Friday, February 29, 2008

How to Use ALISON

I thought I'd give a quick lesson to my Alabama readers and fellow activists on how to use ALISON, which stands for Alabama Legislative Information System Online.

A reader submitted the following questions regarding the current crusade being waged by Sen. Roger Bedford and Sen. Hank Erwin to outlaw the plant salvia.

Brandon Wynn said...
What good could come from this? They claim it is dangerous but provide no evidence to back up that claim. What can be done to keep this from happening? The thought police won't be happy until every ounce of joy in this world is sucked away and out prisons are bursting at the seams.

Question: Do you know what the bill numbers are for Erwin and Bedford's bills? Also if the numbers are available for the Senate versions. One more question, since I can't seem to find anything about this, when would debate and/or a vote take place in the Senate on this matter?

I don't suppose there is much one can do to 'un-stupid' certain members of our legislature and unfortunately there is nothing on ALISON about that either. But here is what folks interested in this or any other legislative issue can do when they want to know more about a bill and when they want to get involved in the effort to pass or kill a bill.

The first thing you will need to do is famaliarize yourself with ALISON. The links on the lefthand side of the page are all you need to find whatever information you are looking for.

So, you want to know about a specific bill? The first thing you will need is a bill number. If you do not have a bill number click "Bills" on the left menu and then click "Search". Next click "By Keywords" and type in relavent words having to do with the bill. Example: If you are interested in the salvia bill type 'salvia' into the search box. If you are interested in the medical marijuana bill type'medical marijuana' in the search box...etc...etc.. Note the bill number. You'll need it.

Now, you have a bill number and you want to know the latest on your bill of interest. Click the 'status' link and then enter the bill number. Always enter the bill number without spaces, like this SB15 and not SB 15. If your bill is in the house then the first letters will be HB. That will bring up the latest information on your bill such as what committee it is in, what stage it is at in committee readings and so forth.

From the status link you should know what committe your bill has been assigned to. Say you want to attend a committee hearing on this bill and speak for or against it. To find out when your committee is meeting click the "Committee Meetings" link and then choose either House or Senate. All currently scheduled meetings will come up. If your committee isn't listed I recommend you check back every day M-F for updates.

If your bill is scheduled for a committee meeting it may also have a public hearing scheduled. That should be noted in (). A public hearing is just that. People who support and those who oppose get a chance to present their case before the committee before a vote is taken on whether to pass it out of committee and onto the full house or senate floor for a debate. If there is no public hearing scheduled for your bill and you would like one then contact the chair of the committee your bill is in and request one.

To find out who is on any committee in the House GO HERE.

For the Senate Committee's GO HERE.

Both of those links will give you information about who is assigned to the committee and who is Chair and Vice Chair.

If you need to know who your representative is GO HERE

If you need to know who your Senator is GO HERE

You will need to call the members of the committee and speak with them about your bill. Also call your representative and senator and ask them to vote Yes/No on this bill when it comes to the house floor.

It is also a very good idea to pay them a visit in person. It shows them that you care enough to spend time and money traveling to Montgomery to have your voice heard. If you cannot make it down to Montgomery then you can always pay a visit to your representative or senator when they are in their home districts on the weekends. It is always best to call ahead and schedule time. They are very busy people.

When you visit have information that you can leave with them on hand.Always be prepared to back up what you say with facts. I know, I know the legislature and senate seem skirt this important part every session and on nearly every bill...but we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Never lie to them even if they do it to you.
Never get angry.
Always thank them for their time.

Get as many people as humanly possible to join you in your efforts.

If you have any questions about this or see something I missed please post it in the comments.

Montgomery Cop Tasers 13-year-old School Kid

This is probably the sickest and most outrageous thing I have seen in a while!!

Police officer uses Taser on middle school student

Cuz he was big for his age??!@$#%^

An officer with the Montgomery Police Department shocked a middle school student with a stun gun Thursday after the student got into an altercation with a school administrator.

A seventh-grade pupil at Brewbaker Junior High School "got into it" with a school official, causing a police officer assigned to the school's security detail to feel it was necessary to use a Taser (stun-gun) on him before the situation escalated, said Tom Salter, Montgomery Public Schools spokesman.

The incident occurred at 2:50 p.m. when an MPD officer assigned to provide security at Brewbaker responded to a call of a fight in the school's office, said Capt. Huey Thornton, a police spokesman.

"Our officer found a 13-year-old male, who was big for his age, fighting a school administrator on the floor and was actually on top of the man," Thornton said.

NEWSFLASH: If you are a cop and you can't handle an unarmed 13-year-old
without risking his very life by shooting 100,000 volt fish-hooks into him then perhaps you should find a new profession. If you ever do it to my kid (that'll never happen) then suing your ass to oblivion will be the very least of your fucking concerns. You sick BASTARDS!


Tasers are DANGEROUS. Death by taser has topped 150 in the US. There have been a few deaths in Alabama. One in Mobile,one in Birmingham and here is a list of all deaths in North America resulting from the use of a taser.

Now, I want to see Senator Charles Bishop get tased for fighting with Senator Lowell Barron and then I want to see him hauled to jail. See what a bad example our 'leaders' (snicker...giggle giggle) set for our children?

Drug Policy Delayed Until Next School Year

The Gadsden Times is reporting that education officials have decided to delay implementation of a student drug testing program until next school year.

Bob Russell, Gadsden City Schools superintendent, says the extension is the result of concern parents expressed Monday.

“We do not plan to implement this policy this year,” Russell said. “We plan to dissect every aspect of the policy to make sure that is something that will complement the judgment of school board officials decisions, and take full action during the next school year.”

“We have decided to slow down the process so that every student, parent and school staff member affected by this policy have an opportunity to be educated about every aspect of this policy.”

And while they are waiting I plan to do a little educating of my own. I submitted the following LTE a few days ago when this story broke. To date it has not been printed. Luckily there are forums availableto get the word out.

I submit the following in hopes of providing parents and educators with good, scientific-based reasons to 'Just say NO to student drug testing".

Oregon Health & Science University researchers just concluded a two-year study called SATURN (Student Athlete Testing Using Random Notification).

This is the first-ever prospective, randomized clinical trial to measure the deterrent effects of drug and alcohol testing among high school athletes. They report that random drug and alcohol testing does not reliably keep student-athletes from using. They also found that drug testing increases some risk factors for future substance use. These findings are published in the November issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, the journal of the Society for Adolescent Medicine.

Student drug testing places kids in greater danger for a variety of reasons. Marijuana is the substance most commonly used by youth and is the safest of all substances, both licit and illicit. Students who might engage in a little youthful indiscretion by smoking pot once in a while, might move to harder drugs like meth and prescription narcotics because they are out of your system in 72 hours, whereas the broken down metabolites of marijuana, while causing no harm, are detectable in the human body for up to 45 days. Kids are also known to do crazy things like drink bleach in hopes of masking drugs in their system. That is extremely dangerous.

Parents and educators should also be aware that the following organizations oppose randomly drug testing students: National Education Association, the Association for Addiction Professionals, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

If that many professionals say NO to student drug testing, studies show it doesn't work and might even place kids in greater danger then why do we continue to see schools push for these invasive and dehumanizing programs for our kids?

Respectfully Submitted,
Loretta Nall
Alexander City

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Importance of Third Party Candidates

An Editorial in today's Opelika/Auburn News discusses the importance and impact of third party candidates.
Thanks for the mention OA News!

Published: February 28, 2008

Ralph Nader’s recent announcement to enter the presidential election raised a few eyebrows.

We understand this man, running as an independent, has virtually no chance of winning the election and question, to a degree, his true motives for joining the race.

But that’s his right. Just like it was Libertarian Loretta Nall’s right to run for Alabama governor in 2006.

Third party candidates are part of the American voting process.

If they weren’t important or legitimate, they wouldn’t be on the presidential ballot.

If American voters want to make the decision to cast their vote away, that’s their prerogative and absolute right as American citizens.

Men and women have sacrificed their lives to give us the right to vote, and that right includes voting for any candidate on the ballot regardless of how miniscule their chances of actually getting elected are.

If you think votes cast for Nader are meaningless or wasted, think again. They are only meaningless for his collective tally. However, they could have a major impact in the total number of votes cast for the Republican and Democratic candidates.

It’s widely regarded that votes for Nader cost Democrat Al Gore the White House in the 2000 election, particularly with votes cast in Florida.

There were more Democratic voters siding with Nader than Republican voters siding for the independent.

In short, he pulled votes away from Gore.

But many who continue to cry foul over what happened in 2000 fail to remember that independent H. Ross Perot played a huge role in determining the outcome of the 1992 presidential election.

Perot pulled votes away from Republican George Bush, and Democrat Bill Clinton eased into his new residence on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Voters should be smart enough to understand the impact of casting their votes. If their ideals and vision for America are in line with Nader’s, then they should stand behind their man.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Otis Brothers

I was surfing around some Alabama blogs and came across A Disordered Mind and this gut-clutching piece called The Otis Brothers. It is absolutely hysterical! You MUST go read it.

There is nothing as entertaining as an original Alabama story told properly by a native Alabamian. And this one is just exactly that.

Getting Busy Around Here

About this time every year invitations to speak at or attend various events start arriving. This year is off to a good start.

On March 11, I have been invited to attend the Anniston Star Ayers Lecture Writers' Dinner where I and others will be honored as Outstanding Letter Writers of the Year. The keynote speaker is none other than Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the New York Times. Should be a fascinating evening.

On April 4-6 the Central Alabama Chapter of MENSA is holding their annual gathering. I spoke to their national gathering last year in BHAM and they have invited me to speak to them again. Last year's speech was probably one of the best ones I have ever given and I did it all off the cuff. I find I usually do a much better job that way as opposed to trying to read something off a piece of paper.

On April 20-22 The Libertarian Party of Alabama will hold its annual convention. They have invited me to be a speaker on one of those days as well.

On a different note I am working to bring LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) to do a tour of Alabama this summer. LEAP is comprised of former narcotics detectives, cops, DEA agents, Judges, prosecutors and defense attys. who all now say the drug war is worse than any drug ever will be. They are quite an incredible group of folks and Alabama would benefit from having them enter the discussion on drug policy in this state. The state damn sure ain't listening to me. In a couple weeks when I have more info on the LEAP gig I will be asking for contributions to bring some of their speakers down. If you are at a major university and would like to help me set them up to speak there then please email me.

William F. Buckley Jr. Dies at 82

The Montgomery Advertiser is reporting that author and conservative commentator William F. Buckley Jr. has passed away at the age of 82. In recent years Mr. Buckley lent his very prominent voice to the issue nearest and dearest to my heart. The failure and futility of the US drug war.

He will be missed.

Why Crusade Against Plants?

I do believe the Tuscaloosa News has the fastest turn around on letter's to the editor of any paper in the state. The ones I send in always seem to run the next day.

Here is my latest that was published regarding Senaotrs' Bedford & Erwin's raging, moralistic, hard-on to ban all things pleasurable.

Why Crusade Against Plants?

Dear Editor: When I read the article regarding the bill by Sens. Roger Bedford and Hank Erwin to outlaw the little-known plant salvia, I could only shake my head in dismay. Their attempt to make it illegal and apply the same penalties currently imposed on non-violent marijuana consumers is absolutely absurd. What - we don't have enough people in Alabama jails and prisons for use of natural plants?

This seems like a coordinated campaign nationally. My guess it is coming from the DEA. It is outrageous, since salvia is a non-problem - but maybe if they prohibit it they can change that, seeing as how prohibition of other plants and their derivatives has worked so well in the past and all.

Once these legislative clowns make it illegal, we will see a huge jump in its use by kids. We'll see prison imposed for possession of a geranium plant, lives ruined, forced treatment, drug court and all kinds of crazy stuff that we don't see now when it is legal and not widely known all because of their raging, moralistic crusade to outlaw anything that might give someone else pleasure. What will they outlaw next, spinning around in circles until you get dizzy? That also alters ones state of consciousness.

If our legislative body truly wanted to go after problem plants then might I suggest kudzu and privet?

Loretta Nall

Alexander City

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Liberty Alliance Meeting this Thursday

A new organization called The Liberty Alliance will host its first meeting
this Thursday Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Libertarian Party HQ located at 2330
Highland Ave in Birmingham. This will be a great opportunity to meet new people to help with our various projects and to help them with projects they work on that we support. I hope that you will plan to attend.

If you need further information you can email me.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Alabama Bill To Install anti-Nick Nolte driving device hits bump

HB77, sponsored by Rep. Priscilla Dunn, which would mandate that drivers in Alabama convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol install an anit-Nick Nolte deviceonm their cars, has hit a snag.

New Auto Security System Will Not Allow Car To Start If Driver Is Nick Nolte

God, I love The Onion

Birmingham Agrees to Stop Jailing Indigent defendants for Inability to Pay Fines

Gee, that is mighty white of them ain't it? About time too.

City settles federal lawsuit; judge must weigh ability to pay

Monday, February 25, 2008
News staff writer

The City of Birmingham has agreed to no longer automatically jail defendants who are unable to pay fines and costs for misdemeanor crimes.

In settling a 2006 federal lawsuit, city officials acknowledged that there were certain procedures judges in the Birmingham Municipal Court system did not follow when dealing with indigent defendants.

"We admitted there were certain things the judges were doing that they shouldn't be doing," said Lawrence Cooper, city attorney. "We agreed to follow the rules."

The suit, filed in Birmingham's federal court, accused the city of operating a dual system of justice that punished those who cannot pay fines more severely than those who can. The suit also claimed the city converted days in jail for fines and costs that resulted in a sentence that exceeded the maximum allowed by law.

Under the settlement, before fines, costs or restitution are converted to days in jail at the proper rate of $25 per day, the judge must determine a defendant's ability to pay. In the past, the city's automatic conversion of fines and costs to days in jail was at a rate of $15 per day.

Stephen Wallace, a Birmingham lawyer who sued the city on behalf of four indigent men, said Birmingham's sentences for indigent people who couldn't pay were illegal and unconstitutional. The suit said the Constitution prohibits automatic imprisonment for failing to pay a debt

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Religious Wrong in Alabama

Our friend Dan over at Daily Dixie posted a fun piece about Brother Dan Ireland, who insists that he is the moral compass of Alabama.

I think Brother Dan Ireland is a religious tyrant myself as he uses all of his political influence to control the lives of others based on his warped interpretation of the bible.

A fascinating discussion, with much input from yours truly, has ensued. Seems some folks are perfectly ok with Brother Ireland using his political influence and first amendment right to free speech to infringe upon the constitutional privacy rights of others...yet when one of the 'others' protests they are branded as someone who would dare infringe upon the rights iof Mr.Ireland.

Truly fascinating!


60 Minutes Investigates the Don Siegelman Case tonight at 6 p.m.

Siegelman case on on 60 Minutes tonight at 6 p.m.

UPDATE: After watching that I can say without hesitation of any kind that Don Siegelman should be a free man and that all of those who participated in his illegal incarceration should be locked up for a very long time.

These Clowns Need To Stop It!

Senators Roger Bedford & Hank Ewrin seek to outlaw salvia

Alabama legislators: This salvia is no pretty flower
2/24/2008, 12:39 p.m. CST
The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Two Alabama legislators are trying to ban a type of salvia. But they're not trying to rid Southern flower beds of the red and blue flowers popular in the region.

Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, and Sen. Hank Ewrin, R-Montevallo, have proposed bills that would classify salvia divinorum as an illegal drug with the same punishment as marijuana.

Daniel Siebert, a California pharmacognosist who studies the medicinal properties of plants, said the legislation goes too far.

"Salvia is a valuable medicinal herb that should be available to people," he said.

Salvia divinorum is a sage-like plant that is related to the colorful flowers called salvia or red and blue sage. Bedford's and Erwin's bills only cover the one type.

"Everyone's flower bed is safe," Bedford said.

Salvia divinorum is usually smoked or eaten. It has hallucinogenic properties when used in large amounts and, because it is unregulated in most states, it is widely available on the Internet and in some shops.

Many parents have never heard of it, "but the kids know it," Erwin said.

Erwin and Bedford said they haven't heard of many problems in Alabama, but they are trying to act before use becomes widespread.

(Yeah that's worked real well in the past hasn't it?)

Bedford's bill breezed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on an unanimous vote Wednesday and is now awaiting a vote in the Senate. Erwin's bill is awaiting action by the Judiciary Committee.

(I was completely unaware of these bills or I would have been lobbying against them)

If either bill passes, Alabama would not be acting alone.

Delaware, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, and Illinois have passed criminal laws similar to the Alabama proposals. Tennessee has made it a misdemeanor offense, and Maine has banned the sale to people under 18.

Salvia divinorum is native to Mexico and has been used for many years by the Mazatec Indians for rituals and as a healing agent. As its use expanded beyond Mexico, several countries bannned it, including Australia, Denmark and Sweden, but not the United States.

Siebert, who produces a Web site called "Sage Wisdom," says salvia divinorum can help with meditation, introspection and psychotherapy.

"It produces an introspective state of awareness," he said.

Seibert, of Malibu, said its effects are short-lived and it is not addictive. He said he would prefer to see Alabama do what Maine did and treat it like alcohol by banning the sale to minors.

"I don't think that's a good approach," Bedford said. "You are legalizing the use of something we don't have enough scientific data about."

No, Senator Bedford...YOU are making the use of something you know nothing about ILLEGAL.

Salvia Divinorum is related to the geranium plant. I have tried salvia a few times and it never did anything to me at all. Others who have used it report a very short lived psychadelic effect. Psychadelics are not known to be addictive. I've never known anyone to get hooked on just doesn't happen. We grew it for many years and it is a beautiful plant. Hell, the cops seized large bags of salvia and catnip when they illegally raided my home in November of 2002.

Once these legislative clowns make it illegal we will see a huge jump in its use by kids. We'll see prison imposed for possession of a geranium plant, lives ruined, forced treatment and drug court and all kinds of crazy shit that we don't see now when it is legal and not widely known all because of their raging, moralistic, hard-on to outlaw anything that might give someone else pleasure.

Will they ever learn?

Alabama Launches Zero-Meth Campaign

Despite what you might think I fully support these types of educational efforts to reduce methamphetimine use. The same approach has lowered tobacco smoking rates among youth. Now, if only they would stop arresting and imprisoning folks addicted to the nasty stuff and start a program where a physician could prescribe Desoxyn and offer treatment. This approach would also virtually eleminate meth labs that endanger whole communities.

State goes on offensive against crystal meth

By Jay Reeves
The Associated Press

The state unveiled a $1 million ad campaign Friday aimed at scaring Alabama teenagers away from trying methamphetamine with images of strung-out addicts with rotten teeth.

The project, called Zerometh, received generally good reviews. But an expert said the campaign could use more information about science and sex, a prime reason many people get hooked on the highly addictive drug.

Put together by the governor's office and state prosecutors with funding from members of the state's congressional delegation, the Zerometh campaign will include billboards, print ads, TV commercials and an Internet site.

Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp, who helped lead the project for the Alabama District Attorneys Association, said leaders particularly want to target rural areas where meth has become an overwhelming problem.

"We basically want to send out the message that the only way to win the game is not to play it," said Harp.

Zerometh commercials will appear within TV shows that appeal to young viewers.

"Free PSAs would have been absolutely useless," Harp said. "What we had to do was buy (time on) American Idol, buy CSI, buy MTV."

The head of the Alabama-based Mothers Against Methamphetamine, Dr. Mary Holley of Arab, said Zerometh should grab the attention of young people with its edgy design and stark images.

"Kids respond to pictures more than anything you can write or say, and these pictures are fabulous," Holley said while looking at the Zerometh Web page.

But, she said, the campaign would be even better if it was more honest by addressing the scientific evidence against meth and the common belief that the drug improves sexual performance.

Experts say the drug can boost the sex drive at first, but it quickly leads to the loss of sexual function. Hitting the sexual aspect of the drug head-on would be most effective since many first-time users try meth for its perceived benefits in bed, she said.

"Kids are probably going to discount a lot of it if you don't tell the whole story," said Holley.

The head of a group that helped start anti-meth projects in five states said results elsewhere indicate the Alabama campaign should help keep young people off the drug. In Montana, use of the drug declined in the two years after a campaign started in 2005.

"The decline in adult meth use was 70 percent, the largest of anywhere in the country. Youth use was down 45 percent," said Nitsa Zuppas, executive director of the Siebel Foundation, which started the anti-meth campaign there.

Crazy Keyword Searches

I recently switched counters on the blog. One of the features the new counter offers is 'keyword searches'. Some of these are so hysterical and others so disturbing I thought I'd share them with you.

boobs and panties
im wearing my sister in law's panties (I don't believe I'da told that myself)
mothers who make their sons wear panties (need serious help)

howler monkey sound

food stamp program potato chips
can I buy candy, cookies with my EBT card
Can I use my ebt card at mcdonald
(I told you so)

pig lipstick picture
(Lipstick on a pig)

troy king
king of sex
Weapons as Sex Toys
how to make household products into sex toys
pig sex woman (SICKO!)
Sex King

nall the slave pics (no clue???)

were to buy a tillers in alabama
(I still ain't found one)

Erin Brokovitch

For years people have been telling me to watch the movie Erin Brokovitch because that character is who I remind them of. Last night I finally got the chance to watch it. First I watched the A&E special about the real people involved and then the movie.

It is one of the best movies I have ever seen.....and the Erin Brokovitch character is just like me....or I guess I am just like that character....only I don't look like Julia Roberts. Wish I did.

Favorite line from the movie, "Hope you enjoy that water....we had it imported just for you straight from Hinkley."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Coach Keith Resigns

Last year some of my readers may remember an incident at the school my children attend where the football Coach Andy Keith paddled a student so hard that the kids lower back, buttocks and upper legs were a solid black bruise.

I protested at the school with a sign that said "Coach Keith Beats Kids" and pissed off nearly everyone. I'm happy with that...they needed pissing off if you ask me.
You can read all of those posts here.

Today the Alexander City Outlook is reporting that Coach Andy Keith has resigned to take a coaching job in Walker Co.

While Keith emphasized how hard it would be to leave his players at Horseshoe Bend, he said he was ready for his next challenge.

"Those people up there love their football," Keith said. "They're fired up about football, they're fired up about winning and I am too."

Boy, if they are fired up about winning then why the hell are they hiring Andy Keith? You wouldn't know he was fired up about winning from his abysmal record at Horseshoe Bend. When I decided to protest I wanted "The Only Thing Coach Keith Beats is KIDS!" on my signs...but it wouldn't fit. For the record this is saying nothing against the players on the high school team. I know those kids play hard and want to win every game. I'm afraid Walker County is going to be incredibly disappointed with their new coach.

It's interesting timing if you ask me. I know from inside sources that the case against Coach Keith was to be settled this month and what do you know....he accepts a job this month in another county. Hmmmm...

Although the local paper reported on the incident at Horseshoe Bend last year they fail to mention it at all in the article about him leaving. What ever happened to good old fashioned investigative journalism and telling the whole story?

Friday, February 22, 2008

An Altercation with the Drug Court Gestapo

Yesterday, I was invited to attend the Birmingham Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society luncheon and panel discussion. The topic of the panel discussion was "Is Drug Court a Good Idea?"

A little bit of info on the Federalist Society.
The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks both to promote an awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.

Their members include all of the current conservative members of the Supreme Court and others of that ilk. Some might think that I would be out of place in such company, but the truth is I am a real conservative. I believe in a very small, un-intrusive government that serves to protect our rights and freedoms. I believe in states rights. I believe in the separation of powers. The people calling themselves conservatives today (The Republican Party) are really anything but.

I wouldn't have known about this luncheon, but apparently I have a friend in the legal community that thought my presence might be sorely needed at any such discussion on drug courts in Alabama. Bless'em! And a HUGE thank you to the attorney who invited me. If you live in Shelby Co. or surrounding areas and get wrapped up on drug charges CALL ME and I will give you the name of an attorney whose heart is in his work and that you can trust to fight like hell to clear your name. I would list it here on the blog but I haven't asked permission to do that. If I get permission I will put up a permanent link.

The luncheon was held at The Summit Club in Birmingham. The Summit Club is for really rich, powerful people. It is a private deal with membership dues (I don't know what they are but I suspect they are outrageous according to my poor person definition of that word). It is located on the 32nd & 33rd floors of the Regions Bank Harbert Center and it has an incredible view of the city. I had been there once before back in the late 90's. Yesterday my friend and fellow activist Dawn Palmer attended with me.

We arrived about the same time but had problems finding good parking. I wound up parking three blocks away. As soon as I pulled into the parking spot and began looking for change to feed the meter I was assailed by a homeless person. I tried to ignore him but he was persistent enough to tap on my window. "I don't have any cash." I wasn't lying either. All I had was enough to pay the $16 to get into the event. He walked away. About ten seconds later along came another one. I just waved him away. Then another one. Geez Louise! I finally got out of the car, fed the meter and hobbled the three blocks on my broke foot to the Harbert Center.

Dawn and I got in and got situated. Two more attorney's joined us at our table and introduced themselves and asked who we were and what we did. I explained that I am a legalizer, run Court Watch, Alabamians for Compassionate Care and ran for Governor with the Libertarian Party in 2006. It turns out that both of these attorney's had recently quit their practice and are opening an addiction treatment center. I was glad to hear that. Alabama has a huge deficit in the number of treatment beds available in the state and zero funding dollars. It's really awful. Drug Court can only be as good as the treatment offered. This bullshit of herding people through it and making them pay the drug courts anywhere from $2500 to $4000, plus CRO fees, plus drug test fees, plus drug and alcohol class fees is nothing more than government sanctioned extortion that doesn't help anyone. Most drug courts in Alabama offer no wrap around services such as mental health counseling and medications for those who need them, no vocational rehab to help them get a job, no transportation to get to and from drug court, which makes it almost impossible for people to get there because the state takes your license when you plead guilty. It's basically all a big fucking extortion scam.

The panel was made up of Drug Court Judge Davis Lawley, who was appointed by Gov. Bob Riley to take the place of Judge Pete Johnson when he retired in 2007. Judge Lawley informed us that he was the former head of a drug task force and used to be the door-kicker-inner on drug raids. What a swell, unbiased person to be appointed Judge of drug court, eh? The other panelist was Lt. James Chambliss head of the Narcotics Division in the Birmingham Police Dept. Rep. Cam Ward (R- Alabaster) was also supposed to be on the panel but was unable to make it due to being in session in the legislature. A note to the organizers of this event...if you truly want to have a discussion on whether drug courts are a good idea or not how about including a panelist who doesn't profit directly from the drug war and drug courts? That'd make it a tad more balanced.

Having no opposing panelist I decided to fill that role from my chair in the audience. Judge Lawley spoke first and he covered what drug court is, how he wants to 'help' people who are 'addicts' so they can pay in their social security like everybody else. I got the impression that he felt every human was born to be a slave to social security taxes and that was perfectly ok by him. He tried to talk about how the brain works in an addicted human and failed terribly. It was painfully obvious he had not a single clue as to the science of drug addiction. He was a cop and now he is a judge and he never went to medical school, so just how exactly is he qualified to talk about addiction? Sounded to Dawn and me like he was acknowledging that addiction is a medical condition and not a criminal justice one. Which begged the question of why is he a drug court judge. But that isn't what I asked.

Next up was Lt. James Chambliss head of the Birmingham Police Dept. Narcotics Division. He kept looking at me long before he and Judge Lawley took their seats at the head of the room. He looked incredibly familiar. I am almost certain I have seen him in the State House. He talked about how his department is currently engaged in a "Zero Tolerance" campaign which consists of pulling over anyone and everyone. He said "We pull people over for throwing a piece of paper out the window. We use every tool we can to make contact with as many 'subjects' as we can to try and see what they are doing." It gave me chills. He continued to ramble about nothing in particular for some time. Seriously, this guy made no sense and was not talking about the subject of the luncheon at all. He said he sees the same people over and over and over. He threw in a comment about the Titanic being built by professionals and Noah's Ark being built by amateurs...but then failed to connect it to anything relevant. It was most bizarre! I couldn't help but wonder how many times his incoherent, rambling testimony put some poor non-violent drug user in jail.

Both Judge Lawley and Lt. Chambliss harped on the dangers of opiates, cocaine and meth. Neither of them mentioned marijuana in their remarks. I found that rather encouraging....until question time arose.

The first question was, "Does drug court reduce the recidivism rate and if so by how much?"

Lt. Chambliss started rambling again about seeing the same people over and over. To me that was a clear indication that Lt. Chambliss didn't think it was working. He continued to ramble about how bad drugs are and a bunch of other crazy nonsense that had absolutely nothing to do with the question asked. It was obvious that he probably didn't know what a recidivism rate was and he was floundering pretty badly when Judge Lawley attempted to answer the question. He didn't do much better. I was really surprised that they did not come prepared with some government math stats that say drug court works. It's like they never expected that question to come up.

Next question from an attorney was.."Does drug court actually cure addicts?" To my absolute horror Judge Lawley said something to the effect of, "There's no real fool proof way to cure and addicts...Everyone in the room here is educated so I can say this....Chairman Mao in China cut off the heads of drug addicts and pushers...we can't do that here of course so we have drug court."

There were a couple other questions before they got to me. I don't remember what they were. When I was finally called on I asked Judge Lawley how much of his drug court case load was made up of simple possession for personal use marijuana cases. It seemed that question caught him off guard as well. He had to stop and think about it for a minute. Then he pulled the random number of 10 to 12 percent out of thin air. Now it may actually be that percentage but he really didn't seem to sure of that number. I noted that 50% of all drug arrests in Alabama are for simple possession of marijuana and that his number seemed very low to me. I then asked him if he thought that using 10 to 12 percent of the very scarce resources available for drug court on non-violent marijuana offenders was a waste since marijuana is not addictive and doesn't have the same health risks as other harder drugs.

Judge Lawley: "Absolutely not. Marijuana makes people lazy and a-motivational."

Me: "Well, I hope the narcotics officer won't arrest me for saying so, but I have been smoking marijuana regularly since the age of 12. I am now 33, I run Court Watch, Alabamians for Compassionate Care, a blog, I ran for Governor of Alabama in 2006 with the Libertarian Party, am often in the media and I am here at your meeting today. Does that sound like someone who is lazy and a-motivational to you?"

Judge Lawley: "No but not everyone reacts the same way. Not everyone is you."

Me: "True, yet the net cast by law enforcement drags in everyone caught with drugs and does not differentiate responsible users from non-responsible users. Why doesn't drug court focus its resources on just the problem drug users?"

Judge Lawley: "Talk to Cam Ward...I don't make the laws."

Me: "I've been talking to Cam Ward for a few years now."

Lt. Chambliss: "I would like to address this question. Marijuana is a gateway drug. Every drug addict I have ever dealt with started with marijuana."

Me: "Marijuana is not a 'gateway drug'. That is just a theory. Every drug addict also drank milk at some point is milk a gateway drug? The connection between marijuana and harder drugs is that marijuana is simply the most prolific and widely available. What about tobacco and alcohol? Do you consider those gateway drugs as well?

Lt. Chambliss: "Them's legal."

Me: "Yes but I asked if you thought they were gateway drugs?"

Lt: Chambliss: "I believe tobacco a gateway drug."

Me: "But not alcohol?"

Lt. Chambliss: "No."

Me: "Both of you keep referring to 'drug related crime'. That is the wrong term. The correct term is prohibition related crime. It is exactly the same thing that we had when alcohol was outlawed in the 20's."

AT this point Lt. Chambliss became so irritated at me that he started asking me questions.

Lt Chambliss: "How many people you charged with narcotics?" (at least I think that is what he said)

Me: "None, I'm not a cop."

Lt.Chambliss: "How many narcotics raids you been on?"

Me: "None and I wouldn't ever go on one." I almost said "Hey I'm asking the questions here" but figured that might push him over the edge and make him pull out his gun and shoot me dead in my chair. Neither of those questions even made sense.

Judge Lawley: "I saw a study recently that showed marijuana caused 'paranoia'." (What he meant to say was schizophrenia).

The moderator jumped in at this point and cut off any further debate between the three of us. I was ready with this response had I been allowed to give it.

"I think you meant to say schizophrenia Judge. And regardless of what government study you read medical science tells us they have no idea what causes schizophrenia, that people are born with it and it is triggered at some point in their lives. Additionally, schizophrenics who use marijuana are using it to self-medicate. It doesn't cause the condition. If you truly meant that marijuana makes you paranoid I would offer up that it isn't marijuana that makes you paranoid....its the cops."

The next question was about arrest statistics. Lt. Chambliss pulled out some notes and left no doubt that cops and drug court judges are having no success in stemming the flow of drugs or stopping people from using them. He went back to about 2002 and read the amount of marijuana seized each year. Every year there was much more marijuana than the year before.

And then the fun was over because time was up. I'd like to be locked in a room with Lt. Chambliss for about an hour. Just me and him. He'd come out a changed man.

As we were leaving the lawyer who invited me came over and the first thing out of his mouth was, "I can't believe they would put that guy (Chambliss) in charge of anything. You couldn't make sense out of anything he was saying." I said, "Scary ain't it...and he carries a gun."

He also said that he was sitting by a Jefferson County Commissioner who was nodding his head in agreement with marijuana being a gateway drug. He said he told him that it isn't a gateway drug but that it is more widely available and easier to access than other drugs. The commissioner said, "That may be but the public isn't ready to hear that."

I had a marvelous time being a professional pain in the ass yesterday. It isn't often that I get to go head to head with a Narc and a drug court judge all in the same day. I was really surprised that some of the Federalist Society lawyers didn't ask about the Constitutionality of the drug war and the end run around the Constitution with the Interstate Commerce Clause. Really surprised.

You know the stupidity of Lt. Chambliss is downright frightening...and what is even scarier is that most law enforcement officers are drinking the same fucking koolaid that he is. Even the judge, who I assume is educated, believes in the shit. Either that or he is a whore profiting off of the blood and misery of others. Sadly not enough people possess the testicular fortitude to do what I did yesterday. It is always sublime to sit before a cop and a judge, both who would love to arrest and imprison me and say "I AM A POT SMOKER" thereby destroying their stereotype of what a pot smoker aka drug user is and does. Goddamn there is nothing better! I think my presence and direct confrontational questioning caught them seriously off guard. And that makes it ever better.

Strangely, the question of whether drug court is a good idea was never answered. Judge Lawley, who makes around $140,000 a year, obviously thinks it is a good idea and Lt. Chambliss, although he hinted that it wasn't working, profits from the fact that it isn't working so he don't give a damn about whether it is a good idea or not. He'll still make blood money off the damn drug war anyway.

My friend who extended the invite also attended our Compassionate Care meeting last night and signed up. He also told me that he has a friend who used to be a drug task force officer and has since joined LEAP and is now against it. I made him promise to hook me up with that gem. I'd really like to get LEAP down here in the same room with Lt. Chambliss and Judge Lawley and any other law enforcement officers, DA's, defense attorneys and judges who are interested to attend.

Later today I am going to talk to my friends at LEAP and see what it would cost to get them down here and start raising funds to make that happen. I'll make a separate post about that and ask you dear readers to contribute to that most noble cause.

Peace Out
Loretta Nall

Cross Posted at Alabama Court Watch

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Compassionate Care Meeting Thursday, Feb. 21

Alabamians for Compassionate Care will conduct a meeting/training session Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008 at

Two Pesos Mexican Grill
201 Southgate Dr
Pelham, AL 35124
(205) 987-3800

The meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m. and last until 7:00 p.m. We will be discussing this years bill, our strategy for getting it passed out of committee, recruiting new patients and medical professionals who are interested in supporting this bill, discuss the documentary film about to be made about our group and talk about who will be giving testimony this year.

Please join us if you are able, pass this invitation along to everyone you know and bring along some friends. Appetizers will be on the house. Any additional food or drinks will be dutch treat.

For more information please email Loretta Nall at or Christie O'Brien at

Hope to see you there!

Loretta Nall
Executive Director
Alabamians for Compassionate Care (website) (blog)

Stupid Alabama Legislature Tricks

Every year in the Alabama Legislature there are a host of really stupid, idiotic and completely pointless bills. So far this year I have discovered two that really stand out. I'm sure there are many more...but let's start here.

The first one is HB147 which, would make it a crime not to have a tax stamp attached to any crack cocaine rocks you might sell.

Now, crack cocaine is illegal....100 times more illegal if you are black than if you are white and use powder cocaine. I don't think anyone selling crack rocks is going to suddenly be-bop it up to the court house and buy tax stamps to affix to the corners of their sandwich baggies.

So, what exactly is the purpose of this legislation? My guess is that it serves two nefarious purposes.

1. To make it easier for the state to seize peoples homes, cars, bank accounts and any other property that the state takes a shine to. Someone selling small amounts to support their own habit wouldn't really be making any money....but with this law every rock sold would have tax affixed to it and although the bill does not say how much each tax stamp is I would be willing to wager that it is very high. So, say a person wasn't a 'dealer' who sold vast quantities and never used any money made for anything other than to support their own habit. They never bought a house, car, didn't have a bank account processing those funds and never bought any other property with the funds. The state would still be able to seize everything they did own, even if it was gained through acceptable means, because of 'back taxes' owed on the crack cocaine they sold.

2. To make it harder for people convicted of selling crack cocaine to get their voting rights restored after they complete their sentence. One of the requirements for having ones voting rights restored is that all fines, restitution and so forth be paid in full. Adding a tax to any illicit drug makes it almost certain that voting rights will never be restored. This specifically targets the Black community since so many more black people are in prison for crack cocaine than white people. And that's just the way they want it.

Another stupid bill is HB2 which, makes selling glass tubes that could be used to smoke crack illegal.

Do they really think that drug users are so uncreative that they will suddenly stop smoking crack if glass tubes are removed from the market? Do they think that glass tubes are the only way to ingest crack cocaine? PLEASE!!! I've seen people use a coke can and cigarette ashes to smoke it. I've seen them use a straw and tin foil and a host of other things. Marijuana pipes and bongs are already against the law here....but that hasn't stopped anyone from smoking pot. A pipe can be made of an apple, toilet paper tube and tin foil, a tampon paper, a coke can with small holes punched in it...the list goes on and on. Will the legislature eventually move to outlaw every common household item that could potentially be used to ingest an illicit substance?

The legislative definition of 'drug paraphernalia" is as follows...
"(a) Definition of "drug paraphernalia". - As used in this section, the term "drug paraphernalia" means all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use, in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of the controlled substances laws of this state.

Looks to me that under that definition they have effectively outlawed, air, water, sunshine, dirt, bat shit, Miracle Grow, sandwich baggies, kitchen scales, shovels, hoes, rakes, garden that is quite a list and is very short considering all of the things that could fit into this overly broad definition of 'drug paraphernalia'.

I can't help but wonder what they are thinking when they come up with shit like this. What it says to me is that they know they are powerless to stop drug use in the state of Alabama. In light of that, they have decided to try and pass any useless, feel-good piece of legislation that will make them look good to their constituents, even if the bill itself does NOTHING to stop illegal drug use. These kinds of bills DO, however, infringe on the rights of people who don't have anything to do with drugs. That's one of the scarier parts. People who clamor for these laws do not realize that it will affect them at some point. Sadly, that is what government has become. A weapon to be wielded against others to stop them from doing something they want to do or to force them to do something they don't want to do by threat of government force.

Will they ever realize that they cannot legislate natural human behavior, that they will not ever be able to legislate drug use out of existence, that they are wasting our time and money sitting around debating useless legislation like this?

One day, probably not in my lifetime, they will realize that drug use is a health, social and family issue and not a criminal justice one. Hopefully they will also realize all of the damage their laws have done to our once free society and to the human lives that their laws helped further destroy. I am not holding out for them ever being held accountable for their actions.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New Sidebar Section


I have added a new catergory to the sidebar of the blog titled "Alabama Orgs. Worth Supporting". All of these are non-profit, grass-roots organizations working on issues like drug policy reform, helping inmate mothers, judicial reform, poverty and constitutional reform. For the purpose of transparency I am executive director of Alabamians for Compassionate Care and Alabama Court Watch. If you know of other non-profits that I might support but aren't listed here please send me a link and a brief description of the organization and I'll consider linking them up.

This is Beautiful!

From the Birmingham News

Volunteer program at Tutwiler Prison for Women helps inmates read and record books for children and grandchildren

For the last five years the program Aid to Inmate Mothers has had women incarcerated at Tutwiler in Wetumpka record bedtime stories for their children and grand-children. I think this is absolutely wonderful. I read tomy children from the time I discovered I was pregnant until they told me they were too old for a bedtime story. I firmly believe that is one of the main reasons I have such awesome kids, who to this day, love to read more than anything.

I can't imagine what it means to a child, who's mother is in prison, to still be able to hear her voice at bedtime. Things like this help to strengthen the fragile bond between mom's in jail and kids left in the outside world to fend for themselves. I plan to get involved with Aid to Inmate Mother's and to volunteer for this program and any others that they have.

If you would like to know more about AIM then please visit website.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mobile Cops Facing Drug Charges Resign

News coverage video Blog

Officers facing drug charges resign
Posted by Ron Colquitt, Staff Reporter
February 15, 2008 1:18 PM

The two Mobile police officers arrested and charged with felony possession of crack cocaine Feb. 6 turned in their resignations today, police Chief Phillipp Garrett said.

Desmond Ryan Brooks, 28, and Aaron Porter, 32, resigned "in bad standing," the chief said today during a news conference.

The men still face criminal charges, Garrett said. An investigation is continuing to determine if other officers were involved in the criminal activity, he said.

An affidavit used to obtain a warrant said Brooks was involved in illegal "shakedowns," when answering calls involving possible drugs or money.

Undercover officers set up Brooks to see if he would take drugs and money without reporting it, according to the affidavit. Brooks took the bait and did not report what he found, investigators say.

Following Brooks' arrest, Porter, a rookie, was taken into custody after officers searched his home and found less than an ounce of crack cocaine.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Texas Ban on Sex Toy Sales Is Overturned

Associated Press
By ANGELA K. BROWN – 9 hours ago

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A federal appeals court has overturned a statute outlawing sex toy sales in Texas, one of the last states — all in the South — to retain such a ban.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Texas law making it illegal to sell or promote obscene devices, punishable by as many as two years in jail, violated the right to privacy guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

Companies that own Dreamer's and Le Rouge Boutique, which sell the devices in its Austin stores, and the retail distributor Adam & Eve sued in federal court in Austin in 2004 over the constitutionality of the law. They appealed after a federal judge dismissed the suit and said the Constitution did not protect their right to publicly promote such devices.

In its decision Tuesday, the appeals court cited Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 opinion that struck down bans on consensual sex between same-sex couples.

"Just as in Lawrence, the state here wants to use its laws to enforce a public moral code by restricting private intimate conduct," the appeals judges wrote. "The case is not about public sex. It is not about controlling commerce in sex. It is about controlling what people do in the privacy of their own homes because the state is morally opposed to a certain type of consensual private intimate conduct. This is an insufficient justification after Lawrence."

The Texas attorney general's office, which represented the Travis County district attorney in the case, has not decided whether to appeal, said agency spokesman Tom Kelley.

Phil Harvey, president of Adam & Eve Inc., said the 5th Circuit Court's decision was a big step forward. He said his business plans to expand to sell in stores and at home parties, something company consultants had been fearful of doing because of the Texas law.

"I think it's wonderful, but it does seem to me that since Texas was one of three states in the country — along with Mississippi and Alabama — that continued to outlaw the sale of sex toys and vibrators, that it was probably past time," Harvey said Wednesday.

Alabama is in the 11th Circuit. But now it's unlikely that the law in Mississippi, which also is in the 5th Circuit, will be prosecuted, some legal experts said.

This bodes well for sex toy sales in Alabama. Another suit has been filed which challenges the constitutionality of our current law banning the sale of adult novelty devices. We are also waiting on HB12 sponsored by Rep. John Rogers tha would repeal the current law. So far, it has not been placed on any committee calendar.

Bill Seeks to Expand DNA Database

From the Mobile Press-Register

Thursday, February 14, 2008
Capital Bureau

MONTGOMERY -- The state is trying to expand its DNA database and wants offenders to make a contribution.

The House Government Appropriations committee Wednesday approved a bill that would expand the state's DNA database to include those arrested for felony charges and assess an additional $10 fee levied on municipal, district and criminal court proceedings to help pay for it.

The fee would also apply to speeding tickets......

Alabama currently collects samples from those convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors. There are now 155,000 samples in the state's database. The added fee would bring in an estimated $8 million, all targeted for the program.

The bill allows the use of "reasonable force" to obtain samples from those who refuse to give them.

This is ridiculus. No one who HAS NOT BEEN CONVICTED of a crime should be forced to give up a sample of their DNA to the state. NO ONE. If the state suspects someone of a crime like rape or murder where DNA would either prove guilt or exonorate a suspect then there are other ways to obtain a sample that will not infringe on the privacy rights of EVERYONE else in the state.

Cops can stake out the suspects home and collect the trash, they can follow the suspect and if he/she smokes they can try and obtain a cigarette butt discarded by the suspect, they can offer a suspect a drink during interrogation and get DNA from the cup or can, or, if the suspect is in jail, then DNA can be obtained from the dishes and plastic flat-wear used to feed him/her. There is no need for a blanket law that will result in DNA being collected and stored for every citizen of this state.

The story does say that folks stopped for speeding or other traffic violations will not be forced to give up a sample. I don't trust that though. How long will it be before they go back and change that section? How long until they whoop out one of those anecdotal cases where so-and-so got a speeding ticket and later it was learned that they were wanted for another crime? The state and the cops will use something like that to push for every motorist stopped for any reason to give a DNA sample. I tell ya....if they come after mine then they better be ready to use more than 'reasonable force' because I'll fight like hell.

Another thing DNA could be used for is the REAL ID cards. The government plans to have all of the private and important details of your life on the damn why not your DNA makeup too?

The article ends with this...

Those arrested for felonies but later released or acquitted may petition the courts to expunge the DNA samples.

Yeah right! Why in the hell should an innocent person have to petition the courts to expunge the DNA record? Why does the onerous burden fall to the innocent? If I haven't done anything wrong and, in fact, the State was WRONG then why is it my responsibility to make the state give up information it had NO BUSINESS obtaining in the first place? And how would you really ever be sure that they did, in fact, clear your name and DNA record out of the database? Will they allow you to manually search it? How do we know they don't have a secret file somwhere with all of the information and DNA of innocent people stored know....just in case?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I'd Put This Bitch in a Wheel Chair

In Hillsboro Co., Fl. a female deputy DUMPS a quadraplegic on his face because she doesn't believe he is paralyzed.

If this guy was a member of my family or a friend of mine then the deputy who dumped him could look forward to a wheel chair of her on....and she would be getting off easy. I'd flat fuck that bitch up!

What's up with these cruel, sadistic fuckwads wearing badges? Is anyone else sick of their senseless brutality?

Thieves Steal Water Bongs & Pipes Worth $775

From the Montgomery Advertiser

The following crime was reported overnight to the Montgomery Police Department

Thieves smashed a glass front door at a specialty shop in the 5700 block of Woodmere Boulevard at 2:04 a.m. and stole two glass “water bongs” and two glass pipes valued at $775 on Monday. The two glass pipes are valued at $75. The “water bongs” are valued at $700 total. The thieves caused $400 damage to the front door.

Something tells me that the cops won't expend too many resources trying to track these thieves down.

My Big Ol' Teddy Bear

I have the sweetest doggie ever. After being outside almost all day yesterday he was happy to be rescued and brought back inside when the kids got home. The first thing he did was seek out his mommy, who was laying on the couch, and proceed to snuggle as best he could. He likes to put half of his huge body on the couch and snuggle his head between my arm and body and make little groans of pleasure. It's the sweetest thing you ever saw. A big, mean, scary man-eater snuggling up to his mommy like a tiny baby. God I love him. I dread today. He'll be outside all by his lonesome and I'll be inside all by my lonesome and neither of us can get to the other. I just hope he doesn't find a way out of his fence because I can't catch him. Hell, I couldn't catch him when my foot wasn't broke....but I could follow him and make sure he didn't eat the neighbors. Now I can't even do that.

The Foot

I went to an orthopedic specialist yesterday morning to have my foot looked at. The ER doctor had told me not to put any weight on the foot or I would wind up having surgery to have a pin placed in the bone.The orthopedic doctor took off the splint, said he was going to try and get the bone to heal without a cast, placed me in a velcro shoe and told me to start putting as much weight on it as I can stand.

Lemme tell ain't much.

My foot doesn't hurt when I am sitting or laying....but when I move it for any reason it SCREAMS. It's weird, I always imagined a broken bone would hurt all the time. I guess maybe some of them do. But this one only hurts when moved....and that's plenty, thank you very much!

I told the doctor about my arthritis. He said that this kind of break usually isn't associated with osteoporosis, but since my records indicate that I have osteoporosis and osteoarthritis he is going to set me up for a bone density test next week and see just how bad it is. He will also be taking over all of my bone and joint care. It will be very nice to have one doctor managing all of that. Usually I have to go with whoever has an open appointment, on the days where I hurt so bad that I break down and decide to go to the doctor, and have not been able to get settled with one doctor for the arthritis.

Anyway, I go back on Monday for another X-ray. Today is the first day I will be home alone since I broke my foot. Y'all keep your fingers crossed that I don't add a broke neck to it by the end of the day. While crutches are suppossed to be a walking aid I have found them very hard to master. I don't know how people make using them look so easy. It is not easy. And it is particularly hard when you are whacked out on Percocet.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Should Customs be Allowed to Search Laptops without a warrant?

This topic is in the news again this week.


By Jeanne Meserve

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Amir Khan says he becomes frustrated and humiliated every time he enters the United States and federal agents search his computers. Khan, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, says it has happened five times since 2003.

A suit filed last week seeks clarification on the rules that allow federal agents to search laptops and other devices.
He says agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection have even forced him to give them access to password-protected, confidential information from his company and his banking records.

An IT consultant who travels to Europe, Turkey and Pakistan, Khan says he has cooperated with the questions and searches but feels by now border agents should know he doesn't pose a threat.

Situations for travelers such as Khan are at issue in a lawsuit filed last week by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Asian Law Caucus in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The suit accuses customs agents of "lengthy questioning and intrusive searches" and seeks clarification on the law that allows such searches.

Back in 2004 I traveled to Canada to participate in an International Drug Policy Conference. I had no problems getting into Canada. In fact, the Canadian border guard told me to bring him a joint when I came back through. But I don't carry weed with me into or out of Canada. On my return trip to the US the Customs assholes seized my laptop and made me miss my flight even though I was honest with them about who I am and what I do. I wrote an article on it that you can read here.
Crossing Borders: The Vast Differences Between the US and Canada

I never got any resolution on whether they had the right to copy my hard drive or seize my computer. I didn't know about the lawsuit but will contact the EFF today to see if I can join in on the fun.

My feeling is HELL NO they should not be allowed to seize your electronic devices without suspicion of wrongdoing or a warrant.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Helping Mothers and Children Recover from Drug Addiction

In this morning's Birmingham News there are two great articles about Lovelady House in Birmingham. I had never heard of this place before I read the articles this morning. Apparently Lovelady House serves women who have been in prison for drugs by offering them a safe place to live, job training and classes to improve their lives. But the most incredible thing they offer is a place where children can come and be with their mothers during the process.

The first article is Drugs divide mothers from children, but Lovelady Center restores relationships

I completely disagree with the headline. Drugs don't divide anything....LAWS do. No drug ever ripped a child away from its mother and placed it in the care of strangers. No drug ever put an addicted mother in prison instead of in treatment. Only cold, power hungry, heartless human beings would do that to one another. Despite the headline the article is very good.

The second article is Children of Drug Addiction Face Risks Beyond Drugs

I would love to be able to volunteer some time at Lovelady House. When my foot heals I plan to do just that. I support any program that aims to reunite mama's and babies. That my friends is a most beautiful thing. Restoration of the family unit is a very important part of harm reduction and drug policy reform.


Until yesterday morning I had never had a broken bone in all 33 years of my life. Truth be told I could have lived another 33 without ever acquiring firsthand knowledge of just how badly having a broken bone (especially a hoof) SUCKS!!

What used to be a 10 second walk to the bathroom has turned into what seems like an uphill marathon of grueling proportions. Hell, my heart rate gets up and I break a sweat making that trek on crutches. Trying to find my balance on one leg, once I set the crutches aside, ain't no walk in the park either. I know I must look similar to a flamingo....but far, far less graceful.

The pain is pretty bad. Right now it has me up at 2 a.m. typing on this computer when I should be in bed mending. However, the cast has a contact point with the back of my heel and it feels like it is on fire. I can't make it stop burning for anything. I'm thinking I might amputate before the sun rises. I'll be like Caroline Ingalls on that episode of "Little House on the Prairie" when her leg got infected while Charles and the girls were away and she had the butcher knife, the tourniquet and the boiling water rocking and rolling when Charles walked in and caught her. Only in my amputation....I won't get caught. I might not have enough Percocet to do it painlessly...but amputating without good drugs couldn't hurt much worse.

For the next few weeks until I can bear weight again my sweet doggie will have to stay outside in his fence M-F from 6 am to 4 pm. I'm gonna miss him. I won't even be able to go outside and wuv on him. He and I will both be unhappy campers for a while. Saul has done very well with me being laid up. He gently sniffed my cast a few times but hasn't tried to chew on it, stays out of the way when I have to hobble somewhere on my crutches and close by wherever I am when I am sitting or laying. He is curious about the crutches. I'm scared he is gonna decide that they are big silver sticks made for his chewing pleasure....while I am walking on them. That or he's gonna decide they are big silver aliens trying to eat his mommy....while I am walking on them....but so far so good.

It's 2:30 a.m. and I want some coffee. Somebody unplugged my coffee maker yesterday so now I have to wait for like an hour til the water is hot enough to make coffee. I have a Bunn coffee maker that keeps water hot 24/7....unless someone unplugs it. I managed to get it plugged back up, get coffee in the basket and water in the pot. What I haven't figured out is how I am gonna get a cup of scalding coffee from the pot to the table with no hands without waking up a member of my family and asking for assistance. That'll be a neat feat indeed. It's likely I'll wind up with third degree burns on top of a broke foot.

Not being able to do simple, everyday tasks for myself is getting old quick. While some folks might milk a broke foot for all it's worth I am finding mine to be an extreme annoyance. I can't dress myself, I can't hold anything and walk, I can't get up and get something if I need it. No, Ms. Independent is stuck at the mercy of others. My family has been great so far. My husband got up and turned the bathroom light on for me at 2 a.m. My son just got up and walked a cup of coffee over to me at 2:45 a.m. That's some serious love there. My daughter waited on me hand and foot yesterday with nary a complaint. She even undertook tackling my dirty kitchen of her own free I guess having a broke foot does have some advantages after all.

I won't be able to drive for a long time and that will take some getting used to. I am used to covering most of the state in a week via car. In order to get to Montgomery and torment Troy King and his ilk I'll have to get a ride to and from the house. All of the Compassionate Care meetings will have to be moved to Alex City until I can drive again. Luckily my friend Christie O'Brien, who coincidentally is about to have a cast removed from her right hoof, has said she would help out once she is mobile again.

I itch under my cast. And I can't get to the place that itches. It's MISERY!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I Broke My Damn Foot!

So, I was taking Saul out about 7 this morning and I stepped off the steps wrong and broke my right foot. The doctor in the ER said it is about the worst kind of break I can have because any weight on the foot will result in me having to have surgery and have pins placed in my foot. So, for now I am in a soft cast until I see the orthopedic specialist on Monday. I am having to learn how to hobble my large ass around on crutches. I am finding that most difficult to master.

The bone I broke is the one that is connected to my pinky toe and runs along the outside of the foot. It hurts like a BASTARD!!

I contend that if my doctors had placed me on Fosamax or Boniva when my osteoporosis was first discovered then I would not have a broken foot this morning. Breaking it as eaisly as I did tells me that my osteoporosis is much worse than previously thought.

Saul was wonderful when I fell. Usually he will take advantage of any perceived weakness to dart away from you. When I fell though I hollered LOUD and he stood over me and licked my face until Terry got outside and could put him in his pen. He is really curious about my cast. He keeps walking up and sniffing it....then he gives my arm a kiss and waits a few minutes and repeats the process. What a sweetie!

Don't Deserve Compassion

In a very quick turn around the letter I submitted to the Press-Register yesterday was printed in today's edition....with only minor editing.

Thanks Press-Register

Don't dseserve compassion

I read with anger the articles concerning Mobile police officers being arrested for drug possession ("Officers arrested on drug charges," Feb. 7, and "Details emerge," Feb. 8). I wasn't angry because the cops were arrested, as they most certainly were worthy candidates for that. I was angry because of the kid-glove treatment they received vs. the treatment received by the non-badge-wearing guy on the street arrested for doing the same thing.

For instance, the paper said Chief Phillip Garrett observed that "there was no indication that officers Brooks and Porter had used drugs or sold them." So, what exactly were these fine men in blue supposedly doing with the drugs and money they allegedly seized? Holding onto it for a medical emergency? Stocking up for the coming recession, perhaps?

Anyone else caught with crack cocaine and money would have been labeled a "king pin" and probably would have lost their pay. (this was edited slightly from the original sentence)

In the second story, Chief Garrett was quoted as saying, "We do have compassion for them."

What about compassion for the people who don't wear a badge who succumb to temptation? Where is the compassion for regular folks caught doing the same thing? Are cops more worthy of compassion than regular people?

A regular black man found with "less than an ounce of crack and $360 in cash" would likely have been tasered, tackled and hauled to jail. There was no tasering or tackling with these arrests. No drug task force kicked in these officers' doors at 3 a.m. using a no-knock warrant and flash-bang grenades.

I don't normally advocate jail for drug offenses, but I do if cops are found with the drugs from people they have arrested.

If these cops are convicted, I do hope that any cases involving testimony from them will be given a thorough second look.


Alexander City

Friday, February 08, 2008

Joran Van der Sloot says "Marijuana made him falsely confess"

In an unreal turn of events the suspected killer in the Natalee Holloway case, Joran Van der Sloot, says he was under the influence of marijuana when he confessed on secretly recorded video to being present when Natalee died and having a friend dump her body at sea.
Aruban police in Netherlands again question Van Der Sloot

Associated Press Writer

ORANJESTAD, Aruba (AP) -- Aruban investigators in the Netherlands again questioned a Dutch college student Friday in the Natalee Holloway disappearance as they sought a court order to detain him as a suspect based on a hidden-camera interview.
(This is a chilling video....but you should watch anyway)

Police questioned Joran Van der Sloot for about two hours, and he again denied any role in the May 2005 disappearance of the American teen in the Dutch Caribbean island, the Aruban prosecutor's office said in a statement. The 20-year-old Van der Sloot was detained previously in the case but was released for insufficient evidence.

Van der Sloot, who was accompanied by a lawyer, claimed he was under the influence of marijuana when he said in a secretly taped video that he was with Holloway when she died and that he had a friend dump her body at sea, the prosecutor's office said.

I never thought I would comment on this story. I, like most Americans, felt that this story got way too much media attention...for whatever reason. Most of the public has a hard time understanding why this one case is any more compelling than any of the other tens of thousands of missing children cases in the US each year.

But, I don't really feel that way anymore. I mean, I still wonder why this case is such a media gold mine...but, if it were my daughter or son missing then I would use every resource within my power and accept any media invitation to keep the case in the spotlight. I believe most parents would. I cannot imagine what Natalee's parents have gone through wondering what happened to their baby girl. My heart truly goes out to them.

The reason I am commenting on this case is because Joran Van der Sloot, who I have been convinced was involved in Natalee Holloway's death since Day 1, said today that he was under the influence of marijuana when he confessed 10 times to being present at the death and arranging the dumping of Natalee Holloway's body in the ocean.

Admittedly, marijuana procured in the Netherlands is far superior to what can be obtained in the US....but it ain't gonna make you confess to a crime you didn'tcommit. I have been smoking marijuana regularly since I was 12 years-old....and never have I smoked any marijuana that made me confess to being present during a suspicious death and then to being involved in dumping the body in the ocean. I submit that there is no marijuana on earth that will make a normal, sane person admit to being involved in the Natalee Holloway case (or any other case)....unless they actually were involved. That ain't the way pot works. If it worked like that the CIA would have been using it for years. It does have a way of showing you the truth....but it won't make you confess to involvement in the death of a young woman and the unceremoniouos and disrespectful disposal of her body.

Now, in the Netherlands marijuana is de-facto legal, so the Dutch press isn't likely to make a big deal out of Van der Sloot's comments. They know that it is complete bullshit. But, here in the US where the drug war reigns supreme this story is likely to dominate the headlines in the coming days.

Do your part by writing LTE's to any newspaper this story appears in and by calling any talk radio station you hear it on. The media is bound to try and make this case about smoking weed. But, it isn't about smoking weed. It is about a sick fucker named Joran Van der Sloot, who, through his own actions, caused the death of Natalee Holloway and the vanishing of her body and the never-ending pain to her family. Not marijuana. Joran Van der Sloot.