Monday, June 30, 2008

Darwin Award Nominee

BUMP & UPDATE: Just got a note from the folks over at Darwin Awards.


The story you submitted, Off-duty officer wounded in prank, was reviewed by moderators
and approved for inclusion in the public Slush Pile! It is now
entertaining other readers while awaiting further review by Darwin.


Off duty Huntsville Officer wounded in prank (Montgomery Advertiser)

HUNTSVILLE -- An off-duty Huntsville police officer was shot in the shoulder when a friend mistook him for a burglar.

Police Chief Henry Reyes said 28-year-old Tony McElyea decided to surprise a close friend and former police academy cadet at his home.

McElyea, his girlfriend and the friend's wife snuck into the home at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Reyes said McElyea walked down the hallway and started shouting "Wake up, wake up," at his friend.

The friend, who Reyes said didn't immediately recognize Mc-
Elyea, grabbed a .38-caliber revolver and shot him.

Reyes said it was an unfortunate accident. No charges were filed and the shooter's name was not released.

This is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard of. What kind of person would think it was cute to break into someones house at 2:30 a.m. as a practical joke? Why, a member of a paramilitary drug task force of course.

I hereby nominate McElyea for the Darwin Award.
At least now they both know what it feels like to go through a pre-dawn drug raid and have it go all wrong. See Corey May

If it had been a real raid and the cop got shot then the homeowner would have been charged/shot whether drugs were found or not.

The lyrics from Butthole Surfers 'Pepper' keep running through my head....

Pauly caught a bullet
But it only hit his leg
Well it should have been a better shot
And got him in the head

#2 on Reddit

The post covering the John Alexander Rochester drug trafficking case is currently #2 on Reddit

That's pretty neat. Maybe some mainstream media will pick it up.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Some Drug Traffickers Are More Equal Than Others

Published at Capital City Free Press

Do you ever wonder if the justice system in Alabama is fair? Ever questioned whether justice here is indeed blind? Is it important to you that everyone be treated equal under the law?

I believe most citizen's have asked themselves those questions at one time or another. Warning: If you are one of the citizen's who is convinced that we have a fair, neutral and blind justice system in this state and that everyone is treated the same according to the law then you probably shouldn't read any further. I take no responsibility for any meltdown you might have as a result of being exposed to the truth.

On March 1, 2008 John Alexander Rochester, son of 40th Circuit Court Judge John Rochester, was arrested at the Ashland City Park in Ashland, AL for trafficking of meth, first degree possession of marijuana, trafficking cocaine, possession of paraphernalia, distribution of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. I immediately began following the case.

Actually, 'following' the case is not the right term. Reporting the case is much more like it, since no other media outlet in the state has deemed it newsworthy to report the arrest of a judge's son for drug trafficking and the special treatment he is receiving from the court system. Yet, every other regular Jim Bob or Mary Jane that has been arrested for the same or similar offenses has had their name and alleged crimes reported in their hometown papers and on the 5 O'Clock News. I've contacted the Clay Times Journal, the Anniston Star, the Birmingham News and all television stations in the Birmingham Area about this, but none of them have responded. The Clay Times Journal is the local paper in Clay County. A search of their site turns up absolutely nothing about the Rochester case, but boldly displayed on their front page is this story. Hmmmmm.....

(UPDATE: I got a response from someone at the Clay Times Journal about this story.
Our publisher and editor is out of town this week. Please e-mail a phone number so he can contact you directly.
For your information, our web site was not up and running when Rochester was arrested, and we did run a story on the matter. I do not remember the date and am too involved with the current issue. I will check after we get through later this week.

I was unaware that they did not have a website up and running when Rochester was originally arrested. I will post their story as soon as I get it.)

There are many things that make this a more than newsworthy case. First, this is a rich, white kid, who is the son of a prominent judge getting racked up on very serious drug charges. He obviously wasn't selling to support his own habit, like most other people charged with trafficking are. He wasn't selling because he needed the money. His family has plenty of money. Usually, it is some poor white kid, black kid or hispanic kid busted for selling a dime bag to his buddy out of his own quater bag that gets whacked with the trafficking charge. Never a judges son.

Second, Judge Rochester is legendary for harshly sentencing drug offenders who are unfortunate enough to find themselves in his courtroom. I've sat in his courtroom as an observer and also as a family member of a defendant over the course of many years. Ashland is my hometown, you see. He once sentenced a kid I went to church with to five years in prison for possession of one Xanax. This kid had no prior record. On another occasion I saw him hand down a five year sentence to a truck driver for personal possession of meth. Ordered him straight to Kilby. Again, this gentleman had no priors. And Judge Rochester always drug tests defendants before the trial. Lines them up like cattle and demands their bodily fluids in hopes of bypassing that pesky thing known as a trial by jury.

Judge Rochester doesn't believe in drug treatment before prison. In fact, one of his favorite sayings is, "There's a SAP program in prison" whenever a lawyer asks that their client be allowed to attend treatment. SAP stands for substance abuse program.

I've talked to lawyers from the town where I now reside who regularly argue cases before him and many of them say they charge double to take a case if it is going to be in Rochester's courtroom. They also tell stories of the judge's contempt for defendants and even for the counsel. He is a tyrant when on the bench.

So, for someone like me, who has made a career out of reforming Alabama's drug laws, spends a lot of time and effort attempting to bring fairness to drug defendants in the justice system and trying to get the media to cover the different sides of the prohibition issue, this case is the perfect storm. Will Judge Rochester's son be treated the same way all drug defendants are treated in Clay County? Will his bonds be comparable to the bonds of regular folks up on the same charges? Will he be made to stand in line with the rest of the folks to await his turn to piss in a cup? Will he be denied the opportunity to attend treatment while awaiting trial? Will the media step up and do its job in this case, which is to inform the public?

That the public know the answers to these and other questions is imperative. We pay this judge's salary, he sentences our children and family members and we have a right to expect that his family members will be subject to the same sanctions under the law for the same or worse crimes, as we are. We have a right to expect that treatment will be equal. So far I'd have to say the treatment of John Alexander Rochester has been anything but equal.

John Alexander Rochester spent 23 days in the Ashland jail and was then bonded out by his mother for a total of $20,000 and whisked away to treatment in Mississippi to await the next convening of the grand jury in Clay County.

The judge who set the bonds is Judge George C. Simpson, the district court Judge in Clay County, which means he is subordinate to Judge Rochester and good friends with him to boot. The very fact that the case was not heard outside the county or that no unbiased judge was brought in to preside over the bond hearing should outrage everyone who expects fairness in our judicial system, regardless of how they feel about drugs or drug users. But, wait, it gets worse.

I was able to come by all six case action summaries for the Rochester case and five additional comparison cases with the same or similar charges during the same time frame for other people who don't have the luxury of having their daddy be a judge.

There are some whopping disparities.

The bond schedule sets the bond for drug trafficking anywhere from $5,000 to $1,500,000. Class A felony bonds range from $10,000 to $60,000, Class B felony bonds range from $5,000 to $30,000 and Class C felony bonds range from $2500 to $15,000. Class A Misdemeanor bonds range from $300 to $6,000.

Judge George Simpson set the bonds in all the following cases.

Regular Citizens before Judge Simpson

Charge - Unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance Second Degree - Bond $30,000 Class B Felony (This bond is the maximum)

Charge - Unlawful distribution of a controlled substance - Bond $30,000 Class B Felony (This bond is the maximum)

Charge - Unlawful distribution of a controlled substance - Bond $100,000 Class B Felony (This bond is $70,000 more than the maximum on the bond schedule)

Charge - Unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance - Bond $50,000 Class B Felony (This bond is $20,000 more than what the bond schedule says it should be at the highest)

Charge - Possession of a controlled substance - Bond $30,000 Class C Felony (This bond is twice what the schedule says it should be at the highest)

Compare to the bonds that John Alexander Rochester received from Judge Simpson.

John Alexander Rochester's Bonds

Charge - Trafficking of Methyl Amphetamine - Bond $20,000, Class C Felony

Charge - possession of drug paraphernalia - Bond $5,000, Class A Misdemeanor

Charge - distribution of a controlled substance - Bond $15,000, Class B Felony
(the other two people charged with this crime had bonds of $30,000 and $100,000)

Charge - possession of a controlled substance - Bond $15,000, Class C Felony
This fine is only half or less of what other defendants charged with the same offense had to pay. Why were others charged double or more?

Charge - 1st degree possession of marijuana - Bond $10,000, Class C Felony

Charge - trafficking cocaine - Bond $20,000. Class A Felony
Now this one could have been considered drug trafficking and probably would have been if it were anybody else's kid. The bond could have been set up to 1.5 million dollars, but it looks like the judge went for the Class A Felony bond and not the drug trafficking bond. Why?

In at least two cases John Alexander Rochester's bond was half (or less) what other people charged with the same crime had to pay. In most of the other cases the bonds are way higher than what the bond schedule says they should be. That makes this even more disgusting because the Rochester's have plenty of money while the other folks don't. The Rochester's could pay almost any bond amount and not be hurt too bad by it financially...but these other, common, regular citizens, who probably make barely above minimum wage working at Tyson or Piggly Wiggly or Bill's Dollar Store, will go broke trying to scrape up enough money to get out.

Additionally, John Alexander Rochester should have enhancements added to his sentence because he was selling drugs at the city park for goodness sake. The city park where the little children who inhabit the safe town of Ashland play on the monster truck and tractor toys and hang upside down from the monkey bars. What about the children? Isn't that what we always hear? The city park is also within a three mile radius of the schools and many public housing complexes. Ashland is tiny. Just about everything in it is in a three mile radius. Here is a map

View Larger Map

Rochester was arrested at 2nd St. NW which is the city park. A stones throw away at 2nd St NW and 2nd St E. is a daycare center/headstart. Across the street from the park is a public housing complex. At 3rd St SW are the high school and elementary school. You get the picture.

Here are the parts of the Alabama Code that deal with sales within a three mile radius.

Distribution within three miles of a school 5 year enhancement with no provision for probation
Distribution within three miles of public housing 5 year enhancement with no provision for probation
Use of Drug paraphernalia within three miles of public housing Subject to forfeiture

The only catch is that the prosecutor has to ask that these additional penalties be imposed. Think that will happen in this case? Do you think it would be likely to happen in other cases where the defendant isn't related to the judge? I am currently looking for cases in Clay County where the enhancements have been imposed. I'll let everyone know if I find any.

Some of the crimes John Alexander Rochester is charged with call for mandatory minimum prison sentences. Here are the sections of the Alabama Code that deal with mandatory minimums.

Trafficking in marijuana, cocaine, meth

Sentences not to be deferred or reduced (unless the prosecutor asks for it to be or the defendant narcs out his connections)

This is so VILE! There ought not be two sets of rules in our judicial system. Our media ought not be biased in what it reports or about whom it reports based on who they are related to. This case clearly shows that we do, in fact, have two sets of rules in both our judicial system and in our media. If you are a regular nobody like this guy then you get your face plastered all over the 5 O'Clock news for a few measly pounds of pot that you weren't peddling at the city park where children play and your bond is set at half a million bucks. Reckon that guy will be allowed to attend treatment while he awaits trial?

If you are a judges son, caught selling a wide variety of drugs including cocaine, in a city park where children play then the media will never report it and your bonds will be set at what amounts to pocket change by a Judge who is both subordinate to your father and a close friend of your father. You will be allowed to attend treatment out of state while you await trial because your family can afford to buy you a treatment bed anywhere there happens to be one open.

I am unsure of John Alexander Rochester's current whereabouts. He was last reported to have been in treatment in Mississippi. Seeing as how that was three months ago there is a good chance he is out now. The next phase in this case will be the convening of the grand jury in Clay County. That is likely to happen sometime in September or October. This case will either have to be moved out of Clay County entirely or a different judge will have to be brought in. That actually should have happened at the bond hearing. I'm in favor of moving it to the furtherest corner of Alabama where Judge John Rochester has never been heard of and wields no power to influence the outcome of the trial.

I wish there was some way to replace the prosecutor as well. We know his effort to hang the judge's son will not be as pure as the driven snow, like they are in other cases. I have serious doubts that he will ask for the judge to impose the enhancements that young Rochester is eligible for but that he will be able to get around the mandatory minimum sentences the law calls for.

I'll be watching this case closely and attending as many of the court hearings as I can....assuming they are made public beforehand. I am also in the process of compiling all of the information that I currently have into a formal complaint to the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission. It is clear to me that Judge Simpson, at least, has violated some of the Canons of Judicial Ethics by not recusing himself from the case as it is clear that some would see his handling of it as biased and as a major conflict of interest. The difference in the bonds for Rochester and others is very interesting too. I wonder what they will make of that?

There is one more thing I want to add before leaving this story to be continued and its this. I don't think anyone should go to jail for non-violent drug offenses. I don't even think drugs should be against the law. But, I do think that we citizens are entitled to fairness and equal treatment in our judicial system and if everyone else not fortunate enough to have a judge for a parent has to pay the piper with prison time for non-violent drug offenses, then so should Mr. John Alexander Rochester. I'm certainly not paying for me to go to prison and him not to go to prison for the same offense. I don't think anyone else is either.

To be continued....

Loretta Nall

Salvia Letter in Cullman Times

My letter opposing the banning of Salvia appeared in today's Cullman Times

LETTER: Why ban salvia?

In response to 'Magic Mint' (The Cullman Times, June 23, 2008) I disagree that salvia needs to be banned and made a felony offense. If, as the headline implies, legislators know little about it then it doesn't even rise to the level of acknowledgement. Ms. Soule's 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 Ms. Soule, in collusion with our 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, teens and college kids saddled with felony criminal records (according to Sen. Bedford they are the main consumers), 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 the 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.

Drug prohibition doesn't work, has never worked and will never work. If it did then our prisons would not be stuffed full of non-violent drug offenders and our high schools and college campuses wouldn't be the easiest places to get drugs. This madness has to stop. If the legislature insists on going after problem plants then might I suggest kudzu, privet and poison ivy? That would be a real no brainer.

Loretta Nail

Drug policy reform advocate and was the 2006 Libertarian candidate for Governor of Alabama.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Media Makes Me SICK!

So, this poor common Joe gets arrested with 9 pounds of pot and it is the top story on ABC 33/40.

Drug Trafficking Arrest

On June 23, 2008 the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division concluded a 2 month investigation with the arrest of 59 year old John Dale Stevens.

Stevens was stopped in his vehicle in the Centerpoint area and found to be in possession of approximately 2 pounds of marijuana and $900 in U.S. currency.

Subsequent searches of his residence lead to the recovery of over 7 pounds of marijuana, a 357 Revolver, 380 Auto and a Pistol Grip 12 Gauge Shotgun. A digital and manual scale, packaging material and other evidence was also seized. (See photo below)

Total Street Value of the marijuana is $40,000.

This 2 month investigation revealed that Stevens has been transporting marijuana from Atlanta and in turn distributing in Jefferson County.

Stevens remains in jail on the following charges and bond.
Charges: Trafficking in Cannabis - $500,000 Bond
Possession of Marijuana 1 - $5,000 Bond
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia - $500 Bond

Yet I've contacted ABC 33/40 on three different occasions trying to get them to cover the John Alexander Rochester case to no avail.

Judge John Rochester's son was arrested on much more serious charges. Trafficking cocaine, first degree possession of marijuana, meth, distribution of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia in Clay County AL.

I've put this story out to all the media in the coverage area of Clay County but none of them seem to think it is important enough to investigate. They didn't even report the arrest of John Alexander Rochester when it happened....yet let some common Joe be arrested for trafficking and the media is all over it like sharks on in this story.

Why is that? Why is a common weed seller more major news than a Circuit Court Judge's son getting arrested on much more serious charges and seemingly getting special treatment not newsworthy at all?

Ok...This Gal ROCKS!!

Finally, another Alabama blogger who uses as much profanity (if not more) on her blog as I do on mine. Please, if you do nothing else today check out Give Me the Booger. It's hysterical!

High Court Rules Gun Ban Unconstitutional

Supreme Court rules that D.C.'s sweeping gun ban is unconstitutional.
I'm surprised that it was such a close vote...5-4. It clearly should have been 9-0. The constitution is very clear on the right to keep and bear arms.

I know if I lived in DC I'd have at least ten guns. Big ass guns too, with lots of big bullets.

I'm Torn

Ex-prison guards convicted of smuggling pot into prison
Tuscaloosa News
Published: Thursday, June 26, 2008

Two former state prison guards now face time behind bars after a circuit jury in St. Clair County found them guilty of promoting prison contraband.

Tommie Borden and Mark Clark could each get 1 to 10 years in prison after being convicted of smuggling marijuana into the St. Clair Correctional Facility. They were arrested in December 2006.

Clark had been employed as a prison guard for three years while Borden had worked in the corrections system for about a year.

A judge in Pell City scheduled a sentencing hearing for September.

You know...I'm not sure how I feel about this one. On one hand I can understand how incredibly tempting it would be for an overworked and underpaid Alabama prison guard to supplement his income by smuggling weed in to prisoners. And, in all honesty, if I were in prison you can bet your ass I'd want a guard to smuggle some weed into me. Oh please Jesus let it be so!

On the other hand doing this while being a prison guard is doubly wrong because many people in prison are there for the same crime. Drug trafficking.

I can't decide if these guys need humanitarian medals or if they need to see what the other side of those bars look like.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No He Didn't!!

According to ABC33/40 Bham Mayor Larry Langford wants to give public school teachers the power to 'knock out' students with disciplinary problems.

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford wants to give teachers more power in the classroom, and he's not talking about curriculum. Tuesday afternoon, he told the school board he wants to work through the state to give teachers the right "to knock them out," with the *them* being the students.

"Nobody's talking about child abuse. Nobody's talking about burning kids with cigarettes and tying them to walls. If discipline is necessary then you take it."

Parents like Titus Battle disagree with that approach.

"No hitting of children. We need to teach them. We need to guide them. We need to be patient."

The Mayor also believes there should be more discipline at home by parents.

Not only is Larry a tin hatted loon, it appears he is a tin hatted loon with a death wish. Good thing he doesn't know about this guy else he'd offer him a job.

I find it very odd that he brought forth images of kids being burned
and tied to walls. What, exactly is going on inside that man's head?

No parent should allow the state to physically and violently assault their children. Corporal punishment in public schools should be outlawed in Alabama once and for all.

How moronic can they be?

Woman injured in brief police chase
Posted by Jeremy Gray -- The Birmingham News
June 24, 2008 12:15 PM

A woman was treated by Birmingham firefighters today after her car was side-swiped by a man who led police on a brief chase from Interstate 65.

North Precinct Sgt. Frank Majors said an officer attempted to make a traffic stop on the interstate when the suspect took off.

The pursuit left the interstate at the Sixth Avenue North exit shortly before noon and the driver ran a red light on 10th Street North, striking the woman's car, before he drove the car into the side of a building on Fifth Avenue North, Majors said.

The man then took off on foot before the officer apprehended him a few minutes later.

Officers found a small amount of marijuana in the car, Majors said.

Unless he had outstanding warrants, the man would likely only faced a misdemeanor charge if he had pulled over, Majors said.

"(The officer) might not even have searched the car. There really wasn't any reason to," Majors said.

It is not clear how badly the woman was hurt and firefighters are checking the suspect for injuries too.

The police officer who initiated a high speed chase for a traffic violation during lunch hour rush in Alabama's largest city should be fired immediately.

There are certain situations where a high speed chase can be if they are after a murder suspect, child kidnapper, bank robber and so forth....but to chase a guy at that time of day for a minor traffic violation is insane. The officer's decision put everyone on the road in that area at that time in danger...and for what? A little weed?

And a misdemeanor this day and time for marijuana means thousands of dollars in fines, the hassle of drug court, probation officers, court referral officers and potentially the loss of it isn't like the guy could have just paid a fine and been done with it. I am not agreeing that he should have run...but the circumstances certainly didn't merit a high speed chase on the interstate and then on crowded downtown streets at lunch hour.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Commission Mulls Drug Policy Change

Commission mulls drug policy change

By David Lazenby
The Cullman Times

Unanswered questions about a county employee drug policy revision proposed at a Monday meeting influenced Cullman County Commissioners to table the matter until July 8.

County Attorney Dan Willingham said the revised policy would require a drug and alcohol test for any employee injured on the job. It also stipulates workers be tested any time they cause damage to county property.

Any required drug screening test will be paid for the by the county. The cost of these tests is about $33, according to Marie Livingston, who works for accounts payable. The tests are conducted by ASC Occupational Health.


Its appalling that they aren't tested before they are hired to work for the city. If regular common folk have to pass a pre-employment drug screen and we give the state the power to drug test children in public schools then, by all means, city and county workers and every elected official should be tested before being employed or taking office. They should then be randomly tested a few times a month thereafter.

I oppose drug testing, by the way. I think its use should be performance based. But....if we are going to have it then let's make an effort to be fair about it. In fact, I think I might try and find a legislative sponsor for a bill requiring all elected officials to take mandatory, random drug tests.

BHAM City Council asks Mayor to suspend Taser Use

Birmingham City Council Asks Mayor to Suspend Use of Tasers by Police

The Birmingham City Council this morning unanimously voted to ask Mayor Larry Langford to suspend the use of Taser stun guns by the police department until the investigation into the death of a Birmingham man is completed.

Willie Maye, 43, died June 6 after police used a stun gun to subdue him during a struggle.

A group of about 30 people, including members of Maye's family, attended today's council meeting to address the issue.

Former Birmingham Mayor Bernard Kincaid suspended use of the Tasers in July 2005 following the death of a man in the Birmingham City Jail.

Rockey Bryson, 41, died hours after he was hit by a Taser and sprayed with Mace. Authorities later ruled that Taser played no role in the death of Bryson, who had underlying heart disease and a history of alcoholism.

Kincaid lifted the ban in January 2006.

There are some crazy comments at the link. Y'all should check them out.

Garden Shots

The zinnia that will not stop blooming. Most of my zinnias have one or two layers of petals. This one has so many layers you cannot even see the yellow center. And it just keeps on putting out more petals.

Squash & Eggplant

Moon & Stars Watermelon. I'm jealous because countrycat's watermelons already have babies She has a really cute donkey too!

Anahiem Pepper

Tomatoes. Pretty soon I will have them running out my ears. The cherry tomatoes are ripening already. We are getting about a handful a day.

Purple Hull Peas. This is the first time I have ever grown peas. I had to shell a many of'em when I was a kid. My thumbs would turn purple and underneath the nail would hurt so bad I'd think it was gonna fall off. Whatever I am doing for these peas they seem to like it. I can't wait to eat some.

Okra....I love okra and cannot wait til I get the first mess.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Why do these people never learn?

Because if they did then they wouldn't get a fat, federal government grant check every year and would have to get a real job.

From the Cullman Times

(that should mean it does not even rise to the level of acknowledgement...but somehow doesn't)

The hallucinogen salvia divinorum is legal and available in Alabama, but that may soon change.

Deborah Soule, executive director for the Huntsville-based Partnership for a Drug Free Community, said efforts are currently under way to outlaw the drug once and for all. Since 2007, Soule has personally contacted many of Alabama's legislators and Gov. Bob Riley to bring attention to the drug.

She had limited success during the last legislative session, when Sen. Roger Bedford Jr. sponsored a bill to make salvia a controlled substance. However, the bill never made it made it out of committee.

"It just got caught up in a log jam of a Republican filibuster," Bedford said.

To Soule, the real problem with the bill was the lack of education about salvia.

"The biggest problem in the Alabama Legislature is a lot of people didn't know about it," Soule said.
( must not be that big of a problem if most people don't know about it.)

In the United States, however, teenagers and college students are the ones who reportedly take advantage of the drug.

"Unfortunately it has become a designer drug for young people," Bedford said.
(BULLSHIT it's a designer isn't fun or pleasant for most people, has no potential for abuse)

A limited number of studies have reported salvia's effects, which include perceptions of bright lights, vivid colors and shapes, dysphoria, uncontrolled laughter, hallucinations and a sense of loss of body. It is typically smoked or chewed.

"It's bad stuff," Soule said. "The biggest problem is you lose your sense of gravity ... they think they can float."

When recently asked about salvia, Rep. Jeremy Oden said he had never heard of it. Once he was told it was hallucinogen, he said he would like to make it illegal.

"If it's producing hallucinogenic effects, we need to control that aspect of it," Oden said. "I would support something to outlaw it."

When Rep. James Fields was recently told about salvia, he said it would be a good idea to make it illegal.

"I would be supportive of a ban on it," Fields said. "Our young people are still our most valued commodity. If we don't deter drug use, we won't be doing our jobs as legislators."

To Huntsville resident Andrew Rawlins, who has used salvia many times over the past five years, outlawing the drug is the wrong way to go.

"Why are we making more laws to incarcerate people when we don't have enough room in our prisons now," Rawlins asked.

He said salvia is not a party drug, but instead a way to gain spiritual insight. He added that the drug is not addictive and not dangerous since it leaves the body within minutes after use.

While he is against an outright ban, Rawlins said some regulation might be helpful.

"I wouldn't be opposed to making it unavailable to anyone under 18 ... make it mandated like alcohol," Rawlins said.

Though the bill to ban Saliva did not make it very far in the Alabama Legislature, Soule is not discouraged and expects another bill to come up during the next session.

"Now they know about it," Soule said. "This bill is a no-brainer."

No brainer meaning, in this case, that one would have to be entirely lacking a brain to pass this stupid ass bill. As I said earlier in the legislative session when this bill was in the media WE HAVE ENOUGH PEOPLE IN PRISON IN ALABAMA FOR USE OF NATURAL PLANTS! That means that PROHIBITION OF ANY DRUG HAS NOT WORKED. If it did we wouldn't have prisons stuffed full of people who don't belong there and we wouldn't have kids still using drugs and high school halls would be the last place on earth one might think to look for mind altering substances. But that isn't what we have is it?

So, if this bill passes then who pays the tab? I think Debora Soule should foot the bill. It's her bright idea and I do not consent to pay for it.

What about hallucingenic plants that occur naturally in Alabama? Datura for instance. Will that one be outlawed? It causes much more pronounced effects than Salvia and can actually kill you if you ingest too much. Then there are morning glory seeds which also induce a wild hallucenogenic trip that lasts for hours and can also kill. Will Ms. Soule attempt to outlaw those as well? Will we soon see Datura (jemison weed) and morning glory eradication teams zooming around the state in their helicopters, arresting grannies for what is in their gardens? If Ms. Soule has her way we will.

Ms. Soule will face some surprising opposition to this bill during the next legislative session. We have to stop this madness. You don't have to do salvia, or like salvia or care anything at all about salvia to understand that throwing human beings in a government cage for what they choose to ingest doesn't work, has never worked and will never work. Now that is a real NO BRAINER!

Alabama Judicial System Gets a D+ in Judicial Ethics

They really should have gotten an F- in judicial ethics. Case and point.

News staff writer
Birmingham News

Alabama's system of enforcing judicial ethics received poor marks in a report card recently issued by the national watchdog group HALT.

HALT, or Help Abolish Legal Tyranny, gave Alabama an overall grade of D+ and ranked the state 38th in its 2008 Judicial Accountability Report Card.

The Washington-based legal reform group issued failing grades for not requiring judges to publicly disclose potential financial conflicts and for putting few limits on receiving gifts.

HALT said the report was the first comprehensive nationwide study of systems used by states to police judicial ethics. Alabama was one of 16 state and federal jurisdictions with overall grades below C.

The survey said the procedures and investigations by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission are not transparent enough, and the system lacks meaningful sanctions.

"Alabama's system of judicial oversight gives too many judges a free pass," Suzanne M. Blonder, HALT's senior counsel, said in a statement. "We hope that Alabama's chief judicial officers will work to transform a mechanism marred by secrecy into a system dedicated to upholding the integrity of the judiciary."

Jenny Garrett, executive director of the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission, said she strongly disagreed with HALT's assessments and Blonder's comments.

"Alabama has always been considered to be in the forefront of judicial ethics," she said. "This commission is very diligent in following the rules of procedures promulgated by the Alabama Supreme Court and the state Constitution."

The commission, however, believes some of the rules it must follow have hurt the system's integrity, Garrett said.

Under the leadership of then-Chief Justice Roy Moore, the state's high court changed rules in 2001, allowing accused judges to receive copies of complaints against them. The information included the name of the person who filed the complaint.

"Our filings of complaints dropped in half," Garrett said. The most drastic drop was in complaints by lawyers, she said.

A court committee is now considering restoring complainant confidentiality.

Alabama's Judicial Inquiry Commission receives and investigates complaints filed against judges and justices, and recommends whether formal charges should be filed.
Those charges are considered by a nine-member Court of the Judiciary, which can suspend, remove or otherwise censure a judge.

One of the court's best-known decisions was when it ousted Moore as chief justice in 2003 for defying a federal judge's order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the Supreme Court building in Montgomery.

Praise, criticism:

HALT gave Alabama a high mark for what the group called "consumer friendliness" because the state does not ban people from speaking publicly about complaints they file against judges.

But HALT criticized the Judicial Inquiry Commission because its Web site does not have complaint forms to download.

Garrett agreed a downloadable form was needed, and said a Web site update is in the works. She said all information a complainant needs to know is listed online, mostly in the commission's annual reports.

Other issues cited by HALT include the fact that the commission does not release information about complaints until it files formal charges.

HALT gave Alabama a high mark for what the group called "consumer friendliness" because the state does not ban people from speaking publicly about complaints they file against judges.

Huh? In the letter the Judicial Inquiry Commission sent me reporting that they had taken appropriate action against Judge Kim Taylor they forbade me from discussing it saying it was confidential information. I completely ignored their rules on that one. If a judge does wrong and gets sanctioned for it and it is a case that involves me then you can bet your ass that I'm a tell it!! I'm a tell it all!!

Here is another way that the judicial inquiry commission sucks....they refuse to tell you what action they took against a judge. I feel if I file a complaint and it is acted upon in my favor then I have a right to know what action was taken. How come the judge, who is obviously guilty of wrong doing gets to hide behind this cloak of secrecy? If we regular citizens get caught doing something wrong and are subsequently convicted of it our punishments are broadcast all over the media and our communities. It should be no different for those whose task it is to 'judge us'.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno's

I have collected about 20 jalapeno peppers over the last few days. One plant I have is absolutely prolific. I don't eat hot pepper alone. I like it in sauces and dips and salsa. I also like pepper poppers and decided to try my hand at some today.

Here is the recipe I used.

10 to 12 large pickled jalapeno peppers (mine were fresh...not pickled)
block Cheddar cheese (I used cream cheese)
2 eggs mixed with a little water
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour

Slit the sides of the peppers, and scrape out the seeds. Stuff with cheese.
Dip peppers in an egg wash then into a mixture of half cornmeal and half flour. Repeat until all peppers are coated; freeze for 2 hours.

Deep fry in hot fat -- about 365° -- until the peppers are lightly browned, and the cheese is just melted. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.


Hemp for Victory

It is time we sought to legalize industrial hemp in the state of Alabama. Forget corn for ethanol. It takes more energy to make it than folks get out of it. Using corn has negatively affected the food supply worldwide. I don't know much about sugar cane ethanol or switch grass ethanol....but I do know a bit about industrial hemp and the biodiesel that can be made from it that will run our automobiles pollution free. It is a wonderful, renewable, eco-friendly source of energy that most states in the US are prevented from utilizing because of the stupid, retarded, unwinnable drug war. See, hemp is a first cousin to marijuana except it only has trace amounts of THC. Less than 1%.

From hemp you can make food. The seeds are high in amino 3 fatty acids. They even have more than fish. Aminos are very important to health. They also taste great. A little like pecans. You can make fuel to run your car from the seeds. From an acre of hemp you get four times as much fiber than from an acre of trees so our paper could come from there as well. It is ready in about four months whereas trees take many years to grow and mature. Unlike trees, which deplete the nutrients in the soil, hemp replaces them. From these fibers we can also make clothing which is more durable than cotton and does not require the pesticides that cotton does. Rope is also made from hemp. In fact, there are over 25,000 known uses for this extraordinary plant.

Here is a little history on the use of hemp in the US in the past. This film was put out by the US Government in 1942.

There is absolutely no reason why it should be illegal today. That any natural plant is declared illegal is inexplicable to me. That one with so much excellent potential to help American's through this crisis is illegal is beyond insane.

I am about to start looking for a legislator who is willing to entertain the idea and maybe even sponsor a bill next year. Vermont just passed a hemp bill, why can't we? Anyone care to help with this project?

To find out more about hemp and all of its wonderful uses go here.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Marijuana found in long-sealed City Safe

From the Mobile Press-Register

Marijuana found in long-sealed City Safe

Staff Reporter

FAIRHOPE — The event was planned and advertised weeks ago: At the new Fairhope Museum of History, officials would open a city safe that had been abandoned and unused since 1971.

What would be inside? Nothing? Old city records?

On Thursday morning, a crowd of nearly 30 Fairhopers watched as locksmith Nevitt Baker lifted away its heavy, black door. A musty smell filled the room, and the crowd laughed as news cameras and curious locals closed in on the open safe. One woman rushed her young son out of the museum, saying she didn't want him to see what was inside.

A few called out the obvious — its bottom shelves were filled with marijuana. The vault apparently had last been used by police investigators to stash drug evidence.

"Here is somebody's name, somebody I remember, who would be terribly embarrassed right now," said Donnie Barrett, the museum's director, as he later examined a label attached to one of several matchboxes filled with dry, 37-year-old dope. "It looks like a whole bunch of dope is what we've found here. I wish it was a little bit more than that," Barrett said.

I love that last line. It just cracks me up. I know he didn't mean it like that....or, hell maybe he did :) Could have been a Freudian slip.

I also find it funny that a woman rushed her young son out because she didn't want him to see the weed. Better not tell her about the DARE program at school, huh? What is so scary about seeing weed? I mean, it's green plant material much like oregano or dried grass clippings....or if you can get the really good stuff it looks very similar to high quality hops.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Comparison Bonds in the Rochester Case

I was able to come by five more case action summaries for drug defendants in George C. Simpson's courtroom during the same time frame for John Alexander Rochester. Judge Simpson is the judge who set the bonds in the case. There are some whopping disparities. Check this out.

The bond schedule sets the bond for drug trafficking anywhere from $5,000 to $1,500,000. Class A felony bonds range from $10,000 to $60,000, Class B felony bonds range from $5,000 to $30,000 and Class C felony bonds range from $2500 to $15,000. Class A Misdemeanor bonds range from $300 to $6,000.

Regular Citizens

Charge - Unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance Second Degree - Bond $30,000 Class B Felony (This bond is the maximum)

Charge - Unlawful distribution of a controlled substance - Bond $30,000 Class B Felony (This bond is the maximum)

Charge - Unlawful distribution of a controlled substance - Bond $100,000 Class B Felony (This bond is $70,000 more than the maximum on the bond schedule)

Charge - Unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance - Bond $50,000 Class B Felony (This bond is $20,000 more than what the bond schedule says it should be at the highest)

Charge - Possession of a controlled substance - Bond $30,000 Class C Felony (This bond is twice what the schedule says it should be at the highest)

Compare to the bonds that John Alexander Rochester received from Judge Simpson

John Alexander Rochester - Judges Son

Charge - possession of Methyl Amphetamine - Bond $20,000, Class C Felony ($5,000 more than the bond schedule maximum)

Charge - possession of drug paraphernalia - Bond $5,000, Class A Misdemeanor(except it was within three miles of a school and public housing)(Near the maximum in bond schedule)

Charge - distribution of a controlled substance - Bond $15,000, (the other two people charged with this crime had bonds of $30,000 and $100,000) Class B felony (Bond set in the middle of range)

Charge - possession of a controlled substance - Bond $15,000, Class C Felony
This fine is the maximum on the schedule but still only half of what other defendants charged with the same offense had to pay. Why were others charged double?

Charge - 1st degree possession of marijuana - Bond $10,000, Class C Felony Less than the maximum bond by $5,000

Charge - trafficking cocaine - Bond $20,000. Class A Felony Now this one could have been considered drug trafficking and the bond could have been set up to 1.5 million dollars, but it looks like the judge went for the Class A Felony bond and not the drug trafficking bond.

In at least two cases John Alexander Rochester's bond was half (or less)what other people charged with the same crime had to pay. In most of the other cases the fines are way higher than what the bond schedule says they should be. That makes this even more disgusting because the Rochester's have plenty of money while the other folks don't. The Rochester's could pay almost any bond amount and not be hurt too bad financially by it....but these other, common, regular citizens, who probably make barely above minimum wage working at Tyson or Piggly Wiggly or Bill's Dollar Store, will go broke trying to scrape up enough money to get out.

Yesterday I mentioned that John Alexander Rochester, should have enhancements added to his sentence because he was within a three mile radius of the schools and many public housing complexes. Ashland is tiny. Just about everything in it is in a three mile radius. Here are the parts of the Alabama Code that deal with sales within a three mile radius.

Distribution within three miles of a school 5 year enhancement with no provision for probation
Distribution within three miles of public housing 5 year enhancement with no provision for probation aside
Use of Drug paraphernalia within three miles of public housing Subject to forfeiture

Here are the sections of the Alabama Code that deal with mandatory minimums.

Trafficking in marijuana, cocaine, meth

Sentences not to be deferred or reduced (unless the prosecutor asks for it to be or the defendant narcs out his connections, or attends treatment and pays his/her fines and court costs)

Now, I can already picture Fred Thompson, the D.A., asking for a sentence reduction for JAR and it being granted by Judge Simpson because John Alexander Rochester was able to pay his way out. Yep...theres actually a provision for folks who have money.
I don't know how the enhancements will affect this case or the possibility of the prosecutor asking for a reduction in sentence. If anyone out there knows please post the answer or email me.

This is so VILE! There ought not be two sets of rules in our judicial system. This case clearly shows that we do, in fact, have two sets of rules and that the main rule is you can have exactly as much justice as you can afford.

Garden Shots

Purple Hull Pea Bloom

Moon & Stars Watermelon


Red Bell Pepper that is currently green


The okra I was so worried about is now thigh high and starting to bloom.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What's for Dinner?

The squash and beans are coming in at my house along with the zucchini and cucumbers. I am still having a minor problem with blossom rot on the big tomato plants. It appears to be working itself out though as more fruits are setting and less blooms are dropping.

Anyway, back to the squash. I've never been a real big fan of squash by itself....but I love squash casserole. I had about 4 squash from the last two days and decided to make them into one for a side dish with tonight's dinner.

Here is the recipe I used along with some pictures I took along the way. I skipped the pecans because I don't have any.

A squash casserole with pecan or bread crumb topping, along with cheese and onions.

2 pounds yellow squash, cut in 3/4-inch cubes
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup saltine crackers, crumbled
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped, or buttered bread crumbs

Place the squash, onion, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan. Add a small amount of water. Cover and cook the squash until tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary. Drain the squash and onions; return to the pan and stir in the butter.

Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper to your taste.
Butter a 1 1/2-quart baking dish well. Stir the crumbled crackers into the squash mixture, and turn into the buttered casserole. Pour the milk over the squash and sprinkle with the cheese and chopped pecans or crumbs. Bake at 350°, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until the milk is absorbed and the squash casserole is bubbly. Serve hot. Serves 4 to 6.

We are also getting green beans. I make green beans like my MeMaw. With onions, oil and a chopped potato. I usually have a piece of bacon or fat back in there too but was out of both today. I fry them down. Yum they are sooooo good.


Update: The squash casserole was one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted. The green beans came out perfect. They were both served with grilled pork chops, and fresh sliced tomato and cucumber.I felt like licking my plate when I was done. The rest of the family has the same reaction.

I really enjoy this gardening thing. Food you grow and prepare yourself tastes better and is much better for you and far cheaper in the long run. Its great exercise and very theraputic. There is nothing like going out in the early morning when the sun is still low and listening to the birds while looking at your plants.

I Told You So

A few months ago I posted about Circuit Court Judge John Rochester's son, John Alexander Rochester, getting busted for trafficking narcotics in Ashland, AL. I also posted some background on Judge Rochester's history of harsh sentences for drug offenders in the past.

I predicted, however, that his son, John Alexander Rochester, would be whisked away to treatment under the cover of darkness and we'd never hear about this case again.

And I was right. On March 21, of this year John Alexander Rochester was bonded out of the Clay County jail by his mother, Linda Rochester and secreted away to a treatment center in Mississippi.

Here are the comments made on one of the posts

"Okay folks, I want you to know this much. John was signed out of the Clay county jail by someone who appeared to be his mother.

The bond amounts were VERY SMALL concerning the charges. For the Distribution of Cocaine and Meth, he had $20,000 bonds- POSTED by one person. Not the way it usually goes. When a bond is posted, it is supposed to have TWO signers, and the property must be worth double what the bond is, liens are counted, and you can only have four bonds signed out at one time. There were at least five charges to my recollection.

People with the same charges have had much larger bonds. Someone accused of not registering as a sex offender got a bond that size.

I am having to go anonymous here because if it is known that I leaked this out, I might make someone angry at me and loose my job.

Don't take my word for it. Demand the public record. You will see it's true.

A few days ago, I heard him order a bonding company loose their license, because they did not come to court, and were not present for what is called a forfeiture case.

I heard later that the company's notice was sent out with only 2 business days notice, and that they sent it to the wrong address.

The law is very clear, a bonding company has 30 days to pay a forfeiture. I was very shocked. They just put someone out of business because of their own screw up, and we wonder why businesses won't come here.

I happen to like that bonding company. They didn't rip people off and only charged ten percent. They came every time they had been called, and were very professionial. I talked to the owner, who told me he had been a bail bondsman for 7 years that he was still searching vigorously for the defendant who failed to appear, and he was very distraught over the situation because his court date for the final forfeiture was set way too early.

It's a shame, I also heard that Judge Rochester had never done that before, and had given Grover Poole bonding over a year to pay a bond, and never revoked them.

Special treatment? Favoritism? You decide."

And another...

John was released on March 21, 2008 on at least 6 different charges. The person who claimed not to be trying to get him out is obviously a liar themselves.

Linda Rochester posted property bonds with her name only on each one as the property holder.

For your information, the Sherrif can allow someone to do that if they so desire. Of course, if you are poor, and have no friends in high places, the jail will require the two property owners. Only the Sherrif or Judge can over rule that.

Either way, I heard that this young man was caught with meth, pot, pills, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia. Serious charges, yes, but he doesn't need help. It sounds like he needs a legal job.
He was a dealer not a user. So what's to help him?

Why would anyone not want him to go to jail for what he was doing? Selling drugs is a crime. The law is the law. Uphold it, or fight for change if you disagree, but in the meantime, you must obey the law. No one is above it.

Another Anonymous

So, on March 21 John Alexander Rochester was released on property bonds totaling $20,000. Usually bonds for narcotics trafficking reach into the hundreds of thousands and sometimes even millions. Only one person, his mother, signed the property bonds and that is not the way it is usually done.

Here is what I want to know.

Who set the bond?

What judge heard the bond case?

Was this done in Clay County?

I'll take a stab at my own questions. The answer to 1 & 2 is most likely Judge George Simpson, a real close friend of Judge John Rochester, who also has a son named Luke who used to stay in trouble with drugs all the time when we were in high school. I guess ole George owed Rochester one since Rochester used to handle his son with kid gloves.

I think the answer to my second question is YES, it probably was done in Clay County which screams to be investigated. It should not have been done in Clay County because of the incestuous nature of the criminal justice system. The judges are friends and have been giving each others kids free rides on drug charges for YEARS. It couldn't have been a fair hearing. Couldn't have been. It should have been moved to a different county or a Judge from a different county should have been brought in to handle this case.

But, no, the rich and powerful have a different set of rules by which they live. Us poor folks get fu**ed, to put it bluntly. Our daddies aren't judges in a small town. We don't have powerful connections.

I tell you what I am going to ask the Judicial Inquiry Commission to open an investigation into this matter. I am SICK TO DEATH of preferential treatment being given to those who have money and power. FORGET THAT! If Judge Rochester can sentence poor folks to prison for committing lesser crimes than his boy then, by god, his boy can do some hard time. This was John Alexander Rochester's second offense involving drugs. He should be in jail like everyone else.

Oh yeah, I heard Senator Jabo Wagoner's son was involved in a drunk driving accident a short time ago in Walker County and the driver of the other car was injured. But, not one mention of it in any newspaper in the state. The media ought to be very ashamed. I'd also like to note that there has been NO media coverage of the Rochester case. I found one mention on a web radio site in Anniston but the Anniston Star has not had any story on this case. I find that repulsive.

Then there was Senator Richard Shelby's son who was busted at the Atlanta Intl' Airport in 1998 for smuggling 13.8 grams of hash into the country from England. Customs found it and fined him $500. Had it been you or me we would have been charged with international drug smuggling and we'd still be in prison.

US Congressman Spencer Bacchus's son was also involved in something drug related a few years ago. He got special treatment.

There are many other cases like this involving rich kids whose daddies are senator's, congressmen or judges from Alabama. Today I will update my list of such cases.

There are 30,000 people in the Alabama prison system. The majority of them were sent there originally for drugs or alcohol. 500 a year were sentenced to prison for marijuana before drug court started in Alabama. But, prison is apparently only for poor people.

I am out to change that, starting now. I will ask that this case be investigated by the Judicial Inquiry Commission and I will begin writing letters to editors across the state in hopes that the media will also begin an investigation. The public pays the salary of these judges, who in turn send kids of the poor members of the public to prison....but let their own kids go free. We have a right to know exactly what went on in this case, who the judge was that set such a low bond, how come it was set so low, if it was done in Clay County and what we can expect to happen to John Alexander Rochester when he is released from rehab in Mississippi.

To Judge Rochester....I will be watching you very closely. Believe that! I am going to be a shrill about this case until I get some answers. How do you sleep at night when you have sentenced so many people to prison for very minor drug infractions yet your drug pushing son is pretty much free at a nice rehab center in Mississippi? This won't stand Judge. When you run for office again I will be the first one to point out what you did for your own son and what you have done to other people's sons and daughters for far lesser infractions. I hope the Judicial Inquiry Commission investigates you and takes action against you. I'd like to see you removed from the bench.

UPDATE: A friend of mine sent me all six case action summaries on this case. John Alexander Rochester was charged with possession of Methyl Amphetamine
and the bond was $20,000, possession of drug paraphernalia bond was $5,000, distribution of a controlled substance bond was $15,000, possession of a controlled substance bond was $15,000, 1st degree possession of marijuana bond was $10,000, trafficking cocaine bond set at $20,000.

Those bonds are so low for those charges it is beyond the pale. And just as I suspected Judge George C. Simpson was the judge in this case. I hope the commenter from one of the earlier posts will let us know which two charges bonds were not paid on when John Alexander Rochester was released to the custody of his mother.

My friend who sent the case action summaries also noted the following..

It appears two are Class B Felonies with a minimum of three years incarceration and the rest are possession cases. Now the mandatory three years for trafficking can be either reduced or it can be split so that the person does not have to actually serve the time.

Now, I grew up in Ashland and I know exactly where he was arrested. The park is within a stones throw of public housing and maybe a mile from both the schools. Will there be enhancements added to his sentence like everyone else's? I see no mention of enhancements in the case action summaries.

Does anyone know where he is now? Is he still in treatment in Mississippi? Is he out? When will the grand jury convene and decide whether or not to indict him?

Monday, June 16, 2008

"I Believe" branding iron coming soon

I've taken a couple days off from blogging. Was busy last week with summer camp for both my kids. However, a friend sent me this story about that rabid Baptist Senator Hank Erwin and his latest crusade and I just can't pass it up. AL Senator to propose 'I Believe' license plates.

It pisses me off that he wastes taxpayer time and money with garbage like this. But, no matter, pretty soon with gas prices like they are we'll all be riding horses. I suppose when that happens Erwin will try to get a branding iron bill with the cross and the words “I Believe” through the legislature.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

From the garden to the plate

I picked some zucchini this morning from the garden and turned them into stuffed zucchini's using the following recipe. The filling that I tasted was absolutely divine. I'll update when I have actually eaten one.

4 Small to Medium Sized Zucchini

1 Small Onion

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Cherry Tomatoes Chopped

3 Garlic Cloves, Minced

1/2 Cup Cubed Mozzarella Cheese

1/4 Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley

Salt & Pepper

Cut off the top of the zucchini and scoop out the center leaving at least a good 1/2 inch border all around. Chop the zucchini that you just removed finely. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a frying pan, cook the chopped onions, the garlic, and half the zucchini in the olive oil until tender. Remove from the heat, and add salt & pepper, cheese, tomatoes and the chopped parsley. Stuff the zucchini, and place in a baking dish. Cook for 45 minutes or until fork tender and the filling is golden brown. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

Garden Bounty

Some of our garden yummies are starting to trickle in. In the shot above are zucchini squash around the top, cucumbers around the bottom and squash and peppers in the middle. I am ready for some tomatoes but none of mine are ripe yet.

Speaking of tomatoes a very strange thing happened last weekend with my patio tomato. It was weighted down with tomatoes, growing like mad and putting out new blooms. Not a blemish on it. This was Saturday of last week. I watered it that day. The next morning I went out and it was deader than a door nail. I flushed it with water again and waited til the afternoon to see if it would perk up. It didn't. I picked off the tomatoes big enough to save and pulled the plant. There was no damage anywhere on it. The roots were fine. The stem wasn't broken. I have no clue what might have killed it. No clue at all. It almost made me sick.

Later today I am going to cook up some stuffed zucchini and maybe even some zucchini bread. YUM!

I'll also note that whatever kind of cucumbers we are growing this year are divine. They are so crispy and sweet and bearing so fast we can hardly keep up with them.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hey, my Snoot could do this!

Just saw this awesome video on CNN of a German Shepherd who saves everyone who jumps in the pool....whether they need saving or not.

Check this out!

German Shepherd's are just plain awesome. Hands down they are the best family dog you could ever have. I love mine so much it hurts.