Friday, January 31, 2014

"Twenty Years" or "Life"

We recently linked the following article on our Facebook page:

One reader commented that she should have been given a life sentence. What would the difference be?

The difference is that she might actually be supervised for a shorter period of time if she had received a life sentence. Both sentences would bring eligibility for parole at around seven years. If paroled from a 20 year sentence, Hanback would then face 14 years of monthly supervision. How about "Life?" That would be a crap shoot. Since her crime was non-violent, her parole officer would have the discretion to ask to end the supervision after a few years.

That's the way the wonderful laws of Alabama work. The laws aren't fair in themselves and they are not administered fairly. Are other states better? We hear not always, but at least some of the time.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cotey Allen Speyer Strikes Again

Several months ago we blogged on two individuals who had recently been arrested for several serious crimes. One was Cotey Allen Speyer: Low Down Druggie Blues.

We actually added an addendum to our blog after one reader asked if Cotey's crimes were really so bad. Yes, for some reason, we felt stealing the actual safe from Freedom House was just a little anti-social. So has Cotey gotten his act together?

Apparently not. Cotey is now wanted for escape. If you see Cotey, there's a reward for his capture; however, hope springs eternal, and we hope the young man will choose to turn himself in, face whatever may await, and get his life on the right track.

Overlooking crimes as serious as Cotey's is never the right answer.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jamey DuBose's Trousers Are Aflame

It’s nothing to talk about. Don’t know how it gets started. People say stuff like that. People try and make life difficult. Nothing should be in the paper. There’s nothing to say. I’m happy where I am. I’m staying here.

Yes, folks, those were the words of Florence High head football coach Jamey DuBose, cousin of  former University of Alabama head football coach Mike DuBose. Many football fans remember the Mike DuBose era at UA, most notably due to the distinct possibility the women's teams were to take their scarlet "A"s seriously and change their names to the Alabama Adulteresses.

Can Jamey DuBose leave Florence soon enough? We've heard several mention that they'd just love to help him pack...


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Have You Been Abused in Russellville?

No, this blog unfortunately isn't about any mental or physical abuse at the hands of the Russellville Police Department or other official agency. It's about sexual abuse at the hands of a man who acted under the guise of religion and serving God.

From PNS: Douglas Myers

If any of our readers were abused at the Concord Baptist Church, it's not too late to report the crime. If you don't trust the police in Russellville, you can report the abuse directly to the Franklin County District Attorney's Office. Mr. Joey Rushing will make sure that your complaint is handled correctly.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Deshler: What of Patrick Smith?

Much of Tuscumbia is reeling from the news that John Mothershed was asked to resign as head football coach of the Deshler Tigers, yet nothing has been said about Patrick Smith, reportedly still the official athletic director. We say reportedly since the link to his name in the online roster of teacher/admins no longer works.

The only other name to have suffered a delink is that of Brioni Rutland, the murdered volunteer coach reported to have been a major bookie in the Shoals. Patrick Tyrone Smith's no longer linked bio may still be accessed here: Smith.

The parents of Tuscumbia deserve more than rumors...


Sunday, January 26, 2014

As Rogersville Turns

A longtime law enforcement officer wins a city office...

The new councilman holds secret meetings in a camper...

The same councilman fires a longtime employee...for revenge?

Auditors come to town...

A city employee is mysteriously let go...

The councilman commits suicide...

More auditors are called in...

Another employee is terminated...

The grand jury meets...

Yes, it's all in Rogersville, a small town that could make Cherokee or Leighton look good. Stay tuned.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

How to Report (More) Sexual Abuse

Since our blogs on former youth minister Oliver Brazelle, we've received several comments that cannot be published due to names of possible victims being included in the posts. If there are other victims of Brazelle or any other alleged predator, they should report the crime now.

Anyone abused sexually as a child, no matter how long ago, should report the crime to the police of the city in which the abuse occurred or to the county's district attorney's office. There are no time limits on reporting sexual crimes in Alabama.

We hope that any predator gets what's coming to him...or her.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Streaming of Screaming for Florence Tourism Board

We've just concluded a series of three blogs that made reference to the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board. So, while we're on the subject...

It seems that future meetings are scheduled to be streamed online to those who may want to watch the proceedings. We feel this is a prudent move by the board. Many who cannot attend may now watch from their home or office in order to get an inside look at just how hard these individuals work. Is that the only reason to start streaming these meetings?

Sadly, the answer to that question is "no." It seems that one member screams at other members. He screams a lot and no one has so far been able to stop him. Is streaming the answer? We don't know, but we do look forward to the first meeting to be streamed live.


A youth minister sexually abuses his charges. A tenured girl's basketball coach touches his students inappropriately. A trusted family friend has sex with an 11 year old. How often do these horrible events occur? Unfortunately, they occur much too often in the Shoals and everywhere.

Now that one victim of Oliver Brazelle has come forward in Lauderdale County, we hope at least some of his Colbert victims will bring charges as well. If any of his victims are reading this, please at least think about coming forward now. The more charges, the more likely a judge is to deny him bail as a flight risk. It's never too late...


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Unprofessional: Dick Jordan or the Tourism Board?

Dick Jordan is a member of the Florence City Council; he's also an insurance salesman...selling insurance to the city and to government related groups. Is this ethical or professional? In a small town, it may not be that unethical, but it still smacks of good ol' boyism.

Now, the Florence Lauderdale Tourism Board, for which Dick's current wife Libby worked until very recently, has questioned how he presented an insurance policy to them. Either the entire tourism board is very mixed up or Dick doesn't communicate well fill in the space. When the board questioned a deficiency in the policy, Dick called them unprofessional. Nothing like a good offense for a defense, is there?

When anyone buys anything, get it in writing. We should all know that, but it's very easy to forget. So what happens now? We await the next installment...


Has anyone filled Libby Watts Jordan's place as director of cultural tourism yet? We await that news also...


Yesterday we blogged on Oliver Brazelle, recently arrested for the sexual abuse of one child and accused of the same crime with as many as ten others. When the case goes to trial, or is plea bargained, there may be an easy out for the former youth minister due to his age. Let's hope not.

Just be aware it could happen. It happened in Franklin County when Hershel Graham received a sweetheart sentence due to his health. As we said at the time of the Red Bay murderer, we're sure the Hamilton facility for the aged and infirm has a spot waiting for Brazelle. He can't be placed there soon enough.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Seduction at Six Flags?

We'll continue with our series on Dick Jordan tomorrow...

Chaperon: One who watches others, usually young people, to ensure they come to no harm. That's what Oliver Brazelle called himself on several outings his various youth choirs took out of town. How did that work?

From a Pen-N-Sword profile of Brazelle: He took one youth choir on summer tours, visiting many major US cities and traveling to Europe in 1986. (You may read the entire profile here: Oliver Brazelle.)

From a Quad-Cities Daily article: (The victim) stated the abuse began in July of 1995 at a Holiday Inn in (censored). He advised that it was a trip to Six Flags and Brazelle got a room for just the two of them. (The victim) stated that Brazelle treated him like a chaperon to help watch the other kids. (The victim) was still 12 years old. (You may read the entire arrest report here: Warrant of Arrest.)

Parents trusted Brazelle. How sad. Brazelle allegedly lived a lie; he married, had a family, purported to follow God. Yet Brazelle was a pedophile of the worst order. How many lives did he impact for the worse? Were some totally ruined because of his actions, or only partially ruined?

Parents: Trust only those closest to you. Tell your children what sexual abuse is. Now's the time to discuss it with them. Don't wait until the next Oliver Brazelle comes along.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A "Jordan Political Dynasty?"

Last September, Robert Palmer wrote an article for the TimesDaily in which he used the term "Jordans Build a Political Dynasty." Just what is a dynasty? From

1. a sequence of rulers from the same family, stock, or group: the Ming dynasty.
2. the rule of such a sequence.
3. a series of members of a family who are distinguished for their success, wealth, etc.

Does the Jordan family qualify? While both Dick and his son William have been elected, Dick's third wife Libby Stoddard Watts Jordan has never been elected to any public office, nor has she been appointed to fill out any vacant political term. She may have political aspirations, but so far she has not publicly announced any. What about her service as a member of the UNA board of trustees? Yes, it may be a political appointment in reality, but it's certainly not political officially.

A short time after the death of Florence mayor Eddie Frost, a somewhat misguided writer penned a letter to the TimesDaily in which he stated Jordan seemed much more a man of the people than Frost, who appeared as an elitist. In reality, Eddie Frost attended what became the University of North Alabama on a basketball scholarship and toiled in the highly underpaid field of education before he entered politics. Dick Jordan's father was a local real estate mogul and sent his son to Auburn.

In March, Dick will be 70. He's worked in the business world for many years, and we would assume invested his income well. This may very well be his last term in political office, and we doubt he feels the need to answer to any and all constituents. This doesn't have to be a bad thing, but it could be.


On one thing, we will congratulate Mr. Jordan--he's never seen the need to campaign on "family values" while having had more wives than some have owned vehicles. It should be an interesting Lauderdale County sheriff's race...


Tomorrow: Unprofessional?


Monday, January 20, 2014

Is Dick a Public Servant?

By definition, elected officials are public servants. They answer to the people. Or do they? Has Dick Jordan been good for the city? We have to say that in most ways he has. Is it enough to make up for his shortcomings?

Everyone has shortcomings. Those who wish to get ahead in the world minimize their shortcomings and maximize their strong points. Has Dick performed to the best of his ability? How about answering e-mails?

From OB's Corner: Does not know how to respond to email. (Dick!!)

From a faithful reader: I have repeatedly sent Dick friend requests and messages on here (Facebook) and time and time again he has declined and ignored me. Obviously the word accountability means nothing to this man. He ran unopposed for reelection and he knows he can do whatever he wants.

From another faithful reader: I once contacted the mayor and all the city council about an issue. Never heard from Dick Jordan or anyone else.

We have it on pretty good authority that there are e-mail programs that answer every incoming e-mail with a stock expression--something like: I've received your e-mail today and want you to know that I value your input. Let me know if I can be of assistance again. How hard would that be?

What does the local press have to say? A recent article in the TimesDaily was entitled Jordans Build a Political Dynasty. Really?

To be continued...


Sunday, January 19, 2014

What Cooks at UNA & Why Keep Facts From the Public?

From downtown Florence to the edge of North Florence sits an imposing institution. Once known as Florence State Normal College, then Florence State Teachers College, then just Florence State College, then Florence State University, the school is big business. It's governed by a board--not composed entirely of locals--and is funded partially by the state.

Make no mistake, the University of North Alabama is big business, and those who run it know in the 21st Century that UNA is like every other entity--it's money driven. Recently two topics have dominated much of the talk on the campus, and today we're going to add a third. In case the general public doesn't know:

1. (From a reader): I am sending this to you since the university's reasoning for not naming the (new commons) building for Dr. Larry Nelson is that he is living and not retired. Well after looking back the Guillot University Center was named for Dr. Guillot while he was still President of UNA and Stevens Hall was named for Dr. Roy Stevens while he was still employed at UNA. Obviously, they were both also still alive. It appears that UNA declares "policy" when it is convenient to do so. Listerhill is contributing a lot of funds towards the construction of that building. I don't know if that plays into this or not. Just wanted to see if you could help drum up some support. (Dr. Nelson passed away last week.)

2. There was a recent alleged rape at the edge of campus. It didn't involve students, but was investigated by campus police. So far, there's been no coverage of the incident in the TimesDaily. You may read about it here: Rape on UNA Campus

3. Today, the TimesDaily ran a very short article--short in length and short on facts. It states that UNA's new Chinese Communist benefactor and man of the hour may allow Florence seniors to continue to use the clubhouse at the facility formerly occupied by the Florence Golf and Country Club. Why? We have no idea since the article doesn't bother to state any rationale for this new turn of events. Aren't things going well with the new school of holistic medicine? There may be a very simple explanation...and we would very much like to hear it.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

A 12 Year-Old Isn't a "Babykiller"

Yesterday we presented a scenario in which a homeowner kills an intruder. The dead man's partner in crime who initiated the home invasion was the one arrested for murder. Did you agree? We hope you did.

Today's scenario? A 12 year-old girl is raped, becomes pregnant, and has an abortion. Perhaps you think this abortion is murder; if you do, who was the murderer? No, not the little girl. If there is a murderer, it was the rapist who not only took a child's innocence, but created a life that could not logically be sustained. If there's a babykiller in this mix, it's the rapist...that shouldn't be hard to understand.

Is there a point to this blog, you may ask? Yes, while not political in nature, there is a reputed money crime involved in all this mix. Our main point? If anyone calls a child a babykiller again, we have plenty of written reports of missing money from two cancer benefits. Just because these people who feel they have been made victims don't know what to do, that doesn't mean that no one out there knows how to report a crime to the district attorney's office. That's called a word to the wise...


Friday, January 17, 2014

Old Mr. Smith Shot Stagger Lee Dead

Sometime last year, Stagger Lee and Billy were out playing cards when they both lost their entire month's wages to Mad Dog. Leaving the Leighton poker game, both young entrepreneurs wondered how they would pay for rent, gasoline, food, and most importantly booze and drugs for the next 30 days. It was then that Billy remembered old Mr. Smith down the street.

Mr. Smith had served his country honorably in both World War II and Korea, but he was now in his 90s and that meant an easy mark for his two neighbors. Not being able to sleep that night, Mr. Smith had just watched Errol Flynn in San Antonio for the 38th time and had decided to see if he could still spin his old service revolver. He could. Mr. Smith placed the weapon on his nightstand and tried again to get some sleep.

It was only minutes later that Mr. Smith heard the two intruders break through a patio door and enter his home. As the two youths came through the bedroom door, Mr. Smith was still in gunslinger mode and calmly stated, "I'll shoot the first damn man that moves."

In the dark, Stagger Lee and Billy had no idea that Mr. Smith was indeed armed and moved toward the sound of his voice. Smith fired and hit Stagger Lee in the leg, piercing an artery. Both Stagger Lee and Billy ran as fast as they could, but by the time they reached home, Stagger was weak and felt cold. Billy got his cohort in crime to the emergency room at Helen Keller Hospital, but the nurse's aide on duty was unable to save him. Obviously, it would have been much better for Stagger Lee if Billy had had the foresight to take him to a RegionalCare facility.

Now, under Alabama law, who was arrested for Felony Murder in Stagger Lee's death? We hope you answered Billy since that's what the law states. Anyone out there think it should have been old Mr. Smith? Have your answers ready and be prepared to defend them. Tomorrow we'll present a similar crime and expect your opinions to match your thoughts in this case.


An interesting version:


Thursday, January 16, 2014


The Lauderdale County Schools system has begun to provide Chromebooks for some of its students. Is this a good thing?

From Technology Today:

The millions of existing iPhone, iPad and iPod owners cannot use the Chromebook with those devices. That is one task the Chromebook can’t perform, and it is unlikely it ever will. Google will be looking at convincing Apple product owners that they need to switch, or forget the Chromebook. That is a huge unreachable market for a brand new product.
At the launch Google showed how a Chromebook can handle files from a digital camera. But without Apple’s iTunes, iPod and iPhones are off the menu.
Will people want to pay as much for such a light client device as they do for a fully loaded notebook running a traditional OS like Microsoft Windows? The Chromebook Series 5 is powered by a 1.66GHz dual-core Intel Atom N570 processor, and has a 16GB mSATA solid-state drive and 2GB of RAM. Those are netbook parts in a machine that’s priced at the level of low-end notebooks.
“As the recent Amazon Web Services outage demonstrated, cloud services can fail and customers can lose data.”
“With Cloud centric OS’es, the race will be towards stealing access credentials, after which, it’s game over. Who needs to steal banking accounts, when you have Google Checkout? Or, who needs to monitor passwords, when they’re all nicely stored into the Google Dashboard?…Earlier today, I got asked by a friend- ‘How is Chrome OS from a security point of view, better or worse?’ I answered, ‘It’s better, but much worse.’”
“Google’s last foray into hardware with its Nexus cell phone was a disaster primarily because it had no customer support in place. I saw some of the messages from customers on Google’s boards howling with frustration because they couldn’t get answers for some of their problems. And that’s Google’s culture: automate every process.”
“Your computer has no hard drive. You can’t download them and move them somewhere else. You can’t change services. You have nowhere to go. That’s a lot of power to give one company, isn’t it?”

Don't Lauderdale students deserve more?


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

When You Want Something Done Right...

You know the rest of the old adage. We're received much input on the current controversy concerning the Florence Animal Shelter. We've heard from supporters of "both sides." While we believe Melissa Beasley may be competent in some areas, whatever they may be, she has no more business running an animal shelter than Shoalanda has running a Taekwondo studio.

How about Debbie Rappuhn? Has she been "bossy?" It's a possibility, but she gets things done. Most competent adults realize at some point that in order to do what they want, they have to take control of the problem, job, or cause.

For whatever reason (and we imagine Debbie did upstage a lot of people, break a lot of eggs, and maybe even come across as too entitled from time to time), the Florence-Lauderdale Animal Shelter management doesn't care about end results or what she has done for the shelter. HASRA may be moving on, and we think it's time. We think it's the City of Florence's loss, but hey this is the same city that once turned down permanent placement of the Coca-Cola sign totally paid for by the soft drink giant.

Here's a great interview from the QCD: Debbie Rappuhn


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"It Wasn't the City of Florence"

Yesterday we said there are two sides to every issue. We believe that; however, we don't believe each side is equally right or equally wrong.

Let's digress for a few moments: Do you love your job? We hope you do, but we know many don't. We understand that one has to work in order to live. It's better to take a job that isn't perfect than to starve or let one's children starve. Do what you can and move on when you can. That's easier said in some jobs than others. Shoalanda herself could step into the role of a short order cook and make it work. Could Shoalanda work in the snake house at the zoo? Do we even have to answer that one for you, folks?

We believe that at least some who work at the Florence Animal Shelter don't love the animals the way the volunteers do. It's simply a job for them. As for the Florence City Council, we doubt that all consider the shelter to be any more important or worthy than the city sewer system. That's why such organizations as HASRA are necessary. Here's a recent comment from our friend Bruce Zoldak:

The shelter pets have been lucky so far...not because the city kicked in funds, but because a volunteer group, and their facebook followers did.  Each time an injured animal has come to the shelter, a volunteer group has stepped in and raised money for the repair, (it is far less costly for the city to euthanize an animal that needs medical attention) When the shelter ran out of food, the city didn't step in and pick up the tab, a volunteer group sent out pleas to the community on their facebook page, and the community stepped in and donated bags and bags of food. And last year, 2013, when the city's budget dried up for the shelter needs, guess who kicked into high gear and purchased, bleach, paper towels, Clorox wipes, dish soap, laundry powder, brooms, mops and everything else under the sun...done trying to guess?  I will give you a hint. It wasn't the city.


Monday, January 13, 2014

A Closer Look at Melissa Beasley

Editor's Note: This article isn't about who's right or wrong in a current dispute involving personalities, game plans, and power. It takes two to make a fight, but that doesn't mean anyone should be anyone's doormat either. We don't have all the facts in this dispute, but we do have some facts about one of the participants, Melissa Beasley.

Melissa Beasley is a member of the Florence Police Department. As such, the citizens of Florence pay her salary. Those who shop and pay sales tax in Florence also pay her salary. She is a public figure. (We'll note that the other person involved in this dispute is also a public figure by virtue of her efforts to bring animal rescue to the public's attention and by agreeing to be interviewed by the local press.)

What do we know about Melissa Beasley? Does she have any advanced degrees? We hope so since at one time she was the mental health officer for Florence. How did that work out?

Not well. We realize one person can't work as a mental health officer 24/7, so any clear-thinking person wouldn't take such a job without assurances that the role would be filled by someone else when he/she was not on duty. That didn't happen when the son of a local physician was having an episode one Saturday. The mental health officer was called, but no one came. The young man was shot dead by another Florence Police officer, ostensibly in self-defense.

Let's move on to a more recent shooting. On the night Jerry Ivy was killed in East Florence, Melissa Beasley entered the investigation as a captain. When the smoke cleared some days later, she was a sergeant. Those who know protocol were surprised that she still had her job. Perhaps Florence didn't want any more sexual discrimination lawsuits?

At that time, the Shoalanda Group was forwarded several e-mails which detailed the events of that night. They were all written by a former officer who had no reason to like the FPD. We encouraged the writer to discuss this with us, but we never received a response. Were the allegations true? It's quite possible, but we do believe in most instances an individual deserves a second chance.

Now Melissa's name has popped up again in a controversy that we should all care about. We invite comments.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Busted? Fair Use?

A few days ago we blogged about copyright infringement by Busted 'N the Shoals. At that time we received several comments on the Fair Use Doctrine. Just what is "fair use?" Here's another excellent article that breaks it down quite well.


So how is the QCD handling any misuse of photos the news site has paid for and enhanced?

Now that's what we call ingenious. 


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Andrew Daniel Scott--Arrested Again, and Again, and Again

Andrew Daniel Scott is not Robert Downey Jr., at least yet. We do have hopes that he will at some point come to his senses and live up to his potential...but they are minuscule. We have to ask what his supporters in kidnapping a child think of him now. This is after Scott's umpteenth stint in rehab. (Yes, we're shamelessly stealing a mugshot from the QCD, but we got it that way...)

Our sources say Daddy bailed him out again. Can Daddy's money keep him out of prison this time? We doubt it, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Fighting Lowdown Kidnappers since 2008

Friday, January 10, 2014

Comcast Needed Backup

Have Comcast Cable? Most of us here use that service. If you think we've been posting late recently, we've been more than snowed in. Comcast did finally come out, then the tech called backup, who called more backup.

Do cable lines freeze? Let us know what's happened to you during the Polar Vortex...


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Do Shoals Democrats Try Harder?

When William Smith was heading the local Republicans, we always received announcements of their monthly meetings. Unfortunately, we no longer receive these. We do receive them from the local Dems. Perhaps they try harder?

The Shoals Democratic Club will meet at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, January 20th at the Operating Engineers Hall on Dr. Hicks Blvd. in Florence. The keynote speaker will be Nancy Worley, Chairwoman of the Alabama Democratic Party. The public is invited to attend.

Shoals Democratic Club of Colbert and Lauderdale Counties


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Florence-Lauderdale Animal Shelter

Everyone here loves animals. That's a given. Should we ever kill them? Well, Shoalanda, you answer, that depends. Yes, we eat dead animals every day--at least most of us do.

How about hunting? Shoalanda herself doesn't. If any of you do that's between you and your family and God, if you believe in the one who created our universe. If you don't, I can understand how you might find killing fun or therapeutic or whatever.

How about the excess? Now, that's another story, most will say. How about our shelter where the taxpayers feed and house them? There's no easy answer.

Things are better in both Lauderdale and Colbert County, but it hasn't been easy. Will it get even better? That may be a question of dollars and cents...or even of personalities.

Take your stand now. Write your representatives. It's up to you.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Is Oliver Brazelle Guilty?

Ten Colbert County youths (or former youths) wouldn't testify in 2012 against Methodist youth minister Oliver Brazelle, but now a man allegedly seduced in Lauderdale County has told his story. That's a lot of smoke.

Brazelle is now 79. It's likely if he goes to prison, he will die there. Should he? Here's a brief bio from PNS:

Unfortunately for Brazelle, we feel that if convicted, he should serve every day of the maximum sentence, at least 20 years. In all likelihood, he would die in prison. A sad ending for a man who did so much good in life, but also created a living hell for so many innocent young men.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

What Does a Little Thieving Hurt?

From our friend Mark Davis:

The federal copyright law - when images are registered with the copyright office - provides damages of $150,000 per image per infringement violation - plus attorneys fees and other costs.

Images are copyrighted by the author/photographer when they are created.

Photographers generally grant a license to the end user.... just like computer software licenses.... and such use without a license is a crime.

Writers from their perspective call it plagiarism.

The pulling of images licensed for use from someone else' website and used on another website - without a license from the creator - would be considered a copyright infringement violation.

Of course, there is the chance of using the image without the creator knowledge, but the risks if caught and sued are high.

I generally will send a bill. Any amount billed after infringement less $150K is usually paid by the unauthorized user rather than going the legal route.

In addition to being a fit parent, I am a professional photographer. Once Fox News Network Bill O'Reilly program and a blogger in South Carolina used of a photograph of mine of the actor / preacher Kirk Cameron. The image was licensed only to one publication but not a third party.  Said image was on the licensed publication website. Said website included a copyright notice. The Cameron image was pulled from the licensed website and displayed on the O'Reilly Factor promoting Cameron's appearance used it.  I learned from the program producer they got it illegally from the blogger who was using it unauthorized after copying it from licensed publication website.  Both quickly paid my bill. I will add the bill was a hefty one. More than I would have billed/charged had they first sought permission.  Had they refused, I would have sued.

Most people see photographs as just that a photograph.  A photographer sees it as a work product... and consider unauthorized use of an image no different than someone stealing a product from a local department store.

Here is a qualified link of what professional photographer do if/when copyright infringement has occurred:


Now we wait and see just who sues "Busted 'N the Shoals."


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pay Arrestees for Their Pics?

Mug Shot
We certainly received some interesting comments on our blog yesterday. Some were in favor of having to pay those arrested if the arresting agency made money on their mugshots. Our guess is these law enforcement agencies will reply that no money is made when one considers the down time in preparing these shots for the purchasers. That's pretty much the rationale for charging for accident reports and similar documents.

Want to purchase court documents? Visit your local courthouse and see how much the circuit clerk charges for these per page. They may be public, but that doesn't mean free.


What about sites copying photos or even articles? Is it a crime? It depends. The owners/editors of both Pen N Sword and the Quad-Cities Daily are not commenting on this topic for legal reasons, but we did talk with someone who publishes a news magazine outside the Shoals. Here's an owner's take on this type of pilfering:

Photos are entirely different from articles. Photographs can certainly be easily copied but even if the original publisher didn't take these shots, it may still be a type of theft. Many online publishers purchase expensive software to make these shots as presentable as possible. They also invest time in cropping, adjusting exposure, and otherwise enhancing these shots. So, yes, when someone copies, it's stealing.

Copy (the words in an article) is certainly off limits. Even if the site using the copy gives written credit, the original site loses viewers. Why take the time to visit a site if you can read the same article on the site you're already reading? When these sites lose viewers, they lose advertising revenue. Not only are they losing revenue, they're making it for whoever stole their material. 

There you have it...


Friday, January 3, 2014

"Busted 'N the Shoals" is Busted!

Busted 'N the Shoals is a local online "news site." Busted is also a one-trick pony. The only content that Busted produces is local mug shots. Is that so bad? No, that's not what's so bad.

It's no secret that one of the owners of Pen N Sword is a retired local detective, and at times he's privy to information not yet made public. Several months ago, Pen N Sword had an exclusive on a most wanted fugitive in the northwest Alabama area. Shortly thereafter, Busted not only ran the enhanced photo from PNS, but also published the PNS article word for word. When we mentioned it to the detective, he merely laughed. Unfortunately, overlooking such hijinks seems only to have made the site worse.

Due to some new software at the Florence-Lauderdale Detention Center, mugshots for most of November and all of December have not been available until today. Our friends at the Quad-Cities Daily pay for the privilege of bringing their readers this information. Several mugshots from November were finally published today--all bearing the hallmark of QCD close to the bottom edge.

Guess what? Busted posted each of these photos, hallmark and all. We're pretty sure the owners at the QCD don't mind one or two being used in stories related to various crimes, but when another online site takes all of them without paying? We're pretty sure that's called theft...

Like the Quad-Cities Daily

Like Pen N Sword


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Starting the Year with a Bang, er, Sack

Nothing like starting the year by losing  your job, yet we hear that's happened to several, or at least it's just now being officially announced. Pen N Sword has profiled some interesting happenings in Rogersville recently, and we understand one of the two women involved in a brouhaha at Municipal Court has been officially terminated.


Others? Looking across the river, we hear a shake-up is coming within the fair city of Tuscumbia--that's city with a small "c." Perhaps the terminated person can look for another job with an AD.


Sonny Tibbs at Vina has officially bitten the dust. It took two months? We're not sure if that's a case of no common sense or no shame...


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

Don't mind Marvin; he just had a little too much caffeine this morning. We hope each of our readers has a safe and prosperous 2014!

The Staff at Shoalanda Speaks