Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘prison’

A Better Argument For Alabama #ALpolitics To Legalize, Regulate & Tax Marijuana

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 27, 2016

Recently, on February 23, 2016, AL.com published an OpEd entitled “Would legalizing cannabis solve Alabama’s budget problems?” written by Reggie C. Pulliam, whom was identified as “a resident of Gulf Shores who has worked on public policy and criminal justice reform in Washington, D.C.”

I found his Op-Ed unconvincing because it’s poorly written.

The Colorado Department of Revenue reported that for December 2015 (State of Colorado Marijuana Taxes, Licenses, and Fees Transfers and Distribution December 2015 Sales Reported in January 2016), Total All Marijuana Taxes, Licenses, and Fees was $13,247,434.

The year-to-date increase was $4,689,293.

Based upon the December figure, on an annualized basis, that’s $158,969,208… which is not exactly chump change.
(See “Alabama Senate Approves Shifting $100 Million Away From Schools” published September 15, 2015.)

Linked here is the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Colorado Marijuana Tax Data.

Figuring into the state cost : benefit analysis & calculations also is a decrease in costs associated with Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical, Scientific, and Economically Valid Reasons To Legalize #Marijuana In Sweet Home Alabama #ALpolitics

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

It’s no joke, Colorado is ROLLING (pun intended) in revenue from the taxes and licensing fees associated with legal cannabis sales.

From the Colorado Department of Revenue:
Colorado Marijuana Tax Data
Total marijuana tax revenue includes the 2.9% retail and medical marijuana sales tax, 10% retail marijuana special sales tax, 15% marijuana excise tax, and retail/medical marijuana application and license fees.

For the month of September 2015 (reported October 2015), Colorado had TOTAL (Total All Marijuana Taxes, Licenses) $11,656,736.

On an annualized basis, that’s at least $139,880,832.

The rhetorical question is:
What could Sweet Home do with even half the money like that?

Consider also this: That the legalization of cannabis also largely eliminates Read the rest of this entry »

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Candidates Differ on Death Penalty: @BernieSanders & @HillaryClinton

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 30, 2015

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has long opposed Capital Punishment in the United States.

Speaking from the floor of the United States Senate Thursday, 29 October 2015, he said in part, “When we talk about criminal justice reform, I believe it is time for the United States of America to join almost every other Western, industrialized country on Earth in saying no to the death penalty.”

His Democratic contender Hillary Rodham Clinton has recently announced that she supports the Death Penalty.

Speaking in Manchester, New Hampshire Wednesday, 28 October 2015, she said in part, “I do not favor abolishing it, however, because I do think there are certain egregious cases that still deserve the consideration of the death penalty, but I’d like to see those be very limited and rare, as opposed to what we’ve seen in most states.”

For years, Read the rest of this entry »

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

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 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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Oklahoma Botches Execution Attempt, Convict Dies of Heart Attack

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 29, 2014

There is probably little sympathy for a man who is a convicted murderer & rapist.

And without commentary on the merits of the Death Penalty, however, I hasten to add this: If the state is going to kill a man as punishment for his crime, they should ensure the means of death is swift and efficient. For if it is not, it opens the state to liability and potential prosecution for torture.

Ours is a civil society, and the civility of it’s citizens in matters of criminal penalty ensures that society does not fundamentally break down into chaos and disorder.

***

Oklahoma Postpones Execution After First Is Botched

Oklahoma Department of Corrections Death Penalty

Oklahoma Department of Corrections Death Penalty

 McALESTER, Okla. — What was supposed to be the first of two executions here Tuesday night was halted when the prisoner, Clayton D. Lockett, began to twitch and gasp after he had already been declared unconscious and called out “man” and “something’s wrong,” according to witnesses.

The administering doctor intervened and discovered that “the line had blown,” said the director of corrections, Robert Patton, meaning that drugs were no longer flowing into his vein.

At 7:06 p.m., Mr. Patton said, Mr. Lockett died of a heart attack.

Mr. Patton said he had requested a stay of 14 days in the second execution scheduled for Tuesday night, of Charles F. Warner.

It was a chaotic and disastrous step in Oklahoma’s long effort to execute the two men, overcoming their objections that the state would not disclose the source of the drugs being used in a newly tried combination.

It did not appear that any of the drugs themselves failed, but rather the method of administration, but it resulted in what witnesses called an agonizing scene.

“This was botched, and it was difficult to watch,” said David Autry, one of Mr. Lockett’s lawyers.

A doctor started to administer the first drug, a sedative intended to knock the man out, at 6:23. Ten minutes later, the doctor said that Mr. Lockett was unconscious, and started to administer the next two drugs, a paralytic and one intended to make the heart stop.

At that point, witnesses said, things began to go awry. Mr. Lockett’s body Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama High School Basketball Coach Denies Wrongdoing: 17-year-old Student Sex all started with “sexting”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Brian Scott Keeton, age 38, taught Math & was a boys basketball coach at Vina High School, in Franklin County, Alabama. He was arrested for having sex with a 17-year-old female student. He denies the charges.

Brian Scott Keeton, age 38, taught Math & was a Boys Basketball coach at Vina High School, in Franklin County, Alabama. He was arrested for having sex with a 17-year-old female student. He denies the charges.

Enough already!

But do notice the punishment – 2 to 20 years in prison upon conviction of the Class B felony.

The Alabama Lunchroom Lady “Cougar” got six months in jail, and 5 years probation.

Reckon what this Basketballing Math Teacher will get?

Second Vina teacher arrested for alleged affair with student

Published 4:38pm Wednesday, November 13, 2013

VINA – The Vina High School boys basketball coach became the second faculty member from the school in less than a week to be arrested for an alleged sexual relationship with a student, officials said.

Brian Scott Keeton, 38, 73 Lost Creek Lane, Carbon Hill, was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with one count of being a school employee engaging in a sexual act with a student under the age of 19, which is a Class B felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison if convicted.

This arrest comes only five days after Vina physical education teacher Sonny Dewaine Tibbs, 35, of Hamilton, was arrested on Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Lunchroom Lady Cops Plea: 46 year-old “cougar” pleads guilty to sex with high school student

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 13, 2013

At what point must we acknowledge that in many sex crimes cases, women are punished differently than men?

Six months in jail, to be followed by five years probation?

If that’s not a joke, I don’t know what is.

Is such different treatment not a violation of the United States Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause?

See Michelle Coker Taylor’s Arrest & Booking record with the Fayette County, Alabama Sheriff’s  here:
https://creator.zoho.com/sheriff3201/inmates-applicantion/record-print/Inmates_View/947281000000264007/

Michelle Coker Taylor, 46, pleaded guilty to having sex with a student while she worked in the cafeteria of Fayette County High School and began her six month stay in jail for that crime last week. (Fayette County Sheriff's Office)

Michelle Coker Taylor, 46, pleaded guilty to having sex with a student while she worked in the cafeteria of Fayette County High School and began her six month stay in jail for that crime last week. (Fayette County Sheriff’s Office)

Ex-Fayette school cafeteria worker pleads guilty to having sex with student

Michelle Coker Taylor to serve six months of 20-year term, then 5 years on probation

Former Fayette County school system employee Michelle Taylor has pleaded guilty to criminal charges for having sex with a student.

Published: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 4, 2013 at 11:50 p.m.

A former Fayette County school system employee has pleaded guilty to criminal charges of having sex with a student, according to a news release from Chris McCool, district attorney for the 24th Judicial Circuit District.

Michelle Coker Taylor, 46, was sentenced to Read the rest of this entry »

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Amy Bishop Anderson gets a new name: 285694

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 28, 2012

Amy Bishop’s Tutwiler Prison mugshot released

Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012, 8:25 AM
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012, 9:53 AM
By The Huntsville Times

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — State prison officials have released the booking mugshot of Amy Bishop taken when she was processed into the Tutwiler Prison for Women on Tuesday.

Bishop, 47, was convicted Monday of killing three people at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and trying to kill three others in February 2010.

Bishop received Read the rest of this entry »

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More Stupid Questions: The “More Cow Bell” Curve, and other Standard Equal (and Unequal) Distribution post

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 28, 2012

Originally entitled as: More Stupid Questions: The “More Cow Bell” Curve, and other Standard Equal (and Unequal) Distribution post

I have returned to the title which I originally started… though I vascillated between this one, as well:

Yes. More Stupid Questions… and, “I gotta’ have more Cow Bell.”

Okay, the title says it all.

That is, unless you don’t understand statistics, the bell curve and equal distribution.

But, just in the case you don’t, here’s some low-down.

According to estimates by the United States Census Bureau, our nation’s population has recently exceeded 314,469,757. And with 4.47% of the world’s population, we are the 3d most populous nation in the world. China & India, with 1,344,130,000 (19.13%) & 1,241,491,960 (17.19%), are 1st & 2d, respectively. American population is about 25% the population of India. Expressed another way, India has 75% more people than the United States.

I mentioned those figures just to give an idea of how small the U.S. really is by comparison.

Nevertheless, I digress. And so quickly! (My goodness!) Let’s return to statistics, the bell curve and equal distribution.

As you may have read in a previous post entitled “Ask a silly question, get a silly answer. Yes, there’s such thing as a STUPID question.”, the bell curve is used to display information.”

In that post I had explained, writing that, Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s still true: Alabamians are “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One must understand the audience to whom Mr. Archibald writes his Birmingham News OpEds.

They’re the same ones who found hometown favorite criminal Richard Scrushy – monikered as “America’s First Oblivious CEO” – “Not Guilty” of violating the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, who to date, remains the solitary individual ever charged with its violation. Alice Martin, then Federal Prosecutor for the Northern District of Alabama, who failed to obtain a guilty verdict in the case, could have moved the trial to New York City – home of Wall Street – or “in Washington, D.C., or in New York City where pecuniary intricacies are understood,” but rather chose Birmingham, Alabama as the trial venue. John C. Coffee, professor of securities law at Columbia Law School, accurately said of the case, that “much of the information was over their heads” and jurors were “sick of trying to understand evidence that was beyond them.”

This remark – right, or wrong (but mostly right) – remains true for Alabama:
Citizens in the state are “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.

In context of course, historically, one should recognize Read the rest of this entry »

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Huntsville Judge Donna Pate Sentences Daniel Ray Proctor to TWO Life Sentences on Theft

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

Alabama‘s prison system will again be pushed to the taxpayers’ breaking point by stupidity such as this sentence. It is extreme – even with the increased severity of punishment required for habitual offenders.

This is the so-called “Three Strikes and you’re out” law in action.

Realistically, “Three Strikes and you’re out” only applies in baseball games. But someone thought it sounded cool, and morphed it into a law in California. Subsequently, California’s prison population has exploded because that state adopted that law. They’ve now seriously modified it. It may be time to rethink sentencing guidelines in Alabama. But the likelihood of that happening is practically negligible.

Thanks to our legislature, this man will now burden every honest Alabama taxpayer.

That’s not to say he and others like him should not be punished, but rather acknowledges the failure of a pop-culture-driven bumper sticker slogan to effectively remedy, ameliorate or mitigate criminality. In essence, there is little or nothing done to correct, and much done to punish. Oddly, every state has a “Department of Corrections,” rather than a ‘Department of Punishments.’ There’s a reason for that, and it’s because there is a two-fold purpose (to punish and correct), with the higher one being correction.

Yet standing in stark contrast is the as-yet-untried, and officially indefinitely delayed case of Amy Bishop, the Harvard PhD-educated biology professor who went on a shooting rampage and killed three, and wounded three other colleagues at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Even though she has a track record of mental instability, Read the rest of this entry »

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States find private prisons too costly, move toward employment model

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 5, 2012

Many states and individuals complain about budget items, but few ever discuss the booming private prison industry in this nation – a Wall Street-traded for-profit prison system supported by tax dollars… a corporate welfare program if ever there was one.

A key paragraph is this one: “Although states spend significant amounts of money on criminal justice—it’s second only to Medicaid in state budgets—the vast majority of those costs go toward prisons, with limited emphasis on preparing prisoners for life on the outside. The costs of incarceration include an annual $82 billion spent on corrections nationwide, including millions for oversight of parole systems overseeing the 75% of prisoners released short of their full sentences.”

From Prison to a Paycheck

Instead of training and counseling, Newark is trying work first—with promising results

By HOWARD HUSOCK

Former inmate Hector Morales at work; the Office of Reentry in Newark, N.J., intervened to help him. He says he was tired of being a bad role model for his kids.

Hector Morales might not seem, at first, to be an American success story. At age 50, he works the graveyard shift—7 p.m. to 5 a.m.—at the back of a garbage truck, part of a three-man crew that lifts and loads 80,000 pounds of waste each night in New York City. It’s his first job in years. The native of Paterson, N.J., a high-school dropout, still owes more than $9,000 in child-support payments to the state of New Jersey.

From prison to work

Former inmate Hector Morales at work; the Office of Reentry in Newark, N.J., intervened to help him. He says he was tired of being a bad role model for his kids. Katie Orlinsky for The Wall Street Journal

But compared with Mr. Morales’s situation a year ago, his story is a success.

Then, he was completing a five-year sentence at the Northern State Prison in Newark, N.J. The former heroin addict has spent, by his own estimate, 18 years behind bars, mostly on drug-related charges. Today, Newark-based Action Carting, one of the largest commercial disposal firms operating in New York, considers Mr. Morales to be a model employee and a good prospect for promotion if he completes his plan to get a commercial truck driver’s license. Currently, he’s on track to earn more than $60,000 a year, including overtime. Every week, part of his check goes to pay off his child-support debt.

Part of the change is due to Mr. Morales’s own attitude. “I got tired of being in jail, tired of officers controlling my life, tired of being the wrong kind of role model for my children,” he says.

His success says much about an unusual intervention by Newark. In April 2009, with the help of Read the rest of this entry »

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A True Tale of a Good Man Gone Bad… Gone Good

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Jail Guard’s Tale of His Journey to Inmate

June 3, 2012, 4:26 pm, By COREY KILGANNON
NY state prison guard 04cityroom-guard-blog480

Gary Heyward, once a Rikers Island guard, in Harlem selling copies of his book recounting his experiences. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Gary Heyward stood on 125th Street in Harlem, not far from the Apollo Theater, wearing a jumpsuit that was half blue and half orange.

Mr. Heyward, 44, had this odd-looking uniform specially made — part prison guard, part inmate — to illustrate that at Rikers Island, where he worked as a corrections officer from 1997 to 2006, he went from cop to criminal.

“One day you’re taking the count and the next day you’re in the count,” he said, referring to the jails’ regular head counts of inmates.

This abrupt transition is precisely the angle of his new book, a self-published paperback called “Corruption Officer: Perpetrator With a Badge.”

It is a raunchy tell-all and a critical portrayal of Rikers Island, where Read the rest of this entry »

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Cheap Labor: Alabama legislature to consider bill allowing prisoners to be hired

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 15, 2012

In Alabama, it’s “Deja Vu all over again,” or “Back to the Future” again, and again, all over again…

Some folks say they want to “take America back.”

The only problem I have with that, is that they never say where, or how far back they want to take America.

Do they want to take it back to the Jim Crow law era, before the time of Civil Rights?

Or, do they want to take it back to before suffrage (the right of women to vote)?

Or, God forbid, dare they take it back even further? Surely not to King George!

Where ARE our “leaders'” sense of ethics, righteousness and justice?

I remain convinced, they are Read the rest of this entry »

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Amy Bishop indicted for UAH murders

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 18, 2011

Doubtless, former UAH president David B. Williams will be called to testify, and or be sued as well.

Amy Bishop indicted in UAH shootings

Published: Tuesday, March 15, 2011, 5:01 PM
By Brian Lawson, The Huntsville Times

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — A Madison County grand jury has indicted Amy Bishop on capital murder and attempted murder charges in connection with the February 2010 campus shootings at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Brief History of… Me

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, January 2, 2011

On occasion, we all possess some tendency toward voyeurism – not necessarily of the unhealthy kind. That is, on occasion, our own innate sense of curiosity is aroused within us and motivates us to see, read or hear things that are not intended specifically for us. While at times harmless, it can be deleterious – though this is not one such occasion.

What you’re about to read is… my e-mail.

I had been motivated to write a letter of introduction to a friend of a friend, and… well, read on! Read the rest of this entry »

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Veteran’s Day 2009

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 9, 2009

I’m proud to have served my nation in the uniform armed services, having done so voluntarily. I think every young American should do similarly. And, I believe our nation should provide significant benefit to those whom so choose.

Some years ago, I envisioned what I called a “234 Plan,” which would:

  1. Double pay grade for two years up to pay grade E-3 for initial enlistees;
  2. Require a minimum of Four Years of service;
  3. Pay for four years of higher education, up to and including Ph.D., with the ability to transfer benefits to first-degree relatives;

and perhaps most importantly,

4. Provide such income as federally Tax-Free, forever.

At current pay rates, that would be slightly under $76,000 for a period of two years at pay grade E-3 – not a bad nest egg. And then, there’s the 30 days paid vacation, head-to-toe health care, incentive/bonus pay for skills, BAH (basic allowance for housing), and a host of other remunerations and fiduciary potential – all of which are added to Basic Pay, thereby increasing take-home pay. Potentially, managing money wisely, a young enlistee could emerge from a four year commitment with very nearly $125,000 in pocket, VA health benefits, GI Bill benefits, and more.

The money could be used wisely, or squandered. But the principle would forever be federally tax-free – and I think it should be at the state level, as well. It’s well known that young enlistees have high levels of “disposable” income. But WISE fiscal management could yield significant benefits to them individually, and by extension, to our nation.

Part three of the plan I envisioned – higher education – was implemented when President Obama signed the Post 9/1 G.I. Bill, providing the most comprehensive expansion and provision of educational benefits our troops have received since F.D.R.’s presidency.

I recollect a report entitled “Young Virginians: Ready, Willing, and Unable to Serve,” having read and saved it September 2, this year. It was authored and advised by an impressive cadre of Generals, Admirals, field-grade officers, and senior executive NCOs, from all branches of the service, and “supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and Pre-K Now, campaign of the Pew center on the States.”

Interestingly, NPR has only recently reported on it.

The problems the report addresses are from a thorough examination of Virginia, though it’s findings can be extrapolated to the United States at large.

According to the report, the three greatest problems disqualifying American youth from service to our nation include:

1.) Criminality – felony and serious misdemeanor offense;

2.) Education – failure to graduate high school, and low achievement in reading & math, 30% unable to pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test; and

3.) Health – specifically obesity, although asthma, eyesight, hearing, mental health, ADHD and additional health problems factor in, thereby disqualifying over half of all young adults.

Additional disqualifiers include single custodial parenthood, and drug or alcohol abuse.

These are all social ills.

Mission: Readiness – Military Leaders for Kids is a bipartisan, nonprofit, national security organization of more than 80 retired generals and admirals,” whom “accept no funds from federal, state, or local governments,”  and “call on all policymakers to ensure America’s security and prosperity by supporting interventions proven to help America’s youth succeed academically, stay physically fit, and abide by the law. Pre-K Now collaborates with organizations and policy makers to lead a movement toward high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds.”

In recent political history, social programs have been an “easy target” for many of the Republican stripe whom have seriously reduced or eliminated such programs’ funding, effectively or outright killing the very programs that could have done much to have prevented these anathemas.

Ironically, prison construction and maintenance is a capital expenditure. And of all the world’s nations, ours has more incarcerations per capita than any other, having exploded (doubling 2.5 times) since 1980 (though incarcerations remained relatively stable since 1920, according to the U.S. Department of Justice).

How’s that THAT for the so-called “Reagan Revolution?” It sounds more like a “Contract on America” rather than “with America,” to me.

Wonder why no more.

Governance is much more than infrastructure expenditures, and military readiness includes a strong social component.

Our Constitution calls it providing “for the common defense,” by promoting “the general welfare,” to “secure the blessings of liberty.”

Healthcare is an integral and unequivocal part of that equation… as we can now painfully, and plainly see.

I suppose it would be apropos and germane – though perhaps trite – to conclude with a line from advertising: “You can pay me now… or, pay me later.”

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