Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘USA’

#BREAKING*!* America has elected a TRAITOR as @POTUS.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, February 14, 2017

When I was a young boy, my father gave me his Hallicrafters brand shortwave radio. When the tubes warmed up in the metal chassis, I could tune in numerous worldwide broadcasts in myriad languages. I also found the music from other nations equally enthralling.

Stations from the Netherlands, Swaziland, Australia, Rhodesia (now South Africa), England, Spain, China, Japan, India, Germany, Poland, and all points in between opened my mind and expanded my intellectual horizons. Many broadcasts were in the nation’s native language, though some broadcasts were in English, including some from Russia.

As I listened to Russian Pravda shortwave news broadcasts (which were in perfect, accent-free English), my father warned me that what they told were lies.

Even though what the Pravda news broadcasters said sounded “reasonable” and even “true,” Pravda, which was then the Communist government-owned propaganda agency, would tell “little” lies, or twist and pervert the truth and facts of the story, so that it made the entire story false. They never bothered to tell a “whopper” of a lie, just a few little changes here, and there, which when compiled, changed the entire story into a lie. Interestingly, the word Pravda in Russian means “truth.”

That is a distinctly and uniquely Russian technique, which hasn’t changed. We recently were subjected to it on an unparalleled level in our recent General Election with the abundant proliferation of Internet-based “Fake News” from impoverished former Communist-bloc nations which our nation’s Intelligence and Security Agencies later reported was used specifically to sway the vote for Donald Trump. Never in the history of our nation has external national influence ever been used to elect a Presidential Candidate.

The Russians and their evil government have long been our sworn enemies. And yet, we now – or, more accurately, the GOP – act as if everything is hunky dory.

It is not.

We saw Donald Trump repeat lies from the Russian propaganda agency Read the rest of this entry »

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You Voted For Trump Because…

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

Ben Mallicote – Any guy with a god... er, dog must be A-okay.

Ben Mallicote, FaceBook profile image –
Any guy with a god, er… a dog must be A-okay.

Ben Mallicote recently shared the following on his FaceBook page.

You may also be interested in reading his blog.

—/—

You voted for Trump because Clinton was going to be in Wall Street’s pocket. Trump wants to repeal Dodd-Frank and eliminate the Fiduciary Rule, letting Wall Street return to its pre-2008 ways.

You voted for Trump because of Clinton’s emails. The Trump administration is running its own private email server.

You voted for Trump because you thought the Clinton Foundation was “pay for play.” Trump has refused to wall off his businesses from his administration, and personally profits from payments from foreign governments.

You voted for Trump because of Clinton’s role in Benghazi. Trump ordered the Yemen raid without adequate intel, and tweeted about “FAKE NEWS” while Americans died as a result of his carelessness.

You voted for Trump because Read the rest of this entry »

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Build The Wall: A Simple How-To Primer

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, January 8, 2017

On June 16, 2015, when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for United States President, he said in part, “I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.”

Trump has estimated construction costs could range from $8-12 Billion, that it should be be made of precast concrete, rise 35 to 40 feet, or 50 feet, or higher, and that it doesn’t need to span the entire distance of the border, but only half because of natural barriers.

Accurate official Cost Estimates to build The Wall are sketchy, and a 2009 report by the Congressional Research Service  found that the challenges include “costs versus benefits, location, design, environmental impact, potential diplomatic ramifications, and the costs of acquiring the land needed for construction.”

Projected costs vary widely, and the report stated that:

The Corps of Engineers study predicted that the costs of constructing a double layer fence consisting of primary fencing and Sandia fencing would range from $1.2 million to $1.3 million a mile, excluding the costs of land acquisition. The Corps of Engineers also predicted that the 25-year life cycle cost of the fence would range from $16.4 million to $70 million per mile depending on the amount of damage sustained by the fencing.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that border fencing would cost $3 million a mile to construct and that maintenance would total roughly 15% of the overall project costs per year.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the border fencing constructed by the end of FY2007 (using mostly the Corps of Engineers and the National Guard to construct the fencing) cost about $2.8 million a mile. The fencing constructed in FY2008, using mostly private constructors, cost about $5.1 million a mile.

In “Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, Committee on Homeland Security, House of Representatives” entitled “SOUTHWEST BORDER SECURITY: Additional Actions Needed to Assess Resource Deployment and Progress; Statement of Rebecca Gambler, Director, Homeland Security and Justice” published Tuesday, March 1, 2016, the U.S. Government Accountability Office stated that:

“In addition, with regard to fencing and other tactical infrastructure, CBP reported that from fiscal year 2005 through May 2015, the total miles of vehicle and pedestrian fencing along the nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border increased from approximately 120 miles to 652 miles. With the completion of the new fencing and other tactical infrastructure, DHS is now responsible for maintaining this infrastructure including repairing breached sections of fencing.”

See also: Highlights of GAO-16-465T, a testimony before the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, Committee on Homeland Security, House of Representatives.

And make no mistake, Public Law 109–367 enacted by the 109th Congress, also known as the “Secure Fence Act of 2006” requires that “the Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide for least 2 layers of reinforced fencing, the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors…” at specified locations. But in typical Congressional fashion, the law was changed in 2008, and the fence requirements contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, still mandates the construction of a fence covering “not less than 700 miles” of the border, but eliminated the requirement that the fence be double-layered. According to “Remarks by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson: “Border Security in the 21st Century” – As Delivered,” “in Fiscal Year 2000 we had 10 miles of secondary fence along the southwest border; today we have 36.3 miles of secondary fence.”

Citing a U.S./Mexico Trade Deficit of $50 Billion in 2014, and a $54 Billion Trade Deficit for the first 11 months of 2015, Trump has proposed reinstating tariffs on Mexican goods in violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump said, “When they say Mexico can’t pay for the wall, I say of course they can. We have a trade deficit with Mexico that’s unbelievably big. … It’s billions and billions of dollars — far more than what we’re talking about for the wall.”

His claim that “I will have Mexico pay for that wall,” would ostensibly be done by reinstating tariffs, otherwise known as “taxes” on goods “Hecho en Mexico.”

However, there is another potential manner in which he could “have Mexico pay for that wall,” which would be to 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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Thoughts On Fidel Castro’s Death & American Foreign Policy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 26, 2016

Cuban President Raoul Castro – Fidel Castro’s younger brother – announced on Cuban television late last night (Friday, 25 November 2016) that Fidel had recently died, aged 90.

There are powerful lessons in Cuba for America.
Among them:

• When Corporations rule government, corruption inevitably ensues.

• American Foreign Policy has almost always favored Corporate Business Interests, especially in modern history.

• For well over 60 years, American Foreign Policy has largely been a disastrous failure.

The United States had dominated Cuba ever since the island nation became independent from Spain following the Spanish-American War in 1898, and Castro deeply distrusted America for that reason. Shortly after he assumed power in Cuba, at the invitation the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Fidel Castro made his only trip to the United States, and later met with then-Vice President Richard Nixon April 15, 1959 shortly before returning to Cuba. Eisenhower purposely avoided Castro, and specifically played golf that day to avoid any possible opportunity of meeting with him. Within four months of Castro’s trip to Washington D.C., the Eisenhower administration had drawn up a plan to overthrow him.

“In a manner certain to antagonize the Cuban people, we used the influence of our Government to advance the interests of and increase the profits of the private American companies, which dominated the island’s economy. At the beginning of 1959 U.S. companies owned about 40% of the Cuban sugar lands – almost all the cattle ranches – 90% of the mines and mineral concessions – 80% of the utilities – and practically all the oil industry – and supplied two-thirds of Cuba’s imports.”

Remarks of then-Senator John F. Kennedy at a Democratic Dinner, Cincinnati, Ohio, October 6, 1960, from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

Acknowledging that it was a “glaring failure of American foreign policy… that our own shortsighted policies helped make,” then-Senator John F. Kennedy, remarked at a Democratic Dinner, Cincinnati, Ohio, October 6, 1960 that Cuban regime change under Castro ended in the overthrow of the brutal, bloody, and despotic dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.”

Ironically, under Batista, the twice-president tyrannical military dictator of Cuba, the idyllic island nation was Read the rest of this entry »

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Can @realDonaldTrump this?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Day 5: The standard has been set… by a Black man.

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – the huge government bureaucracy established by Executive Order 13228 under President George W. Bush on October 8, 2001 – and it’s subsidiary bureaucracy the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), from 2009-2015, President Barack Obama has deported over 2.5 Million illegal immigrants… more than the George W. Bush administration.

Statistics for this year (2016) are not ready, because… the year hasn’t ended. Duh!
So, there are more to be added to the “we kicked you out because you broke the law” rolls.

Really? Obama deported more illegals than Bush?

Yup.

He’s deported so many illegals that he’s been nicknamed the “Deporter in Chief.”

In fact, he’s deported MORE than any other administration in history.

MORE than Reagan.

MORE than George H.W. Bush.

MORE than Clinton.

MORE than Carter.

In fact… MORE than ALL OF THEM COMBINED!

Oh yeah.

Ouch… that’s gotta’ smart!

The Office of Immigration Statistics (a subsidiary of the Department of Homeland Security), says Read the rest of this entry »

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How TRUE is “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”? You’d be surprised… or, maybe not.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, November 3, 2016

Remember how ANGRY some folks got when Michael Weisskopf (b.1946) of the Washington Post wrote on February 1, 1993 (link to original article with the WaPo’s editorial addendum) that the simple-minded evangelical groupies of Jerry Falwell (who himself died in 2007), Pat Robertson (b.1930), et al, that:
The gospel lobby evolved with the explosion of satellite and cable television, hitting its national political peak in the presidential election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

“Unlike other powerful interests, it does not lavish campaign funds on candidates for Congress nor does it entertain them. The strength of fundamentalist leaders lies in their flocks. Corporations pay public relations firms millions of dollars to contrive the kind of grass-roots response that Falwell or Pat Robertson can galvanize in a televised sermon. Their followers are largely poor, uneducated and easy to command.

“”The thing that makes them powerful is they’re mobilizable,” said Seymour Martin Lipset (d.2006), professor of public policy at George Mason University. “You can activate them to vote, and that’s particularly important in congressional primaries where the turnout is usually low.”

“Some studies put the number of evangelical Americans as high as 40 million, with the vast majority considered politically conservative.”

[ed. note: The excerpt, which has frequently been distilled to “largely poor, uneducated and easy to command,” is provided here in full proper context with leading and following sentences, not merely excerpted, in order to thoroughly show proper context.]

It’s true.

Folks don’t get mad because of falsehoods.

They get mad because of truth.

It’s true.

According to the United States Census Bureau (USCB), in 2015 (22 years AFTER that was written), 32.5% of the American public aged 25, or older, have a Bachelor’s Degree (Table 1.), which is CLEARLY a minority. Thus, we see automatically the “largely” part of “uneducated.”

The USCB has also performed research on income, which is similarly delineated and categorized by education. For the year 2011 (18 years AFTER the remarks were made), and those aged 25+ with at least a Bachelor’s Degree, the average income was Read the rest of this entry »

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Hillary & Trump: Two Deeply Flawed Candidates

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 18, 2016

By many accounts, the 2016 Presidential Election year is a complete campaign in the ass. Two deeply flawed candidates manipulated and exposed deeply flawed processes in both major political parties, not the least of which is for the GOP, how to vet their candidates more thoroughly, and have the ability to remove them from official party candidacy, and for the Democrats, how to maintain candidate neutrality, and prevent party officials from influencing candidates of the top officials’ choosing toward nomination. I predict many much-needed changes on the horizon for both parties… following the November General Election.

—/—

by Gary Cosby, Jr.
Used with permission

WARNING:  This is a long post. It is also my final political post before the election.

I am not an editorial writer but today I am going to play one on Facebook. First, let me say, everyone is welcome to comment; however, if your comment uses foul language or is abusive to anyone else, your comment will be deleted. One of the great problems we have today is our lack of ability to disagree and still have civil discourse; therefore, we will practice it or be censured. Keep in mind, this is my opinion and you do not have to agree with it. Thank your First Amendment rights for that.

By now, we all know this presidential election cycle has presented us with the two poorest candidates in memory, perhaps in all of American history. Certainly there have been poor candidates running for one party or the other throughout our history but not facing one another in the same election.

They have turned the presidential debates into bad Saturday Night Live skits. In fact, I doubt the writers of SNL would have been able to dream up anything this hideous. The American political scene will never be the same and Read the rest of this entry »

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Terrorism In The South

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 6, 2016

quantrills-raiders-1924-reunion

Reunion of Quantrill’s Raiders, circa 1924, Oak Grove, Missouri. The first official reunion occurred in 1898, more than 30 years after Quantrill’s death and the end of the Civil War. The circled figure is Jesse James. Image from the Jackson County Historical Society and the Truman Library.

quantril-reunion-1901

The 1901 reunion of Quantrill’s Raiders in Blue Springs, MO. Note the tag in the upper LEFT corner of the image. Sim Whitsett was at this reunion and is probably in this picture. Also in the picture is Frank James (center front, named). The first picture of the Quantrill veterans (Sim Whitsett was in attendance) was taken at the 1900 reunion. The picture is of a parade of the attendees on horseback. The 1901 is the first group photo in which the faces of individuals can be (barely) distinguished.

In response to a post expressing justifiable criticism of terrorism at home and abroad, it occurred to me that terrorism itself is nothing new… not even in the United States. So, I thought to share a brief overview of it, which appears as follows.

—/—

You forgot all about the War Between the States.

The Southern rebellion, of course, was often comprised of loosely associated rag-tag bands of incompetents and criminals, which thrived and often deserted formal association with the Confederate Army, and ransacked their way throughout the countryside.

mosby-uniform-night-of-stoughtons-capture

John Singleton Mosby, image from his memoir. His note reads: “This picture is a copy of the one taken in Richmond in January 1863: The uniform is the one I wore on March 8th 1863 on the night of General Staughton’s capture. John S Mosby”

The rebels were known for such terroristic activities as Read the rest of this entry »

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Known vs Unknown: A Voting Rationale

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 3, 2016

Someone opined that they hoped the 2016 GOP Presidential nominee would be elected.

I couldn’t disagree more.

Here’s why:
As we have suffered, never before has there been a more grotesque figure campaigning for the noble office of the President.
party_democrat

party_republicanThe candidate has never served in an office of Public Trust, nor ever served in any Elected Office. There is literally no shred of evidence of governing competency, much less experience, in any Public Office, and though our Constitution states that the minimum eligibility requirements for the office are to be “a citizen of the United States… the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States,” we have never elected an individual as President whom has never served in any capacity of Public Trust, nor Elected Office.

And so, in that regard, the candidate is a significantly Unknown Quantity. That can be, and often is, fraught with enormous peril.

We expect Read the rest of this entry »

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Why @HillaryClinton’s @StateDept Quid Pro Quo Pay-To-Play Is A Corrupt Practice

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 28, 2016

Accountability is what remains once responsibility has fled. The citizens of the United States must demand higher standards from their public servants, and officials, and severely punish violations of the same.

—/—

Bill and Hillary Clinton, Meet Jozette Berry, Alisha Cole and Lashonda Smaw

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on August 28, 2016
Used with permission.

Former Jefferson County, Alabama revenue clerks Lashonda Smaw, Alisha Cole, and Gazette Berry (pictured from left to right). They engaged in the same unethical conduct that is involved in the Hillary Clinton "cash for prioritized access" scandal. Each woman was investigated, criminally charged with felony ethics violations, and convicted in court. Their total take in gratuities was $120. The total gratuities involved in the Clinton scandal is $156 million, and nobody is under a criminal investigation.

Former Jefferson County, Alabama revenue clerks Lashonda Smaw, Alisha Cole, and Gazette Berry (pictured from left to right). They engaged in the same unethical conduct that is involved in the Hillary Clinton “cash for prioritized access” scandal. Each woman was investigated, criminally charged with felony ethics violations, and convicted in court. Their total take in gratuities was $120. The total gratuities involved in the Clinton scandal is $156 million, and nobody is under a criminal investigation.

In 2013, Jozette Berry, Alisha Cole and Lashonda Smaw were Jefferson County, Alabama revenue clerks who worked in the downtown County Courthouse and the Center Point Satellite Courthouse. These low-level public servants accepted cash gratuities for cutting people to the front of the 4-hour long, slow moving, car tag line. Cole was caught accepting $20 on two occasions in August 2013. Berry and Smaw were caught accepting $40 on a single occasion in April 2013.

After a local Fox TV news team publicly exposed this criminal conduct, there was immediate and widespread condemnation of the women’s actions. It made national news. This was declared an ethics violation on the part of each woman.

In December 2013, a Jefferson County grand jury indicted Berry, Cole, and Smaw for using their public office for personal gain, which is a felony in Alabama and an ethics violation as well. Each woman faced 2 to 20 years in prison, if convicted.

These women did not have friends in high places. They were not connected to the Obama White House, or the U.S. Attorney General, or the Director of the FBI. They did not hold any political office. They did not have New York spin-doctors or high-powered lawyers to argue that they had done nothing wrong. In short, they had no one who could “fix” their criminal case, or make it go away.

Jozette Berry and Lashonda Smaw, who are black, eventually pled guilty. Alisha Cole, who faced two felony counts of ethics violations, went to trial and was convicted. Berry received a sentence of 12 months of hard labor in the county jail. Imposition of Berry’s sentence was later suspended and she was placed on 2 years of unsupervised probation. After her conviction, Cole received a three-year suspended sentence and two years of unsupervised probation. Smaw’s sentence for her ethics violation is unknown at this time.

The guilty pleas for Berry and Smaw and guilty verdict for Cole ended a multi-year joint criminal investigation by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Public Corruption and White Collar Crimes Unit, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and the Birmingham Police Department. After the criminal cases ended in May 2015, the local DA proudly released the following statement: “We are grateful to have partners in law enforcement who are Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

Kroger Tools for Schools Drive sign

Kroger Tools for Schools Drive sign

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

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

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

My neighbor remarked, Read the rest of this entry »

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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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The U.S. Economy In 6 Simple Pictures

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

Picture #1:

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

Corporate Profits After Tax

Corporate Profits After Tax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the rest of this entry »

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Record Breaking Alligator Caught in Alabama

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 17, 2014

Here’s how a record-breaking, 1,000-pound-plus gator was pulled from Alabama River

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A monster alligator weighing 1011.5 pounds measuring 15 feet long is pictured in Thomaston, Alabama on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The gator was caught near Camden, Alabama, by Mandy Stokes along with her husband John Stokes, her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two teenage children, Savannah Jenkins, 16, and Parker Jenkins, 14, all of Thomaston, Alabama. (Photo by Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

Gator15 Gator14 Gator13 Gator12 Gator11 Gator16 Gator17 Gator18 Gator19 Gator20 Gator21 Gator27 Gator26 Gator25 Gator24 Gator23 Gator22 Gator28 Gator29 Gator30 Gator31 Gator32 Gator33CAMDEN, Alabama – Mandy Stokes put her pearls on Friday night.

No, she wasn’t going out to dinner with the family.

She was going alligator hunting.

Ever since Keith Fancher and his crew pulled a 14-foot, 2-inch, 838-pound alligator from the Alabama River in 2011 to set the standard for the largest ever legally killed by an Alabama hunter, Stokes had jokingly told friends and family that if she was ever drawn for a tag, she would wear the necklace so she’d look good when being interviewed after breaking the record.

Stokes got her tag this year and the pearls still hung around her neck Saturday afternoon.

It was about 10 hours after she and husband John Stokes, brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his children Savannah, 16, and Parker, 14, brought a monster alligator to the check-in station at Roland Cooper State Park near Camden in Wilcox County.

Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Biologists had no trouble measuring the beast at 15 feet even, but they had to call for some relief when trying to weigh it.

The first attempt completely destroyed the winch assembly used to easily hoist most average gators. It was the same mechanism used to weigh the Fancher alligator.

Enlisting the assistance of a park backhoe to lift it, a WFF biologist officially called the weight at 1,011.5 pounds.

COMPARING IT TO OTHER BIG CATCHES

Those dimensions easily make the Stokes Gator the biggest ever killed in Alabama. Alabama does not have an official record-gator program, but its regulated hunts have only been underway for nine years, so records are easily accessed and current.

“Truthfully, after I saw the Fancher Gator, in my mind I was thinking there’s no way we can catch anything bigger than that,” Mandy Stokes said. “When I finally saw it the full-body mount at the Gee’s Bend Terminal, the main thing I remembered was the size of its feet. When I saw the size of the foot on this one, I knew it was a good one.”

Maybe the best one ever. An internet search suggests the Stokes Gator may be the largest American alligator ever legally killed by a hunter.

Just this June, Safari Club International declared a 14-foot, 8-inch, 880-pound alligator killed in Chalk Creek near Lufkin, Texas by Justin Wells of Bossier City, La., in 2007 as the new world record.

It’s not clear which metric – length, weight or a combination of both – SCI used to make its declaration.

A September 2013 story on Outdoor Life’s Website tells the tale of a 13-foot, 9-inch, 1,100-pound gator killed by Drew Baker in Arkansas. Baker’s gator is the Arkansas record, but the story makes no mention of it being in contention for world record status.

Stokes’ gator measured 70.5 inches around the stomach, 46 inches around the base of the tail and had a 16-inch snout measurement.

THE EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER OF THE CATCH

No matter by which standard alligators are measured, Mandy Stokes said Read the rest of this entry »

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To What Extent is the American Economy Propped Up by Arms Sales?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What should one expect when the whole damn defense industry has been whored out to arm the krazees of the world?

In a very prophetic manner, in his Farewell Address to the nation, January 17, 1961, then-President Dwight David Eisenhower warned about the “military industrial complex,” saying:

“We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United State corporations.

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

US sells $11 BILLION worth of arms to Qatar

Published time: July 15, 2014 09:46
Edited time: July 16, 2014 12:55

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar's Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

Washington and Doha have signed the largest arms deal of the year, preparing to enhance Qatar’s military capabilities with $11 billion-worth of Apache assault helicopters, PAC-2 missile defense complexes and Javelin man-portable anti-tank missiles.

The deal has been signed on Monday in Pentagon by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Qatari Defense Minister Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah. Altogether Qatar is buying 10 batteries of Patriot missile defense systems and 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles manufactured by US defense industry giants Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, and 24 Apache helicopters made by Boeing, an anonymous US official told the AFP.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Black Journalist Confesses: “I’ve used the n-word.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 30, 2013

This Op-Ed speaks volumes.

Read on.

Confession of a black journalist: Like Paula Deen, I’ve used the n-word (Opinion from Anthony Cook)

Anthony Cook, Huntsville Times Community News Director

Anthony Cook, Huntsville Times Community News Director

By Anthony Cook | ACook@al.com
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on June 25, 2013 at 8:18 AM, updated June 25, 2013 at 12:57 PM

When I first heard about the dust-up over food mogul Paula Deen saying the n-word, my first reaction was “Um … OK.”I considered it just that – a dust-up. Big deal.But when it was reported that her extremely popular cooking show was being dropped from the Food Network, my thoughts changed to: “This is a big deal.”I’m guilty of spending the occasional Saturday morning in front of the tube with my wife, watching Paula whip up some Southern comfort food.When I heard she’d used the n-word at some point in her life, I wondered how I’d view her the next time she was on TV, concocting something you could almost taste through the screen and telling us “This is so good, y’all.”

But, apparently that’s not gonna happen. Not only has Food Network dropped her show, but Smithfield Foods has dropped her as a spokeswoman, and QVC and Walmart are considering doing the same.

This writing isn’t a defense of Paula Deen. She’s a big girl. She can take care of herself. And those businesses that are dropping association with her are just that – businesses. They have to consider the bottom line, which can be greatly affected by blows to their image. They essentially have been left with no choice.

I began to see the hypocrisy of expecting white people to adhere to a standard that I was not upholding myself.

As a black man, this writing is my attempt to point out Read the rest of this entry »

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Suicide, Libertarianism, and Religion -or- Why “No man is an island.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 15, 2013

FACT:
Las Vegas has the highest metropolitan suicide rate in the U.S.

“I’ll add that there’s one more feature here, of Las Vegas, which I think bears mentioning. And that is what I kinda’ think of as a sort of “frontier culture” mentality among residents, and I think, even among visitors.

“That Las Vegas is this sort of place of place of total license. You know… its the ‘Wild West,’ it’s an open frontier for all kinds of immorality and exploration of vice, and… the entire self-branding of Las Vegas as this place where that is not only tolerated, but actually sanctioned.

“You know, the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” kind of mentality – produces, I think, a kind of… sort of libertarian ethos of ‘go it alone, do it yourself.’ And help seeking in this sort of framework is perhaps not accepted or valorized the way it is other parts of the country.

“These kind of cultural arguments are always very hard to make. They always sound deeply unscientific. But, in a lot ways, I think that’s exactly where a lot of the explanatory power comes from… is in this understanding the culture and values underlying people’s behavioral sense.”

Matt Wray, sociologist, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, and co-author of a 2008 paper entitled Leaving Las Vegas: Exposure to Las Vegas and Risk of Suicide” / excerpted from Freakonomics Radio, episode #92 “Gambling With Your Life,” released April 27, 2011

Of late, attention has been increasingly given to the suicide rate of veterans returning home from the horrors of war in the Middle East, specifically, from their numerous extended tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While in retrospect, many acknowledge that Read the rest of this entry »

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