Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fmr. Franklin Co. DA on Trial for Fondling Young Boys During Drug Tests

Montgomery Advertiser

Trial opens in fondling case against former Franklin County DA

FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) -- A witness testified that then-District Attorney John Pilati made him strip and fondled him during drug tests when he was a 17-year-old on probation for drug-related offenses.

But an attorney for the former Franklin County prosecutor told jurors in opening statements Monday that he expects evidence will show the claims are baseless and motivated out of revenge for Pilati being tough on illegal drugs and other crimes.

"People who used drugs were scared to come into his county, not because they were afraid of being fondled by him, but because Mr. Pilati ran an aggressive, law abiding, lawful, law enforcement agency," defense attorney Bruce Gardner of Huntsville said as the trial on federal misdemeanor charges began.

The trial before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Ott resumed Tuesday.

The prosecution witness, now 24, said he was afraid to tell anyone of the fondling by Pilati when he provided urine samples for drug tests at the Franklin County courthouse and at Pilati's home.

"I had no legal rights. I was doing whatever this man told me to do. He had all the power in our hometown. If he told you to do something and you didn't, he would call your probation officer and have you sent off," he said.

The TimesDaily, which reported the trial's opening day, did not identify the witness because of the newspaper's policy against naming people who may have been victims of sexual abuse.

Pilati, who was Franklin County district attorney from 1998 until his resignation in 2004 after pleading guilty in an unrelated federal case, is charged with five misdemeanor counts of depriving the civil rights of five males who were 17 to 20 years old and allegedly fondled sexually during body searches and drug tests.

"He used drug testing as an excuse to sexually abuse young men by fondling their genitals," said lead prosecutor Christine Dunn of the Justice Department's civil rights division in Washington, D.C.

When the prosecution witness was cross-examined by Gardner, the man admitted he was on juvenile probation for much of his life as a teenager and was on adult probation for DUI in 2002 when he alleged that Pilati asked him to come to his home for a drug test.

Pilati resigned as district attorney in 2004 after pleading guilty to lying to federal agents investigating possible public corruption in Franklin County. He was sentenced to six months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

Hey son....come on by the house for a drug test later on tonight.


Unsuspecting victim follows orders and arrives at the DA's house....He immediately sensed something was amiss when he exposed himself to pee in a cup and the DA appeared with a wetsuit and some dish detergent.

There are some really sick bastards out there in positions of high power. Think about that next time you advocate for student drug testing and the like.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Birmingham Bailiff Shoots Motorist After Fender-Bender

From AL.com

A rush-hour fender bender this morning escalated into a shooting when authorities say a Jefferson County Family Court bailiff shot a 44-year-old man who struck the back of his car and then fled.

Bailiff Charlie Johnson, a retired Birmingham police officer, was en route to Family Court just before 8 a.m. when authorities say Michael Stacey Brown struck the rear of his car and then drove off without stopping.

Johnson pursued until Brown stopped his vehicle and fled on foot near the intersection of Graymont Avenue and Bush Boulevard, authorities said.

During the foot chase, authorities said Brown suddenly turned and reached into his jacket pocket as if to get a weapon.

Johnson shot Brown one time in the chest with a .357 revolver.

Brown was taken into custody and transported to UAB Hospital. His condition was not immediately available.

It was not immediately known whether a weapon was found on Brown.

Johnson, the bailiff for Presiding Judge Brian Huff, wasn't injured.

Birmingham homicide Sgt. Cory Hardiman said police are investigating the shooting, but said he couldn't comment on the specifics of the incident.

Carol Robinson
Staff Reporter

This is clearly a case of road rage. The discussion over at AL.com states that this baliff is also a police officer. Many commenters seem to think it is perfectly ok for a cop to go around shooting people in the chest if they accidentally bump into his car. While minor auto accidents are aggravating they are not punishable by the death penalty. This baliff/cop should be prosecuted to the fullest extent the law will allow.

Back to My Real Life

After what seems like a years long hiatus, but in reality was only a few months, I am happy to announce that, as of today, I am back up to top speed in my old tricks, shenannigans and rabble-rousing for the most noble cause of drug policy reform in the state of Alabama. That's right...I've said goodbye to Wal-Mart and am once again a full-time hell raiser.

I have twice as much on tap this year as I have in years past. Not only will I continue to lead the effort to pass a medical marijuana law in Alabama, I am also doing something new this year called Court Watch.

The Court Watch program is something I and a friend of mine have been working on for the past three years. It is a monitoring program for the drug courts in Alabama. I disagree with the entire concept of drug court. I feel that drug and alcohol addiction are private family matters, as well as health and social issues, that have no business being dealt with in the criminal justice system, which is focused on negative punishment as opposed to healthful healing. But, since the government insists on inserting itself into the middle of this issue then I have taken it upon myself to make sure that for every dollar the courts take from non-violent drug offenders they offer a service that will truly help in return. While I disagree with drug courts on principal I do concede that they are a better alternative than prison and, if run properly, they can benefit people who are truly addicted and in need of their services.

I am convinced, however, that the majority of the defendants that make up the bulk of drug court case loads are adult marijuana smokers who are not breaking any laws other than possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal use. If that is the case then we will soon find ourselves facing a treatment crisis, not unlike the prison overcrowding crisis, where marijuana consumers, who are not addicts in need of intervention, take up all the space needed for those addicted to prescription narcotics, crack cocaine, methamphetimine and alcohol. Court Watch is designed to collect and track that information in hopes of making the drug court system work properly. We also plan to use it in our future efforts to remove responsible, adult marijuana consumers out of the criminal justice equation, thereby freeing up police and court resources better spent on violent crimes and crimes with actual victims.

Many drug courts in Alabama operate in the following way. You get arrested for simple personal possession of marijuana. Your lawyer tells you about this program called drug court where you plead guilty and agree to follow the program rules for a year. If you succeed then your record will be cleared and you can go on your way. If you fail you still go to jail. Sounds simple enough right?

The program consists of attending court sessions so many times a month, seeing a court referral officer or probation officer so many times a month, peeing in a cup so many times a month, attending drug class so many times a month and attending AA/NA meetings on a regular basis. Almost everything you are required to do comes with a hefty price tag for which you are required to foot the bill. The CRO/Probation officer visits, the drug tests, the drug class, the court sessions all cost you money. If you don't have any money then you will likely fail and wind up in jail anyway after the courts have bankrupted you.

The drug courts/drug laws make it very hard for a regular person to succeed. If you get a misdemeanor conviction for simple personal possession of marijuana your drivers license are automatically suspended for at least 6 months. That makes it impossible for you to drive yourself to your many drug court related appointments and it puts undue hardship on your family and friends to have to shuttle you about. If you have a job before you start attending drug court then good luck keeping it. Not many employers are willing to let you off early a few days out of every week especially if it is for anything drug related. If you don't have a job chances are you will have a difficult time finding one because you cannot drive yourself to and from the job, you need to be off an unreasonable amount of time to attend all the things drug court requires you to attend and most prospective employers will close the door on anyone who is already in trouble for drugs.

Let's talk about all the money you have to pay for various 'services' and what you get out of them. The drug classes, which you pay for, are nothing more than quasi-religious "Drugs are bad...Mmmmmmkkkk so pray to Jesus to save you" church sessions. They are totally illegal because of the religious overtones, not to mention useless because they do not teach anyone any skills for recovery from addiction. The only benificiaries are those collecting the fees.

CRO/Probation fees are paid for every visit you are required to make. They only benefit the CRO/Probation office. You get no service for your money.

Drug test fees benefit the lab. You get no service for your money.

Any fines you have to pay benefit the court system. You get no service for your money.

When someone who is truly addicted comes out of a drug court program (if they make it out) then they have learned nothing to help them stay clean and cope with daily life. Guess what happens? They start using drugs again and wind up in jail on the taxpayer tab anyway.

Here is how drug court should work. Instead of offering prayer sessions they should offer mental health counseling. Many people who suffer from addiction also suffer from mental illness like depression, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. Some counseling and perhaps medication in some cases would benefit true addicts, their families and society much more than a propaganda based anti-drug class.

Instead of CRO/Probation officer visits they should offer vocational rehab to help those who can work find employment. Poverty leads to depression which can lead to a return to drug use.

Instead of mandatory AA/NA they should offer both religious and non-religious based forms of support groups. If someone is comfortable with AA/NA fine. If someone wants to participate in a local church group that has a drug program fine. If someone, who is not religious, does not want to participate in either then there has to be something for them as well. Any existing community resource for overcoming drug addiction should be made available to drug court defendants.

Instead of imprisoning those who fail drug tests they should offer in-patient treatment. Scientific studies show that when trying to make major life changes, like quitting smoking or drinking, stress is the thing you need to stay fartherest from. But what does the government do? They take people who need no stress and expose them to the maximum stress by locking them in a cage with dangerous, violent criminals. Brilliant!

By the way, most people sentenced to drug court for marijuana pass all the drug tests. If they can do that it means they are not addicted. So, why bother pot smokers at all? Think about it. Most pot smokers I know would be more than willing to pay a reasonable tax, which could be used to fund treatment centers for those who really need it. Why extort us when we are willing to pay you anyway? Why not create a whole new tax/revenue base, while at the same time creating new jobs, reducing prison overcrowding and making communities safer by freeing up law enforcement and court resources to focus on real dangerous criminals?

In that scenario everyone wins and no one loses. Why can't we do that?

Hopefully by weeks end I will have a Court Watch website up and running. We are also working on two publications for distribution to any and all defendants in Alabama court, the public and anyone else who is interested. They are;

"Alabama Court Watch, A Citizen's Guide to Their Rights and Responsibilities in an Alabama Court of Law. It explains basic stuff about how the courts are suppossed to work, what you should expect from the court, what your rights are in court, how to ensure that your attorney is doing what they should do and things of that nature. It also gives tips and advice for defendants like what to wear and what not to wear, how to address the judge, who you should and should not speak to, keeping emotions in check and the like.

Know Your Rights During a Police Encounter
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Many people do not know what their rights are during a police encounter and wind up giving up the most important ones, which generally results in arrest. This publication will seek to inform citizen's of their rights during police encounters. As they say, Knowledge is Power and the more knowledge the average citizen has the more power thay have to avoid arrest, prosecution and imprisonment for doing something that shouldn't be illegal in the first place.

If you would like to assist with the cost of printing these publications you may send a contribution at this link.

If you would rather mail a contribution you may send it to the following address
PO BOX 504
Alexander City, AL 35010

**Please note that contributions are not tax deductible at this time. We are in the process of filing for 501c3 status.**

While our main focus is to track marijuana defendants in various Alabama drug court programs we will also be monitoring district courts for judicial misconduct, which I have witnessed a great deal of over the course of the last 5 years. I won't say what I have seen because that would alert the judges who violate the rights of both defendant's and observers every time they hold court and I don't want to warn them. They should already know that the things they are doing are unconstitutional. They are judges, after all. What I will say is that they will soon be receiving a little note in the mail from the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission informing them that a complaint has been filed against them for various infractions.

If you would like to be a volunteer court watcher in your area of the state, have been through an Alabama drug court and would like to share your story, or would like to assist this project in some other way please email me to discuss further.

I'll see you in court..

Loretta Nall
Executive Director
Alabama Court Watch
www.alcourtwatch.org (website coming soon)

Squandered Resources in War on Drugs

The Birmingham News published the following letter from me in today's edition.

Squandered resources in war on drugs:

Bravo for News staff writer Dave Parks' article "Drug problem worse based on new data" (Oct. 21). It painted a very clear picture of where police, court and correctional resources are being squandered in the government's failed and costly "war on drugs." It's really a war on marijuana consumers, who are the most numerous but least problematic of all substance users. So much for the theory of safety in numbers.

The fact that more than half of arrests and prosecutions for all drug violations were for simple marijuana possession shows the police and courts have no real interest in targeting large dealers. After all, with no large dealers, there will be no small users to round up for prison or drug court programs. This clearly shows the drug war really amounts to nothing more than a government jobs program, meant to be waged, not won.

What illustrated this even clearer was the quote from Lt. Paul Hogan, head of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department narcotics division. "I don't think we're ever going to stomp out drugs totally," Hogan said.

That's good for him, because it means he will always have a job stomping out the lives of pot smokers, if not the pot itself.

I think it is safe to say the government has become addicted to marijuana smokers. Without us, they would be forced to work on murder, burglary, robbery and auto theft cases, of which the clearance rates are about 17 percent statewide.

Loretta Nall

Alexander City

I had edited this slightly and sent it again but I guess they didn't get the new one in time. A correction that needed to be made is that murder clearance rates are higher than the state average of 17%. Robbery, burglary and auto-theft rates are about 17%. I didn't word that properly in my letter so it looks like I am saying murder clearance rates are only 17 %. They are higher. For anyone who cares to look at the rates they are here all the way back to 1995.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Help Alabama Say NO to REAL ID

My friends at the Libertarian Party here in Alabama have formed a group dedicated to opposing the REAL ID Act. Please read the following email that I am forwarding on their behalf, send in a contribution if you can afford to do so (can you afford not to do so?) and show up at the next meeting. This is a non-partisan or multi-partisan effort if you will to stop Alabama from implementing the federal government's REAL ID program.

Live Free or Die,
Loretta Nall~

The Real ID Act is the defacto creation of an unconstitutional National ID card. It sets standards to ensure easy access and reliability. It also creates the largest database in the world linking hundreds of currently independent databases. Personal information about private citizens will be made available to Motor Vehicle Departments, Federal Agencies and private companies. The potential for abuse for political ends becomes certain.
news for October 25, 2007
Three steps to NO REAL ID IN ALABAMA:

1.What we will do for you: We will lobby extensively and make Alabama the Eighteenth State to pass a Resolution opposing REALID. We will also expand our operations and begin lobbying for a goal of 25 States TOTAL that reject REALID. We are already in contact with nine other states.

2. What we need from you: We need 100 folks to join in 30 days. All it takes is $25.00...for the price of nice lunch you get freedom from a national database. Your name will not appear on any lists. We will maintain our own lists with confidentiality.

3. Forward this email to friends and family that might be interested.


Every dollar will help us attain these goals even a single dollar contribution counts!In fact if every recipient of this email was to donate $1 a month we would be in great shape.

Rep. Cam Ward agreed to sponsor a resolution to oppose REALID and he will be joining us at one of our upcoming meetings! He is currently working on a version of the resolution that will be appropriate for Alabama.


1st Meeting Successes! We had wonderful attendance at our first meeting including the Chair of the Libertarian Party of West Virginia via teleconference. We are currently developing our email list (over 700 addresses) as well as encouraging blogging activities. We are also preparing for a press conference in January 2008.


Next Meeting:

October 29, 2007
2nd Meeting with Teleconferencing
When: 8:00 PM - 9:00PM CT
Where: Cleveland Building 2330 Highland Ave South, Birmingham, AL 35205
Send an email to info@NO2REALID.ORGfor teleconferencing directions.

This meeting is an advisory meeting setup to listen to basic suggestions about future strategy and tactics. We will be inviting participants to become members of our advisory board. Refreshments will be provided.

Virtual Meeting/ Chat
9:30-10:30 PM CT
Go to "Members Only" Page to visit Chatroom

To Join: Send a check or money order to:

2330 Highland Ave South
Birmingham, AL 35205

or if you wish to contribute by Paypal or credit card:

send an email to don@no2realid.org

If you can't make it please take a moment to let us know that you are interested in the issue by sending an email to info@NO2REALID.org. If you would like to be removed from this list, please send us an email to out@NO2REALID.organd put REMOVE in the subject area.=

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Government Addicted to Pot Smokers

This letter is in response to the recent Birmingham News article Drug Problem Worse New Data Shows.

Dear Editor,

Bravo for Dave Parks article, "Drug Problem Worse Based on New Data" (10/21). It painted a very clear picture of where police, court and correctional resources are being squandered in the government's failed and costly "War on Drugs". It's really a war on marijuana consumers, who, while the most numerous, are the least problematic of all substance users.

The fact that over half of arrests and prosecutions for all drug violations were for simple marijuana possession shows that the justice system has no real interest in targeting large dealers. After all, with no large dealers there will be no small users to round up for prison or drug court programs. Drug courts, by the way, are nothing more than an addicted justice system seeking to get its money-fix by robbing the nearest pot smoker. Clearly, the drug war is nothing more than a government jobs program, meant to be waged, not won.

Even more telling was the quote from Lt. Paul Hogan, head of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department narcotics division,
"I don't think we're ever going to stomp out drugs totally," Hogan said.

That's good for him, because it means he will always have a job stomping out the lives of pot smokers, if not the pot itself.

The government has become addicted to marijuana smokers. Without us they would be forced to work on burglary, robbery and auto theft cases of which the clearance rates are around 17% statewide.

Respectfully Submitted,
Loretta Nall
Alexander City, AL 35010

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Half of Alabama drug arrests for marijuana possession

There is a shocking article in the Birmingham News today about how the number of drug cases in Alabama are double what was previously thought and that over half of all drug cases in Alabama are for simple marijuana possession. That information isn't what is shocking to me...hell it's what I've been saying for years. The fact that it is being reported is what is shocking!!

Drug Problem Worse based on New Data

Sunday, October 21, 2007
News staff writer

Day breaks in Bessemer, and an unmarked van rumbles over railroad tracks. It turns down a street filled with grand but aging homes and parks behind a rundown frame house, the worst in the neighborhood.

Eight heavily armed men and women dressed in black, with armored vests and helmets, pile out. They smash through the home's rear door, shouting, "Sheriff's department! Search warrant!"

In the war on drugs, it's another skirmish, something that is occurring far more often in Alabama. For the first time, the state Department of Forensic Sciences crime lab is counting drug cases statewide, and it's getting a total that is nearly double what was previously calculated.

Now we know 30,891 drug cases were filed in Alabama in fiscal 2006, said Gary Wallace, chief of drug chemistry at the crime lab.

That's one case for every 150 Alabama residents. It represents more defendants than the entire population of Bessemer, and at that rate in three years the number of people arrested could fill Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama, like the rest of America, has an escalating and costly drug problem. The FBI estimates that adult drug arrests tripled from 1970 to 2005. More than 1.5 million of these arrests occur annually in the U.S. The cost of illicit drug use in 2002 was $181 billion, with $107 billion of that associated with crimes such as murder and robbery, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Carol Roberts, a public information expert for the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, said some police agencies in the state, including the state Department of Public Safety, the state troopers, fail to report their drug arrest numbers. Thus, data are incomplete, she said.

Wallace said the total number of cases handled by the crime lab nonetheless provides a fairly accurate indication of just how many drug arrests are made in Alabama. The lab handles drug cases from all police agencies in Alabama, he said. Everybody sends in their evidence because quantitative and chemical analyses are necessary for criminal prosecution.

So the crime lab is able to accurately count criminal drug cases, which are now pouring into the lab at a rate of 2,800 a month, or about 90 a day, Wallace said.

A typical raid:

The drug operation in Bessemer early one Wednesday morning provided a look at what kinds of charges are typically filed, and what types of drugs are most often seized.

Minutes after deputies crashed through the back door, a bleary-eyed, shirtless man was brought out in handcuffs. "Usually when you do this early in the morning you catch them in bed," said Lt. Paul Hogan, head of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department narcotics division.

Deputies confiscated a 12-gauge shotgun, and two police dogs sniffed out what appeared to be small amounts of crack cocaine and marijuana. The 38-year-old resident of the home was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance.

The overwhelming majority of drug arrests nationwide and statewide are for possession, as opposed to trafficking.

Marijuana was the top illicit drug confiscated last fiscal year in Alabama. According to the crime lab, authorities seized about 2,500 pounds of marijuana in 15,409 cases. That's half the state's caseload for drug violations.

"Lortabs have taken over as the pharmaceutical drug of choice," Wallace said. "Valium led that for a while, but Lortab has taken over."

Wallace said most trends revealed by the statistics aren't surprising. Officials generally know what's being seized because they handle the arrests and paperwork. They also know many types of illegal drugs come and go.

LSD has come and gone several times since the 1960s. It's now gone, with only five seizures of that hallucinogen in fiscal 2006.

But the main drug of choice stays the same, easily topping the number of seizures by police. "The majority is marijuana," Wallace said. "That's pretty standard every year."

One of the deputies participating in the Bessemer raid said it is much easier to zero in on street drugs than prescription drugs. That's because people who abuse prescription drugs usually make their purchases through medical channels. They may shop around for several doctors, or find an unethical doctor willing to write prescriptions for a price, making those kinds of crimes tough to uncover.

Still, Hogan's team of narcotics deputies stays busy, sometimes putting in long days and nights. The deputies started work at 5 a.m. the day of the Bessemer raid, and planned to conduct another operation later that day, and then again at 7 p.m.

"I don't think we're ever going to stomp out drugs totally," Hogan said.

And that is perfectly alright with Officer Hogan because it means he will always have a job! That's what the drug war is. A government jobs program.

And there you have it folks...the unvarnished truth about who is filling up prison cells. Harmeless, mostly peaceful marijuana smokers.

Let's say that all 15,409 people who were arrested in 2006 for simple possession of marijuana were sentenced to one year in jail at $12,000 a year (just for housing in prison). That comes to a whopping $184,908,000 and it does not include the court costs, officer man hours, the loss of employment if the person was employed, the destruction of the family unit if they had a spouse and children, the long term cost to taxpayers to help care for family members left behind and so many other bad things that go along with getting busted for smoking a joint. Now, we know that not all of these people did jail time but they could have and the astronomical dollar figure is really on the low end of the range.

It's time for people to stand up and demand that governmnet stop wasting our tax dollars in this futile and extremely socially harmful manner. Write a letter in response to this story today!! I'll post mine later.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Veteran Alabama Political Commentator Bob Ingram Dies at 81

Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Veteran journalist Bob Ingram, who spent six decades reporting on Alabama politics in newspapers and on TV, died Thursday night, ending a career that made him as well known as the politicians he covered. He was 81.

Ingram passed away after a two-year battle with the blood disorder myelodysplasia, his son, Ragan Ingram, said Friday.

Bob Ingram reported on the big events in Alabama from the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 through the governor's race of 2006. His weekly column, "The Alabama Scene," was a fixture of small newspapers throughout the state for nearly 50 years until he had to discontinue it in May due to his declining health.


This is very sad news. I never got the chance to meet Mr. Ingram in person but we did speak on the phone once. Those of you who followed the election last year should remember Mr. Ingram real well. It was his quipping about the fact that I have cleavage in the following article that launched 'the twins' into the international media spotlight and gave me unbelievable opportunities to talk about drug policy reform and the rest of my campaign to the masses.
(click to enlarge)

It also led to the creation of the most hilarious campaign gear ever.

I remember the day I traveled to Montgomery intending to meet with Mr. Ingram, if I could, to give him a piece of my mind about his cleavage column. I went to the Montgomery Independent office and got a copy of the paper, then I asked for his phone number, which the clerk gave me. I called and left a message. He called me back within a minute.

I was pissed off at the beginning of the conversation but by the end of it we were talking about my drug policy reform ideas, prison overcrowding and potential ways to deal with it and his grandson, who lives here in Alexander City. I was surprised to learn that Mr. Ingram agreed with a lot of what I had to say. Despite the fact that I feel he was overly rude and dismissive of my campaign I was and still am grateful for his paragraph on how boobies offended his mama...if not for that paragraph the 2006 Alabama general election would not have been nearly as entertaining.

Mr. Ingram you will be missed.

Loretta Nall

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wal-Mart, Politics & Drive By Truckers

So I am up at 2:30 this morning because I can't sleep thru the night anymore due to working graveyard at Wal-Mart. I'm cooking a roast, drinking coffee and the urge to write a little came over me.

About two weeks ago I wrote my first article on what working at Wal-Mart has been like for me. My main gripe was a couple of time-clock breeders who did everything they could to get out of working while at work. I complained to the manager, who then called them to the office and apparently explained the rules about sexual intercourse in the parking lot and in various places about the store being expressly forbidden. They came back to work one night after that and no one has seen them since. I don't miss them. I don't think they have quit or been fired. I heard that the girl took medical leave and the boy called in and said he was in the hospital. Whatever. I hope that if they come back they will not be on my shift.

Then about a week ago my manager on 3rd told me he needed to see me for some paperwork before the night was over. I didn't know what it would be. My supervisor said it might be my first evaluation or maybe something to do with insurance. It turns out it was an evaluation...but not one of them evaluating me, but rather one of me evaluating them. I found it very odd. It was one page of questions related to my experiences working for Wal-Mart thus far. Did I like it? Did I feel I had been properly trained? Did I feel I could approach any of my mgrs/sups with problems? What did I like least? Most?

I filled it out, signed it and handed it back to the night manager who looked at it and said, "What the hell is that anyway?"
"I don't know", I told him. "You're the manager...don't you know what it is?"
"No", he said. "I have been here 15 years and I have never seen one of those."

I can still only specutlate as to what the purpose was. Maybe the store manager wanted to gauge my feelings after our little discussion. Or perhaps, as one friend offered, they are considering me for a PR position at some future date and wanted to experience my shit talkin' skills first hand. Either way, it was very weird.


Due to various goings-on in my personal life I have not been as active in drug policy reform in the last few months as I would have liked to have been. Things are starting to settle down now and I am proud to announce that I have been awarded another grant to continue my work here in the state on behalf of medical marijuana patients and this year as an advocate for pot smokers who are sentenced to drug court. I'll be doing an official news release on this new program within the next few weeks and it will include the locations in Alabama with drug courts that I intend to monitor.

Court officials in Alabama are not accustomed to being moitored and held accountable so this should be an infinitely fascinating project loaded with drama, fireworks and great media. If there is a drug court in your neighborhood and you or osmeone you know are interested in being a monitor then please get in touch with me via email.

Drive By Truckers

My friend Phil Smith at DRCNet and senior editor of Stop the Drug War has been after me for years to check out the Drive By Truckers and I never did. Then recently another friend of mine invited me to see them in Birmingham last weekend and I was able to go. I was really impressed with the authenticity of their music. It isn't really country...but it ain't rock either. It's just Alabama music and that's about all I can say. If you've never heard them before check them out at Drive By Truckers .com

Here are a few pics I took. Have better ones but haven't uploaded them yet.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Alabama "Meth Judge" Sentenced to 12 Years

From the Montgomery Advertiser

Oct 11, 12:29 PM EDT

Former Ala. judge sentenced to 12 years in meth case in Miss.

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) -- A former west Alabama judge who pleaded guilty to methamphetamine charges was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment Wednesday after describing how his addictions spiraled out of control.

Ira D. Colvin, who was arrested last year in Mississippi, was immediately taken into custody.

The former district judge must serve five years of supervised release after finishing his prison term, said prosecutor Rhonda Hayes-Ellis.

"Meth is a terrible drug, and it has terrible effects on everyone involved," Hayes-Ellis said outside court. "It's certainly unfortunate."

Colvin was appointed to the judgeship in 2002, and he was removed from the bench after being charged. He still faces drug charges in Alabama, where authorities said meth was found in his office in Carrollton following his arrest.

During a three-hour sentencing hearing, Colvin described how he became addicted first to alcohol, then prescription medication and finally methamphetamine. He pleaded guilty to possessing precursors used to make the drug.

A woman who was arrested with Colvin, Ashley Watkins of Gordo, Ala., pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Colvin. She awaits sentencing. Hayes-Ellis said Colvin claimed he paid Watkins to go to stores and purchase drug ingredients for him.

Colvin's wife, Christy Dawn Colvin, was arrested in Columbus on a similar charge only four months before his arrest. Her initial possession of meth charge was reduced to possession of a controlled substance in exchange for a guilty plea. She was given a six-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to complete drug rehabilitation.

Colvin was indicted in May 2004 on federal bankruptcy fraud charges alleging he hid $25,000 in assets for a client in 2001 while still working as a private attorney. The charges were dropped after Colvin apologized, and he won a term as district judge in November 2004.

I've covered this story since it broke back in August 2006. My initial reaction was that the proverbial book should be thrown at Judge Ira Colvin. I was also very curious to know what his record was when sentencing drug defendants who came before him. That information is difficult to come by so I still do not know what his record was. Even so I feel kind of bad for the guy. Addiction is addiction be it the town drunk or the sitting judge and prison is no place to heal or put one's life back together.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Funniest Shit Ever!!

I've been following the story of Thorington Road Baptist Church Reverend Gary Aldridge's bizarre and exquisitely embarassing death by auto-erotic asphyxiation while wearing two wetsuits, rubber underwear and a condom covered dildo inserted into his nether region. My buddy BitterOldPunk directed me to ScienceBlogs.com where I found some of the most hilarious comments ever. My favorite so far is this lulu of a poem by some brilliant, poetic genius calling themselves 'Cuttlefish'.

We gather here to eulogize
The Pastor and the Man
Old Gary Aldridge, often wise,
Though not his latest plan.

A member of the Christian nation,
Friend of Jerry Falwell,
His last attempt at masturbation
Didn't go at all well.

For fifteen years, he'd preached the word
A Southern Baptist minister
His death--now, is it just absurd
Or something rather sinister?

How does a person come to wear
Not one wetsuit, but two?
(Although, I know, I should not care
I'm curious--aren't you?)

I tend to think that, years ago,
He spied a rubber glove,
And wondered "Should I--well, you know--
When God and I make love?"

He tried it on, and found a tube,
Half hidden on his shelf,
Of KY--smiled, and murmered "Lube
Thy neighbor as thy self."

And minutes later, hard at work,
He felt a little odd
Was this a sin, or just a quirk?
He talked it out with God.

"Is what I'm doing here a sin?
Or is my pleasure Thine?
Is this as bad as skin on skin?
Lord, please, give me a sign!"

So God produced a pamphlet: "Your
Vacation in Aruba!"
And pointed out--right there, page four--
The wetsuits used for SCUBA

See, God's not really how you think
A deity might be
He's got a wicked bondage kink
(Just ask His son, J. C.)

So Gary died, not steeped in sin
But following God's plan;
So straight to Heaven--come on in!
And bring the wetsuits, man!

A story, sure, but it may yet
Explain what happened then.
The moral is, please don't forget:
Your safeword is "Amen".

I ruptured some internal organ while howling over that one.

This one too...

He was actually found wearing a "Vote GW Bush 2004" T-shirt. The police just dressed him in that other stuff to lower the embarrassment factor for the family. Posted by: MartinC

Seriously though click the link above and read all these gems. It seems I am not the only one wondering how two wetsuits was possible?

110 lbs. of Hell

Thought my doggie blog fans might enjoy an update on Snoot.

Yeah, I know he looks all sweet, but his looks are very deceiving. You are looking at 110 lbs. of pure, unadulterated hell. He got out of his fence yesterday morning and ran all out in the road and into the neighbors yard. I was terrified that a car was going to come along and smash him. Y'all would have had to straight-jacket and rubber room me if that had happened. After he gnawed on the neighbor's kids football he ran back across the road and took a shit on one of my neighbors flower beds just like the old hound who shit on our steps a while back. What a jerk! Hehehe. It took me forever to catch him. He ran in his pen and thought it was a nifty game of chase when I came to get him out. I was really pissed but can't blame him for wanting to have a little fun.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Things Customers Do That Piss Me Off

After nearly four weeks of working at Wal-Mart as a cashier I have developed an extenisve list of things customers do that piss me off. This list will serve two purposes.

1. It will allow me to vent and
2. It will be a guide that helps you be a better customer.

So, here we go.


Customers who have a huge load of stuff but somehow see no need to place bagged items back in their cart or get a new cart for bagged items if their cart is not yet empty by the time my carousel fills up. Instead they let me fill every bag, stack things into a dangerous, precariously leaning pyramid on top of my bag carousel and then stand there with a blank "Why did things stop happening?" look on their face when I stop ringing their purchases up because I have nowhere to put them.




Customers who know they do not have enough money on a debit card, gift card or credit card. They are generally identified when they say, "I know there is not enough money on this card but I want you to ring all of my stuff up anyway just to see."


If you know you only have $20 on any given card then don't bring $976 of worthless shit you wish you had the money to buy for me to ring up knowing you can't pay for it. It is a real pain in the ass to have to void 20 items off of a ticket and more aggrevating when it was entirely avoidable. It also holds up my line.


Customers who forgot their money in the car. When this happens I have to suspend the transaction so my line doesn't get backed up. However, a suspension requires a key turn and, since I am but a lowly cashier, I do not have keys. I have to page a CSM, who could be anywhere, and wait for them to arrive and turn the key. So, my line ends up getting backed up anyway. When the customer who left their money in the car returns they somehow automatically think the front of the line belongs to them.
NOT SO! Go your ass to the back of the line since it was your mistake and not mine or the other customers who have been forced to wait because of your negligence. Git to Steppin!


Bring your shit in with you. Why would you ever leave money in the car anyway?


Customers who only have a few items but use a large cart anyway and then leave the damn thing sitting in the middle of my register blocking the way of other customers.


Either carry all your stuff in your hands or use a handbasket provided as you walk in. If you simply must have a large cart for a single small pack of M&M's then take the damn thing with you when you exit the store since the cart racks are on either end where you will be exiting. It has wheels and uses almost zero energy.


Customers who STINK! WTF you never heard of soap and water or something? I swear some people come thru my register and they smell so bad it is all I can do to keep from gagging and puking right on the belt. Can they not smell their own vile funk? Sadly, there never seem to be any personal hygine products among their purchases.


WASH YOUR ASS! Grab a can of FDS, soap, shampoo and some Degree located in the health and beauty aids section. It's really cheap and people will soon stop retching and turning green when you walk into the room.


Young looking customers who refuse to show ID when purchasing alcohol/tobacco/R-rated movies. They always have an excuse ready.

Customer: "I forgot it at home."

Me: "Tough shit kid you'll have to go home and get it and show it to me if you want this stuff."

Customer: "Its in the car."

Me: "Cool at least you don't have to go all the way home to get it."

And my favorite,

Customer: "My birthday is XX-XX-XXXX and I am this many."

Me: "Guess what kid...I can make up a birthday to make myself younger just like you can make up one to make yourself older. It's a neat trick ain't it?" Now...show me some ID before I turn you over my knee and tan your hide for you.
(I don't really say that last part but I think it)


Bring your damn license or whatever you use for ID into the store with you if you are in fact old enough to be purchasing the things you are trying to purchase but look under 35.


Customers who have two or three carts of stuff, come through the only line in the store that sells tobacco products and BUY NO TOBACCO! WTF is up with that exactly? What, pray tell, are y'all thinking? Why not go over to register 14 or down to register 2 and check out if you don't need tobacco? Why go through my line and hold up 10 people, with absolutely nothing in their hands (because they are buying tobacco) for 15 to 20 minutes and then not buy tobacco? Don't you understand that this is the only line in the store that sells tobacco? If you have 10 carts and ARE buying tobacco then come on thru and I will welcome you with a smile...as long as you buy tobacco.


If you aren't buying tobacco and there is another line open that can accomodate your purchses then STAY THE HELL OUT OF MY LINE!

Sometimes I wonder if these people can wipe their own ass.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I told you so!

After months of circling the wagons and trying in vain to shoot the messenger it has been determined that the Rev. Gary Aldridge of Thorington Rd. Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL died with his hands and feet bound behind his back wearing two rubberized suits.
Please forgive my vast ignorance of erotic ashphixiation....but why two rubberized suits? How in the hell would you even get two of them on?

That translates to some serious KINK....just as I suspected. I wonder what all of the people who threatend me over my speculation will have to say today? Not much I'd bet.

As for the papers assertion that 'no foul play was involved....hehe oh it was foul all right and was certainly play.

Here is the story from todays Montgomery Advertiser

Aldridge autopsy released

By Andre Coe

A Montgomery minister found in his home this summer died with his hands and feet bound behind his back and dressed in two rubberized suits, an offical autopsy report showed.

The Montgomery Advertiser obtained a copy of the 13-page report on Friday, one day after District Attorney Ellen Brooks authorized its release.

The Rev. Gary Michael Aldridge was found dead June 24. Police ruled the 51-year-old pastor of Thorington Road Baptist Church was alone at the time of his death and that there was no foul play involved.

The autopsy, prepared by Senior State Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Boudreau of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, lists "accidental mechanical asphyxia" as the cause of death. It gave a one-paragraph description of what the examiner saw when he conducted the autopsy on June 25.

A toxicology report showed no signs of drugs in Aldridge's system, but did find traces of ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol. Boudreau explained that a body that is decomposing creates ethyl alcohol. Aldridge's death has been the subject of rumors since the church asked the community to "refrain from speculation" until police completed their investigation.

Brooks said Friday that her office gets hundreds of cases requiring autopsy reports every year.

"I don't know anything about any speculation," she said. "I'm a prosecutor. I have no case to prosecute. It is not a criminal matter at this point. If you're asking about idle curiosity, I'm not going to comment on that."

Capt. Huey Thornton, a police spokesman, said Montgomery Police used an out-of-state agency during its investigation, but he would not name the agency. He said the agency corroborated MPD's finding that Aldridge was alone when he died.

The Montgomery Advertiser requested a copy of the autopsy in a July 11 letter to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. On July 12, the department replied that "... the report(s) cannot be released to the public at this time because the District Attorney has determined that the case is still under investigation. ..."

After police reported on Wednesday they had completed their investigation, the Advertiser made another request for the autopsy report.

Rod Kennette, deputy director of the state Department of Forensic Sciences, said he received Brooks' authorization to release the report shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday.

The medical examiner who conducted Aldridge's autopsy said Friday the long wait for the autopsy findings was not unusual.

"These things happen," Boudreau said. "We see probably two of these a year. If you're not used to seeing that sort of thing, it's probably unusual."

Friday, October 05, 2007

Drug Court Comes to Alexander City and Loretta Announces Court Watch

Officials in my town met yesterday with drug court representatives to discuss the possibility of forming one for the 5th Judicial Circuit which includes Tallapoosa County.

From The Alexander City Outlook

Officials consider drug court

By Patrick McCreless

Law enforcement and court officials from four counties, including Tallapoosa, gathered in Alexander City Thursday for a singular purpose - to help drug addicts become productive members of society.

The meeting was a chance for the officials to take their first steps toward developing a drug court for the 5th Judicial Circuit, which includes Tallapoosa, Macon, Chambers and Randolph Counties. Drug court programs have become an increasingly popular way throughout the state and the nation in recent years to affectively curb drug addiction.

"It's good public policy and it's good law enforcement policy," retired Jefferson County Judge Pete Johnson said of drug courts. "We teach them (addicts) to live drug free."

Johnson has been a major proponent of drug courts for years and led the creation of Jefferson County's drug court in 1996.

"I was concerned because I kept seeing the same defendants coming through my court over and over with drug related charges," Johnson said. "We decided we should try to break the drug use and crime cycle."

Drug court is designed for defendants charged with illegal possession of drugs and forged prescription cases who want to live drug free lives. Drug dealers and traffickers are not eligible for the special court.

In typical programs, when a defendant is accepted into drug court he or she enters a plea of guilty. The defendant is then required to return to court at least 15 times for reviews during his year in drug court. Drug treatment, testing, counseling and volunteer work are required for all drug court defendants.

Johnson said defendants who fail a drug test in Jefferson County spend a night in jail. Subsequent relapses cause the defendant to enter more intense drug treatment after a longer jail stay. If treatment and sanctions do not work, the defendant goes to prison.

When a defendant successfully completes drug court, he or she graduates and their conviction is set-aside on recommendation from the district attorney.

"I think it'll be something beneficial," said 5th Judicial Circuit Judge Tom Young. "It'll take these people off the street as drug addicts and create law abiding citizens."

For the few skeptics in the crowd, Johnson came armed with various statistics that indicated the success of Jefferson County's drug court over the past decade.

Since 1996, 4,161 addicts have participated in Jefferson County's drug court. Of those addicts, 2,629 successfully graduated from the program. Only 9 percent of those who graduated from the program relapsed in the last two years.

Drug cost fees paid by the defendants added up to over $3 million. Since its initiation, the Jefferson County drug court has saved taxpayers over $36 million in prison costs.

"I think it's been proven in Jefferson County," said Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett. "I would support an effort for drug court provided it meets all guidelines previously set up."

Young said he and the other judges in the 5th Judicial Circuit plan to meet in the next 60 days to hash out more of the details for an effective drug court.

"I think this kind of structure is what these people (addicts) need," Young said.

Not too long ago I discussed with the sheriff of Tallapoosa Co. the level of interest in starting a drug court here. He stated that many court officials here were interested but that the main problem was lack of funds. I assume that they have found the funding to get started.

I have a lot of problems with the way this article was written though. First the word addict portrays the inaccurate conclusion that anyone who uses an illicit substance is automatically an addict in need of intervention. That is about as truthful as saying anyone who ever had a drink of wine or a can of beer is an alcoholic in need of intervention. I know scores of people who use an illicit substance, lead productive normal lives complete with nice families, a home, cars and everything else that goes along with leading a productive 'normal' life. Why should people who lead productive normal lives be subjected to forced intervention from law enforcement and the courts simply for possessing an illicit substance...in most cases just marijuana?

About a month ago I wrote an LTE that was printed in most of Alabama's major newspapers about the 25 new drug courts and my fears that they would simply round up pot smokers and waste scarce resources by sending them to occupy treatment beds that should be saved for people battling real addiction. You can read that letter HERE.

To ensure that such a thing does not happen I am happy to announce that I have received a grant for the purpose of funding Alabama Court Watch which was created by myself and Ralph Hendrix of UAB TASC. This program will enable us and a group of volunteers to attend drug court sessions to collect information on who is being forced through these programs and what wrap-around services are offered to clients for the outrageous amount of money being extorted from them in order to stay out of jail. Will there be mental health counseling, vocational rehab, help with prescription medications, exceptions on payment amounts for people on SSI Disability, exceptions for people using marijuana in the medical sense and so forth? Or will these programs merely take money from everyone caught with drugs and offer nothing more than mandatory attendance at AA/NA?

I don't think government should be involved in the business of curing addiction. In my opinion it is a private family matter and not to be exploited in order to fill state and county coffers. However, since government insists on being involved I have made it my mission to make sure that for every penny they take they offer something in return.

Drug courts can help people who badly need it...but only if they are run properly with sensible allocation of resources and prioritization of who needs help the most and not who is the largest group of people they can extort money from.

I'll see y'all in court.

More Wal-Mart Fun!

Sadly that photo confirms that I actually am employed at Wal-Mart.

And I bet y'all thought this was a 'family oriented store'. This gem sits at the end of my register in what is called a 4-way, which is currently displaying 2008 calendars. This particular calendar, which looks like it came straight out of 'Brokeback Mountain' is sandwiched between 'Larry the Cable Guy' and 'Jeff Foxworthy'. It doesn't get much more entertaining than that.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Beam Me Up Scotty

Man I have missed y'all sooooooooo much. I've spent the last three weeks of my life trapped in Wal-Mart hell. Third shift was seriously kicking my ass for a while but I have adjusted pretty well now. Of course, when I am off all I want to do is sleep and since they saw fit to work me 8 days straight and then split my two off days that is probably what I will do a lot of today. But not before I get out this blog post which I have been dying to write.

Wal-Mart is a trip! Not the job itself but many of the people I work with. And not a trip in a good haha kind of way either. I guess it is somewhat universal that the people you work with are what generally make a job suck. That has been my experience with just about every public job I have ever had and the lower the wages the worse the attitudes. I actually make a lot for a cashier position and the work is gravy. I run a register for a few hours a night, clean the registers and do returns. Returns, by the way, are all the shit that you customers decide at the last minute you don't want and you place frozen biscuits in the say pet area or something like that. Not complaining or anything...I do it too truth be told. At times I also work as the greeter at the door. That job is usually so dull and boring that I think I'd rather have bamboo splinters driven under my nails for entertainment. It can be a great deal of fun though when it is busy. People seem utterly shocked to see someone at the door who smiles at them and asks how they are doing. They also seem to appreciate being thanked for their business on the way out. I have had many of them offer me tips after coming through my line or being greeted at the door. However, company policy forbids me from taking any tips whatsoever. That sucks. I could probably make as much in tips as I do in my check.

I came in one day in the middle of my second week and all of the CSM's (Customer Service Managers) were praising my work, telling me all of the big managers were extremely happy and were saying things in the back like after my 90 days are up I could eaisly have any management position in the store that I wanted, that they wish they had more like me, that I work really hard, don't ride the clock or take long breaks and lunches and just all around warm fuzzy stuff about my performance. All of what they said is true, but it is hard to feel too proud because looking good when most of my competition are lazy, ill-tempered, bovines is way too easy.

One bovine in particular is really driving me insane. She is a total nasty skank with poor personal hygine, zero work ethic and all sorts of other problems that make her being in a cashier position a very bad choice. I cannot for the life of me understand why she is in that position. She never smiles at customers or tries to engage them in conversation. To make matters worse she recently married a guy on the floor crew and they work the same shift. They have already been caught fucking in the parking lot, on every break they sneak off and ring each others necks with hickeys, and it is impossible to keep them away from each other in the store. Quite frankly, if I were the manager who caught them fucking in their van on their lunch break I would have called the lawn and garden center to bring me over a water hose to seperate them, just like two dogs tied up in the front yard, and then I would have fired them. The guy she married reminds me of Lenny in "Of Mice and Men" by Stienbeck. A rock has more brains. When I think of them the song 'Flagpole Sitta' by Harvey Danger comes to mind

"Been around the world and found
That only stupid people are breeding
The cretins cloning and feeding
And I don't even own a TV"

If you put the girl (actually she is a fully grown woman) to putting out returns she will abandon her buggy just about anywhere and sneak off to find her husband. They then proceed to the fitting rooms or behind the customer service desk to make out or fuck or god knows what. The other day she announced that she is pregnant. YUCK! I call it the "Wal-Mart Breeding Program." If she is assigned a register she turns out her light, finds a soap opera digest or an Enquirer, bends down so no one can see her and pretends she isn't really at work.

Last week those of us who work on the front end were without a CSM for one night and Ms. Skank really put on a show. She took a 45 minute break on her 15 minute break, an hour and a half lunch followed by an immediate 20 minute bathroom break, followed by another 45 minute 15 minute break. I WAS PISSED! Returns were piling up, customers were getting pissed because there was only one register open and this gal was no where to be found. I decided that it was time to utilize the open door policy and tell a night manager what kind of problem we were having with her. So I did. And....I was told to call her to the front and tell her what was what. I declined that offer. I said I am not a manager and that running stupid bovines around the store was above my pay grade. However, if he would like to pay me a managers pay and give me manager powers then I would be happy to drive her about with a cattle prod.

The next day I went in an hour early and went directly back to the main managers office and told him what was going on. I introduced myself and he smiled real big and said, "Yes Mrs. Nall I know who you are and I have been hearing some really wonderful things about you. How can I help you today?" I told him about how this cashier can't be put on returns because all she does is sneak off and make out with that thing she is married to. About how she can't be assigned a register because she turns off the light, ducks down and reads tabloids. About how they have been caught breeding on the clock, about how a customer with small children will one day walk around the corner and catch them in the act and be traumatized for life. "I thought this was suppossed to be a family store and I don't recall a breeding program on company time as being one of the fringe benefits." I told the manager that I have a very strong work ethic, that even though Wal-Mart is far from the most glamourous job in the world I still do my very best. I feel they offered me a set rate of pay for a set amount of work and when I accepted that offer I agreed to actually do the work. I told him that even though I do everything I am suppossed to do and most of skank's work as well that at the end of my last shift I had to leave work with the Customer Service desk piled high with returns and many of the registers not cleaned. "That reflects badly on everyone on that shift who works up front, regardless of how much work I actually did it looks bad and so I look bad and I really hate to look bad."

He asked me what I would do in this situation. I told him that I have tons of management experience and that I would have fired her the first time I caught her breeding on the clock. He then said....wait are you sitting down? He said, "Well, maybe we should just assign her to a register full time and leave the returns to the more motivated people. It's a team around here you know and we all have to help each other." I bout fell out of my chair. "You must not have heard me," I said. "When she is assigned to a register she turns off the lights, settles down with a National Enquirer and pretends she is not taking customers. Assigning her to a register will not in any way address this problem. If that is all you can do then you might as well clock her in, set her in the office for 9 hours and then clock her out because that is about all it amounts to right now anyway. As for this being a team effort I am a team player and will help any of my co-workers that need help but in order to help this one she actually has to do something first and that isn't what is currently happening." He said, "Well what would you like me to do?" "Your fucking job" were the first words that came to mind and I quickly bit them back. "You are the store manager and you have infinite methods of dealing with this problem at your disposal. You might consider putting them on different shifts. It is always a bad personnel decision to hire a husband and wife team for the same shift...especially one that has only been married a few months. Barring that you could pay me double what I am making because I do her job and mine and I won't complain anymore or you can approach this from some other direction, but either way someone needs to do something because it is very demoralizing for everyone else on the front line to bust ass and have her get paid money for work we are actually doing." Later on he paged her to the office, her husband too, and said some sort of magic words to them. The magic lasted all of one night and she is back to her old ways. I could smash her. Could smash upper management too for acting the way they do.

The next day my CSM wanted to know what I had told the manager and I told her. She said she had talked to everyone on that shift the night before and they all said the same things that I did. She also told me that this person in question has "fetal alcohol syndrome" and that is why management doesn't want to do anything to her. Apparently Wal-Mart has this policy of hiring mentally retarded people into positions they can't do and making everyone else pay the price. Fetal alcohol syndrome my ass!! She has lazy, nasty, white-trash, welfare, food stamp syndrome and in my eyes that is not a disability. If she can't do the job then move the bitch away from my end of the store because I can't deal with her.

Some of the people I work with are great. However, the mentality of the rest of them goes something like this..."Rasslin, NASCAR and high school drama." If you like either of those three things and can carry on a conversation in the break room about them then you will fit right in. I, however, am having a hard time. Like beam me up Scotty there is no intelligent life down here! I stick out like a sore thumb.

Not all of my hours spent at Wal-Mart are spent in a boiling fury and intellectual de-evolution. I actually manage to have fun. I love my customers. To me good customer service is a performance art and I am a great performer. I got theatrics, a sense of humor and the ability to engage almost anyone in a conversation based on items they purchase. Dog food is my favorite because I get to ask what kind of dog they have and then I get to talk about my snoot. A customer buying only tampons or condoms is a little harder to engage though.

I like my little hispanic customers a lot. They always look so stunned and grateful when I smile at them and ask how they are doing. I take it that doesn't happen often. Many of them can speak a little english but when talking among themselves they speak spanish. Last week I learned how to tell what one of them was saying based solely on the inflection of his voice. Two hispanic men came thru my line and the first one had two items. One of them was from the pharmacy side of the store and was something like generic prilosec. The other item was a coke. I rang up his goods and the total was almost $50. He looked over at his buddy with a stunned look and said something in spanish. I cracked up because I knew he had to have said, "Damn that shit is high" just by the way he said it. I asked the one that spoke english if that was what he had said and he cracked up, I mean holding his gut laughing at me and then said, "Yes that is almost exactly what he said." Then he said, "You speak spanish?" I said, "No...but I know that is what I would have said if a coke and some heartburn pills had come to $50."

Then last week we had a streaker. No kidding. A young black woman came waltzing thru the doors with nothing but a very short t-shirt on. She proceeded down the main aisle in the grocery department, ass-a-shinin, got what she came after and walked thru the check out line like there wasn't a thing in the world wrong with busting up in Wal-Mart with your ass cheeks flappin'. Other customers were stunned, all pointing, laughing and covering their mouths. I admired the streaker myself. She certainly created a buzz and reduced the boredom factor exponentially.

There are also a lot of cops who come into the store on third shift. One woman comes in around 5 every morning for something. Last week she showed up at my register in uniform with a huge box of donuts. I told her she was just begging for someone to make a joke. She said, "Huh?" Uh oh, thought I , a cop that doesn't get a donut joke. I didn't bother trying to explain.

Then we have the recognizer/announcer customer. He came through my line one evening. I had a pretty long line and all of the CSM's were up front. He gets to my register and he says in a very loud voice, "Hey ain't you the marijuana lady that ran for governor last year?" "Yep that's me," I said. "I just saw you on TV with Hannity and Colmes a few weeks ago and I voted for you. I am so happy to meet you in person." All of the CSM's heard the marijuana bit....but they all knew who I am and what I do before they hired me so I was bothered not at all. There have been a number of customers who have recognized me.

There is so much more I could write about but right now I think I need a nap.