Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Monday, February 28, 2011

Dukes of Hazard

Boss Barbour & his apologetic sidekick Roscoe P. Huckabee
The national media often takes jabs at the mental disability and buffoonery of southern politicians who make it too easy for them every time they open their big yaps--this time Mike Huckabee has come to the defense of Barbour's record on race, and it's our turn.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is not known for his racial sensitivities. In fact, just the opposite is true from this Eastland Democrat raised knucklehead.

If he's not rewriting the history of segregation and racial tensions in the south to suit his agenda, he's imprisoning black sisters on a crime of $11.00 for 16 long years, and releasing them (only because of state expense, not racial sensitivity) on the condition that one has to give up a body part to the other to remain free. That's taking a pound of flesh to new lows.

Barbour's pal-ed around with the KKK rooted Council of Conservative Citizens in Mississippi, and when questioned about his involvement with the segregationist group, Boss Barbour commenced to some serious crawfishing about the whole affair. A picture that showed him 'smiling with the segregationists' at a 2005 BBQ, was quickly removed from the CCC site.

They replaced the 'offensive' image with a rebel flag.

That sure did quiet down the whole controversy adequately. Not.

Former Arkansas Governor and (shudder) 2012 republican presidential contender, Huckabee, has decided to be a good ol' bud to Barbour and stand up for him, in a weak attempt to maybe keep Barbour's rapidly diminishing chances at a 2012 run for the (oh so appropriate in this case) White House.

Definition time:  Impeccable--
1. without flaw or error; faultless: an impeccable record
2. rare  incapable of sinning
Here's what Roscoe P. (P. is for puffery) Huckabee had to say about Barbour on his race record in a recent article by TPM:
Mike Huckabee (R-AR), who may also be posturing for a presidential run, said Barbour's record on race issues is "impeccable."
On a conference call today with reporters about his new book, "A Simple Government," Huckabee defended Barbour and even went so far as to describe him as the smartest political mind in America today. "I'm not going to criticize Haley," he said, calling Barbour a friend."I would never be critical of Haley and would not second guess his experiences," he said. 
Ever the faithful sidekick "Huck" also defended Barbour's imprisonment of the sisters.  And for him to claim that Barbour is "the smartest political mind in America today" just confirms how delusional this simpleton is. Do you think these boys have been having conversations over BBQ about who is going with who to the top?

That's what Roscoe and Boss were always after in the TV series wasn't it? Besides those pesky Duke boys...the democrats will become the defacto Dukes.

Folks who watched the TV show "Dukes of Hazard" will remember that the main character, Boss Hogg, loved money and would do anything to get himself more of it. Money equals pow-ah, and a 'y'all better respect me because of it' entitled attitude, along with the self appointment of head boss who gets to tell everyone else to "get yer asses in line." 

We envision that in a Barbour presidency, the White House staff would hear those same words bellowing out of the Oval Office every day, many times a day.

Barbour thinks that his big money lobbying past is a plum to his resume' and it uniquely qualifies him for the position of Big (and we do mean BIG) Boss of us all:
"Let me just make this very plain. I'm a lobbyist, a politician, and a lawyer. You know, the trifecta," Barbour said.
He's so full of nonsense we can't help but make fun of him, but if he did get elected, Dukes of Hazard would take on a whole new meaning, and it wouldn't be anything like the goings on in backwoods Missouri.

On second thought...maybe it would.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Alabama A&M Appointee Dr. Jerome Williams Has a Nerve (and a history)

Man's best fiend?
Dr. Jerome Williams, appointed to the Alabama A&M board by Governor Riley, hasn't wasted any time starting controversy in his new position. At least he's consistent.
HUNTSVILLE, AL -- The controversy over the Alabama A&M University Research Institute reached a new level Friday when a school trustee fired insults at another trustee.

The comments from trustee Jerome Williams of Birmingham came at the end of a 35-minute discussion at Friday's board meeting that centered on the research institute. The institute, formed in 1999 to handle millions in private and government research contracts on behalf of NASA, the Defense Department and numerous companies, has been the subject of an FBI investigation and an inquiry by A&M's accrediting agency.

Allegations have flown regarding possible misuse of funds at the institute, and a conflict of interest by Board President Pro Tem Odysseus Lanier, whose company once held contracts with the institute. Lanier has denied any wrongdoing.

The discussion Friday revolved, in part, around trustees questioning the value of the research institute and how worthwhile the partnership is to A&M.

"You lack credibility in this circle," Williams said to fellow trustee Rev. Tom Bell as the board sat around a horseshoe table at the Clyde Foster Multipurpose Room on the A&M campus. Bell is also a member of the research institute board of directors.

"You have demonstrated by your conspiring nature with (fellow trustee James) Montgomery you are not trustworthy," Williams continued. "You have demonstrated that again and again from what you have done, including going to Montgomery to tell lies (to state senators, which must confirm trustees) against the confirmation of trustee members."

At that point, a murmur rippled throughout the stunned audience in the room.

"My, my, my," Bell responded as the murmur grew louder. "My goodness. My goodness." 
Dr. Williams knows a thing or two about controversy and we're still trying to figure out how this unfriendly to those he is supposed to protect veterinarian who's seemingly somewhat of a conspirator himself, ever got this plum job with A&M. Oh that's right, Riley, in another fine example of his stellar judgment, appointed him. That clears it up.

Who is Dr. Jerome Williams? A man who seems to prefer to protect his friends at the expense of defenseless animals. He was involved in an egregious case of animal abuse in the early 2000s, and largely because of his expert medical opinion, then Birmingham City Council president Lee Loder got away with horrendous acts of cruelty.
According to a police report filed September 26, Lee Loder’s dog was The animal was chained up in a fenced-in area out of reach of shelter due to the chain being “wrapped and hooked on his neck,” according to the report, which added that the dog was soaked and shivering after two days of rain. Animal cruelty officer Dana Johnston, who investigated the case, called Birmingham-Jefferson County Animal Control, which impounded the dog until October 10, reported by Paul Clark, a carpenter working in the neighborhood. 

Clark described the dog, a 60-pound mixed breed named Stokely, as “skin and bones. I saw the condition of the dog. You had a chain that was so knotted up it was like a rigid bar. It wouldn’t even sag. For me that’s inexcusable . . . He had severely limited movement. I’d be surprised if he had more than a three or four foot radius that he could maneuver in . . . The dog’s ribs were sticking out and its eyes were sunk in. The dog was right at the point of starvation.” The police report confirmed that the dog appeared to be starving and was so emaciated that “all bony prominences [were] evident from a distance.”when it was released into the custody of Loder’s veterinarian, Dr. Jerome Williams (who will eventually return the dog to Loder). 
BCC Loder's dog Stokley when found
Williams examined the dog within 24 hours after impoundment. “I found the heart worms. I was told by the vet [at animal control] that she found intestinal worms and fleas.” Williams wrote in a letter regarding his observations to Judge Barnes, “Based on my personal observations of Stokely’s demeanor, his age, his vital indicators, his laboratory tests, and his medical history, I am of the opinion that the animal’s condition at the time of his impoundment was within acceptable normal range.” In an interview the day after the case’s dismissal, Williams described the dog as underweight when taken to animal control, but added that “skin and bones” was not a description that he would use, as the police report had.
Judge Barnes was later admonished and censured (with pay and a job) for his ruling.
Birmingham Municipal Judge David Barnes admitted Monday he violated judicial ethics when handling an animal cruelty case against City Council President Lee Loder.
The Court of the Judiciary is sued an order Monday of public censure against Barnes, accepting a plea agreement that Barnes submitted last week to avoid a hearing Wednesday on 21 charges of judicial ethics violations. Barnes accepted the public reprimand and is allowed to return to the bench immediately without loss of pay or benefits, said Charlie Waldrep, his attorney. Waldrep said the order against Barnes centered on his relationship with Loder professionally, as judge and council member. It did not cite him for a conflict based on their personal relationship as fraternity brothers who had known each other in that capacity for about six years, Waldrep said.
Other charges Barnes faced were dropped, including his refusing public access to Loder's case file, holding an improper hearing and dismissing the case against Loder without allowing the city to present arguments (2003 Birmingham News Record Number: 15220512)
Lee Loder was on the board of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society and never removed for his blatant cruelty to his dog.

The system fell apart at every level for Stokely. His tormentors never faced the charges they should have for what they did to him. It was a maddeningly frustrating case for many observers and no one has pressed Dr. Williams on the issue since.

For a veterinarian to say the things that Dr. Williams did about this poor dog, who had supposedly been under his care since 1996, he's either one of two things: damn near blind or he was protecting someone. Obviously it was not the dog, Stokley, which should have been his first priority as a veternerian.

Williams should do well in his new position with the notorious history of the Alabama A&M board. Clearly, given its glaring problems, men of honor and ethics need not apply. In fact, if you behave badly then all the better, you'll be rewarded as you move along your political way, courtesy of the goats at the top of Corruption Hill.

But William's is really pushing it starting controversy so early in his appointment based on his own past, and in our opinions, Dr. Williams has no business calling anyone a conspirator and untrustworthy.

Ironically, the page for William's practice, Red Mountain Animal Clinic, uses the slogan "Happy Trails." We bet Stokely might have a thing or two to say, if he could, about that nonsense.

This story is just another brick in the high wall of corruption that surrounds Alabama.

So Say We The Opinion Board Of The Vincent Alabama Confidential
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm Jabo Waggoner and I Don't Have a Clue (following "Meet the New Boss" article)

Senator Waggoner has taken a real beating over his controversial hiring of Paul Hamrick and this morning he 'responded' in a radio interview that made everything clear as mud.

Some highlights (and lowlights) of the 'selection process' and Jabo's glaring inability to fully understand what he did when viewed through the sick-and-tired-of-it lens of the people. So much for the "new day in Alabama politics." How long did that last? Two seconds?

Jabo was asked about the decision to hire Hamrick:
"We put out a request for somebody and got 5 or 6 responses back. There was certain criteria we demanded such as they couldn't be a lobbyist or anyone with a conflict with another entity..."
He went on to list some of the potential candidates without names:
A "former president of a newspaper" (that one came later in the interview)
Former Lt. Governor
Pensacola resident (don't we have some developer honcho from there?)
Someone who wanted $10,000 a month (contract was for $5,000)
A lobbyist (big surprise)
Paul Hamrick

Jabo said that he "consulted with Senators Del Marsh, Arthur Orr and Trip Pittman" but the ultimate decision was his. We'd like to know what Pittman was doing in the discussion since he has shown himself to be ethically challenged at best, and capable of willfully working the system for hundreds of thousands of BP money in his pocket at worst.

Is Waggoner the reason the Ethics Commission is hands off with investigating the controversial oil boom contract work by Pittman and Baldwin County Commissioner James?

Jabo plays the blame game and says that "we underestimated the opposition" as if the only outcry came from the left, *which is opposite of the truth, and he says it "couldn't be worse timing coming on the heels of the governor hiring Sparks." First shot officially fired in what will be an escalating blame the Dr. Dr. Bentley game.
*(Paul Hamrick confirmed in an interview that too many republicans had concerns.) 

The senator is right about the number of democrats being hired by these "new republicans." People are very upset about it, but because of that, shouldn't he have known better? The answer is yes, absolutely!

But he's not listening and he just doesn't get it. He tried to pull a fast one and he got slapped for it. Big. Time to send some bags of quarters to his office for clue purchase.

Then he lamented on Hamrick "not being an issue for the last 4 or 5 years" and he "has been working informally for the republicans all that time." We have to wonder how many in the party faithful knew about this and if they did, why are they outraged now? Why haven't they been upset for the last few years? Or, when Jabo says "informally" does that mean no one knew and/or it was fine as long as Hamrick wasn't made public?

This raises more than a few questions for us and we're going to look a little deeper into it later, but the most obvious is how have political loyalties become so blurred?

The last part of his weak defense was just utter nonsense and he knows it was, but folks who don't pay attention, which is most of the voting public, wouldn't catch it:
"Not many people are aware of the heartbeat of Montgomery. It's hard to find a republican purist that has never worked in a democratic campaign. I'm disappointed to start the process over because it's so hard to find somebody."
Translation--it's hard to find somebody that me and my circle of three think will play our version of the game. This whole brouhaha was an inside deal involving some formerly elected officials in the mix, one was Steve French an inside source tells us, that are bending Jabo's ear and are still in the pile, even though they don't have an office on Goat Hill because the people told them "NEXT."

Here's a suggestion Senator Waggoner, tell the washed up has-beens to go home, accept defeat and stay out of the people's business! You've been voted out, so get the hell out of the state house boys. There's no reason for you to be there. It's ridiculous that Jabo even allows this to go on, but it's not at all a surprise.

How's that "new day" looking so far? And just for the record, 'purist' and 'Montgomery' are oxymorons Senator Waggoner.

Waggoner then put out a call on air: "....if anybody knows of someone to let me know." 

Anybody want a job paying $5,000 a month that can help Jabo and the republicans out? 

Requirements are simple:
Ability to lie at the drop of a hat
Listen to only what you are told to listen to--with a tin ear
Parrot propaganda designed to cover the machine and pull the wool over on the folks
Demonstrate a strong ability to be oblivious to criticism on cue
Able to forget your own morals and adopt the ones of those around you

It won't be difficult really, and you'll have lots of tutors on Goat Hill who will be only too eager to help you learn the fine art of helping yourself.

**Update on Riley gifting AG Strange--Bentley asks for $7.9 million back
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Mr. Corruption retains his job as CEO of Alabama politics and fired Mr.New Day to rehire Mr.Same Old Day.

When you're the party in power, you don't turn around and incorporate with your political enemy and expect anyone to take you seriously. It's nonsensical, hypocritical and disingenuous on its face, and whoever is advising the republican party in Alabama we hope they continue because it's just too much fun to watch. But what this nonsense really says is that politics in this state is all about the money, the political payback and Mr. Corruption is still in charge of Goat Hill on both sides of the aisle.

----Paul Hamrick was recently tapped by Senator Waggoner to be the PR man for the Republican Senate Majority Caucus.

For those not familiar with who Mr. Hamrick is, he was involved in the huge scandal of HealthSouth which led to the conviction of former Alabama governor Siegleman and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. Mr. Hamrick was eventually found not guilty of 7 counts of racketeering and taking bribes, but he did not come out of the scandal unscathed and damaged goods in the public eye, and in some political views.

Hamnrick was also employed by the political hit machine Matrix Group that has far too much influence in Alabama politics and has the dubious distinction of the ability to destroy a political career in the blink of an eye.

Alabama State Senator Jabo Waggoner, a former VP with HealthSouth (scrubbed from his legislative page) thought that hiring Hamrick was a fine idea.

Waggoner decided unilaterally to hire Paul Hamrick, and what's happened since then has been a proverbial maelstrom of controversy that may end in Waggoner being stripped of his post. We won't lie, that couldn't happen to a more deserving political dinosaur than Waggoner, who's single-handedly destroyed the republican's message before the legislature starts their first session in March.

We're enjoying this immensely because we never bought into that "new day in Alabama politics" crap to begin with. There isn't a politician in this state that would know what ethics was if it bit them on their backsides and held on for all it's worth. They're all tone deaf to the people, and spend most of their time tripping over lobbyists for special interests on their way to the legislative floor to vote on legislation that has real consequences on the populace. Nine times out of ten, it's in favor of the special interests fat cats rather than Alabama.

And that benefits a lot of our politicians, who are by and large, business men who will also reap profits from the same political favors. Mr. Corruption runs the machine and his orders are to cut deals and grow the 'company.'

----In another glaring example of political favoritism and the fleecing of taxpayers on the federal and state level, the Northern Beltline (aka Zombie Highway) has been broken down into actual cost per mile: $90,000,000.00.

This is BARD's mule train trail, the Beltline project is, and anything they're involved in should always be viewed with a skeptical eye and a close examination for the potential for corruption. More often than not, you'll find it. In this case, BARD Big Mules Drummond Coal and US Steel are large landowner's in the route of the Beltline and they'll make millions in this deal.

They have their cheerleaders for the project in Alabama Senator "King of Pork" Richard Shelby and the mouse that roared for big coal Representative Spencer Bachus:
"While I can't speak to the accuracy of the Federal Highway Administration's new cost estimate for the Northern Beltline, I do know this is a critical infrastructure project for our state, and I will continue to work to fund it expeditiously," said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills, agreed: "The completion of the Northern Beltline is a high priority for the Birmingham region and retains my total support." 
These are the same perpetually tone deaf Aladumba politicians, who rail against the "out of control federal spending by the Obama administration" when the cameras and press are present, and they think they are addressing a receptive republican audience. Potential voters and donors you betcha. Tell 'em what they want to hear.

Federal spending is a real problem unless it affects their own pet projects and the pockets of their big corporate donors. For these two spend-it-faster-than-they-can-print-it Alabama porkers to support the project, in this current economy, despite huge public outcries of NO, shows who they really take orders from--Mr. Corruption.

----BP "Master of Disaster" Ken Feinberg is at it again with his own brand of nonsense "I'm impartial, but BP pays me" and claims to be a bastion of fairness and transparency.

The post oil spill claims process has been a total fiasco of epic proportions, and transparency has been eternally absent from the process thanks to Mr. Feinberg being large and in charge of the whole system. The Gulf Coast Claims Facility is Feinberg's brainchild and he is vehemently resisting calls for measures of oversight of the program claiming incredulously that:
“The openness and transparency with which the GCCF has conducted itself is unparalleled in the history of the statute and nothing short of extraordinary,” they said in the filing. “The facts regarding the GCCF’s performance show that it should be the ideal against which future, large-scale OPA claims handling should be measured.” 
Orange Beach, Alabama Mayor  Tony Kennon wins the prize for retort of the day for his view on Feinberg's claim:
Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon laughed for about 15 seconds after a reporter read the quote to him.
“Sounds to me like he had one too many mimosas,” Kennon said. “With all due respect, the man is either delusional or the greatest demagogue I’ve ever met. There is zero accountability, zero transparency. For him to make that statement, someone should step in and relieve him of his duties immediately.” 
Bravo Mayor Kennon and very well said!

Courthouse News Service has an interesting article on Feinberg and the GCCF that might have started the call for oversight.

----In a story from the Gadsden Times on February 22, we learn that the Friday before Governor Riley left office, he transferred (at the request of *Luther Strange) $7.9 million dollars from the state's BP account of "unrestricted funds" to the AG's office to help with "ongoing litigation and anti gambling efforts" according to the legislative memo.
*(Who is this 'Strange' man and is he really looking out for Alabama's interests in handling the BP case? History seems to suggest otherwise.)
Strange admits to requesting the money to "stave off red ink in his office totaling about $8 million." How did he know that? He wasn't even in office yet. Outgoing AG Troy King said he knew nothing of the transfer that was handled by Riley's chief of staff, Dave Stewart, who now works for law firm Bradley, Arant, Boult & Cummings.

Questions are raised about Luther Strange's new 'hammer of corruption' Michael Hart in the article too:
Senator Roger Bedford said Riley was rewarding cronies, particularly former assistant Attorney General Matt Hart who returned to the AG’s office from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in northern Alabama in order to prosecute white collar crime and public corruption.
Riley said he doesn’t know Hart except by name.
Riley said something similar when asked about the source of the $12 million in Abramoff tainted Indian gaming money contributed to his election campaign: "I didn't know what the source of the money was."

This smacks of cronyism and political payback. Maybe this was a down payment for Strange to "look after Riley's children." $7.9 million would have gone a long way to our education system that is now facing proration AGAIN, if it was going to moved around for something other than what it was intended for.

We've become a corporation nation with no semblance of the political system our forefathers envisioned-- politics has all but disappeared to be replaced with the machine of big business and corporate lawyers. Whether it's Alabama, or federal, it's all the same company: Corruption, Inc.

Alabama has become so adept at political corruption we've provided endless material to the national news outlets for years, and if nothing else, at least the state is consistent--consistently crooked in both of its political parties and its ability to garner bad press.

Mr. Corruption is so proud. He's proud of his company and his elected employees. They serve him and his ideals with unwavering loyalty, and there will be no corporate shakeup anytime soon with his lead man Mr. Same Old Day cracking the whip on the Mules of Goat Hill.

**Podcast of interview with Senator Del Marsh defending Jabo Waggoner's decision to hire Hamrick. Marsh just doesn't get it.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Alabama Political Jackwagon of the Year Award--Rep. Spencer Bachus-R

Graphic credit: Appalachian Voices Front Porch Blog
These were revenue-neutral amendments, meaning they weren’t aimed at reducing the federal budget deficit, but were designed solely to prevent the EPA and other government agencies from updating and enforcing clean air and clean water laws. In short, it was Christmas for polluters.
The Stakes are High for Appalachia as the Fight Moves to the Senate
Late Friday night and into the wee hours of Saturday morning, the long-anticipated assault on clean air and clean water laws began in the House of Representatives. At 4:39AM on Saturday morning, Republicans passed their bill with zero Democratic support, and only three Republican dissenters (Jones (NC), Flake (AZ), Campbell (CA).
We know it's early in the year, but what Representative Bachus just voted on earns him our APJ award, for now. 'Yea' to unabated Mountaintop Removal, 'Yea' to no regulations on toxic coal ash, 'Yea' to filling mountain valleys and streams with coal waste, 'Nay' to stricter regulations on clean water in these communities. In other words, yes to big coal (especially Alabama Power) and no to the people's right's to live in clean environments.

And since Bachus fancies himself a good Conservative Baptist, maybe he can explain to whatever God he bows to (besides Wall St. and big business) why he is for such catastrophic destruction of 'what God has created.' Perhaps his own personal Jesus doesn't teach anything about respecting the earth and your fellow neighbor--religion after all is just a sometimes wearable coat that spends most of its time draped across a dusty chair between elections when it comes to Southern republicans.

Who's buying Bachus

Top 10 Contributing Zip Codes
Washington, DC 20005    $134,600
Washington, DC 20004    $105,100
Washington, DC 20036    $102,248
Birmingham, AL 35223    $72,750
Washington, DC 20006    $70,687
Mc Lean, VA 22102         $56,150
Washington, DC 20001    $54,500
Birmingham, AL 35213    $30,750
Birmingham, AL 35242    $30,650
Alexandria, VA 22314      $30,500

Spencer Bachus received 89% of campaign contributions ($1,991,099) from outside his district.

Clearly this mouse of a man (have you seen him?) is not an Alabama candidate as much as he is a big business bought-and-paid-forJackhole. Visit I Love Mountains.org and see how your Representative voted and give them all the hell they can carry for their vote on this.

We believe Bachus needs an earful from you citizens in Alabama and encourage you to call his office and tell him what you think of his heinous actions on HR 1:
Representative Spencer Bachus
Phone:(202) 225-4921
Fax:(202) 225-2082
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"But For This" the Average Alabama Citizen Might Have a Chance

Alabama AG Luther Strange speculates in favor of special interests not the average Joe in post BP Spill compensation.

We were listening to an interview with Alabama AG Strange yesterday and found that what he didn’t say regarding compensation for ordinary Alabamians, well, frankly, strange. He seemed fond of a phrase that invites debate as being more speculation than fact: “But for this…”

“If you’re a Realtor or Dentist, but for this spill I would have had this…. If you‘re a golf course owner/developer, restaurant or accountant, but for this, I would have had this….”

“A lot of our time is spent looking at economic damage and but for this I would have had this.”

What we’re not hearing is the average person being given the same consideration, such as the fishermen and small seafood affiliated businesses who rely on the Gulf to make a living. Can’t they make a more compelling argument using the “but for this” measure than a real estate developer who’s business was already in a downturn before the spill?

We’ve seen story after story of the average citizen being moved aside in favor of special interests being compensated first.

Take the case of the real estate developer Brett Robinson who recently received $37.2 million from BP. He’s well-connected to the Alabama Republican party and it’s the suspicion of many that he was given preferential treatment:
BP PLC agreed today to pay $37.2 million to Brett Robinson, developers of Phoenix West II in Orange Beach, so the company can finish construction of the high-rise, 358-unit condominium tower, according to Gov. Bob Riley and the developers.
"This project will bring significant economic benefits to the region and our state," Riley said in a joint statement with U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile, and Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon.
Let’s contrast that payoff with 67 y/o Ralph Atkins the owner of Southern Fish & Oyster Co. who’s been in business since 1934. Here’s how he describes his experience with the claims process:
Atkins called the recent meetings with Feinberg in Bayou La Batre and elsewhere “dog and pony shows.” He has filed an interim claim but is still talking with his accountant about their next move. Seafood dealers aren’t being paid anything close to what restaurants are getting, he said. “The last money I got was in October — they keep changing around the rules and telling you something different,” he said. “And they’re giving all this money to the Department of Conservation, which doesn’t know anything about marketing.”
“But for this” Mr. Atkins would have had his 77 y/o business remain intact. Where’s his fair compensation? Why was he treated differently than a big republican operative? That’s a rhetorical question obviously.

Luther was cheer-leading himself and repeating the myth of the beaches being clean despite numerous reports and video evidence that the cleanest beaches are solely in certain well-to-do areas.

“I think the beaches are great, I have been pleased as I go down and look at the coast and the beaches are clean….” One good thing that has happened in the lawsuit is the judge appointed me to oversee the case. We can maximize recovery for the state, it’s puts us in the catbird seat.”

When was the last time you tried a case in court Mr. Strange? And don’t you think that your previous occupation as a lobbyist for Transocean and big oil might have made you a more attractive choice to Judge Barbier, who like many judges in Louisiana, holds stock in big oil? You were appointed behind closed doors with no meeting by this judge weren't you?

And isn't it true that for the most part, that State attorney generals, particularly in the current economy, lack the resources (staff and money) to initiate the costly, drawn out litigation required by such cases?

Who's going to be making sure that the corruption machine in Alabama is held accountable with the AG's office distracted by handling the BP case? Oh, the Ethics Commission will be handling that we suppose. The same commission that passes on over 90% of the cases that comes before them.

Was this by design or just coincidence? 

So what do we really have in Strange being in charge of the BP lawsuit? We have a "but for this" maybe the process would be fair to the regular Joe and maybe we would have a seasoned courtroom attorney trying this important case for the benefit of all, and not just the anointed few.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

"Virtual Alabama" Big Idea or Big Brother?

The Alabama Department of Homeland Security has a program called "Virtual Alabama" that allows them to "see" certain areas in time areas of disaster and/or crisis. It sounds good on it's face, but there are some issues...

You won't find this discussed very much in the mainstream press even though the program has been up and running since 2007, the implications of Big Bubba (Alabama speak for Big Brother) are worrisome.

Who's big idea was this? Why none other than big ears *Bob Riley himself in 2007. It's too bad the citizens can't use the same technology to track our own elected politicians comings and goings--that would certainly yield some very interesting information.
(link to Office of the Governor documents)

The program can be used to determine the extent of storm damage relatively quickly, but the state’s also relying on Virtual Alabama for economic development projects, to determine if polluters are violating environmental laws, for establishing fire evacuation routes based on the floor plans of schools and for identifying critical infrastructure.

Users looking at a digital map of the state or individual communities can turn “on” and “off” with the click of a mouse the location of flood plains, fire hydrants, street lights, gas lines, water lines and more, the same way Google Earth already does for hotels, airports and restaurants. The general public does not have access to Virtual Alabama, however.

Unfortunately, our efforts to obtain homeland security grant spending information from the state of Alabama in electronic format, such as a spreadsheet, didn’t make it very far. State officials at the Alabama Department of Homeland Security told us in response to an open-records request that all such documents were in paper form only. We were welcome to drive a pickup truck to their offices with a copy machine in the back to duplicate records, one official said in response. But that wasn’t entirely practical.

A spokeswoman did tell us that about $150,000 in homeland security grants were used to create Virtual Alabama and to purchase a pair of computer servers totaling $45,000.

Auditors have at times raised questions about the state’s oversight of disaster assistance received from the federal government following hurricanes Ivan, Dennis and Katrina.

Auditors found in February of 2009, for example, that the city of Gulf Shores, Ala., had not complied with federal guidelines when it awarded $14 million in contracts for debris removal. They also concluded that contractors had overcharged Gulf Shores officials by $500,000. The city, in turn, charged duplicate invoices to the federal government leading to more than $400,000 worth of additional questioned costs, according to auditors.

"Big Brother" has long been a point of contention and accused of wanting to watch our every move under the auspices of 'national security and the greater good.' Virtual Alabama makes that a virtual reality, and a very unsettling one at that.

Think about the potential for abuse, here. One of the capabilities listed in the "Fact Sheet" is vehicle tracking. Someone with access to this software could potentially track your movements throughout the day.

Whatever happened to needing a warrant?

Whatever happened to freedom? 
Alabama has effectively engaged a small team of people whose job it is to harvest this data and make it available to decision-makers. They are constantly consuming more data and adding new functionality.
We just bet they are. 

Big Bubba is watching you Alabama.

Posted by Winger
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Clean Cool China Water On Tap in the US

From the country that brought us poisoned pet food, lead-filled children's toys and jewelry along with a plethora of other toxins, many US cities are using fluoride manufactured in China as an additive to the local water supplies.

Since 2007, most of the sodium fluoride has been imported from China because it's the least expensive on the market.

When it comes to something we ingest every day, using the lowest possible bidder who has an atrocious record on toxins, should not figure into the equation. Some claim that the form of fluoride they are using is not much better than mine tailings, the waste product of mining operations.

Industrial chemical poison from China in your water courtesy of the US government.

Feel better yet? You might if you stop drinking the China water.

Posted by Winger
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Birmingham Says"We're Open" (and Building More Places For Criminals to Loot)--Named 3rd Most Dangerous City in the US

The Birmingham Business Alliance rolled out their latest builditis campaign with nauseating fanfare promising to "move the region forward," and they have a catchy phrase for it that's been splashed all over the local media, in slick ads, and on billboards all around the city proclaiming "We're Open." (variations: "I'm Open" "Birmingham is Open")

That's music to the ears of all the crooks and rapists who have created a "Magic City" that's sure to be attractive to potential businesses, and here's the BBA is trying to convince us all that it doesn't exist. They're masters at look at the shiny thing and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain game.

Thanks to this Feb.17th US News report (using data supplied by the FBI) "The Most Dangerous Cities in the US" we can see that the Flash Harry's of the BBA are up to their same old tricks of promise them everything and get them to pay for it no matter how nonsensical it really is.

And just to add insult to injury, a previous report came out on Nov. 23, 2010 that had Birmingham ranked as the 10th most dangerous city. The BBA campaign rolled out in September of 2010, and maybe the ne'er do wells have flocked to the area in anticipation of the looting they can start looking forward to courtesy of the BBA's grand illusions.

Yep, "We're Open" alright and it's going to be one hell of a melee' for Crime, Inc.

Here's the 'good' news:
Only St. Louis and Atlanta ranked ahead of the Magic City who tied with Orlando for third place. Birmingham's high ranking was due in part to the high rate of forcible rapes and robberies over the last seven years.
Crime Risk Index: 380
In 2009, the latest year on which the data is based, the murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate in the greater Birmingham metropolitan area was nearly twice the national rate of five per 100,000. Likewise, the rate of all property crime in that area was 50 percent higher than the national rate.
Alabama as a whole was ranked 13th in the nation for the worst crime rate in March 2009. 

Is anyone starting to see a pattern here? What company worth its salt is going to look at these statistics and say to themselves; "sounds like a great place to set up shop in!"

Maybe before we start building crystal cathedrals and laying down streets of gold it might be a good idea to fix what seems to be inherently wrong with Birmingham first--Its corrupt and clueless leadership that is led around by the nose by the Mules and the BBA, and then maybe turn the crank on the complete ineffectiveness of the police department.

Sounds good to us.
Does it to you?
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Politicians Behaving Badly With Prejudice--John Wiley Price & Albert Turner, Jr.

Two stories of public malversation with the race card thrown down in the ugly game of local politics from rural Alabama to Texas.

Dallas County, Texas--In a Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday Feb 15th citizens were upset about the "controversial departure" of a county Elections Administrator who had been on the job for 24 years. They suspected that the administrator had been "forced out" by Commissioner John Wiley Price and a Dallas County Judge in what is rumored to be a power grab by Price.

Tensions run high in this part of Texas along racial lines on both sides of color, but Mr. Price's behavior in a public meeting with the press and numerous citizens present was reprehensible. We expect much more of our elected officials than to descend into race-based attacks on the citizens they represent and clear prejudice in the public eye, whatever their skin color.

Did this incident quickly descend into the gutter of racism because of a misunderstanding by Price in what the citizen, Mr. Turner, meant when he referred to him as "Chief Mullah" or was it simply the removal of civility and a glimpse into what Mr. Price is as a man? 

After Mr. Turner repeated the phrase a few more times, Price responded with: "All of you are white. Go to Hell." 

Here's some of the exchange that was all caught on video by a CBS affiliate in DFW:
The last public speaker at Tuesday’s meeting, Jeff Turner, began by stating that he would refer to “a certain member of the court” — Price — as “the Chief Mulllah of Dallas County.”
Court rules state that public speakers may not address individual commissioners by name.
As Turner spoke, he continued to call Price “Chief Mulllah.” Price interrupted Turner several times, yelling at him, “don’t call me Chief Mulllah” and “call me by my name.”
Mr. Turner explains in an audio clip on the link, that he was using the term to describe a man who wants control over everything in reference to areas of Afghanistan that are under the complete control of Mullahs, and that he was not using the reference as a racial disparity. Mr. Price, it seems, from reading other news stories on Dallas County politics, has developed a reputation as a controller and the citizens are tired of it. Kind of sounds like Perry County, Alabama and Albert Turner, Jr. doesn't it? He's coming up next.

Back to excerpts of the Dallas story:
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines “mullah” as “a Muslim learned in Islamic theology and sacred law.”
Turner continued speaking, ignoring Price’s ongoing interruptions.
At that point, Jenkins adjourned the meeting.
As Price stood to leave, he looked at Turner and the five other citizens who addressed the court. Price said to them, “All of you are white.  Go to hell!”
Price repeated “go to hell” three more times. An unknown member of the audience said, “You should be ashamed!”
“I’m not ashamed!” Price answered. “I’m not ashamed! Go to hell!”
The madness continued after the meeting was abruptly adjourned, and Dallas County is now further divided by this unfortunate throw-down of the race card. Who's to blame in this? Is this a race and behavior debate, or is something else being missed altogether? Is the bigger problem what's really going on under the surface in Dallas County, and an honest discussion of the issue of one politician exerting too much control over many the real debate that should be happening? 
Reader decide.

Perry County, Alabama--On February 4th the Perry County Commission (PCC) gathered for a meeting that quickly descended into the Albert Turner, Jr. show of bully extraordinaire on the loose. Like Mr. Price, Turner has control issues and his mantra is 'my way or the highway,' or in this instance, we don't agree so you don't get to participate.

There's so much wrong in Perry County it would take a book four inches thick to tell it all, but the biggest problem in Perry County is Albert Turner, Jr. who's been the subject of earlier posts by us, and a few press outlets that are not afraid to call him what he is--a man with a racial chip on his shoulder almost equal to the size of his ego, that runs Perry County like his own personal kingdom.

intolerance and corruption define the politics of Perry County with Mr. Turner swaggering around as a mohair-suited walking weapon of mass destruction on fairness and accountability, especially where he's concerned. 

Similar to the citizens in Dallas County,Texas, Perry Countians are tired of living under one man's tyrannical rule.

Brett Harrison is a member of the PCC and as such he has a right and duty to be present at any meeting of the PCC. Mr. Harrison is also a party in the lawsuit against Mr. Turner by the Impact Group who are having to sue PCC president Mr. Turner, for access to what should be open public records, and for holding past questionable meetings in violation of the Open Meetings Act. In this February meeting, Turner sought to punish Mr. Harrison for being part of the lawsuit and wanted him out of any discussions about it. 

Mr. Harrison seems to be the only one on the PCC who is trying to bring some sanity into the fray and realizes that what the commission is doing on many fronts are blatant violations of Alabama's Sunshine Law (ASL) regarding meetings and public records. 

Every member of the PCC stands to get into some serious trouble if this nonsense masquerading as government does not follow the laws. Joining the lawsuit to produce the public records may be strictly a self-preservation move on Harrison's part, but it's the right thing to do for obvious reasons.

In what may be a placating move, the PCC voted to use county funds to pay for Commissioner Harrison's legal fees arising from the lawsuit and Harrison himself voted against it. Another wise move on his part. He's giving the appearance of doing what he can to follow ethics guidelines and comply with the ASL.

Unlike Mr. Turner, who strong-armed the PCC into allowing county funds to pay for his defense against an assault charge and the pending civil case against him. No documents have been produced about who the law firm is and what fees the unnamed firm will charge to defend him. Turner, full of his usual bravado, publicly dares anyone to apply Alabama's Sunshine Law to him and relishes in the fact that he is above all scrutiny and questioning. 

Or so he deludes himself to believe because of his 'friends' in high places.
Details of the assault charge:
Albert Turner Jr. Guilty of Harassment

Judge Lynn Bright found Albert Turner Jr. guilty of harassment in Perry County District Court Wednesday, March 30th. 2005.
Turner was originally charged with Assault III, but the lesser charge was applied after the probable cause hearing showed conflicting testimony as to what actually happened. According to the complaining witness, Vinnie Royster, Turner attacked her during a meeting with other Perry County Commissioners regarding comments made by Turner in a radio broadcast the previous Sunday. Turner, while promoting the proposed landfill in Uniontown, referred to those black citizens that opposed the landfill as "hanky-head ******s". 
As Royster played a recording of the broadcast for Commissioner Johnny Flowers and others, Turner came into the room and started yelling at Royster; poking her in the chest. Royster poked Turner back, then according to Royster "the next thing I knew, he hit me with his fist". Turner then reportedly grabbed Royster around the throat, and held her to the ground until other commissioners and two deputies pulled him off of her. Royster had to leave the meeting in an ambulance.
Turner was ordered to pay a fine of $400, court costs, and restitution to be worked out at a later date. He's stated he will appeal the case to Circuit Court, where he wants his case heard before a jury.
It was an ugly incident that happened in full public view of many witnesses. Turner can't hide from what he did and what it implies he is, but he's trying with a little help from his special 'friends.'

Turner is well-connected politically, and there isn't any doubt in our minds that he enjoys protection from certain elected representatives and a state senator or two, (one of whom just happens to have a law firm), along with certain minority religious groups that are more political action committees than they are organizations of Godly men.

That's becoming a recurring theme in Alabama that is beyond reprehensible, and it's  ushering in a new form of acceptable slavery that is overseen by black masters of influence, in conjunction with a few equally well-connected white devils, who aid and abet their dirty deeds against their own.

It's all about the money and the control and it does not matter how they get it as long as they do. But if you raise any questions about their shenanigans, they quickly throw down the race card to avoid letting you see what cards they're really holding.

It's become a very effective tool for less than honorable men to bluff their way through their political careers, playing the game of lowball poker with gusto, having learned that personal profit and political influence are a winning hand for poor behavior.

What the actions of both of these men show us, is not only the consequences of too much power in one man's hands, they also call our attention to a bigger problem-- that honest and open debate of the race issues that continue to plague us as a society, are immediately folded when the race card is dealt.

 So Say We The Opinion Board of the Vincent Alabama Confidential

*Additional link on Turner and his pig-in-poke idea regarding a local hotel in the area. Seems to us that there weren't a lot of sharp minds in attendance with this idea and the almost comical way it played out.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

ISS - Well-Connected Law Firm Involved in Dirty-Trick Plot Against Activists, Journalists

The face of corporate law
Sue Sturgis of Facing South blows the lid of off some dirty dealings by Hunton-Williams, an international corporate law and lobbying firm deeply rooted in Richmond, Virginia and conveniently close to the seat of power Washington, DC.

If there were any doubts that we have become a corporation nation of undue influence from large law firms and their powerful corporate clients, then Ms. Sturgis' story should put those to rest once and for all.

Excerpt from the story:
Hunton & Williams is also a political player, both in terms of campaign contributions and lobbying.

The firm itself has donated directly to the campaigns of numerous members of Congress in the past decade, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2010 alone, it contributed to congressional candidates -- all Republicans -- including Reps. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John Shimkus (R-Ill.).

Hunton & William is also a major lobbying force, with lobbying income of more than $2.8 million in 2010. Among its biggest lobbying clients are energy firms: Energy Future Holdings Corp. (formerly TXU Corp.), Southern Co., Gas Processors Association, FirstEnergy, and Kansas-based Koch Industries, a diversified oil company whose owners are major funders of conservative causes.

Also among the firm's lobbying clients are North Carolina-based Duke Energy and Progress Energy, which recently announced merger plans, and Americans for Affordable Climate Policy, a group formed by Duke Energy and other coal-dependent utilities to ensure that any carbon cap-and-trade system established by Congress includes free pollution credits for industry.

With a prestigious client list like that, why would Hunton &Williams risk it all by engaging in ethically questionable and potentially reputation-damaging behavior like spying on and setting up activists and journalists?

One possible answer might be found by following the money.

Read more link:

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