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Second "Welcome To The Party" Ad Highlights GOP Comments On Women

by: countrycat

Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 09:56:34 AM CDT

This Brite Blue Dot ad campaign is one of the brightest spots in Alabama Democratic politics right now.  The ads are produced by a grassroots group of volunteers who became concerned that too many Democratic state candidates (and even the state party itself) were willing to let the GOP set the terms of the debate & define Democrats negatively.

So they decided it was time to raise some money & take Don Draper's advice: "if you don't like what people are saying about you, change the conversation."  Several months ago, we highlighted some of the organizing accomplishments progressive groups in Georgia and suggested that it was time to "rebuild the Alabama Democratic Party, Georgia-style."  

Well folks, the Brite Blue Dots first ad was a great beginning.  And this is even more hard-hitting & effective.  It's not Alabama-centric, but it certainly reminds women voters which party is on their side.

Of course, we encourage you to share this widely, & the Brite Blue Dots have provided suggestions for other ways to help.  That info is on the flip. 

Visit BriteBlueDot.com to get some snazzy merchandise & help fund these efforts. 

BriteBlueDot is on Facebook too 

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Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Highlights The Danger Politicians Pose to The Public

by: countrycat

Fri Sep 26, 2014 at 17:36:55 PM CDT

Well, former-Army-colonel-turned-school-superintendent Casey Wardynski probably didn't mean it that way, but consider this question.  "How can we seriously consider high school students to be a "danger to schools" because they've been photographed holding guns and not hold political candidates to the same standards?"

Alabama Politicians With Guns

Why just here in Alabama, it's de rigueur for Alabama political candidates to pose with guns, use them in campaign commercials, bray about gun laws for political advantage, and even hold state Republican Party events at gun ranges  becuase nothing goes with the crushing defeat of your presidential candidate like guns & alcohol, right?

In case you haven't heard, either the HCS system has some kind of creepy "Big Brother Is Watching" tendencies or they got punked by someone pretending to be from the National Security Agency.  Or maybe both, who knows?  The school system has offered a number of different explanations for their school surveillance program and board members really can't say and/or can't remember if they were told about the program.

Now exactly what was the threat that led the school system to spend a million dollars on their spy scheme?  Well, it could have been any number of things:

First:  psst... NSA calling....

In AL.com's report, the city school system's security officer is quoted saying the NSA called with a tip about a threat to a teacher on social media. An NSA spokeswoman is quoted saying the agency has no record of the call and such calls are "inconsistent" with NSA practices. 

Second:  FOREIGNERS!

The superintendent said the NSA was interested because someone from a foreign country was involved in the conversation. 

Third:  GANGS!

Regardless of how the program started, Huntsville City Schools began scanning Facebook and other sites for signs of gang activity, watching for photos of guns, photos of gang signs and threats of violence. 

Fourth:  People holding guns in social media pictures! 

Internal documents explaining the program, obtained by AL.com, show examples of four different students posing on Facebook with handguns. None are on school grounds. Three are listed as expelled. One was referred for counseling.  

Well campers, if we're going to use that last standard as our template for banning people from the public schools & putting them into treatment, then it's a safe bet that virtually every Alabama politician needs to stay away from schools.  As a group, they're all over social media with their gun-shaped BBQ grills, posing with their guns, or grinning next to dead animals they killed with guns, bows, or maybe their bare hands....

But hey: look at the damage the GOP supermajority has done to the state in just four years.  They didn't use guns; they used their votes as weapons and shot it out with public school teachers, the education budget, and the working poor.

That's a lesson for every Alabama school kid and every Alabama voter.  Guns can be deadly on an individual basis, but power in the hands of the corrupt puts the whole state at risk.

 

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SD-04 - Angelo "Doc" Mancuso: "The GOP Supermajority Has An Addition Problem"

by: countrycat

Thu Sep 25, 2014 at 08:39:25 AM CDT

Alabma SD-04 candidate Angelo "Doc" Mancuso mocked the GOP's job creation claims during a recent appearance in Madison, AL.  The candidate from Courtland repeatedly referred to the recent closure of International Paper and the loss of 1100 good-paying local jobs.
Angelo
 
They're always talking about the two jobs they brought in Mobile and then there's the 20 jobs in exchange for the 1100 that we lost in Lawrence County.  And then new jobs in Huntsville, but we're not really sure how many jobs we got, but it's 2,000 ... 4,000.... 400?  But they gave us something.

And I see that not only do they have a spending problem down there, they have an adding problem.  Because all they know how to do is add, but they never subtract. 

Look at the 1100 jobs lost in Lawrence County.  They said when that happened, it was no big deal.  It was just 1100 jobs.  Well, we all know that it's not just 1100 jobs; it's more like 7,000 or 9,000.

In Lawrence County, we have houses in foreclosure, people moving, businesses closing, consolidating schools.  We have people who do not have jobs - but the politicians ignore that.
 
A practicing physician (he came to the gathering straight from the hospital, still wearing his surgical scrubs), Mancuso also called for Medicaid expansion:
 
If you're a human being you should be for Medicaid expansion.  We're not talking about the poor people here.  We're talking about people who had a job yesterday and today don't have a job.  They could be Republicans, Democrats, Independents.  What I can tell you is that I don't care if it creates a single job.  But I can tell you that we won't lose jobs.

Because that's what's happening to the hospitals.  We've lost seven hospitals in the past 3 years and we have another 22 on the chopping block.  Let's be serious. If you love your hospital and your doctor, you should be in favor of this.  
 
Watch the entire clip of Mancuso's speech:  
 
 
 
 
State Senate District 4 includes Lawrence, Cullman, and Winston Counties.
 
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Rev. William Barber's Speech At Alabama's "Moral Monday" Rally: "We Need A Moral Movement"

by: countrycat

Wed Sep 24, 2014 at 09:35:58 AM CDT

"Movements don't come from DC; they come from Montgomery and Greensboro up.  And it's time for those in every state who believe in justice and freedom to stand up again," Rev. William Barber told a diverse crowd on Monday.  He was one of the featured speakers who helped kick off Alabama's "Moral Monday" rallies in Montgomery.

Moral Monday

LIA community member, Mia Raven filmed his speech and gave us permission to share it here.  Do you want to be inspired and motivated?  Watch the video clips!  

Barber was the perfect choice to kick off Alabama's rally.  He's one of the leading voices the North Carolina "Moral Monday" protests that have received national attention.

On the last Monday of April 2013, Barber led a modest group of clergy and activists into the state legislative building in Raleigh. They sang "We Shall Overcome," quoted the Bible, and blocked the doors to the Senate chambers. Barber leaned on his cane as capitol police led him away in handcuffs.

That might have been the end of just another symbolic protest, but then something happened: The following Monday, more than 100 protesters showed up at the capitol. Over the next few months, the weekly crowds at the "Moral Mondays" protests grew to include hundreds, and then thousands, not just in Raleigh but also in towns around the state. The largest gathering, in February, drew tens of thousands of people. More than 900 protesters have been arrested for civil disobedience over the past year. Copycat movements have started in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama in response to GOP legislation regarding Medicaid and gun control.

"The truth is that every age needs a moral movement that defies the cynicism, and pretense, and pride of immoral majorities."  Rev. Barber then listed "moral" movements from history: 

  • Abolitionists, who defeated slavery - white and black united in a moral movement
  • The NAACP, formed in 1909 "in the face of lynchings," by black & white, Jews, Catholics, & Christians faced down segregation "with moral authority." 
  • In 1955, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, when Rosa Parks "sat down in the power of another law" - not Jim Crow laws.
  • Also in Alabama, a "moral army marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge."
"In every age, we need a moral movement.  And in Alabama, like North Carolina, we have governors and legislators drunk on TEA Party ideology.  Despite the fact that they claim to believe in the Bible.  But evidently, they believe in it, but don't read it."
 
From the Mother Jones profile of Barber: 

 

...what may be most notable about Barber's new brand of civil rights activism is how he's taken a partisan fight and presented it as an issue that transcends party or race—creating a more sustained pushback against Republican overreach than anywhere else in the country.

 

There's a lot more. Watch the videos on the flip.  And share, share, share.... 

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Time to Close the Gap- One More Reason to Expand Medicaid

by: JenniferMarsdenMD

Wed Sep 24, 2014 at 07:53:50 AM CDT

( - promoted by countrycat)

by Jennifer Marsden, MD, Candidate for State House, Alabama District 93

The ability to get health insurance with full coverage of preexisting conditions, and if your income is low to get coverage through Medicaid, is an important benefit for those in Arkansas. That state may be seeing an unexpected pay off for their choice to expand Medicaid: a decrease in Social Security disability claims.

The number of Arkansas residents signing up for federal Supplemental Security Income benefits has dropped 19% since October 2013, which some state officials are attributing to expanded Medicaid eligibility. 

First-time applicants decreased from 17,497 to 14,160 through Tuesday, according to the state's Social Security determination agency.

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20140826/NEWS/308269939

Many of my patients without health insurance but with major health issues felt they had to apply for social security disability simply to qualify, after two years time, for disability Medicare coverage. It is certainly much riskier for their health and the family finances to try to continue working when the health problem might make that impossible, and when losing employer based health care (if they even have it) would further jeopardize their health and ability to work. The likely costs of health care without insurance coverage were expected to bankrupt the family or lead to the person's early death due to inability to pay for medical care. (By the way no doctor or hospital or emergency room is required to provide care if they are not paid for it, except for immediate emergency care. There are people who BECOME disabled from a heart attack or stroke because they could not afford to get medical care to PREVENT the heart attack or stroke.)

I know of people who did everything to get health insurance- including a friend marrying someone for no other reason (no doubt someone has gotten divorced for no other reason), a doctor I knew closing down a thriving practice to get a government job with a health plan, a soldier relative staying in the military only to keep benefits for an ill family member, and a family NOT taking jobs to ensure family income is low enough for Medicaid coverage for their disabled child.

The Governor Dr. Bentley must close the  Medicaid Gap as soon as possible. As the state of Arkansas shows, we probably have many people leaving the workforce before they are fully disabled because it is financial, or literal, suicide to do otherwise. In addition, we lose almost $4 million in federal funds each day we delay. We leave uninsured up to 300,000 Alabamians who would have coverage if he expands Medicaid, including half of our uninsured Veterans and their family members. We miss the opportunity- at a much lower cost than we have previously paid for each job- to rev up the economy to create 20,000 - 30,000 new jobs. We let hospitals in poor, mostly uninsured counties close their doors due to lack of funds which Medicaid expansion could fix. (Six hospitals have closed in the past 18 months and 22 more are at risk.) We have dozens of people dying needlessly each month we delay. It's time to close the Gap, Governor.

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Huntsville City Council Prayers In The News Again

by: countrycat

Tue Sep 23, 2014 at 09:00:00 AM CDT

Thursday's opening invocation at the Huntsville City Council meeting will be delivered by an atheist.  This is a first for the Council, which was in the news earlier this year, when it invited - then dis-invited a Wiccan priest to deliver the opening invocation at a regular council meeting. It was a silly, spineless decision, made after "several citizens became alarmed" at the prospect of listening to a Wiccan prayer and called to complain.

We wonder if those same concerned citizens will have the same issues this time. 

Chuck Miller, regional director of American Atheists, announced the first-time event in a recent press release:

Kelly McCauley, an atheist and Board Member of the North Alabama Freethought Association will give the invocation at the September 25th Huntsville City Commission meeting.  

“This will mark the first occasion, to our knowledge, that an atheist has offered the invocation at a public meeting in Huntsville”, said Charles Miller, Regional Director of American Atheists.  Mr. Miller went on to say, “This is a small step in the right direction to bring Huntsville’s ceremonial practices in line with recent court decisions and make Huntsville’s claim of being an ’Inclusive Community’ a reality.”  

Miller cited Mayor Battle's Inclusive Community Initiative, noting that "true inclusion" means that everyone gets to participate.  The city had ignored repeated requests from Miller & others for a meeting on the subject. Reverend Frank Broyles of the Interfaith Mission Service intervened and McCauley's invocation was scheduled "within hours," Miller said.  

 “I was disappointed that the City of Huntsville was initially unwilling to work with us but now that the Interfaith Mission Service has made an effort, I look forward to full inclusion of all groups and people that have been disenfranchised.  This was never about having an atheist give an invocation; it is about following the law and treating everyone as equals.” 

Kudos to Miller for his dogged determination to have the city recognize and respect all citizens.  And also to Rev. Broyles: the IMS brings together many diverse groups of people in the city, and helps promote diversity, respect, and understanding.

No community can ever have too much of that!

 

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James Fields Statement On Hiawayi Robinson: How A Leader Should Respond

by: countrycat

Tue Sep 23, 2014 at 07:58:27 AM CDT

Losing a child, no matter how it happens, is every parent's nightmare.  But the thought of a murdered 8-year-old little girl horrifies everyone.  Governor Bentley though, had an odd way of sharing his thoughts on the matter last week:

Television station WPMI reported that Bentley was asked about the death while he was making a visit to Mobile, Ala. for a manufacturing conference.

"There are things that happen we just don’t understand," Bentley said, according to the TV station. "There are difficulties in families. We don’t know, maybe drug related. Maybe alcohol related. Maybe family problems. We just don’t know what the situation is." 

The Governor's office has issued multiple statements clarifying his comments, and only the Governor knows exactly what he meant.  He has offered a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the killer.

In contrast to a rather mishandled response by the Governor's office, Lt. Governor James Fields responded with a thoughtful, graceful  tribute on his campaign Facebook page:

I am grieving for the loss of Hiawayi Robinson and want to send my deepest condolences to her family, friends and the entire community. The loss of a child is especially tragic. We must all work together to stop the violence in every neighborhood throughout our state. Blame should never be placed automatically without the facts. That's what the American legal system is based on and it applies to every person and every family.

I know law enforcement is working as hard as they can to bring the perpetrator to justice. I pray that happens soon and again would like to console Hiawayi's family.

-James Fields Jr. 

There's how you do it, Governor.

Full disclosure: A family member is a paid staffer for the Fields campaign. 

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The "E" Word

by: Paws4Change

Sun Sep 21, 2014 at 08:16:55 AM CDT

( - promoted by countrycat)

Let's talk about words today. More specifically, let's talk about one word: euthanasia. The dictionary definition of euthanasia is simple: the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.

When we destroy animals which are suffering or are irremediably ill, that is euthanasia. Destroying healthy and treatable animals in places we call shelters using our tax dollars is not euthanasia. It is not merciful, it is not beautiful and it is not necessary. It is not "putting them down" or "putting them to sleep" or preventing "a fate worse than death." We use those phrases - and many use the word euthanasia - to sugar coat the reality of the act. And because we have allowed ourselves to become so callous to, or complacent about, killing of shelter animals, we accept that word because it makes us feel better somehow, as if we did a good thing.

When we destroy healthy and treatable animals we are doing just that. We are destroying them and we are killing them. If you have ever had to euthanize a beloved pet which was genuinely suffering or so ill that any treatment would likely cause more pain or suffering, you know exactly what euthanasia means. And any person who ever lost a beloved pet to an "oops" killing at a shelter would not say their dog or cat was euthanized.

In no kill communities, healthy and treatable animals are not destroyed using our tax dollars and resources. Period. They are saved. And words are used for what they mean.

Let's stop calling this anything but what it is. Once we do that, we can have a realistic conversation about how we want our resources used in our communities.

 

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GOP Candidate For State Auditor Joins Protesters At Huntsville's CLOSED Women's Clinic

by: countrycat

Sat Sep 20, 2014 at 12:03:27 PM CDT

None of us should be surprised by this.  In 2010, PSC candidate Twinkle Cavanaugh ran on two issues: anti-Obama & anti-abortion.  She won, & now spends her time embarrassing the state with statements like "coal is a gift from God."

Jim Ze1gler Zealots

Now, Jim Zeigler is jumping into emotional issues that have absolutely nothing to do with the job he's asking voters for.  He's protesting outside a women's clinic that isn't even open & supposedly upset because it's across the street from a school that is sitting empty.  It's a clinic the protesters are trying to keep closed because of the "disruptions" around the clinic.  Do you see anyone causing any disruptions - other than the protesters themselves?  No surprise there.

None of this should surprise us: Zeigler is a long-time time Alabama political clown.  Voters were offered the dismal choice between him & Dale Peterson in the July GOP runoff election:

Zeigler has been active in Alabama politics for decades, and, it appears, has quite a high opinion of himself.  Now certainly, that's pretty much a requirement for anyone seeking political office, but Zeigler takes it to a new level.

He has his own Web site "ZeiglerStory.com," that presents a facsimile of a Wikipedia page.

  • Although the page duplicates the actual Wikipedia.org page layout - including the site logo and navigation! - it's not actually a Wikipedia page.
  • There is no Wikipedia page for Jim Zeigler.
  • The only hint (other than the broken links) that you are NOT at the actual Wikipedia site is this:  "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia"
  • Except that this page doesn't exist on the actual Wikipedia site - and when you read the bizarre information included, it's not hard to see why.

For instance, Zeigler devotes a whole paragraph to election triumphs in other states: Scott Walker's recall win in Wisconsin and Republican control of the Washington State Senate. 

In June 2012, Zeigler was recruited by Jenny Beth Martin's Tea Party Patriots to go to Wisconsin to assist in fighting the recall of Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Democrat and liberal groups had initiated a recall vote. Zeigler stayed a month, working in Eau Claire and Wausau, WI. Walker was behind when Zeigler got there but turned it around to win by a modest margin.  After the success there, Tea Party Patriots asked Zeigler to go for a month to Washington State in October, 2012 in a long-shot attempt to switch control of the state senate to Republicans. On election night, Republicans fell two senate seats short of control and everyone assumed they had lost.But in January 2013 when the senate met to organize, two conservative Democrats switched, giving control to the GOP after all. 

Oddly, the article source that each claim links to not only fails to credit Ziegler's pivotal role in these two elections - neither even mentions his name:

Apparently, Zeigler's mere presence in those states was enough to swing the elections! 

Zeigler's Democratic opponent is Miranda Joseph, a woman of unquestioned qualifications:

  • Certified internal auditor
  • Certified risk management assurance
  • BSBA Accounting
  • MBA
  • Experience in banking, public accounting, taxation, & auditing industries.
Who would you rather have auditing state agencies that seem to have a difficult time keeping up with state equipment - including firearms?  In November, you have the choice between a protesting clown and a competent auditor.
 
Miranda Joseph needs your time, your energy, and your donations.  Please support her: we have enough clowns in Montgomery as it is.
 
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"Welcome To The Democratic Party" - New Ad Campaign By Volunteer Group

by: countrycat

Thu Sep 18, 2014 at 09:20:08 AM CDT

A volunteer group of Democrats, the "Brite Blue Dot" group, released two excellent YouTube ads supporting Medicaid expansion in Alabama.  The ads point out that lack of Medicaid expansion hurts working people in the state - "people who get their hands dirty every day" - and asks why these people don't deserve the same health care opportunities as lawyers & bankers.

Brite Blue DotGood question, but the only answer Governor Bentley & the GOP supermajority can give is .... "because Obama." 

From the Brite Blue Dots release announcement:

"The inspiration for these spots came from input received from volunteers making calls on behalf of AL  Dem candidates. Bob Parker of OTMDems realized while making these calls himself that MANY people polled agreed with MANY of the Dem positions, but do not consider themselves to be Democrats and would never vote for one."

These spots remind everyone that ordinary working people are in the same boat in Alabama and we're all pretty much the same:  "approachable, decent, and All-American." 

The producers urge everyone to share the spots widely - and not just with their Democratic friends and relatives:

*The goal is for our folks, who tend to discuss these topics in safe silos with other Democrats, to step out and share these soft-spoken spots with EVERY ONE of their FB friends, no matter their political stripe. If Blue Dots throughout the state would do that with all the spots that are produced, it would basically create FREE advertising for all of the AL Dem candidates, whose coffers are not as full as their GOP counterparts.

We MUST get the word out about us and our stand on the issues to voters outside of our bubble. In lieu of expensive TV spots, sharing spots via FB could have a great impact. It helps reach those sitting on the fence and those not in love with their GOP candidates. "

That this effort is being conducted by volunteers who basically paid for the production costs by selling bumper stickers illustrates two important points. 

  1. It highlights the weakness of the Alabama Democratic Party at the state level.  For decades, the party relied on a small group of high-dollar donors to fund party operations and relied on the voter "habit" of voting for Democrats locally if not nationally.

    The party has not only been slow to respond to the new reality, the leadership has been actively hostile to greater grassroots participation and fundraising.

  2. It highlights the energy and enthusiasm of grassroots Democrats.
    The state party leadership is busy staying in power, but  grassroots activists have a loftier goal: rebuild the party from the bottom up. 

    Democrats can win on the issues in Alabama. We can recruit great candidates (there are many running this year!).  And we can build strong local party organizations - with or without help from the top.
Kudos to the Brite Blue Dots for seeing the need for better party branding taking on that project.  They are actively soliciting donations to help produce more spots:
 
Creation and production has all been done on the BBD dime. So basically, proceeds from sales of the bumper stickers produced these spots. Anyone sporting a Dot sticker, lapel pin, etc, should feel more than a bit of pride and ownership. Blue Dot folks helped make this effort happen.

If folks want to help us produce more videos, it would be great if they “Dotted Up” for election season by visiting www.britebluedot.com Otherwise, the best thing they can do is like them on YouTube and share them on Facebook.  

Both videos are on the flip.  Please watch and SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!

 

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Alabama Announces New Warning Label For Cars: A TEA Party Specialty License Plate

by: countrycat

Wed Sep 17, 2014 at 14:18:13 PM CDT

Forget the importance of constitutional law, soon Alabama car owners will be able to declare the supremacy of "moral law" via their license plates.  The Alabama Department of Revenue has announced that the "Foundation For Moral Law" received at least 250 pre-orders of a "TEA Party inspired" tag & all motorists will soon be able to purchase one.  Alabama warning label

The foundation's president, Kayla Moore is the wife of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, a former president of the organization.  It's a 501(c)(3) organization, so when someone purchases the $50 speciality plate, the Foundation receives $41.25 of the purchase price.

That money will support efforts to stop marriage equality, support Hobby Lobby, encourage public sectarian prayer at government meetings, and fight the Affordable Care Act.  Don't everybody line up at once, now!

On the bright side, it's kind of like having a warning label attached to a vehicle.  The "Choose Life" tags perform the same function.  The new option will take its place in the Alabama generic specialty tag lineup, along with the "Kappa Alpha Psi," the Freemasons, "Friends of Coal.

While we're on the topic of specialty tags, keep in mind that the "Spay & Neuter" tag is not exactly what it seems to be.

 

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Anti-Choice Harassment Continues In Huntsville - Even Though Clinic Is Closed

by: countrycat

Wed Sep 17, 2014 at 10:10:28 AM CDT

Huntsville's only women's clinic is closed temporarily, so what's a bored abortion opponent to do?  Why, protest at the previous location of course.  The fact that it's occupied by a female OB-GYN who is pro-choice just puts the cherry on top.
For months, we've been following the saga of Huntsville's Alabama Women's Center as it struggles to comply with the TRAP (Targeted Regulations Against Abortion Providers) bill passed by the GOP supermajority.  (Part of the bill was struck down by a federal judge.  Read coverage of the hearings here.) 

 The clinic closed at the end of June - temporarily - while it relocated to a new building & installed required upgrades to comply with the TRAP law.

As of now, the clinic remains closed, pending final inspection and approval from state & local government.  Not surprisingly, the state is taking its time sending someone up here and the city is now embroiled in a lawsuit over the zoning. 
 
That's right campers!  The supermajority's TRAP law is costing taxpayers money at the state and local levels.  That's quite the twist on their pledge of "fiscal responsibility."
 
So, with the actual clinic closed, what's a dedicated anti-choice protester to do with his/her time?  Maybe they could volunteer to help with the many humanitarian needs in our community: the hungry, the homeless, the kids needing mentors, sick people without medical care, elderly & homebound residents who need a helping hand.....
 
NOPE.  This Huntsville group has decided to go "back to the future" and protest at the old clinic location.  You know: the one where abortions are no longer performed and the place where a private physician has set up an OB/GYN practice.
 
This isn't the first time protesters have tried to disrupt this doctor's private practice.  They picketed her old office as well - directly across from a middle school school.  Why their intense interest and determination to disrupt a private medical practice?

 
She used to be a physician at the clinic, but folded under the pressure & threats from the anti-choice zealots.  It's understandable: many doctors have to make the same choice to protect themselves, their families, and employees.  But here's the thing: the protesters won.  They forced her to stop working at the clinic - but they're still harrassing her and her patients.
 
It seems that these goons just can't stop yelling at pregnant women - even women who are hoping to carry their pregnancies to term. 
 
The word "bully" just doesn't seem to cover it. 
 
The photos accompanying this post were taken yesterday outside the doctor's office.  If you're confused by the "White Abortionist" sign, just understand that the doctor's last name is hyphenated and the protesters apparently have problems with proper punctuation. 

Want to join the fight against anti-choice extremism?  Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates (ARRA) is an excellent resource for news and activism alerts.

 

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AL-05 - Mo Brooks Agrees To TV Debate With Independent Candidate Mark Bray 10/30

by: countrycat

Wed Sep 17, 2014 at 07:00:00 AM CDT

Well, here's one way that Rep. Mo Brooks is a better candidate than Governor Robert Bentley: he's not afraid to debate his opponent.  WAAY-TV in Huntsville announced that it will be sponsoring "an exclusive, televised debate" between Congressman Brooks & challenger Mark Bray on Thursday, October 30 from 6-7pm.

debate chicken

It gets better, campers!

The live debate will follow a "Lincoln-Douglas" format, allowing both candidates to interact directly with each other and discuss the issues they believe are most important in Alabama's Fifth Congressional District. Rep. Brooks (R-Huntsville) and Bray (I-Huntsville) are both guaranteed equal speaking time per the rules agreed upon by both campaigns. The debate will take place in the WAAY 31 studios, and will be moderated by longtime station anchor Erin Dacy. The event will be the only televised debate in this year's congressional cycle.

I did debate in high school & college and NOTHING keeps you on your toes more than what we called "LD Cross-ex." 

That's a real debate where the participants ask each other questions and respond.  No canned speeches allowed. Will the participants follow the rules?  Let's hope so.  This should be one of the best hours of the fall campaign.

In the meantime, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley not only refuses to debate opponent Parker Griffith, he's stated that he doesn't feel the need to even campaign, just wield a pair of scissors.

Hubris.  It'll get you every time.  Just ask the ancient Greeks.

 

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Greedy Vets Club Newsletter: "Alabama Vets Are Under Attack!"

by: countrycat

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 09:45:28 AM CDT

With less than a month left in his term as Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (ASBVME) president, Athens veterinarian & kill shelter owner Dr. Robert Pitman penned a farewell newsletter column for Alabama's veterinary community.  

Titled "Veterinary Profession Is Under Attack," Pitman's column is a study in both paranoia and misinformation.  It also shines a bright light on the reason he's in business: money, money, and more money.

Think about it.  Walk into a Wal-Mart or other department store right now and you see a Wal-Mart pharmacy on the left and a Wal-Mart optical on the right.  If the current trends continue, there will be a Wal-Mart Veterinary Services managed and operated by a store manager with no training in veterinary medicine or the proper care and treatment of animals.

Did you see the problem here?  The doctors at the optical "stores" within Wal-Mart, Costo, Sears, etc. are not "managed" by the retail store manager.  It's made quite clear that the doctors are working independently of the retail store & patients pay the doctor directly, not Wal-Mart.

So what would be the problem with a Wal-Mart veterinary clinic with an independent veterinarian working there?  How is that different from the Banfield Pet Hospitals located inside PetSmart stores?  If there's a problem with them, the ASBVME has so far failed to take action.   

Another "we're all about the money" tidbit is located on page 8 of the 16-page newsletter.  It warns veterinarians about holding off-site rabies clinics:  (the strange grammar & punctuation is from the newsletter, not LIA)

"The ASBVME has received numerous calls and complaints from Veterinarians conducting Rabies Clinics and Microchip Clinics off premise of a duly licensed veterinary premise.  We must remind you the Rabies Clinics must be conducted only by the appointed Rabies Officer in each county.  Clinics can only administer one (1) year Rabies Vaccines (no 3-year vaccines)."

Undoubtedly, the first sentence refers to at least one incident from earlier this year where a complaint about "unfair competition" shut down a vaccination & microchip clinic in Wilsonville. 

Also on page 8 we find an ugly attack on the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association (ALVMA) and Dr. Margaret Ferrell.  Remember, this is the largest group of veterinarians in the state and it supported the low-cost spay/neuter clinics until Dr. Pitman sued the organization and formed his own Greedy Vets Club - the Alabama Veterinary Practice Owners Association (AVPOA).

The author, Dr. Craig Wyatt (owner of Cheaha Animal Hospital), whines that he wasn't able to vote in the recent election where ALVMA members selected Dr. Margaret Ferrell of the Alabama Spay & Neuter Clinic to replace Dr. Pitman on the ASBVME board because he doesn't belong to the organization.  Well duh.....   The ASBVME is busily preparing a new kangaroo court to put their new board member on trial, so the October meeting should be very interesting.

He writes:  "The ALVMA is doing nothing to help veterinarians out.  They have not been a voice to help veterinarians with the bad publicity we receive from the press."

I certainly hope he's not this clueless in his veterinary practice!  The ALVMA hasn't "helped veterinarians" with the bad press because it has nothing to do with the bad press.  That is all coming from Dr. Robert Pitman, the other ASBVME members, and their DJ lawyer.

Page 10 of the newsletter contains an article from the Athens News-Courier about the Affordable Care Act & walk-in clinics.  Apparently, the only reason for inclusion in the ASBVME newsletter is that it feeds Dr. Pitman's Wal-Mart vet clinic paranoid fantasy.

But the most fun part for us here at Left In Alabama is Dr. Pitman's defensive remark on page 3 regarding "those who label veterinarians the 'Greedy Vets Club'...."  Thanks for helping us publicize that label, Dr. Pitman!

But, ahem...  Perhaps Dr. Pitman has some reading comprehension problems.  We have never labeled all veterinarians as the "Greedy Vets Club," just Dr. Pitman, his ASBVME cronies, and his new group, the AVPOA.  

If you don't like being called out on greedy behavior that helps increase the number of homeless animals, the suffering that comes from that, AND the increased costs to taxpayers to handle the problem, well... there's a simple solution.

Stop it.  Just stop.  And please... quit whining. 

 

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

SD-01 - Mike Curtis: "We Have To Work Together" To Get Alabama Back To Work

by: countrycat

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 08:04:04 AM CDT

Mike Curtis, Democratic candidate for SD-01, has some very definite ideas about education and economic development.  He served as a county commissioner & understands how these two issues complement each other.  

Mike Curtis

Left in Alabama interviewed him at a recent event (see Part 1 of the interview).  In this clip, Curtis is answering our question about Alabama's policy of handing out industrial "incentives" but never doing the follow-up work to see if the state got its money's worth.  

I'll have to give a shout to our Shoals Economic Development Authority because for some industries that have come in, they have given incentives.  But on their (the industries') part, they had to provide "x" number of jobs by this date.  They had to meet "x" amount of payroll.  And if they didn't, the incentives were brought back.

If we do it that way, I don't have any problem with it.  But really, times have changed.  Used to, industry came in because they liked the work force - and that's where education comes in.

David Bronner has been our number one industrial recruiter in Alabama, and what did this supermajority do?  They make him report to a 3-member political board.  

But he'll tell you that, when a business comes in, the first thing they want to know is: "What kind of education system do you have for my workers and their families?"

Curtis mentioned Alabama's prison overcrowding problem also, noting education could be a powerful way to divert young people from a life of crime. 

He also wants the state - and country - to focus on reviving our industrial base.  That is one way we can begin rebuilding and strengthening the middle class:

I am so fed up with everything I pick up saying "Made in China" or "Made in Mexico."  It's the big corporate world.  If you can have child labor over here working for 50 cents an hour, 24/7 and still charge the same for the products....

We have to get our workers back to work here in American and here in Alabama.  We have to work together, but there's no working together right now. 

 

Learn more at Mike Curtis' campaign Web site & get campaign updates & event announcements at his Facebook page

State Senate District 1 stretches from the Shoals all the way to Madison County.  It's a breathtaking piece of gerrymandering. 

 

Discuss :: (0 Comments)
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