Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Monday, September 26, 2011

Influence, Inc.--Alabama 2011 PAC List

"You have PAC A gives to PAC B and PAC B to PAC C and C to D. The candidate has D's money, but in fact it came from A. That's a smoke-and-mirrors game."--former Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Here We Go Again: State Embarassment # ----- (Too High To Count)

Sign of the times outside Montgomery, Alabama on I-65
*Updated October 5th
BAY MINETTE, Ala. -- A civil liberties group (ACLU) said Friday that an Alabama town should not start an alternative sentencing program that would give non-violent offenders a new choice: Go to jail, or go to church.

Translation according to Bay Minette: Attend one of our 56 county approved for your salvation churches or go to hell jail.

This might (emphasis added) be a good solution if the idea included any religious affiliation as a choice, but it doesn't, and we see it as an attempt to force a particular religious view on a 'captive' audience. A better option may have been community service or drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs for substance abusers.

There's just one problem with that according to Bay Minette Police Chief Michael Rowland: "There aren't no thirty-day drug rehabilitation programs." Who needs medically-based treatment programs when you have the Holy Ghost, right?

We acknowledge the intent of offering offenders a choice to attend a "north Baldwin County church for one year" may be borne in good intentions, but it's wrongheaded and feeds into the national perception of Alabama as a bible-thumping, judgmental and intolerant state that only accepts a fundamentalist Christian point of view to the exclusion of any other religions or even atheism.

We believe Bay Minette has adopted a stance that many outside of the south will view as a throwback to Alabama's past that never went away.

Harper Lee's legendary story "To Kill A Mockingbird" was the basis for an essay she wrote on the intolerance of Alabama during the 1930's and the rigid mindset of Christians in the small town of Maycomb, which was fictional in name only:
Religion was an important factor in the life of the town, with “foot washers”, on the way to buy supplies, going through the streets imposing their ideas and ideals on people. The beliefs about how one should live ones life leads to narrow minded bigotry.
Recall the Mack truck sized gaff by Governor Robert Bentley on his inauguration day that blew up in the media with all the fury of a Klan cross lighting and furthered the concept of 'same old Alabama':
''Now I will have to say that, if we don't have the same daddy, we're not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother."
Alabama does not need anymore black eyes in the bad publicity department. The governor and state economic developers are pushing for foreign companies to come to the state and set up businesses to infuse our failing economy and help reverse high unemployment numbers. Bay Minette is not helping in that endeavor.

Proving to potential corporations that you are a "world class state" and firmly moving forward with the times is a big part of the attraction equation. Where does this archaic idea of 'church or hell jaill' fit into it?

What's next? Bringing back the chain gangs? Governor, what say you? On second thought, maybe you best not. That hasn't gone well in the past.

Church going is vitally important to the Alabama Governor. In fact, it might be, in his righteous minded view of things, what qualified him for the challenges of Alabama's highest public office:
"Listen, if you can be the Chairman of the Deacons for a large First Baptist Church that goes through a minister change and a music change you can do just about anything," Bentley said.
What will his response be to the bad press about Bay Minette's ROC program? Will he excuse it as 'the work of sinful liberals' who "don't understand the ways of the good folks of Alabama" or will he reel them back onto the plantation knowing they're putting him into a 'umm..governor about that..' position again?

That's the irony of this whole mess--foreign countries (and most of America) does not follow the pervasive fundamentalist Christian and Southern Baptist doctrine that accounts for the largest majority of believers in the state. We think Alabama needs to wise up and understand, like it or not, we're in the 21st century and the eyes of the world stage are watching what we do more than they think.

Especially when state officials have been jet-setting around globally, meeting big lobbyists on yachts, and proclamating grand promises (read: state income deleting tax breaks) of handing out incentives galore to entice foreign corporations to 'come on in.'

Bay Minette's local government backed ploy jeopardizes the states 'mission' by assuming no one will really notice 'whut we're doing down heah.' It got noticed alright. Big time.

What does Alabama assume foreign investors and business owners will think when they take notice of a community adopting positions, that for all intents and purposes, demands Christian repentance or burning in hell?

Or maybe this is a smoke-screen of sorts. A carefully crafted what they thought would be  positive PR message. Is Bay Minette really trying to save souls or is the true intention county money for politically connected economic developers? It won't be the first time Jesus was trotted out to pull a fast one over on the folks.

Whatever their real reason is, they stepped in it and there will be hell to pay for it.

So Say We The Opinion Board Of The Vincent Alabama Confidential 

 *Update--"Alabama town's church or jail now awaits Attorney General's opinion"
*photo credit: tumblr.com
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Former Alabama Republican Congressional Candidate and Huntsville Lawyer Facing Nine Counts of Deceit & Fraud

Wayne County, Michigan SD booking photo
Cheryl Baswell Guthrie was arrested September 1, 2011 at a Detroit airport "as a fugitive from justice" and held in a Wayne County, Michigan jail until she was transferred to Madison County, Alabama on September 19th.

She made bond the following day and was released pending a hearing on October 12.

The 'story' gets curious from there. According to a Huntsville Times article that ran on September 22nd, Baswell Guthrie is accused of a $50,000 dollar first-degree theft of property involving a "victim from Sheffield."

We found something very different when we looked into court filings that might better explain the presence of the Securities & Exchange Commission in the Baswell Guthrie saga. The publicized charge pales in comparison to what she is accused of in the document below.

Interestingly, the nine-count complaint details theft, deceit, wantonness, misrepresentation and repeated misappropriations of large sums of money during the time that Baswell Gunther was running for the AL-5th Congressional seat. Is this where the large sums of money came from that Baswell Guthrie personally funded the majority of her campaign with?

Baswell Guthrie is described through records in opencongress.org as "the Director of nearly a dozen profit and non-profit corporations." We hope the records of those organizations are being closely scrutinized and no taxpayer funds are involved in any questionable financial behavior.

These accusations are quite serious, Sheffield residents are not the plaintiffs, Baswell Guthrie is a known flight risk, and the court decided to let her out on a paltry $5,000 dollar bond?

September's news reports are based on an additional, separate charge against Baswell Guthrie from a 2008 theft that wasn't filed on until August 26, 2011. Her past history and other pending legal actions should be relevant in the current media accounts.

Why aren't we hearing the rest of the story? 
Disclaimer: Baswell Guthrie is presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Colombia Reports--US Court Clears Former Paramilitaries to Testify Against Drummond Coal

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama ordered that the former paramilitaries alias "Bam Bam," "El tigre," "El samario," and Jesus Charris are to give testimony before representatives of the victims who claim that the multinational is responsible for the 600 murders.

Drummond allegedly ordered the assassination of rural dwellers who chose not to sell their land to make way for the company's railroad which transported carbon from the land-locked Cesar department to the Caribbean Sea.

Drummond is facing two lawsuits in the United States, one for the death of three trade unionists in 2002 and the other for the death of 18 rural dwellers in Cesar.

Spanish speaking readers: Noticias Uno Colombia video report

Recent court filings against Drummond (C 2:09-cv-01041-RDP) indicate the legal team representing the company is being less than cooperative: exceeding production deadlines by months, pushing for a faster trial without the plaintiff's attorneys having all the needed evidence in hand, and blaming the other side for their own by design difficulties.

Depositions of the paramilitary witnesses against Drummond were set to proceed in September before the Colombian officials delayed. The next tentatively scheduled deposition dates, that must occur in Colombia, are in November 2011. Time is of the essence according to one of the plaintiff's lawyers in this sharply worded passage from the court records:
"It is simply not an option to wait a year or more for the letters rogatory process to advance when our key witnesses are being threatened, attacked and offered bribes to, in Duarte's (aka "Bam Bam") words, "Keep quiet about Drummond."
--Libardo Duarte was attacked in prison shortly after he made public statements to a television reporter about Drummond's relationship to the Colombian paramilitary unit AUC.
--"El tigre" has hidden his family away in Colombia after receiving repeated threats from would-be sympathizers of the AUC (and possibly Drummond) that they would "kill them all" if he testified against Drummond.

Details from the witnesses in the court documents describe events so evil and cold-blooded, we can't begin to fully describe it in detail at this time, but you can read it for yourself, and then decide what conclusions you may arrive to after viewing the recent activity in this case.

In our opinions, any further delay, particularly if it is a purposeful maneuver, to impede obtaining crucial testimony of these witnesses, who have first-hand knowledge about what really happened in Colombia, is a tactic of ominous intentions.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The $7 Billion Dollar 'Plan' from Brent Buchanan of Public Strategy Associates, Ameri-Metro and Alabama Toll Facilties, Inc

*Updated 9/22
In a story that ran on September 20th, in north Alabama's Decatur Daily, Shah Mathias CEO of Ameri-Metro (AM) "working with a well-known Montgomery political consultant, Brent Buchanan" issued a press release for a "$7 billion dollar highway and rail project" connecting Orange Beach, Alabama to the Tennessee state line. The contract for the project was claimed to be "awarded by Alabama Toll Facilities, Inc. to an AM subsidiary, Global Transportation and Infrastructure, Inc."

Alabama Toll Facilities was granted rights to build the 300 mile road by the Alabama legislature through a Senate Joint Resolution-SJR56 signed by Governor Riley on June 15, 2007.

The news stories on AM's proposal are chock full of visions of grandeur that bear an uncanny resemblance to another similar April 2000 scheme from Alabama's past: Motivity, Inc.

That pie-in-sky-idea, exposed by the Mobile Press-Register's Connie Baggett, claimed to be capable of constructing a "multi-billion dollar transportation corridor connecting Chicago to the Alabama coast by toll road and high speed rail." Motivity assured officials they wouldn't require any money from state or federal sources and would "fund the project through bonds" and backing from "unnamed European investors."

Former Alabama Governor Siegleman went along with the idea initially, in addition to the legislature, who passed a resolution allowing private toll road companies to enter into projects with the state.

It turned out to be a "hazy dream" scheme.

To Alabama's credit, they did catch on to the ruse and Motivity, Inc. moved on to Tennessee where they left officials there "shaking their heads" about the "unusual consortium of little known-businesses" involved in a M3 superconductor plant they claimed they were near completion on in 2001.

Similar to the AM project, a small town LLC from Scotsboro, Alabama was involved by way of Motivity, Inc. Did Mr. Buchanan, AM and Jack Garrison, owner of Alabama Toll Faculties, Inc. come up with this brand-new-same-old shell game ploy on their own, or are they simply trying the same trick again with a different approach?

Jeff Amy, from the Press-Register, writes in a September 21 news story that "Alabama Toll Facilities secured a nonbinding state legislative resolution supporting the project in 2007" during the Riley administration.

Nothing about this project makes a lick of sense, but it has appearances of the smoke and mirrors moves that we would expect from Alabama governmental relations agencies like the Public Strategy Associates and its founding partner Mr. Buchanan.

According to GuideStar, it's a small company run out of a house located in Hartselle, Alabama (see below pic) that hasn't got very much in the way of assets and capital according to the last three IRS filings under a 501 (c)(3) status:
Where are the subsequent years filings for 2009 and 2010? How much money is being donated to this company and by whose authority are they able to "award a $7 billion dollar contract" to anyone? 

Mr. Garrison tried this ploy once before, according to a story in the Times Daily by Bernie Delinski from August 26,1993. Garrison was aided by then state Representative Johnny Mack Morrow-D Russellville in his push for a statewide toll road that would have "run from Huntsville to Mobile."
"The entire project is expected to create about 150,000 construction jobs, as well as 2,000-3,000 permanent jobs, Garrison said. "Imagine all the businesses springing up from this," he said.
It never materialized.

We wonder what Mr. Buchanan's take in all of this is. Alabama republicans are so desperate to adhere to their "handshake with Alabama" and privatize everything in sight that they often forget to exercise basic sound judgement in their zeal to rebuild the state economy. Buchanan's pedigree puts him smack in the center of the Alabama Republican machine according to LinkedIn:
Business Council of Alabama, Alabama Broadcasters Association, EMERGE Montgomery, Young Montgomerians' Business Club, Capital City Young Republicans, Alabama Council of Association Executives, Alabama Republican Party, State Lobbyists and Government Relations Professional Networking Group
This project could be one of those do anything to make the public think we're doing something right for unemployment and economic development despite red flags aplenty, but so far, most state officials are standing on the 'Who and what are you talking about?' platform.

If this proposal is on the up and up, then fine, be more transparent about it Buchanan and company. If it's not, and we suspect it isn't, then how do you explain your deep involvement? Since PSA considers itself a "top tier" organization of professionals one would think your "experienced professionals" would spend more time researching your clients and projects before becoming so intimately involved with their business proposals.

Considering who PSA has helped elect to public office in Alabama that may be a bit too much to hope for granted.

How do you gentlemen propose to acquire the vast amount of land the highway and rail lines would require? Eminent domain perhaps? That should float with all the buoyancy of a lead-filled balloon over the heads of the affected populace.

From where we sit, this has all the trappings of a scheme to fleece the people of Alabama (and probably federal taxpayers too) to the tune of billions. It looks more like the work of a flim-flam man in cahoots with an unusual emporium of shady characters than men with a clear vision of reality.

(to be continued as additional details emerge) 

So Say We The Opinion Board Of The Vincent Alabama Confidential

*Update 9/22--Ameri-Metro underfunded--CEO Mathias accused of child sex offenses in Pennsylvania
Toll Roads News--"300 mile $7B Alabama pike gets dream publicity--but is it a dream?"
9/26--Mobile PR's George Talbot's Political Skinny: "Buchanan distances himself from toll road builder" "Toll road a 'fantasy'

Editor’s notewe’ve received emails from someone representing themselves as Brent Buchanan who takes issue with our opinions on this scam project. Mr. Buchanan accuses us of “falsehoods” and requests that we “remove accusations about me from your blog” and stands behind his involvement as “just the guy who hit send” on the press release saying that "If the Ameri Metro project actually happens, good.  If not, it’s a good idea for the future that started a good conversation.”
We’re allowed an opinion on issues in the public’s interest Mr. Buchanan. Which part of the story did we get wrong exactly? The conversation was “good” for whom in your opinion?
The first email from the alleged Mr. Buchanan came in a@ 5:24 PM yesterday. One minute before that transmission, another email came in @ 5:23 PM with an attachment that contained a virus with a surveillance program embedded in the download. We didn’t open either and sent it on to our tech guru who discovered the issue. Are these two events connected? We’re not sure, but the timing is odd.
If Mr. Buchanan is so gung ho about the toll road fiasco and remains comfortable continuing his involvement with the shady group proposing this project, then perhaps he can go onto the comment boards in the newspapers and defend the idea. We don’t expect he’ll do that because the public, judging from the overwhelming comments declaring the whole idea one big scam, would have a field day with him.
In light of the new information emerging about Ameri Metro, perhaps the “Christ follower(s)” time would be better spent praying for the whole thing to just go away.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Rachel Maddow Show and Governor Rick Perry's 'Bird Lady'

The mystery of the bird deaths in Arkansas have officially been solved!

On the September 19th edition of the TRMS, Cindy Jacobs of General's International, one of the endorsers of Governor Perry's not so thrilling recent stadium prayer event in Texas, explains how she has it all figured out about why those birds hurled themselves to the ground by the hundreds in the dark of a Beebe, Arkansas night earlier this year.

It sounds like she might also be on to the cause of the mass drum fish die-off that blanketed the Arkansas River by the thousands.

It's all because of "Don't Ask Don't Tell."

Really it is. She's certain of it. 2:06 mark in the segment

Not surprisingly, Governor Perry polls high among evangelical Alabama voters who like their fire and brimstone hotter than forty hells with a lot of lofty judge-you-oh-yes-I-will on the side for good measure.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Governor Bob Riley-- WKRG Interview September 2011

Former Governor Bob Riley just cannot resist telling us all how wonderful he is and milking his near death experience for all it's worth.

At the 19:55 mark he's asked about becoming the first Alabama governor in history to become a state lobbyist.

Contrast and compare his recent words with what Riley had to say in 2009 about the "special interests who have ruled over a rotten system for years." He's now among the ranks of those special interest players who incidentally, despite Riley's call for it, does not have to report any amounts he spends on legislators while lobbying for his own clients.

Well, they were Riley's rules passed in December 2010 weren't they?

If Mr. Riley violates any of his own rules, like he did with a PAC to PAC transfer in March of 2011, who's going to make certain he complies? Can we count on the Ethics Commission and the legislature to enforce the laws against the creator of them?

With praise like this coming from the Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard on Riley's new gig, the chances are slim to none:
Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, leader of the state House of Representatives, said, "There has been no greater champion for education reform and economic development than Bob Riley, and I'm glad to know he'll continue to be an advocate for moving Alabama forward in those areas." 
The more things change the more they remain the same in Alabama politics--we just find different words to justify turning wrong then into still wrong now.
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Developing Stories--Conecuh County Landfill and BP Contract $$ to Senator Trip Pittman

"No Opposition"?
Conecuh County, Town of Repton--The controversial mega landfill planned for Conecuh County saga is heating up again with the owners of the landfill (Conecuh Woods, LLC) filing for a dismissal of the case citing there is "no opposition" to the landfill.

March 11, 2011:
With more than 400 people seated in the auditorium and hundreds more in line at the start of the hearing, five county commissioners listened as Stone and his attorney took about 30 minutes to defend the Conecuh Woods LLC project that would be built on a 5,100-acre tract.
During several hours of the hearing, with people allotted five minutes to speak, six supported the landfill, while hundreds opposed it.
A hearing is scheduled for this Wednesday, September 21 @ 11:00 am in the Conecuh County Courthouse.

Opposition to the landfill is fierce and lawsuits have been filed to stop the project. "No opposition" is a non-starter of an argument, but that never stopped crafty lawyers from obfuscating the reality of an issue with propaganda before. It will be interesting to see how the court rules in the motion to dismiss.

The "Republican tractor" Senator Pittman
Baldwin County, Alabama--According to a report in today's Baldwin County Now, Grand Jury subpoenas have been served on Fairhope Mayor Tim Kant, City Administrator Greg Mims, Purchasing Manger Dan Ames and Information Technology Director Jason Colee "in that probe of the $635,000 contract to Pittman Trucking Company of Daphne in 2010" for post BP spill cleanup services.

Senator Pittman defended himself by feigning ignorance because he had not yet had the ethics training mandated by the state when the 'sweeping ethics reform package" was passed by the Alabama legislature in December 2010.

The Pittman Trucking Co. is owned by Senator Trip Pittman-R and Bob James of the Baldwin County Commission. Former Alabama Governor Bob Riley put Senator Pittman in charge (along with Rep. Steve McMillan-R) of $1.2 million dollars allotted to Baldwin County from BP to administer at his discretion:
The issue has grown out of Pittman Tractor Co. winning a bid from Fairhope to provide booms around the city and the Grand Hotel in the wake of the oil disaster. Citizen activists have filed a complaint with the state Ethics Commission saying Pittman’s company should never have even bid for the job, much less received it, because not only is he a state senator, but he also had been chosen by Gov. Bob Riley to help oversee BP funds coming into Baldwin County.
The Alabama Ethics Commission answered the complaints by refusing to investigate Pittman and James. Have the feds finally taken notice of the huge impropriety of the senator's (and the former governor's) actions?

More on the back-story here
*Updated Monday PM--David Ferrara Mobile Press Register story on Pittman inquiry
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Jefferson County Bankruptcy Debacle Languished in Debt While Paying Lobbyists

In an article from OpenSecrets.org (linked and excerpted below) from July 2011, reporters from the Center For Responsive Politics laid out the ugly truth of how irresponsible Jefferson County has been in managing their financial affairs. Two lobbying firms have received almost one million dollars from Jefferson County--both have ties to Senator Richard Shelby and Senator Jeff Sessions among a whole host of Alabama politicians and various state corporations.

One of those lobbyists, Michael J. Davis, is involved in a current controversy involving Birmingham Mayor William Bell. Mr. 'revolving door' Davis has collected some sizable fees from the Jefferson County Commission and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department over the years, in addition to functioning as the loot collector for Governor Bentley's Inaugural corporate collection plate fund.

Despite claiming "we're broke" the county continues to pay lobbyists with money they claim they don't have while it wallows in a staggering debt. An offer is now on the table to place the burden on the backs of ratepayers (and taxpayers) by increasing the sewer rates to allow the county to avoid bankruptcy. 
*(County voted in favor of offer @ 10:30 CST September 16, 2011) 

In typical Alabama fashion, the bankruptcy issue is dividing the rich and poor sections of the affected areas as well as the populace and the business community. The business community *(BBA) has even more potentially financially devastating plans on the block for Birmingham that we think are inappropriate with the county's current financial status--a $60 million dollar ballpark and the $90 million dollar per mile Northern Beltline are the most troubling. 

Jefferson County's political atmosphere is just as bad as it was in 2009 when one lobbying firm, Book Hill Partners, pulled out of a contract citing the "toxic political landscape" as a major factor when they refused to lobby for Jefferson County in the sewer scandal aftermath. (audio interview WBHM)

So who's still standing? 

Balch & Bingham and lawyer Michael J. Davis, who in addition to his lobbying role, is also the *chair of the BBA's Government Affairs Committee.

Jefferson County has defined itself as an easy mark for corruptibility and it should come as no surprise to anyone that their answer to handling their financial matters is: 'Let's keep right on repeating our mistakes and continue over-paying the same scoundrels (lobbyists, lawyers and Wall Street firms) who helped get us into this mess to begin with."

This won't be the end of the troubles for Jefferson County, and could even spell the beginning of a new chapter of financial disaster for the county despite this morning's vote to reach a settlement with Wall Street.

From the OpenSecrets.org story:
The county, now on the brink of bankruptcy, once, though, had hired guns in Washington.

Between 2001 and 2009, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics, the Jefferson County Commissioners spent $930,000 on the lobbying services -- about $30,000 per quarter.

Over those nine years, the commissioners retained the services two different lobbying shops -- first, Van Scoyoc Associates, then Balch & Bingham.

Van Scoyoc Associates advertises offering "companies, nonprofits, universities and cities with a full menu of services." According to a review of lobbying reports, the firm mostly lobbied on budgetary and transportation issues.

Balch & Bingham, likewise, lobbied mostly on budgetary and transportation issues. The firm also worked on development issues such as "Cahaba River waste water treatment plant for solids handling improvement" and "Jefferson County Parks Improvement Project."

Beginning in 2005, the Jefferson County sheriff's office also retained the lobbying services of Balch & Bingham -- investments they continue to make to this day.

Since 2005, the Jefferson County sheriff's office has spent $478,000 on lobbying, including $38,000 during the second quarter of 2011.

During this time, one federal-level issue that has affected Jefferson County is the new Wall Street reform legislation, passed by the Democratic Congress last year and signed into law by President Barack Obama a year ago.

And this year, the fight to delay the new regulations in the Wall Street reform law -- often called Dodd-Frank after its chief congressional sponsors -- has been aided by a congressman who actually lives in Jefferson County. (Spencer Bachus)

Read more here

Timeline from scandal to settlement

*Update 9/21--Davis resigned from his chair position at the BBA. 
*photo credit: How JP Morgan helped bankrupt an entire county
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The Atlantic--Readers Sound-off On Fixing Congress

In the October 2011 issue of The Atlantic readers responded to former Congressman Mickey Edward's article from the July/August edition entitled "How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans" with their own ideas of "keeping Congress members honest and closer to the people they represent."

Judging from the list, the people are on the right track and show more sense about governmental reform and fairness than any politician, on the national or state level, is remotely capable of.

Members of Congress should:
  • No longer make laws that do not apply to themselves.
  • Have a pension plan that matches other federal pension plans.
  • Participate in Social Security and the same health care systems as the rest of America.
  • Be bound by a non-compete law: upon leaving office, they can't work (or lobby) for any entity interacting with Congress or earn money by dealing with laws and rules they passed.
  • Be required to live in Washington for at least half of each week.
  • Create an independent Office of Truth, charged with reviewing their statements and pointing out inaccuracies large and small.
  • Lengthen terms, but serve only one term.
  • Institute a salary cap for candidates.
  • Eliminate corporate donations to candidates.
  • Decouple committee chairmanships from seniority.
We would like to add a few more to this stellar list:
  • Require all Congress members to post their in office meeting schedules and office visitor lists online weekly.
  • No lobbyists allowed in the Congress building during voting on any legislative matters.
  • All Congressional members shall refrain from using their blackberries or any other electronic communication device during floor votes.
If these things could come to pass just maybe we could all imagine a brave new world couldn't we?
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Birmingham NAACP Chapter Enters Shepherd's Bend Coal Mine Controversy


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Friday, September 2, 2011

Obama Administration Sides With Big Polluters--Orders EPA Implementation of Tighter Smog Regulations to Halt

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama on Friday sacked a controversial proposed regulation tightening health-based standards for smog, bowing to the demands of congressional Republicans and some business leaders.

Obama overruled the Environmental Protection Agency and directed administrator Lisa Jackson to withdraw the proposal, in part because of the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and uncertainty for businesses at a time of rampant uncertainty about an unsteady economy.

The announcement came shortly after a new government report on private sector employment showed that businesses essentially added no new jobs last month -- and that the jobless rate remained stuck at a historically high 9.1 percent.

The withdrawal of the proposed regulation marks the latest in a string of retreats by Obama in the face of Republican opposition. Last December, he shelved, at least until the end of 2012, his insistence that Bush-era tax cuts should no longer apply to the wealthy. Earlier this year he avoided a government shutdown by agreeing to Republican demands for budget cuts. And this summer he acceded to more than a $1 trillion in spending reductions, with more to come, as the price for an agreement to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

In the face of this disappointing retreat by Obama, the president has the nerve to include the following statement as a disclaimer of sorts:
"I will continue to stand with the hardworking men and women at the EPA as they strive every day to hold polluters accountable and protect our families from harmful pollution," he said

Is this how you plan to embark on that endeavor Mr. President? 
photo credit: Juan's Rants
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