Thursday, August 30, 2007

Drug Court Expansion in Alabama

The Montgomery Advertiser is reporting on a convention this week that focuses on drug court expansion in Alabama.

Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Drug addiction is hard to shake, but Alabama has been taking significant steps to help those struggling with dependence get the treatment they need instead of just locking them up, Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb said Thursday.

With 25 more drug courts in line to join the 16 already operating, Alabama will be in a position to lead the country, Cobb told more than 100 judges, lawyers and community corrections officials who will be involved in the expanding program.

"I want us to be known for fixing people rather than filling prisons," she said.
Drug courts allow nonviolent drug offenders to go through a lengthy program that involves intense supervision and testing while they are rehabilitated. The charges are dropped if they stay drug free for a year.

The goal is to have at least one exemplary court in all 67 counties by 2010, Cobb said after addressing the attendees at a three-day drug court training conference. Some at the meeting already have courts in their areas and others will be able to start them by Oct. 1.

As of February, the Jefferson County program had accepted 4,161 offenders, with 2,610 graduates and 431 who were still enrolled. A total of 701 failed the program and were sentenced to prison, but the recidivism rate for graduates was just nine percent. The defendants have paid more than $3.1 million in drug court fees and the program has saved more than $36 million in prison costs.

Prisons Commissioner Richard Allen said last week that about a third of the inmates in state facilities were charged with drug offenses, while 75 to 80 percent had drug problems that contributed to their crimes.

Last month there were 29,357 inmates packed into the state's aging prison system that was built to hold less than half that number. Drug courts will help with overcrowding by keeping convicted offenders from entering the system.

What Chief Justice Cobb is saying sounds really good. I want to thank her publicly here on my blog for her continued efforts to ease prison overcrowding and address drug addiction with a more compassionate approach. It is so important that society begin to realize that people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol are not bad people who belong in prison just because they are addicted. Regardless of how they got addicted they are still someone's mother, father, daughter, son, husband, wife or friend. I can guarantee you that not a single one of them sat and dreamed of being an alcoholic or addict when they were kids. It is time we stopped using the prison system to further destroy their already desperate lives.

Many of you may think that I have never experienced the addiction of a loved one, that I am just an advocate for marijuana. You would be wrong. I have two brothers. One in prison and one who just overdosed for the 9th time on methadone provided to him by the VA. I love them both very much despite their addictions. I know for a fact locking them in prison does not work and never will. It simply drives them insane and when they are released it is like they are coming out of a war zone. My brother Randy is due for release in October of this year. All of his 'crimes' are alcohol related.

What I fear with drug courts is that they will simply round up pot smokers and thereby fill up beds in treatment centers that should really be available to people suffering from hard drug addiction like my two brothers. However, pot smokers are much more numerous than all of the other drug users combined and chances are some of these courts will get the majority of their funds from responsible adult marijuana consumers. So much for the theory of safety in numbers, eh?

Recently Rep. Cam Ward wrote a piece over at Doc's Political Parlor entitled Drug Courts Can Reduce Overcrowding where we had an in-depth discussion about how the drug courts work, how they are suppossed to work, how they could work better, comments from people who have been through it and from family members of people that have been through them. You should definitely check that out. Don't miss my fellow blogger Bitter Old Punk's response as a consumer of the drug court program in Shelby County. It's absolutely priceless.

My thought's are that marijuana should be removed from all criminal sanction's, police involvement, and court oversight when used responsibly by adults. We all know it is safer than alcohol and not addictive to the degree that anyone actually suffers withdrawals if they quit. I say unless people who smoke pot are doing something to endanger others there is no reason for the police or the courts to be involved. Taking responsible adult pot smokers out of the drug court equation will greatly enable the drug courts to better help the people that really need it.

I hope that these new drug courts are being run by people who understand that basic, common sense principal. However, being a veteran of the court system and knowing how things work I want them all to know that I will be watching.

West AL Judge Pleads Guilty to Meth Charges

Former west Alabama judge pleads guilty to meth-related charges
Montgomery Advertiser

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) -- A former Pickens County judge has pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine precursors in neighboring Mississippi.

Ira D. Colvin entered the plea in Lowndes County, Mississippi, Circuit Court this week. His sentencing is scheduled for October 10th.

The 59-year-old former judge is from Carollton. He was arrested in Mississippi in 2006 and charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of ingredients to make methamphetamine with intent to manufacture. Colvin was accused of buying precursors at a store in Columbus.

Colvin was appointed district judge in December 2002. He was removed from the bench after his arrest.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Do I Smell Brimstone?

So, Alberto Gonzales finally jumped ship as the U.S. Attorney General. For that I am most grateful. I don't even have words to convey the depth of my dislike for that man. As soon as it was announced that Gonzales was leaving Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's name began to float around as Bush's most likely nominee to replace him.

I remember when Michael Chertoff surfaced during the Katrina aftermath. The very first time I saw him I said, "He looks like Satan sans the horns and a tail."

However, who he really looks like is Anton LeVey, founder of the Church of Satan and the author of the Satanic Bible.


Now, that's creepy! Does it smell like brimstone in here to you?

I mentioned this yesterday over at Daily Dixie.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Granny & Snoot

I've been spending a lot of time at my mother's the past week helping transport my brother and helping mom deal with his situation. Since both of my air conditioners died last week I have been having to take my dog with me everywhere I go...including granny's house because the heat inside a mobile home in the dead of August is UNBEARABLE.

My mom is terrified of big dogs. Of course, anyone in their right mind should be fearful of a German Shepherd that they do not own or know. However, Granny and Snoot have really hit it off. She throws his ball for him, feeds him from her plate and tries to scratch him everytime he walks by. She will even present her face to him and ask for kisses which he is happy to give to the degree that he licks her glasses clean off her face.

Today she chopped him off a hunk of his favorite snack, sharp cheddar cheese, and fed it to him in tiny bits. I took some pictures of that because it was just priceless. My tiny, little fearful mother feeding this giant man-eating dog cheese. Thought y'all might like to see.

Working Poor Being Harassed

The Montgomery Advertiser printed my letter about the "Take Back Our Highways" campaign and how troopers harassed people who work at a low wage factory.

My good friend Don Siebold alerted me to the fact that the Mobile Press-Register also printed the letter today.

The Tuscaloosa News has printed a response to the same letter from a gentleman named J. Paul Whitehurst, who respectfully disagrees with my view on this issue.

Y'all feel free to chime in and write letters of your own in response to both of these papers.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Many Can't Afford Car Insurance

The Tuscaloosa News printed the following LTE from me about the "Take Back Our Highways" campaign.

Thank's T-Town News!!

Dear Editor: During the “Take Back Our Highways" campaign I encountered the following scene when I arrived to pick my husband up from work in Coosa County.

Five state troopers were sitting at the entrance to a manufacturing plant checking licenses and insurance. People at this plant work for very low wages. The vast majority of them work for health insurance coverage and take home very little every week. Car insurance simply isn’t in their budgets.

Now, someone is bound to say, “Well, they shouldn’t be driving then." But that is a simpleton’s view of the situation. If they aren’t able to drive, then they aren’t able to work, and if they aren’t able to work, then they wind up on the taxpayers’ tab. Which would you rather them do?

How can a state government require residents to buy something they cannot afford? Oh yeah, the insurance companies own the government. That’s fascism. What has happened to America that we allow this kind of harassment and extortion of the working poor? When did it become OK for police to demand our papers? This isn’t Russia or East Germany ... it’s America ... but I no longer recognize it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Does the shit ever end?

I know that my last post said I would be absent for a while due to not having access to my laptop or internet other than thru my handheld. But, my nerves are shot and writing has ever been one of the best tonics for soothing them.

A lot of bad shit has transpired in my life over the course of the last month or so. One of those things has been the illness of my oldest brother, who I wrote about in the post about the VA giving me PTSD.

On Thursday of this week my brother was released from the VA hospital in Tuscaloosa. I went and picked him up and brought him to my moms where he lives. He has a lot of appointments he needed me to carry him to next week and then he was going back to the VA and go through the PTSD program.

For the 30 plus days he was in the psych ward he had been weaned off methadone and valium. Everything at my moms had been destroyed...or so we thought. Late Thursday evening my brother told me that he had left some important records in Tuscaloosa and needed me to take him back on Friday to get them. I said I would.

So we set out yesterday morning around 8 am. He was fine until about half way there and then I noticed his speech beginning to slur. I asked him what he had taken and he said 1 1/2 methadone.

"I thought you didn't have anymore" I said..

"I had some hid", he said.

I was pissed....but kept driving and he went on the nod.

Around the time we got to the Cottondale exit I noticed his breathing was funny. Like someone who has sleep apnea. But he was breathing. When we got to the McFarland exit I decided to wake him up. I reached over and shook his leg and called his name..."John...wake up man we are almost there." His leg was cold and odd feeling. I got absolutely no response. I shook his leg again....nothing. I slapped his face and his whole head fell backwards like it was boneless. His face was turning blue and I couldn't get a pulse.

I was scared absolutely shitless. My oldest brother had just died in the seat next to me.

I pulled the car into the Parade service station at 31st East and called 911.

The 911 operator said I had to get him out of the car and lay him flat on the pavement. Now, my brother is a big man...well over 200 pounds and I wasn't sure I could move that much dead weight. However those stories you hear about inhuman strength under extreme stress are absolutely true. I snatched his big ass out of that car like he was nothing more than a bag of feathers.

The operator told me to clear his airway, which unfortunately, was chocked full of tomato biscuit that mom had sent with us for breakfast. So, for at least two minutes all I was able to do was dig tomato biscuit out of his mouth and throat.

When that was done the operator said to begin CPR. "I don't know CPR", I said. So he gave me instructions.

"Put your hand under his neck and tilt his head back." As soon as I did that he took a huge gulp of air ..but only one. "Now pinch his nose closed and breathe into his mouth three times." I did. "Now administer 25 chest compressions and if he hasn't started to breathe on his own give him 3 more breaths."

Luckily Fire and Rescue showed up as I was doing the chest compressions and took over. It took them about 20 minutes to get him going on his own and then they took him to the hospital. I followed.

When I got to his ER cubicle he was awake..thanks to Narcan. He said, "What happened?" I am not sure I have ever wanted to slap him so bad in my life.

"Oh nothing just overdosed on methadone, choked on your tomato biscuit and died in the fucking car seat next to me. I had to drag you out in the parking lot of a gas station and administer CPR in front of a gathering crowd and wait for the ambulance to get there. How much of that shit did you take?"

"I only took 2 and a 10 mg valium."

"You LIAR!!!! You just wait til I get you back to the fucking house..then I'll put you in the hospital with the worst ass kicking you have ever had."

That made the ER staff giggle.

I stopped then before I lost my remaining sanity. I knew if I didn't stop I'd jump in his ass with both feet and that was neither the time nor place for it.

"I'm going to smoke and make some phone calls", I said.

"Don't call Mama", he said.

" think I didn't call her when your ass was laying dead on the asphalt of the Parade gas station having your heart shocked and tomato biscuit dug out of your throat? Oh yeah, the doctor found your pill stash and gave them to me. Take a good long look at this methadone, because, when I walk out of here I am flushing it and you will never get another one." And that is exactly what I did.

I know I sound like a harsh, hypocritical, asshole, since I smoke pot, but what has happened to my brother was not pot related and, in my 21 years of smoking pot, I have never died on anyone driving down the road.

Later on my brother was moved into an MICU room. I went in to tell him bye and he said, "You did CPR on me today?"

"Yes", I said.

He started crying and said "You saved my life and I am so happy because I am not ready to die."

"What else could I have done" I asked him..."You're my brother."

Many thanks to the owners/workers at the Parade on McFarland and 31st. East for the use of their asphalt, the free paper towels they provided so I could clean the tomato biscuit off my hands and for their genuine concern about how John was doing. If you live in Tuscaloosa stop by there get some gas and show them some love.

Many thanks also to the 911 operator who helped me keep my brother alive until the ambulance got there. And many thanks to Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue for getting there quickly and taking over for my amature ass.

I was talking to a friend about this last night and they said for xmas they are getting me a defibrillator that plugs into my cigarette lighter.

Moral of this story....If you are gonna take enough methadone to kill a fucking elephant please skip the 'mater biscuits....they're hell on an airway. And go take a CPR class

Friday, August 24, 2007

Away for a while

Dear Readers

I am going to be absent from blogging for a while due to some things i'd rather not go into. I don't have my laptop or internet access where I am now and trying to blog from my handheld is a pain in the ass since the keyboard is only about three inches wide and I have fat thumbs.

I will still be available via email and if anyone needs to call me then call me on my cell. If you don't already have the number then email me and I will send it to you.

Y'all keep'em straight out there until I get things back to something that resembles normal.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

No Car Insurance = Court = Big Fine = Jail for Poor People

Some may think I am going to extremes here but this actually happened to me in 2000 in Coosa Co. Alabama in the little town of Goodwater.

I was just weeks out of Hillcrest Hospital for treatment of severe depression after losing my three month old son to SIDS. I was driving through Goodwater when a cop pulled me over. I had no idea what for. My tag was current, I wasn't speeding or doing anything illegal that I was aware of. It turns out that the year sticker on my tag was missing. I guess someone stole it because those things do not just fall off by themselves.

He asked for insurance and I told him I didn't have any so he wrote me a ticket. He said that if I got insurance before my court date that the judge would likely throw it out. I went that very day and got insurance. I had to borrow the money from my mom.

When my court date rolled around my husband happened to be home from his OTR driving job and was able to go with me and handle our daughter as we had no baby sitter. In the courtroom two elderly black men were talking amongst themselves and one of them said..."They building a new jail and need money. Anybody that ain't got money for the fines today will go to jail." I didn't think that would happen. In my then very limited experiences with the court it always seemed that a judge would allow you to make payments. I also was under the impression that he would throw out my case because I had gotten insurance since the ticket.

That ain't quite what happened.

The Judge was the old Judge Teel and he was an absolute bastard to everyone who went before him. Everyone who had the money to pay the fine which was $746 was allowed to pay it and leave. Everyone who did not have the money for the fine was made to sit against the courtroom wall on the left side.

I went before him, took out my proof of insurance and handed it to him. He asked me if I had insurance when I was stopped and I told him no but that I had gotten it that very day and the officer had told me it likely be thrown out. He yelled at me that he didn't care when I got it only that I didn't have it when stopped, imposed a $746 fine and told me to go sit down along the wall.

At that particular time in my life I was prone to serious panic attacks. Full blown ones complete with numb lips and hyperventilation. The prescribed medication was Xanax but I didn't carry it around with me everywhere I went. I started to shake and my breathing was rapid. I knew I was about to have a major episode. My husband was looking across the courtroom at me very scared and worried. My daughter kept saying, "Mama" because she was three at the time and did not understand what was happeneing.

Pretty soon two officers told everyone sitting along the wall to get up and follow them downstairs to the jail. As soon as I made it across the courtroom the panic attack bloomed full force. I was hyperventilating, my face was numb, I collapsed to the floor gasping for air and asked for an ambulance. It was the worst panic attack I had ever had and my heart was beating so fast I thought I was going to have a heart attack.

The judge yelled from his throne, "What's matter with that gal?" Someone responded that I needed medical attention. "Naw she don't git'er off the floor." Then he addressed me, "What's gone make you quit doin at?" I eeked out between gasps of air that felt like I was breathing it through a straw, "Not going to jail." He was not pleased with my honest answer and again directed the officers to get me out of there. Two officers tried to get me on my feet but sat me in a chair instead. It was pretty clear to them that this wasn't some sort of prank.

A lady named Dawn Abrams, who was the judge's assistant that day, came over to me and asked me what I took for painc attacks. She explained that she had them as well and was very sympathetic to my current plight. I told her xanax but that I didn't have any. She told me to go on down to the jail and she would go and try to talk to the judge.

So, I went downstaris into a small, filthy, crammed, concrete hole with three cells, one bathroom that consisted of a toilet and a sink with no privacy and was for communal use. I was strip searched in the fucking kitchen and locked in the trustees cell as no other one was available.

I asked for a paper bag to stop the hyperventilation but was denied. Ms. Abrams came down a few minutes later and asked me how long I had had these attacks. I explained that my baby had recently died a SIDS death and that I had only been released from the hospital for treatment for shock, PTSD and severe depression a couple of weeks prior to this. She asked me if we had the money to pay the fine or anyone we could call to get it and I told her no. My husband was driving a truck long distance and it took everything we made just to stay afloat. She said she had tried to talk to the judge but he refused to show any mercy. She told me that my husband had also tried to talk to him and explain that I was a stay-at-home mother and he was a long distance truck driver and that he would lose his job, our only source of income right then if I couldn't be home to take care of the kids. The judge said to him, "So, you're telling me that you need the government to take care of your children for you?" My husband just turned and walked away before something really nasty happened.

Ms. Abrams then said,"I'll be right back. I am going to get you out of here." I didn't know what she was planning and didn't care because all I wanted was OUT! About 10 minutes later she came back and told the guard to open my cell and let me go.

It turns out that she paid the $746 from her own pocket. This was a lady I had never met before, who had some sympathy for my terrible situation and was willing to spend her own hard earned money on a complete stranger. I am not sure I have ever been more grateful in my life as I was that day. I told her I would pay her back and she said not to worry about that.

But, I did pay her back. She was an angel.

I don't know how often judges act in the manner that this one did. Hopefully not too often and preferably not at all. This judge is gone now. I don't know if he is retired or dead. I hope he is dead. I'd like to shit on his grave. His son is now the judge in his place....which is why I avoid driving through Goodwater, AL at all costs even when I have insurance and the sticker on my car tag. However, having spent the last five years of my life in court I am now prepared to really fuck up any judge who dares to treat me or anyone else in that manner again.

So, because of this retarded car insurance law poor people wind up in jail. This is insanity at its finest.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"I Own You"

Yesterday my son came home from school very upset. That is a very unusual occurance. My son is 15, a straight A student, a rule follower (for the most part), never been in trouble. He is generally a very laid back kid who doesn't get upset eaisly. I stay pissed off enough for all of us. My son just sort of takes things in stride.

However, he told me that one of his classes was interrupted for an assembly on the rules and the dress code. This is the first year that something of a uniform has been instituted at school. Boys have to wear jeans or khakis, a belt,and shirts must be tucked in and cannot have any writing on them other than a polo or duckhead logo on the pocket. He hasn't broken the dress code rule or any other rule that I am aware of.

He said during the assembly that the Assistant Principal Mr. Davis told all the kids, "When you walk in that door I OWN YOU!" Now, what kind of shit is that to say to kids? I own you? Since when is public school run by fucking drill sergeants? I didn't enroll my child in Lyman Ward Military Academy and no one is going to talk to him like that. It has been illegal to own another human being since slavery ended. Further, taxpayers own the school and the teachers because we pay their damn salary, so if anyone owns anyone it is that we own them. What sick and twisted logic to think that one owns the people who pay their salary. What sick and twisted logic to think that one human being in America thinks that they own another one. It reminds me of how my mother and I were treated by prison guards when we tried to visit my brother. Seems like many state workers need a serious reality check.

My son has enough of me in him to get really pissed at a statement like that. He said, "Mom it was all I could do to stay seated and keep my mouth shut! My tongue hurts from biting it."

No one owns my children. The public school especially does not own them. In fact, I loan my son to them nine months of the year so that they can maintain a decent GPA. Without him it would fall dramatically.

So, I dedicate the following movie clip to Assistant Principal Davis.

I hear Lyman Ward Military Academy in Camp Hill is hiring. Maybe Assistant Principal Davis would find his drill sergeant mentality more acceptable in an environment that prepares kids for military life. My son isn't going in the military and therefore has no need whatsoever of this asshole treating him like he signed up for the Marines.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Let me see your papers!"

Yesterday when I arrived at the place where my husband works to pick him up I was met with this scene.

Five state troopers. Blue lights flashing everywhere. Four at the entrance on the left-hand side of the road and one on the right-hand side. The one on the right was gone by the time I took these photos. There were about 8 cars pulled over on the right side of the road and about that many more pulled off inside of the entrance to the plant making navigation tricky and creating a traffic jam. I wonder if they asked the plant owner if it was alright to block the entrance/exit to the plant?

I pulled into the turn lane and stopped because I wasn't sure if they were checking people going into the plant or not. I sat there a few minutes but no trooper came over to the car or waved me on. I finally decided to turn in. I figured if they had plans to demand my papers then they could come in and get me. Why make it easy on them?

As I sat and waited on my husband to come out I wondered if they had plans to check the workers about to get off for insurance as they left the plant. People at this plant work for very low wages and the vast majority of them work for health insurance coverage, like my husband, and take home very little every week. They can't afford car insurance. It simply isn't in their budgets. Now, some asshole is bound to say, "Well, they shouldn't be driving then." But that is a simpleton's view of the situation. If they aren't able to drive then they aren't able to work and if they aren't able to work then they wind up on the taxpayers tab. Which would you rather them do?

A few people came out of the plant, saw the nasty scene of intimidation that awaited them and went back in to warn others. My husband said the news spread like wildfire and that people were scared. These people work hard all week for next to nothing and when they get off work after a nine hour day the last thing they want to deal with is the Nazi paper checkers.

I wondered why the state troopers weren't sitting outside the entrance to Stillwaters checking papers and it hit me that the people in Stillwaters would 1)Never put up with that kind of harassment and intimidation and 2) The people who live at Stillwaters have enough money to afford insurance so the troopers would be unable to make money off of them. Instead they staked out a place where poor people who can't afford insurance work. Doesn't that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

When people started to leave there was a huge traffic jam because the troopers were checking workers as they left. Pretty soon it became evident that doing so was creating a traffic hazard and they began to let workers leave without demanding their papers. I know there were a lot of people who breathed a huge sigh of relief.

What has happened to us in America that we allow this kind of harassment and extortion of the working poor? When did it become OK for police to demand our papers? This isn't Russia or East's America....but I no longer recognize it.

Cross-linked at
Daily Dixie
Mama's Apple Pie

Flexing the Police State Muscle

If you live in Alabama then you probably already know that this week State Troopers, city police and county cops are out in force on our highways and byways. Suppossedly this is for the safety of the public and to "take back the highways." I say that explanation is a big ol crock of shit. This is nothing more than a massive revenue grab and a flexing of police state muscle to show us lowly citizens who's really in charge.

The following is from the Montgomery Advertiser

Troopers issued 5,989 tickets on Monday, the first day of the five-day "Take Back Our Highways" campaign. An extra 200 troopers are on the state highways during the blitz.

Of the 5,989 tickets issued Monday, 3,281 were for speeding and 944 tickets for seat belt or child restraint violations, Teague said Tuesday.

Whitney Beshields, an 18-year-old high school student from Mobile, was among those pulled over Monday by troopers for not wearing a seat belt. She told the Mobile Press-Register that she was in a rush and forgot to buckle up.

The crackdown "is really not a bad thing," she said. "They are just trying to make sure everybody is secure, that everybody is safe, because there are a lot of things going on right now."

In addition to the traffic violations, troopers made 101 non-traffic arrests, such as for illegal drugs, and issued 200 warnings.

The figures by the Department of Public Safety do not include tickets issued by city police and county deputies.

State Public Safety Director Chris Murphy planned the crackdown - including putting officers on the road who normally handle administrative duties - because Alabama's traffic deaths were going against the national trend.

The above statement from young high-school student Ms. Beshields scares me badly and makes me sick to my stomach. It shows how eaisly accepting citizens are of police state tactics, the loss of our rights and liberties and so forth. "Oh, they're just trying to make us safe." BULLSHIT!

They do not have the right or the legal authority to "make us safe" by forcing us to wear seat belts. That is not their job nor the job of the legislature which passed the seat-belt law. If I want to be unsafe and the only person I am putting in harms way is myself then that really ought to be my business.

And, if this is really about safety then what happens on Saturday when Police State Week is over and everybody goes back to their desk job? Does anyone really think that all drivers will start obeying speed limits, using turn signals, wearing seat belts and carrying insurance? No...of course not. When the police are out of sight they will also be out of mind.

No, this isn't about making us safe it is about taking our money, it's about police finding ways to invade your privacy and search your vehicle and it's about making the public think it is about "safety" so they will swallow it hook, line and sinker. It is also about getting the public used to seeing that many cops so that when martial law is declared at some point in the future no one will notice anything out of the ordinary.

"Oh...those guys in riot gear with huge automatic weapons on every street corner.... don't worry about then....they're just there to make us safe."

Athens Voters Reject Return to Prohibition Era

Associated Press Writer

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) -- Voters in Athens decided Tuesday to continue to allow the sale of alcohol in the city's stores and restaurants, according to unofficial results.

City clerk John Hamilton said 6,318, or 53 percent, of the city's registered voters turned out for the citywide elections. Of those voters, 4,288, or 68 percent, voted against the measure to end the sale of alcohol in Athens and 2,030, or 32 percent, voted for the measure.

Public policy experts said such prohibition votes aren't unheard of, but they are rare.

The wet-to-dry vote came less than four years after the north Alabama city of 22,000 narrowly decided to legalize the sale of beer, wine and liquor in stores and restaurants. While opponents back then feared an influx of bars and nightclubs, even they now credit city leaders with keeping tight reins on the sale of alcohol.

Pastors and church leaders who led the petition drive to put the issue before voters said alcohol sales should be outlawed on moral grounds, but supporters cast the issue in financial and quality-of-life terms.


Don't you just love 'moralists'? Why is it so hard for some 'Christian' types to understand that their morals are not the same as other peoples morals and that they really have no right or grounds on which to force their way of life on other people? You don't wanna drink a beer....fine with me...I'll never tempt you with one. But to try and outlaw the sale of alcohol to other people is just wrong. I see absolutely nothing morally wrong about consuming alcohol. The first miracle of Jesus was turning water into wine so where do these folks get off claiming alcohol is immoral? Was Jesus immoral for the results of his first miracle?

Anyway, I am very glad the voters of Athens, AL soundly rejected this attempt to retreat into the dark ages of alcohol prohibition. I believe I will have to go up there and have a beer soon to celebrate with the citiznery.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Between the Links is now Daily Dixie

Our friend and fellow blogger Dan at Between the Links has made some changes. From here on out BTL will be known as Daily Dixie. Please update your links and bookmarks.

Analysis of Republican Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, August 10

by Marc Emery
Cannabis Culture Magazine

Ron Paul has noisy, credible campaign and gets 9% of the Iowa Straw Poll in America's Religious Republican 'heartland'.

As a pot smoking, pro-choice-on-abortion person, I support Ron Paul completely and unhesitatingly. I believe that within the first ten articles of the Constitution, criminalizing abortion is a state issue. I'm content to have 50 states debating and experimenting with decentralized democracies. I trust Ron Paul's judgement, his consistency, his 20 years in Congress obeying his oath of office to defend the Constitution. He is intelligent, articulate, science & reason based, and he loves liberty. He understands the 9th and 10th Amendments better than anyone else. I'm a believer. Put me to work beside those pro-lifers and lets choose a President together who can respect all our liberties and perogatives under the Bill of Rights.

Here is my review of The Ames, Iowa Straw Poll:

Over 26,000 people attended, though with many out-of-state supporters unable to vote, 14,302 votes were cast, a lower than expected turnout. Each vote cost $35, had to be cast by an Iowa adult, and a minimum of 500 ballots HAD to be bought by a participating campaign to give to their supporters. Mitt Romney is said to have bought 10,000 votes, literally, but less than half were used for Romney votes. The Straw Poll takes place at the sprawling Hilton Coliseum and the grounds outside that are part of the Iowa State University, in Ames, a city smack in the geographical center of Iowa. Republicans meet any year that a new Republican Presidential candidate needs to be chosen, in this case for the 2008 campaign, and try to thin out the field by measuring support. Those who fail in the Ames Straw Poll often quit the race.

Those on the Straw Poll ballot, in alphabetical order, were:

a) Senator Sam Brownback, currently representing neighboring state of Kansas, a religious conservative (Creationist),

b) John Cox, an Illinois accountant of no importance who has paid the $25,000 fee to compete for the nomination,

c) Rudolph Giuliani, Mayor of New York from 1993 to 2001, and the nation's leading jailer of marijuana users in that time (350,000 arrests of pot smokers in those 8 years),

d) Mike Huckabee, Arkansas Governor from 1989 to 2001, religious conservative (Creationist),

e) Duncan Hunter, US Congressman from California's 4th District, former Chairman of the Armed Forces Committee,

f) John McCain, Senator from Arizona, Vietnam prisoner of war for 5 years from 1967 - 1973,

g) Mitt Romney, wealthy scion of George Romney, a Republican heavyweight from the the 1960's,is a former Masssachusetts Governor, a Mormon, and brains behind the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics,

h) Ron Paul, 10-term US Congressman from Texas 14th district, a libertarian Republican, Lutheran, The Champion of the Constitution,

i) Tom Tancredo, US Congressman from Colorado, religious conservative (Creationist),

j) Fred Thompson, Law & Order actor, one-time Senator of Tennessee,
k) Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health in the first George Bush administration, former governor of neighboring Wisconsin.

Mitt Romney is esimated to have spent $3 million to $6 million dollars in Iowa leading up to Ames Straw Poll, only to be able to bus in 4,516 votes, an average cost of $750 to $1,250 per vote received! Romney hired a fleet of over 100 buses, many only half full, to bring in the Republican hard core.

Mitt Romney was first in the Straw Poll at 31.6% 4,516 votes of 14,302 cast. This is more of a failure for Romney than a victory. Attendence was down from the 1989 and 1999 Straw Polls, considerably, meaning all Romney's money could not excite the Republican base to come and vote at the straw poll in any significant volume. Romney spent up to $5 million, Mike Huckabee spent $150,000 leading up to the Straw Poll, Ron Paul spent about $220,000, Sam Brownback spent over $500,000. Ballots cost $35 each but each campaign was allowed to buy any number of votes to hand out to the faithful!

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was the real winner in second place for 18.1% of the vote, 2,587 votes.

Mike Huckabee spent $150,000, leaving just a little more than that in his thin campaign war-chest, but came out with more votes per dollar spent than the much larger campaign budgets of Sam Brownback and Mitt Romney.

Huckabee is the big winner at Ames. Romney came in first but he really lost because the obscene amount of money spent to get 4,516 votes is shocking and embarrassing just to "win" a non-binding, very regional test of one's campaign support. Huckabee polled strongly despite a low key, modest cost campaign.

Sam Brownback is a Senator from neighboring Kansas state, and came in third with 15.3% of the votes cast, 2,192 votes.

Spending much more than Huckabee, Brownback had lavish large pavilion tents and a fleet of buses to bring Iowans to Ames, but three creationists (Brownback, Huckabee, Tancredo) and one Mormon are lobbying for the religious conservative vote. Brownback has Mormon Romney and Creationist Huckabee ahead of him, and a surprisingly strong showing by relative unknown Tom Tancredo just behind him. Brownback's campaign will be challenged to put a good light on this outcome. Huckabee and Tancredo got a big boost, Brownback essentially stalled with his base.

Iowa Republicans are largely anti-abortion, pro-war, and the three Creationists at the Straw Poll polled 47% of the vote between them. With Mormon Romney added, 78% of votes went to Creationists/Mormon candidates. That shows us that Iowa Republicans probably tip the scales into "extreme social conservatives."

Tom Tancredo received 1,961 votes for 13.7% of the votes cast. This may be the biggest surprise. Tom Tancredo has recently said that the USA should bomb Islamic holy cities if there is another terrorist attack on the USA. Tancredo's campaign is a one note thing, he's AGAINST illegal immigration, in a big, loud way, and this Iowa base rewarded his Creationist and anti-immigration positions.

Tom Tancredo, I want to note, has supported State's Rights to Medical Marijuana by voting for the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment each year. As a Presidential candidate, he's an animated wild-eyed extremist with a limited menu of positions, but he maxed out on them in the right forum here at Ames.

Ron Paul Loves Liberty!
With hard-core fundamentalists getting 78% of the Ames Straw Poll, how did Ron Paul do?

Coming in fifth, Ron Paul received 1,305 votes for 9.1%

In his podium speech, Paul established his Lutheran bonafides at the outset, speaking about his pro-life beliefs, his position against illegal immigration and birthright citizenship. He then moved on the Constitution, the war, the defence of liberty. Ron Paul's supporters were very visible and loud and with alot of great signs.

Ron Paul only opened his campaign in Iowa earlier this week, and had two of his largest fundraisers in his campaign so far. Ron Paul spent $220,000 on the Ames Straw Poll, including television ads. Yet Ron Paul raised over $110,000 this week in Iowa, the best fundraising total for the week of the 11 Republicans. Coming in a solid fifth, Ron Paul established that he has a foothold in the race and probably will derive more momentum from the Straw Poll than anyone else but Mike Huckabee. 9% is a solid beginning in a state that is hardly the best prospect for Dr. Paul's campaign. New Hampshire and Nevada primaries should be better. Dr. Paul got his relatively new message out in Iowa in all the mainstream media, as he was interviewed extensively. Congressman Paul spent the entire week campaigning tirelessly. Only Romney and Paul bought television advertising in the week preceding the Straw Poll. Carol Paul, Dr. Paul's wife of over 50 years, was hospitalized for exhaustion Saturday, just before the Straw Poll opened.Ron Paul's support visibly appeared larger as hundreds of out of state supporters trekked to Ames (smack in the middle of the Hawkeye state) to hold signs, eat Romney's barbecue, and buttonhole Romney supporters, and share the vibe.

Because Ron Paul's internet base has INTENSITY, Ron Paul's competitive status was never at risk as his campaign is still developing its own unique momentum. Fifth was good enough.

Paul's fifth place showing is the first sign in the voter marketplace that Ron Paul is not only an internet phenomenon, but that he can mobilize feet into voter booths. Further, Paul's campaign demonstrated they can spend money in conventional politics and make some waves. Mainstream media coverage for Dr. Paul has soared in recent weeks.

Dr. Paul is the bottom line in the Straw Poll however. After Ron Paul's fifth place showing, its all wreckage beyond him.

After promising to bow out if he did not come in first or second, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson received 1,039 votes for a 7.3% showing for a sixth place. Thompson's bank account is empty, and Wisconsin is a neighbouring state. If he can't do well in Iowa - and Tommy is a nice guy - he's conceding defeat. He'll announce his campaign is over in the next 48 hours.

The Straw Poll knocks out Thompson, who campaigned in all 109 counties. Tommy Thompson, who promised to stop raids on medical-cannabis patients if elected President, was Health Secretary for George Bush from 2000 - 2004.

Scratch #6 candidate.

Way down in votes at 7th position was stalking-horse candidate Fred Thompson, a TV actor and undistinguished one term Senator from Tennessee, with only 203 votes and 1.4% of the votes. Fred Thompson mingled in Iowa a few days this week but his 203 votes does him no favors. This is a dubious showing for a phantom candidate.

Ghouliani, as Ron Paul Revolutionaries have taken to referring to Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, received 183 votes for 1.3% of the vote. The Ghoul did not campaign or participate because these devout social conservatives would have ripped him to shreds so he didn't run the gauntlet here. 183 votes of 14,320 cast is a poor showing. I think thats a sign that in the cornbelt and the south, Giuliani has some obstacles in this contest.

However, Fred Thompson is still testing the waters, is flush with millions in cash, and has a fan-base. Giuliani has $15 million in the bank.

US REP. Duncan Hunter, coming in ninth with 174 votes, 1.3% of those cast, did appallingly poor. Hunter is a Congressman from California's 4th district and is a war hawk.

I have run for office numerous occasions and when I campaign in rural, farming, or small communities, I wear jeans, a clean working mans shirt, cowboy boots if I have them, and I get rid of slick, big city talk and behavior. When you campaign in the heartland, everyone is just regular folks. In resource towns and rural farming communities, no one owned a suit that I could tell. If I would have shown up in my Armani suit (which I wear for media and city appearances), I would have been treated as if I were from THE CITY or some place far away from heartland reality - and I would INSTANTLY lose any credibility with these people.

I could tell Duncan Hunter did not belong in Iowa. Slick suit everywhere he went. He obviously doesn't hang around farmers much. He just wasn't comfortable and he didn't fit in. It was a crushing end to Hunter's invisible campaign and he too will inevitably announce his withdrawl from the race later this week. Scratch #9.

John McCain in certain ways defines "walking wounded". He looks dignified but stiff, uncomfortable, his facial skin stretched too tight over that skull. He's broke, tearing through $13 million so far this year, with peanuts left in the bank ( perhaps only a million dollars), and his showing here shows a complete lack of connection with this kind of heartland audience. John McCain came in tenth with 101 votes. 07% of the votes cast.

This is awful for McCain. He did not officially campaign at Ames and thus did not participate in the convention-like atmosphere. He made no impact, has no supporters here, no campaign, no money. He is considered a has-been. Ames will further damage McCain's ability to raise money.

Scratch #10 McCain. It won't be immediately, but McCain will be out by November or December when he sees that he just won't have the money to compete in the January - March primaries, which will require $5-$10 million minimum in the bank without bills by December 31.

A Illinois accountant named John Cox got 44 votes for .03% of the votes cast, sparing former "front-runner" McCain the extremely humilating close call of being "Dead" last at Ames.

Scratch John Cox, #11, later this summer.

Official Campaign Website
Daily Ron Paul News Website
Ron Paul shirts, signs, and stickers
Ron Paul Radio 24/7 webcast

Monday, August 13, 2007

Free Ron Paul Straw Poll Tickets

This just in...I am planning to attend if at all possible.

FYI: Contact Shana to volunteer for the straw poll.

Contact your friends and light up the lists and blogs!

Also can anyone attend the AL GOP straw poll @ Tuscaloosa Sat. 9:30-2 to vote for Dr. Ron Paul. If you reserve immediately a $35 ticket will be supplied and reserved FREE for you. (a free lite meal is furnished). We could set up carpools to cut down on expenses. I think you only need to show up and vote. I think you need to be an AL resident, 18 yrs, with ID.

It is imperative that 100 people step up and claim these tickets.Please email me at ASAP. We will do our best tohelp arrange carpooling as well if that is an obstacle. This is so important. You must be at least 18 and have a photo ID tovote.Two sponsors will be buying 110 tickets for the Alabama StrawPoll in Tuscaloosa for any Ron Paul supporter who wants one!!!Please read that again. We have 110 tickets to give away! We cannot waste this opportunity.
The strawpoll is Sat. Aug. 18th from 10am-2pm at the Bryant Conference Center which is off University Drive in Tuscaloosa.
If you guys can get the info to me about who's coming, I can have free tickets reserved for them. The doors open at 9:30 or so and there will be coffee and danishes available during the morning. Voting starts at 11am and then a box deli-style lunch is served at noon. Voting ends at 1-1:30.

I still have a LOT of tickets available for Ron Paul supporters to claim and I understand that more can be bought if we exhaust the 110 free ones. So PLEASE find as many people as possible to come vote for Dr. Paul. There should be room in some cars going to the poll.

For everyone who wants a free ticket I need the following info-
full name
phone number
email address
what meetup they're part of if they are

Shana Kluck

Karl Rove Resigns

Unbelievable!! CNN is reporting that Karl Rove will step down at the end of August!!


Published Again

In today's Birmingham News opinion section two drug policy reform letters were published. One by my friend and fellow activist Dawn Palmer entitled Is banning drug economical? and one by me entitled Fear mongering reefer madness.

Please write letters in response. The more we keep these issues in the public eye the sooner change will come.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

August 18 Presidential Straw Poll

Dear Readers and fellow Ron Paul Supporters,

On Saturday, August 18, 2007, at 10 a.m. the West Alabama Republicans will be holding a Presidential straw poll at:

Bryant Conference Center
240 Paul Bryant Drive
Tuscaloosa , AL 35487

And we need you there to support Ron Paul! Some tickets are already available, free of charge, if you can let me know for sure that you are going to come to the straw poll. I need to know ASAP so that I can request that a ticket back held in reserve for you. Please email me.

Round up as many people who are Ron Paul supporters as you can find and meet me in Tuscaloosa on August 18, 2007. Ron Paul is the last hope for America!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

Today, on what the weather forecasters say will be one of the hottest days of the year, I turn 33-years-old. I feel much, much older somehow. In two years I will be old enough to run for President.

Click here to see what famous people I share a birthday with

Any readers out there have a birthday today? Any time in the month of August?

Poor Kids Get Zero's

Yesterday was back-to-school day for my son who is in 10th grade this year. I am homeschooling my daughter and it's a good thing...I can already tell.

This year at Horseshoe Bend school uniforms of a sort are required. Jeans or khakis for pants and shirts must not have any writing on them other than say a Duck Head or Polo logo, shirts must be tucked in and a belt worn. Why they have to insist on a shirt being tucked in is beyond me or that a belt be worn for that matter. Are they trying to make the kids uncomfortable?

Anyway, that isn't the worst thing. In the letter from my son's geometry teacher there is a list of supplies required.

Pack of #2 Pencils
Loose-leaf paper
Blue folder with prong pockets
Pack of copy paper
Construction paper
Markers or colored pencils
Calculator with Trig functions
Roll of paper towels

Tape, paper towels, copy paper and tissues are the only items left in the room. Basically that means you are buying supplies that should already be provided by your tax dollars.

No big deal you say...all schools require kids to have supplies...but here is the kicker...

Items must be brought in by Monday, August 13. A zero daily grade will be given for each day that you do not have supplies.

Now, let's say that the supplies on this list cost $30....but a poor kids parents do not have it just now. It may be hard for you to believe that someone doesn't have $30 but it isn't hard for me to believe at all. Basically what this means is that poor kids will receive a failing grade for being poor.

What's up with that?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Medical Marijuana in the Montgomery Advertiser

There is a great letter in today's opinion section of the Montgomery Advertiser entitled, Relax Medical Marijuana Laws and there is a great discussion as well. Please pop on over and join in.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The VA is Giving me PTSD

I have a brother who is a disabled veteran and three weeks ago he was admitted to the psychiatric ward at the Tuscaloosa V.A. Hospital for severe PTSD resulting in multiple suicide attempts.

I spent about 4 hours waiting for his appointment and then convincing his physician that he is actually ill and needed actue psychiatric care. It was quite a job. I don't know why really as my brother looks very ill and displays all of the classic symptoms of PTSD, severe depression and admitted to the doctor that he had tried to kill himself multiple times just recently and stated that he had lost all interest in living. He looks like walking death. Finally they agreed and admitted him. He was slated to stay in the psychiatric unit up to 21 days and then be transferred to the PTSD clinic which is a 90 day program.

Now, he called me a few times and begged me to come and get him. He was coming off of all the super heavy narcotics that the VA dopes him with and was having withdrawals. I refused to go and get him because I knew that if he did not detox then nothing that followed would matter. He told his doctor that he wanted to leave and she threatened to have him committed. I thought that was a bit much myself. I also thought that the big burly cops who escorted us to the psych ward were a bit much....they certainly did not promote a feeling of healing if you get what I'm saying, and the fact that they took his snuff when he was admitted was way over the top. But those experiences are for another day.

Right now I am a little confused. My brother called me earlier this week and said they were about to discharge him to go home. I asked him what about PTSD clinic and he said they had no room for him and that the waiting list was months long. I asked him if he could transfer to a private hospital or clinic if we could find one that would take VA CHAMPUS insurance and he said he didn't know. He told me that he really isn't ready to be released as he is still very depressed and nothing they have done has worked to alleviate his suffering. He said he felt that if he came home that he would try and kill himself again.

Two weeks ago they were convinced that he was sick enough to be committed and now they are saying he is all better and ready to go home. Huh? What gives?

I called his patient advocate this morning to ask some of these questions but didn't get far. The man I spoke with seemed to have trouble understanding the meaning of my questions. He did tell me that I was free to stop by the pool and chat with him if I liked because he had to go and that is where he would be. I tried to tell him that I am clear across the state from Tuscaloosa so I wouldn't be able to intrude on his relaxing swim...but he seemed unable to understand that either.

I have spent the last hour trying to get one of my brother's doctors on the phone with no success. Apparently the operator, who answers the phone with, "Tuscalooser V...A.." (really slow drawl) followed by a real slobbery and dispirited sigh, does not understand plain english either. I asked for Dr. Ban and got transferred to the voicemail of Becky Terry...whoever she is. I called back and asked for Dr. Toshkoff and kept getting a busy signal and then transferred back to the operator who sounds like he might have a bad case of Down Syndrome. The last time he didn't transfer but hung up on me instead. There is no phone directory listed on their site so I am at the mercy of a guy who sounds like he might have trouble wiping his own ass. YAY! I LOVE dealing with government agencies. It is always so much fun!

So, then I decided to contact my Senator and US Congressman in Washington about this. However, in order to have them open a file and look into this I need my brother to sign a release form and mail it to them. I can't get to Tuscaloosa just now and by the time I can and get the form mailed back to them he might be dead.

I finally got through to someone on his ward who couldn't tell me anything other than there is no discharge order. I said I knew he had not been discharged yet but that he said he would be by the end of the week. I then asked her if CHAMPUS would cover treatment in a private facility, assuming one can be found for PTSD, and she said "I don't know that's a social worker question."
"Well, can you transfer me to his social worker?" She gave me a sigh that sounded like having to push a couple buttons on the phone might kill her dead and said, "Haaaaang Ooooon." Hell what choice do I have? I got his social workers voicemail and left a message. Let's see how long it takes her to call me back.

How can my brother be ill enough to be threatened with being committed two weeks ago and be well enough to go home now? Is a soldiers well being measured by how many beds are available? How come the PTSD clinic at the Tuscaloosa VA only has 15 beds? Surely to god there are more than 15 veterans with PTSD in this state, seeing as how we supply more troops in battle than any other state. Shouldn't there be more beds? And if all the beds are filled how come treatment at a private facility isn't automatic? Can they really send him home when he is clearly telling them that he is suicidal simply because he has stayed the maximum of 21 days in the psychiatric ward and they do not have room in the PTSD clinic? Can't they put him somewhere else in the hospital until a bed in the PTSD clinic becomes available?

I just got the extention for Dr Ban's secretary, got her voicemail and then a message saying it was full...but to hang on and I would be transfered to someone taking messages for her. Guess who I got? Why, Mr. Down Syndrome of course. I fucking hung up.

By the time I am done with this I am going to have PTSD!

What would we do without officials?

I was reading the local paper this morning and I came across this doosie;

With temperatures expected to soar in Alabama throughout the week, officials are advising citizens to do everything they can to keep cool.

Gee, thanks for the advice. I had no idea that it was well over 100 degrees yesterday with the heat index and that I should take precautions against overheating. Gosh, I would never have figured it out without direction from the 'officials'. The buckets of sweat running off me, the fact that my skin was hot enough to fry and egg and the fact that it was the same temprature when I got up this morning as it was when I went to bed last night just weren't enough to convince me that it is HOT! I hope they soon come out with a piece on how to wipe one's own ass because we probably haven't figured that out yet either. What would we citizen's do without 'officials'?

Rob Zombie's 'Halloween'

I just learned that Rob Zombie of White Zombie fame has written and directed the latest Halloween the movie to be released August 31. Here is the trailer

When I first moved to El Paso, TX from Germany in the mid-90's White Zombie was very popular. Having lived in Germany for two years and having nothing but AFN to listen to or watch I had never heard of White Zombie. I have always been a metal head and they really hit the spot after two years of living in a country where I could not speak the language and the only song I could understand was 'Ein, Zwei Polizei' which was a catchy German tune about the police. I headbanged so hard to "More Human than Human" that I gave myself whiplash and loved it!

I was unaware that Rob Zombie had ventured into film writing and directing but cannot imagine a more approproiate venue than horror for his twisted brand of thought. I saw some of the Halloween movies when I was a kid but don't remember much other than Michael Myers, Jamie Lee Curtis, a butcher knife and a mask. I've never been a big fan of horror. I don't enjoy feeling terrified or like I might pee my pants at any second. I prefer to get my thrills in other ways that are less taxing on my heart and central nervous system. But, if I had to choose my favorite horror movie I think it would have to be the more modern one called "Saw". That movie scared the daylights out of me.

However, I will probably go and see Halloween the movie because I want to see what new twisted angles Rob Zombie will bring to a classic horror film. I bet there will be lots of great metal music.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

California Marijuana Growers Offer $1 Billion to Gov. Schwarzenegger

This is absolutely BRILLIANT! I am working on one for Alabama. Pass it on.

Critics Resort to Reefer Madness

Today my letter about the recent studies attpemting to link marijuana to schizophrenia and lung cancer was published in the Montgomery Advertiser.

Yesterday it was published in The Anniston Star.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Drug Dealers Need Tax Stamps

There is a neat article in the Birmingham News today entitled "Drug Dealers Need Tax Stamps".

Stamps are required for marijuana weighing more than 42.5 grams, 7 or more grams of drugs such as cocaine and 10 or more doses of drugs like LSD. Not that anyone but collectors buy them. I think I'll just about have to purchase some marijuana tax stamps at $3.50 each for gag gifts.


After many years of nothing but trouble and constitutional rights violations by public school here in Tallapoosa Co. I have decided to homeschool my daughter this year. Late last week I enrolled her in Sacred Grove Academy, which is a pagan church cover school. I am currently and anxiously awaiting their welcome packet and so is Bell.

Homeschool in Alabama looks to be very unemcumbered by needless laws. All that is required is for me to keep an attendance sheet on file. Of course, we will be doing much more than that. Both of my kids have really high IQ's and teaching my daughter will prove challenging I am sure. I will not be homeschooling my son as he does extremely well in public school, has adjusted very well, has many friends and is old enough to tell school officials to FUCK OFF should they seek to pry into his personal and home life ever again.

I think it will be a blissful year to not have to deal with my daughter getting off the bus crying every day because some little mannerless tart made fun of her because we aren't bible thumpers, law lovers or Republicans. I won't have to deal with one teacher who tells me my daughter scored 145 on the IQ test and another teacher who tells me that she failed her DIBELS NCLB test and cannot read. I won't have to deal with angry teachers who get mad at Bell for having an opinion, challenging stupid rules and speaking her mind.

I also won't have to deal with the serious depression Bell has experienced in the past due to problems at school, the stifling of her natural creativity and curiousity, or her frustration at being able to do much more advanced work than what is currently offered for her age in public school. We can move along at whatever pace she is comfortable at. No pressure.

Learning should be fun and, in my experience public school's have made it their mission to remove everything fun about learning. Schools are more like jails today than institutions of learning. It is really disgusting and downright frightening when you think about it. Public schools seem to get kids ready for factory work or jail. They have become an extention of law enforcement with DARE cops and SRO's patrolling the halls looking for the next generation of inmates in order to ensure their job security.

Now, who out there among my readers homeschool's their children? Can someone recommend a non-religious based cirriculum for an advanced 10-year-old? Anyone have any cirriculum for sale? Any to donate or loan out? If so, please email me.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Make Marijuana a Legal Cash Crop

In case you missed it in today's Editorial section of the BHAM News...When you are done reading please take a moment and send this to your US Congressman as well as your legislator in Alabama. They need to read this.

Make marijuana a legal cash crop

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Once a small part of Alabama's farm economy, marijuana is now the state's top money crop. Nationally, with an annual market value of $35.8 billion, marijuana ranks ahead of corn and wheat crops combined.

As Alabama's congressional delegation helps piece together a new federal farm bill in Washington, it should consider how marijuana, long an agricultural outcast, would better serve the folks back home as a legal, regulated crop - like tobacco.

A good starting point for this policy review is, "Marijuana Production in the United States (2006)," a study by Jon Gettman, a regional economics expert and adjunct instructor at Shepard University.

"Despite intensive eradication efforts," says Gettman, "domestic marijuana production has increased tenfold over the last 25 years, from 2.2 million pounds in 1981 to 22 million pounds in 2006 ... and its proliferation to every part of the country demonstrates that marijuana has become a pervasive and ineradicable part of the national economy."

Currently, marijuana use is discouraged through Draconian law enforcement policies. Using crop-eradication tactics, federal and state agents attempt to wipe out the annual marijuana crop, but they only reach about 8 percent of it, leaving the rest to enter a thriving underground marketplace. What is needed is a new policy capable of controlling not just a fraction of the marijuana crop, but one that effectively deals with the 92 percent now reaching marijuana buyers.

In 2006, Alabama's marijuana crop was valued at more than $569 million and topped the state's next two leading cash crops: cotton at $198 million and hay at $120 million. Alabama is not unique. In 11 other states, marijuana is the top cash crop and, in 18 more, it ranks second or third.

While marijuana is generally consumed in the state in which it is grown, Gettman calculates that production in nine states, including Alabama, exceeds local needs and allows these states to become marijuana exporters. Other marijuana exporters are California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii, Washington, West Virginia, Arkansas and Alaska.

Past studies suggest new federal and state policies regulating rather than outlawing marijuana could benefit Alabama three ways:

Cut costs. Taxpayers could save up to $69 million a year by no longer enforcing anti-marijuana laws.

Add revenues. Tax revenues on marijuana sales could bring in millions of dollars per year.

Reduce sales to minors. High-school students claim that marijuana is easier for them to get than liquor because it isn't regulated. Using tax revenues on marijuana sales, public officials could do a better job keeping marijuana out of the hands of minors and fund anti-drug education programs aimed at kids.

Comparing marijuana to other widely used drugs, Gettman writes, "Effective control over the production of tobacco and alcohol are prerequisites to both controlling access to those drugs by teenagers and the implementation of successful educational and discouragement campaigns."

Lobbyists for the big agri-businesses growing most of the nation's corn, cotton, rice and wheat will, as usual, use the new farm bill to hit up taxpayers for more than $11 billion in farm welfare payments each year. Marijuana growers, on the other hand, are prospering without handouts of any kind from Montgomery or Washington. That could be good news for our debt-riddled federal government and probably a welcome prospect in Montgomery as well.

The president's draft farm bill sent to Capitol Hill earlier this year includes, in a section titled "Specialty Crop Support," a request that Congress help the nation's potato farmers compete in the marketplace. If members of Congress declare the potato a "specialty" crop deserving help, they will surely agree that marijuana farmers also raise a specialty crop with marketplace hardships.

Here is an opportunity for Congress to begin easing marijuana into the agricultural mainstream by replacing a failed federal policy with one that actually controls the use of marijuana. This, in turn, will give state lawmakers in Montgomery and elsewhere the green light to do likewise. Ronald Fraser, Ph.D., writes on public policy issues for the DKT Liberty Project, a Washington-based civil liberties organization. E-mail:

Friday, August 03, 2007

My, What Big Teeth You Have!

Impressive, no? The scary photo above was taken as he was getting a belly rub from one of the kids last night. He's really a puddy tat for the most part. I love my doggie. German Shepherds rule!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Published in the Tuscaloosa News

Yesterday I sent the following LTE to the Tuscaloosa News and today they were gracious enough to publish it. Thanks Tuscaloosa News!

Reefer Madness Returns

Dear Editor: In the last week two “studies" on the effects of marijuana use have been spreading like some sort of aggressive disease. This happens every year or so and it seems to always be the same two studies.

The first one proposes the idea that smoking even one joint could raise your risk of developing schizophrenia later in life by an astronomical 40 percent.

However, if one takes the time to look at actual rates of schizophrenia among the entire world population they will see that the rate has always been around 1 percent with no real fluctuation. If the schizophrenia claim were actually true then we would have seen a huge jump in the number of people diagnosed with schizophrenia.

The second one claims a link between marijuana and lung cancer. It states that one joint is as bad as five cigarettes.

However, a gentleman by the name of Dr. Donald Tashkin, who for many years worked in cahoots with the DEA to try and prove this theory, recently released a study that shows smoking marijuana does not cause lung cancer and may even have some preventative effects.

This kind of fear mongering about marijuana is true “Reefer Madness."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Congressman Kucinich Smacks Rummy

CNN is carrying a story about Fmr. Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld's testimony on Pat Tillman before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who is also seeking the Democratic nomination for President, and is chair of the committee really smacked Rummy around with his questions and comments. I love it!!

There were flare-ups of temper, as when Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, pressed Rumsfeld about whether he discussed press strategies with the White House.

"Was there a Department of Defense press strategy with respect to the war?" Kucinich asked.

"If there was, it obviously wasn't very good," Rumsfeld responded.

"Well you know, maybe it was very good, because you actually covered up the Tillman case for a while, you covered up the Jessica Lynch case, you covered up Abu Ghraib, so something was working for you -- was there a strategy to do it, Mr. Rumsfeld?" Kucinich persisted.

"Well, Congressman, the implication that -- you said 'you' covered it up, that's just false," Rumsfeld answered testily. "You have nothing to base that on, you have not a scrap of evidence."

I was a drug policy advisor to Congressman Kucinich's 2004 campaign for the democratic nomination for President. Got to meet and interview him on drug policy in Austin, TX. He is very pro-drug policy reform and ironically and fantastically enough he replaced Con. Mark Souder (who was an idiot and extreme pro-drug war)as chair of this particular committee, which oversees the budget of the ONDCP. Life doesn't get much better than that.

FBI Admits to Murder, Wrongful Imprisonment to Preserve Drug Investigations

Radley Balko at The Agitator has a fascinating story up this morning about testimony of the FBI before the House Judiciary CMTE on the use of confidential informants. The testimony shows that the FBI often let's murderer's roam free without alerting local law enforcement to their presence or their history as well as imprisoning innocent people all for the sake of preserving a drug investigation. They say these things are 'necessary evils'.

Boy howdy that makes me proud to be an American!

Go read it for yourself...if you can stomach it