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An Example of Right-Wing Lunacy: Agenda 21

by: DamnedLiberal

Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 22:19:01 PM CDT

(The GOP keeps chasing the Agenda 21 unicorn, but they'll never catch it. - promoted by countrycat)

The Southern Poverty Law Center has just issued a report which exposes the mental madness of the right wing as it spread false rumors, created hysteria, and condemned Agenda 21. Alabama can be particularly proud that its governor (Robert Bentley) was the first to go all the way in condemning Agenda 21. unicorn police

In Baldwin County, Ala., all nine members of the Planning and Zoning Commission quit in disgust after the County Commission killed their plan "on a pretext so devoid of relevance and merit as, in our opinion, to elicit only ridicule," as they wrote.

From the original news report of the meeting:

In a political commentary that sometimes seemed like a tent-revival exhortation, Baldwin County Commissioner Frank Burt held forth for more than 20 minutes Tuesday on the evils of a 1992 United Nations initiative known as Agenda 21 that he characterized as a threat to U.S. sovereignty.

"We are all for protecting the environment," Burt said, "but this is something that has seeped in amongst us. I don’t think we need the United Nations to tell us what to do."

He said, "We’ve got the EPA taking over the country. If the Senate approves (Agenda 21), they can come into New York City or wherever a raindrop falls and tell us what to do."

Agenda 21 was condemned by the Birchers. Republicans soon took up arms to defend the homeland from this nefarious attempt to impose a new world order.

What is Agenda 21?

Agenda 21 is not a treaty. It has no force of law, no enforcement mechanisms, no penalties, and no significant funcing. It is not even a top-down recommendation, seeking instead to encourage communities around the world to come up with their own solutions to overpopulation, pollution, poverty and resource depletion. It is a feel-good guide that cannot force anyone, anywhere, to do anything at all.

Read the report -- it's stranger than science fiction and illuminates what can only be called the mysterious madness of the delusional right-wing mind. 


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Equality Alabama - Shoals Committee Meet & Greet Event, Tue 6PM, The Wine Seller, 324 N.Court St.

by: Q

Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 01:25:43 AM CDT

( - promoted by countrycat)

Dear LIA friends: formerly a LIA diarist known as plainsmanpolitico, I'm Q. Because who else is cooler than James Bond?  I'm working with local Shoals LGBT activists and allies to form an Equality Alabama Shoals Regional Steering Committee. Equality Alabama

Help me spread the word!

Please join us at the Wine Seller, 324 North Court Street, Florence, Alabama on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for a meet and greet to engage in discussions about local and statewide education, advocacy and organizing efforts of Equality Alabama. 

Capitalizing our successes with the Birmingham Regional Committee meetings, now is your time to help us form a successful Shoals Regional Committee. Come meet Equality Alabama's leadership and help us better understand the needs of your community.  Let's discuss the next stop on our journey for equality for our friends and family members in the Shoals.

It is time for Equality Alabama to move forward with focus on the Shoals Regional Committee and encourage you to step up and become involved!

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 133 words in story)

"Greedy Vets Club" Shuts Down Low-Cost Vaccine Clinic, Citing "Unfair Competition."

by: countrycat

Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 08:39:17 AM CDT

Emboldened by their third consecutive legislative victory against low-cost spay/neuter clinics, the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (ASBVME) has moved on to another target: low-cost vaccine clinics.

The key modifier here is "low cost."

According to the Shelby Humane Society (PDF), a scheduled low-cost vaccine clinic scheduled for tomorrow in the town of Wilsonville had to drastically reduce the services it planned to offer.  The clinic organizers had planned to offer the standard annual vaccines and micro-chipping, until the ASBVME stepped in: 

Organizers of the vaccine clinic scheduled for April 19, 2014, in the Town of Wilsonville, regret to inform you that this clinic will only be providing rabies vaccines.

The suspension of annual vaccines and micro-chipping has been directed by ASBVME after they received a complaint from a local veternarian citing "unfair competition."

We heard this same song during this year's legislative debate about low cost spay/neuter clinics:

Rep. David Standridge, R-Hayden, said the clinics have an unfair advantage over veterinarians who provide the same services, and he argued vociferously against the bill. Standridge said he had spoken to many veterinarians who were opposed to it. Standridge did not mention in the debate that, according to his profile page on the Alabama House's website, his son is a veterinarian.

Rep. Dan Williams insisted the non-profit clinics exist to make money.

"Why are these (clinics) being set up if they're not going to make money?" he asked.

Having won that fight, the ASBVME has dropped all pretense about concern for "quality of care" for animals (that was the excuse given for opposition to low-cost spay/neuter clinics), thrown in with the Greedy Vets Club, and decided to tell the truth.  It's all about money.

It's time to ask Governor Bentley, who appoints the board members, if blocking market competition is really the job of state oversight boards.  Because if so, the state needs to re-write their mission statements.


Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Rep.Patricia Todd Speaking to Samford University College Democrats April 30

by: countrycat

Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 11:09:28 AM CDT

One of Alabama's "best & brightest" legislators, Rep. Patricia Todd (HD-54 Birmingham), has primary opposition this year. Although it was a disappointing legislative session for anyone interested in progressive legislation, she's not giving up on the state and on her voters.

Learn more about her and meet with her next week, when she addresses the Samford University College Democrats:

Rep. Todd's campaign Web site

Rep. Todd's campaign Facebook page


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Hey! Alabama Makes Another Top 10 List!

by: DamnedLiberal

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 14:51:40 PM CDT

(Yes, in Alabama, we hate the federal government - after we cash the checks. - promoted by countrycat)

Of the 10 states most dependent on the federal government, Alabama is No 3! I think that qualifies as "welfare state". 
  • Return on Taxpayer Investment: $3.28
  • Funding as Percentage of Revenue: 37 percent
  • Federal Employees Per Capita: 11.66

From WallStreetCheat.com:

Red states are known for imposing lower taxes than blue states, but it appears they are able to do so because they are more dependent on federal funding. There was a 34.4 percent correlation between a state’s federal dependency and its tax rates, meaning the more dependent a state is on the federal government, the less likely it is to charge high tax rates. Red states had an average dependency ranking of 33.5, while blue states ranked 19.2 on average.

 Idunno, but maybe those "we hate gubbmint" Republicans should consider they could be biting the hand that feeds them?


Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Marriage Equality: If Alabama Republicans Really Wanted To Lower Taxes....

by: countrycat

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 13:21:56 PM CDT

AL House Speaker Mike Hubbard is on his FB page today spewing this nonsense: "As many Alabamians are seeing their federal tax bills increase today, I remain committed to lowering the tax burden for all of our families and businesses."  Well, not for all families: Alabama's lack of marriage equality means that same sex couples can't file joint returns and pay more in taxes than they would otherwise.

During the dark DOMA years, this was true for couples filing federal returns as well - even if their states recognized their marraiges. And the cost was high.  in 2010, for example, same sex couples paid an average of $6,000 more in taxes than other married couples:

Even as more same-sex couples are able to file jointly at the state level, they are still forced to file as single when submitting federal returns to the IRS.

This means they can't combine their income and deductions to take advantage of lower tax rates. It's also harder for them to qualify for certain tax breaks because the credits phase out sooner for single filers.

But DOMA's demise changed that.  Now, all legally married couples in Alabama can file joint federal returns, but not all couples can file joint state returns.

Soulforce Alabama is one group working to change that.  From the group's press release:

In October 2013, the IRS released guidelines which specified that if a married couple was married in any state, they were to be considered, “Married,” for purposes of filing Federal Income Tax Returns.

At that time, Soulforce Alabama began a process of identifying so-called LGBT “Angelic Troublemakers” who were legally married and thus required to file Married tax returns to also file as such in the State of Alabama.  Under current instructions, same sex couples are supposed to prepare five separate tax returns, including three separate Federal Returns.

Lesbian and Gay Male couples objected to this process for several reasons.  Primarily, we decline to assist the State of Alabama in perpetuating our second-class status.  We are no longer willing to make it easy for the Alabama Government to treat us as “less than”  other families in Alabama.

Secondarily, we object to a state law which requires us to prepare multiple, contradictory Federal Tax Returns.  The law requires us to file a portion or complete copy of the return filed with the Internal Revenue Service.  To file an altered return with the State of Alabama Department of Revenue would seem to be committing fraud. Yet, those are the instructions by the state.

One would think that any self-respecting, self-identified "conservative" Republican would be horrified by a situation that required taxpayers to complete extra tax forms and pay extra taxes.  But in Alabama, some married couples are just more "equal" than others.


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Holiday Greetings To Those Celebrating Passover & Holy Week - Open Thread

by: countrycat

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:57:50 PM CDT

Blogging for the past week hasn't just been light: it's been non-existent!  But between preparing 3 different sets of taxes - personal, LIA, & our business - and getting the house ready for Passover... well, the cathouse has been a busy, busy place.

We had been enjoying wonderful spring weather.  Until this morning's sleet broke the spell.

Sending good wishes to those celebrating the Passover holiday this week - and reminding you that there will be matzah at the "Hot Dogs & Yellow Dogs" event in Madison on Thursday.

And also hoping that those who are observing Holy Week & Easter have a meaningful, enjoyable holiday.  Only a few days left in Lent; how are you handling your "give ups" this year?

To those who celebrate Easter more as a cultural chocolate-fest rather than a religious observance... may the bunny come hopping down your trail with delicious treats!

Use this as an open thread for holiday greetings or anything else on your mind!


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Meet North Alabama & Statewide Candidates In Madison On April 17

by: countrycat

Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 09:44:14 AM CDT

"Hot Dogs & Yellow Dogs" is the theme of a "Meet & Eat" scheduled for Thursday, April 17 from 5-7pm at a private home in Madison.  Confirmed speakers include candidates for governor, state legislature, consitutional offices, and local candidates.

Confirmed list of speakers as of 4/8:

Parker Griffith – candidate Governor
Kevin Bass – candidate Governor
James Fields – candidate Lt. Governor
Joe Hubbard - candidate Attorney General
Miranda Joseph – candidate State Auditor
Doug Smith – candidate Commissioner of Agriculture & Industry
Anthony Daniels - candidate State House of Representatives District 53
Mike Curtis – candidate State Senate District 1
Earl Gardner - candidate State Senate District 1
Angelo "Doc" Mancuso - candidate State Senate District 4
Rose Gaskin – candidate State Senate District 7
Mitchell Howie
– candidate State Senate District 7
Horace Clemmons – candidate State Senate District 8
Randy Money - candidate State Senate District 8
Darrell Turner – candidate State Senate District 13
Patrick Douglass – candidate Madison County Tax Assessor
Tim Clardy – candidate Madison County Sheriff
Sheriff Mike Blakely – re-election Limestone County
Mark Bray – Independent candidate for Congress District 5 

From the event invitation

Loyal Democrats Unite at "Meet & Eat" Event! Come join us for an informal hot-dog, apple pie & ice cream dinner served with iced tea and craft beer. Meet the Alabama Democratic Primary Candidates! State-wide, as well as local North Alabama candidates will be in attendance to speak & answer questions and let you know how to get involved in these important races.

There is no charge for the event, but donations to candidates will of course be greatly appreciated!

The menu include hot dogs (meat & veggie dogs), pie, ice cream, & drinks.  Since it is taking place during the Passover holiday, there will also be matzah on hand for anyone avoiding bread.

Visit the "Hot Dog & Yellow Dogs" Facebook event page to RSVP and/or invite your friends. 

5-7 pm at 125 Bordeaux Lane, Madison, AL 35757


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Empower Alabama's Micah Morris: "Organizing Is Hard, But We Can Win Here."

by: countrycat

Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 10:45:01 AM CDT

Empower Alabama Regional Field Director Micah Morris discusses how her life experiences led her to choose a life/career of activism & organizing.  "I grew up in east Tennessee, and I saw my family work too hard for too little." Speaking at Sunday's Women's Rights Rally in Huntsville, she describes how a life on the margins - barely making it one month only to fall behind the next - gradually grinds down hope and faith in the future.

"The sense of resignation in my family... it was so normalized.  Life just happens, you know?  Life happens.  And I remember feeling this sense of panic. Thinking like: I don't want life to just happen to me, like I want to happen to life

I don't want to live in a world where I have to settle. Settle for jobs that don't pay me enough money, for housing I can't afford....  For me, the gateway to have a life where I didn't have to settle was to go to school.

I'm really blessed because I had great people in my corner and I'm the only person in my immediate family who has graduated from college.  It changed the trajectory of my life, what I know, and where I come from.

But, even in school, I still worked those dead-end, service industry jobs where health care wasn't provided; it wasn't even on the table, with wages I couldn't survive on.  So, I was kind of in a bind, working 60-hour weeks, trying to survive as a student.  I was trying to hard to succeed and do all the things that people were telling me I could do if I just worked hard enough. 

Unlike many people who pulled themselves out of similar situations, Micah didn't shake the dust of poverty off her feet and sneer that the people she left behind for somehow being "not good enough" or "not lucky enough" to succeed in a system that's stacked against them.  She became an activist and political organizer to help them - and everyone - achieve a secure, middle class life. 

Watch the video to hear more of her story.

You can meet Micah Morris in person at the grand opening of the Empower Alabama Huntsville office on April 15, 5:30-7:30pm at 1803 University Drive NW, Huntsville, AL.

Connect with Empower Alabama on Facebook.

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GOP Supermajority Adds Another "G" To Agenda With Anti-Gay Vote

by: countrycat

Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 14:17:03 PM CDT

The party who promised a legislative agenda consisting of God, guns, & girl parts, added another "G" to the list in an unexpected vote yesterday.  After privately promising Alabama's only openly gay legislator that he wouldn't allow the a bill calling for a constitutional convention to ban marriage equality in the US to come up, well..... surprise! Speaker Mike Hubbard lied.

One Alabama lawmaker is crying foul after the Alabama House today approved a resolution calling for the United States Congress to convene an Article V constitutional convention to ban same-sex marriage.

Resolutions are frequently passed en masse, and lawmakers rarely pay them much attention. The description of the resolution on the House Rules Committee report did not specify what the convention would address.

So, they passed it without reading it, but Rep. Todd knows that if she asked for reconsideration, the assembled spinless sad sacks would fall all over themselves to approve it all over again.

Speaker Hubbard, who is well aware of his power to kill any bill he dislikes (because he does it frequently), has his spokeswoman describing him as impotent: 

... the House speaker does not control the state House Rules Committee, she said. 

This is yet another vanity bill that's going nowhere.  Or maybe nowhere but into the public record so that companies considering opening operations in Alabama will find one more piece of legislative poop on our "welcome" map.


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AG Candidate Joe Hubbard: "Stop Letting Politics Drive Policy."

by: countrycat

Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 10:46:10 AM CDT

Speaking in Huntsville on Sunday, State Rep. Joe Hubbard discussed his candidacy for Attorney General & castigated the GOP legislative supermajority for "using women as a stepping stone" to political power. He also discussed his support for a bill to allow certified midwives to legally deliver babies in Alabama.

Joe HubbardRep. Hubbard voted in favor of HB489 (the 48 hour waiting period bill) this year both in committee and on the floor of the House and was one of 7 Democrats who voted in favor of the TRAP (targeted regulations against abortion providers) bill last year.  In this speech however, he castigated the GOP members who push such bills:

They pursue punitive legislation that inserts government in the bedroom and into the decisions solely between a woman and her partner and her God.  For me, that's unacceptable.

Every day, we hear Republicans and TEA party members complaining about over-intrusive government, but the reality is, on their issues, they want government to be as big as possible.  That's what we call hypocrisy.

Refreshingly - for an Alabama Attorney General anyway - Hubbard also said this about Attorneys General across the country who have refused to defend unconstitutional laws in court.

The Attorney General of a state has to stand up and defend laws.  But if a law is unconstitutional, it's unconstitutional!  We're not in the business of passing laws just to get headlines.

Somebody needs to tell that to the Alabama Legislature.

Here's the video.  In it, Hubbard looks good, is articulate, and touches on many important points.  As with any candidate, it's our job to let him know that we're listening to what he says now & expect that he will follow through when in office.

Visit Hubbard's campaign Web site and his Facebook page.


Discuss :: (3 Comments)

HB-489 - 48 Hour Waiting Period For Abortions Passes AL Senate

by: countrycat

Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 19:07:15 PM CDT

Ladies, please.... don't you KNOW that you can't be trusted to make these decisions without the help of the Alabama Legislature?  I mean, really, how many of you have had those "surging hormones" take over when your were trying on a swimsuit at the local Target and  thought: "#$%$ this baby bump!  I'm stopping at an abortion clinic on my way home!"

Yeah... it happens.... All. The. Time.

Fortunately, those kindly old white guys voted today to save you from making a decision on the "spur of the moment."  They think you need to "think it over" not once, not twice, but three times!

  1. First... when you find out that you're pregnant & it's either an unwelcome surprise or it's great, great, great - until you find out there's a problem.
  2. Second... when you have to brave the sidewalk bullies and make your first visit to the women's clinic (that may be several hours' drive from your home) to discuss your options.
  3. Third... when you brave the sidewalk bullies for the second $%$# time to actually get the medical care that you're legally entitled to.  Oh... and take yet another day off work, drive several hours, etc. etc. etc.

Because girls.... the Alabama Legislature thinks we're so flighty, so uninformed, and such intellectual lightweights that we don't realize what's inside of us when we're pregnant.  That's why Greg Reed wanted us to have those vaginal ultrasounds, but you harlots raised such a stink about it that Clay Scofield crawfished.

But rest easy now, girls.  The Alabama Legislature knows what you need.  And they're going to do their damnedest to make sure that you don't get it.

I better stop now, before I can't stop myself from cussing.


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AL-05: Independent Candidate Mark Bray Hopes To Make It On The Ballot & To The House

by: countrycat

Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 11:00:00 AM CDT

No Democrat in the 5th district stepped up to challenge incumbent Congressman Mo Brooks this year, but local aerospace engineer Mark Bray is mounting a run as an independent.  It's a long-shot candidacy, because Alabama ballot access rules aren't friendly to independents.  However, it is possible to run and win - just ask State Senator Harri Anne Smith.Mark Bray

The first hurdle is getting on the ballot at all.  Mark Bray needs to collect signatures from 3% of of the 5th district's total vote cast for governor in the last election.  In 2010, 108,376 Madison County voters cast ballots: 3% of that total is 3,251.  The 5th district also covers Limestone, Jackson, , Lauderdale, & Morgan Counties.

If you'd like to sign the petition (and live in the 5th district!), download it here.

Bray spoke at the recent Women's Rights Rally in Huntsville, introduced himself, and discussed why he thinks the incumbent is bad for the 5th district and for Alabama.

Mark Bray's campaign Web site.

Mary Bray's Facebook page.

Today, Bray posted an op/ed on AL.com about Brooks' record.

Rep. Mo Brooks' statements on Obama, NASA, BRAC, 'endangering' his district, independent opponent says

Over the last few weeks, Congressman Mo Brooks has been in the news...and it hasn't been pretty.

He has made public statements that are irrational, illogical and false. He has shown a lack of command of the facts and a lack of discipline for leadership. This should be disturbing for the voters in this district. His deficiencies have, and continue to, hurt the citizens of North Alabama during his time in office.
We could possibly forgive this one misstep. Maybe. But, he continued last week by incorrectly blaming the Obama Administration for ending the Shuttle Program and canceling the Constellation Program. Did he forget the facts? Or did he not know them? Some of us lived both of those events and know very well that it was President Bush who ended the Shuttle Program. It was Congress who underfunded the Constellation Program (the second moon program) for so many years that it forced its cancellation. It was Congress which failed to pass a budget for more than seven years. If it were up to our Congressman, we would still not have a budget.



Discuss :: (1 Comments)

At Least The War On Women Is Going Well

by: countrycat

Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 07:57:45 AM CDT

Kathy Wells has worked on women's health & domestic violence issues for 35 years, & that surprises her.  "I thought if we worked hard enough, we could end the violence.  That thought lasted about 6 months, until I spoke to a group of men who laughed through the entire presentation." take them out

Wells was one of many rally participants at Sunday's Huntsville event who is surprised that we're still fighting the same battles as our mothers and grandmothers.  Who would have thought in 1980 that in 2014 we'd be discussing outlawing all abortions, letting your boss make birth control decisions for you, slut shaming, rape culture, and an explosion of human trafficking that snares hundreds of thousands of young girls every year (just in the US)?

And yet, here we are.

Yesterday, the Alabama Senate Health Committee voted 7-1 in favor of a package of anti-choice bills - including one that effectively outlaws all abortions in Alabama with no exceptions.  Supporters expect to bring them to the floor of the Senate tomorrow and opponents don't have the votes to stop the GOP supermajority. 

Today, HB31 (the so-called Conscience Clause bill) is on the Senate calendar for a vote.  That's the bill that allows any health care worker to deny a woman treatment or prescriptions just by citing religioius belief - but ONLY if the treatment is associated with ladyparts.

It used to be that the Alabama Senate was where good bills went to die.  Now it's where bad bills go to catch an express train to Federal court.

Here's a short clip of Kathy Wells explaining the challenges women face both here in world wide.


Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Senate Health Committee Approves All Three Anti-Choice Bills By 7-1 Vote

by: countrycat

Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 14:36:59 PM CDT

As one attendee described today's public hearing, it was "7 white guys, 1 black woman, and 1 white female secretary" in session to pass discuss laws that affect the women of Alabama.  And the guys decided that they know better than the gals & their doctors how to handle the female reproductive system.

Committee votes for HB490, HB493, & HB494 were all 7-1.

Democratic Senator Linda Coleman was the only dissenting vote, but she's not the only Democrat on the committee.  Once again, we get screwed by the "leaders" in our own party as they happily jump on the "pass unconstitutional bills & cost the state money" gravy train for lawyers. The full roll calls should be available tomorrow. Two senators who have opposed such legislation in the past - Democrat Billy Beasley & Independent Harri Anne Smith - skipped the hearing.

Kudos to those who stood up against the bills, including Joann Cummings and Dr. Hines from Shelby County ER, who spoke from experience as a medical professional:

  • "These bills intrude into medical care of our patients."
  • "You are trying to criminalize my job to my patients."

Like that's ever bothered the Legislature before.  The Senate is in session now & could take up the 48-hour waiting period bill.  Because, of course, that's more important than passing an actual state budget.


Discuss :: (2 Comments)
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