Friday, March 30, 2007

Ya know...Cell Phones and Toilet's Don't Mix today wasn't the best day I ever had. I didn't sleep at all last night. Late in the day my lawyer passed something on to me from the prosecution and I tell ya....I was laughing so goddamn hard that I just couldn't sleep. "And that's all I'll say about that," as Forrest Gump once intoned.

After a sleepelss night I had to get up at 3 am and pick up my brother in Talladega to take him to Tuscaloosa for PTSD clinic. I hate the VA. Walter Reed is just the tip of the iceburg. Wait until the American public discovers that the VA willingly and purposely over-medicates its patients in hopes of killing them and getting them off the guv'ment dollar. Man, it drives me crazy. My brother has overdosed a number of times in the last three years. At one time the VA had him on 26 different medications. Three for his blood pressure, four for his heart, a couple for his sinus, percocet, loratab, oxycontin, valium, xanax, prozac, trazadone and more that I can't remember. In the last three years he has been on life support twice for extended periods of time and has had open heart surgery.

After the surgery we told his doctor that the huge amounts of medication were causing most of the problems. My brother is an alcoholic with a long history of substance abuse issues. We didn't feel it was proper for the VA to keep giving him these kinds of drugs. We asked that they please stop giving him enough mdicine to kill a horse. They didn't listen to a thing we said. The heart doctor put him on methadone, valium, prozac, and a whole bunch of other shit. Now he is a methadone zombie who can barely walk, is mostly incoherent and just a heartbreaking wreck of a human life.

He is a war vet with serious injuries and a nasty case of PTSD. So, I get him to PTSD clinic today hoping they will put him in the inpatient program. He spends about 10 minutes with a shrink he has never met before and comes out with a scrip for a higher dosage and number of valium than what he already gets. Lord God the man is one breath away from a drug induced coma and....they give him more drugs. These fuckers are government sacntioned drug dealers! Nothing less! If someone without a license gave or sold someone in that condition that amount of different drugs they would be sent to well they should be.

Welcome to socialized medicine my friends. The VA is a prime example of what we will get when socialized medicine is ushered into the US. JOY!!! I can't wait!!!

So, after driving three hours each way and having to listen to pharmaceutical induced, incoherent babble from my once intelligent and vibrant brother, we finally make it back to my mom's house and I have to take a bathroom break. As I finish and am pulling up my pants, my very expensive cell phone/pda/central nervous system jumps out of my pocket and into a piss-filled toilet.


I almost cried. Not having the large amount of cash it would take to replace it...and since it was my pee and not anyone else's I plunged in after it. After 8 hours of drying out it has finally decided it can handle pissy water in every circuit. YAY!!!

You may think me gross for salvaging a urine/water logged phone....but I don't give a damn. If you want to send me the hundreds of dollars it would cost to replace it then go right ahead....otherwise just send me some Febreeze!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pictures from my garden

Well...these are the plants that will make up my garden once I get a tiller and get the soil ready.

Initiative and Referendum Bill...Get on the HORN!!

Dr. I.Q. has just sent me the following.

Representative Randy Hinshaw, the HOR Constitution and Committee (C&E) Chair has advised me that HB263 was assigned to the Constitution Revisions subcommittee, the members of which are:
Jack Page, Chair; Greg Canfield, Vice Chair and Ranking Minority Member; Chad Fincher, James Gordon, Ken Guin

I urge all constituents of these members to contact them and urge them to recommend that the C&E approve HB263 so it may be approved and scheduled for open debate on the floor of the House of Representatives.

I request that you forward this to as many Alabama voters as you can so that as many constituents of these legislators as possible will contact them.

(NOTE from Loretta) Even if you aren't a constituent you should contact these members and ask them to support this bill and bring it to the house floor for a debate and vote.

Alabama Bloggers Roundup

Here is the buzz from the rest of the state.

Wheeler over at Alablawg tells us why he is most grateful to be Catholic. A great read...don't miss this one.

Dan over at Between the Links informs us with great joy that the Free the Hops Beer Bill just passed the Senate Committee and has been placed on the calendar. Congrat's to all who worked on that. If you're interested in helping me with a "FREE the WEED" bill then holler.

C.A. Marks over at Alabama Improper reflects on the many ways one can express the need to go pee.

I have no idea where Jeff over at Politics in Alabama has gotten off to. I hope he didn't decide to play chicken with another tornado.

Alabama Moderate has a good round-up of stuff happening elsewhere including part of a Stephen Colbert transcript where he reverse engineers street meth into Sudafed. God that kills me!!!

And finally, Kathy over at Birmingham Blues is lobbying in Montgomery today. I did that all day yesterday and it is something all of us should do more of. How many of you who read this blog are politically active?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Well, it musta been a very cold day in hell!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 3:54 p.m. EDT
Bob Barr Joins Marijuana Project

As a congressman from Georgia , Bob Barr sponsored an amendment that blocked the District of Columbia from allowing medical marijuana use. Now he’s flip-flopped on pot and become a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project.

"I, over the years, have taken a very strong stand on drug issues, but in light of the tremendous growth of government power since 9/11, it has forced me and other conservatives to go back and take a renewed look at how big and powerful we want the government to be in people’s lives,” said Barr, who left the House in 2003 after four terms.

Aaron Houston, the project’s government relations director, told The Politico that Barr "certainly would not have been the first person I would have expected to sign off to us, but I’m very pleased that he has. I’m very pleased that he has come around, and I hope he serves as an example to his former colleagues.”

Barr will lobby for the right of states to set their own marijuana policy without federal interference, according to The Politico.

The Marijuana Policy Project – which claims more than 21,000 members and over 100,000 e-mail subscribers – is a nonprofit organization that seeks protections for medical marijuana users and opposes jail time for marijuana use.

According to its Web site, "the greatest harm associated with marijuana is prison.”

I am SHOCKED!!! Absolutely SHOCKED!! For those of you who don't know....Bob Barr is a former Republican Congressman from GA who was voted out of office because of this political ad for medical marijuana

Bob Barr recently joined the LNC and it was rumored that he was coming around on this issue. I'm still shocked though!! If he can be brought around then just about anyone could be brought around. It gives me hope.

Useless, Feel-Good, Legislation

Yesterday the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill to expand the list of items considered drug paraphernalia to include certain small glass tubes. The bill is HB99.

The code of Alabama already bans the following:

"(a) Definition of "drug paraphernalia". - As used in this section, the term "drug paraphernalia" means all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use, in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of the controlled substances laws of this state. It includes but is not limited to:

"(1) Kits used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting of any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived;

"(2) Kits used, intended for use, or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing controlled substances;

"(3) Isomerization devices used, intended for use, or designed for use in increasing the potency of any species of plant which is a controlled substance;

"(4) Testing equipment used, intended for use, or designed for use in identifying, or in analyzing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of controlled substances;

"(5) Scales and balances used, intended for use, or designed for use in weighing or measuring controlled substances;

"(6) Dilutants and adulterants, such as quinine hydrochloride, mannitol, mannite, dextrose and lactose, used, intended for use, or designed for use in cutting controlled substances;

"(7) Separation gins and sifters used, intended for use, or designed for use in removing twigs and seeds from, or in otherwise cleaning or refining, marihuana;

"(8) Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons and mixing devices used, intended for use, or designed for use in compounding controlled substances;

"(9) Capsules, balloons, envelopes and other containers used, intended for use, or designed for use in packaging small quantities of controlled substances;

"(10) Containers and other objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in storing or concealing controlled substances;

"(11) Hypodermic syringes, needles and other objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in parenterally injecting controlled substances into the human body;

"(12) Objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marihuana, tetrahydro cannabinols, cocaine, hashish, or hashish oil into the human body, such as:

"a. Metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls;

"b. Water pipes;

"c. Carburetion tubes and devices;

"d. Smoking and carburetion masks;

"e. Roach clips: meaning objects used to hold burning material, such as a marihuana cigarette, that has become too small or too short to be held in the hand;

"f. Miniature cocaine spoons, and cocaine vials;

"g. Chamber pipes;

"h. Carburetor pipes;

"i. Electric pipes;

"j. Air-driven pipes;

"k. Chillums;

"l. Bongs;

"m. Ice pipes or chillers.

So....according to section 'a' things like sunlight, dirt, water, guano and so forth are illegal if you are using them to grow say ....a pot plant. That is nothing less than INSANE!

Yesterday this was added to the long list of items that are banned.

"n. Glass tubes which are hollow, cylindrical items made of glass which are smaller than three-quarters of an inch in diameter, shorter than 12 inches in length, and which are not sealed with glass at both ends."

I have never fully understood the reasoning behind these pieces of legislation. Banning anything like pipes is useless. It doesn't do anything to curb or stop drug use. Banning a glass pipe will not prevent a crack addict from ingesting the drug anymore than banning bongs, vaporizers and rolling papers will prevent a pot smoker from smoking pot. Drug users can be very creative, see. Why, I've even known pot smokers to use toilet paper tubes with aluminum foil, soda cans and in extreme emergency cases...gasp....a tampon paper!! I believe crack smokers are known for using light bulbs in the absence of a tube. Are they going to ban Charmain, Reynolds Wrap, soda cans, tampons wrapped in paper and light bulbs? I think they will if we let them. I wish they would stop wasting time and taxpayer money to pass things like this that do nothing to address the root problem of drug use (prohibition is the real problem) and restrict the freedoms of everyone and not just those who smoke crack.

If they really want to reduce the number of crack cocaine addicts in the state of Alabama and the crime (burglary, robbery) and negative health effects of addiction to hard street drugs then they would be considering legal prescription drug substitution like Adderol, Ritalin and Desoxyn to addicts in a controlled medical setting. I have been advocating the use of prescription stimulants for meth addicts for some years now. If those prescription drugs are good enough to give to millions of school age kids to make them sit down and shut up then why not try them on those addicted to street stimulants to make them quit robbing their neighbors?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Parents seek change to school discipline policy

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Birmingham News staff writer

A dozen Hoover parents met with lawyers Monday at the Hoover Public Library to plan an "attack on all fronts" against what they called Hoover schools' harsh discipline policy, and to consider seeking legislation that spells out student rights.

Attorney Rick Lyerly, also a Hoover school parent, circulated a petition asking the Hoover Board of Education to publicly disavow "zero tolerance"; to rewrite the code of conduct for clarity; and to consider prior record and intent when meting out punishments.

"We're not against discipline. We're against draconian discipline that isn't appropriate to the offense," Lyerly said.

Hoover school officials say they weigh each case individually and don't have a zero tolerance policy.

Lyerly is representing Spain Park High School student Cameron Mitchell, who was sent to alternative school in January after a friend discharged a paintball gun in Mitchell's car as they were leaving the school, scaring other students. The gun was not loaded with paintballs. School officials say the friend pointed the gun at students.

Mitchell and his friend were sent to the Crossroads alternative school for the rest of the year and barred from school activities.

The incident was a rallying point for parents who say the school system treats all offenses the same.

Cameron Mitchell's mother, Virginia Mitchell, said the board ignored a blitz of e-mails from her son's supporters, who testified to his character. She is appealing the school transfer in Shelby County Juvenile Court.

Lyerly said the system's code of conduct is too vague. For example, a weapons violation includes, "Involvement with anything that might be considered a weapon, either real or look-a-like. ..." Lyerly said principals enforce the rules differently and the school board, which hears appeals, sidesteps responsibility by "rubber stamping" what the principals decide.


I am all for getting rid of the zero-tolerance policies in schools, but this is an interesting case. First, I'm not so sure that these kids didn't deserve a stiff punishment for the paintball gun incident. With all of the school shootings happening I imagine that whoever saw this paintball gun and heard it discharged was terrified that they were about to be shot or were about to witness a shooting. Surely these kids with the gun knew better and were aware of the severity of the offense. I don't have a great deal of sympathy for them in this instance.

Having said that I do believe that zero-tolerance policies are nothing but pipelines to prison for youth. There are zero-tolerance law incidents all across the country that point to a great need to get rid of them. A few years ago in BHAM a young teen girl took a Midol for cramps and was reported by her teacher to the principal. She was later sent to an alternative school for violating the school's 'zero-tolerance drug policy'. That, my friends, is complete bullshit. There have also been stories of kindergartener's expelled for hugging each other or brushing a teacher's boob by accident as these things are considered "sexual harassment". Isn't that a bit much? Do 5-year-olds really know enough about sex to harass someone with it? I think not.

Alternative schools and 'boot camp' style set-ups are a great place to turn a good kid, who made a small mistake, into a career criminal. There are some really bad kids there and no one who hasn't committed an extreme act of violence against another person should ever have to go. Much the same with non-violent pot smokers being sent to prison to bunk with rapists, murderers, child molesters and other REAL CRIMINALS. Gee....that's just fucking brilliant! Let's create more criminals!

All these kinds of rules do is take away the power of the school officials to use common sense when doling out punishment. Not that many of them have a great deal of common sense, mind you, but those that do ought to be allowed to use them. Zero-tolerance is a one-size-fits-all type deal (kinda like No Child Left Behind) and those kinds of programs are destined to fail.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I don't know about where you are, but down here in Alabama it is so dry, and the pollen is so profuse that it is blowing around in big yellow clouds. ACK! It makes my head hurt and I am so wishing for some rain this afternoon. The weather says east Alabama might get isolated showers and storms.

I have been spending a lot of time outside planting my garden. I am doing a lot of container gardening this year. So far I have tons of tomatoes, squash, watermelons, romanesca veronioca, malabar spinach, grapes, raspberries, sunflowers, gerbera daisies, african daisies, livingstone daisies, clematis vines, zinnias, dahlias, moon vines, black-eye susan vines, trumpet vine, gourds, hawaiian baby woodrose, phlox, cosmos, a gloriosa lily, a few apple trees from seeds that came out of a yummy apple I had recently and probably a few things I forgot to mention.

The strangest plant I am growing this year is romanesco veronica which is a kind of cauliflower.

As you can see, it looks like some sort of alien or math fractal. I am not especially fond of cauliflower, but this just looks too neat not to try and grow.

Over the weekend my husband and I went to buy a digger, or a tiller if you will. First we tried Home Depot in Sylacauga, but they did not carry anything but a teenie one that my rocky soil would have ground to bits. Next we tried Russell Do It center but they only rent them....and at $215 a week I'd rather use a stubborn mule to break ground. Then we tried Wal-Mart as I had seen one there recently that was reasonably priced...but they were sold out. The feed store here didn't have one either. I don't get it...don't people garden anymore?

I went back to Wal-Mart this morning and asked about the $299 one and they said they would have some more in this week. I have a great deal of space in my yard that I am going to use to garden this year. I still need to plant my lima beans, okra, corn, turnip greens, onions and peanuts.

If everything grows well then I will have a stand at the end of my driveway if any of y'all get hungry for some fresh, homegrown produce.

Are any of you gardeners? If so, what are you growing this year?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

My Posse

A shot of some of my fellow members of Alabamians for Compassionate Care from today's meeting.

Thanks for coming out today y'all!

Compassionate Care Meeting Sat., March 24



Alabamians for Compassionate Care will be holding our weekly meeting this Saturday, March 24, 2007 from 3-5 pm at:

Cozumel Grill & Mexican Restaurant
(205) 621-8886
2754 Pelham Pkwy
Pelham, AL 35124

Click this link for maps and directions.

Per our last meeting everyone in attendance promised to try and bring at least two new people with them to this meeting so please try and do that.

This meeting will cover recent and upcoming activity regarding the Compassionate Care Act, the news conference we will be doing once the media leg kicks off, as well as more training on how to lobby your elected officials on this issue.

Bring your notebooks, pens and money, as this will be a dutch treat kind of thing. RSVP HERE if you are coming.

I hope to see you on Saturday!!

Loretta Nall

Friday, March 23, 2007

Feature: Prisoner Rape and the War on Drugs

DRCNet and Stop Prisoner Rape have just released a report detailing how non-violent drug offenders are at the most risk of becoming a victim of prison rape.

It's a gut wrenching read but one that I strongly encourage you to undertake.

Prisoner Rape and the War on Drugs

Sexual assaults on prisoners is an endemic problem in America, not an isolated one, the war on drugs is making the problem worse, and drug war prisoners are among those most likely to be victimized, according to a report released Thursday. The report, "Stories from Inside: Prisoner Rape and the War on Drugs," by the human rights group Stop Prisoner Rape, calls prisoner rape "a human rights crisis of appalling magnitude."

Hard numbers are hard to come up with for a crime in which humiliation, stigma, the fear of retaliation -- and perhaps officials' fear of embarrassment or lawsuits -- inhibits reporting, but according to preliminary reports from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which is setting up a nationwide, anonymous reporting system, 4% of prisoners reported being sexually assaulted within the last year. According to survey research cited in the report, as many as 20% of male prisoners and 25% of female prisoners have been victims of sexual assault in jail or prison. With a jail and prison population now nearing 2.3 million, the number of victims could be in the hundreds of thousands.

For male prisoners, the most common pattern is sexual assault by other male prisoners. For female prisoners, it is most often sexual assault by guards or other prison staff.

Even the reported numbers may be low, according to some experts. Dr. Terry Kupers, a psychiatrist specializing in mental health in prison and especially the mental health of prisoners who have been sexually assaulted, told Drug War Chronicle the numbers may be much higher.
"My estimate is that it is much more widespread than the statistics show," said Kupers, who has published frequently on prison rape and testified as an expert witness on behalf of prison rape victims. "I think the 20% figure is low for a couple of reasons. First, people don't report because they're afraid of the stigma. Men feel it is unmanly and won't admit it. There is also the fear of retaliation in prison, whether from staff or other prisoners. Secondly, a lot of sexual activity is not defined as rape by the participants. A young and fair male enters prison and is told by an older prisoner 'I'm going to have sex with you, and if you agree I won't beat you up and I'll protect you from other prisoners.' The young man agrees and becomes a 'willing' partner, but it's rape, it's coerced out of fear. These guys might say they're not being raped, but they are."

What happened to Chance Martin in 1973 was not pretty, but not unusual. The university-bound Indiana youth was arrested at a hotel party after another guest dropped a piece of hashish in the lobby and thrown into the Lake County Jail in Crown Point. There, he was attacked and sexually assaulted by six other inmates in an unmonitored group cell.


Gov. Riley Doesn't Smell Like Roses

I'm still mad about the 62% pay heist passed by the House and Senate on Tuesday of this week. It really chaps my ass because my representative, Betty Carol Graham, will not return any of my phone calls or emails. In the last four years I have been able to meet with her exactly ONE TIME. And now she is making almost $50,000 a year to sit in her office at CACC (another state job with a nice salary and benefits in the two-year college system)and do things like bring a sewing machine training plant to the college.

YIPPIE!!!! The textile industry is dead in Tallapoosa Co. so a great lot of good that did. I always thought that people went to college so they wouldn't wind up in a sewing plant. Isn't that the whole point of a college avoid being a slave in a factory job? I will be running for Mrs. Grahams seat in 2010. Why, I even promise to return her phone calls and emails if elected.

I keep hearing a lot of things like "Well, bless Gov. Riley for vetoing it" and "At least he tried." In reality, he did not try. The veto was to make him look good to all of us who opposed the pay raise.

The truth of the matter is that when the House and Senate sent the bill to Gov. Riley he could have used the power of his pen to counter the offer. That would have opened negotiations where we might have been able to decrease the outrageous figure, pulled the yearly automatic increase, and quite possibly come to an agreement we could all live with.

But, Gov. Riley didn't use the power of the pen to open negotiations. He simply vetoed the bill, all the while knowing that the house and senate had the votes to over ride his veto. One has to surmise that he did not oppose this increase or he would have used his power to slow it down and alter it.

Everyone who is unhappy about this pay heist should CONTACT the Governor and ask him why he didn't use his power to stall and negoatiate for a more reasonable amount.

Here's the message I sent to the Governor.

Dear Governor Riley,

Thank you for your symbolic veto of the 62% legislative pay heist on Tuesday of this week. I was in attendance at the protest and later watched, in total disgust, as the House eaisly over rode your veto.

I assume you knew all along that the house and senate would have the votes to over ride the veto, so I have to ask why you didn't use the power of your pen to counter their proposal with a much more reasonable one? I don't think many in Alabama would have objected to a reasonable request for a legislative pay raise. After all, if anyone understands the rising cost of gasoline and food it is the citizens who inhabit this state.

But, your simply vetoing it and sending it back without alteration destroyed any chance of lowering the amount and removing the yearly increase. I feel that is a huge disservice to the citizen's of Alabama.

My representative in Tallapoosa Co., Betty Carol Graham, did not deserve a raise. I am unable to get her to return any of my phone calls or emails. In the last four years I have been able to meet with her exactly ONE TIME. And now she is making almost $50,000 a year to sit in her office at CACC (another state job in the two-year college system) and do things like bring a sewing machine training plant to the college.

YIPPIE!!!! I always thought that people went to college so they wouldn't wind up in a sewing plant. Isn't that the whole point of a college avoid being a slave in a factory job?

The textile industry is dead in Tallapoosa Co., so a great lot of good that did.
Do you think she deserved a raise? I think she deserved a pay cut.

Since you aren't running for Governor again my message may not mean very much, but I wanted you to know that I feel you could have done a better job and so do many other Alabamians.

All the best,
Loretta Nall
2006 Libertarian Candidate for Governor

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Federal Appeals Court Considers Alabama Ballot Access Laws

Dan over at Between the Links has a good summary of the appeal heard by the 11th Circuit in Atlanta a few days ago.

Here's hoping they do the right thing and make the ballot open to everyone who is eligible to run and wishes to do so.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Patriotic Protests, Apologetic Reporters, and The Ultimate Bizarre Political Bed Feller

Ahhhhhhhh.....nothing makes me feel prouder to be an American than a good, old-fashioned, protest and that is just what we had on the steps of the Alabama State House yesterday to let our elected officials know just how unhappy we are about their outrageous pay increase of 62% and their sneaky, slimy, underhanded way of passing it into law. Between 300 to 400 people showed up with signs after Matt Murphy and the crew at 101.1 The Source put out the call to thier listeners to descend on the Capitol and raise a little hell. It was the largest protest I have seen in Montgomery in some time.

Congratulations Matt and crew for a job well done!!

I know, in the end, the good people who made the trip yesterday may feel that they didn't accomplish anything because the legislature overrode the veto. But they did, in fact, accomplish a great deal. Since we do not have a recorded vote on the first passage of this payraise it is impossible to know how many legislators changed their minds, but I'd bet it was quite high. I spoke with a few before the vote who said they were voting no when they had been considering voting yes. Lots of legislators were looking out their windows.

The protest participants showed the legislature that we are, in fact, willing to travel to Montgomery and confront them on this issue. Not only confrontation in front of the State House, but also inside the State House, as many participants also lobbied their elected official face to face after the protest was over. I cannot overstate how important those meetings were and how important it is to do that each and every time you disagree with what our governing body is doing. Protest is important, but walking into your elected oficials office and looking them in the eye and saying "I, as your constituent, do not approve of this piece of legislation and I will not forget it come election time" is absolutely priceless.

It was an all around fun day for me. As I stated earlier, I love to protest. I get a pure adreniline rush off of it. Yesterday's was particularly good as it was a great mix of people and many of them were fans of mine from the election and others wanted to know more about the "STOP ARRESTING PATIENTS FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA" t-shirt I was wearing and about what they could do to help get the Compassionate Care Act passed. I was practically mobbed as soon as I arrived and I was really surprised by that. I didn't expect so many people to know who I am and I didn't expect so many others that didn't know me to be interested in medical marijuana. I made a lot of new contacts. These kinds of contacts are the best kind because they have already shown that they are willing to be active for a cause they believe in. It doesn't get much better than that.

As you can see from the photo above the media was out in force yesterday. Every news station in the state was there it seemed along with hordes of reporters form many newspapers. And then, the weirdest thing happened. A reporter who had written an article about me that I was not particularly fond of during the election, came over and said hello. This reporter then proceeded to apologize for the way the article came out and said it was not intended to be that way, but was edited after submission. This reporter said they understood I was pretty unhappy about it and they wanted me to know that they were sorry and that they had actually voted for me. I have to say that made me feel pretty good. I accepted their apology and told them that, while I did not like the tone of the article there was nothing in it that was untrue, I was mostly unhappy about how it was presented. I also said I wasn't really mad because I understand that when you put yourself in the public spotlight then these things happen and you have to just kind of roll with it. I don't think I have ever had a reporter apologize to me for a smear piece. I find it absolutely astounding. Wow! I know such a thing has to be rare.

Jeff Sanders from Channel 8 stopped and said hello. I didn't recognize him and had him confused with a legislator and for that I apologize. I think Jeff only interviewed me once during the election and that was at my news conference in April of 06 after I had secured the LP nomination. I also saw Monica Allen from Channel 8 and got a hug from her. Monica is a gem! Rhonda Colvin of APTV's Capitol Journal asked me for an interview for last nights show. Unfortunately, the show only contained a brief mention of the protest and no comments from anyone made the cut. This probably happened because the news at the end of the day was that the legislature overrode the veto. That's too bad. The protest was an important part of yesterday and deserved more coverage. My comments were also good. I basically said that most Alabamians would not have had a problem with a reasonable pay raise for the legislature that was conducted out in the open with a recorded vote the first go round, but that what happened was nothing short of robbery. Rhonda asked me about the money the legislators have to spend on gas, hotels and food. I told her that I campaigned for a whole year, drove my own car which required gas, stayed in numerous hotels rooms and ate every day for way less that what a legislator currently makes for three months work. I said if a legislator cannot afford to eat out at lunch then they should pack a tuna sandwich.

And in perhaps the strangest and most unexpected twist of the day I found myself shaking the hand of Senator Hank Erwin ....yeah...the same Hank Erwin of "God sent Katrina to destroy New Orleans" and Hank's Home for Alabama's Inbred fame and thanking him for his rejection of this pay increase. He spoke at the protest and he is a consumate politician. An excellent speaker. I had no idea that he was capable of such intelligent speech that didn't involve his warped and very frightening religious views. I also live by the code of not only telling legislators when they do wrong but making sure to also praise them when they do right.....even when it is Senator Hank Erwin.

After the protest I walked over to him and introduced myself. I told him that I have never once agreed with him on anything, but that I was very pleased with his words to the protesters and his encouragement of their continued involvement in the political process. I mentioned ballot access being a problem because it eleminates competition and he seemed agreeable that the laws need to be changed. He thanked me and asked for my contact information. I gave him a card and asked him his position on medical marijuana. He said he is against it which was no surprise. I told him that I would like to sit down with him sometime and have a discussion to see if maybe he wouldn't change his mind. He said to come by his office anytime. He may not ever change his mind but at least he is open to discussion and that is a start. While I was standing there in my medical marijuana t-shirt talking to him, my friend Debbie Murphree walked up and snapped a photo. That one will be one for the history books. I'll post a copy as soon as I get one from Debbie. Talk about politics making for strange bed fellers....Lordy!

Here is a video clip of the protest. You can see me at the very end but only my head.

Here is a photo gallery of the protest.

Click here to find out how your elected officials voted. Then click here to find your representative and either Thank them or Spank them by emailing, calling, writing a letter or paying them a visit to express your thoughts on this issue.

Sessions & Shelby Do Something Right!

WSFA Channel 12
Alabama's Two U.S. Senators Vote to Reverse Part Of Patriot Act

March 20, 2007 07:26 PM PDT

Alabama's two U.S. Senators, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby joined the majority to reverse a provision in the Patriot Act.

This vote concerns the Bush Administration's firing of 8 U.S. Prosecutors.

Shelby and Sessions took the Democrat's side, and voted to end the administration's ability to fill U.S. Attorney vacancies with White House loyalists.

The House has not considered the bill.

While this isn't a vote to repeal the entire Patriot Act it is a small step in the right direction. I do believe this is the first time Sessions and Shelby have done anything that I have approved of. They generally tend to be terrible embarassments to the state of Alabama. Please write them a note and let them know you appreciate their vote on this matter and push them to repeal the whole Patriot Act.

Monday, March 19, 2007

March on Montgomery TOMORROW!!


The following invitation is from the Matt Murphy radio program. I will be at this march tomorrow morning. I hope you will be able to join us!!
Loretta Nall

It’s time to tell the dirty politicians “Hello, NO!” They want a 62% pay raise before doing any of the people’s work in Montgomery this legislative session. We, at the Matt Murphy Radio Program and at 101.1 FM The Source, want to do something! Nothing less than a March on Montgomery will do the trick!

Matt Murphy and the Source are asking for concerned citizens to commit! It’s A March on Montgomery to stop this obscene pay increase! If you are as mad, then sign up with this link! By signing up, you are making a commitment to join US – the citizens of the State of Alabama - at a rally at the state house. Tuesday – March 20th, 2007! We’ll caravan, bus, ride, walk or crawl to the statehouse to show we know what’s going on and we’re NOT gonna take it anymore!!

More on the details soon! Right NOW. Commit to traveling to the Statehouse in Montgomery, Alabama!!! Lets see if Alabama can STOP the out of control lawmakers!

Matt Murphy
101.1FM The Source


Thursday, March 15, 2007

MeMaw's Buttermilk

My MeMaw died Thursday morning around 8 a.m. after a wonderful 88 year life. She was fortunate in that she got to die in a home setting surrounded by the people who loved her and not in a hospital or nursing home surrounded by strangers. I am grateful for that.

The family has known for about two weeks now that this was coming, but that hasn't made accepting it any easier. When I was a kid and up until the last two weeks I was sure MeMaw would live to be a hundred...out of pure meanness if nothing else. She wasn't really mean...just ornery and set in her ways for every one of my 32 years. She seemed to be made of steel. Completely invincible. She was built low to the ground and was about as big around as she was tall. God, how I love her and am so much like her. She is where I get my spunk, fearlessness, sense of humor and forked tongue. She is also where I get my fat cheeks, double chin, wide ass and Irish temper. I think I inherited the very best traits that she had to pass on.

I have been flooded with memories that you never seem to recall until someone you love dies. I wonder what it is about death that makes you recall things you have not thought of in years?

I was MeMaw's 'favorite' if she could be said to have had such a thing among her four grandchildren. I keep remembering all of the neat stuff she used to do when we were kids. She used to save all of her pocket change in metal Band-Aid boxes and Sucrets boxes and give it to me when I would come over. She always had certs and other candy in church to give the kids when we would get fidgety. Whenever someone would tease me for sucking my thumb (I am a 12 year veteran...retired now for 20....although sometimes when I wake up my thumb is wet??) she would defend me and make them leave me alone. She always kept my favorite blanket that I liked to twiddle between my fingers when sitting in her lap and sucking my thumb. She gave it to me when I got pregnant with my first child and I still have it. Her nickname for me was 'Thang' from the time I was born.

I used to spend a lot of time at her house when I was a kid. I slept with her at night....although sleeping with MeMaw was a bit of an oxymoron. She snored like a buzz saw and there was little sleep to be had. I remember I used to poke her and tell her to quit snoring and from a near dead sleep she would say "Hush your mouth I don't snore."

She used to roll my hair for me when I was a kid, as she was rolling hers for the week. Unless she was going somewhere she always had those pink, prickly rollers on the top and sides of her hair and the back was twisted up in little knot and held in place with bobby pins.

Speaking of going somewhere....MeMaw never learned to drive her whole life. The story behind that is that when they were a young couple PePaw was trying to teach her how to drive and they came to a train track and a train was coming. It is rumored that he made her go across the track in front of the train and it scared her so bad she vowed to never get behind the wheel of any car again....and she made good on that promise. PePaw probably regretted that as he spent the rest of his life being her chauffer.

MeMaw was a godly woman who believed in the bible. She went to church every Sunday, Sunday night and Wednesday. If you were at her house, then you went too. I used to jokingly say that MeMaw loved everybody who was a Christian of the Church of Christ variety and an Auburn fan. Being an Alabama fan was the worst kind of sin in her eyes. God might forgive you for it but she sure wouldn't. You had to be a Church of Christ Christian and an Auburn fan to enter the pearly gates....of that, she was convinced.

I have been thinking about things like how, when I was a little kid MeMaw and PePaw would get out under the huge old oak tree in the front yard and make hominy from white corn in a giant, black iron kettle. About how MeMaw would always buy cherry and peach pies for me from Flowers Bread Store in Talladega and put them in the deep freezer for when I would come and visit. I liked them frozen. Other things she used to have on hand for me were home-canned dill pickles with onions in the bottom. She would simply open the quart jar and hand them over to me and never say a word as I sat and ate each pickle, ate the onions and drank the juice. She used to do the same thing with canned peaches and tomatoes.

One thing I can't get out of my head today is her home-churned buttermilk with little hunks of butter floating in it. I can almost taste it. I remember when I was a kid she would get the milk from her sister (Aunt Inez) who owned a dairy farm, and put it in the churn in front of the fireplace. At night she would sit in her rocking chair with the churn between her feet and churn while watching the news. Every speck of butter we ever ate at her house came from milk she churned. And the milk was the best....with little hunks of butter floating in it. I know some of you readers aren't from the South and, therefore, might not be familiar with the exquisite culinary delight of buttermilk and cornbread mixed together in a glass....but it was sublime eating with MeMaws buttermilk. Her cornbread too was one of a kind. She ground her own cornmeal so that there were little bits of corn husk in it. It was crunchy on top and bottom and soft in the middle. MMMMMMM......
It makes me sad beyond words that I will never get to drink Memaw's buttermilk and eat her cornbread again. That is a huge loss to the country world of culinary delights.

Another thing that occured to me was after the news went off Wheel of Fortune came on and my MeMaw and PePaw loved that show. PePaw used to sit in his recliner and comment on how pretty he thought Vanna White was. Why, he would even comment on her dress even though he did not have the faintest concept of fashion and cared nothing about her dress. He would comment on it to piss MeMaw off. He would say, "Now that's a pretty woman in a pretty dress" to which MeMaw would always respond "Looks to me like they run out of material before they finsihed sewing it." That still cracks me up. When my other grandmother died in 2005 I wore a dress to the funeral that MeMaw didn't approve of. She walked up to me when it was over and said, "Loretter, looks like somebody run out of material before they finished sewing your's $25 to get you a whole dress."

All the way up until last year my MeMaw had a garden. When PePaw was still alive they raised everything they ate. Beef, pork and chicken for meat and every vegetable and fruit you can possibly imagine. Every year when the harvest started coming in we would go and spend a few weeks at MeMaw's. We would sit on the back porch and shell purple hull peas and butterbeans until we were sure our thumbnails were going to detatch from our thumbs. If you have ever shelled beans then you know exactly what I am talking about.

All my life I can never remember visiting her house where she did not stuff me to the point of rupturing my gut with yummy food or leaving her house without being loaded down with food. Pounds of fresh farm raised beef, chicken and sausage, every frozen and canned veggie you can think of and dried apples, frozen and canned blackberries and peaches, frozen strawberries, jars of jam, jelly and hot pepper sauce for turnip greens. MeMaw put three hot meals on the table every day of the week. She didn't hold with cereal or sandwiches. When you sat down at her table you feasted on chicken fingers, creamed corn, turnip greens, purple hull peas, mashed potatoes, squash, okra, tomatoes and either cornbread or homemade rolls. No one will ever be able to make rolls like she did. I am getting hungry just thinking about it.

MeMaw only spanked me once in my 32 years. Generally, since I was the baby and a girl to boot, she let me get away with murder. The one time she got me was for painting her room with red lipstick. I was about 4 and she had to go to Anniston so she left her oldest son, Grady and my two older brothers to watch me. They didn't watch real well and I got into her room, got her bright red lipstick and painted everything but the ceiling. She tore me up! Then she realized that it was actually the fault of the three who were in charge of watching me and she went and tore their asses up too. She never raised her hand to me again.

MeMaw always kept her hands busy. She believed idle hands were a tool of the devil. For many years she would walk up the road to her brother's (Uncle John's house) and use the quilting frame in his basement. Finally, she got her front porch screened in and somebody built her a quilting frame at her house. She was a very skilled quilter and I have many quilts to show for it. She made me and my three siblings double bow tie quilts in our favorite college team colors. Two red and white for Alabama and two orange and blue for Auburn. She also made us rising star quilts and lots of flannel patchwork quilts. I still have all of mine and they keep me warm in the winter. When she wasn't busy quilting she was sewing buttons on clothes or hemming pants or letting the hem out of skirts.

Another thing about MeMaw was her mischevious streak. When we would stump our toes and have those huge hunks of skin hanging off the end and be bleeding like crazy she would ask "Did it hurt?" and through tears so hard they made us snub, snort and gasp for breath we would say "" and she would grin say "I didn't feel a thang!" Don't ask me why for I never asked and she never elaborated...but that was her in a nutshell.

She always had a forked toungue too. Still had one right up until the day she died, as a matter of fact. When I was about 11 my grandfather had one of those giant satellite dishes installed. You know, the kind so big they look like maybe you could use them to contact aliens across distant galazxies? Anyway, MeMaw gave me the remote one day and I flipped it to MTV where my current heart throb, Jon Bon Jovi, was wiggling and gyrating around on stage. I commented about how good looking I thought he was and Me Maw said, "Where at...under his clothes?"
While visiting her last week I was watching TV with her and some handsome actor came on the screen. I said, "Now there's a nice looking man...ain't he MeMaw?" and even with a leaky heart, failing kidneys and around her oxygen tube she popped right out with, "Where at...under his clothes?" Never missed a beat.

God, how I am going to miss her. I don't know what comes after death. I am not religious and do not believe in any religious text or the idea of an afterlife. I hope for MeMaw though that she is in the place she always imagined she would go when she died and that she is at peace and with PePaw again after 14 years.

I love you MeMaw and cannot believe you are gone. The next few days will be very rough on those of us that loved you. I dread going to your house and you not being there. That just ain't right. I have been crying since yesterday when I got the news, but it won't really hit until I get to your house, which has that distinctive MeMaw house smell, and for the first time in my life you won't be there to greet me and set me down at your table for a fried apple pie or slip my kids a few dollars or gripe about their hair being too long. I'd give a lot today to hear you tell me to take my kids and "get that ol' long mess cut off their head." I'd give an awful lot.

You are loved and will be missed dearly. Thank you for all the love you gave me in my life. I miss you.

Love Always,

Compassionate Care Meeting Canceled!!

The Compassionate Care meeting I had set for Saturday in Prattville has been canceled due to my MeMaw dying this morning. It will be rescheduled for another time...probably next weekend.

Weekly Recap

Yeah, I know it's only Thursday, but the busiest part of my week usually begins around mid-day Friday and I won't have time to blog much this weekend.

It has been quite a week here at Casa Nall. My MeMaw is still very ill. I went down last Thursday and then again on Sunday. I will be going back tomorrow to spend part of the day with her. She isn't suffering which is great but she just seems to be lingering. She knows her condition and has a living will stating that she does not want heart surgery or to be kept alive via machine. My PePaw was a very sick man for many of the years that I knew him and I guess she saw enough needless suffering and decided she wanted no part of it.

I am actually very happy about that for a number of reasons. I don't want to see her suffer just because her family members are not ready to give her up yet. That seems to be the real reason behind why most old people are vegging out in nursing homes, being fed through a stomach tube and breathing via a ventilator. Performing open heart surgery, dialisys and a number of other procedures that have been recommended, might only keep her alive for a year or two. The quality of her life would be terrible and she would suffer tremendously.

I am also glad because I think that performing those procedures on anyone over the age of 70 is a complete waste of money (in most cases this is taxpayer money through Medicare) and it is cruel. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars on medical procedures for an elderly person if they only have a few years left no matter what medical procedure is done? It seems very fiscally irresponsible.

Not that elderly people should suffer....certainly not. Through prescription drugs their suffering can be mostly alleviated and they can die with dignity and at ease...hopefully in their home surrounded by the people they love. That is how MeMaw is going out, and for that, I am extraordinarily grateful.

Other exciting happenings this week included a court appearance where two government employees, who are on the side of the prosecution, DID NOT SHOW UP in court. They were sent subpoenas, just like I was. Mine was hand delivered by a sheriff's deputy around 8 pm last Saturday night. So, we know the police made sure I got mine. I wanted Failure to Appear warrants sworn out for them, but that has not happened as of yet. This is a classic case of 'aristocracy syndrome' whereby, the government and its employees follow a different set of rules than those by which they govern us peasants. If I had missed court on any date over the last five years then an FTA warrant would have been issued so fast my head would have spun. These double standards really piss me off....but, this is just one more nail in their coffin.

There was mention made to me by a prosecutor in court about pre-trial diversion and drug courts being started in Tallapoosa Co. I am almost certain I was being invited to come to the DA's table, once these charges are cleared up, and be given the opportunity to have some input in a drug court, pre-trial diversion and community corrections programs. I have had a number of emails and comments from my supporters on this issue and I want to address some of their concerns about my possible involvement in any of those programs.

First, this may never happen. But, if I were offered the opportunity to have input at that particular table I would take it.

I don't like drug courts or pre-trial diversion for non-violent drug offenders. My views on drugs and drug use are very widely known. Marijuana should be legal and not one person should ever be forced by the state to enter 'treatment' for consuming cannabis. It is a waste of money and takes up bed space for people suffering from real addiction to hard drugs like meth and Oxycontin. I think the government and law enforcement have NO PLACE addressing a medical and social issue. I think if people want to do drugs then let them. If they cause physical harm or injury to another person or to property then hold them accountable for the harm, but the use of drugs in and of itself should not be against the law.

Having said that, I acknowledge that some drugs are against the law and that right now most counties in Alabama have no choice but to send people to jail or prison for non-violent drug offenses. Drug court, pre-trial diversion and community corrections will help end the practice of sending people to Alabama's notoriously dangerous and overcrowded prison system. These programs allow people unfortunate enough to get caught up in the criminal justice system the opportunity to continue working if they have jobs and to be able to stay with their families as opposed to becoming a huge burden on the taxpayers. Incarcerating them at $13,000 a year, processing them through the court system at untold thousands of dollars, feeding their kids via welfare if they have left any children behind and putting people who are not criminals in a cage with people who are criminals is very bad policy. We are creating criminals and making certain that non-violent drug users will always be a burden on society. That has to stop.

Having someone like me on the inside of these programs would really be a very good thing. There needs to be someone in that position stating the things I just stated above. That is how things begin to change. Better me in that position than say a former narcotics task force officer or a dick head probation officer, right?

And again, none of this is reality at this time, but more an invitation to get the discussion started and that is important.

On to other things....

Saul has had a pretty good week. He got to travel with me some and seems to have gotten over being car sick. He still has to ride in his kennel because he has yet to overcome extreme excitement and won't sit still in the back seat. The intruding step-shitter dog has not been back this week that I have seen. I guess he got his jab in and decided to leave well enough alone.

He loves to go outside and play in his fence for hours. We discovered earlier this week that he loves water. He thinks the hose spraying him is just divine. He barks at it and growls, snaps it up, gargles, yelps and tries to scratch all of the water out of his mini-pool as I am filling it up. He also likes to put his ball in the water and chase it around with his feet and nose/mouth. He is about silly....just incredibly silly. To watch a big ol' man eater like him playing with his ball in the water or romping around the house with his favorite squeaky toy just cracks me up. My daughter found a tough piece of cloth she uses to play tug with Saul. I think tug is his favorite game now. He is hilarious. He will scoonch up like he is about to take a crunch on the carpet and jump backwards trying to wrest the cloth from her. He is really strong too and usually gets it away from her after a few backwards hops. It makes him very tired, so I encourage her to play with him a lot so he doesn't wear me out as he is a very energetic dog who likes to be busy. She will be back in school next week and I am sure Saul will miss her....I know I will.

Another thing happening this week(end) is the weekly Compassionate Care meeting. Please clilck the link and join us in Prattville, AL this Saturday from 3-5 pm.

That's all for now and I hope to see you on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Compassionate Care Meeting Saturday, March 17


Alabamians for Compassionate Care will be holding our weekly meeting on Saturday, March 17, 2007 at The Cracker Barrel located just off of I-65 in Prattville, AL. Click the above link for directions. The meeting will be from 3-5 p.m.

During this meeting we will discuss the content of the bill, new updates and changes, specific tasks that we, as a group, need to commit to doing in the next few weeks, like showing up at a news conference, showing up at a citizens lobby day and much, much, more.

Please bring notebooks and pens to take notes. Please bring people with you. If you are coming from the Birmingham area and can give a ride to the wife of one of our cancer patients please email me.

Hope to see you on Saturday.

The State Owns Your Children

In yet another attempt to assert that the government and public school system own the children of this state 2 people have been arrested in Mobile for truancy violations.

Parents arrested in truancy crackdown

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Press Register Staff Reporter

Two Mobile County parents were arrested this week on charges of failing to appear at a court hearing where a judge was to hear accusations that they allowed their children to skip school.

Clinton Howard Upshaw, 37, and Barbara Bohannon Upshaw, 30, of Grand Bay were arrested Monday. The two are the first actual arrests stemming from newly elected Juvenile Judge Edmond Naman's effort to crack down on student truancy, according to Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson Jr.

Last month, Naman issued 30 warrants charging parents with not sending their children to school.

Naman, a former prosecutor who was sworn in as judge in January, said he may bring as many as 600 parents to court under those provisions.

(This equates to "We created another government position and now we must arrest someone to justify our existance")

Tyson said the Upshaws' arrests send an important message to the community: "If you're facing a court hearing, you better ought to get there."

(Well's a damn shame that teachers and cops aren't also required to show up in court for a hearing or face arrest.)

After a child has five unexcused school absences, a letter is sent to the parent inviting them to an early warning truancy program sponsored by Tyson's office. Parents who do not show up for the program, offered weekly at downtown's Mobile Government Plaza, are automatically subject to prosecution, Naman has said.

( 'invite' but if you decline you get arrested....that sounds more like mafia fire insurance to me)

The Upshaws were being held without bail Tuesday night at the Mobile County Metro Jail, according to the jail log.

(Is this really a 'crime' that deserves to have NO BAIL set? That's just crazy!!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Court Appearance Update

Today was suppossed to be the day that my attorney argued a motion for supression. If everything had happened like it was suppossed to, then my case would likely have been dismissed today. But, as we all know from past experience, when dealing with government employees (cop & teacher) things usually do not go as planned.

Last week my attorney sent out subpoenas to me, Kindergarten Cop Eric McCain, and Horseshoe Bend kindergarten teacher Beth Shaw to appear in court at 9 a.m. this morning. Well, I was there....and that was it. The cop and the teacher didn't show and as far as I know didn't alert the court to the fact that they would not be there. As a result we didn't get to argue the motion.

I asked my attorney whether or not we could request failure to appear warrants for both McCain and Shaw....we know this is what happens to non-government employees when they fail to appear in court. He said yes, we could, but declined to do so. I didn't press it. He likely knows my heart might physically burst from joy at seeing Beth Shaw and Eric McCain in handcuffs....and he wants me to remain alive long enough to see this thing through to the end.

From what I understand my case will come up before Judge Ray Martin on April 9 and we will argue the suppression motion at that time....or possibly something will be worked out before the state could drop the charges.

One strange thing did happen though. As I was sitting and waiting for my case to be called the former prosecutor, turned defense attorney, turned back prosecutor walked by and said, "Hey Loretta". I returned his greeting and commented on his return to the 'dark side' of prosecution. He laughed and said he wasn't up here much and started to walk away. Then he came back and leaned down and said, "You should go and see my boss sometime (the D.A., E. Paul Jones) and talk to him about getting a drug court and pre-trial diversion here."

I said I had heard that Mr. Jones was supportive of such things and that when I got all of this mess cleared up I would go by and talk to him.

When I mentioned this to my lawyer he thought the guy must have meant that I should take a pre-trial diversion instead of take it to trial. I told him I didn't think that was what he meant because, I can't really legally go in and talk to the DA while he is prosecuting a case against me. That would be ex-parte communication or something like that. If I were representing myself I could talk to him but, since I have a lawyer, I can't.

Looking back, I am not sure if the Asst. D.A. meant I should go and talk to the D.A. about pleaing out and going through pre-trial diversion, which I have no intention of doing and that is a well known fact to this particular prosecutor, or if he was telling me that the D.A. is interested in my work and wants to discuss with me how to keep non-violent drug offenders out of jail. I am hoping for the latter and leaning towards the latter because talking to the D.A. directly would not be legal and I don't think the Asst. D.A. would tell me to do something illegal.

If this turns out to be the case, then I would say that would be a huge reward for me. All of my efforts in fighting this case and and my activism pushing for real drug policy and prison reform, my campaign for Governor, my constant media presence and my relentless and tireless pursuit to bring common sense into the Alabama judicial system will be well rewarded by me being able to influence a drug court in this county.

I do believe I have gained the respect of mine enemy and that is a major step if real change is ever to be had.

Court Today

Friends and Supporters,

If all goes well then today could mean the end of my legal battles with the state of Alabama (at least for now). I return to court today where my attorney will argue a motion for dismissal. We both feel pretty confident that it will succeed. In the event that it does, my case will be dismissed today.

In the event that today's motion fails I will have to reappear in court on Thursday, March 15, to refuse the states plea deal and demand a jury trial (again). I believe that trial will be set for April 9.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Loretta Nall

Monday, March 12, 2007

Must Be Standard Practice

Student questioned about dad's use of pot

The controversy surrounding a bill to allow the use of medical marijuana hits home for a junior-high student in Brooklyn Park.By Mark Brunswick, Star TribuneShannon Pakonen told a House committee Thursday that his 15-year-old son, Sam, was interrogated this week by a teacher at Brooklyn Junior High School in Brooklyn Park about his father's use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The incident, Pakonen said, demonstrates the need for legislation to authorize medical use of the drug.

Lisa Hunter Jensen, the Osseo School District's director of school/community relations, said the district had only sketchy information about the incident from the school's principal but said the district is investigating the matter further. Telephone calls and e-mails to the school's principal and assistant principal as well as the Osseo School District's superintendent and school board members were not returned Thursday.

Sam Pakonen was pulled out of math class and told to report to his speech teacher, his father said. While there, the teacher asked him about his father. Were there marijuana plants in his house? Did he ever see his father smoke pot? No, he replied.That was on Tuesday. Two days earlier, Sam's father, Shannon, had been quoted in a Star Tribune story about a bill in the Legislature to allow the use of medical marijuana in the state. He was quoted saying he occasionally used marijuana to reduce tics and spasms caused by Tourette's syndrome, a neurological disorder.
Shannon Pakonen had also testified in support of the bill last month in a Senate committee hearing.

On Thursday, Shannon Pakonen relayed Sam's story to members of the House Health and Human Services Committee, which took testimony on the medical marijuana bill and could vote on the measure as early as today. "My son should not have to be treated like a criminal on the basis that he is my son," Pakonen told the committee.

Sam Pakonen was in the audience. After the hearing he retold the story. He said he was told to report to the speech teacher because his physical education teacher reported having difficulty understanding him. He was born prematurely and has several developmental disabilities. While he said he sometimes has difficulty with his speech, the physical education teacher had never made that claim in seven months of having him in his class.

The speech teacher asked the questions about the marijuana.

Measure stirs controversey

Shannon Pakonen, who said he obtains the marijuana from friends and does not smoke it in front of his son, said the actions at the school help illustrate the problems associated with the medical use of marijuana today.

A proposal that would have Minnesota join eight other states in approving such use has bipartisan support in the House and Senate but Gov. Tim Pawlenty opposes the measure, fearing that it sends the wrong message about the dangers of the drug.Other opponents, such as the Minnesota Family Council and the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, have testified that marijuana could end up in the wrong hands.

Pakonen said he called an assistant principal at the school to complain on Wednesday and was told the physical education teacher was curious because she suffered from chronic pain. He was told that Sam had brought up the issue of medical marijuana. The boy said that never happened. "I think they were trying to make the case to take my son away from me," Shannon Pakonen said after the hearing. "They want to victimize someone. I was going to be punished for exercising my right to speak out."

While unfamiliar with the specifics of the case, Barry Feld, a professor at the University of Minnesota law school specializing in juvenile justice, said police, teachers or other people in authority have a right to ask about allegations of impropriety, particularly if it involves potential child abuse or neglect. "They would certainly be in a position to ask the kid about what goes on in the house," Feld said. But Feld said there are statutes protecting family communications from being used against someone. "It's to encourage kids to talk to their parents about problems," he said.

One of the measure's supporters is Rep. Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, a former House speaker who once opposed the use of medical marijuana but has since signed on as a co-author. "This is an example of why we need to pass this kind of bill," Sviggum said after being told about the school incident.

Mark Brunswick • 651-222-1636 •

This is almost the exact same thing that happened to me.

I exercised my first amendment right to free speech by writing this letter to the Birmingham News. Six days after it was published the kindergarten cop at Horseshoe Bend School interrogated my then 5-year-old daughter about what kind of plants we had in the house, and did she ever seem me roll up anything green and smoke it. Of course, the cop claims she rushed right up to him and volunteered information about "green leafy plants hanging from the ceiling". Yeah...riiiiiiight!!!!!
Later on (this repeated quetioning of my children at school by law eforcement and state sanctioned kidnappers took place for over a year) the questions "do you have food in the house" and "do you get porn in your email" were added to the houseplant and smoking green stuff questions in an effort to build a case to take away my children. That effort FAILED!!

This story even paralells in that they say this kid "brought it up". How grown blame the kid....and a developmentally disabled one at that. It's SICK!

I will be in court tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. where my attorney will argue a motion having to do with this very thing. If all goes well my case will be dismissed tomorrow. Y'all keep your fingers crossed for me.

It's Gonna Be a Long Week

This week is shaping up to be a long one. My grandmother is still hanging in there. I took my kids and my brother down to visit her yesterday for a few hours. She was so happy to see her great-grandchildren. It was good to see her smile.

This week is also Court Week . On Saturday night before I got back from the Compassionate Care meeting in BHAM a sheriff's deputy dropped in to serve my 10 year-old daughter with a subpoena to appear in court on Tuesday. My attorney is arguing a motion related to this 5 YEAR OLD case and Bell was to testify. However, that has changed, as of yesterday, and Bell's testimony will not be required. I am glad. I didn't want her to have to go through being on the stand and cross-examined. That is terrifying to most adults....I can't imagine what it must feel like to a kid. I am still unsure if I have to be in court on Tuesday, when the motion is argued. If we win the motion then Tuesday will be the end of the my court battles. If we lose the motion Tuesday then I will have to appear on Thursday, refuse the states plea deal AGAIN and demand a jury trial AGAIN which will be set for April 9, 2007.

I am hoping it will all be over on Tuesday. This nonsense has gone on quite long enough.

Time to Try Different Approach

My good friend and fellow drug policy reformer, Dawn Palmer, had the following LTE published in the Birmingham News over the weekend. WAY TO GO DAWN!!!

I'd like to encourage everyone in Alabama who reads this to write a response in support of Dawn's letter. LTE's are a very effective and FREE way to bring attention to our issues. The editorial page is the most widely read page of any paper anywhere.

Time to try different approach

I am writing this in response to the article concerning the $3.5 million in marijuana seized recently near Leeds. I think Jefferson County Sheriff Sgt. Randy Christian wrapped up this war on drugs in a nutshell. He said, "It's a cat-and-mouse game. We catch one mouse, and there is another rat ready to take its place."

I think we have lost this war. We need to try another approach. Did we not try another approach with alcohol prohibition? Ending prohibition didn't stop alcohol use, but it cut out the killing from the black market and the deaths from dirty alcohol that was produced for a high profit.

Drugs and alcohol are not going to go away. Let's take a more compassionate approach and let the medical professionals, not the criminal justice system, deal with these problems. This would be a more productive approach economically and socially.

According to an article in the Council on Foreign Relations publication, next year's budget on the war on drugs is expected to be about $12.7 billion. Roughly 65 percent of this sum will be spent on "source control," or supply control, with the remaining 35 percent going toward treatment and prevention. This doesn't even count the money we spend on incarceration and the building of more prisons and jails.

Wouldn't you think we could redirect this money and use it for free health care for all citizens? I think we have had enough war, especially war against our own people. It's time for a different approach.

Dawn Palmer


Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday Doggie Blogging and Shit on My Doorstep

Ok. Now I didn't realize Saul could smile for the camera but...that picture says it all. What a clown!!

Saul has had a busy week this week. He has learned to escape his fence no matter what I do. Twice now he has come bounding around the corner like a kangaroo and treed multiple cats. He is very proud of himself. He has not caught a cat yet though. I have managed to get to him almost as soon as he breaches the fence. He is very good about coming to me when I call.

There is a new dog lurking about and Saul is NOT happy about it. It is a neighbors hound dog and three times this week when I have taken Saul out he has been outside. He looks friendly and wags his tail but I am afraid Saul is kind of anti-social and wants only to defend his territory. The other day the hound was in the woods behind the house and Saul could see him. He went NUTS! I didn't get onto him because I want him to be defensive of his family and territory....but he got so excited that he tried to go through the glass in the living room window so I had to put him in his kennel. He almost broke it apart. When he is in defender zone he is a sight to behold!

Since the arrival of this new dog Saul refuses to go to the bathroom when I take him out. All he wants to do is sniff all of the other spots where the hound has peed. It takes so long to convince him to go.

Yesterday Saul and I went to Montgomery to visit my grandmother who is very ill and expected to pass any day. When we arrived back home yesterday afternoon the intruder hound dog had left a giant pile of shit on our doorstep.

Can you believe that? He just bowed up and shit right on the steps while we were out. It would be hilarious if it were anyone's steps but mine. Despite it being mine though, I still find I can smile at the pure audacity of this dog. It's admirable, really. Saul came up on that pile, took a giant sniff and let out a very deep rumble as if to say..."You're marked buddy." Seeing a dog growl at a pile of shit left by another dog was surreal.

This is going to be a short post. It has been a hellacious week here at Casa Nall. My grandmother (MeMaw) is very ill. She is 88 and her heart and kidneys have given out and the death clock is ticking. She and I were always very close. I was always her favorite and from the time I was born her nickname for me was "Thang!"

I keep remembering all of the neat stuff she used to do when we were kids. She used to save all of her pocket change in metal Band-Aid boxes and Sucrets boxes and give it to me when I would come over. She always had certs and other candy in church to give the kids when we would get fidgety. Whenever someone would tease me for sucking my thumb (I am a 12 year veteran...retired now for 20....although sometimes when I wake up my thumb is wet??) she would defend me and make them leave me alone. She always kept my favorite blanket that I liked to twiddle between my fingers when sitting in her lap and sucking my thumb. She gave it to me when I got pregnant with my first child and I still have it.

Another thing about MeMaw is her mischevious streak. When we would stump our toes and have those huge hunks of skin hanging off the end and be bleeding like crazy she would ask "Did it hurt?" and through tears so hard they made us snub, snort and gasp for breath we would say "" and she would grin say "I didn't feel a thang!" Don't ask me why for I never asked and she never elaborated...but that was her in a nutshell.

She always had a forked toungue too. Still has one even in her current condition, as a matter of fact. When I was about 11 my grandfather, who we always called Pee Paw, had one of those giant satellite dishes installed. You know the kind so big they look like maybe you could use them to contact aliens across distant galazxies? Anyway, Me Maw gave me the remote one day and I flipped it to MTV where my current heart throb, Jon Bon Jovi, was wiggling and gyrating around on stage. I commented about how good looking I thought he was and Me Maw said, "Where at...under his clothes?"
Yesterday I was watching TV with her and some handsome actor came on the screen. I said, "Now there's a nice looking man...ain't he Me Maw?" and even with a leaky heart, failing kidneys and around her oxygen tube she popped right out with, "Where at...under his clothes?"

God, how I am going to miss her.

Good stuff happened this week too. More people have signed up to help pass the Compassionate Care Act. Two of the new patients and some members of their families will be attending tonight's meeting. I hope to see you there as well.

That's all for now!