying savings.

Governors in Kentucky and Arkansas have decided to Expand Medicaid in their states, and are already enjoying savings.

Currently, Alabama’s matching portion (the %age it pays to purchase Medicaid) is 32.4%; so to expand Medicaid, and have it ALL paid for, and then to pay a LOWER rate than is presently being paid is one of the smartest fiscal decisions the state could make.

Already, the Governors of Kentucky and Arkansas – both well-known Republican strongholds, with opposition to the ACA – have expanded Medicaid in their states, and are already reaping the rewards.

Here’s a chart showing the compensation plan to the states: Read the rest of this entry »

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Presidential Political Prophesy

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

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

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

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

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

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Somebody’s Gonna’ Get Killed

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, February 5, 2015

It's NOT mere "courtesy," IT'S THE LAW!

It’s NOT mere “courtesy,”
IT’S THE LAW!

I was run off the road while riding my 10-speed bicycle.

It happened in a residential part of town, very near home, and upon one of the widest roads in town…

Capable of 4 lanes of 2-way traffic, with parallel parking along both sides, the road also ran adjacent the football stadium & high school.

I loved to ride my bicycle, and would do so almost daily, for at least five miles. And that was long before the song “Bicycle” by Queen was popularized. In fact, it was upon a “road bike” much like the ones seen in the video below.

Recollecting that Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Is Alabama Gasoline So Expensive?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 2, 2015

In a word, because of the state legislature.

Here’s an explanation.

In Alabama, an anti-competitive law prevents motorists from enjoying low gas prices.

In Alabama, an anti-competitive law prevents motorists from enjoying low gas prices. This is the price per gallon of a gallon of regular gas purchased at a Kroger Fuel Center in Texas, after using Kroger Fuel Discounts.

In Alabama, a law called the “Motor Fuel Marketing Act” (Code of Alabama §8-22) prevents retailers from selling gasoline (or any other motor fuel, such as diesel) for less than what it costs them to purchase it.

Specifically, the law reads in part, that:

Section 8-22-6

Certain below cost fuel sales prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person engaged in commerce in this state to sell or offer to sell motor fuel below cost or to sell or offer to sell it at a price lower than the seller charges other persons…”

In other words, it’s illegal to do that.

The marketing technique of retailing something for less than it costs to purchase it wholesale is called “low-price, or loss leader” and 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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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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Gone With The Wind: How Alabama’s State Legislature Blew Away $200 Million Of Industrial Development And Jobs

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

labama Governor Robert Bentley signed legislation PROHIBITING two out-of-state businesses from investing in Alabama & constructing business operations, and hiring. Total Cost of Loss = $200+ Million

By his refusal to act, Alabama Republican Governor Robert Bentley allowed legislation to pass which PROHIBITED TWO Out-of-State Businesses from Investing, Conducting Business Operations, and Hiring in Alabama.
Total Cost Loss To Alabama = $200+ Million

Governor Bentley Refused To Reign In Unfounded Fear Mongering By GOP Dominated Legislature

Fueled by unfounded, unscientific constituency fears, Legislators in Alabama’s state Senate and House of Representatives recently authored restrictive regulatory legislation which made it impossible for a Texas-based business to expand operations in Alabama. Not counting the jobs and salaries lost, the investment cost of the loss to Alabama exceeds $200 Million.

Specifically, Pioneer Green Energy, 802 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701, (512) 351-3363, planned to spend over $200 Million to build two facilities in Cherokee and Etowah counties to generate electricity, and hire local people to operate and maintain the facilities.

In comparison, Remington Arms – the firearms manufacturer which recently announced relocation to Huntsville, Alabama – will be spending $110 Million, with $38 Million in tax incentives provided by the state.

Pioneer was set to construct 30-45 wind-driven turbines (electricity-generating windmills) in Etowah county at a cost of $160 Million in their NoccalulaWind project. In nearby Cherokee county, they were set to construct 7-8 such windmills, at a cost of $40 Million in their ShinboneWind project.

A series of bills which originated in Alabama’s state Senate, and House of Representatives was effectively, the death knell for the projects.

Alabama State Senator Phil Williams, 10th Senate District, Floor of Alabama State Senate

State Senator Phil Williams, a Republican in Alabama’s 10th Senate District, speaks from the Floor of Alabama State Senate. He authored SB 402 & SB 403, prohibitive regulatory legislation which hamstrung $200 Million in Industrial Development and Jobs.

As reported by Conservation Alabama, April 10, 2014, in a column entitled “2014 Legislative Session recap, “Two local bills opposed by Conservation Alabama did pass. Senate Bills 402 and 403 requiring strict regulations for wind energy conversion systems in Etowah and Cherokee counties passed, eliminating any real chance of wind energy in those two counties. After these local bills passed it was thought that Senate Bill 12, a statewide bill to regulate wind energy conversion systems, would make it through with language that superseded the two local bills and included more reasonable and agreed upon language between the two sides. However, proponents of the bill could not get on the same page. Last minute changes to the bill created additional controversy, and the bill ultimately failed to pass in the House and consequently the two local bills will become law.”

Alabama state Senate Bills 402 and 403  were authored and sponsored by Senator Phil Williams, a Republican whom represents Alabama’s 10th Senate District, which includes Etowah and Cherokee counties. By profession, Senator Williams is a lawyer, and in part, he wrote this about himself on his legislative profile/biography webpage: “Phil Williams is the managing member of Williams & Associates, LLC, a law firm based in Gadsden, AL.” His campaign website states this, “His legal focus is largely in the areas of insurance, municipal and corporate defense.” (SB402 may be found online here -or downloaded from this site AL SB402-int– & SB 403 may be found online here  -or downloaded from this site AL SB403-int-)

Here’s Part One of the Grand Hypocrisy. The Alabama GOP website states this about Senator Williams: “One of the most promising freshman Senators in Montgomery is Phil Williams of Rainbow City. He is the proud sponsor of the Alabama Jobs Creation and Retention Act, which provides tax incentives to new or existing businesses that engage in industrial projects. Sen. Williams said, “This Act will help make Alabama a center of gravity for new and existing business growth, and is another example of our Republican-led senate following through on our campaign promises.””

Why would a State Senator whom sponsored the “Alabama Jobs Creation and Retention Act” author legislation that FORBADE the creation of jobs?

Alabama State Senator Phil Williams (R), authored regulatory legislation which hampered $200 Million Industrial Development in Alabama, and cost jobs.

Alabama State Senator Phil Williams (R), in green tie & suit, authored regulatory legislation which lost $200 Million Industrial Development in Alabama, and cost jobs.

According to an article in The Alabama Reporter written by Brandon Moseley, published 07 June 2013, Senator Williams, who hails from Rainbow City, is seeking a second term in office, and made this remark about his candidacy: “It has been a great honor to serve the people of Senate District 10 these past few years. We have accomplished so much of what the people in our communities said they wanted, and my intent is to continue the fight for conservative values and finish what we’ve started.”

Readers may recall that Etowah county is home to disgraced former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore – sometimes popularly known as “The Ten Commandments Judge” – who was removed from office following a hearing November 12, 2003 by a unanimous vote of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary. Since then, he campaigned for the same office – State Supreme Court Chief Justice – and was elected November 6, 2012.

It certainly seem that folks in Alabama Politics – that’d be the GOP/Republicans – are largely backwards, hypocritical, narrow minded fear mongers who appeal to their equally “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command” constituency.

Because while on one hand, they decry “regulation” and “excessive” regulation which they claim constrains business, and free enterprise – and therefore jobs – in the state, they simultaneously enact the very legislation they decry.

It’s called HYPOCRISY. And to be certain, it’s simply defined as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.”

This is a HUGE case in point, that an out-of-state business was prepared to construct and expand business operations in Alabama – from the ground, up. Had leased land, obtained easements, and every other necessary preliminary item to conduct business operations… including hiring professional services in Alabama to prepare for business operations.

BUT!

Wouldn’t you know it? The GOP-dominated Alabama State Legislature (House & Senate) enacted legislation, which passed without Governor Bentley’s signature, which PROHIBITED the businesses from even getting the first bulldozer out to clear land. Seriously.

Think I’m joking, exaggerating, or kidding?

Read on.

Oh… and be sure to thank them in November.

—-

Alabama regs too strict for turbines, says lawyer for wind energy developer

By William Thornton, wthornton@al.com
Twitter: WThorn7
on August 20, 2014 at 11:16 AM, updated August 20, 2014 at 12:03 PM

GADSDEN, Alabama — The lawyer for a Texas-based company abandoning plans for two windmill farms in northeast Alabama said today that recently approved state regulations on wind energy led to the decision.

Charlie Stewart, attorney for Pioneer Green Energy, said the company no longer has plans to develop two wind energy farms in Cherokee and Etowah counties. Groups opposing the development announced yesterday they had received word Pioneer Green was relinquishing land leases for the projects.

Pioneer Green Energy announced last year it planned to develop wind energy projects in the two counties, and said land leases had already been secured. Five Cherokee County residents filed suit in an attempt to stop the development, and a group of Etowah County residents also filed suit.

Pioneer Green planned a $40 million project with seven to eight turbines in Cherokee County. The larger Etowah County project would have had 30 to 45 turbines costing $160 million.

Stewart said the company was ready to begin construction when the lawsuits were filed, and the legislation passed earlier this year, which established setback and noise standards.

That bill required the state’s Public Safety Commission to oversee wind farms, mandated that noise from the turbines not exceed an average of 50 decibels, and laid out a setback of five times the height of the tower from the base to the nearest property line. Last year, a company official said the legislation was too restrictive by making the property line the threshold and not the nearest residence or structure.

Stewart said much of the opposition was fueled by “hysteria.”

“The bill was basically 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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How Successful Is It To Drug Test Public Assistance Welfare Recipients?

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

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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Reasons to Oppose Common Core from the Left & Right

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 11, 2014

Once, I supported Common Core.

Now, I do not.

Read on to understand why.

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Everything you need to know about Common Core — Ravitch

January 18, 2014

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/01/18/everything-you-need-to-know-about-common-core-ravitch/

Diane Ravitch, the education historian who has become the leader of the movement against corporate-influenced school reform, gave this speech to the Modern Language Association on Jan. 11 about the past, present and future of the Common Core State Standards.

Here’s her speech:

As an organization of teachers and scholars devoted to the study of language and literature, MLA should be deeply involved in the debate about the Common Core standards.

The Common Core standards were developed in 2009 and released in 2010. Within a matter of months, they had been endorsed by 45 states and the District of Columbia. At present, publishers are aligning their materials with the Common Core, technology companies are creating software and curriculum aligned with the Common Core, and two federally-funded consortia have created online tests of the Common Core.

What are the Common Core standards? Who produced them? Why are they controversial? How did their adoption happen so quickly?

As scholars of the humanities, you are well aware that every historical event is subject to interpretation. There are different ways to answer the questions I just posed. Originally, this session was designed to be a discussion between me and David Coleman, who is generally acknowledged as the architect of the Common Core standards. Some months ago, we both agreed on the date and format. But Mr. Coleman, now president of the College Board, discovered that he had a conflicting meeting and could not be here.

So, unfortunately, you will hear only my narrative, not his, which would be quite different. I have no doubt that you will have no difficulty getting access to his version of the narrative, which is the same as Secretary Arne Duncan’s.

He would tell you that the standards were created by the states, that they were widely and quickly embraced because so many educators wanted common standards for teaching language, literature, and mathematics. But he would not be able to explain why so many educators and parents are now opposed to the standards and are reacting angrily to the testing that accompanies them.

I will try to do that.

I will begin by setting the context for the development of the standards.

They arrive at a time when American public education and its teachers are under attack. Never have public schools been as subject to upheaval, assault, and chaos as they are today. Unlike modern corporations, which extol creative disruption, schools need stability, not constant turnover and change. Yet for the past dozen years, ill-advised federal and state policies have rained down on students, teachers, principals, and schools.

George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Barack Obama’s Race to the Top have combined to impose a punitive regime of standardized testing on the schools. NCLB was passed by Congress in 2001 and signed into law in 2002. NCLB law required schools to test every child in grades 3-8 every year; by 2014, said the law, every child must be “proficient” or schools would face escalating sanctions. The ultimate sanction for failure to raise test scores was firing the staff and closing the school.

Because the stakes were so high, NCLB encouraged teachers to teach to the test. In many schools, the curriculum was narrowed; the only subjects that mattered were reading and mathematics. What was not tested—the arts, history, civics, literature, geography, science, physical education—didn’t count. Some states, like New York, gamed the system by dropping the passing mark each year, giving the impression that its students were making phenomenal progress when they were not. Some districts, like Atlanta, El Paso, and the District of Columbia, were caught up in cheating scandals. In response to this relentless pressure, test scores rose, but not as much as they had before the adoption of NCLB.

Then along came the Obama administration, with its signature program called Race to the Top. In response to the economic crisis of 2008, Congress gave the U.S. Department of Education $5 billion to promote “reform.” Secretary Duncan launched a competition for states called “Race to the Top.” If states wanted any part of that money, they had to agree to certain conditions. They had to agree to evaluate teachers to a significant degree by the rise or fall of their students’ test scores; they had to agree to increase the number of privately managed charter schools; they had to agree to adopt “college and career ready standards,” which were understood to be the not-yet-finished Common Core standards; they had to agree to “turnaround” low-performing schools by such tactics as firing the principal and part or all of the school staff; and they had to agree to collect unprecedented amounts of personally identifiable information about every student and store it in a data warehouse. It became an article of faith in Washington and in state capitols, with the help of propagandistic films like “Waiting for Superman,” that if students had low scores, it must be the fault of bad teachers. Poverty, we heard again and again from people like Bill Gates, Joel Klein, and Michelle Rhee, was just an excuse for bad teachers, who should be fired without delay or due process.

These two federal programs, which both rely heavily on standardized testing, has produced a massive demoralization of educators; an unprecedented exodus of experienced educators, who were replaced in many districts by young, inexperienced, low-wage teachers; the closure of many public schools, especially in poor and minority districts; the opening of thousands of privately managed charters; an increase in low-quality for-profit charter schools and low-quality online charter schools; a widespread attack on teachers’ due process rights and collective bargaining rights; the near-collapse of public education in urban districts like Detroit and Philadelphia, as public schools are replaced by privately managed charter schools; a burgeoning educational-industrial complex of testing corporations, charter chains, and technology companies that view public education as an emerging market. Hedge funds, entrepreneurs, and real estate investment corporations invest enthusiastically in this emerging market, encouraged by federal tax credits, lavish fees, and the prospect of huge profits from taxpayer dollars. Celebrities, tennis stars, basketball stars, and football stars are opening their own name-brand schools with public dollars, even though they know nothing about education.

No other nation in the world has inflicted so many changes or imposed so many mandates on its teachers and public schools as we have in the past dozen years. No other nation tests every student every year as we do. Our students are the most over-tested in the world. No other nation—at least no high-performing nation—judges the quality of teachers by the test scores of their students. Most researchers agree that this methodology is fundamentally flawed, that it is inaccurate, unreliable, and unstable, that the highest ratings will go to teachers with the most affluent students and the lowest ratings will go to teachers of English learners, teachers of students with disabilities, and teachers in high-poverty schools. Nonetheless, the U.S. Department of Education wants every state and every district to do it. Because of these federal programs, our schools have become obsessed with standardized testing, and have turned over to the testing corporations the responsibility for rating, ranking, and labeling our students, our teachers, and our schools.

The Pearson Corporation has become

Read the rest of this entry »

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