Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘state’

Federal Investigators Pursuing #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley #Corruption

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 15, 2017

—Exclusive Breaking News—

Feds Pull Protective Cover Off Bentley, Mason

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on February 15, 2017
Used with permission

Our Facebook news team has just learned that the U.S. Department of Justice has given federal prosecutors full authority to resume their investigation of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and his married girlfriend, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, and to prosecute them if the evidence unearthed in their investigation warrants it. The Department scaled back its earlier criminal investigation of Bentley and Mason after former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange lulled the Department into believing that he would prosecute the First Couple of Alabama on state law ethics violations.

In December of last year, Strange decided to give Bentley and Mason a prosecutorial “pass” on state ethics law violations in exchange for an appointment to the U.S. senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. This move, which may well constitute a form of bribery under federal law, has embarrassed and angered career federal prosecutors.

The move has also demoralized the Public Corruption Unit led by Deputy Alabama Attorney General Alice Martin and Unit Chief Matt Hart. Martin and Hart are seasoned professional prosecutors with a proven track-record of success in high-profile public corruption cases.

Public outcry over the unsavory deal between Bentley and Strange has reached a fever pitch in the state. Alabamians witnessed a sitting governor buy his way out of a messy state criminal investigation by appointing a greedy and selfish former attorney general to the senate seat in Washington. What is more, Bentley put off the mandatory 90-day special election for Strange’s senate seat until the November 2018 general election.

Bentley’s appointment of Steve Marshall as Alabama Attorney General pushed the public and the Justice Department over the edge. Marshall, who was a longtime district attorney in a small Alabama County, has no Read the rest of this entry »

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Citizens United Ruling Violates Equal Protection Clause

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 6, 2017

Nick Hanauer, a multi-billionaire about whom few have likely heard, authored a highly publicized article not too long ago warning about wealth inequity. Increasingly, the wealthy are realizing that a strategy of cutting taxes upon the wealthy and their corporations is not a recipe for American success, precisely for the reason that it adversely affects economic infrastructure, and jobs, among other damages.

However, one needn’t be wealthy to realize and understand that money, and the unreasonable desire for it known as avarice (an extreme form of greed), and the unwieldy power that accompanies it, are corrupting influences in any nation, and particularly in our United States because of SCOTUS ruling in the 2010 Citizens United v Federal Election Commission decision which Read the rest of this entry »

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Answering @chrkirk: Electoral College’s Voting Problems Violates Equal Protection Clause

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 19, 2016

New York Times Op-Chart: How Much Is Your Vote Worth? This map shows each state re-sized in proportion to the relative influence of the individual voters who live there. The numbers indicate the total delegates to the Electoral College from each state, and how many eligible voters a single delegate from each state represents. Source: The United States Election Project at George Mason University.

How Much Is Your Vote Worth?
From: New York Times Op-Chart November 2, 2008
This map shows each state re-sized in proportion to the relative influence of the individual voters who live there. The numbers indicate the total delegates to the Electoral College from each state, and how many eligible voters a single delegate from each state represents.
Source: The United States Election Project at George Mason University.

Having read the article How Powerful Is Your Vote? by Chris Kirk several times, I still disagree with it. The article’s premise is that by using the Electoral College (EC) system, the votes cast in less populated states are somehow “more powerful” than those in more populated states. To posit such an assertion is to demonstrate a wholesale lack of understanding of the system. That is not to say the EC system is perfect, nor that changes to it are not needed; rather, it only acknowledges the author’s fundamentally deep misunderstanding of the manner in which the system is established, and a virtually wholesale ignorance of the Constitution.

Apparently, as evidenced by the graphic seen herein, others are similarly misguided. However, one would expect more from George Mason University. Much more, in fact. However, to understand – as I mention later – the bias is strictly and exclusively from including 2 Senators in the number of Electors. Dr. Mark Newman, PhD, who is the Anatol Rapoport Distinguished University Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan correctly writes that “The electors are apportioned among the states roughly according to population, as measured by the census, but with a small but deliberate bias in favor of less populous states.

According to the Constitution in Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 & 3, Electoral Votes in each state are equal to Read the rest of this entry »

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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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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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#BREAKING! Seth Hammett, #ALpolitics @GovernorBentley’s Chief of Staff Resigns

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 2, 2015

Seth Hammett was three-time Speaker of House & represented Alabama's 92 District. He is a Democrat, while Bentley is a Republican.

Seth Hammett was three-time Speaker of House & represented Alabama’s 92 District until 2010, when he retired from the Legislature. He is a Democrat, while Bentley is a Republican.

Bentley’s Chief of Staff Resigns

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on October 2, 2015
Used with permission

Seth Hammett, Governor Robert Bentley’s chief of staff, has resigned his post. The governor announced Hammett’s departure today with the praise and fanfare needed to “mascara” over this surprising defection.

Hammett exited the scene at the governor’s office because he was not comfortable with the growing scandal that has ensnared the governor and senior political advisor, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

Hammett was one the staffers Bentley dispatched to get troopers on the security detail to sign confidentiality statements as 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 Much Could Alabama Save By Not Paying Legislators?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, April 30, 2015

UPDATE: Sunday, 14 June 2015 – Found following main body

Today (Thursday, 30 April 2015) the Alabama State Senate knocked off at 11:30, and reconvened 1PM. It’s also the final day of the Legislative Session for the week – they only work three days each week – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

An hour and a half – that’s a nice, long lunch break for a wealthy man, a powerful man – not a working man. It’s pretty cushy for someone who works three days a week, only 30 days a year. Reckon how your boss would respond if you asked for a three-day work week and a 30-day work year?

How long do you get for lunch?

Most folks get 30 minutes.

The Alabama Senate gets THREE times longer than most working folks.

But then, excesses in Alabama state politics is nothing new.

Recall that – by law – the Alabama Legislature is limited to work <30 days/year (in a 105 day period) & for that privilege, citizens & taxpayers fork over $50K+/yr in pay & compensation to them – 35 in the Senate, and 105 in the House.
TOTAL=140 men (mostly) & women.

In stark contrast, New Mexico’s State Legislators are a Volunteer Legislature (they’re elected, yes, but unpaid), and during Session, by State Law receive a Daily Federal Per Diem, and Two-Way Mileage once during a session EXCLUSIVELY.

Legislative pay in Alabama has been a hot-button issue, particularly in recent years – and, it’s unnecessarily complicated. By State Constitutional Law, their “official” pay is Read the rest of this entry »

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How Inefficient Is The Alabama Legislature?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What’s wrong with Alabama?

How much time do you have?

That’d be an entirely accurate response, of course.

How much bad does it take before the sweet turns sour?

How much bad does it take before the sweet turns sour?

To be certain, criticizing the machinations and politics of Alabama is somewhat like criticizing one’s family – only family members can do it with complete immunity. Outsiders stand the risk of getting punched out.

Here’s one well-known complaint: The Legislature.

Sure, even Washington politicians get lambasted, as, I suppose, does every other politician in our union, at every level – federal, state, county, and local.

But here’s the rub: In Alabama, the legislature takes great pride in calling themselves “part-time” legislators, and boast of having full-time jobs “back home” in the community of their residence. Sure, that sounds nice, but what does it really look like?

By law, in Alabama, the Legislature can meet for NO MORE than 30 days Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama As A Third World Nation: How True Is It?

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

Editor’s Note, Saturday, 15 October 2016: Since Sunday, October 26, 2014, the date of this original publication, Yellowhammer News blog has thought to create their own entry (herein linked) obliquely contradicting the data supplied and referenced in this entry, which has now been published for over two years. Though they do not refute the data cited herein, instead, they refer to an Alabama-based data analysis company, and present data exclusively from the United Nations’ Human Development Index to support their assertion. In stark contrast, we use source citation and and references to the variety of sources used to compare Alabama to Third World Nations.

Also entitled as: How does Alabama compare with Third World Countries?

In so many comparative rankings for quality of life within our 50 United States, Alabama and Mississippi seem in a dead heat for last place. In a veritable “Race To The Bottom,” Alabama and Mississippi scrap over being in last place. In fact, it’s been a long-standing joke – with the sad, bitter sting of truth – that Alabama’s State Motto is not Audemus jura nostra defendere,” which has been translated as: “We Dare Maintain Our Rights” or “We Dare Defend Our Rights,” but rather “Thank God For Mississippi.”

And just so we’re singing on the same sheet of music, and on the same verse, a “Third World Nation” is one which were at one time colonies “formally lead by imperialism. The end of imperialism forced these colonies to survive on their own. With lack of support, these colonies started to develop characteristics such as poverty, high birthrates and economic dependence on other countries. The term was then affiliated to the economic situation of these former colonies and not their social alliances to either capitalism or communism.” In a more modern sense however, a “Third World Nation,” is more readily thought of as being one of several “underdeveloped nations of the world, especially those with widespread poverty.” And it is in that sense to which I refer to Alabama as “a Third World Nation.”

In essence, what that term refers to is Quality Of Life. And, there are many aspects of life that can be measured, such as rates and incidences of crime, employment/unemployment, education, health/sickness/disease, responsive & efficient government, availability of clean water, sewerage, utilities such as electricity, natural gas, supporting infrastructure to deliver those utilities, which includes transportation, roads, highways, airports, railways, and access to the same. There is much more to life than the mere availability of food, clothing and shelter. For example, who would want to eat raw meat, wear bearskins, and live in a cave? In context, those three items are certainly fulfilled. And if that’s all there is, then all is well… right?

Demonstrating that, again, there is MUCH MORE to life than the mere availability of food, clothing and shelter.

Consider, for example, Public Health.

Rates of Obesity, and Obesity-related Diseases (also called chronic, or long-term problems) such as Diabetes, Hypertension (High Blood Pressure), Stroke, and certain types of Cancer, in Mississippi and Alabama are among the highest in our United States. While Obesity is quickly becoming an epidemic of significant national proportions, it is particularly problematic in Read the rest of this entry »

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Which are the BEST & WORST States for Nursing Practice?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The nursing industry – like most segments of the economy – is in a state of significant transition under the weight of major overarching socioeconomic dynamics, from the aging U.S. population and the Affordable Care Act to the student loan crisis and concerns about the future of key entitlement programs. It’s therefore understandable if recent nursing school grads aren’t sure where to turn once they receive their diploma.

That concern is not unique among recent graduates, regardless of industry, but both the magnitude of the issue – the nursing industry is expected to grow far faster than the average occupation through 2022 – and the various day-to-day demands placed on nursing professionals – from overstaffing and mandatory overtime to unionization and allegations of systematic disrespect – are indeed profession-specific. With that in mind, WalletHub decided to take stock of the nursing industry in order to help nurses, particularly the newly minted of the bunch, lay down roots in areas that are conducive to both personal and professional success.

We compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of 15 key metrics that collectively speak to the job opportunities that exist for nurses in each market, how much competition there is for each position, differences in the workplace environment, and projections for the future. You can check out our findings as well as 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 Legislature OK’d tax money for private schools. Now Governor Bentley backpedals.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 20, 2013

The Texas State Legislature doesn’t think public tax dollar$ should go to private schools.

But Alabama’s State Legislature just OK’d & Governor Bentley signed the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013 (HB 84), aka the School Flexibility Bill, aka the Private School Voucher Act.

http://educationblog.dallasnews.com/2013/04/house-votes-to-bar-state-funding-for-private-school-vouchers.html/

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FOR SALE (cheap!): Alabama Voter Information. Cost? Only 1¢

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, September 13, 2012

Here’s another item from our “Stupid things governmental idiots in Alabama do” files.

When I registered to vote, I refused to give my phone number.

After all, it’s not required by law.

Isn’t it nice to know that you’re valued so little by the state’s officials?

Alabama sells voter information, for one penny

Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012, 6:45 AM / Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012, 7:48 AM

By Rena Havner Philips, Press-Register

MOBILE, Alabama — For one penny, a political candidate, or even a private company, can buy from the state the name, address, even cellular telephone number if a person submitted it, of any registered voter.

And for $30,000, it can get Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama state Rep Lynn Greer (R-Rogersville) demonstrates GOP idiocy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More GOP stupidity.

I’ll save the diatribe.

Just read.

Fire officials, fireworks industry divided over proposed overhaul of state regulations

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 6:10 PM
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 6:13 PM

By George Altman
Press-Register

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — A proposed overhaul of state fireworks regulations drew firefighters and fireworks industry representatives to a public hearing in a House committee this afternoon, but each group was divided internally over the legislation.

More than a dozen people spoke either for or against House Bill 579 during a House Commerce and Small Business Committee meeting.

Representatives of the state’s municipalities came out strongly against the proposal, saying it would sap their control over regulating what fireworks can be sold and used locally.

“If something’s not broke, why (do) you want to fix it?” Kenny Clemons, executive director of Read the rest of this entry »

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Florida Taxpayers Bilked for Welfare Drug Test Costs by Republican Gov. Rick Scott

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, August 27, 2011

Updated October 27, 2012 – Readers should be aware there is now two years of data. The original story was published in 2011, and the three new stories added are from 2012, and show similar data – that being, that the cost of the program to mandate drug testing for all public assistance recipients in Florida – is unproductive and wasteful, and costs more in tax dollars and time wasted than it purports to save.

Dedicated to everyone who believes that merely because some people need a helping hand that they’re automatically suspect.

It’s not a crime to be poor. And Christ said, “The poor you will always have with you.”

The line of thinking on drug testing goes like this: A.) The exceeding majority of public assistance recipients are lazy, good-for-nothing drug abusers, so B.) Taking them off the dole will save hundreds of thousands – if not tens of millions of dollars, so C.) Make them pay up front to defend themselves against the blanket accusation, and reimburse them if they don’t “come up dirty.”

Turns out, however, that only a measly 2% of recipients have been positive. In other words, the vast and exceeding majority of public assistance recipients – 98% – are law-abiding, non-drug abusing citizens.

What does that mean for the good, hard-working, tax-paying people of Florida? Why, they’re on the hook to cough up some reimbursement money to the folks that paid up front to be tested. And at $43,200/month, that’s over $518,000/year. Not exactly chump change – especially in tough economic times.

Why, even the old Charlie Daniels song acknowledges that Read the rest of this entry »

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Mississippi River Flooding, Diaster Response & Economic Theory

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 16, 2011

The opening lyric to Hank Williams, Jr.‘s – aka “Bocephus” – 1982 song “A County Boy Can Survive,” is “And the Mississippi River she’s a goin’ dry.”

At this juncture, that certainly doesn’t seem to be the case.

The Mississippi River has flooded to such an extent that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has decided to open floodgates and allow excess water from the river to flow toward the Gulf of Mexico through alternate routes.

Weeks of heavy rains and runoff from the melting of an extremely snowy winter have raised Mississippi River levels to historic proportions. Over 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares) of farmland in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas along the river have been flooded, evoking memories of floods in 1927 & ’37.

On Saturday, the Corps opened two of 125 floodgates at the Morganza Spillway, and opened two more today (Sunday, 15 May 2011). The spillway is 45 miles northwest of Louisiana’s capitol, Baton Rouge. The Corps hopes that by opening them, it will Read the rest of this entry »

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