Sunday, July 31, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Damn you Auto Correct

Oh the trials and tribulations of auto-correct on cell phones. Mine usually inserts the word SEX into my texts.

However, thread at Damn You Auto Correct is not only one of the most hilarious things I have ever makes my cell phone's insertion of the word SEX seem incredibly tame by comparison.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Shouldn't Drug Court be for Drug Users?

Not in Shelby County, Alabama, apparently.

Hardly a week goes by that I don't get an email from some unfortunate person who has had a run-in with the law in Shelby County, and as a result, are being forced into the Shelby County Drug Court program. A few months ago it was the forced drug testing of parents with kids enrolled in the program. Today, it's something even more sinister.

Over the weekend I got an email from a woman in Atlanta about her current ordeal involving Shelby Co. Drug Court. Here is what she had to say;

Ms. Nall I have learned a lot about you in my research. I, too, am fighting a case against the Shelby Co. Drug Court. My case has now been moved to district court. I was arrested at a rock concert after someone passed me a joint, I'm not a smoker, so passed it on. Regardless, I was arrested along with the group around me. And although I haven't failed a drug test in Shelby Co. Pre-trial probation, and my arresting officers report says he saw me pass it, not smoke it, the DA refuses to drop my charges. At first the public defender tried to get me to make a deal. If I would just plead guilty, go through the drug treatment program, they would drop my charge. But I do not feel that I am guilty of anything,but being in the wrong place at the wrong time, so thats when I got a lawyer. In circuit court, they offered me to either go through the treatment program (without dropping charges now, b/c I won't admit guilt)or 2 years unsupervised probation w/risk of 90 days in jail. I refused that as well, and now we are going to district court. I didn't mention, I live out of state, so I cannot tell what a hardship it is for me to drive 4 hours one way to take a drug test 3-4 times a week, b/c they refuse to transfer my probation, which I am sure is b/c they will lose my money. But they are about to lose a lot more than that, cause I am determined to fight for my innocence, and my rights as an American. I have grown-up believing that you are innocent until proven guilty, but not in Shelby Co. Alabama. I have had to do everything to defend my character, now the prosecutors are trying to prove that the music I listen to proves that I am a likely drug user, yet they have no evidence. They didn't find any drugs on me and I haven't failed a drug test. They are charging me with constructive Possession (which means I had knowledge of the drugs around me), which has the same punishment as if they found a pound of marijuana on me. I have done a lot of research on the Shelby Co. drug task force and court system. There budget was cut in half at the beginning of the 2011 fiscal year. There director stated that they would whatever possible to maintain their program. Well, I am the example of that. They will charge anyone for anything, because most people will crumble and take their deal, b/c believe me they make it sound like its your only option. The public defender also tried to sell me on what a good program this was, and if I did good in it, I get promoted more quickly.

I never thought that what others were doing around me would affect me. I don't know anyone who would think to themselves, even though I paid for these seats, maybe I should leave my seat or venue to avoid breaking the law? As far as proof, I took my first drug test 6 days after my arrest, and the fact that on the date of my arrest I was 13 weeks and 6 days pregnant, which I also provided doctor documentation in court. It seems to me that there is no way in hell they are going to simply drop my charges. In the meantime, the judge has dropped the pre-trial probation testing, so I don't have to be back there till my district court date. And the only reason I won't just take the drug court is because they refuse to transfer it. It sounds great to me to jump through hoops for 6 months to get rid of all this. But I live 4 hours away.It is a 9 hour round trip for me to wait an hour, pay $30, and piss in a cup. Not to mention I have made the drive twice to meet with my Pre-trial Prob. officer, for her not to show up, and the other time she had a scheduled holiday, yet she set these appointments, and I got fined for missing the appointments. I own a business. It is a major inconvenience, (which is really all the program is designed to be)for me to leave my business unattended 3-4 days a week. It cost my company money, not just me, and we all know its near to impossible to keep a small business thriving these days. I have also used the business argument. I am a thriving member of society; I have a college education (from the state of Alabama). I have hired 6 employees since the new year. I am providing jobs therefore boosting the economy. The more I see how people are treated in Shelby Co. drug court system and the more I hear their testimony, the more I am convinced that there is something wrong with this. Not once have they ever asked me about my drug use or if I need help. They have never offered me a real treatment program. Its piss when your color is called, and pay $30 for your PO to ask you if you are still employed, have same address, or anymore charges. All they do is break people down by dehumanizing them. You need drugs after dealing with those people. I can go on and on about the people employee in the community corrections department. BTW, they don't take debit/credit cards, cash only. There is fine of $20 if you don't have correct change, nor are you allowed to leave to find some place to make change for you. Learned that the hard way my first visit. Its all about making a dollar by any means.

My husband got transferred back to drug court after circuit court, since our lawyer said he didn't have many alternatives left, which I don't think is true. She advised me to continue fighting since they don't have any evidence, but an officers account, but I am not happy with her results. She originally told us she could get my charge dropped, and my husband would just pay a fine, but obviously that's not the case in Shelby Co., and every week she sends us another bill for $500 and I'm not sure what I am even paying for anymore. Can you recommend a lawyer? Someone that may have a personal interest in fighting for a case involving a simple possession (.03 grams found on the ground in front of us), as well as someone who wants to stick to to Shelby Co. dehumanizing court system.

There are obviously a lot of unconstitutional practices going on in Shelby County. As well as some corrupt officials. And someone finally needs to challenge them. I can send you all information public records, and accounts I have found. I will be glad to share more details about my case as well. I want to get the word out about what is going on in Alabama.

So, a patron from out of state wishing to spend money in Shelby County's economy instead gets arrested on a drug related charge, of which there is NO EVIDENCE, and is forced into drug court even though there again there's NO EVIDENCE that this person uses drugs? How about that? Oh, and the concert she was attending was "Widespread Panic". Seems like every time Widespread Panic comes to that area the cops bring out huge buses and about half the crowd are undercover pricks intent on filling those buses with people who spend money in their town. Brilliant!

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't drug court supposed to be for people who actually use drugs? I disagree with the drug court BS altogether. It is nothing but a money racket that mainly focuses its resources on cannabis consumers (because there are more of us than all other illicit substance users combined and therefore a larger pool of money for them to extort) as opposed to people who have actual drug addictions...say meth addicts for instance. And in this instance the person wasn't using drugs and has passed all drug testing, so there is no evidence of drug use of any kind. So, why is she being forced into drug court?

According to the Shelby Co. Drug Court website Drug Court is an alternative to the traditional court process. In Drug Court, intensive treatment, rather than incarceration, is used as the primary means of coping with drug use, abuse, and addiction. The Program is designed to keep qualified applicants as contributing members of society rather than requiring society to incur the costs of jailing or imprisoning these applicants. Through Drug Court you will receive treatment, specifically designed for you, intended to resolve the issues that brought you before the Court, as well as intensive supervision and interaction by the Court and Drug Court team.

Under those terms this lady does not qualify for drug court because she 1) Doesn't use drugs and therefore is not addicted or abusing drugs 2) She is already a contributing member of society because she is a business owner from out of state 3) Doesn't need treatment (which they don't offer anyway because there is a horrendous lack of treatment space available in Alabama)

By forcing her into this sham they will prevent her from being a contributing member of society by breaking her bank account, placing outrageous hardship on her business and taking money from her that she would likely use to care for her child. They want to make her become dependent on the state so they can turn around and say, "Look how drugs destroy your life....". In other words they make it a self-fulfilling prophecy like they always do.

Another thing that jumps out at me is the bit about being charged an extra $20 for not having correct change and not being allowed to run across the street and get it. I wonder if that is in any of the handbooks or paperwork they give those forced into participating, or if they just spring it on you once you are captive in their court? If I were a betting gal I'd put my money on the latter. Sounds to me like maybe someone in the drug court system has found a way to skim off the top.

As I said before I completely disagree with drug courts altogether. It is nothing but government sanctioned extortion. If you run out of money while in drug court you go to jail anyway. If you make mistakes in drug court you go to jail anyway (and true drug addicts will's part of the process). If you don't have money then you never have the opportunity to participate in drug court and that right there is illegal. It is unequal access based on your bank account. Having said that it seems to me that if drug courts must exist then they should be used to address the most serious cases of addiction. Not cannabis consumers and certainly not business owning concert-goers who weren't using drugs at the time of arrest and for which there is no proof that they have ever used drugs. I think this lady is a target for drug court because Shelby County has decided that she has money and they want it.

I also think she can beat the charges. Generally, once they see that the person who they have targeted for their extortion practices intends to fight back the charges will disappear. I am trying to help her find a better lawyer. Stay tuned for developments. If you are in Shelby Co then write your representative and senator and demand that they put an end to this nonsense. Use this new report from the Drug Policy Alliance on the ineffectiveness of drug courts to make your argument.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Drug addiction is a health issue

by our readers Anniston Star

Jul 10, 2011

Re “Drug task force to begin operations in Clay County” (News article, June 30):

I read this article with dismay. Will law enforcement and the public never learn that our approach to drug use has failed and will continue to fail so long as we insist on treating drug use as a criminal act instead of a health issue?

The “drug war” started more than 40 years ago under Richard Nixon, and in that 40 years more than $1 trillion has been wasted. And for what? Has drug use dropped or ceased altogether? No. Has arresting and incarcerating adults for minor drug offenses stopped others from using drugs? No. Has the drug war made acquiring drugs difficult? No. Has the drug war stopped drugs from coming into or being produced in this country? No. Has the drug war increased the price or decreased the purity of drugs available? No. Has it kept drugs out of the hands of children? Certainly not.

It has created the horrific prison overcrowding we see in Alabama. In our prison system, which was built to hold about 12,000 people, we are running at 195 percent capacity with nearly 30,000 inmates. The state Legislature refused to address this issue in this last session, so now the federal government is coming in to take it over. It has created a police state where everyone is a potential suspect. It has created no-knock, SWAT team raids on the suspicion that someone might have a couple joints in their home. These raids place everyone involved, police, suspects, kids and family pets in extreme danger.

People who are addicted to a substance need no additional help in further complicating their lives. Addiction is a private family matter and should be treated as such. Imagine if we had alcohol task forces who went around kicking in doors, throwing grenades, and imprisoning everyone who liked to occasionally drink a beer?

Enough already.

Loretta Nall
Alexander City

Read more: Anniston Star - Drug addiction is a health issue

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Goat Electric

Check out this new blog Goat Electric

Interesting connection between Chrissie Hynde song "Back on the Chain Gang" and the News of the World scandal.

Also hilarious online vote to make Georgia tags look like a horses butt.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Back from Lu-Z-Anner

(NOTE:) I started this post about two weeks ago and only just now had time to finish it up

I've just returned from a short trip with my friend Christie to New Orleans where we attended the Southeastern Republican Leadership Conference and voted in the Straw Poll (GO RON PAUL GO!!)

Well, actually, the only reason we went was to vote in the Straw Poll for Ron Paul...because, really...who wants to hang out with a bunch of anti-fun, pro-war, anti-choice, anti-equal rights, bible-thumping, asshole Republicans who do stuff like this for shits and giggles? Not I. And especially not in New Orleans...the party capitol of the South. I keep thinking since most Republicans are against all of the extravagant debauchery that is New Orleans...why did they choose that city for the conference? And the answer is....drum roll...........they are just like everyone else only they lie about it. I saw a number of them on Bourbon Street that weren't wearing red badges (the colored badges of Ron Paul supporters). They want to control what the rest of the country does but not adhere to the same laws and principles.

Now, I've been to New Orleans twice before and both times it was in the winter and the temp was comfortable. This time it was summer and there is only one word to describe the hot jello like heat in the middle of June in New Orleans Louisiana....HELL. I really don't see that hell could be much hotter. It was fucking MISERABLE. I fully understand why NOLA has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the country year after year.

The heat.

If I had to live there I'd kill everybody. I only thought it was hot in Alabama. Let me tell ye...we ain't got jack on New Orleans. Or Mississippi for that matter. I'll get to Mississippi in a minute. No wonder monster storms that spawn F5 tornadoes always come out of Mississippi. GAWD!

Anyway, on the trip down I drove and we took I-10 through Mobile. Just outside of Mobile we hit a monster storm with wicked lightning and hail the size of marbles. I flinched every time one hit the windshield. Many people pulled off the interstate onto the shoulder....which is a totally dumbass thing to do. If someone hydroplanes then those people on the side of the road are going to get smashed. I simply slowed down to about 15 mph and turned the flashers on. I hate driving in rain like that as much as the next person, but if I am on the interstate then I will find an exit to stop at...unless it's on 59 in Mississippi, in which case there are no exits.

Once we got to New Orleans and got checked into the hotel (Never, ever, ever stay at the Hilton Riverside...they want $8 an hour for internet access in your room, and they charge $34 for overnight parking after they have charged you over $200 for the room) we took a little while to cool off and collect ourselves. Then we went out on the town. And yes I did take my 14 year old daughter down Bourbon Street. We stopped to eat on the Riverwalk next to the hotel. The service sucked. There was hardly anyone there and yet it took forever to get our food, which wasn't very good. However the tubs-o-liquor they were selling were tasty indeed. Christie and I both got the 32 oz pina colada. The waiter tried to sell us the 70 oz barrel version for $20 each with a promise to refill it for $10 the next day. He even tried to sell Bell an alcoholic beverage after she asked for root beer. Didn't ask for ID. And wouldn't have. We declined. I'm not much of a drinker, myself. However the frozen 32 oz pina colada hit the spot. I would'a dove in that sucker if the cup had been large enough.

After that we walked a few blocks to Bourbon Street to check out the many sights and sounds. Thank whatever deity you believe in for the overpriced gift shops that line Bourbon Street. They blast out the air conditioning to lure people in. I don't understand how, even with the horribly overpriced merchandise, they can afford what has to be a massive power bill. But goodness it feels soooooo good. We would have had three medical emergencies on our hands had it not been for the air conditioning. It was that hot. I don't understand how people live there. We were so drenched and exhausted by the end that we took a cab the few blocks back to the hotel.

The next morning we met up with a gentleman who directed us upstairs to register with the Ron Paul folks and vote in the Straw Poll. Unfortunately we missed all of the festivities with Dr. Paul the day before because we arrived late. I have had the opportunity to meet him before on a trip to DC. He is incredible.

While waiting in line to vote in the straw poll Christie, Bell and I were given tri-fold brochures promoting the sponsors of the event. Most of them were innocuous enough, selling media services, campaign websites and consulting ect....but one really jumped out at me...the gay bashing ad which stated, "Two dads can never replace a mom." Now, there are loads of gay people in the Republican party (don't ask me why). The former chair of the RNC came out as gay recently. Then there is Mark Foley, Larry Craig and God only knows how many other in the closet members of the Republican party. And yet one of the main sponsors was anti-family because they would rather a kid grow up in an orphanage, be passed around from place to place, be abused by religious whackos and thrown away than to allow two people, who happen to be the same sex to raise a child in a loving, caring home. Jeez I hate Republicans. They are such hate-filled ass wipes, hypocrites and control freaks. Not that Democrats are much better. But at least there is more acceptance and less hate with the D's.

I threw my brochure away. And then washed my hands...with lots of soap and hot water. I say as long as you are a consenting adult and you aren't hurting anyone else then what you do is your damn business and the government has no right to control it or interfere in it in any way.

After we voted in the straw poll we loaded up and headed back to Bama. We decided to come back on 59 through Mississippi since we were staying with Christie for the night just outside Tuscaloosa.

I-59 through Mississippi is the most desolate place on the face of the earth. I thought 65 South between Montgomery and Mobile was desolate and devoid of human life. Let me tell you.... 59 in Mississippi makes it look like a burgeoning metropolis.

Once you cross the state line into Mississippi there is like absolutely NOTHING. No exits, no gas stations, no rest areas with bathrooms, no humans, no nothing. Not even any road kill.It was creepy. I kept wondering how in the hell people get around Mississippi and where in the hell they lived and how one would get there and why there was even an interstate? I mean you'd ride 90 miles in between exits (all 2 of them) and occasionally in the middle of that 90 miles you'd see a neighborhood off to one side of the interstate or the other....but absolutely no way to get there, save driving down a damn embankment. I'm still wondering how one would get to those homes from the interstate. And if you broke down there would be no way for a wrecker to get to you without coming from 100 miles away in either direction. You'd be absolutely screwed...and baked to death by the brutal sun long before anyone got to you. It's like driving through the damn twilight zone.

And the ride itself was terrifying. Now, I love my friend Christie to death....but her driving scares me to death. I drove us out of NOLA and she said since I drove down she would drive back. This was the first time I had ever ridden with her. And on any future road tripping I will volunteer to do all driving. To be fair everyone's driving scares the hell out of me. I'm an incredibly careful driver. I've had one accident (which was caused by a hellacious thunderstorm). Since then I have not be comfortable riding with anyone. If I am in a vehicle I want to be behind the damn wheel. End of story. But I was tired and decided to be a passenger for the ride back.

No sooner had Christie taken the wheel than she began to fiddle with the cd player, the stuff in the floor, her drink etc. While talking to me she ran off the side of the interstate and hit those ridges meant to wake up sleeping drivers. I dove for cover. A few minutes later she did the same thing on the other side. I dove again. Then I told her if she did it again I was driving. And she did it again. Problem was there was absolutely no where to pull over and give me the wheel. We didn't switch places until we crossed back into Alabama. It was the most terrifying ride of my life. And it all happened at the light speed of 80 miles an hour. It's funny....the other day she sent me a text message saying she was on her way to the Dr. and that her mom was driving and that she was scared to death because of it. I wrote back that if her mom scared her then I couldn't imagine how bad her driving was :) It must be genetic.

So, here is my advice to anyone traveling to NOLA and back through Mississippi on 59. Go in the winter. The summer heat will nearly suffocate you. Get your windows tinted to keep from being baked alive in your automobile. Fill up the tank of your vehicle before setting out across 59....otherwise you will be stranded and dead long before anyone gets to you. Have a good spare tire and know how to change it. Take food and water and an empty jug to pee in cause your ass ain't stopping on 59 to pee or get gas or food or anything else for that matter. There isn't even any roadkill to bbq in case of an emergency.

Despite all my snarkiness in this post we actually had a lot of fun. It was great to get out of the house for a few days and see the sights and sound of New Orleans. The ride down was beautiful. Many thanks to Christie for inviting us along on her dime. She is generous to a fault and one of the best friends I have ever had.