Saturday, September 30, 2006
The week before, when my attorney and I got the notice to appear in court, I learned that he was again unable to be there due to having full calendar that particular day. For the last two years, since this particular attorney took over my case for the appeal, he has asked the court to just set a trial date and give him a month's notice because we have no intention of pleading guilty. He needed a month's notice because he is one of Alabama's most prominent capital punishment defense attorney's and seeing how they like to fry folks down here you can imagine he is probably a busy feller'.
The court has repeatedly refused to honor our request and as a result we have had to file repeated motions to continue the case and I have had to appear in court three to four times a year in order to re-enter a plea of NOT GUILTY. When I found out that my attorney was not going to be able to attend this court date I asked him to withdraw from the case and said I would ask the judge to appoint me a new attorney who is local. Before I asked him to file the motion to withdraw he had already filed another motion to continue. He then filed a motion to withdraw.
I went to court thinking that the judge would rule on the motion to withdraw and appoint me an attorney and then set a trial date.
When I got there I had to pass through a metal detector run by a human weeble-wobble
. Remember those? "Weebles wobble but the won't fall down." He bellowed to me, "No one allowed in the courtroom except lawyers, defendants and court employees. What are you?"
Ain't that a hell of a question? I thought of many unconventional and unexpcted answers I could have given him but stuck with, "I am a defendant."
Officer Weeble Wobble: "Got any kinves in your purse?"
Officer Weeble Wobble: "Got a cell phone?"
Me: "Yes, but it is turned off."
Officer Weeble Wobble didn't open my handbag or pass it through the metal detector but held it as I went through. I could have had a whole arsenal in there (not that I would do such a thing..mind you)and they would not have known. That makes me wonder why anyone is being paid to run the metal detector at all if they are not really going to check handbags manually or run them through the detector. Another waste of taxpayer dollars. Officer Weeble Wobble told me to go in and have a seat on the left-hand side.
I went into the courtroom and took a seat near the front. I had planned to use the time before my case was called to observe the sentencing of non-violent drug offenders and the general circus that IS criminal court in Alabama and likely everywhere else in the country.
I saw defense attorneys and cops on the side of the prosecution chatting it up like old friends while the courtroom filled up with the usual suspects. An almost endless parade of the black, the poor white, the hispanic, the incarcerated in their stripes and shackels, the dumb.
One young black woman came in and wandered around for a moment as though she was lost. The right side of the courtroom was empty, as everyone had been instructed to sit on the left. She sat down on the right side for a minute then got up and moved behind me. After a few seconds she tapped me on the shoulder and asked, "Is this the left side of the courtroom? I don't wanna sit on the wrong side and get these folks mad at me." I told her that it was the left-hand side of the courtroom.
It would have been funny except that she was serious and I wondered what she could have possibly done that she could be held responsible for? She had some very obvious mental problems. She seemed more like a small child if you know what I mean. I felt very sorry for her because I knew she did not possess the faculties to really understand what was happening in court. I hoped that she had a good attorney but doubted it.
From the back of the courtroom comes the bellow of Officer Weeble Wobble, "Once you enter the courtroom you cannot leave again until after your case is called!" This particular rule along with barring any witnesses from the courtroom infuriates me to no end. I do not believe it is legal. How can I be treated like I am already an inmate who has to ask permission to leave the courtroom to go to the bathroom when I have not been convicted by a jury of my peers of any crime? How can the courtroom, which is a public arena, suddenly become off limits to witnesses, the public and the media? I have written about this before and I am working on a project that aims to stop it among many other things.
I wasn't the only one who took offense at witnesses being kept out of the courtroom. One woman came in loudly mumbling "They gone make me show out with this bullshit of not lettin' my husband in here with me..how can they keep witnesses out of the courtroom?" I scooted down the bench and exchanged contact information with her because she is a perfect recruit for that little project I am working on. Another really young girl came in looking scared. She took the seat next to me and asked why they wouldn't let witnesses in. I asked her how old she was because she really looked like a kid and I just couldn't believe the court would be stupid enough to prosecute a minor without their parents or guardian present. She told me she was 21. I told her that I didn't know why or how in the legal sense witnesses were kept out of the courtroom. I also told her about my project and exchanged information with her as well.
By 9:20 the benches on both sides of the courtroom were filled to capacity. The judge came in and said good morning and began instructing defendants of their rights. He then announced that there were some new senencing guidelines going into effect officially on October 1 but that he was committed to implementing them in his courtroom that day and from here on out. I was very pleased to hear this as I worked on some of the bills in the package that Governor Riley will sign into law on October 1. I am not convinced it will ease overcrowding and know a few who work in the DOC who say it will make things worse. Either way it was a good opportunity for me to evaluate which parts are good and which parts are bad.
The judge instructed the attorneys to fully discuss with their clients all the possible ranges of sentences and to use the worksheet to fully illustrate to clients how the new guidelines worked. He then turned them loose to work out the plea deals for those who were willing to take a plea bargain.
The attorneys, most of whom had never laid eyes on their clients before, lined up across the front bannister and began to call out names, "So and so...is so and so in the courtroom?" Now, what kind of reasonably good defense can you expect if you have never even met your lawyer before plea day in court? I mean, don't lawyers and defendants need to talk about the facts of the case, discover what evidence the prosecution has and so forth?
I sat and watched as appointed attorneys all but forced their clients to take the plea deal being offered by the prosecution by using the fear of what the client 'might get' if they took it to trial. It was disgusting. Only a few brave souls held their ground and demanded a jury trial.
All day Thursday every person who came before the judge on a felony pot charge
was given just a few months of unsupervised probation but were ordered to pay huge fines if they were a first time offender. Defendants who were caught with harder drugs were given supervised probation. The only drug offender that went to jail was
sentenced to 15 years for cooking meth. Harder drug offenders were also ordered
to court referral to be placed in treatment. I am not sure what the court referral situation is here in my county but I will find out. In many places it is a ripoff...a huge one.
It makes me very angry that first time drug offenders were slapped with a $1000 fine that goes to fund the Tallapoosa County Narcotics Task Force.
So, now these bastards have gotten it to where they can kick in your door,
terrorize everyone in the house, maybe shoot a pet pooch or two, steal your property, haul you to jail and to court and then make you pay them for it? I don't remember that being part of the sentencing package.
In addition to the $1000 fine there was a fine of $100 levied to go into a trust fund for the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences and a $25 to $50 fine payable to the victims trust fund. What victims? People using drugs and not harming anyone else in the process DO NOT HAVE VICTIMS...hence the term VICTIMLESS CRIME. What's up with that? Length of probation was relative to how long it would take to pay off the fines imposed by the court. Some defendants got ten years worth of probation because they were on a fixed income and unable to pay more than $25 a month. People were warned that if they missed a payment their probation would be revoked and they would be sent to the penitentary. I see a large number of those people behind bars before six months has passed. I don't see how this will alleviate prison overcrowding or save taxpayers money.
The day dragged on and on. The docket was not called in alphabetical order so I had no inkling of when my case would be called. We broke for lunch, came back for 2 hours took another break for 10 minutes and came back. By this time it was 4 p.m., my 9 year old daughter had to get off the school bus alone because I had the car and my husband hadn't made it to court yet to get the car so he could get home with our daughter. I never leave my daughter home alone. Ever. My son is older and sometimes stays here alone for a few minutes and once he has watched his sister for a few minutes but she had never been home alone before. By the time my husband made it home to her she was frantic and in tears.
All in all I sat in court 11 grueling hours only to find out that the motion to continue in my case had been ruled on the day before and that the judge had not seen a motion from my attorney to withdraw from my case. No one bothered to call me and let me know I did not, in reality, have to be in court at all that day.
Finding that out after sitting on that hard church-bench in such a tense and unpleasant atmosphere all day caused me to mouth off at the judge. I said, "Judge I have been sitting out here for 11 hours and you're telling me that I didn't need to be here at all?" He answered, "I've been here 11 hours too." I said, "That's your job." My husband took me by the arm and said, "Let's go, Loretta!" and led me out of the courtroom.
That was a very wise move. Had I stayed another second or if my husband had not been allowed in the courtroom there at the end I would very likely be in jail today for contempt or whatever it is they charge you with for being a smart-ass to a judge. I actually like the judge and feel sort of bad for snapping at him. He is trying to follow the guidelines and he had a long day too. I'm still pissed though that the court failed in its responsibility to inform me that I did not have to be in court that day.
On Friday I did did TalkBack Live on Channel 8 about my court appearance and the write-in campaign. It was a great day for that show as the top news in Montgomery was the capture of a cop shooter who shot a Montgomery police officer the day before. First the Mayor and police chief were on, then I was on and the Governor Riley was on to defend his membership in the all white boys club of the Alabama Grand Masonic Lodge.
My segment was about 5 minutes and I discussed my case, the absurd amounts of money being wasted on it and thousands of others just like it and what is happening in the race for Governor. I took live call-in questions about my plans for public education and my stance on legalizing all drugs. One was a comment that "This is Alabama and no exceptions will be made for people like you when it comes to pot."
I am not sure what the point of that statement was as I am a native Alabamian and did not need to be reminded of my geographic location. I also didn't understand what the 'people like me' reference meant either. I told the caller that I am aware of my geographic location and also painfully aware of which exceptions are made and which are not.
While I was waiting to go on the air at Channel 8 one of my favorite rock station DJ's in Montgomery came out of the soundroom and introduced himself. He told me he had wanted to meet me for a long time and always missed me when I came to the radio station to do a show or cut ads. He said he was a big fan and that I had his vote.
It's downright surreal when you are a celebrity to the local celebrities.
So, my friends, the campaign rolls on and I am confident that I will get many more votes than either of my opponents are expecting me to get. I cannot wait until election day. Please make a final contribution to my campaign to ensure that I will be able to make all of my appearances in October and November. I have many remaining dates scheduled to speak around the state. October will be the busiest month of all. HELP me make it a huge success!
Many thanks to the news staff at Channel 8 for their continued coverage of my campaign and for giving me the opportunity to reach their viewers.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Here is how court went.
I sat in court 11 hours only to find out that a motion to continue in my case had been ruled on the day before. Then I was a wise-ass to the judge because I had to sit there all day for nothing and probably only narrowly escaped jail for being mouthy .
But I am not in jail.
I also did TalkBack Live on Channel 8 today about my court appearance and the write-in campaign. Don't have a copy yet but will post it when I do.
I plan to write more on court tomorrow. Right now I am too tired but wanted to let all of my worried supporters and friends know that I am ok.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Gubernatorial Candidate Loretta Nall Heads Back to Court
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Nall for Governor Campaign
Contact Person: Loretta Nall
Telephone Number: 251-650-2271
Email Address: email@example.com
Web site address: http://www.NallforGovernor.com
Libertarian Gubernatorial Candidate, Loretta Nall, Heads Back to Court
Alexander City, AL, Sept 24, 2006 — Libertarian Gubernatorial candidate, Loretta Nall, will appear in Tallapoosa County Circuit Court, located in downtown Alexander City, at 9 A.M. on September 28, 2006 to continue the appeals process in her misdemeanor marijuana possession case. On that day Mrs. Nall will ask the judge to appoint new counsel due to on going and unresolved scheduling conflicts between her attorney and the court.
Loretta Nall, who had no prior arrest record and maintains her innocence, was arrested in a November 2002 raid on her home less than a week after her Letter to the Editor of the Birmingham News was published. The affidavit in support of the warrant to search Nall's home used that letter as probable cause.The Tallapoosa County Narcotics Task Force, which conducted the raid on Nall's home, alleges that the raid yielded 0.87 gram of marijuana.
Nall was convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession and possession of paraphernalia in February, 2004. Read the trial transcript here.
After her trial in Feb. 2004 Mrs. Nall filed a complaint with the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (second page of complaint is here) alleging misconduct on the part of District Judge Kim Taylor after he commented about the facts of her case to the local media. The Judicial Inquiry Commission sided with Mrs. Nall and reprimanded Judge Kim Taylor for his actions.
In March of 2005 Mrs. Nall appeared in circuit court for her appeal. The prosecution offered her a plea bargain of 8 months in prison without the possibility of probation or parole in exchange for her guilty plea. Mrs. Nall refused to plea out and instead demanded a jury trial. She wrote a scathing article about her court experience which was published at LewRockwell and one week later she was visited by the F.B.I.
Loretta Nall, 31, wife, mother of two children living in her native Alabama, became involved in drug policy reform in September of 2002, after enduring a terrifying helicopter raid by local, state and federal agents looking for marijuana. No marijuana was found.
Loretta Nall has appeared in Rolling Stone Magazine, lewrockwell.com, and numerous daily newspapers across North America on behalf of her campaign to reduce the destructive effects of prohibition. She writes extensively about her experiences. In 2004 Loretta visited war-torn Colombia, South America where she studied the affects of aerial fumigation on the food crops of peasant farmers as carried out under U.S. Plan Colombia. Currently, she is assisting in guiding a medical marijuana bill through the Alabama state legislature in concert with the Drug Policy Alliance.
Nall is the Libertarian candidate for Governor of Alabama in the 2006. For more information about her campaign including video clips of recent candidate speeches, photos, campaign updates and more please visit the campaign website.
All media is encouraged to attend the court hearing. To schedule an interview please call the Nall for Governor campaign headquarters at 251-650-2271 or email them
Monday, September 25, 2006
According to Russ he and Dee were let go this morning without any explanation whatsoever. Russ feels it is politically motivated and a free speech issue. I do not have any more information at this time. I will say, however, that if it turns out to be politically motivated and/or a free speech issue I will fight on the side of Russ & Dee. I don't listen to their show on a regular basis and disagree with them on the majority of issues discussed....but I damn sure believe in their right to voice their opinion. They have come to my aid more than once and if anyone understands that we no longer really have free speech in this state and country then it's me. Remember I went to jail for writing a letter to the editor.
Stay tuned for updates and for suggestions on what you can do if it turns out that something needs to be done.
The chronic overcrowding of Alabama's prison systems gets most of the attention, but there is another troubling issue the Department of Corrections faces and that should concern Alabamians. The system has too many prisoners, to be sure, but it also has far too few corrections officers to supervise them.
Prison Commissioner Richard Allen, in an address to a civic club reported by the Huntsville Times, said that the department is about 400 officers short of what it needs. That is profoundly disturbing.
"This is a very dangerous and desperate situation for our department," he said. DOC loses 25-30 officers per month to law enforcement jobs that pay better and have more desirable working conditions, he said.
"We're getting by right now on overtime," Allen said, noting that the overtime will run to about $25 million in the current fiscal year.
This is no minor problem. For several years now, Alabamians have been hearing horror stories of one or two corrections officers supervising hundreds of inmates. They have heard wardens say the state has been incredibly lucky not to have had a major outbreak of prison violence, a riot or other disturbance that would be difficult to contain.
The shortage of corrections officers is indeed dangerous. It is dangerous for the corrections officers themselves, who are routinely being placed in situations in which their numbers are plainly inadequate. It is dangerous for other prison personnel.
It is dangerous for the law-abiding public, which could be endangered if a major outbreak of prison violence escalated beyond the capacity of understaffed institutions to contain.
And it is dangerous for the inmates. That is not something Alabamians should be quick to discount. The state has some basic obligations to its prisoners. When the state deprives an individual of liberty, it assumes a solemn responsibility for that individual. That is compromised when there are too few corrections officers in place.
The overcrowding of the prison population is only made more problematic by the all-too-thin ranks of corrections officers. Allen and the department, who hardly need any more issues to deal with, have a big problem here.
The solution to this problem is very simple. Release all non-violent drug offenders from prison. It is estimated that 30 to 40 % of Alabama's current prison population is incarcerated for non-violent drug and alcohol offenses. That number does not include those sent back to prison for a failed urine test or inability to pay a court referral/probation/parole officer. Of 28,000 (current prison population) an estimated 11,200 could be released and that would go a long way to evening out the ratio of guards to inmates and solving the overcrowding crisis.
However, the government hates anything simple and logical. What will likely happen is that more prisons will be built and more guards hired and more tax dollars will be wasted on a problem that never should have been handled through the criminal justice system.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
The popular social networking Web site conducted an unscientific survey showing students supporting Riley led those backing his Democratic challenger Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley, 59.86 percent to 36 percent on Friday. Libertarian write-in candidate Loretta Nall garnered 4.14 percent.
Well, it's nice to wake up on a dreary Sunday morning and see that I at least made the poll. While 4.14% is a rather small number I am still impressed that I was polled at all and that 4% of college students know who I am. I am speaking at both Auburn and Alabama in October...so maybe I'll be able to boost those numbers by Nov. 7.
Friday, September 22, 2006
The show was phenominal. Tim Lennox did a great job asking hard questions and it was a very spirited debate. That this conversation took place on Alabama Public TV tells me how much has been accomplished here in 4 years.
Watch the show HERE
Many thanks to Ethan for making the trip down.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
While it might not rise to the level of a conspiracy between the Democratic and Republican parties, there is little doubt that legislative members of Alabama's dominant political parties have made it extremely difficult for candidates from third parties to gain ballot access.
But it isn't just those third-party candidates who suffer. The real impact hits Alabama voters, who are denied additional choices when they go to the polls.
There will be a smattering of third-party candidates on ballots around the state in the November election, but all will be seeking local or legislative positions. But Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News, told the Press-Register in Mobile that Alabama will be just one of four states nationally that will have no third-party candidates on the ballot for a statewide office in November.
That's because Alabama has one of the toughest ballot access standards in the nation.
Third-party and independent candidates for statewide office in Alabama are required to collect signatures from registered voters equal to 3 percent of the number of voters who cast ballots for governor in the previous governor's race.
This year, that adds up to more than 41,000 signatures of registered voters. But to get that many verifiable signatures, candidates have to get twice that many signatures or more.
The Legislature made it more difficult for third-party and independent candidates by requiring petitions to be filed by primary day, making it impossible for candidates to gather signatures at polling places.
Even if they could get on the ballot, it is unlikely that third-party or independent candidates would be elected in Alabama in the foreseeable future. But that really isn't the main issue.
The real issue is that Alabama voters deserve choices. It is likely that the state's poor voter turnouts in many past elections are at least in part due to voters not being enthusiastic about having to choose just between Democrats and Republicans.
Of course, there needs to be a reasonable threshold for candidates to gain ballot access, or the ballots would become too crowded and cumbersome. But there is little legitimate room to argue that Alabama errs on the side of limiting access.
If for no other reason than it's the fair thing to do, we urge Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature to level the playing field for third parties and independent candidates. But mostly it's about allowing voters as much choice as possible.
Thanks for another great editorial Montogmery Advertiser!!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
On Monday and Tuesday Dr. Nadelmann made appearances on The Russ & Dee show, the Kevin Elkins show and the Matt Murphy show. All were superb with around 98% of callers agreeing that the drug war is an abject failure, which is remarkable for Alabama.
I hear that the show with Tim Lennox is pretty radical. Please tune in tonight at 630 or 11 pm on whatever station APT is on in your area of the state. If you miss it check back here tomorrow for a link to view the show online.
By SEAN REILLY
Press Register-Washington Bureau
Loretta Nall is running for governor this year, but voters won't find her name on the November ballot.
As a third-party contender, the Libertarian from Alexander City was unable to clear some of the nation's highest hurdles to get on that ballot. Instead, she has had to stake her hopes on a write-in bid.
"It's a huge obstacle," Nall said, referring to Alabama's requirement that third-party or independent candidates running statewide this year collect more than 41,000 signatures.
As of Tuesday, a half-dozen independent and third-party candidates are certified for the Nov. 7 ballot, according to the Secretary of State's office, and all are running for local posts or the Legislature.
Alabama is just one of four states this year -- New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and New Mexico are the others -- that have no such candidates seeking statewide office, said Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News, a California-based publication that tracks legal developments in that arena.
In Mississippi, where the rules are far less restrictive, three third-party candidates ran in the state's last gubernatorial election in 2003, and at least six more were on the ballot for other statewide offices.
Although they rarely pose an electoral threat, such candidates contribute "to the free flow of ideas, which is important in a democracy," said William Stewart, a University of Alabama political scientist.
To get on the ballot in Alabama, a 1995 law requires all independent and third-party contenders -- except independents seeking the presidency -- to collect signatures of registered voters equal to 3 percent of the number who cast ballots in the previous governor's race.
For a statewide election this year, that translates into more than 41,000 signatures. Such a candidate seeking to represent the six-county 1st Congressional District in south Alabama would have to gather some 5,500 signatures
Those obstacles don't appear to be a pressing concern for either Democratic or Republican lawmakers.
"Parties seem to have some self-serving interest, and I guess it would be logical" to try to muffle potential competition, said state Sen. Wendell Mitchell, a Luverne Democrat who chairs the Senate's elections committee.
(The politicians are there to "serve the people" not themselves.)
"I don't think it ought to be easy to gain access," said state Sen. Steve French, R-Birmingham, who also sits on the same panel.
(Of course you don't. However, Senator French, YOU have never had to lift one finger to gain ballot access. It's easy to make rules you don't have to follow yourself. You, because you aligned with the Republican party, were granted automatic ballot access and, in my book, that certainly qualifies as EASY! If you really believed what you were saying then you would work to make ballot access requirements the SAME for all political parties. Since you won't do that you obviously have some double standards and you lack the courage of your convictions in both ballot access and your platforms. If I am no threat then why am I excluded?)
Here my fellow Alabamians are two Senators who believe it is perfectly alright to send your children off to die in Iraq fighting to bring 'Democracy and fair and free elections' when they will not allow them here....do everything in their power, in fact, to keep elections from being fair and free in Alabama. Remember that Iraq had 75 political parties and 111 candidates in their last election.....our soldiers fought and died to ensure that Iraqi's would have that many choices...Yet, you only have two.
I just sent this letter to the editor of the Press Register. I'd like to suggest that you do the same. (In your own words)
I’d like the opportunity to respond to the comments made by Senators Wendell Mitchell (D)- Luverne and Steve French ( R ) – BHAM, in the article by Sean Reilly “State Law Creates Roadblock to Ballot” (9/20/06)
Senator Mitchell stated that it makes sense for politicians to stifle competition in their own self-interest. But aren’t elected officials supposed to serve the interest of the people and not themselves?
Senator French stated that he didn’t think it should be easy to gain ballot access, yet he never had to lift a finger to get his name listed on the ballot because he aligned with one of the two major parties.
It's easy for Republicans and Democrats to make rules that they themselves don't have to follow. If Sen. French really believed what he said then he would work to make ballot access requirements the SAME for all political parties. Since he won't do that then he obviously has some double standards and he lacks the courage of his convictions.
Alabama’s ballot access laws are an insult to every voter in this state. To stifle the free exchange of ideas by having such strict ballot access requirements means that Republicans and Democrats fear allowing voters access to all information because they think voters are too stupid to make the choice for themselves.
If Democrats and Republicans believed in their policies then they would never seek to limit an opposing view. After all, if they are as right as they claim then they have nothing to fear from me, right? If they believed in the ability of Alabamians to hear all possible options and make a choice on election day then ballot access would not be an issue. But, they neither believe in their own policies nor in the ability of citizens they are asking for their vote to make a choice so they must pass laws that take away a citizens right to vote for someone other than them.
Alabama’s ballot access restrictions amount to nothing more than state-sanctioned hand-holding.
What an insult to Alabama voters.
Libertarian Candidate for Governor (Write-in)
4633 Pearson Chapel Rd
Alexander City, AL
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The state permitted a Montgomery abortion clinic to reopen today after suspending its license last month for not having a backup doctor to care for women who recently had an abortion, according to a press release from Christian Action Alabama.
The Alabama Department of Health announced last month the suspension of Reproductive Health Services of Montgomery for not having a backup physician with admitting privileges capable of taking care of a woman who had an abortion
Monday, September 18, 2006
The citations were issued after a commercial vehicle inspection of the country music star's tour bus, state police said in a news release.
"When the door was opened and the trooper began to speak to the driver, he smelled the strong odor of marijuana," the news release said.
A search of the bus produced 11/2 pounds of marijuana and 0.2 pounds of narcotic mushrooms, according to state police.
A call to Nelson's publicist wasn't immediately returned.
Also cited were Tony Sizemore, 59, of St. Cloud, Florida; Bobbie Nelson, 75, of Briarcliff, Texas; Gates Moore, 54, of Austin, Texas; and David Anderson, 50, of Dallas, Texas.
Each was released after being issued a citation.
Nelson, 73, has recorded songs including "On the Road Again" and "City of New Orleans."
MONDAY GUEST:Ethan Nadelmann is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs.
Ethan was born in New York City and received his BA, JD, and PhD from Harvard, and a Masters degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He then taught politics and public affairs at Princeton University from 1987 to 1994, where his speaking and writings on drug policy -- in publications ranging from Science and Foreign Affairs to American Heritage and National Review -- attracted international attention. He also authored the book, Cops Across Borders, the first scholarly study of the internationalization of U.S. criminal law enforcement. A new book, co-authored with Peter Andreas and entitled Policing the Globe: Criminalization and Crime Control in International Relations, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2006.In 1994, Ethan founded the Lindesmith Center, a drug policy institute created with the philanthropic support of George Soros. In 2000, the growing Center merged with another organization to form the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. Described by Rolling Stone as "the point man" for drug policy reform efforts, Ethan is widely regarded as the outstanding proponent of drug policy reform.
Ethan Nadelmann will be with Russ and Dee Monday morning at 8:00 a.m.
Listen live by visiting the Russ & Dee website and clicking "Listen Live" at the top of the page.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Auburn 7 LSU 3
That was college football at its finest. A nail-biting cliff hanger...the kind that gets you all excited and glued to the TV, screaming, cussing, cheering, dancing around and showing your ass for real.
I showed out..I admit it...proudly...now I am hoarse.
WAR DAMN EAGLE!!!
Friday, September 15, 2006
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The Alabama Democratic Party is running a television ad that criticizes the background of Bill Johnson, a campaign aide to Gov. Bob Riley and a former member of Riley's cabinet who once went 14 years without paying federal income taxes.
Johnson said Friday the ad does not accurately reflect his views or his past.
The ad targets Johnson's 1994 stand supporting legalization of marijuana and prostitution when he was a Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, as well as the unpaid taxes and a trip he took to Afghanistan as a 21-year-old college student in 1980.
A voice on the ad then says, "A question for Bob Riley: Why do you take advice from Bill Johnson when his values are different from ours?"
What makes the Democratic Party think that Johnson's views are different from the views of the rest of Alabamians? If the Democratic Party in Alabama thinks all of their members support locking up pot smokers...all I have to say is it's a good thing I don't toke & tell. MANY of their members are POT SMOKERS. Trust me...I know these things.
I think the more important point is that the drug war, (with special emphasis on marijuana law enforcement) is robbing the Democratic party of it's black support base. Way more black people go to prison in Alabama for marijuana possession than do white people. For years they have been denied the right to vote...ILLEGALLY...after receiving a marijuana conviction. If the democrats allow this to continue...hell even promote its continuance...then they deserve exactly what is rushing towards them like a landslide. They are participating in their own destruction.
As for Prostitution....well since Lucy has talked about how liberal Jesus was and she claims she is a liberal after the example of Jesus...let's have a look at what Jesus did in a situation where he faced a prostitute.
Jhn 8:1 "Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
Jhn 8:2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
Jhn 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
Jhn 8:4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
Jhn 8:5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
Jhn 8:6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with [his] finger wrote on the ground, [as though he heard them not].
Jhn 8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
Jhn 8:8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
Jhn 8:9 And they which heard [it], being convicted by [their own] conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, [even] unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
Jhn 8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
Jhn 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Additionally, there is NOTHING in the bible that supports drug prohibition. NOTHING! Hell, Jesus's first miracle was turning water to wine. There are claims from theological scholars that the recipe for holy anointing oil found in Exodus was mutated in translation. Some Hebrew scholars say that it was originally "kanah bosem" which means cannabis or fragrant cane (marijuana) in Hebrew.
As for Bill Johnson's denial that he supports legalization of marijuana....HYPOCRITE. POLITICAL OPPORTUNIST. SWINE. FLIP-FLOPPER. WISHY-WASHER.
I have a very busy week coming up beginning Sunday Sept. 17
I have been invited to attend the National TASC Conference. A very close friend of mine works at the TASC program at the University of Alabama Birmingham and he has helped many thousands of people in Alabama and in states across the US avoid jail and prison for drug violations. TASC stands for Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime. This friend also works with me on the medical marijuana legislation and other social justice oriented projects.
Also next week Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance Dr. Ethan Nadelmann, will be in Birmingham for the conference and I have been tapped to arrange media coverage for him. On Monday he will be a guest on The Russ & Dee Show beginning at 8 am. On Monay afternoon he will be in Montgomery being interviewed by Tim Lennox at For the Record. That show will air on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 6:30 and 11:00 pm on Alabama Public Television. On Tuesday afternoon Dr. Nadelmann will be doing an interview on The Matt Murphy Show in Birmingham, AL.
Also next week a coalition which includes participants from the Drug Policy Alliance, TASC, Alabamians for Compassionate Care, Justice Stratagies, and the Southern Poverty Law Center will be holding our second meeting to lay out what legislative bills we intend to introduce in the 2007 session. These bills include medical marijuana, a bill to end denial of food assistance to those convicted of drug offenses and bills for providing indigent defense in this state. There are no public defender offices in the state of Alabama and neither candidate for attorney general thinks establishhing one is very important. I need gas money. Birmingham is 65 miles from my home base in Alexander City an I have to be in Birmingham 5 days next week an in Montgomery 2 days.
If you can spare a few dollars I swear to put it to very good use. Please click here to make a contribution.
Your Compatriot in the Fight for Liberty,
Jeffco specialized courts to be featured at 4-day conference
Friday, September 15, 2006
Birmingham News staff writer
Specialized courts in Jefferson County for criminals with drug, mental health and domestic violence problems will be featured next week when a national conference comes to Birmingham.
The Virginia-based National Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities organization will hold its 13th national conference Sunday through Wednesday.
More than 500 court personnel, public policy officials and substance abuse treatment experts from across the country are expected at the conference.
It will explore how to start or expand court-based alternatives to prison that can be used to treat the underlying problems behind continued criminal behavior.
TASC in Jefferson County, a part of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is the longest-running TASC group in the country, said Foster Cook, director of Jefferson County's TASC and the conference chairman.
Founded in 1973, the county's TASC program provides drug testing in Jefferson County courts, and coordinates treatment programs in the county's Drug, Mental Health and Domestic Violence courts.
Birmingham was chosen for the conference because UAB's TASC has come up with innovative programs and because of the changes Birmingham has undergone in the last four decades, said Mary Shilton, director of National TASC.
"The UAB TASC is outstanding and known throughout the country for using the resources available in the community to revitalize and reach out to people in the criminal justice system," she said.
"Also, the city has such a wonderful, rich heritage in civil rights," she said. "We also thought this would be a good time to pause and reflect on the lessons from Birmingham then and Birmingham now.
The conference will feature a tour of Jefferson County drug court, a diversion program for some nonviolent offenders with drug problems. Circuit Judge Pete Johnson, who presides over the Drug Court also is a scheduled speaker at the conference.
"We're encouraging community corrections and drug court people across Alabama to learn how to expand their program or start one," Cook said.
Circuit Judge Laura Petro will talk about how TASC's services can be used in a specialized court that provides early intervention and intensive supervision in domestic violence cases.
Cook will be part of a panel talking about how to set up a Mental Heath Court that stresses treatment. Jefferson County's 5-year-old court, where nonviolent defendants can get probation if they complete the mental health treatment program, recently graduated its 100th client.
Conference programs also are planned at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and at 16th Street Baptist Church.
Other panels will focus on issues ranging from methamphetamine and prescription drug addiction to how community and church groups can help reintegrate prisoners after their release.
I know the good folks at TASC in Birmingham and work with them often. They do remarkable things for people who need serious help. I'll be attending the conference next week and am looking forward to it. Any new programs stared in Alabama should be modeled after this one because it works.
Associated Press Writer
Kinky Friedman says he favors legalizing marijuana to keep nonviolent users out of prison. If Texas elects him governor, he says, he'll try to get locked-up pot users released to make room for more violent criminals.
"I think that's long overdue," Friedman told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday. "I think everybody knows what (U.S. Sen.) John McCain said is right: We've pretty well lost the war on drugs doing it the way we're doing it. Drugs are more available and cheaper than ever before. What we're doing is not working."
Friedman, the often irreverent singer, entertainer and mystery writer, is running as an independent in a bid to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Perry, and he's getting some serious attention.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
98 Percent Of All Domestically Eradicated Marijuana Is "Ditchweed," DEA Admits
September 7, 2006 - Washington, DC, USA
Washington, DC: More than 98 percent of all of the marijuana plants seized by law enforcement in the United States is feral hemp not cultivated cannabis, according to newly released data by the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program and the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics.
According to the data, available online here, of the estimated 223 million marijuana plants destroyed by law enforcement in 2005, approximately 219 million were classified as "ditchweed," a term the agency uses to define "wild, scattered marijuana plants [with] no evidence of planting, fertilizing, or tending." Unlike cultivated marijuana, feral hemp contains virtually no detectable levels of THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis, and does not contribute to the black market marijuana trade.
Previous DEA reports have indicated that between 98 and 99 percent of all the marijuana plants eradicated by US law enforcement is ditchweed.
NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre criticized the DEA program for spending millions of taxpayers' dollars to predominantly eradicate wild hemp. "The irony, of course, is that industrial hemp is grown legally throughout most the Western world as a commercial crop for its fiber content," he said. "Yet the US government is spending taxpayers' money to target and eradicate this same agricultural commodity."
According to a 2005 Congressional Research Service report, "The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop."
St. Pierre said that most of the hemp plants eradicated by law enforcement are remnants of US-government subsidized crops that existed prior to World War II. "Virtually all wild hemp goes unharvested and presents no legitimate threat to public safety," he said. "As such, it should be of no concern to the federal government or law enforcement."
According to DEA figures, Indiana reported seizing over 212 million ditchweed plants - far more than any other state. Missouri law enforcement confiscated some 4.5 million plants, and Kansas reported eradicating approximately 1.2 million plants. More than half of all states failed to report their ditchweed totals.
California led all 50 states in the number of cultivated cannabis plants eradicated in 2005, with the DEA reporting that more than 2 million plants had been destroyed.
The Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program is a joint federal and state effort funded, in part, by the DEA.
DITCHWEED ERADICATED (2005)
Indiana (212,441,768 plants confiscated)
Missouri (4,529,695 plants confiscated)
Kansas (1,177,976 plants confiscated)
Wisconsin (272,650 plants confiscated)
Oklahoma (100,736 plants confiscated)
CULTIVATED CANNABIS** ERADICATED (2005)
California (2,011,277 plants confiscated)
Kentucky (510,502 plants confiscated)
Tennessee (440,362 plants confiscated)
Hawaii (255,113 plants eradicated)
Washington (136,165 plants confiscated)
What an absolutely collossal waste of taxpayer dollars!! If I am elected Governor of Alabama there will be no more "Marijuana Eradication Teams" terrorizing gardners in the state of Alabama. I am damn sick of them flying over my home twice a week since June of this year. I'm not growing weed now just as I wasn't growing it in 2002 when plain-clothes meatheads storm-trooped my property carrying large guns, ion-sniffers and driving unmarked vehicles. I am the most well known drug policy reformer in the state of Alabama and one of the most widely recognized drug policy experts in the country as well as an admitted toker....do they really think I would grow weed on my property in the middle of an election...or any other time for that matter?
I am however growing kenaf which looks remarkably like pot. I did it just to piss off the cops and make them waste their resources. Apparently the already do a great job of that if 98% of everything they eradicate is feral hemp. A couple of weeks ago two unmarked vehicles parked at the end of my driveway. One pretended to have car trouble and the other just happened to come along at that minute. I would have been convinced that it was legitimate had I not recognized the officers and understood that there are no battery cables on earth long enough to reach the distance between those two vehicles. I laughed as they scoped out the kenaf looking confused and bewildered. I do wish they would get the forensic results back so they will stop flying over me.
Smoking or eating cannabis may help them tolerate the side effects of the antivirals, which can clear the virus but often cause fevers, chills, and muscle and joint aches, the researchers said.
Diana Sylvestre and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco tested 71 recovering substance users given interferon and ribavirin to treat their hepatitis C -- which is common among injecting drug users.
About a third of the patients also used marijuana.
Half of the marijuana users were successfully treated with the antivirals, versus 18 percent of those who did not use cannabis, the researchers reported in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
And just 14 percent of the cannabis users relapsed, compared to 61 percent of non-smokers.
"It may in fact be an ironical truth that those persons who contracted hepatitis C virus through a form of illicit drug use may be aided in ridding themselves of this potentially fatal virus by the use of another drug in addition to their HCV therapy," Benedikt Fischer of the Center for Addictions Research of British Columbia in Canada wrote in a commentary.
The hepatitis C virus damages the liver and can kill people if not treated. A combination of interferon, to boost immune response, and ribavirin, to attack the virus, can help clear it from the liver, but it can take months.
"The majority of patients develop significant treatment-related side effects, with almost 80 percent experiencing an initial flulike syndrome that includes fevers, chills, and muscle and joint aches," the researchers wrote.
They are often given a range of drugs to treat the side effects, including medications to stop vomiting, analgesics, antihistamines and sleeping pills.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
New York Times
It has been decades since federal laws overturned the literacy tests and poll taxes that were the most blatant forms of discrimination barring black people from voting in Southern states. But even today, felony disenfranchisement is an enormous obstacle to voting for black people in the Deep South. These laws are the worst in the free world. The process for restoring voting rights for people who have been convicted of crimes can be so byzantine that officials don’t know who is eligible. The confusion bars some eligible voters from the polls for life.
In Alabama, an archaic law strips the right to vote from people convicted of crimes involving “moral turpitude,’’ without explaining what that is or what crimes are covered. A man who was convicted of a felony for driving under the influence of alcohol, for example, was stripped of his right to vote. When he reapplied for the vote, different agencies gave him contradictory answers, and he was initially prohibited from registering.
An Alabama judge has instructed the Legislature to clear up the confusion by clearly defining what the phrase means. But the problem with the state’s system runs far deeper than that. The Legislature recognized that something was seriously wrong in 2003, when it passed a law streamlining the process of restoration of voting rights for people who have completed their sentences for certain crimes. The expedited system has failed, however, because of foot-dragging and endemic confusion.
The Legislature needs to stop tinkering at the margins of this problem. The only honorable solution is to automatically restore voting rights to Alabamians who have completed their sentences. That’s the only way to take this issue out of the hands of bureaucrats and make amends for one of the most shameful voting rights records in American history.
AG asks Supreme Court to delay felon voting ruling
By BOB JOHNSON
Associated Press Writer
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The state attorney general has asked the Alabama Supreme Court to delay all parts of a judge's order allowing felons to vote in Alabama.
Attorney General Troy King's motion argues that the entire ruling last month by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Vance Jr. should be shelved until the high court can rule on an appeal.
Vance had ruled last month that felons must be allowed to vote until the Alabama Legislature clarifies crimes of "moral turpitude." At a Sept. 1 hearing, Vance agreed to stay much of his order until after the Nov. 7 general election and until the Supreme Court could rule on the appeal, but he allowed felons convicted of certain offenses to vote.
The judge let stand a portion of his order that allowed people to register to vote if they have been convicted of a crime that past attorney general opinions or court decisions have said do not involve moral turpitude. Those include such offenses as felony driving under the influence or possession of small amounts of illegal drugs such as marijuana.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Kids & Kops Day features free food and games
The 12th Annual Kids & Kops Day is planned for Sept. 16 at Lagoon Park.
The event, which is sponsored by the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization and various city and county departments, is designed to promote trust and cooperation between children and the police.
In other words how to be a NARC 101.
I guess the Kids & Kops sponsors haven't read the latest study on the effectiveness of anti-drug education and TV ads.
Here is a paragraph from that study.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the arm of the federal government that funds research on drug abuse and addiction, partnered to study the ad campaign's effectiveness. The White House provided the funding and NIDA contracted with a research firm, Westat, which gathered data between November 1999 and June 2004. The report Westat produced cost the government $42.7 million. It shows that the ad campaign isn't working, as the Associated Press reported in late August. Instead of reducing the likelihood that kids would smoke marijuana, the ads increased it. Westat found that "greater exposure to the campaign was associated with weaker anti-drug norms and increases in the perceptions that others use marijuana." More exposure to the ads led to higher rates of first-time drug use among certain groups, like 14- to 16-year-olds and white kids.
If I had the resources I would set up shop beside these ass-clowns and show "Busted A Citizens Guide to Law Enforcement Encounters" and I would hand out "Know your Rights" wallet cards and give kids a quiz on the 4th amendment to the United States Constitution. Teach them something useful.
In another drug use study that is being reported today;
The government reported Thursday that 4.4 percent of baby boomers ages 50 to 59 indicated that they had used illicit drugs in the past month. It marks the third consecutive yearly increase recorded for that age group by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Overall, drug use remained relatively unchanged among Americans age 12 and older in 2005. About 19.7 million Americans reported they had used an illicit drug in the past month, which represented a rise from 7.9 percent to 8.1 percent. The increase was not only due to the boomers, but an increase was also seen among those 18-25.
Drug use by baby boomers increased from 2.7 percent in 2002 to 4.4 percent last year. Marijuana was by far their drug of choice.
There were 14.6 million people who reported using marijuana in the past month, about 2.4 million cocaine users and 6.4 million people who used prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes, such as pain relievers, tranquilizers or sedatives. In 60 percent of those cases, the drugs came from a relative or friend for free. Only 4.3 percent reported buying the drug from a drug dealer or other stranger.
When you look closely at these numbers it becomes clear that the drug war is really a war on harmless marijuana smokers. If you take us out of the drug war equation then the prison crisis will be over and the American taxpayers will save billions of dollars from the drug war black hole.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Associated Press Writer
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- A leader of the state voter registrars' organization has filed an ethics complaint against Secretary of State Nancy Worley, which she said is a baseless attempt to damage her in an election year.
(Yes, indeed! She didn't need Mr. Sellers help. She was doing a masterful job of publicly screwing up all by herself...thank you very much!)
Lester Sellers of Equality, legislative chairman of the Alabama Association of Boards of Registrars, accused Worley of not making a proper accounting of money received from the federal government to update Alabama's voting records and voting equipment.
By BRANDON GRESHAM / News Editor
Shelby County is one of six Alabama counties that will see the affects of a national grant aimed at improving traffic safety.
Alabama governor Bob Riley announced Aug. 29 that the six counties, which include Jefferson, Blount, Chilton, St. Clair and Walker in addition to Shelby, will receive a combined $165,661 in funds through a National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration Grant.
The funds will be used to increase police patrols and related law enforcement efforts to reduce drunk driving and ensure that people adhere to seatbelt laws, Riley said.
“These grants will enable officers to increase traffic enforcement on highways,” he said.
The funds will be used to pay overtime wages in order to increase the number of officers on Alabama highways.
Riley said that public safety officials will increase patrols on weekends and major holidays in addition to areas with a large number of crashes.
“You drink and drive or break other traffic laws that endanger the safety of others and you will be caught and prosecuted,” Riley said.
Q: How does someone not wearing a seatbelt endanger others?
A: It doesn't!
This is nothing more than additional police state takeover. Oh goodie! And, of course, it's for my own good.
I do wish the government would stop stealing my rights and freedoms. I detest having to bow and scrape .
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
As an Alabama voter, and one who has been actively involved in an effort to find a way to improve our state government for over two years, I wish to register my displeasure at the exclusion of a candidate for the office of governor of Alabama from the debates scheduled to take place on Oct. 30.
True, Loretta Nall is not on the ballot due to Alabama's overly restrictive ballot access law (which should be included as one of the topics for debate) but she is actively campaigning as the nominee of the Alabama Libertarian Party, albeit as a write-in candidate.
If a half-dozen minor party or non-party individuals were candidates, it might be unwieldy to include all of them in the debate, but she is the only announced and campaigning candidate other than those of the two major parties, and I believe it is an affront to her and to all Alabamians to not include her so as to allow the public to hear her views on the issues facing us.
Thanks a million Don for taking the time to write this to the Advertiser.
Monday, September 04, 2006
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) -- Mobile police have found a new use for macadamia nuts. They used chopped macadamia nuts to look like rocks of crack cocaine during a weekend drug sting.
Undercover officers posed as drug dealers at the corner of State and Kennedy streets, which has been the source of many complaints about drug activity. Officers made 15 arrests Friday and Saturday. Lieutenant DeWayne Hill says those arrested were charged with a misdemeanor -- attempting to possess a controlled substance. He says news of the arrests will have more impact than the charges because it will make it more difficult for buyers and sellers to get together.
Officers also arrested six people on State Street on charges of distribution of a controlled substance.
Ok. So, what problem did this solve? The only people they arrested were low level users not the king pins supplying the crack cocaine being sold on the streets. The charge 'attempting to possess an controlled substance' is laughable and won't result in anything more than a fine, if that.
I find it incredibly hypocritical that cops can break the law in order to enforce it. The code of Alabama states;
(a) Manufacture or distribution. - It is unlawful for any person to manufacture, distribute, or possess with intent to distribute or sell an imitation controlled substance. Any person who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor under Title 13A.
So, are the cops guilty of a Calss A misdemeanor?
As to Lt. Hill's assertion; "News of the arrests will have more impact than the charges because it will make it more difficult for buyers and sellers to get together."
How? I think the dealers will just move to a different street in a different neighborhood.
This kind of exercise is pointless and an incredible waste of taxpayer dollars. I'm sure there is real crime a'plenty in Mobile, AL without the cops creating fake crime. If I were a Mobile taxpayer I'd be PISSED like a bear!
By Mike Linn
A Republican appellate court candidate was recently photographed soliciting votes at a meeting of the right-wing Council of Conservative Citizens, considered a racist organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Terri Willingham Thomas, who is running for Position 3 on the Court of Civil Appeals, said she doesn't know anything about the organization and only attended the meeting to hear a history lesson on Robert E. Lee.
She said she thought the meeting was for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, but can't recall exactly how she heard of the gathering.
Heidi Beirich, who helps track hate groups for the SPLC, said the National Republican Committee condemned the Council for its racist views in the late 1990s.
"Her own party has condemned this group," Beirich said. "It's been widely reported how racist this group is -- and I'm talking crude racism."
Thomas, who fended off questions last month regarding her family's ties to the Ku Klux Klan and the right-wing group, faces Democratic candidate Jim McFerrin in the election.
Thomas said she's not racist and challenged voters to review what she described as her longstanding record of fairness and racial equality. The photo, in the May-June newsletter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, was provided to the Montgomery Advertiser by the SPLC. It shows state Council director Leonard Wilson urging the group to support Thomas in the July runoff at the organization's monthly meeting in Cullman, where Thomas is a district judge.
Thomas said she's neither a racist nor a member of the group.
She said she doesn't research groups to which she campaigns because she's too busy with work and family, isn't computer savvy and doesn't have enough money to hire someone to do it for her.
"If there were five voters gathered, I was there asking for their vote," she said of her campaign during the GOP primary. "I have traveled 80,000 miles asking for votes. I spoke to a group in Birmingham at a luncheon -- I was invited -- and I could not for the life of me tell you what the name of that group was. I imagine I'm safe on that one because there were different races present."
SPLC President Richard Cohen said some candidates will troll for votes anywhere, which is unfortunate.
"If they don't know who they are talking to or what they believe, you've got to wonder: Why are they showing up in the first place," he said.
According to the SPLC Web site, the Council of Conservative Citizens is widely believed to be a reincarnation of the White Citizens Councils that sprang up in the South in the 1950s and 1960s to oppose school desegregation. An SPLC statement on splcenter.org says the 15,000-member Council has tried without success to mask its white supremacist ideology to better promote a right-wing political agenda.
A national board member of the Council of Concerned Citizens, Leonard Wilson, donated $100 to Thomas' campaign this year. He described himself as a friend of Thomas' parents but said his organization is not a hate group.
Joe Turnham, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, said he's concerned Thomas hasn't repudiated her family's ties to the Ku Klux Klan and Council of Conservative Citizens, which honored her father with a national appreciation award in 1993.
Turnham said she should make a public statement about whether or not she agrees with the beliefs.
"Through this entire revelation she has not one time said, 'I repudiate the things these organizations stand for,' " Turnham said.
Thomas declined to repudiate their beliefs because she said she doesn't know what they believe in. She said she won't rely solely on the SPLC's analysis of the group and doesn't want to ask Wilson about the group because he might not tell her everything she needs to know.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
The Associated Press
BIRMINGHAM -- A circuit judge agreed Friday to delay much of his order allowing felons to vote in Alabama until after the Nov. 7 general election and until the Alabama Supreme Court has a chance to review the issue.
The judge said Friday during a hearing he would let stand a portion of his order that instructed county voter registrars to allow people to register if they have been convicted of a crime that past attorney general opinions or court decisions have said do not involve moral turpitude. Those include such offenses as felony driving under the influence or possession of small amounts of illegal drugs such as marijuana.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
The last 8 weeks of the 2006 campaign season are upon us. To me it does not seem like a year has already passed since I formally announced my intention to run for Governor of Alabama. So many wonderful things have happened and I have met so many new and wonderful people traveling the great state of Alabama. I guess it’s true that time flies when you are having fun. A very big part of me wishes that there were still another year at least before the election.
Despite not attaining ballot access I have not been ignored by the media in this election. The following is a list of articles and news coverage I have received in this election.
Campaign Appearances & Speeches
First Campaign Speech in Wetumpka
Speech to National Conference of Black Mayors in Selma
Candiate Forum at Annual PTA Convention
Speakers Corner Birmingham
Thursday Night Happy Hour in Roanoke
Media Coverage (Video) - There has been a great deal more televised media coverage than what is presented below, however, I have not been able to record or otherwise acquire copies of every piece.
Nall more excited about campaign than Baxley
For the Record
For the Record 2
For the Record 3
For the Record 4
WAKA Channel 8
Kim Hendrix Interviews Loretta Nall & Joe Copeland
Hoover Metro Kiwanis Club Recap
Kevin Elkins Show
Don Markwell Show
Lee Davis Show
90.7 New Rock Radio
Nall on 96 ROCK
Free Talk Live
Joe & The Poor Boy
Alan Colmes Show
WRMN Elgin, IL
Freedom Works Radio
WRMJ Wiregrass Radio
Nall Campaign Ads
Nall of KPFT Houston
Loretta Nall & Dick Clark on WAUD Auburn
Loretta Nall on the Bob Kincaid Show
Local Hopes Run Will Influence Candidates
Get to Know Your 2006 Candidates
Nall Enters Alabama Governors Race
Marijuana Advocate Joins Race for Governor
Marijuana Party Head Seeks Governors Office
Election Buzz Heating Up
Archive of print media about me
Pot Bust Lights Fire Under State Candidate
Alabama Journalists Discuss my Anatomy
I Discuss Their Unprofessional Tactics
Colorful Candidates to fill 2006 Slate
Nall Still Running…Maintains Innocence
Woman to Head Libertarian Ticket
Libertarians make it Official
Candidates Share Ideas on Schools, Taxes, Criminals
Gubernatorial Hopeful Flashes for Cash
Columbia School of Journalism
Boobs, Panties & Courage How Honest Elections Could Change Alabama
Nall #1 on Technorati for 48 Hours Top Ten for Over a Week
Birmingham Free Press
Once in a Lifetime
Nall Opposes Guard Troops on Mexican Border
More or Less
Drug Reformers Take Third Party Path in Bids for State Office
Nall; "I’m Not Dropping Out!"
Nall Looks to Ride Colorful Campaign
How I have Influenced the Debate
Weigh Changing Marijuana Law
Community Corrections an Investment in Future
Addicted to Prison
Prison Commissioner Resigns
Tuskegee Sheriff; "Nall Right on Drug Policy!"
Prohibition Discussed on For the Record
There has been additional coverage by newspapers, TV and radio that is not available online but this list shows that I have had a major impact and that the media is very interested in my campaign and my ideas for Alabama. I have a number of other major events coming up in the month of October.
Oct. 10, 2006 - Speaking at the Sunrise Roatry Club on Highland Ave in Birmingham
Oct. 12, 2006 - Speaking at Auburn University
Oct. 14, 2006 - Speaking at a Prison Reform Rally in Montgomery
Oct. 24, 2006 - Univeristy of Alabama Birmingham Gubernatorial Debates
Oct. 29, 2006 - Speaking to University of Montevallo Progressive Alliance
Oct. 30, 2006 - Alabama Gubernatorial Debates in Montgomery. I have been completely excluded from participation so I will be setting up my laptop and video camera in the parking lot and answering the questions in Real Time over the internet. Thanks to modern technology it will really be impossible to exclude me completely.
Oct. 31, 2006 - Since I was excluded from participation in the debates the #1 Talk Radio Station in Alabama is giving me two hours on their morning show which reaches all of North and Central Alabama and has a very large audience. They do not like Riley or Baxley and this opportunity could give me a large boost at the polls on Nov. 7.
There will likely be a number of events and engagements in September as well. Many times I get last minute invites. I know that I am being profiled in the Opelika-Auburn News sometime before the election and I am also being profiled in General Surgery News on my stances on healthcare.
I have also found someone willing to make an in-kind contribution in the form of campaign ads which will stream from my website. These will be along the lines of "Celebrity Death Match...South Park" and will hold no punches when it comes to the other candidates in this race. I need your financial help to ensure there is enough bandwidth on the website for these ads as well as to air them on television if finances permit.
I hope that all of you who have made contributions, financial or otherwise, are proud of your candidate and the things that I have been able to accomplish with your support. Please consider making another contribution to this campaign and help me make the most of the remaining opportunities still ahead in this election.
If you would rather mail your contribution you may mail it to:
Loretta Nall for Governor Campaign
4633 Pearson Chapel Rd
Alexander City, AL 35010
I'll see you on the campaign trail.
Vote Nall Y'all...It's Just Common Sense
Friday, September 01, 2006
For the second time in about two years, the backlog of state inmates in county jails has been eliminated. That's commendable, to be sure, but serious questions remain about the state's ability to keep the situation stable.
The Department of Corrections, to its credit, has managed to find ways to accommodate more prisoners sooner, thus getting state inmates out of county jails within the 30-day period agreed to years ago in the settlement of a lawsuit, but repeatedly violated. What hasn't happened, and what the department is not empowered to make happen, is the implementation of broad-based sentencing reform that reduces the number of people sent to prison by establishing more sensible sentencing practices.
The need for that was underscored in an earlier effort to eliminate the backlog by accelerating the parole process for nonviolent offenders. In late 2004, a backlog that had reached 1,600 was cut to zero, but that didn't last. It couldn't last because sentencing practices did not change and persons who should have served sentences in alternative ways that are both less expensive and more productive continued to flow into the prison system.
Incarceration in a state penitentiary is simply not a smart way to deal with, say, a drug possession offender. Certainly there are crimes for which incarceration is the only responsible course for the protection of the public safety, but there also are offenses that are far better handled with alternative sentences.
The department and Commissioner Richard Allen, who took over in February, deserve praise for acting to eliminate the latest backlog. Some existing prisons were reconfigured to create about 850 additional beds. About 300 more beds will open when construction at the Limestone Correctional Facility is complete Converting some existing facilities to house inmates created additional beds.
The department also continues to use private prison space in Louisiana, where it recently signed a contract to house 600 inmates. It now has about 500 male inmates and 300 female inmates in private prisons in Louisiana.
This practice, necessitated by crushing overcrowding in Alabama's prisons, remains a serious concern. The Advertiser for years has argued against it as a long-term practice, on the grounds that depriving individuals of liberty is a solemn action by the state that carries with it an equally solemn responsibility. A private-sector prison is a money-making operation, of course, and thus has a potentially dangerous incentive to cut corners in ways that could endanger inmates as well as the law-abiding public.
This laudable success in eliminating the county jail backlog is a notable accomplishment, but until sentencing reform is in place and our laws stop needlessly sending people to prison, one can only wonder how long it will last.