Saturday, October 20, 2018

We're Ten Years Old!

Yes, it was ten years ago that Shoalanda Speaks made an appearance on the Shoals scene. It's been a fun ride on the editorial broomstick so far. 

What will the next ten years bring? You know the line about "Fasten your seat belts?" Let's all resolve to make a positive difference in the next decade.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Smokin' & Saggin' in Sheffield

Basically, after a town meeting on the Sheffield smoking ordinance, nothing has been decided. We have three questions.

1. There's currently an ordinance in Sheffield concerning sagging trousers. Is it being enforced? What's the fine? What if someone smokes while wearing sagging pants? Perhaps they'll do this while jaywalking - a trifecta if you will.

2. The organization Smoke Free Shoals says the anti-smoking ordinance will bring in the tourists. How much time to achieve this goal?

3. Speaking of tourists, how will visitors to Inspiration Landing react to this? Oh, wait. Silly question. Nine weeks left in the year; anyone seeing any work on that amphitheatre?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

National Association for Gun Rights Compared to Westboro Baptist Church

If you live in certain areas of Northwest Alabama, you've just received an advertising card from state senator Larry Stutts. The advertising material was paid for by the National Association for Gun Rights. We'd never heard of it, but some of the rhetoric on the card made us suspect it was hardly a legitimate group. This is where Google is our friend.

According to many sources, the NAGR is a "scam." The group wants money and little else. We noticed they even have their own store in which you can purchase overpriced merchandise. 

One criticism of the NAGR is that is spends an inordinate amount of money to send out literature attacking the NRA rather than supporting legitimate gun causes. Our favorite article called the NAGR the Westboro Baptist Church of gun advocates. My, my...and they support Doc Larry?

We have an idea that they support any Republican incumbent - even one voted the state Scumbag of the Year a few years ago. Feel free to do your own homework on the NAGR; the amount of conservative opposition to this group is a real eye opener.

That brings us to the mid-term election. Doc Larry or Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow? Who has supported both NWSCC and Bevill State? Hint: It wasn't Larry Stutts. Who has listened to Shoals citizens? Do we have to answer that? While we don't personally support a lottery, Rep. Morrow has an actual plan to aid education with funding from the lottery if one should materialize. 

No, you don't have to take our word about the two candidates any more than you have to on the NAGR. Simply Google. If you don't decide to vote for Rep. Morrow after that, you don't really care what happens to the Shoals and surrounding areas.

Endorsing a man who makes a thousand Larry Stuttses - Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow is the better choice for state senator.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

"I Was Only Trying to Keep Her from Using the Gun on Herself"

"Yes, officer, I was only trying to keep her from using the gun on herself when it went off." 

How many times have we heard that? Remember Shaun Shapley of Lexington who murdered his stepdaughter? Murder in Lexington

Or how about Tommy Wallis? Would-Be Wife Killer?

Now we're hearing that from Bradley Nathan Parker who was released from the Madison County Jail earlier today. Is there anything wrong with this picture? Let's look at a few salient points.

1. When was the last time that you read of a probable cause hearing that didn't hold the defendant over? We infer the judge knew that only one pulled the trigger, and forensics indicated it was Aleisha Danielle Parker.

2. Why were both arrested initially? They lied to the investigators. The Madison County Sheriff's Office said they had their first story down pat when he arrived. So your child has just been shot dead and you take the time to make sure your stories match? Nice couple.

3. The detective said that they then turned on each other. We're guessing the Madison County District Attorney still wants to indict Bradley Parker, so he's open to evidence. Will there be some new facts forthcoming?

4. Bradley may have told investigators that he was trying to prevent Aleisha from harming herself, but her co-workers at the Muscle Shoals Walmart have told us a very different story. It shouldn't be hard for Aleisha's defense attorney to find witnesses to her black eyes and other facial bruises while she lived in the Shoals. 

In the mean time, neither parent looks entirely innocent, and Dante Parker is still dead.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Mississippi High School Gone Wrong

A Mississippi High School Gone Wrong
By:  The Midnight Rider  

I was sitting here eating breakfast the other morning when my son, Circuit Rider, came into the kitchen and told me that I needed to check out the news story playing on Fox News.  Circuit Rider, he’s all about current news stories and Fox News.  So I walked into the living room where the TV was.  Ole Festus, the dog, was stretched out in front of the TV, with his feet in the air.  I had to tell him to move because he was blocking the TV.

Anyway, I digress.  On TV, there was a news story about a High School Band in Mississippi that performed a skit at a football game in Brookhaven, MS, that depicted Doctors and Nurses holding rifles on downed police officers.  This comes shortly after 2 police officers were killed in Brookhaven.

Sitting back, I stroked my unshaven chin.  What has this world came to, I thought.  It appears that someone had their Cranium stuck up there Rectal Opening.    Who would have approved something like this?  Does today’s Society have no compassion anymore?  This is unspeakable.
Back in the day when I was going to the County School here, if we had pulled a stunt like this, our Principal as well as probably our Parents would have left the stands and beat us all the way to the car.  Common courtesy dictates that a stupid act like this should or wouldn’t have happened.  What were they thinking?   That’s just it, they were not thinking.  As well as the Band Director who sanctioned this.
As far as I know, the Band Director has been suspended.  Circuit Rider told me that this incident was all over Facebook and people were pissed about it.  As well they should be.  This makes everyone in the South look bad.  Should the Band Director be fired?  Yes.  Should the kids be punished?  If they willingly took place in this, yes.  These kids are old enough to say “hey, this is a really bad idea.”
My whole family to include my Dad, the Ghost Rider, is Pro-Police.  Our Police Officers do not get enough pay for what they do.  Who are you going to call if someone is breaking in your house?  The Police.  Who are you going to call if someone is threatening you?  The Police.  If Society today keeps attacking Police Officers verbally, mentally and physically, what are we going to do when no one wants to be a Police Officer?    Anarchy will reign.

This has left a very sour taste in my mouth.  Here is the article that Circuit Rider printed for me off the Fox News Website:

A Mississippi school district has apologized and a high school band director has been suspended after the band staged a halftime skit that depicted police being held at gunpoint.

The controversial skit came as the Forest Hill High School band from Jackson performed Friday during a football game against Brookhaven High School to the south. It shocked many at the game in Brookhaven, where just six days earlier two police officers were killed in a shootout with a suspect.

“I was sad because of what happened last weekend, and it felt like they were making fun of it,” Sarah McDonald, a Brookhaven High School student, told CNN affiliate WJTV.

A woman who said she was a graduate of Brookhaven High School found the performance insensitive.

“I was shocked by the halftime performance just because of everything that our community is going through,” the woman told CNN affiliate WLBT. “No disrespect to Forest Hill, when they decided to do a performance, they should’ve taken that into consideration that we were already going through a lot at this time. We are still trying to figure out what needs to be done about the situation.”

The episode outraged people around the state and has drawn criticism from Mississippi’s governor, who called it “unacceptable.”

The halftime skit...

In the skit, a handful of students dressed as doctors and nurses pointed fake AR-15-style rifles at other students dressed as SWAT team members. A school official offered “deep and sincere apologies” for it.

“(Jackson Public Schools) has a great deal of respect and appreciation for our law enforcement partners,” Superintendent Errick L. Greene said in a statement. “The band’s performance does not depict the values and people in our community, and was incredibly insensitive to the students, families, law enforcement officials and the entire Brookhaven community. For this we sincerely apologize to all, and we pledge to do better in the future.”

The superintendent said the district had taken “some initial actions” regarding the skit.

“You have my commitment that we will investigate it fully and take additional appropriate action with respect to procedures and personnel,” Greene said.

The Forest Hill High School marching band’s director, Demetri Jones, has been placed on administrative leave, WLBT reported.

The reaction...

Brookhaven High School has filed a formal complaint with the Mississippi High School Activities Association. CNN reached out to the association for comment and is waiting to hear back.

The Brookhaven School District also put out a statement, affirming its support for local law enforcement.

“The halftime show performed by the visiting band during (Friday) night’s game was an unfortunate issue that our district had no prior knowledge of and does not condone,” the district said. “Our main focus remains, as always, on the safety of our students and the student-athletes performing on our fields. We appreciate our community’s support as we continue working to ensure a positive environment of sportsmanship for our student-athletes and those visiting Brookhaven.”

Walter Armstrong, president of the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police, called the skit “deplorable, disgusting, and outrageous.”

“It is never okay for students to participate in something that defiles and desecrates a law enforcement officer,” Armstrong said in a statement. “The adults in charge here should know better.”

The Facebook page of Forest Hill High School has been flooded with angry comments. Even Mississippi’s governor went to Twitter to express his disgust.

“This is unacceptable in a civilized society,” Gov. Phil Bryant tweeted. “Someone should be held accountable.”

I cannot believe that I had to write this story.  I state again, what were you thinking?

Many people have read my article I did last week about the smoking ban in Sheffield, AL.  It is my understanding that there will be a portion of the City Council Meeting Monday Night where citizens can sound off about it.  It should be a barn burning.  Think I will bring some popcorn.

I am and always will be, the Midnight Rider...

Monday, October 15, 2018

Too Many Pettuses?

From a reader:

We have to vote him out! There were 4 Pettuses on the June ballot alone and there’s 5 or 6 in our local government. There’s just something wrong with that. We are not North Korea where one family controls the government. Men and women have fought and died to keep our country a democracy. Pettus tried to stifle your vote in 2015, he is using censorship on his political Facebook page (see Bob Van West’s page) and that’s illegal and he tried to blackmail the person running against him, and that’s a felony. Come on people there’s just something wrong here! We are better than this. Our town, our county is just better than this. I’m embarrassed that I’m just now waking up to what’s going on around here. I am a Republican but I will be voting for an Independent for the first time in my life come November. I don’t care if you’re a Republican or Democrat, we all need to be better represented. No straight tickets this time folks please. You got to go down and vote for the people on the ballot. I will be voting for Dolan because I’m impressed with his ideas and because I’m embarrassed we elected 4 years ago a man rated the least effective representative, #105 out of 105 (dead last) by Alabama businesses.

Does our reader have a point? We have no idea how the Pettuses in Lauderdale County government are related. We do know that it's not uncommon for certain family names in the Greenhill/Lexington area to be plentiful. It simply means that they came 200 years ago and they stayed (that's almost seven generations for the mathematically challenged). 

We did see where a county citizen agreed with Phillip Pettus on disenfranchising the citizens of Florence in the county school superintendent's race. She felt she had no say-so in Florence's superintendent, stating she paid city taxes. Does she?

First, the Florence superintendent is appointed, not elected. Second, county tax dollars are not given to Florence. Third, while state and federal tax dollars (to which this woman would have contributed) are given to all school districts in random ways, this woman might as well seek to vote in Mobile's school races as she had in Florence's.

We have noticed that Phillip Pettus was not as vocal on the subject during his second legislative session as he was his first. Hard lesson learned, perhaps?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

How Should We Feel About Scott Morris?

If you missed the TimesDaily article about former editor Scott Morris being fired at our local university, it's not surprising. The story was captioned: Censorship not behind changes in Student Media, UNA officials say

Morris makes number three in this past summer's purge. His termination came shortly after that of Greg Gaston and David Shields. You can read about it here:

Do we feel sympathy for him? Yes and no. 

We don't believe Mr. Morris took the job at the TimesDaily because he had to. We're pretty sure he could have remained in Decatur if he had so wished. We're also pretty sure that Shelton Publishing could have kept T. Wayne Mitchell at the helm here in Florence. You might want to ask yourselves just what the Sheltons wanted from our one-time local paper that Mr. Mitchell couldn't or wouldn't give. Was it more than loyalty?

No matter the reason Scott Morris had for taking Mr. Mitchell's job, he remained at the TD for only five years before departing without an official word. Five more years and UNA is kicking him out just as the Sheltons did Mr. Mitchell.

So do we feel sorry for him? There he is...too old for a paper route and too young for social security... Isn't that just like Mr. Mitchell ten years ago?

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Citizens Rebel...Twice in One Week!

Just how far should the government intrude into your life? One hasn't been able to purchase Sudafed over the counter without a signature for years. Why? Because other people commit crimes with the sinus medicine. So honest citizens pay for the crimes of others? In a word, yes. 

Now we have a controversy over selling CBD oil. Yes, that's selling - not using! Feel free to use, but you have to go outside the Shoals to purchase it or order from out of state. Does this make sense to anyone?

If it doesn't, you may wish to join a public rally this Monday at 4:00 p.m. at the Lauderdale County courthouse. Make your voice heard and be sure to mention that four-letter word "vote" while there.

Live in Sheffield? On Thursday at 5:00 p.m. you have a chance to voice complaints over the new smoking ordinance. The meeting will be held at the Municipal Building and last until all complaints are heard. Wow! That could go on until dawn.

If any of our readers attend either of these meetings, be sure to send us details on how it went. We've long advocated for more citizen input into local events, especially animal ordinances and welfare laws. It seems the public may finally be willing to let our elected officials know how they feel.

Friday, October 12, 2018

They Don't Have Even "Walking Around Sense"

A recent event has prompted us to broach a subject we've long considered. Our series on Fourth Amendment rights will continue later.

Computers...are they the great equalizer? No, sorry. Just being able to type one's opinion doesn't make it valid. Here are some of the most asinine comments we see on a regular basis.

1. He/She needs to have more time added to the sentence. Sorry, it doesn't work that way even if she helped her boyfriend kill her child or whatever. If there's no new crime, there can be no new sentence. It's called double jeopardy.

2. He/She should fry for the murder. Sorry again. If a person isn't charged with Capital Murder, there can be no death penalty meted out. Life with chance of parole is the greatest sentence that can be handed down.

3. We need these five crimes added to the capital list...and this was from a state legislator. If you could read, you'd know that four are already capital crimes. Why aren't you trying to balance the budget or perform some other task that would actually benefit the state?

4. That's "fake news." Sorry once again. Fake news isn't reporting that a person has been arrested on certain charges. The person may be innocent, but the arrest is quite real. Oh, your loved one's court appointed attorney will sue? Good luck with that also. Public information is just that. 

5. It's illegal to report which jail/mental hospital a felon is in. See above comment on public information. It's public for a very good reason, and you just make yourself look very foolish if you don't understand that.

6. That's libel! Please look up the definition of libel in this state. Refer again to public information.

Perhaps we should go on with this long list, but our main thrust of today's blog is to ask why anyone would post/share a February article on a fairly standard event? The article is ten months old. If you didn't read it in February, you were either in a coma or just didn't care about any news that didn't involve the Kardashians. 

We've seen several reasons given for individuals posting this article now. The most egregious is that "he ruined my husband's/son's/boyfriend's life." No! We've pretty sure this man fought for either freedom or a lighter sentence for your loved one. The person who ruined his life is the person himself. 

No one makes anyone kill, rob, rape, or commit arson. It's a free choice the felon made. You should be thanking your lucky stars that someone took the case to defend your relative. Us? We'd have just laughed at you!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Say Goodbye to the Fourth Amendment? - Part II

Years ago we were stopped in a small town for doing six miles over the speed limit. Since we had been going down an incline, but the town was rumored to be a speed trap, we were unsure what to expect. No, we weren't given a ticket, but after we told the story to our attorney friend we added that we would have been happy to have had the officer look inside the vehicle.

Our friend was aghast. No! Never volunteer that. If they ask, say no! As he pointed out, while we may have absolutely nothing to hide, we have no idea what the officer might decide to plant in the car. Do many officers do that? We hope not.

We were reminded of that while watching a murder mystery a few weeks ago. The older detective told the younger that it was their job to suspect everyone was guilty and to try to prove it. It was the suspects' "job" to prove that they were innocent. Sad, but probably true.

Now a word about attorneys. If you have legal problems, please don't try to represent yourself based on what you've seen on television or what you've gleaned from the Internet. We recently asked how our readers "felt" about the Fourth Amendment and "unreasonable" searches. As one friend pointed out, it's what the law says about it that counts. 

Quite true, but who interprets the current state of the law in an appeal? You may be surprised at just how little freedom those ultra-conservative judges think you deserve.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Say Goodbye to the Fourth Amendment? Part I

Think you know exactly what the Fourth Amendment says? Perhaps you don't in today's world of twisted justice, but first an account from recent local crime history:

The home owner is Jerry Morris. The police officers are Mark Bowers and Lee Bradford. The claims at issue here arose out of events that took place in the early morning of April 19, 2009, at and around Morris's residence.

According to Morris's complaint,4 a 911 operator in Alabama received an emergency phone call from a highly intoxicated woman, who said that she had been “abandoned”5 and did not know where she was. She requested that someone be sent to pick her up.6
Town of Lexington Police Officer Lee Bradford and Reserve Police Officers Matt Wigginton and Jan Montgomery and Town of Anderson Police Chief Mark Bowers responded to the 911 call7 and on arriving at Morris's address found the woman who made the 911 call standing outside his house. She claimed “vaguely and generally” that she was in danger and that someone had been beating Morris's horses.8 The woman made no accusations against Morris.
After placing the woman in a chair on the porch in front of Morris's house, the officers knocked on the front door. Morris was in the house, asleep. His girlfriend woke him, and he went to the front door. While Morris stood inside the threshold, the officers asked him about the woman sitting in the chair. He said that he was unacquainted with her but knew her sister.
When the officers told Morris that the woman said his horses were being abused, he expressed concern and informed the officers that he would put on his boots and check on them. Bradford immediately informed him he was “not going anywhere.”9 When Morris stepped away toward the interior of the house, Bradford, Wigginton, and Bowers entered the house and followed him. Morris told them to leave—that if they wanted to search the house, they would have to obtain a warrant. Bowers and Wigginton left and stood on the front porch. Bradford stood in the front doorway, holding the door open.
At this point, Lauderdale County Deputy Sheriffs James Distefano and Patrick Davis arrived on the scene and were briefed on what had taken place—that Bradford, Wigginton, and Bowers had entered Morris's house without a warrant, and that Wigginton and Bowers had stepped back outside when Morris told them to leave. Bradford had refused to leave; he remained in the doorway. When Morris tried to close the door, Bradford shoved him. Morris, retaliating, punched him. With that, Bradford, Bowers, Wigginton, Distefano, and Davis entered the house, brought Morris to the floor and subdued him. While Morris was on the floor, Bowers used a taser on him in “drive stun mode, leaving numerous burn marks on [his] back.”10 Bowers used the taser after Morris was handcuffed and no longer resisting. With Morris in custody, Bowers, Bradford, Wigginton, and Montgomery searched his home and cars.
Morris was charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. In September 2009, the Lauderdale County District Attorney presented the charges to a grand jury. The grand jury issued a no bill. The next month, Morris filed notices of claims with the Towns of Lexington and Anderson. After Morris filed the notices, Bowers, Bradford, Wigginton, and Montgomery met and agreed to a false version of the events that had taken place at Morris's house. Their story was that they entered the house with Morris's consent; that Morris was intoxicated, aggressive, and threatening; that Morris slammed the door on Bradford without giving him a chance to leave; that Bradford did not shove Morris; and that Morris punched Bradford without provocation. Having conjured this story, the four officers convinced the District Attorney to resubmit the case to another grand jury.
On November 6, 2009, a second grand jury returned an indictment against Morris, charging him with two counts of assault in the second degree and a single count of resisting arrest. The case was tried to a jury the next month. The jury deadlocked on all counts, and the court declared a mistrial. A second trial, in January 2011, resulted in verdicts of acquittal.
You have to ask what these police officers were thinking. On the flip side, we don't recommend striking a police officer under any circumstances, but we know that we have readers who disagree with that. All polite comments welcome.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Mud in Greenhill/Smoke in Sheffield

James Dolan is an Independent candidate opposing Phillip Pettus of Greenhill. Pettus is a former state trooper currently serving in the Alabama legislature; the former lawman doesn't have any Democratic opposition, but Dolan is making a big splash in his attempt to unseat the Republican. Now Dolan has publicly stated his signs are disappearing in Pettus' home territory.

This is the second major allegation against Pettus by the Dolan campaign. Our opinion? Whether these allegations are true or not, Dolan should push Pettus' poor record of representing all the citizens of his district. It hasn't been that long ago that he attempted to disenfranchise the citizens of Florence in a county election. We feel Pettus only stopped pushing the issue when he saw how it was alienating his voter base.

Now let's return to the City on the Bluff, aka Sheffield. A friend tells us that she and her husband pass the entrance to Inspiration Landing every day. How much preparation for work have they seen? None. Of course, John Elkington has 10 more weeks in which to keep his promise of beginning construction before the end of 2018 (his second projected start date). Any bookmakers out there?

Still in Sheffield, the Facebook page Boycott Sheffield has changed its name to Make Sheffield Great Again. The owners of the page are encouraging everyone to attend the 5:00 p.m. city council meeting on October 15th. We encourage any of our readers who do attend to give us a detailed report. It should be more than interesting!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Lobbyists Among Us?

Do you ever read the political contribution lists? If you do, you may be left scratching your head as to why the Acme Widget Company gave six billion dollars to both Republican John Doe and Democrat Joe Roe. The why is that no matter who's elected, when Acme needs a favor it can approach the office holder and remind him/her of the contribution. 

The Alabama Education Association was long called the most powerful lobby in the state and may still be. How about the second? That title may be up for grabs, but certainly the Alabama Farm Bureau is one of the leading contenders. Not sure of what the Alabama Farm Bureau is? Perhaps you of a younger generation know it as ALFA. 

Farm Bureau is a national organization with tentacles in each state. Most states, as in about 45 or more, use "Farm Bureau" in the title. Why did Alabama's chapter change its name? Because as we all know, a new name wipes away bankruptcy or corruption. No, wait, it doesn't. 

Why are we addressing this now? Yesterday we linked (a procedure many readers don't understand) an article on ALFA and related animal abuse/neglect. We then promptly received some negative comments. The vehemence of these comments, particularly one, gobsmacked us. 

To most of us, ALFA is simply an insurance company, but apparently to some it's a legislative machine that must be defended. Hmmm, should we never mention that we use Cotton States? No, when someone calls you a Democratic snowflake for questioning ALFA, it's a marked indication that the organization doesn't have the best intentions for all the state's citizens. It's also an indication of just how many in other fields are on its payroll.

Alabama Farm Bureau - Making Drummond Coal look good for three generations.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Words You CAN'T Say on Facebook

We appreciate all comments...well, 99% of them. Our Facebook filter is set to its highest level; that means if you use certain words, someone here has to manually look at the comment to approve it. We do not control which words Facebook finds offensive, and recently a regular reader was not allowed to use the word "slut" until we approved it.

We highly discourage offensive language and reserve the right to ban anyone who comments using such. Think of our Facebook page, or anyone's FB page, as a living room. If you come into our living room, you can disagree with us, but please be courteous.

Recently Facebook contacted us about a post that used the word "retard." The comments surrounding this word were removed by Facebook. While many don't find this word or the word "mong" offensive, others do. In order to make it a little easier, we're going to publish a list of words that we will remove if we see them (hopefully before the Facebook bot sees them):


Obviously the banned words include any combos, i.e., mother*ucker or a**hole. Words that can also have non-offensive meanings will be looked at individually. In other words, you can say: He rode an ass, she wore a pussy bow, he is a toffee nosed twat, that chemical will retard a fire. 

Thank you for abiding by our rules.

Not long ago there was a heated discussion on Facebook concerning a Muscle Shoals football coach who beat his wife so badly that she required emergency medical treatment. Most of those who defended the man (think about that...they were defending a muscle bound bully who beat his own wife senseless) used words that we had to delete. Some readers defended these comments by saying that's simply how many speak these days.

Those who use such language are not exactly the intelligentsia. When you say these words, you're being crude. When you use these words in a written statement, you're being premeditated in your crude behavior. Do you speak that way on a job interview? 

Sighhhh...considering the recent job interview we saw on national television, perhaps you do. Can't we ALL strive to do better?

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Smoke Free Florence?/Subversive Colbert Attorneys

We had intended to blog about Facebook's crackdown on language, but an article in the TD on a smoke-free Quad-Cities has caught our eye. We'll return to our 978th rant on vulgar words in the near future.

It seems the Smoke Free Shoals organization has been discussing a new smoking law with the Florence City attorney. That's fine; as we understand it, the city attorney is there to answer the questions citizens ask about various statutes in Florence. Except according to Melanie Dickens, the city attorney has been doing more than telling the group what it would take to have the council consider a new smoking policy. Dickens has told the TD that the attorney is reviewing the proposed new law, or in other words using city time to critique the suggested new policy that may never come before the council.

Mayor Steve Holt, to whom the city attorney reports, has not heard about any requests for a new smoking policy. Nor has he heard from any city council members about such a change. In fact, Mayor Holt states that he believes the city's current policy is a good one.

Has there been some miscommunication at some point? The citizens of Florence have a right to know.

Now on to Colbert County where Jeff Austin is running for circuit court judge on the Democratic ticket. Kyle Brown is the Republican opposition. We certainly realize that each candidate wants to pull out most, if not all, stops in his campaign. 

However, Austin is campaigning that he will defend the Constitution. We weren't aware that the Constitution needed defending in Colbert County Circuit Court. Have Colbert attorneys become subversive agents of Putin while no one was looking? Or is he saying Kyle Brown won't uphold it? Or that Judge Hughston hasn't been upholding it?

Most circuit court cases are criminal in nature and tried using the Alabama Code, a pretty well established body of work. Any problems with Constitutional law shouldn't come into the Colbert County court room. When we read appeals of decisions in circuit court, they all reference the Alabama Code. Perhaps Austin should have mentioned that he will uphold that?

The average voter often doesn't realize when he or she is being played with semantics. What's next? A candidate who will support continued free oxygen?

Friday, October 5, 2018

Smoking in Sheffield & Random Thoughts

Smoking in Sheffield and Random Thoughts
By: The Midnight Rider
Today my sons and I were riding the back 40 acres checking on the herd. You know my sons, Easy Rider, Cool Rider and Circuit Rider. My Dad was with us, Ole Ghost Rider, himself. We even had our dog, Festus with us. Anyway, we decided to take a break and grab some lunch. Stopping at a small restaurant in the County, we sat down for a meal.
While waiting for our food, my youngest son, Cool Rider, said “Dad, you might want to read this” as he handed me a copy of the Times Daily. I read an article about the banning of smoking in the City of Sheffield. That got me thinking.
First of all, let me start off by saying I don’t smoke. I think it is a nasty habit. However, I believe that there is a bigger issue here. The last I checked, this Great Nation of ours was built on Freedom. I believe that the Sheffield City Council has overstepped its bounds with this City Ordinance. I think they are infringing on the Rights of Citizens.
Let’s look at this scenario. I own a business such as a restaurant in the City of Sheffield. 65% of my clientele come to my business because they can smoke. The City pulls this City Ordinance and I lose 65% of my customers because they go to another City that allows smoking. So do I send the Bill of my losses to the City Council since they started this problem? No, probably what I would do is pull up my business and move it to say Tuscumbia which is actively recruiting business. So in the end, the City of Sheffield has lost another business, which seems to be a growing trend. At least two members of the City Council had the sense to vote no to this City Ordinance.
My thought is this is an infringement of my Rights. Again, I don’t smoke, but I still feel the same way. So, how are they going to enforce this? Are the Police officers going to write tickets? Oh, that’s right, they can’t keep police officers in at Sheffield. I bet the police officers are real enthused about having to write tickets for smoking. That’s going to go a long way on Community Relations.
So this brings me to my first random thought. I wonder if there will be a variance for Inspiration Landing on the smoking ordinance. We know that Inspiration Landing is going to bring all this tax revenue in, because that’s what we have been told. But alas, the Inspiration Landing Fiasco, which should have opened this year still hasn’t broke ground.
Just another reason for people not to come to the City of Sheffield
Random Thoughts
-UNA Graduation. UNA was going to limit attendance by giving out tickets. From my understanding, there was an uproar from parents. How many thousands of dollars has these parents spent at the University to get their child’s education? I know that if I was graduating from UNA, I would want my whole family there including my dog, Festus. So the University decided to have three Graduation ceremonies. Was it because of their understanding of the need or the fear of a mutiny uprising of the parents?
-It will not be long before the new Hospital will be opening in Florence. Will Shoals and Keller Hospital feel the loss of patients?
-There seems to be a rash of missing teens lately. What has changed in our Society that this is happening?
-It's Halloween month. The Cities of Tuscumbia and Sheffield are having Trunk or Treat events for the kiddos. Support these events if you have children.
-Street Paving. There has been some grumbling at the street paving project in Tuscumbia. I spoke to an inside source who told me the money is there, they are trying to figure out a plan to maximize the paving of streets. Be patient, it's coming.
Well the Family has to go back to work and Festus has to go outside and potty. On a side note, I have been using the same photo at the end of my articles for years. I figured it was time to get a new one. What do you think?
I am and always will be, the Midnight Rider...

While we really like the Rider's new logo, we thought considering the season, we'll give him a second one. While both riders are legend, the one below has been legendary for just a little longer...over 200 years longer.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Terry Landon Stidham: Supreme Rapist Material?

A reader made a very interesting comment about Terry Landon Stidham, the Hamilton man accused of several sex crimes against a 14 year old girl:

If he hadn’t videoed the sexual abuse of a minor then she possibly wouldn’t have told anyone until years later when she realized what happened was wrong or never told at all. Or let’s say she did tell but there wasn’t a video would she have been believed? Because he has such a promising future and had been accepted into a Christian college? Because he could have never done such a thing............. I hate that this has happened to this 14 year old girl but I am glad there is video evidence so she won’t at least be called a liar.

We've been curious about just what 1,700 law professors constitute. We found that there are between 205 and 225 law schools in the U.S. The figure varies depending on how one counts accreditation. No matter the exact number, that round figure indicates that the vast majority of U.S. law professors thinks Brett Kavanaugh is unqualified for the SCOTUS based not on past events, but his current mental state. Think about that.

Now let's return to Landon. We're gobsmacked by this young man's behavior. For those who may not know, the Free Will Baptist Church is more conservative than the Southern Baptist Church. Free Will Baptists we have met over our 112.4 years of life have been kind, courteous, and caring. None of these words fits dear ol' Landon.

Any 14 year-year old girls reading this? Here's some extremely good advice. If a young man invites you to a romantic evening in a smelly public toilet and tries to video it, he just may not be Prince Charming.

Can we bring back public flogging?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Bevill Prexy Bumbles & Stutts Stumbles

Bevill State primarily serves six counties, the closest to the Shoals being Marion and Winston. Last year Bevill's president Kim Ennis wanted to close out three vocational programs at the Hamilton campus, stating they didn't have the enrollment to make them worthwhile from a monetary standpoint.

Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow led the successful thrust to reinstate the programs. One would have thought that state senator Larry Stutts would have joined in, but it seems he "had more important fish to fry" as he has stated in connection with other local concerns. 

But simply getting the programs reinstated wasn't the end of the saga. Rep. Morrow discovered that Ennis had used old data to prove her point about low enrollment and antiquated curricula. Morrow and others requested Sen. Larry Stutts' help in gathering the correct information. What did Stutts do?

If you guessed that Stutts did nothing to help the situation at the Hamilton campus, you would be absolutely correct. That's right. Larry Stutts did nothing to fight the fraudulent report from Ennis. (Ennis has stated the whole thing was a misunderstanding.)

So when the Hamilton area goes to the polls in November, for whom will they be voting? Will they choose Larry Stutts who for whatever reason refused to help the Bevill State Hamilton campus, or Johnny Mack Morrow who went to bat to get their discontinued programs restored? 

Not a tough decision for those voters, is it? How about for the rest of District 6?