Friday, October 31, 2008

I DEMAND that you look at my papers!

Recently my car insurance lapsed for about a month. During all of that time I scurried fearfully from one place to the next terrified that I would come up on a license and insurance check. Thankfully, for my pocketbook, I was able to avoid that. A couple weeks ago I got my insurance back and two days ago I got my cards to carry in the car and 'present on demand'.

Yesterday, while driving to pick my husband up from work, guess what I ran into? Yep...a license check.

I was all like, "HA I am LEGAL you bastards!...You won't extort $600 from me today."

I stopped the car, got my license out of my bag, got my insurance card out of the dash, rolled my window down, and.....the damn State Trooper waved me on through without even glancing at my 'papers.'

I was like, "What? No. Uh Uh. There is no way that just happened!" I wanted to stop the car, get out and DEMAND that my papers be looked at. "TAKE IT! TAKE IT!" It just doesn't seem right that I lived in fear for a month or so that I would be asked for my papers, then got the papers that make me street legal again only to face rejection by a State Trooper.

What is this world coming to?

Loretta Nall on Matt Murphy at 7:00 a.m.

I will be a guest on
The Matt Murphy Show
this morning about 7 to discuss third parties in this election.

LIsten Live!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

With a defense attorney like this one...

I have a sister-in-law who is a chronic pain patient. She has been in multiple car accidents resulting in her head being crushed, her left arm being nearly completely cut off and many of her bones have been broken. She has glass from a wreck nearly 20years ago still embedded in her face. She has a lot of nerve damage. She is very poor and up until recently was working as a waitress. That not being the highest paying job, she had no health insurance coverage. Having no health coverage she was unable to see a physician/pain doctor for medication and allegedly resorted to other means to aquire it. Now she is in jail in Ashland.

This morning I called her appointed attorney, John Keith Warren, to inquire about her bond.

Some woman named Sheila who sounds as if she has been smoking three cartons of Camel Unfiltered a day for 80 years answered the phone.


"Hi, my name is Loretta Nall and I am calling to find out my sister-in-laws bond amount. Her name is *******."

"Hang on."

So I waited on hold for a few minutes.

"You air?"

"Yes I am still here."

"Well, hang on I gotta look in her file." (I wondered what she was doing while I was hanging on the first time)

"You still air?"

"Yes. I am still here."

"Well, we don't know what her bond is."

"You don't know what her bond is? Isn't this her lawyers office?"

"Well, yeah, but we don't know what her bond is."

"Don't you think you should know that? I mean...its pretty important, right?"

"You'll hav'ta call the clerks office and get that."

So I called the clerks office and got that.

A few minutes later my phone rings and it is Sheila the Camel voiced clerk.

"Well, I just wanted to tell ye that her bond is ....."

"I know. I just called the clerks office."

I decided to try and help the lawyer out by informing Sheila about my sister-in-laws medical history. I told Sheila that Mr. Warren needed to be made aware that Teresa is a chronic pain patient and that needed to be brought up in her trial.

Sheila the Camel Voiced Clerk said,..."Well when he gets the paperwork to prove that he'll bring it up."

"What paperwork are you referring to? I can bring you her medical records."

"No, we need the CRO evaluation."

I said, "The CRO isn't going to know if she is a chronic pain patient or not. We can get you copies of her medical records which document her history."

She said, "No it has to come through the CRO evaluation. If it isn't in there the lawyer won't bring it up. We can't just take ever ole criminals word, you know?"

I said, "Teresa is not a criminal she is a patient. Please don't refer to my sister-in-law in that manner again, especially since you work for the attorney who is suppossedly representing her. And...medical records are not 'just any ole criminal's word'. Unlike the untrianed gal y'all hustled in off the street to extort money from people under the guise of CRO medical records come from trained medical professionals."

Then I hung up before I had a nasty cussing fit.

My God...with defense attorney's like that who needs a fucking prosecutor? I mean if your own lawyer and/or his staff refer to you as a criminal before you have been convicted of anything then the client pretty much doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of proper representation or a fair trial. No doubt, the client is fucked!

I'll be filing a complaint with the local bar association as well as filing a motion on my sister-in-laws behalf for Mr. Warren to withdraw from the case. I will also be informing Mr. Warren about how lovingly his staff referrs to his clients. I hope Sheila the Camel Voice Clerk gets fired...or better yet struck by lightning.

Yeah...that's the ticket!

BHAM News Endorses Shanta Owens for Drug Court Judge

YAY!! They got at least one endorsement right. From today's opinion section....

District Court, Place 2:

This is the Jefferson County Drug Court, and it needs a judge with passion for this specialized job. The current judge, Republican Davis Lawley, was appointed in 2007 by Riley after longtime judge O.L. "Pete" Johnson retired.

Democrat Shanta Owens, a former Jefferson County assistant district attorney, is a better fit.

Much of Lawley's practice before being appointed to the bench was at Family Court. Lawley was defeated in a run for the Family Court bench in 2000. Neither candidate is well-known to the Birmingham Bar: After more than a year on the bench, Lawley still is listed as "unknown" by 62 percent of the bar poll respondents. Owens is unknown by 73 percent.

But we believe Owens has the better skills for this court. Her time in the district attorney's office was spent dealing with criminal prosecutions, and she was a senior trial attorney when she resigned to campaign. Her felony trial experience should help her determine which defendants are likely to thrive in Drug Court and which would better be served by incarceration. Owens wants to build on Drug Court's success by making sure defendants have at least a GED, become involved in their communities and find permanent jobs.

Owens is the right person.

As I said in an earlier post I disagree with drug court altogether. Drug use and addiction are health and social issues and not criminal ones. However, I have to work with what I have and Shanta Owens is a much better pick for drug court judge than Judge Davis Lawley who prefers the approach of his hero Chairman Mao when it comes to dealing with drug use and addiction. We don't need that on the bench or anywhere in our judicial system.

If you live in the Jefferson County Place 2 area VOTE SHANTA OWENS on November 4th. Tell all your friends and family to do the same.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

They're both SOCIALIST!

I'm so sick of hearing the word 'socialist' thrown around in this election by those on the 'right'. Obama wants to redistribute the wealth. Obama is a socialist. Obama wants to take your money and give it to people who don't pay taxes. And on and on and on....


McCain and Palin are also SOCIALISTS. McCain voted for the $700 BILLION dollar bail out. That means he took our money and gave it to Wall Street. Sarah Palin said during a rally in VA the other day that she and McCain will DOUBLE the earned income tax credit to $5000. That means they will take money from people who do pay taxes and give it to people who do not pay taxes.


So, how come it's only socialist when Obama does it but not socialist when McCain does it? How come there are no screams of 'SOCIALISM' or 'SOCIALIST' directed at McCain from his supporters? Any McCain supporters out there care to chime in and explain?

I'm all ears.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Drug Courts Don't Work

Author: Morris Hoffman
Note: Morris Hoffman is a state trial judge in Denver and an adjunct
professor of law at the University of Colorado.
Bookmark: (Drug Courts)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


They Turn Neutral Judges into Cheerleaders, Substitute Parents.

There are only two problems with drug courts. They don't work, and they turn judges into intrusive agents of the Nanny State.

Independent evaluations of drug courts have been mixed, but many show that drug courts have no, or very little, impact on re-arrest recidivism. In Denver, for example, where I sit as a trial judge, an evaluation of our drug court done by the insiders who ran it claimed enormous reductions in recidivism. But when independent evaluators from the University of Denver looked at the program, they found that it reduced recidivism from a depressing 58% down to a still depressing 53%. Even that 5-point drop was well within the study's margin of error.

But it's not just that drug courts don't work, or don't work well. They have the perverse effect of sending more drug defendants to prison, because their poor treatment results get swamped by an increase in the number of drug arrests. By virtue of a phenomenon social scientists call "net-widening," the very existence of drug courts stimulates drug arrests.

Police are no longer arresting criminals, they are trolling for patients. Denver's drug arrests almost tripled in the two years after we began our drug court. At the end of those two years, we were sending almost twice the number of drug defendants to prison than we did before drug court.

Drug courts also turn judges from neutral magistrates into a combination of treatment cheerleader and substitute parent. When we try to treat addiction either as a simple disease or a matter of criminal choice, and drug users as moral inpatients, the only thing we accomplish is to create a dangerous and untrained judiciary that thinks it can intrude into the lives of citizens for as long as it takes to cure them.

As a state felony trial judge, I understand the scourge of drugs as well as anyone. But trying to cover up our national schizophrenia over drug policy with the veneer of ineffective, even counterproductive, drug courts does no good, except perhaps to make judges feel better when we send our treatment failures to prison.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

They've even fucking infiltrated Halloween!

So, I volunteered to work a booth at my daughters school Halloween carnival last night. I remember having a great deal of fun at Halloween carnivals when I was a kid. The canided apples, the cake walk, the hay ride, the haunted house. All the people in their monster masks and vampire costumes. It was a time for scary fun!

But, by far, the scariest and most un-fun thing I have ever encountered at a children's school Halloween carnival is what I encountered upon arrival last night.

That's right...the Alabama State Trooper Weed Hunting Chopper complete with terrifying, jack-booted, thugs. They literally were wearing knee-high leather jackboots. They had up their 'official' "POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS" tape and they had a State Trooper motorcycle on display.

I wanted to climb in and have my daughter snap a picture of me....that would have been the ultimate coup.....but they were only letting small children in.

What were they trying to say exactly? That we should be terrified of them because they are monsters? I can agree that they are terrifying monsters...although I refuse to be terrified. If that wasn't the message they were trying to convey then what were they doing at a Halloween Carnival? A place for elementary school children to dress up scary, eat candy til they puke and goad each other through the haunted house, play bingo and hope they win a cake on the cake walk. What were they doing there?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Letter of the Week

My recent letter in the BHAM News was chosen as Letter of the Week by DrugSense

Friday, October 24, 2008

I knew she was lying!

woman who claimed she was attacked and mutilated because she supported McCain admits she lied

When I first read this story last night my gut told me she was lying. I mean...people who commit armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon usually aren't of the 'politico crowd' intent on voting in the upcoming election. Plus, what robber is going to stick around and kick your ass for 10 minutes after robbing you....because they don't like your bumper sticker? And how convinent that it was 'a big scary black man' robber who supports Obama. Give me an effin break! Deep down I also wonder if the McCain campaign isn't behind this? I mean about all they got left is to try and scare undecided voters by painting a picture of 'thugs gone wild' if Obama is elected.

Another thing....something was just off about that 'B' on her face. It's like upside down and backwards. And wouldn't an 'O' have made more sense?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

John Alexander Rochester Case Update

The Clay Times Journal has the list of the most recent grand jury indictments printed in today's paper. And take a wild guess whose name isn't among the indicted?
John Alexander Rochester.

The following indictments were issued during the last session of the Clay County Grand Jury. Please bear in mind all subjects are considered innocent until proven guilty by trial or until they enter a guilty plea or enter into a plea bargain with the court system.

Indictments are listed with person's name, followed by charges on which he/she is indicted.

John Kyle Taft, unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance; possession, selling, procuring controlled substances; possession of a controlled substance; possession of drug paraphernalia, attempting to elude police;

Michael Edwin Bassett, possession of a controlled substance, driving under the influence;

Kimberly Gaither, Bennett, improper lane usage; driving under the influence (any); possession of a controlled substance;
Beniah Bradford, possession of a controlled substance;

Jeremy Earl Thomas Brown, possession of a forged instrument, fraudulent use of credit, possession of a forged instrument;

Laura Lee Champion, unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance, trafficking methamphetamine; (This lady was arrested near the same time that John Alexander Rochester was and her bond was $50,000. Rochester's was $20,000 for the same charge)

Jeremy Wayne Duke, possession of a forged instrument (four counts);

Albert Marion Edmonson, failure to register as sex offender;

Thomas Jeremiah Gillum, use and possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana 1st, speeding;

Obrier Edwards Hall, possession of a controlled substance, driving while license revoked;

Jamie Suzanne Isabell, alcohol possession in vehicle, use and possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana 2nd, possession of a controlled substance;

Tammy Terrell Jones, possession of a controlled substance (two counts), attempting to elude police, speeding and reckless driving;

James Michael Mitchell, felony DUI (two counts), driving while license revoked (two counts), driving on wrong side of road;

Gregory Wayne Moncus, trafficking methamphetamine.

Matthew Brian Morgan, alcohol possession in vehicle;

Matthew Brian Smith, possession of a controlled substance;

Michael Heath Conway Pate, unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance, trafficking methamphetamine;

Henry Matthew Phillips, unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance, trafficking methamphetamine;

Ronald Charles Ran, use/possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance;

Clifton Eugene Shaddix, unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance, trafficking methamphetamine;

Phillip Smith, failure to register as a sex offender;

Robert Smith, distribution and sale of drugs, possession of marijuana 2nd;

Benjamin Lamar Street, public intoxication, possession of a controlled substance;

Willie Joe Simmons, sexual abuse 1st (two counts); sodomy 1st degree;

Jeremy William Alford, use/possession of a controlled substance, possession and receiving a controlled substance;

Scott Grady Pulliam, theft of property 2nd, burglary 3rd degree;

Tristan McClennon Trimm, theft of property 1st (two counts);

Johnny Wade Stevens, breaking and entering a vehicle, theft of property 2nd (three counts on each of these charges), obstructing justice;

Russell Davis, burglary 3rd degree and theft of property 1st.

Cases brought by Lineville Police Department were published separately in an earlier edition.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Take THAT Mike Hubbard!

Advocates Settle Lawsuit on Voting Rights,
Historic Voter Education Effort to Proceed in Alabama Prisons

Alabama Joins Only Vermont and Maine in Allowing Certain People to Vote While Incarcerated in State Prisons

Local and National Organizations Join the New Bottom Line Campaign to Enter Jails and Hit the Streets to Register Eligible Voters with Felony Convictions for Drug Possession

Dothan—Yesterday, a settlement was reached between The Ordinary People’s Society (TOPS) and the Alabama Department of Corrections, allowing Reverend Glasgow to resume his non-partisan ministry to register eligible voters currently incarcerated in the state’s correctional facilities.

The lawsuit was filed after the Alabama Department of Corrections cancelled Reverend Glasgow’s ministry following the Alabama Republican Party’s objection to his voter education activities. NAACP Legal Defense Fund, under Ryan Haygood, acted as counsel for TOPS in the lawsuit.

“Now I can continue the ministry that God gave me: helping to give a voice to the voiceless by reaching out to people in Alabama’s correctional facilities who are eligible to vote,” said Reverend Glasgow. “The ministry is so critical because too many in Alabama’s correctional facilities who are eligible to vote don’t know it. What’s worse is that literally thousands of people are incarcerated in our state prisons for drug possession alone—these people deserve treatment, not incarceration.”

In Alabama, nearly 250,000 people have been stripped of their voting rights due to a felony conviction. But in a 2006 court ruling in Alabama, a judge found that only those persons convicted of felonies of “moral turpitude” lose their right to vote. The judge found that certain felonies—such as drug possession—do not constitute crimes of moral turpitude, and therefore individuals convicted of those crimes do not lose their right to vote, even during incarceration.

Alabama-based The Ordinary People’s Society and their national partner the Drug Policy Alliance estimate that over 50,000 people convicted of non-moral turpitude felonies in Alabama have been wrongly denied their right to vote, or believe they do not have that right due to a conviction. An additional 6 – 7,000 more people currently incarcerated in Alabama state prisons are eligible to vote.

As the voter registration deadline nears, the New Bottom Line Campaign is making a final push to make sure that all eligible voters—both inside and outside prisons—are able to register to vote. Local and national advocates joining the New Bottom Line Campaign this week include the state and national NAACP, Project Hope, and Alabama Arise. “We are grateful for the wide array of support we have received thus far,” said Rev. Glasgow, who is also the state coordinator for the New Bottom Line Campaign. “We can all contribute by making sure that our brothers and sisters who have a felony conviction understand that they may never have lost their voting rights. Every eligible voter should register today; it’s another way we can contribute to our communities.”

Alabama is facing a crisis. The state has the 6th highest rate of incarceration in the U.S. A prison system designed for 12,500 people now holds nearly 30,000. As a result of the drug war, non-violent drug offenses make up approximately 30% of all felony convictions in Alabama, and people convicted of non-violent drug and property offenses comprise nearly half of the state’s prison population. Nearly 50% of prisoners are serving prison time for a drug related crime. And over 250,000 people are barred from voting due to felony disfranchisement laws. The recent court ruling upholding the right to vote for people convicted of drug possession, among other offenses, could have an impact on nearly 70,000 Alabamians, including nearly 10,000 currently incarcerated in state prisons.

While drug use is equal across all racial groups, Black people are incarcerated for drug crimes at far higher rates than whites. Blacks make up only 26% of Alabama’s population, but are nearly 60% of the prison population. And for every white person in an Alabama jail, there are about 4 times as many Black people.

Alabama is spending millions to incarcerate people when treatment is more effective and far cheaper. The average cost to keep a person in prison in Alabama is almost $13,000 per year. The average cost of a full treatment program per client is approximately $4,300. Over time, the savings from treatment are significant: Studies by the RAND Corporation have shown that every additional dollar invested in substance abuse treatment saves taxpayers $7.46 in societal costs.

“We’ve got to start restoring people’s lives, by providing treatment, by restoring the right to vote,” said Gabriel Sayegh, a policy director with the Drug Policy Alliance, which serves as the national partner in the New Bottom Line Campaign. “When a person gets a felony conviction, they can lose more than their voting rights; they can lose public assistance, public housing, and financial aid for school. The drug war became a war on people and we spend more on incarceration than on treatment. How is this possible when we know treatment is cheaper and more effective? We need a new bottom line.”

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dirty Cop

Clay Times Journal

Former chief files suit against Ashland
Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Former Ashland Police Chief Derrick Forbes has filed a lawsuit against the city.

Forbes' attorney, Greg Varner, said the gist of the lawsuit is that the city failed to pay Forbes for overtime and comp time he had while he worked for the city.

Varner advised the suit is being filed based on the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Meanwhile, the city's basic argument is that the chief's job is a salaried post and is not subject to the conditions imposed by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

A summary judgement hearing is set for Monday at Clay County Courthouse in front of Circuit Judge John Rochester. After the hearing, the judge will rule if there is enough merit in the case for it to go to court. If not, he can dismiss the suit at that time.

Ashland Mayor Terry Turner basically confirmed what the attorney had said.

He added depositions were taken from City Clerk Charles Foster, all five City Council members and himself.

"We are denying the claims for overtime and comp time,"_Turner said.

He also noted he had worked thousands of hours of overtime when he was chief of police and other positions of law enforcement and had not asked for or been compensated for them.

"If the judge rules in our favor, then it's over. If he rules against us,"_the case will go to court.

The next session of Circuit Court is slated for February 2009.

I went to high school with Derrick Forbes and smoked lots of weed with him at parties we both attended. He was one of the hardest partiers in high school. Everyone was shocked when he chose law enforcement as a career and we were beyond disgusted when one of the first things Derrick did after becoming a cop was to arrest his long-time best friend for a little weed. I mean....what a total piece of shit!

Derrick went on to become police chief of Ashland and was fired when pictures of him posing naked with naked women and with drugs that had been seized turned up on his work computer. Somehow he avoided prison time and apparently even basic charges for possession and for raiding the evidence room and is now a cop in either Hoover or Pelham...I can't recall which. Don't you just love the hiring practices of police forces in Alabama? Man....must be nice to fuck up so big time and still land a job where you get to carry a gun and rob other people of their hard earned weed.

I hope Mr. Forbes loses the case. It's a real shame there can be no prosecution for him being such a piece of shit.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bloggers cover all topics in today's political spectrum

Terry Manning from the Montgomery Advertiser has a column today on Alabama Bloggers and the topics we cover. Included in the column are quotes from yours truly, Alabama Moderate, FlashPoint, Bessemer Opinions, and Left in Alabama.

Bloggers cover all topics in today's political spectrum

Go read it!!

Double Whammy!

Today the Birmingham News printed my LTE and Dawn Palmer's LTE about the hydro operation busted in BHAM a little over a week ago.


Riddled with misinformation

This is in response to The News article "Busted indoor pot farm" (Oct. 11), which was riddled with marijuana misinformation.

Authorities said growing marijuana hydroponically makes it more potent. Hydroponics is simply a growing method. It in no way increases the potency of marijuana or any other plant. Breeding and genetics can increase potency and quality, but the growing method itself has no bearing on the potency of the final product.

Authorities also claimed hydroponic marijuana is responsible for organized crime, home invasions, armed robberies, arsons and homicides. So, the growing method is responsible for all that? Now, I have heard it all. Why not throw child molestation and wife beating in there, too? Doing so couldn't possibly make that statement any less believable.

Prohibition is the reason for the majority of crime around any illicit substance. If you support prohibition, you support crime. You support the drug dealers. Refusing to control and regulate the drug market enables all of this crime.

If Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale wants to talk about gateway theories, prohibition is the gateway to crime.

Hale said of the operation, "It would be impressive if it was a legitimate business." So, why not legitimize it and collect taxes to build the dome, pay off the sewer debt and use police resources to go after all those murderers in the Birmingham area? Why not grow marijuana for those suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and a whole host of other painful conditions that marijuana is good medicine for?

Loretta Nall

Executive director

Alabamians for

Compassionate Care

Alexander City

Why not make marijuana legal?:

I'm writing in response to The News' article about the indoor marijuana operation police recently discovered. The article said an operation like that could generate $1 million a year. Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale said, "It would be impressive if it was a legitimate business."

Well, why not make it a legitimate business?

There has been a bill submitted every year since 2004 to the Alabama Legislature calling for the legalization of medicinal marijuana. There are many people who could benefit from this legitimate business.

People who use marijuana as a medicine could benefit from it, just like they do in 12 other states. This legitimate business could create jobs and revenue. This revenue could help pay off our enormous sewer debt, and it could possibly get Hale more officers to go after real criminals.

The violent crimes the article mentioned, such as home invasions, arsons and homicides (they forgot to mention kidnapping), are the results of prohibition and the money being made from the black market, not the results of someone who has ingested the herb.

Dawn Palmer


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Jefferson Co. Drug Court Judge Race

Just read in the BHAM News this morning that the Jefferson Co. Drug Court Judge race is happening in November. This is a Place 2 race if you are in Jefferson County. The candidates are Judge Davis Lawley, who is currently the drug court Judge in Jeff. Co., was appointed by Gov. Riley because Riley and his mama were friends and is a former door-kicker-inner for a drug task force as well as a former prosecutor for a drug task force ( and who I had a run-in with earlier this year) and Shanta Owens a former prosecutor with the Jefferson Co. District Attorneys office.

From the article...

Davis Lawley:

Lawley, 46, said Drug Court needs an experienced judge versed in the latest methods to break addiction.

"You have to have specialized knowledge of what an addict is and what is needed to help them recover," he said. "You have to be patient and do it correctly, and not just be there processing cases. I care about the court, know how it's put together and know what it needs to keep going."

So, Judge Lawley, what are the newest methods to break addiction? I work with addicts nearly every day. I just lost a brother a few weeks ago to alcohol and opiate addiction and I have another one who shits blood every day because he is more addicted to alcohol than anyone else I have ever come across. If you are so 'versed' in what it takes to break addiction then do tell what you know so that I may save my remaining brother's life. If you know how to break addiction will you tell us now or will you pull a John McCain and not tell us unless we elect you?

As for being patient and doing it correctly....I recall that when I questioned you at the Federalist Society meeting earlier this year you said, "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."

Is that your definition of being patient and doing it right? Would you lop off the heads of addicts and dealers, like your hero Chairman Mao if you could? If I recall correctly the MAO also targeted intellectuals, which you might possibly be considered if you had lived in China during that time. But, judging from what I saw that day when you and I came toe to toe you might escape with your head because your intellect is certainly questionable.

"I care about the court" translates to "I want to keep my job". "I know how its put together"....Well, so does nearly everyone else. "I know what it takes to keep it going" and so do we. Keeping it going translates to the continued rounding up on non-violent drug offenders (pot smokers especially) and extorting them of all their money and when they run out of money putting them in one of your nifty government cages.

Shanta Owens:

While prosecuting felony cases in Jefferson County Circuit Court, Owens has learned that punishment isn't the only tool for dealing with drug issues, she said.

"I know how to appropriately punish the drug offenders who deserve it, the sellers and traffickers, but also be compassionate to those who have an addiction," she said.

"I have been tough on violent crime," she said. "But I also have advocated drug treatment and rehabilitation for several defendants."

Owens, 31, resigned from the prosecutor's office earlier this year to run for the judgeship. She said she prosecuted more than 100 jury trials during her tenure.

I do not know a lot about Ms. Owens. I do know that some of my friends at TASC in BHAM support her as individuals (not as an organization) and I know the person who handles her credit card donations. I have heard from them that she is more focused on helping people as opposed to punishing them. Her statements to the newspaper somewhat reflect that. I also hear that she has a pretty good understanding of what the drug war has done to the African-American community. I will be talking to some others today about what else she thinks about the drug war over all.

It is hard for me to endorse a candidate for drug court. Drug court should not exist. The drug war should not exist. People who want to use drugs should be allowed to use all the drugs they want and not be accosted by law enforcement unless they endanger others or deny someone else life, liberty or property. If they become addicted then it should be their or their family's decision to get them treatment. Drug court ISN'T TREATMENT. Drug court is a money scam and government sanctioned harassment of people who are sick and need medical care. Addiction should not be a law enforcement issue. It is a health and social issue.

Having said that, if I lived in Birmingham and the election was held today I'd cast my vote for Shanta Owens. At least she has never lovingly referred to a Communist Tyrant and his penchant for lopping off the heads of people with a medical condition.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Marijuana Misinformation

pic of me from 2004 at a Canadian grow-op

Yesterday the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department busted what a lot of people apparently think is a 'huge marijuana grow-op'. The feds say it is Alabama's largest in history. By my standards it is a nice one but far from the biggest that I've personally seen in Canada and the west coast. But...anyway.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the enlightened comments on the forums regarding the futility of the drug war. Usually all I can find on those forums related to drug stories is the same old idiotic, prohibitionist non-logic that premeates every aspect of the discussion around anything drug related. But yesterday this happened. Ten or so of the people who were commenting on that story have expressed an interest in attending an upcoming meeting on medical marijuana.

Today the prohibitionist non-logic was back in full swing with this story from the Birmingham News.
Busted Indoor Pot Farm Alabama's Largest

Hydroponics is the preferred method of growing marijuana to make the drug more potent, which generates more money for the drug dealers, authorities said. The product sells for $4,500 per pound versus the normal $1,000 per pound.

This is untrue and anyone who knows anything about gardening should be able to spot the untruthfulness right away. For those of you who have never gardened, and I am talking about a regular veggie garden here, let me explain. Hydroponics is simply a way to grow plants. It in no way increases the potency of marijuana or any other plant. Breeding and genetics can increase potency but the growing method itself has no bearing on the potency of the final product. If you start out with crappy weed seeds then the finished product will be crappy weed whether you grow it in dirt or hydroponically or aeroponically.

Growing hydro gives the grower more direct control over how much can be harvested. It is a way to produce more because you can control the light cycle and make the plants bloom whenever you want. You can also make the vegetative cycle much shorter by using 18 to 24 hours of light a day as opposed to the 10-12 hours you would depend on if you were able to grow outside without going to prison. Growing hydro allows one to manipulate the growing environment. But it doesn't in any way increase potency.

Anyone paying $4500 a pound for hydro is a fool if the only reason they are paying that much is because of the way it was grown. I suspect good genetics are generally involved in any weed costing that much money. And when did the cops drop the price of weed from $2000 a pound to $1000 a pound? In every other story about plants cops claim each plant is worth $2000 because as much as one pound of weed can be harvested from each plant. That's a hoot. Even most master gardeners can't get a pound of weed from a pot plant.

Nationwide, hydroponic marijuana has increased in popularity and become an organized criminal enterprise, bringing with it noticeable increases in violent crimes such as home invasions, armed robberies, arsons and homicides, authorities said.

So, the growing method is the reason for organized crime,violent crime, home invasions, robberies, arson and homicide? Good God now I have heard it all. Why not throw child molestation and wife beating in there, too, guys? Doing so couldn't possibly make that statement any less believable. PROHIBITION is the reason for the vast majority of crime around any illicit substance. And if you support prohibition then you support the way things are now and you support all of that crime and you support the drug dealers.

Sheriff Mike Hale said he didn't initially appreciate the magnitude of what his drug investigators were uncovering.

"It would be impressive if it was a legitimate business," he said.

So, why not legitimize it and collect the tax money and build Larry's BirmingDome, pay off the sewer debt and use police resources to go after all those murders in the Birmingham area?

And by far my favorite quote...

Thursday's bust is another example of the department's focus on eradicating illegal drugs from the community. Marijuana, Hale said, is a gateway drug that leads to more violent crime.

Marijuana is not a 'gateway drug'. The gateway theory is just that A THEORY. And a goofy one at that. I could say that milk leads to heroin addiction because every heroin addict drank milk at some point in their life therefore milk is a gateway drug. Of course that would be silly and no one would believe it....but somehow folks believe it with weed. Even the American Medical Association says there is no scientific evidence that marijuana leads to hard drugs.

And really, if some want to persist with the 'gateway theory' then what about alcohol and tobacco being gateway drugs? I asked that question of Jefferson Co. drug court judge Davis Lawley and Lt. James Chambliss head of the Narcotics Division in the Birmingham Police Dept. Here is what they had to say.

Here is a letter to the editor of the Birmingham News sent today. If you'd like to write one send it to

Dear Editor,

This is in response to 'Busted indoor pot farm' (10/11), which was riddled with marijuana misinformation.

Authorities stated that growing marijuana hydroponically makes it more potent.

Hydroponics is simply a growing method. It in no way increases the potency of marijuana or any other plant. Breeding and genetics can increase potency and quality but the growing method itself has no bearing on the potency of the final product.

Authorities also claimed that hydroponic marijuana is responsible for organized crime, home invasions, armed robberies, arsons and homicides.

So, the growing method is the reason for all that? Now I have heard it all. Why not throw child molestation and wife beating in there too? Doing so couldn't possibly make that statement any less believable.

Prohibition is the reason for the majority of crime around any illicit substance. If you support prohibition then you support crime. You support the drug dealers. Refusing to control and regulate the drug market enables all of this crime. If Sheriff Hale wants to talk about gateway theories then prohibition is the gateway to crime.

Sheriff Hale said of the grow operation "It would be impressive if it was a legitimate business.

So, why not legitimize it and collect taxes, build the BirmingDome, pay off the sewer debt and use police resources to go after all those murderers in the Birmingham area? Why not grow it for those suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, MS and a whole host of other painful conditions that marijuana is good medicine for?

Thursday, October 09, 2008


I just got around to watching that. They slaughtered Palin...much to my incredible and gleeful Delight! To me Queen Latifa was the most hysterical thing I have ever seen in my life. She NAILED the role of Gwen Ifill. I bet even a Republican or two laughed. You gotta watch if you haven't already.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Update on Felon Voter Registration

A lot happened on the felon voter registration story while my computer was down so I want to bring everyone up to date.

From the BHAM News

News staff writer

MONTGOMERY - When James Solomon went to register to vote earlier this year, he said he was told he couldn't vote because of a past conviction for cocaine possession.

That was in direct contrast to advice given by the Secretary of State's Office that drug possession is not a crime that strips someone of their voting rights.

"I just wanted to vote. When you got a felony, they treat you like you're nobody," said Solomon, an Enterprise welder and the widowed father of seven.
A statewide computer system for the past 11 months has been noting convictions for more than 400 crimes that Gov. Bob Riley's administration deemed to be felonies of moral turpitude - even though officials with the Administrative Office of Courts said they were assured by Riley's office only a shorter list of 70 felonies developed by the attorney general's office were being checked.

"I know there is confusion. The computer system is flagging people who ought to be able to vote," said Kenneth Glasgow, a former drug offender turned pastor who works to help former felons to register to vote.

The dispute centers on the definition of a crime of "moral turpitude." The state constitution says people convicted of felony crimes of "moral turpitude" cannot vote until they get their rights restored, but it does not define the term.

Alabama Attorney General Troy King in a 2005 opinion named 28 felonies - which add up to about 70 crimes if each of the degrees of the offenses are counted - that have by statute or appellate decision been defined as crimes of moral turpitude.

Riley, serving as court-appointed chief of Alabama elections, in 2007 created a list of more than 400 disbarring felonies and gave it to Election Systems & Software, the company hired to create a voter registration database for the state. Riley's list includes crimes ranging from terrorism and homicide to starting a brush fire and drug possession.

What a mess, eh? For once I come down on the side of Troy King and his original opinion in 2005 listing what crimes should automatically bar a person from voting and what crimes do not. Mark that down because me agreeing with Troy King is unlikely to ever happen again. And Riley should be ashamed of himself for adding drug possession to his list. Why should being in possession of an inanimate substance for personal use bar one from voting? It's like he thinks Republicans don't use drugs....or more likely he knows that Republicans are less likely to get caught and do jail time because they are usually white.

AOC Legal Director Griffin Sikes Jr. said the governor had no legal authority to classify so many crimes as crimes of moral turpitude. Sikes said that, for months, the governor's office had assured the AOC that only the shorter list was being used, but Sikes found out last month those assurances were given "in error."

Riley Communications Director Jeff Emerson said the governor's office was forced to come up with its own list because the AOC initially refused to provide one.

Emerson said that, although the governor's office agreed to let the shorter list be used, it believes its own research is more comprehensive and accurate.

Emerson said that, until last month, crimes on both lists were being flagged by the computer system. Cost was a factor in not swapping the lists, he said.

"We were told to remove the larger list would be very, very expensive," Emerson said.

So, Riley comes up with his own list, which is in direct conflict with the Alabama Office of the Courts list, lies to the AOC by assuring them that they are using the short list and then claims it would be too expensive to use the short list when they get caught using the long list which Riley never had the authority to implement or define in the first place. So, the citizens right to vote is dependent on how much is would cost for the Governor's office to use the proper list. That's a little too reminiscent of a poll tax if you ask me. If Riley's office had used the proper list to begin with then there would be no extra cost incurred. Fear not though because we have the right people in the case.

The disagreement over the felony lists isn't the only one of the state's voting procedures being challenged less than a month shy of the election. One lawsuit also has been filed on the behalf of three former inmates who weren't allowed to register to vote, and another has been filed on behalf of Glasgow's efforts to register inmates to vote absentee. The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law also said last week that it wants to seek records about voter roll purges in Alabama and another dozen states.

I want to really give the credit on moving this very important issue into the media spotlight to Rev. Kenny Glasgow. This is the issue nearest and dearest to his heart and he has done amazing work over the last few years to really bring this issue to light. Kenny is a modern day hero to the disenfranchised voter. Not many people are willing to stand up and fight on behalf of people in prison. Once you go to prison, even if it is for possession of drugs for personal use, the public treats you like a leper and forgets that you exist. When you get out of prison you are treated with the same mentality, stigmatized as an ex-con and marginalized by society. You can't get public housing, public assistance, a decent job or federal aid for a college education to improve your lot in life. If you are one of the people in Alabama who has lived this nightmarish reality then getting to vote is a huge, positive and important thing. It is a small step to reentering society and feeling like you have a voice, that you are overcoming the taxation without representation reality that former prisoners live every day.

Great work Kenny Glasgow!!! If you'd like to know more about Kenny and the work that he does, join his organization, volunteer or make a monetary contribution please visit TOPS today!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Shock Collars Should Be a Standard Part of Every Debate

I, like millions of Americans, just suffered through the second Presidential debate.

My first and strongest thought is that both candidates should have been equipped with the shock collars we use for dogs and Tom Brokaw should have been in control of the zapper button. Whenever the candidate wandered off topic, answered the question they wish they had been asked instead of the one asked or when either of them went over time Tom should have zapped the absolute bejeezus out of them. He should have given McCain a double zap when he smarmed that he wouldn't choose Tom as the new Sec. of the Treasury. Lord what an asshole McCain is.

Second, McCain should never be allowed to use the words 'my friends' again. 80% of what he said was just 'my friends' repeated over and over. John McCain is not my friend and I am not his.


I was able to get my computer issues resolved and am back to the wonderful world of blogdom. I missed out last week during the VP debate and plan to have my thoughts on it here later today. I missed so much and am so behind it is hard to know where to start the catching up. But I'll get it started here shortly.

I want to take a moment and thank everyone who called, emailed and posted their condolences for my brother John, who died on September 25. Although John had been ill for a long time it was still a shock when he passed. It is very hard to lose a sibling.

Monday, October 06, 2008

I'm OK

Just a note to let my readers know that I am fine. Having some technical difficulties with the computer at home and can't find my blogging frame of mind here at the library. Hopefully by the end of today the technical difficulties will be fixed and I will be able to rejoin the world of blogging.

And a REALITY check to any guys out there who are thinking of voting for Sarah Palin because they think she is 'hot'....Guys, you'll never get to fuck her....hell you'll never even get to rub up against her leg! Please don't vote with your weenies.