Sunday, April 30, 2006
COMMENTARY: JOHN KELSO
The Texas prison system has some of the meanest, hardest criminals on the planet.
And the convicts are pretty bad, too.
It's often been said that there's a thin line between law enforcement and criminals. But at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the line has gotten so thin you could read the newspaper through it.
Look, 148 TDCJ employees were arrested during the first two months of this year. If that pace keeps up, 888 TDCJ workers will be busted this year, which would break the old 2003 TDCJ record of 783 by 105 arrests.
See, the problem in Texas is that our prison system is a major industry. We've got so many darned lockups that it takes 38,600 workers just to keep these joints up and running. And who at high school career day raises his hand when the guidance counselor asks, "Hey, y'all, who in here wants to work at a place where the men bang their dinnerware with a large spoon?"
Hey, it ain't the class valedictorian.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Associated Press Writer
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Roy Moore's unsuccessful fight to display the Ten Commandments and keep his job as Alabama's chief justice made him a national hero to religious conservatives in 2003.
But Moore isn't getting treated like a hero in his return to politics in Alabama in 2006.
He trails Gov. Bob Riley by a 2-to-1 margin in the polls and an even wider margin in fundraising as they head toward the Republican primary for governor on June 6.
On the Democratic side, former Gov. Don Siegelman and Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley are running even in the polls despite the legal troubles of Siegelman, who goes on trial Monday on racketeering charges accusing him of swapping political favors for gifts and campaign donations.
"There's nothing like Alabama politics," said Ferrel Guillory, an expert in Southern politics at the University of North Carolina.
"In the Republican primary, you've got this contentious, polarizing figure, Roy Moore, who has made Riley look better in comparison. And in the Democratic primary, you've got a former governor, who on the eve of being put on trial, is in contention," Guillory said.
Moore became a national figure when, shortly after becoming Alabama's chief justice in 2001, he had a granite monument of the Ten Commandments installed in the state judicial building.
In 2003, a federal judge ordered him to remove the monument. Moore refused, and a state judicial court kicked him out of office.
Riley, who narrowly defeated Siegelman in 2002, supported Moore until he refused to obey the federal court order. Political experts and pollsters said Riley wasn't the only one who thought Moore went too far.
"He stepped on - if not over - one of those imperceptible lines in American life," Guillory said.
The Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C., and a good friend of Moore's, said he believes Moore's support is stronger than the polls indicate.
"He seems to have strong grass-roots support that doesn't poll strongly," he said.
Mahoney said Moore's character also impacts how well he campaigns. For instance, in February, Mahoney and several other religious leaders toured nine rural Alabama Baptist churches burned by arsonists, but Moore declined an invitation to join them - even though Riley and other candidates for public offices had already visited the churches.
"Chief Justice Moore said he did not want to be viewed as taking advantage of the tragedy of the church burnings and make it look like a photo opportunity," Mahoney said. "His character is sometimes at odds with what's involved in a campaign."
Moore has criticized Riley for taking campaign donations from political action committees supported by businessmen who received $50 million in state industrial incentives. Moore says it's a sign of how Riley has become part of what's wrong with Montgomery politics.
"Your government is not controlled by the people. It is controlled by special interest lobbyists," Moore said.
Despite that criticism, the primary contest between Moore and Riley has not turned into a classic battle between the GOP's religious right and business factions, as some had predicted a year ago. Riley has been able to hang on to the business support he enjoyed in 2002, and, as a governor who holds weekly Bible studies with his staff, has been able to garner support among religious conservatives.
"Roy Moore is not catching on. He's still viewed as a one-note song," said Jess Brown, a political scientist at Athens State University.
Riley also has been helped by a strong upturn in the state's economy - unemployment dropped to a record low of 3.3 percent in March.
"That's going to help the incumbent," said Charles Bullock, a political scientist at the University of Georgia who studies Southern politics.
Moore has criticized Riley's 2003 proposal for a $1.2 billion tax hike, which voters rejected 2-1. But with the economy on a roll and state revenues up significantly, Riley is now campaigning as a tax-cutter: He worked with the Legislature this spring to cut the state income tax on the working poor and end Alabama's dubious distinction of being the only state where a family of four earning less than $10,000 had to pay an income tax.
On the Democratic side, Siegelman has spent many days in court hearings and has campaigned at night. He tells audiences that an investigation begun by a Republican-appointed U.S. attorney whose husband helped in Riley's 2002 campaign is designed to ruin his comeback.
"This case is not about a conviction. This is about the 2006 governor's race," he says at each campaign stop.
Federal prosecutors say there's no politics involved, but political experts say some voters, particularly black voters who have long supported Siegelman, share his suspicions.
"They are going to come out and vote for him heavily," said Larry Powell, a longtime pollster and communication studies professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Joe Reed, chairman of the black wing of the Alabama Democratic Party, has urged black voters to be cautious about supporting Siegelman.
"I'm a political realist. If you are governor and don't have these problems and you can't keep the office, how are you going to take it back with all these problems? I hope he's found innocent, but he can't win it," Reed said.
Baxley, Alabama's first female lieutenant governor, has relied on a catchy "I Love Lucy" campaign slogan, but has not put out a full-fledged campaign platform.
"The strategy she's put forward - that the path to be governor is to have a generalized message of milk toast - is a strategy she may regret," Brown said.
Baxley complains that she's been overlooked by news media focused on Siegelman's legal problems and Riley's recent performance in the Legislature.
"Whatever time was available to cover the governor's race has been filled by the governor and former governor," she said.
Siegelman, who is standing trial with two former Cabinet members and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, is optimistic his trial will end before the primary. The judge has told jurors to prepare for up to six weeks, which means a verdict would come after the primary.
A guilty verdict before the primary would end Siegelman's campaign. An acquittal would boost his chances in the eyes of political experts.
"Everything depends on what happens in that courtroom," Guillory said.
The winners of the primary elections will advance to the general election Nov. 7, where they will be joined by the Libertarian Party's nominee, U.S. Marijuana Party founder Loretta Nall, provided she finishes collecting enough signatures to get on the ballot.
If I do get on the ballot this election will wind up being a real horse race. A bigger one than even the seasoned political junkies have imagined thus far. Here's why;
If Riley gets the Republican nomination (and it's looking that way)then that leaves me as the only fiscal conservative in this race that the supporters he angered with his "Cause Jesus told me to" tax increase proposal, could vote for.
Between Baxley and Siegelman...wow...is this really the very best that the Democratic party can do? No wonder they keep getting their asses kicked every election. They need new leadership.
Whoever told Lucy that refusing to take a stand on anything was a great way to win this race should be FIRED IMMEDIATELY. Geezus!
Don Siegelman proved today that he is still a crook and apparently has no original ideas of his own when he added my bio-diesel plank to his platform...right down to how it could help the impoverished Black Belt of Alabama. Guess he must have watched my speech to the VFW. Hope he liked what he saw.
My feeling is that Lucy will get the Democratic nomination because of Don's legal troubles. Without the legal troubles I think Don would run away with the Democratic nomination. That being her sole reason for securing the nomination leaves her weak and injured.
Ultimately, assuming I do get ballot access, this race will come down to one between Gov. Bob Riley and yours truly.
Print, fill out and mail this ballot access petition to the address listed on the petition. Help me make this an Alabama election to remember.
Friday, April 28, 2006
MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) -- Mexico's Congress on Friday approved a bill decriminalizing possession of small quantities of marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and even heroin for personal use, prompting U.S. criticism that the measure could harm anti-drug efforts.
The only step remaining was the signature of President Vicente Fox, whose office indicated he would sign the bill, which Mexican officials hope will allow police to focus on large-scale trafficking operations rather than minor drug busts.
By Ellen Burke
The University of Alabama Crimson White, AL
April 28, 2006
Police raided two UA fraternity houses and arrested four students Tuesday night after police said the students sold marijuana to undercover officers over a one-week period from inside the houses.
Andrew Bowman, Dewey Belcher, Tyler Stapp and Bryan Traywick were each charged with counts of unlawful distribution of marijuana, said Capt. Jeff Snyder of the Tuscaloosa police, leader of the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force. Snyder didn't say how much marijuana was seized. There were no trafficking charges, indicating that the amount was less than 2.2 pounds.
Their charges are also enhanced because the distribution took place near the University. Under Alabama law, five years of prison time can be added to the two-to-20 year penalty for unlawful distribution.
In addition to one count of selling near a school, Traywick was also charged with possession of marijuana in the first degree. Bowman, Belcher and Stapp were each charged with two counts of selling near a school, and Bowman also with possession of marijuana in the second degree.
Belcher is a sophomore majoring in general business administration and Stapp is a junior majoring in operations management and marketing, according to their Facebook.com profiles.
Battle Creek Enquirer, MI
Seized during a drug raid, a big-screen television will be used for anti-drug messages for children.
Battle Creek police officers delivered the television Thursday to the Second Baptist Church at 485 N. Washington Ave.
Cmdr. Jackie Hampton said the 54-inch, one-year-old set was seized by the department's Special Investigations Unit, an undercover drug unit, and forfeited to the department.
It is being loaned to Second's New Vision, a nonprofit agency organized within the church for youth programs and outreach.
The Rev. William Wyne said the set will be used to show youth anti-drug messages.
"They took it from the bad guys and gave it to the good guys," Wyne said. "I think this is a marvelous idea about how the faith-based community can reap benefits. It will be a great tool for community education."
WSFA TV Montgomery, Alabama
provides video of Governor Riley donning a bullet-proof vest, busting a fat black guy, and actually playing with the seized drugs.
Officers got some high level help on Thursday at another drug raid in Etowah County, as Governor Bob Riley joined them at one stop.
Riley said he wanted to get a first-hand look at the effects of crack and meth on Alabama communities.
"The only way you are going to be able to stop it is to do things like this. You've got to have some sort of intervention program. You've got to get out in the schools, and you've got to make sure these kids aren't subjected to that type of lifestyle," said Riley.
Drug officers served more than a hundred grand jury indictments on Thursday.
Although the drug laws are worse than any medieval superstitions or practices, they are not being repealed or even altered substantially. Attempts to do so run up against well-organized and well-financed campaigns that reinforce the public’s inclination to fear the ravages of drugs and enforce collective action against drugs.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Nall on Air America Radio Friday, Apr. 28
Just got a call from 1360 KLSD in San Deigo, CA asking me to be a guest on the Stasy Taylor show tomorrow morning at 10 am CST.
This is an Air America show.
You can listen live.
Pass it on
A couple who taught in local schools has been given diversion and a suspended sentence on charges of growing marijuana in the attic of their home.
Robert E. Clark was granted diversion. His wife, Linda S. Clark, was given a suspended sentence.
Attorney Jerry Summers said Robert Clark was "a beloved teacher" who had a number of letters written in his behalf, as did Ms. Clark.
Judge Don Poole said he was impressed by the support for the couple, who have moved out of the area.
Mr. Clark was fired at St. Nicholas School after his arrest. He had been there 18 years as the music teacher.
Ms. Clark was a gifted teacher in the Hamilton County Schools from 1989 until her retirement in 2003.
A presentence report said Ms. Clark suffers from painful arthritis. It did not give a reason why Mr. Clark used marijuana.
Officers said they went to the residence at 2430 Royal Fern Dr. on March 14, 2005, after finding out that the couple had ordered supplies for growing marijuana on the Internet through a "High Times" website.
An officer said the couple acted very nervous and Mr. Clark eventually began crying and led the officers to an elaborate lab in the attic.
Officers found 16 marijuana plants in one area and 17 in another along with a number of lamps, heaters and water pumps.
The couple was charged with manufacturing marijuana, possession of marijuana for resale, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The charges against Mr. Clark will be expunged if he gets in no further trouble. Ms. Clark was not eligible for diversion because of a DUI 20 years ago.
They were each fined $3,000 - to be paid each at $100 per month.
MOSCOW. April 27 (Interfax) - Attempts by supporters of the legalization of marijuana to hold a march in Moscow in early May are a provocative act, head of the Federal Drug Control service's interdepartmental affairs and information department Lt. Gen. Alexander Mikhailov told Interfax on Thursday.
"Russia is growing hemp for economic needs. The produce is limited to economic needs and everything else is the work of the devil. Legalizing the plant as a narcotic drug is out of the question. The issue should not even be discussed," Mikhailov said.
Supporters of the legalization of marijuana have asked the Moscow administration for authorization to hold a march in early May. Similar requests were made in previous years, but all of them were turned down.
How ironic that the demise of the atheist Soviet Union has freed the Russian drug warriors to frame the war on pot as a religious crusade.
Philadelphia Daily News, PA
Cupcakes apparently would not have been sweet enough.
Rather than bring in baked goodies yesterday to celebrate his birthday, a Southwest Philadelphia pre-kindergarten pupil brought in a bag of marijuana, police said.
The 5-year-old stunned his teacher at Harrity Elementary School on Christian Street near 56th when he displayed a sandwich bag stuffed with marijuana.
"Thankfully, that teacher acted quickly, confiscated the controlled substance and isolated the kids from it," said Fernando Gallard, a spokesman for the school district.
The student's mother, identified by sources as Sarina Gillis, arrived at school about 1:30 p.m., ready to celebrate her son's big day.
Gillis apparently was unaware that her son had brought drugs to school. And, when searched by police, a marijuana cigarette was found in her possession, police said.
Cops planned to charge Gillis with possessing narcotics and endangering the welfare of a child, police said.
Meanwhile, her son was taken to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for evaluation.
Certainly this was irresponsible behavior on the part of the parent but, still, the level of hysteria is amazing. "Thankfully, that teacher acted quickly, confiscated the controlled substance and isolated the kids from it". How could a bag of pot possibly harm 5-year-olds? They don't know how to smoke it. It's not orally active unless cooked. It's non-toxic. Almost any object in the classroom (pencils, paper, clothing) is potentially more harmful than a bag of weed. So why act like it's plutonium?
One man is in jail after police said he got drunk, heisted a car... and, perhaps unintentionally, abducted a pot bellied pig.
Wheeling police recovered the stolen car with the "Lily" the pig still inside early Wednesday morning.
Lily was not harmed.
William Ward is now in the Northern Regional Jail charged with DUI and receiving stolen property.
Lily's owner said she left her car unlocked with the windows cracked while she had lunch at the Buffalo Wild Wings in St. Clairsville on Tuesday.
When she returned, both her car and her pig were gone.
An Anniston middle school teacher was arrested on drug charges following a raid.
Calhoun County Sheriff's deputies say 26-year-old Sharrissa Cook of Jacksonville was charged with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.
Cook was arrested Friday during a raid at the Jacksonville apartment where the teacher lived.
Six others were also arrested.
Officers confiscated two bags of powder cocaine, one bag of crack cocaine and about 30 prescription pills.
Deputies also found three guns, including one which was reported stolen.
Cook is a first-year teacher at the school and has been put on paid administrative leave while the matter is investigated.
Shreveport Times, LA
LOGANSPORT -- A DeSoto Parish sheriff's deputy accidentally discharged his weapon Tuesday while assisting Tri-Parish Drug Task Force members with the arrest of a drug suspect, Chief Deputy Pat Cobbs said.
The deputy, whom Cobbs would not name until the investigation is complete, received a scratch to his arm and tear in his shirt but otherwise was not injured, nor was anyone else inside the residence in the 200 block of Park Street.
Task force agents and sheriff's deputies were armed with a warrant when they forced their way into the residence from which drugs were suspected of being sold. The gun was fired as the deputy attempted to regain his footing after his shirtsleeve caught on a hook on the door, Cobbs said.
"He was loosing the grip on his gun as he tried to regain his footing. The shot went down into a mattress. It was a downward shot. No one else was in the room," Cobbs said.
Glasgow Daily Record, UK
SCOTLAND'S street cops yesterday called for drugs to be legalised.
The Scottish Police Federation said officers were losing the war on dealers and a different approach was needed.
They believed a regulated drugs industry would take the power from criminals attracted by huge profits.
The issue was debated at the federation's annual conference in Peebles.
Inspector Jim Duffy, of Strathclyde Police, said: "We are not winning this war and not coming close to winning.
"I do not want this to be seen as a surrender or withdrawal. What we are seeking is new weapons and tactics. The status quo isn't an option."
Miami Herald, FL
BY JOSHUA GOODMAN
The bilateral trade deal would be Washington's biggest in the Western Hemisphere since the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994. The agreement's text has yet to be made public, though it was signed in February, and must be approved by each country's legislature before it takes effect next year.
Colombia's 28,000 rice growers -- as well as corn, cereal and poultry farmers -- say the trade pact threatens to put them out of business for good.
That's because, like farmers everywhere, many struggle to eke out an existence while their U.S. counterparts receive large government subsidies.
George Jurgensen is state chairman of the Libertarian Party of Delaware.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Balko includes links to an audio recording of the torture and a transcript of the tape. I don't have the stomach to listen to this but there it is if you want to hear it.
Here is a picture of Siler and his wife.
Remember, kids, violence in the service of the state is honorable and glorious.
Nall & Libertarians Launch Ballot Access Drive
I, in conjunction with the Libertarian Party of Alabama, have launched a major ballot access drive via the internet. As your candidate for Governor of this state I am asking that each of you print out the ballot access form on this page and fax it to us at the LPHQ in Birmingham.
If you have sent me your signatures in the past please do so again via this method.
Instructions are included at the linked ballot access petition below.
If you are a supporter of my campaign and have a website or friends with websites in Alabama please ask them to post this and get their friends, co-workers and family members to sign it.
We have until June 6, 2006 to collect the 41,000 + signatures needed to get my name on the ballot for November. Time is critical.
Alabama's politicians have kept Loretta Nall off the ballot.
YOU CAN PUT HER ON THE BALLOT.
All you have to do is print out and sign this Petition
Then fax or mail it to the Libertarian Party -- we will take it from there.
Download & Fax this Petition
Alabama's politicians think that they have crafted election laws
to keep any third parties off the ballot and to silence any competing
voices. That is one of the reasons our political process is in such bad shape. Without competition new growth and progress are stifled.
YOU CAN SAY NO TO THEM.
Alabama's ballot access requirements are the most restrictive in
the country. Access to the ballot depends on whether or not you are a member of one of the two major parties . If you are, you get on it. If not, you only get on the ballot if you first collect 41,300 signatures - an amount equal to three percent of the voters in the last election. Oh, and you only get to be a party if your group received at least twenty percent of the votes in the last election.
So you don't get to be a party without the votes, but you don't get the votes unless you get on the ballot and you don't get on the ballot without the signatures.
The result? You and I only get to vote for state-sanctioned candidates. You may disagree with my positions but surely everyone should have the right to voice their opinion at the ballot box. Even if you dislike me with a passion your elected officials are denying you the right to even vote against me.
Ballot restrictors will respond that too many candidates' makes for a confusing ballot and an inefficient election process. Maybe so, but are Alabamians so dumb that they cannot figure out the ballot? Do we really need that much handholding from the state? And - to borrow an overused phrase - should concerns about bureaucratic inefficiency trump the citizen's right to deliver an 'up or down vote' on a candidate?
YOU CAN TELL THEM THEY ARE NOT SAFE.
Are you concerned about the unbridled growth and influence of
the government in Montgomery? Do you think marijuana laws are
absurd? Do you want to send a message to the politicians in
Montgomery that change is coming?
YOU DO HAVE A VOICE.
And this is it. We have until June 6 to gather the required signatures.
Time is of the essence. If you can get more signatures -- your roommate,
a co-worker, a neighbor -- you can make a difference. If you
run a web site or have a blog, link to this page. But most of all
if YOU want to strike a blow for freedom, send to us your ballot
MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR FREEDOM.
Download & Fax this Petition
Libertarian Party of Alabama
2330 Highland Ave
Birmingham AL 35205
Nall for Governor Website
Gary Post Tribune, IN
Students were already irritated by a plan to put campus police officers on student escort vans, which they say could lead drunken students to get behind a wheel instead of taking the sober ride.
Now, fraternities are organizing after Sigma Pi members said police entered their house with guns drawn early Saturday morning, telling the people inside they had seen drug use through the window.
Sigma Pi member Matt Arvin said he heard someone knocking at the door of his fraternity house Saturday morning.
When he answered, he said, he saw an officer.
“He had his gun already drawn,” Arvin said.
Arvin said he put his hands in the air and got down on his knees, following the officer’s commands.
But he said he wasn’t down far enough for the officer.
“He kicked me in the back to throw me down on the ground,” Arvin said.
Police searched the house, members said, but found nothing and made no arrests.
The Daily Campus
University of Connecticut
(UPI Top Stories Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)A cargo plane carrying U.S. drug enforcement officials overran the airstrip of an airport in southern Afghanistan, killing at least four people and injuring 13.
The crash occurred Monday as the landing plane veered to avoid a truck on the runway and slid headlong into a nearby nomad settlement of mud houses and tents, Sabawoon Online reported. Two children on the ground were killed, as well as two persons aboard the plane
A U.S. official said the two dead on the leased Russian-made plane were Ukrainian flight crew members.
The accident happened at the Bost airport in Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province, about 325 miles southwest of Kabul.
At least 13 others were injured, including 11 U.S. citizens on the plane.
A Canadian military spokesman said the plane, leased by the U.S. State Department, was carrying a team from the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. The bureau has been helping Afghan authorities conduct large-scale opium eradication campaigns across southern Afghanistan.
Monday, April 24, 2006
A Run-In With the Law
My laptop went berzerk and being without it is kind of like having no arms and only half a brain. Impossible to get my work done and in the middle of an election campaign there are tons of work to do, as you might imagine.
So I called a friend of mine in Birmingham to see if he had time to look at it and work out the bug for me.
"Sure, bring it by and I'll see what I can do."
So I meet up with this friend and another mutual friend in Hoover, which is an upscale suburb of Birmingham. It took a while to work out the bugs in the computer and we all decided to go and get something to eat.
As we were coming back from our two block trip to Taco Bell a cop pulled up behind us. My computer friend was driving and he said, "That cop is going to pull us over because the tag on this car is expired."
During the course of the unfolding events I also learned that the tag was
1). Being held in place by Duct Tape
2). Was not the tag that belonged on that car....a switch tag in other words.
The whole car situation deserves an explanation in and of itself. My friend, who works on computers, also buys abandoned vehicles at auctions. This particular car that we were riding in had recently been purchased from the City of Birmingham at an auction. He had sold it to someone else. He was driving it because he was making repairs to it for the new owner.
This having been a recent transaction the new owner had not yet gone through the somewhat long and complicated process of claiming the title to the abandoned vehicle, which is what this vehicle was and how it was sold.
The new owner had also not placed a bill of sale in the glovebox or anywhere else for that matter.
"Yep...he's typing into his computer...I am going to go ahead and pull over in this parking lot."
So, my friend proceeds to pull over.
The cop follows us into the parking lot...lights a'blazin' and proceeds up to the driver side window. Cops in Hoover drive large, masculine, SUV's to intimidate citizens with. Chevy Tahoes I believe they were.
"License, insurance and registration please."
My friend begins to try and explain the complicated story of the car while handing the cop his license and insurance. The cop wants to see the registration and the bill of sale. As I stated earlier, those items were not in the car. My friend asks if he can call the new owner and have him verify this information. The new owner is a very well known businessman in that area. The cop says, "No, he isn't here so it won't matter."
"Well, what if I can get him to meet us here with the registration and bill of sale?"
"No. You don't have it in the car with you. Nothing else matters."
Boy, it makes me ill when they treat us like that.
The cop retreats to his macho-machine. A few seconds later my friend who is riding in the back with me, due to the other guys dog being along on this trip, says, "Here comes another one." And sure enough another SUV with lights'a'blazin came rolling up.
Are two sets of lights really necessary on a routine traffic stop? I mean really???? I felt like I was about to have an epileptic seizure with all of that flashing.
And there came yet another one. Three sets of lights. Three cops. Three SUV's. One expired tag.
One of the new cops walks up to my window and says, "I need to see your ID."
Now, this is not my car and, what I did next I should not have done for a large number of extremely important reasons, some of which I will not elaborate about on this blog. But, one reason is that I am still under court restrictions until my case is resolved. At any time until then the police can search me, drug test me, come into my home and so forth. That juicy little factoid was the furtherest thing from my mind though at that exact second. I had gone into full activist mode as soon as the cops had pulled us over, you see. It is second nature to me now.
"I am a passenger and I do not have to show you my ID."
"Show me your ID I need to know who I am dealing with Ms."
The driver of the car was having a difficult time trying not to throw up in his own lap due to this incident making him nervous and he said,
"God, Loretta please just give him your license!!!"
So, I complied...reluctantly...and only because my friend asked me to. The other guy in back with me dug his ID out as well and we handed them out the window.
About that time it finally dawned on me what I had just done and just exactly WHAT the situation was....if you know what I mean. I began to think about the people I might possibly be able to call and so forth. 'My lawyer, a close friend with serious connections....oh geez let me have those numbers programmed into this new phone...I bet I don't...........Damn jail is gonna suck....Will I be able to turn the press to my advantage on this one?' ad infinitum...........you get the idea.
With me being under court sanction I figured when the cops ran my license I would next be asked to exit the vehicle and assume the search stance. No reason for them not to search me at all and plenty of reason for them to use the full force of their power. A very bad situation.
We sit and chat quietly for a few minutes, gauging the full reality of the situation, making sure we understand the totality of what is occuring and what might be about to occur.
After about 10 excruciating minutes of imagining just how bad this could be one of the cops radio's begins to crackle with an update from dispatch. The first transmission was indecipherable. The second however, came through loud and clear.
"Loretta Nall. She's the Libertarian Party Candidate for Governor."
I look up at my friends, who are looking at me, and I ask, "Did you hear that?"
They nod their heads kinda slowly and start to grin a little.
'Dare I hope?'
The cops, all three of them, each with an SUV macho-machine, are still huddled around looking sort of perplexed by this new information. They keep looking at the car and then back at each other and conversing then looking back at the car.
I imagine it was difficult to accept that the lady sitting in the back of that beater Honda with an expired/switched tag, currently being held in place by Duct Tape, was the Libertarian Party candidate for Governor. I understand their dismay....Really, I do.
After a few minutes the cop who took our ID's comes back to my window and looks in at my friend and says, "You came back with a warrant for a DUI in Georgia."
"No. I'm sorry that isn't possible. It happened over ten years and $2500 ago."
"Well it has not been cleared up in their computer system. But...uh...we're not gonna arrest you on it today because..uh..we don't have the manpower."
Hell, it looked to me like they had all the man power they needed, what with three cops in attendance and a vehicle for each of us. What they lacked in man power they could certainly have made up for in guns, billy clubs, flashlights, flash-bang grenades and all of those other oober-cool toys of oppression that cops seem to possess by the bushel these days. And I know for a fact that they did not even entertain the thought of being out-manned by the three of us.
Heheeheeheehee....Don't have the manpower....heeheeeheeheehee.
The cop hands me back my license and does not say a word to me. Not one peep.
My friend who was driving received two tickets but was told if he brought all of the necessary paperwork to court that everything would be just fine.
I never considered that the dispatcher at the Hoover Police Department, or any dispatch at any other police department, would know anything about my run for Governor. My press in that area of Alabama has been extremely limited since my original conviction and only one AP article from last October was carried in that area.
It stands to reason then that my run for Governor is somehow part of my file in the National Police Database. Is that normal? For police to keep stuff like that on file?
I know I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth....but man it does make me curious.
I also never thought that being a candidate for Governor would earn me any special favors from the police. Quite the opposite actually. I had thought that if such a situation ever arose that the cops would rack me hard, considering that if I am elected many of them will be looking for new jobs and soon, or at the very least made to fight serious crime.
I'll say it felt good to have them back off and let us go because of who I am. I am not saying that they fear me....perhaps they just did not want the migraine skull-splitter that taking me in would have ultimately become.
Either way I am very happy not to be in jail today.
Globe and Mail, Canada
VANCOUVER -- The federal government will be asking a British Columbia Supreme Court judge today to remove a potential obstacle in its attempt to extradite Marc Emery, the so-called Prince of Pot, and his two co-defendants to the United States to stand trial on marijuana-trafficking charges.
New York Daily News, NY
Whether or not anyone likes it, recreational drug use has become part of American social life - and it is that use, not addiction, that fuels the trade. If addicts alone were spending money on drugs, the problem could have been licked or dramatically reduced long ago.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
There's A Protest Singer, He's Singing A Protest Song
System of a Down "BYOB" lyrics:
Kneeling roses disappearing into
Moses' dry mouth
Breaking into Fort Knox stealing
Hangers sitting dripped in oil
Handed to obsoletion
Still you feed us lies from the tablecloth
The United States government is opening a permanent office of its Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Dubai, in an attempt to clamp down on the drug trade in the rich emirate, and also assist with the war on terror.
According to Khaleej Times, DEA chief Karen Tandy said the new office will open in 2006 as part of the agency’s war against drug traffickers and their possible links to international terrorist organizations.
The Dubai office will liaise between DEA agents in the U.S. and officers in other areas such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. They will also assist police in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with drug investigations.
Until now, DEA investigations involving the region have been run from its office in Islamabad, Pakistan.
According to the report, the UAE has allegedly become an appealing target of drug gangs as a gateway for transporting drugs to Europe and the U.S. A large amount of the drugs originates from Afghanistan, which is the world’s number one producer of opium poppy.
The new Dubai office will also offer support to the U.S.’s war on terror. Tandy said nearly half of the groups designated as foreign terrorist organizations by the U.S. have possible ties to the narcotics trade.
The Missing Girls of Iraq
By BRIAN BENNETT/BAGHDAD
Saturday, Apr. 22, 2006
The man on the phone with the 14-year-old Iraqi girl called himself Sa'ad. He was calling long distance from Dubai and telling her wonderful things about the place. He was also about to buy her.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
The audio is low because the sound system in the room wasn't all that and I kept forgetting to pull the mic closer.
It is audible but you'll have to crank it up to 11 :)
The video starts after the first question had already been asked and I was in the middle of my answer. The question was about Illegal Immigration.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
By CHALLEN STEPHENS
Times Staff Writer, email@example.com
Make every sixth-grader pass a reading test before graduating. Strap satellite locators to all sex offenders. Lock up employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Ax a well-know anti-drug program from public classrooms. Create separate stand-alone schools for gifted children.
Seated on a riser at the front of a ballroom in the Holiday Inn in Huntsville on Friday, Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley found herself as the lone big-money candidate awash in a river of provocative ideas from four lesser-known people who also hope to become Alabama's next governor.
Several of those ideas came from Democrats running in the party's June 6 primary. For instance, when asked about their platforms:
James Potts, a financial adviser and cattle farmer from Bibb County, said he would freeze property taxes for four years, send polluters to jail for up to five years and have state prisoners handle recycling.
Joe Copeland, a retired engineer in Cullman County, said he would promote vasectomies, tubal ligation and contraception to prevent overpopulation.
Nathan Mathis, a peanut farmer from Houston County, said he would, if voters approved, open 15 casinos, each with at least 51 percent black ownership.
Loretta Nall, the lone Libertarian and a proponent of drug policy reform, would reduce sentences for nonviolent criminals and use the money saved on prisons for education.
Held as part of the Alabama PTA's annual convention, the five candidates took turns sharing their often nuanced, occasionally combative, views on how to improve the state.
Baxley reaffirmed her support for public education, calling for zero tolerance for students who bring weapons to school or assault teachers. She said that education would be her top priority and that better-educated citizens would make better future taxpayers.
Former Gov. Don Siegelman, registering in polls as her main rival, this week was attending jury selection for his trial in Montgomery on governmental corruption charges and did not attend.
As for Republicans, PTA organizers said Gov. Bob Riley and his opponent, former state Chief Justice Roy Moore, weeks ago informed the organizers of conflicting engagements.
Thanks to early morning thunderstorms, the chairs of three or four other lesser-known candidates were left empty, and the audience of about 50 was smaller than expected.
Candidates fielded scripted questions from the PTA, some of which elicited sharp differences in philosophy.
On immigration, Copeland said he would arrest employers of illegal immigrants. Baxley said: "I think we should impose penalties against those who knowingly employ illegal aliens."
Potts said the country needs a barrier at the Mexican border. Nall said the country ought to naturalize illegal immigrants who are already here so they can join the tax base. Mathis said the matter rests with Congress.
Asked about sex offenders, Potts suggested tagging each with a GPS device. "I don't believe we're leaving them incarcerated as long as they should be," he added.
Baxley said Alabama needs a law that allows state prosecutors to go after predators in other states who contact Alabama children over the Internet.
Mathis and Copeland emphasized paying for more law enforcement. Nall said nonviolent drug offenders serve more time on average than sex offenders. Instead, she would suggest life in prison for certain sex offenders when the evidence is overwhelming. "That way we always know where they are."
Mathis and Nall proposed the start of a state lottery to pay for college scholarships, a program long touted by Siegelman. Potts and Nall said they would end the state sales tax on certain foods.
(NOTE:..I do not want a state lottery. I support lottery and casino gambling but run by private enterprise)
All candidates pledged support for arts programs in the schools, although Copeland suggested a single arts school could suffice in each system. Copeland also suggested separate schools to accelerate the education of gifted children.
When it comes to funding technology in the schools, Mathis said he would consult with college presidents on how to best fund education. Potts said there is plenty of money for schools, but he would like to add a benchmark reading test that all sixth-graders would be required to pass.
Baxley said she would work to overcome the lack of computer equipment and technologically qualified teachers in schools. Copeland would seek to recruit lay teachers, possibly corporate volunteers, with computer expertise.
Nall, who alluded to privatizing education and said she would eliminate the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program called DARE, added that she would save money by having Alabama schools quit paying to follow federal mandates.
"No Child Left Behind," she said, "would be the first to go."
I am ECSTATIC about how this article came out. I could not have asked for better press....aside from the confusion over private enterprise vs. state run lottery I don't think I have ever had a better piece of press.
I am uploading the video now and will post the link here later.
BEIJING, April 22 (Xinhuanet) -- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its oppositon to the use of marijuana for medical purposes, a decision not only contradicting a 1999 report by medical experts on medicinal use of marijuana for certain conditions, but also overriding state efforts to legalize the plant.
The CIA World Factbook entry on China says: China is the world's fourth largest country (after Russia, Canada, and US)
The Wikipedia list of the countries of the world sorted by area
also lists China as number four. A couple of days ago it was listed as a tie with the question being in dispute.
China disputes CIA website claim China is smaller in area than the U.S.
Shanghai. April 4. INTERFAX-CHINA - China's country area is said to be "slightly smaller than the U.S.," according to the general information pages of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) website. The statement is contrary to China's commonly held wisdom that it is the third largest country in area worldwide, next to Russia and Canada. The issue has been headline news in some Chinese media.
Hash inside pot bricks, heroin inside cardboard, and other assorted discoveries
Friday, April 21, 2006
PTA Convention Update
The PTA Candidates forum went extraordinarily well today. I would write up an article on it but I am too tired.
I left Huntsville around 2 pm and around 3:30 when I hit HWY 280 in Birmingham it was a PARKING LOT as HWY 280 always is at that time of day. We really need to put up a bypass or something. It is maddening to spend two hours of a day driving what amounts to no more that say 4 miles.
I decided to pull off at HQ and wait a couple hours for the traffic to thin out.
Then, about the time I was ready to head to the house a flood let loose and it has been awful weather ever since. I have made camp at a nice hotel and am enjoying a little wine as a reward to myself for a job well done.
WHen I get home tomorrow I will upload the video for all to watch.
Until them you can keep an eye on WAFF and WHNT as they may post video snippets. Tomorrow's Huntsville Times will also have an article about the event today in which I should have an excellent quote about the complete lack of Republican representation at this event and at the Alabama Conference of Black Mayors back in March.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- A Salvadoran woman is in some trouble after she allegedly tried to smuggle into the country's main prison a military grenade and marijuana hidden in her vagina.
The cylinder was about 10 inches long and 4 inches wide. Officials didn't say what prompted them to check Lidia Alvarado, 44, but authorities have raised the security level at jails across the country, fearing inmates may be planning something.
Alvarado was visiting two inmates serving 25 and 30 years when she was arrested. She now faces drug and weapons charges.
Police who inspected the M-67 grenade said it was in working condition.
Why are they saying she was carrying a 10"X4" cylinder when an M-67 grenade is a 2.5-inch diameter steel sphere?
A loud "flash bang" concussion device is detonated inside a Kensington Avenue house as Buffalo Police SWAT officers, clad in black armor and brandishing automatic assault rifles, storm a lower apartment.
"Buffalo Police. Search warrant. Buffalo Police," the officers yell to the now temporarily stunned occupants inside.
Within seconds, there are multiple shotgun blasts. At the same instant, another officer cradles a 1-year-old boy out the front door and down a flight of steps to safety.
When the smoke clears, three large pit bull terriers lay dead, in pools of their own coagulated blood. Five people are in handcuffs. They're among the latest of the 78 people arrested on drug charges during a three-day crackdown on narcotics sales across the city.
This is open warfare being waged against American citizens in their own homes. These violent home-invading drug gangs must be stopped.
Also, a flashbang grenade is designed to temporarily blind and deafen the people it is used against. What is the point in the police announcing themselves after they have just deafened the occupants of the home?
Thursday, April 20, 2006
The severed heads of two Mexican policemen have been found in the resort city of Acapulco at the site of a recent shootout with drug-traffickers.
Both were members of a rapid response unit of the federal Preventative Police which took part in the January shooting in which four traffickers died.
Their heads were dumped outside the city's finance department, 2km (1.2 miles) from the main tourist zone.
The bodies were later found wrapped in a sheet and rug elsewhere in Acapulco.
A sign left with the heads read: "So that you learn to respect."
I am going with the ONDCP because they have offered me more beer than what I am currently working for, plus free health and dental plans and free summer vacations on the Death Star.
Here's the first video I have produced in my new job:
This real media presentation celebrates the success of the Drug Czar's "Pushing Back" blog.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A police standoff ended early Tuesday with metro police discovering there was nobody in the house they were monitoring.
A seven-hour standoff near Southeast 59th Street and Bryant Avenue started as a drug investigation of a home in the area. Officers said they were worried about activity in the house, and they called for a tactical team.
For hours, according to reports, they tried to make contact with anybody in the house.
At about 3:30 a.m., agents approached the house but found nobody inside. A search of the area did not turn up any culprits; however, agents remain in the area looking for leads.
This page provides trailers in a variety of formats
Ashland City Times, TN
Police officers and paramedics failed to act with urgency when they responded to the scene of an uncooperative man who was shocked repeatedly with Taser stun guns and later died, a lawyer representing the dead man's family said yesterday after viewing a video of the incident.
The surveillance video, made public by police yesterday, captured the parking lot outside of the downtown nightclub Mercy Lounge, where Patrick Lee was restrained by police officers after being thrown out of the business for bizarre behavior in September.
Lee, 21, was shocked up to 19 times with Tasers and died two days later of a condition known as excited delirium. Marijuana and LSD were found in his system.
The officer said Lee was acting aggressively, removed his shirt and ran 40-50 yards, prompting police to use pepper spray. Officers later used batons and the Tasers.
This kid just needed a friend to talk him down a little bit. He didn't deserve to be burned, bludgeoned and electrocuted.
Patrick Lee's father, Earl Bud Lee, co-wrote "Friends in Low Places" which was a hit for Garth Brooks.
Activists of the Cannabis Legalization League have sent an open letter to the prefecture of Moscow’s central district asking to allow the Cannabis March on May 7.
The league members have been attempting to join the World Cannabis March for three years. The Moscow authorities ban the march every year, but the marchers try to hold it despite the ban, after which police detain them. Last year, the marchers also handed out leaflets in the crowd with information about cannabis.
The activists, quoted by Ekho Moskvy radio station, have said they would hold the event in any case.
Deputy head of the Federal Drug Trafficking Control Service, Alexander Mikhailov, has called this march a “provocation” and predicted it would be banned this year as usual.
A member of the league’s organization committee, Sergei Konstantinov, said the authorities could not ban their march because the marchers did not need permission, they were required only to inform the authorities of the proposed event.
KUALA LUMPUR -- The Internal Security Ministry has banned the publication and distribution of three books written in English effective April 13.
The three books are `High Times' (published by Trans-High Corporation, New York), `Cannabis Culture' (Avalon Sunsplash Ltd, Canada) and `Weed World' (Coventry, England).
A statement from the ministry said Wednesday the books were banned under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 - Printing Presses and Publications (Control of Undesirable Publications) Order.
The ban covered printing, importation, production, reproduction, publication, sale or possession of the three books.
The statement said the ban was imposed as the books jeopardised national security and morality.
Portsmouth Herald News, NH
PORTSMOUTH - Charged with selling 12 grams of marijuana to a police informant, then threatening a fellow county inmate he thought was a "snitch," Portsmouth High School senior, Max Rome, was the subject of a 2½ hour Portsmouth District Court hearing Monday, to determine if he should be allowed to return to the local high school.
The hearing concluded with Judge Lucinda Sadler ruling Rome should be allowed to resume classes at PHS. In the hours preceding the judge’s decision, Rome’s defense attorney accused police of arresting the teen on felony witness tampering charges Friday, in retaliation for a superior court hearing the day prior, and for Rome’s refusal to act as a police informant.
"I can tell you the police department was trying to get Max to be an informant," said Rome’s attorney, Lincoln Soldati. "The reason Max’s bail was set originally at $50,000 cash, then $30,000, and that he’s not being allowed in school, is because Max has refused to be an informant."
The News Journal, DE
A 24-year-old New Castle area man tried unsuccessfully to stuff nearly 10 grams of marijuana down his throat Tuesday before officers could handcuff him following a morning traffic stop.
Delaware River and Bay Authority officers charged Steven Johnson, of Jefferson Farms near New Castle, with resisting arrest, possession and consumption of marijuana, and hindering prosecution by destroying evidence.
FORT PAYNE, Ala. - A Georgia man was hospitalized after jumping from the side of DeSoto Falls and plunging 150 feet before hitting the water.
The leap wasn't a suicide attempt since several witnesses reported that prior to the plunge, the man yelled, "Watch this," said Tim Whitehead, superintendent of DeSoto State Park.
Jason Carter, 23, of Trion, Ga., jumped from the east side of the canyon at about 3 p.m. Monday, Whitehead said. He was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tenn., after rescue personnel spent three hours removing him from the canyon. Carter, who was treated for a back injury, was reported to be in stable condition Tuesday.
"He was standing there for a good minute or two, contemplating to do it or not," said Will Smith, a witness. "Next thing you know, he just took off running and jumped off."
Whitehead said Carter landed in an area of water that's 10 feet deep or less. He said Carter told rescuers that he hit something underwater.
Carter managed to swim out of the water, but couldn't make it any further.
Rescue workers brought Carter up the side of the canyon in a basket, Whitehead told the Fort Payne Times-Journal. He was conscious during the rescue.
Riverside Brookfield Landmark, IL
Just another quiet, ordinary Sunday morning took a detour into the Twilight Zone on April 9 for Riverside resident Krista Varady. That’s because at just about 9 a.m., police and agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, replete with Kevlar vests and aviator sunglasses, descended on her home in the 100 block of Nuttall Road and announced they were serving a narcotics warrant.
Turns out the warrant was many years old and that the man DEA agents were seeking—as well as the house he used to live in—can no longer be found at that address. And while police soon departed, leaving Nuttall Road residents to wonder what all the hubbub was about, Varady hinted last Friday that she and her husband might be filing a lawsuit as a response.
"I wish I could comment, but I can’t," said Varady, who is the daughter of Riverside Fire Chief Anthony Bednarz.
Varady said she was acting under counsel of her attorney, and refused to comment on whether a lawsuit was imminent.
Bednarz, who was in Michigan at the time of incident, said his daughter called him right after officers left.
"She said she saw seven cars stop in front of the house, and sees guys get out of the cars in their ninja suits, with body armor on and weapons drawn," Bednarz said.
KUWAIT CITY -The U.S. Army is investigating three American military contractors who allegedly used the military postal service to smuggle marijuana into Kuwait, an Army spokeswoman said Tuesday.
The three were arrested by Kuwaiti authorities on Sunday, spokeswoman Lt. Col. Debbie L. Haston-Hilger said in a statement.
The statement did not say how the smuggling was discovered or identify the men. A local newspaper, The Arab Times, reported that police caught the Americans as they were selling marijuana in the city's downtown, and that they had said they imported the drug through the U.S. military's postal service.
Drugs are banned in this small oil-rich state. Possession of drugs as well as their trafficking is punishable by law. Convicted traffickers face the death penalty.
Kuwait has been an ally of the United States since the U.S.-led Gulf War that liberated it from a seven-month Iraqi occupation in 1991. It was the launch pad of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and it remains a major logistics base for troops serving there.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Hank Williams Grave
I don't think Hank would have liked these guys. I hope he put a curse on them.
BROWNSVILLE, Texas - A former South Texas sheriff is in an Oklahoma City detention center while federal officials decide where he will serve a 24-year prison sentence.
Former Cameron County Sheriff Conrado Cantu drew the prison term last year after pleading guilty to using his office to extort money from drug dealers and other criminals.
Cantu's lawyer says the former sheriff could be returned to a Texas prison after federal officials assess his health and safety needs.
Cantu is appealing his sentence on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct.
By Gabrielle Finley
The Ledger, FL
LAKELAND -- A jail inmate broke the arms of two detention deputies Thursday night at the South County Jail in Frostproof, the Polk County Sheriff's Office reported Friday afternoon.
The inmate at the center of Thursday night's fight was identified as Theodis Richardson, 30.
Richardson, in jail on attempted murder and other charges, is accused of attacking detention deputy Brian Leach as he attempted to handcuff the 6 feet, 1 inch tall, 269-pound inmate.
Leach and deputy Derrick Hartline, who came to Leach's aid, both suffered broken arms in the melee, according to the Polk Sheriff's Office.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
More Excited than the Lt. Gov!
I wonder if Tim's remark upset Lucy? I thought it was rather amusing myself.
Thanks Tim for sticking me in that segment....even if it does piss off your guests and my opponents. You wouldn't think an uneducated country girl like me would have the power to anger the gods of Alabama politics.
Seems they are more vulnerable to a little common sense than I thought.
This is going to be a wild year.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
VIDEO: Loretta on Talk Back
I think the segment went GREAT and I am very happy with it. The news crew was very suppotive of my ideas and I think they all really enjoyed my un-stuffed shirtiness....yeah yeah I know that isn't a word...but you know what I mean.
One member if the news crew said,"I am so disenfranchised with our current choices I am almost sick. I want the government out of my wallet and my personal business."
And I said, "My you sound like a Libertarian."
This person asked for some info cards and said they would be investigating the LP and likely voting for me as well.
I wasn't really sure how to answer the "role model" question. I was thinking "Man politicians are about the worst possible role models for anyone...maybe you should find them some new ones"....but I thought that might sound rude.
I am not sure that saying what I said was any less rude but, really, being a role model is not in the job description.
I loved the little guy from Ridge Crest which is an inner city housing project calling in and saying "let by gones be by gones...we support you..."
That was priceless!!
Dogs Love Toys
Weiser Signal American, ID
A pronounced affection for toys is the foremost qualification a potential law enforcement dog candidate has to meet.
POLICE DEVELOP 'MILITARY MIND SET'
Baltimore Sun (MD)
And in 1994, the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice signed an agreement enabling the military to transfer wartime technology to local police departments for peacetime use in American neighborhoods, against American citizens.
The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens.
Henry David Thoreau
SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. -- A Seminole County judge shouted at a hearing impaired man in court, and then ordered him to jail as he awaited trial for a misdemeanor charge.
55-year-old Daniel Bradshaw is facing a marijuana charge, but was locked up, after Judge Ralph Eriksson determined Bradshaw was wasting the court's time last Thursday.
Apparently justice isn't blind if you are deaf
Rio Rancho Observer, NM
First it was what was coming out of their noses; now it's what is going in.
Police arrested a Rio Rancho man last week for selling cocaine and marijuana out of the Burger King near NM 528 and Corrales Road - the same restaurant where another employee was charged after putting mucus on a police officer's hamburger.
Anthony G. Maysonet III, 19, who police identified as the manager for that location, was charged with trafficking cocaine, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and six counts of possession of drug paraphernalia after admitting to Department of Public Safety officers that he used and sold narcotics at the restaurant.
In March 2004, police arrested Marcus Calderon, then 19, for assault on a police officer and adulteration of food after the Calderon served DPS officer Adam Crosby a hamburger containing a "mucus-type substance," DPS spokesman John Francis said at the time.
Drug and weapons charges have been filed against a man believed by police to have shot and killed two people during an apparent robbery at an indoor marijuana-growing site. But they said the man will not be charged in the deaths Sunday night.
Bradley Webster of Mena was charged with possession and use of a machine gun -- simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms -- manufacturing marijuana -- first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor -- possession of drug paraphernalia -- and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.
Prosecutor Tim Williamson said Webster will not be charged for the deaths of 34-year-old Chris Pangle and 23-year-old Thai Flores, both of Henryetta, Oklahoma. Williamson said Webster was defending his property, even if it was illegal property.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
400 dollars in drug money is missing from the Florala Police Department. Florala's police chief says officers seized over 11 hundred dollars in drug money last October.
At that time they locked it up in an envelope in the evidence room. Last week authorities discovered a portion of the money had mysteriously disappeared. Tuesday, 8 Florala officers volunteered to take polygraph tests. The chief says once the entire department is cleared they will turn the investigation over to other authorities.
It took 16 votes to give Loretta Nall the Libertarian Party's backing for governor. It's going to take 40,996 more registered voters to get her on the November general election ballot.
Nall, who lives in Alexander City, is in step with Republican and Democratic candidates in some ways, and in others, not so much. She supports a lottery and wants to reduce the prison population.
But Nall, who is appealing a 2004 misdemeanor drug possession conviction, also is in favor of legalizing marijuana.
"Making the drugs illegal hasn't stopped anybody from getting drugs," she said Tuesday at her nomination announcement on the Capitol steps. Her campaign for governor is backed by the U.S. Marijuana Party that she founded.
Nall said changing drug laws could lead to reducing Alabama's 28,000-plus prison population, a population that will cost the General Fund $319 million next year.
Despite opposition in her own small ranks -- six out of 22 people cast votes against her at the party's convention Saturday -- Nall says her "chances are as good as anybody else's."
She believes the government has been "stupid on crime." Other things she's against: the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act and Jesus in government.
"I think we need to get the government out of education as much as possible," she said, pushing for tax breaks and vouchers for people who send their kids to private schools.
In addition to Nall, Dick Coffee of Mobile won the party's nomination for U.S. House, District 1. Dick Clark of Auburn will run for state House District 79 in the general election and William McLaurine is a candidate for Auburn city mayor.
None of the Libertarian candidates are being challenged by other party members in the June primary.
Note: The reference to Jesus is not a quote. It appears to be someone's interpretation of some printed material. Probably "keeping the government out of the Church" would be more accurate.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Great Campaign Coverage Today
In attendance were representatives from WAKA Channel 8, For The Record (which is my favorite local show...I think Tim Lennox should take over as anchorman for NBC Nightly News...he is just SUPERB), The Montgomery Advertiser and Alabama Public Radio.
I hope to have a clip of the APR segment as soon as it goes online and the Advertiser article will be out tomorrow. FOr now I have clips of the FTR and WAKA coverage.
The FTR clip has a hum, which was my fault, and is very jumpy, which I assume is related to technical difficulties at Alabama Public TV. They will have it available online later which will fix the hum but not the jump.
Watch For The Record Segment (windows media video 2:00)
Watch WAKA 8 Segment (windows media video 1:38)
Monday, April 10, 2006
Nall still running, maintains innocence
By Patrick McCreless
Loretta Nall was officially recognized as the Libertarian Party's candidate for governor of Alabama Saturday, two days before her court appearance to appeal a 2004 drug conviction.
The announcement was made at the party's annual convention in Montgomery. Although others were nominated at the convention, Nall was the only person who was officially vying for the nomination, she said.
Nall, who is the founder of the Alabama Marijuana Party, appeared in the Tallapoosa County Circuit Court Monday to continue her appeal. The day was a chance for her to accept a plea offer by the state.
However, like her last court appearance in March, her lawyer did not show, so her appeal was postponed for another six months. "Basically, you can't take somebody to trial without your attorney present," Nall said.
Nall said her attorney, who works out of Birmingham, was not notified in time. "Neither he or I got a summons," she said.
The Tallapoosa County Narcotics Task Force arrested Nall in a November 2002 raid on her house where 0.87 grams of marijuana was discovered. She was convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia in February 2004. The Alexander City resident has no prior arrest record and maintains her innocence of the charges.
Ever since her arrest and conviction, Nall has been promoting the legalization of marijuana, but does not want that to be the center issue of her campaign. "It's going to be attached to me no matter what I do," she said. She intends to focus more on drug law reform in general.
Besides drug law reform, Nall plans to campaign for legal lottery and casino gambling run by private enterprise, the promotion of alternative fuel sources and tax cuts for private and home school families. She also wants to promote non-compliance with the Patriot and REAL ID Acts.
"They're the two most offensive documents ever signed into law by the United States of America," Nall said. "We don't need the government with their noses up our asses."
Unlike other Libertarian candidates, Nall said, her campaign strategy will not try to pull votes from the Republicans and Democrats. Instead, she wants to focus on those who do not usually vote at all. "I want to let the people who have been disenfranchised ... to let them know that we're here," Nall said.
To date, all of Nall's funding has come from individual donations, many of which are from outside of the state. "I have no interest in large corporate donations," she said. "I want this to be a campaign funded by the people."
Sadly, the ass comment didn't make the print version.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Loretta Nall wins Libertarian Nomination for Governor
Contact: Nall for Governor Campaign
2330 Highland Ave
Birmingham AL, 35205
Loretta Nall Officially Named Libertarian Party Candidate for Governor
April 9, 2006 -- Alexander City, AL -- On April 8, 2006 the Libertarian Party of Alabama held its annual convention in Montgomery where, amidst much excitement and some spirited debate, they officially named Loretta Nall as their candidate for Governor in the 2006 election.
In a statement released by Nall after the convention she stated,
"I am deeply honored to be given the official sanction of the Alabama Libertarian Party to run for the office of Governor. I am committed to doing everything in my power to make this a successful election with progressive political victories on many fronts in addition to being victorious in my bid for the Governor's seat.
My candidacy heralds the dawn of a new era in Alabama politics in which the common people will once again have a voice in their government and common sense will rule on Goat Hill."
Nall's platform, which she maintains is just common sense, promotes Initiative & Referendum, drug policy and prison reform, tax cuts for private and home school families, repealing sales tax on food, non-compliance with the Patriot and REAL ID Acts, calling for Alabama National Guard troops to be brought home from Iraq, separation of religion and Government, legal lottery and casino gambling run by private enterprise and the promotion and development of alternative fuel sources so that Alabama can begin to decrease its dependence on foreign oil.
A news conference is scheduled for Tuesday April 11, 2006 at 10 a.m. on the steps of the State Capitol in Montgomery where Loretta Nall and two other candidates Dick Clark for House District 79 and William McLaurien for Mayor of Auburn will be presented to the people of Alabama and will officially kick off their campaigns.
For more information please contact the Nall for Governor campaign via email or at 256-625-9599 or the Alabama Libertarian Party at 205-401-7331.
Portsmouth Herald News, NH
During his arrest, Melville said, he was strip searched by the school resource officer - an event that included a cavity search. In prison, he’s learned his subsequent and surprise cavity searches are known as the "brown house smile."
A Falmouth High School drug sting that netted nine arrests is raising eyebrows among defense attorneys who wonder whether planting a 23-year-old undercover cop looking for drugs and peddling a sob story is entrapment.
‘‘It seems a little cruel,” said Hub lawyer Norman Zalkind. ‘‘If I were the parents of these kids, I would want to stop them from dealing the drugs. But I wouldn’t want to put them in a position of getting this woman to basically seduce them, getting them caught and facing serious problems.”
Nine high school students were arrested at home Friday after undercover officer Kaitlin Keane posed as a high school student for four months.
Keane told students her mother died, she had an absentee father and she needed drugs to dull the pain. Since January, she bought marijuana 31 times and ecstasy once from students, police said.
The teens, ages 14 to 17, face 40 drug-related charges in all.
Defense attorney Elaine Whitfield Sharp called the tactic ‘‘sneaky,” adding, ‘‘The way they’ve gone about is not the way to go about it.”
By PETER N. LETANG
The News Journal, DE
Peter N. Letang recently retired as Delaware's chief prosecutor.
"It is not popular to raise thoughts of "decriminalization" or of abandoning those efforts that we have been pursuing for decades -- politicians consider it career suicide, and the public is generally opposed."
"I have no political agenda, and I have no solutions. I do, however, have protracted experience in the criminal arena and I suggest that it is time to retool our focus. Legislating against some traits of human behavior, such as prostitution and prohibition, have been abysmal failures, and why should we think drugs are any different."
Saturday, April 08, 2006
MAURICE RIVER TWP. -- More than 100 law enforcement officers conducted a pre-dawn raid at a residence on Route 49 Thursday that uncovered $135,000 worth of crack cocaine, cocaine and morphine pills, county Prosecutor Ronald J. Casella revealed Friday.
The raid followed several months of investigation by county, state and federal agencies that led to the arrest of four Maurice River Township residents, including a corrections officer from Bayside's Ancora Unit, who were arraigned in Superior Court Thursday afternoon.
A bunker approximately 11 feet underground, with dimensions of approximately 10 feet by 14 feet, was also discovered, and it appeared as though the bunker was utilized for the manufacturing and storage of crack cocaine, firearms and ammunition, according to a press release issued by Casella.
Two drug presses utilized to manufacture cocaine, four weapons, more than 15,000 rounds of assorted caliber ammunition, drug paraphernalia and an undetermined amount of money was also found.
Casella said Bruce G. Low Jr., 27, Bruce G. Low Sr., 49, corrections officer Terri A. Low, 49, and Saibrina Melendez, 25, showed no resistance during the raid Thursday morning, although Low Sr. had a fully loaded 357 Smith & Wesson handgun on his bed stand when police entered his residence.
In addition to various drug charges, weapons offenses and child endangerment charges that have been brought against the group, additional charges are also pending in reference to a number of animals that were found on the property during the raid.
Thirty-eight pit bulls used for fighting were seized by the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, along with an alligator and a parakeet.
Tweety Bird fails drug test.
Radley Balko is a policy analyst specializing in "nanny state" issues and author of the forthcoming study "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Drug Raids in America."
Friday, April 07, 2006
Alabama's governor is expected to sign an important sentencing reform bill passed last week by the legislature. The bill, SB 231, creates voluntary sentencing guidelines for the state, which has a serious prison overcrowding problem fueled largely by harsh sentences for nonviolent drug possession offenses (PDF report). Drug Policy Alliance worked to support the bill in the legislature as part of the New Bottom Line Campaign, an Alabama group that works to promote effective drug policies.
Voluntary sentencing guidelines are a key step in reducing prison overcrowding and reforming Alabama's chaotic criminal justice system. Over a third of all prison admissions last year were for low-level drug offenses, with sentences varying widely in severity throughout the state.
The new guidelines were developed by the state Sentencing Commission with significant input from the New Bottom Line Campaign. They alter the sentencing schemes in Alabama for a variety of offenses, making especially significant changes to drug offense sentences. For example, the new guidelines do not mandate a prison term for marijuana possession until the fourth offense. Current sentencing policy penalizes a second possession of marijuana as a felony with a mandatory minimum prison sentence, and a third offense can lead to a sentence of over 20 years or even life.
While the new guidelines will be voluntary, three fourths of judges are expected to follow them. Therefore, these guidelines are an extremely significant step forward for better drug and criminal justice policies in Alabama. The momentum from this victory will propel DPA and its partners in the New Bottom Line Campaign toward further substantive reform in the state, and in the South as a whole.
"This is just a small victory in a larger effort to end the war on drugs in Alabama," said Rev. Kenny Glasgow, co-director of the New Bottom Line Campaign and strong DPA ally. "This shows us that the dream is not impossible—in fact, another South is possible, and we’re working to build this movement. From the back of the bus to the front of the prison, the struggle for justice continues!"
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Alabama Compassionate Care Act Dies in Committee
HB663 known as The Alabama Compassionate Care Act, which would allow patients suffering from various debilitating medical conditions to use marijuana as medicine with the approval of their physician, died in the Alabama House Judiciary Committee this session. At this time there will be no further action on the bill until the next legislative session in Jan. 2007. It might also come up in any special session conducted between now and then.
As disappointing as this delay is please know that it is not the end. Our goals at present are to conduct more outreach work, facilitate more public discussions, educate more members of the public, the medical community and our elected officials about this issue and to continue to assert that sick and dying people do not belong in prison for trying to ease their suffering.
As we work towards passage of this bill in the next legislative session we will need the help and support of all Alabamians.
If you are a patient suffering from a condition that marijuana has been proven to help and believe you should have safe access, the loved one of a patient who uses medical marijuana, a physician or other caregiver or if you are someone who simply believes that the practice of medicine is best left to physicians and not to police officers and the courts then we need your help and involvement in this process.
Please contact me if you would like more information on how you can help.
"To obtain an accuarate body count, Tennesseans cut the tip of dead Creeks' noses off. A few soldiers cut long strips of skin from the Indians' bodies to make bridle reins for their horses."
This is close to home for me. I live near the battle site and carry blood from both sides of the breastworks.
The carnage of Horseshoe Bend produced a Governor of Texas and a President of the United States.
After the battle the Cherokee and Creek tribes whom the Feds had come to "liberate" were informed that their new address was Oklahoma and they had better start walking.
A committee of the House and Senate began meeting Tuesday to iron out differences in drug bills dealing with marijuana, methamphetamine and steroids.
The conference committee did not take action but is expected to continue work this week.
Committee Co-chairman John Coghill of North Pole says House Bill 149 has been sitting in the wings while committee members studied the ramifications of the federal Patriot Act on the issue.
The federal legislation includes provisions regarding the manufacture of methamphetamine.
The state House bill started out as a measure to curb the manufacture of methamphetamine.
The Senate version added harsher penalties for possession of marijuana.
It also lists findings that could be used in an attempt to overturn the 31-year-old Supreme Court decision that allows small amounts of marijuana in Alaska homes.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
CANNES, France -- Items aimed at luring international TV buyers meeting in Cannes to buy Showtime's "Weeds" created a bad buzz among French customs agents.
Lionsgate Television took T-shirts and caps adorned with marijuana leaves and the slogan "Weeds -- High on Season 2" to the MIPTV convention to promote the series overseas, the Hollywood Reporter said Tuesday.
As staff began setting up a booth Monday, they found themselves surrounded by customs officials who seized the merchandise, Daily Variety said.
"We sold our series but lost our shirts," Lionsgate President Kevin Beggs told Variety.
"Weeds" stars Mary-Louise Parker as a young widow who sells pot to make ends meet.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
During the raid, police came into the school with guns drawn and used a dog to sniff for drugs. There were no arrests.
The agreement sets up two funds totaling $1.2 million.
Based on estimates from lawyers, students who sued or required medical or psychological attention after the raid would receive about $11,370. Other students would receive just over $6,000.
Just how many students are eligible will be determined in the coming months.