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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__________________.

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.

CDC Warning: Don't Kiss or Snuggle Chickens

  • Fifty-two people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from 21 states.
    • Five (19%) people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.
    • 28% of ill people were children younger than 5 years.
  • Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that contact with backyard poultry (such as chicks and ducklings) from multiple hatcheries is the likely source of these outbreaks.
    People infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella, by state of residence, as of May 10, 2019
    TWO cases have been reported in Alabama
    • In interviews, 23 (70%) of 33 ill people reported contact with chicks and ducklings.
    • People reported obtaining chicks and ducklings from several sources, including agricultural stores, websites, and hatcheries.

    CDC advice for people who keep chickens is HERE, including the no kissing and no snuggling and then touching your mouth advice.

Three Strikes?

     To be fair, Alabama is criticized by outsiders for a lot or reasons, and those outsiders sometimes come to the fight with a preconceived bias against the state, and the South in general.

     But the state sometimes helps by providing ammunition.

     And Alabama offered up a hat-trick this past week.

  • Governor Ivy signed the bill virtually banning abortion because she said "Alabamians' deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God." The very next day the Ivy-approved execution of a death row inmate was carried out. So much for every life being precious. 

  • Fallout continued from Alabama's longstanding mistreatment of people it places in its prisons. The Justice Department is on the case and could even take over the Department of Corrections. Some State officials may be urging the Feds to please do just that. 

  • Then my former employers, Alabama Public Television, became the only public TV stations in the U.S. to refuse to carry the episode of the cartoon series Arthur because the main cartoon character was shown getting married. Same-sex Cartoon married. Same-sex cartoon animal married. Not only did Alabama fight tooth and a nail against real living gay people getting married, she couldn't even let two cartoon animals do it (er, get married). The program is available online. 
CBS's Steven Colbert and his take on the APT decision: "Today in Unfortunate News from Alabama". HERE.


(Mississippi) "State Rep. Douglas McLeod was arrested after he allegedly punched his wife when she failed to get undressed quickly enough when he wanted to have sex, according to an investigative report filed with the George County Sheriff’s Department.
The 58-year-old Republican lawmaker was intoxicated and holding a glass of alcohol in his hand when deputies responded to the McLeod home shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday, the report said."

From a story in the SunHerald newspaper in South MIssissippi.

May 21, 2019

After the Abortion Ban and the Prison Report.......

"It's hard to believe these people (in Alabama) call themselves Americans..." 

 A listener comment on NPR.

Here's The audio clip.