Vote Montgomery In The USA Today Best Historic City Contest


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Did you know that the Alabama capital, Montgomery is currently in a contest to be named America’s top historic city?  USA Today and 10Best are running a contest where readers vote for their favorite destinations, like favorite golf destination, best European country, best bucket list sports event, and more!  In this voting contest called America’s Best Historic City, Montgomery is in the running to be named for this great honor.  Along with Montgomery, other cities in the running includes:

  • Annapolis, MD
  • Boston, MA
  • Charleston, SC
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Denver, CO
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Montgomery, AL
  • New Orleans, LA
  • New York, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • San Antonio, TX
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Santa Fe, NM
  • Savannah, GA
  • St. Augustine, FL
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Williamsburg, VA

USA Today explains: “The USA has a rich and exciting history: visiting the places which most affected it is so much more fun than reading about it.  Because we could only have 20 nominees, it pained us to leave out some worthy contenders (Galveston, Concord, Memphis, Virginia City and Detroit among them). We also left out unincorporated cities which had historical significance (and sometimes larger populations) back in the day, like Lincoln, New Mexico, site of the Lincoln County Wars, or Gettysburg, which is a thriving city today but is most visited for the former battleground, now a national military park.”

USA Today and 10Best said some good things about Montgomery when people want to vote for the city.  They said:

“In 1819, two small settlements of cotton plantations merged together to form the town of Montgomery. During the Civil War, Montgomery was home of the First White House of the Confederacy, where Jefferson Davis and his family lived, but its most important historical contributions came during the Civil Rights movement as the site of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The city also had the first electric street car system, and the first flight school set up by the Wright Brothers.”

Voting is open until Monday April 28th at 12 pm Eastern.  You can vote once every 24 hours and you do not have to share your e-mail address or social media accounts to vote!  As of April 16th, Montgomery has the lead!

Montgomery

To vote for Montgomery, go to: http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-historic-city/, scroll down and click on Montgomery, and click on vote, that’s it!  Let’s vote and push Montgomery being named America’s best historic city!

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The 2014 Alabama Legislature Has A Explosive Ending


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My only question is, what happened to the Alabama Legislature that caused it to go down into flames.  The legislature was signing Kumbaya and actually passed Carly’s Law to allow UAB to do a study featuring oil from Marijuana.  It looked like things were still going great down in Montgomery, until the last day that is.  What caused the legislative session to go down in flames was over the Education Budget.  Governor Bentley wanted to give all education employees a 2% pay raise, which is well deserved.  Because teachers have gone through a lot!  From staying at school overnight with kids during the snowstorm, sponsoring a club before or after school hours, buying supplies out of their own money, and more!  They deserve as much pay as possible!

The Legislature did have some good bills they were working on passing.  Like reforming the Open Meetings Act, creating a database to enforce a debt limit on payday loans, keeping secret the suppliers of lethal injection drugs, keeping low-cost spay and neuter clinics from being closed down, and more.  The Alabama Legislature did pass some things, like more restrictive abortion measures, and selling the legislature to the highest “conservative” bidder.  And did someone from the Alabama Legislature plead guilty and agree to cooperate with the police?  I am willing to bet we will see some legislators arrested for corruption soon.  And with more legislators getting in trouble with the law, it will continue the embarrassment that is the Alabama Government.

What happened on Thursday night was weird.  The governor wanted to include a 2% percent pay raise for teachers and other education employees.  The House just passed the Education Budget and sent it off to the governor, but it was not good enough.  The Governor sent a pay raise amendment to the Senate, and once Del Marsh got word that the amendment was heading towards the Senate, Marsh moved to end the session, while other important bills were still in play.  The important part in this was the House was already done, so if the bill included a pay raise, it could not pass both houses.  Del Marsh blamed the governor for ending the session, and talked about what the legislature accomplished this session.  Hey, the legislature kept the court system in shambles and left the prison system in shambles and at risk for a government takeover, how nice!

The only thing education employees got was a small raise to only cover increased insurance costs.  And now with the Legislative session over, for now.  Lawmakers are off onto the campaign trail blaming President Obama for the troubles the state and country is in.  Instead of blaming themselves for the corrupt government in Alabama, they are going to blame Democrats running the Federal Government, is that right?  Here is what I think really happened.  Marsh and Hubbard did not want to vote on the 2% pay raise for teachers, so they took the easy way out and ended the session before the bill reached the floor.  If I was Governor Bentley, I would veto the Education Budget, and declare a special session!  I want to see how the Alabama Legislature would vote on a pay increase for teachers!

All of this is only going to give ammo to Del Marsh’s opponent in the Republican primary in June.  Steven Guede is running against Del Marsh in the Alabama Senate District 12 primary.  And the winner of this race will pretty much win the Senate seat, since a Democrat would never win here in Anniston.  Del Marsh got a target on his back after he refused to put up an anti Common Core bill during the session.  Now, every education employee has a target on Marsh’s back.  People who also supported low-cost spay and neuter clinics, setting up a payday loan database, and closing loopholes in Alabama’s Open Meetings Act also have a target on Marsh’s back.

Hey Del Marsh, instead of worrying about how Republicans should continue to ruin state government, why not worry about the welfare of you own district, which includes Anniston/Oxford.  If you have not watched the news lately, Anniston/Oxford has been getting body slammed with bad news.  For example, according to the Milken Institute and the list of 179 small metro areas, the Anniston / Oxford area is the second worst performing small metro area in America for 2013.  Also, according to population estimates from the US Census Bureau, Anniston/Oxford has been the 16th fasting shrinking metro in the nation since 2010.  Meaning, the metro area saw more deaths than births in 2013.  From 2010-2013, the Anniston/Oxford metro has loss close to 2,000 people, mostly cause there are no job opportunities here.

I can totally see this happen, because Governor Bentley is angry at Del Marsh and Mike Hubbard.  Have a company interested in moving or expanding in Alabama?  The governor can simply choose to ignore the Anniston/Oxford area as political payback.  And I would not blame him if he decided to do that.  For Steven Guede, who is running against Del Marsh, I think I just gave you some great ammo to use in your campaign.  Del Marsh is already running some campaign ads here in Anniston on Cable One.  And I don’t blame him, because he is going to have a lot of people against him in the upcoming election.  It will be interesting to see if Del Marsh survives the upcoming election.

Learn more about Steven Guede at: http://electstevenguede.com/

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Three Bills The 2014 Alabama Legislature Needs To Deal With


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2014 has been a quiet year for the Alabama Legislature down in Montgomery.  Even though not much controversial is coming out of Goat Hill, there are a couple of bills that I want to talk about.  These are bills I want to see either passed or avoided.

HB 141 – The Spay/Neuter Clinic Protection Bill

This bill to keep the low-cost spay and neuter clinics open passed a major hurdle this week when the bill passed the Senate Health Committee by a 8-4 vote.  One of the members that voted no was Sen. Gerald Dial from Clay County, I thought you knew about the huge animal abandonment problem in Alabama?  By the way, thank you Sen. Del Marsh for voting yes!  So now, the bill will go to the Senate floor, and if it passes there, it goes to the governor, where he will sign it, I hope.

The problem about the Alabama Senate, is there are some members who will do anything possible to make sure this bill does not pass.  Sen. Paul Bussman from Cullman, has taken money from several veterinarians and members from the Alabama Veterinary Practice Owners Association to force the four low-cost spay and neuter clinics to close.  Is Sen. Bussman also opposed to ending gas chambers and animals being killed off because of the severe overpopulation problem?  Here are the facts, Alabama has a huge animal overpopulation problem.  These four low-cost spay and neuter clinics must stay open!  Being the animal lover that I am, it sickens me to see some legislators who wants to do anything to be greedy.

Over 100,000 animals are put down each year in Alabama simply because there are too many of them.  There should be no filibusters, harsh amendments, or other methods to kill this smart bill for Alabama.  Everyone needs to contact their state Senators and tell them to vote yes on HB 141, Alabama does not need to be known as the state that ignores their pets and animals, that would be bad for our state image.  Hopefully Sen Del Marsh, who knows about Geek Alabama, will force HB 141 down onto the floor for a yes or no vote!  Look at this image of me and a dog and cat below, do you care about them?

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SB 174 – Carly’s Law

Marijuana or cannabis, is becoming more open in our society.  Some states like Colorado and Washington have now legalized the plant, and as you can see, the states are seeing record tax revenues.  In Alabama, all forms of marijuana are still illegal, but for how long, just like the gay marriage debate, I think Alabama will soon allow the recreational use of marijuana, but right now, some people must have cannabis to stay healthy!  Several children in Alabama suffers from severe neurological disorders and seizures.  And they must have a form of cannabis to stay healthy and survive.

The bill would legalize in Alabama an oil derived from marijuana, cannabidiol, that is believed to help some children with seizure disorders.  That’s it!  There is no legalization of marijuana or pot for general use.  This bill only allows the ones who suffer to get the treatment they need, it’s like a prescription drug.  For children who uses cannabidiol medication to treat neurological disorders like epilepsy and seizures, they are going months without any problems!  But in Alabama, cannabidiol medication is illegal, and for some families.  They are going to other states such as Colorado so their kids can have the treatment they need.

Some politicians are afraid of voting yes to Carly’s Law because of re-election.  Seriously, you think opponents are going to attack you because you voted yes for a form of marijuana to help kids that has no street value?  This is a basic human rights issue!  I hope the Alabama Legislature will have the smarts to vote yes on SB 174!  Learn more about the fight for Carly’s Law at: https://www.facebook.com/carlyslaw

SB 443 – Common Core Opt-Out Provision

Sen. Scott Beason is trying to do anything possible to kill the Common Core curriculum for math and English in Alabama.  The Alabama College and Career Ready Standards are helping many students get ready for the real world after they graduate from high school.  Instead, some Tea Partiers and right-wing people are doing anything possible to dumb down Alabama.  The standards are endorsed by many businesses, education groups, and civic organizations in the state.  Before the standards for math and English took effect in 2010, 28% of students graduating from high school were not prepared for math and English in college.  That’s from the American Diploma Project.

Now, since Scott Beason is tired of seeing every attempt to derail the progress in Alabama  fail by killing off the Common Core standards.  Beason wants to change how Alabama chooses their state superintendent by letting the people vote for the state superintendent.  Currently, Tommy Bice from Alexander City is the state superintendent, and full disclosure, Tommy Bice knows me Nathan Young very well and I think he is doing a great job making schools in Alabama better!  I don’t think changing the way Alabama picks a state superintendent is going to derail the progress in our schools by making our standards dumber.  Unless we have misinformed people in Alabama, which I am afraid our state has.

SB 443 would create a chaotic patchwork of education standards and derail the state school system’s school accountability programs.  If a child moves to a different school system in Alabama with different standards, it is going to mess them up.  SB 443 is just a disguise to end the progress in Alabama schools.  If this bill passes, I will feel bad for the members of the local school boards, as they are going to be bombarded with calls, letters, and e-mails telling them to end Common Core standards, and make our kids dumber.  Do these Tea Party people have anything better to do?

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Say NO to Fracking In The Talladega National Forest


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This is a story that refuses to go away.  The U.S. Bureau of Land Management plans to hold an open house on Thursday April 25th from 5-8 pm at the Gateway Park Lodge in Montgomery.  Notice this is being held in Montgomery, nowhere near the Talladega National Forest.  If officials really cared, this meeting would be held in Anniston where the fracking plans will affect people the most.  By the way, the Gateway Park Lodge is a 9-hole Executive Golf Course where executive suits could be making decisions and doesn’t care about the average people around them, basically it’s about money!

I have talked about the fracking issue on Geek Alabama before.  Fracking is the injection of high pressure chemicals with water to get through several layers of earth to extract oil and natural gas.  Many local people so far is against the fracking idea.  From this map below, you see the areas being proposed for fracking.

From Anniston Star.

From Anniston Star.

Some of the lease areas proposed in the map above are right next to wilderness areas.  White Plains Middle and Elementary School is right next to a lease area.  And think about this, would you like to look at the views of Mt. Cheaha and see fracking sites?  I hope not!

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The reasons why many local residents are against fracking is simple.  The people do not want harmful chemicals pumped into the ground in which it could pollute the water supply.  Some local people have no access to water pipelines and have to rely on wells for water in rural areas.  So if we are injecting chemicals into the earth are we also polluting their water sources?  These chemicals could also pollute the water supply for the entire Anniston / Oxford area.  If fracking becomes reality, you might as well kiss Anniston’s eco-tourism chances goodbye!

Many local residents are coming together against the fracking plan.  Even the Southern Environmental Law Center is threatening legal action to stop fracking in the Talladega National Forest.  If fracking becomes reality, it will bring back the memories of the PCB pollution and the chemical weapons incinerator the Anniston area has had to endure.  This area has been named the most polluted city in America by 60 Minutes.  Simply; this is a plan many people in this area do not support because we have been polluted enough.  The people want to live in a clean and healthy environment.

The question I have to ask is why is this country not looking at weaning ourselves off of oil and gas?  Most of the Millennials (or people under age 30 like me) does not care about cars any more.  We see the writing on the wall.  Gas prices are going to have a hard time going back down because of demand around the world.  And drilling more will not bring the price down much.

Millennials want to live in communities where you can walk or ride a bike to get to the store, work, or have some fun.  We also want great mass transit options, which the state of Alabama lacks.  I am glad to see the City of Anniston wanting to become a bike friendly city!  This is something that is needed to be done.  There are so many things you can do without driving in a car.  If we do not start building walkable and bikeable communities; future companies will just skip the state of Alabama.  And we will be screwed.  We need to keep our forests and environment clean and chemical free!

I hope enough pressure is put on the officials so the fracking plan in the Talladega National Forest is killed for good!  We do not need chemicals pumped into the ground!  If you want to learn more about this issue, read this article from The Locust Fork News-Journal, this is worth your time!  http://blog.locustfork.net/2013/04/fracking-in-the-talladega-national-forest-is-not-in-the-national-state-or-local-interest-2/

 

Sunday Discussion: Crazy Bills In The Alabama Legislature


Geek Alabama Discussion

At times I have to just laugh at some of the bills being proposed in the Alabama Legislature.  I have already posted my thoughts on the School Flexibility Bill the legislature rammed through last week.  Read it here: http://geekalabama.com/2013/02/28/alabama-passes-the-school-flexibility-bill/

Now I want to talk about some of the craziest bills being proposed by the Alabama Legislature.  This will disturb some people!

HB 358: Anniston Eco-Tourism Beverage Bill

http://www.annistonstar.com/view/full_story/21825494/article-Alabama-Senate-OK-with-letting-local-people-decide-Sunday-alcohol-sales-question?instance=home_news

One big hurdle was completed last week; it passed the senate.  But now this bill faces certain death.  One local legislator; Rep. Steve Hurst is against this bill for moral reasons.  Rep. Steve Hurst said he couldn’t bring himself to vote for this bill.  Saying “my Bible tells me to keep the Sabbath day holy.”  Hurst said he doesn’t have a problem with people having the right to drink, but he’s cautious of expanding drinking on Sunday.

Some legislators cares more about moral issues than improving a region’s economy which is sad.  If this bill was passed by the legislature and passed by the Anniston citizens in a vote.  It would allow businesses to sell alcohol on Sundays.  And with Anniston becoming a eco-tourism and bicycling mecca.  This is badly needed!  Many cyclists are also beer drinkers and if Anniston wants to attract bikers, it needs to be allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays!

The best way to voice your opinion is to contact the Calhoun County legislators by calling them!  The numbers are as follows:
Representative Barbara Boyd – 334-242-7692, Representative Steve Hurst – 334-353-9215, Representative Richard Lindsey – 334-242-7713, Representative Randy Wood – 334-242-7700, Representative K. L. Brown – 334-242-1778.

HB 181: Hazardous Waste Bill

http://weldbham.com/blog/2013/03/04/hazardous-waste-bill-goes-before-full-house-tomorrow/

Want Alabama to become the dumping ground for the nation’s hazardous waste?  Then the legislature has to pass this bill.  This bill is trying to increase the amount of hazardous waste coming into the state by reducing the state-based fee from $21.60 per ton to $11 per ton.  This bill is mostly for the Emelle hazardous waste facility.  But if the fees are reduced, what’s stopping other hazardous waste landfills from opening?

SB 25: Bussman Spay/ Neuter Bill

http://www.sandmountainreporter.com/columnists/guest/article_a1c7dc36-81b4-11e2-9258-0019bb2963f4.html

Alabama has a big problem with pet overpopulation.  And a bill being proposed would harm the four low-cost spay and neuter clinics in Alabama.  SB 25 would no longer require a veterinarian to own a spay/neuter clinic.  The clinic could be owned by a 501(3)c non-profit with a veterinarian in charge of all medical care.  But this bill is a disguise to the real proposals.  A closer inspection of the bill reveals proposed regulations that would ultimately strangle spay/neuter clinics and force them to close.

SB25 is discriminatory.  Increased data-reporting and inspections would place an undue burden on low-cost spay/neuter clinic veterinarians and staff.  All veterinary practices should be subject to the same reporting and inspection standards.  SB25 will force low-cost spay/neuter clinics to offer substandard care at a substandard facility by limiting types of equipment and medication.  Also these clinics will only be allowed to operate as outpatient facilities.  Not being allowed to shelter animals overnight will limit surgery to early in the day, since animals need time to recover from the anesthesia before being released.

SB25 will prohibit low-cost spay/neuter clinics from stocking vaccines, dewormer, or other prescription medications.  SB 25 will limit pain medications to the day of surgery only.  It is federal law that all pets receive a rabies vaccination. Since people who use a low-cost spay/neuter clinic are less likely to visit a regular veterinarian, shouldn’t these clinics actually be required to administer rabies vaccinations?  SB 25 is a backdoor way from the Alabama Veterinary Medical Examiners Board to shut down the low-cost spay and neuter clinics and that means many animals will be abandoned and put to sleep in shelters.  Unless people can shell out several hundred dollars at a vet.  I talked about this before in a video I did; please watch!

Ammunition Sales Tax Bill

http://www.wsfa.com/story/21439224/ala-representative-proposes-bill-to-eliminate-ammunition-sales-tax

I think the legislators from Marshall County are some of the craziest in the bunch.  Rep. Wes Long is proposing a bill to eliminate the sales tax on Ammunition.  Long says “I think it will create an economic advantage for their hunters and gun owners to come across the border from Georgia and Florida and spend their money here because they’re probably going to buy other things,” said Long. “They’re going to buy guns or camouflage or camping supplies, whatever, you know, their interests are.”  Really?

Look; I have no problem taking out the sales tax on ammo.  But should Alabama eliminate the sales tax on food and groceries first?  Is Alabama going to say that bullets are more important to people than food?  I hope not!