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May 26, 2019

Scott Pelley: I Lost My Job....Because I complained about a Hostile work Environment at CBS.

CNN has the story.

The Alabama-Designed Confederate Helicopter. Really. Or At least ALMOST.

Three quarter view of the experimental model built by William C. Powers. (No longer in the National Air and Space Museum's Collection).

In 1862....
"William C. Powers was an architectural engineer living in Mobile, Alabama, and personally saw the effects of the Northern blockade.  Powers knew that the southern states did not have enough ships to break the blockade with naval power, and going through the blockade was full of risks.  William Powers saw another way to crush the blockade – attack it from the air.  Using his engineering skills, Powers began drafting plans for a machine that could lift off and propel itself through the air to attack Union ships."

See the full story HERE at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum website.

The U.S. Army Avaition Museum is in Alabama.... Fort Rucker. Though there is no reference that I can find on their website to that early helicopter model, there was this Civil War mention:

"Army Aviation traces its origins back to the American Civil War. Both Union and Confederate forces used hydrogen-filled balloons to direct artillery fire, marking the beginning of U.S. military aeronautics and of aerial support of Army ground forces."

    Then again since that early chopper design was imagined by someone rebelling against the United States... perhaps it has no place there?
     And what happened to the model that The Smithsonian writes is "no longer in the National Air and Space Museum's Collection"? 
I'm inquiring, and will update when I have the information.

A Sunday Editorial: Appointed vs Elected State BOE

     Alabama's Governor and Republican legislative leaders want to stop voters from electing members of the State Board of Education. 
    They think the members should be appointed. She says that would somehow make the board more accountable. The State Senate voted unanimously for the bill*, which now heads to the House.

     The new appointed board "would be required to have the geographical, gender and racial diversity reflective of the public school system in Alabama", according to a statement from President Pro Tempore Del Marsh’s office.

     That would, in effect, guarantee a majority female, white, conservative board. The current nine member board has seven women and two men on it, two African-American and seven white members. 
    But if it's a good thing to have an appointed school board, perhaps we should have an appointed legislature and governor too. That would make those office holders more accountable, no?

   The change would take power away from the people and put it in the hands of Montgomery power brokers.

*I emailed Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton on Friday, asking for comment, but did not get a reply. Speaking of Singleton, I noticed that the Republican dominated Senate does not list him on the Senate Leadership page on the state legislative webpage.


May 25, 2019

Holiday Weekend

After the beach, after the BBQ, after the pool party and beer, please spend a few minutes remembering the purpose of Memorial Day.


May 24, 2019

Should all slave-owners be distained?

"The will of an oppressed people, compelled to choose between liberty and slavery, must be obeyed."

Those are the words of Revolutionary War General Richard Montgomery, for whom the City of Montgomery, Alabama, is named. 

 City officials plan to install a statue of him, and another of Rosa Parks, in the small triangular park at the foot of Dexter Avenue. But there's a problem. Montgomery, and almost all of the general officers fighting the British in the colonies, owned slaves.

     General Montgomery apparently didn't see the now-obvious hypocrisy of his words.
A sign near the little park, acknowledging The city's slave past.

     Now a local tour guide wants the city to reverse course and eliminate the Montgomery statue. 
     Michelle Browder made her argument before a city council meeting a few weeks ago. 
      One question I would ask is whether the actual name of the city should also be changed, since it was named in honor of him. And what would be an appropriate replacement name?

Parksville or Rosaville (for Rosa Parks)
The Emory City (for the former longtime Mayor)
Alvintown (for former longtime Montgomery Legislator Holmes)
*Bryanville (for EJI head Bryan Stevenson) 
Hankville (for Hank, of course)
MLKville (or any of his single names, like Luthertown or Kingville) for the Rev., of course)
Or Georgetown or Wallaceville, for, well, you know.
or Lewistown, for Joseph L. Lewis, born in Montgomery but who you probably don't know.

*Of course we might restrict the potential names to people who have passed on, like the rule about postage stamps and currency. 

WELCOME TO__________________.
UPDATE: CBS Sunday Morning today had a great story about statues, and how few of them are of women, Watch it online HERE.

May 23, 2019

We May Run Out of Eyes to Blacken

       We have another legislative act that will provide ammunition for Steven Colbert's "Today in Unfortunate News From Alabama" feature.

      This is the same kind of thing Alabama did in the 1950's when they were forced to integrate public pools and zoos.

     They closed the pool and the zoos.

     Now the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage has forced some Alabama probate judges to actually sign marriage now the state is about to eliminate ALL Marriage licenses. All the bill needs is Governor Ivy's signature.

How Unhappy are People in Montgomery, Birmingham and Mobile?

Wallet Hub reports Montgomery is not among the happiest U.S. cities. The Capital City ranks 160th of 182 cities ranked. 
But that's above Birmingham (#179) and Mobile (#173). HERE is the full listing.

20 Unhappiest Cities in America
(This is the bottom of the Wallet Hub Happiest cities list)

  1. Detroit, Michigan
  2. Toledo, Ohio
  3. Charleston, West Virginia
  4. Birmingham, Alabama
  5. Cleveland, Ohio
  6. Gulfport, Mississippi
  7. Little Rock, Arkansas
  8. Huntington, West Virginia
  9. Newark, New Jersey
  10. Mobile, Alabama
  11. Augusta, Georgia
  12. St. Louis, Missouri
  13. Fort Smith, Arkansas
  14. Cincinnati, Ohio
  15. Akron, Ohio
  16. Fayetteville, North Carolina
  17. Columbus, Georgia
  18. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  19. Memphis, Tennessee
  20. Shreveport, Louisiana


My Three Strikes post has been updated today with a link to Steven Colbert's "Today's Unfortunate News From Alabama" report.

May 22, 2019

Go to Mars!

your name Can be on the next Mars Rover!

 And yes, any Martians who come across it will need help actually reading it.

"The opportunity to send your name to Mars comes with a souvenir boarding pass and "frequent flyer" points. This is part of a public engagement campaign to highlight missions involved with NASA's journey from the Moon to Mars. Miles (or kilometers) are awarded for each "flight," with corresponding digital mission patches available for download. More than 2 million names flew on NASA's InSight mission to Mars, giving each "flyer" about 300 million frequent flyer miles (nearly 500 million frequent flyer kilometers).
From now until Sept. 30, you can add your name to the list and obtain a souvenir boarding pass to Mars."


CR: Latest Auto-pilot for cars "doesn’t work very well and could create potential safety risks for drivers."

“The system’s role should be to help the driver, but the way this technology is deployed, it’s the other way around,” says Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ senior director of auto testing. “It’s incredibly nearsighted. It doesn’t appear to react to brake lights or turn signals, it can’t anticipate what other drivers will do, and as a result, you constantly have to be one step ahead of it.”
From a Consumer Reports review of Tesla's most recent Autopilot software update.