The Alabama Legislature And Del Marsh Apparently Does Not Care About Mental Health


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May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States, and with the way things are going, the state of Alabama is going to celebrate by cutting mental health funding even more, and pretty much screwing all who needs mental health help, or has an intellectual disability.  On Tuesday, the Alabama House passed the doomsday budget that has major and backbreaking cuts.  The budget cuts would cut mental heath 5 percent, on top of the 40 percent already cut since 2007.  When state funding is cut, it will also mean federal matching dollars are also cut.  So that 5 percent cut is almost like a 15 to 20 percent cut.

Everyone from Mental Health Commissioner Jim Reddoch to Terry Prezent, the Executive Director of The Arc of Alabama have said these new cuts will pretty much devastate mental health services in Alabama.  I mean, if around $100 million is cut on top of the budget cuts already made, how can mental health and intellectual disability services operate in Alabama?  It pretty much can’t!  People like me, who has Asperger’s Syndrome / Autism, are very productive members of society, but our legislature is like The Grinch, who steals all the Christmas presents, and hears the cries from the Who’s in Whoville, but instead of having The Grinch’s heart grow three times as big, it shrinks three times smaller, and The Grinch sells those Christmas presents on the Whoville black market.  It’s that bad!

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Here are some facts about mental health that you need to know, before our legislature thumbs their noses and votes yes on these major budget cuts.  The national average for waiting for mental health service is 11 months; it’s much longer in Alabama.  Alabama is dead last in what it invests in the developmentally disabled community.  And Alabama provides no services for those with autism or Asperger’s.  Yep, zip, nada, nothing!  This could be a big reason why I am still sitting here unemployed with Asperger’s and living in Alabama.  There is basically nothing to help those on the Autism spectrum, and you are stuck living with relatives, being homeless, being in jail, or being in a stuck pattern with nothing to do.

All of the warnings about the up to $100 million budget cuts to mental health have had no impact on the legislature sadly.  Governor Robert Bentley has proposed several revenue increases to prevent the budget cuts, none of them have come up in committee.  The Alabama House also had some revenue increases being proposed, but none has come up to a vote.  Meanwhile, over in the Alabama Senate, leader Del Marsh is proposing a lottery and expanding gambling in Alabama.  You know how it is in Alabama, people are deeply Christian and they are being sermoned by their church pastors about how a lottery and expanded gambling will be bad for Alabama and their faith.  The chances of expanding gambling and lottery passing the legislature are small, and even smaller if we get to vote for it.

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So, who can I talk too so I can at least try to get in their head and brains, and maybe re-wire it so he can think about what these major budget cuts would have on Alabama, let’s talk to Senate leader Del Marsh!  Del Marsh is one who thinks Alabama will allow a lottery and gambling, and if I get a chance to vote for it, I would vote YES!  That is, if we even get a chance to vote on this.  Several people are starting to put the blame on Del Marsh for not listening to the people who are crying wolf about these major budget cuts.  I mean, even Mike Hubbard, who is facing corruption charges, even proposed tax increases, that is how bad the general fund budget deficit is!

These general fund cuts will have serious consequences not only to mental health, but also to prisons, Medicaid, Human Resources, youth services, and anything else not education in Alabama.  And the state cuts to mental health are not the only bad impact.  Did you know that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama pays a lot less to psychiatrists!  They are paid $101 by Blue Choice versus $154.73 by Medicare.  Yep, way a go chasing way all the mental health professionals in Alabama.  Hey Del Marsh, you can help stop all of this, but you have chosen to not lift a finger, and listen to those who drinks that sweet tea supplied by the tea party.

So Del Marsh, and everyone in the Alabama Senate, do you care about the wellbeing of those with intellectual disabilities?  Do you care about those who needs Temporary Assistance for Needy Families? Do you care about those who needs a court trial?  Do you care about those who needs Medicaid?  Do you care about the elderly?  Do you care about our children and Headstart?  Do you care about reforming our prisons so the feds can’t come and take over?  Apparently, you Del Marsh and the Alabama Senate does not care, and you only care about listening to those with the power, you wants to force the poor to pay more taxes while they pay less taxes, that is the world we live in Alabama.  If Robin Hood ever stepped foot inside this state, he would be captured, tortured, and beaten to death.

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So the question is this?  Alabama has an important choice that will help determine what kind of state our children and grandchildren will inherit. Do we raise new revenue to protect vital services like health care and public safety?  Or do we erode our state’s quality of life with devastating cuts to those services?  So far, the legislature is siding with the latter option, and Alabama would suffer the consequences of that choice for years to come.  It’s not just the people in the legislature; many people in our state do not really understand how bad things are right now! They simply go about their daily lives and base their opinions on what they hear at church, work, or on social media outlets. Let’s get something straight; things are in a doomsday type of bad!  This state cannot just keeping cutting and cutting like what you see when landscapers cut the grass.

A change of thinking and political attitude is something the state of Alabama badly needs!  Who cares about who gets hurt in the process?  Who cares that this budget will cause federal lawsuits that will cost more than the money the cuts will save? Who cares that cutting the prison budget will make reform impossible and cause the Feds to take over our prisons and impose tax increases on us that they choose, because our legislature is full of gutless wonders who reuse to actually lead!  The legislative body is not at all confused about this situation. They just refuse to lead us out of it.  What might help get the people in the legislature moving?  Let’s print out some old west wanted posters with their faces and names on them.  Since lots of people need some extra money in Alabama, put a big fat reward on the poster, that will get the people to turn on their elected leaders!

In all seriousness, what really needs to happen to our lawmakers is the same thing that happens on the Adult Swim show Robot Chicken.  We should strap them into a chair, prop open their eyeballs and ears, and force them to watch TV programs about the right way to run a government.  Some time watching some Schoolhouse Rock, Sesame Street, and other educational shows might be the wakeup call our legislature needs to lead Alabama the right way.

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But, I am thinking too hard, and none of those things will ever happen.  What will most likely happen is the major budget cuts will be passed, lawsuits will be filed, the federal government will come in and take over parts of the Alabama government, and it will be like Noah’s Ark.  Where the rich, powerful, and tea party supporters will be on the boat, while all the poor, disabled, and Democrats will be left to drown.  What a great message to send about Alabama to the rest of the world!

The Evening Post: Last Photo Alabama


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Tonight, I am featuring a new video from the Vimeo channel , and this video is about a project Ivan Cash is doing called Last Photo.  Ivan has been in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, and other cities asking random strangers about the last photo on their phone.  Ivan was recently in Alabama and asked strangers in Auburn, Opelika, and Montgomery about the last photo on their smartphones, it’s an interesting watch, enjoy!

The Hidden Cash Craze In Alabama Is Not A Good Idea


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Whenever you hide cash and announce that free cash is hiding somewhere, prepare to see people doing whatever it takes to get that cash!  The Twitter account @HiddenCash is going around and hiding cash around San Francisco and Los Angeles.  An anonymous millionaire in California is tweeting out clues to where cash is hidden, and the amounts range from $10 to $500.  Other major cities across the country are also having some kind of hidden cash event.  So, how does this Hidden Cash thing work, so people like this person below can celebrate holding up some cash?

The anonymous millionaire is hiding cash in certain areas of a city, then he tweets out clues to where the cash is at.  The result?  People acting like crazy to find the cash.

It’s one big scavenger hunt!  And now, the craze is coming to Alabama, and the city of Montgomery, thanks to the baseball team the Montgomery Biscuits.  Starting this Friday at 12 noon, the Montgomery Biscuits will tweet out clues to hidden cash in the Montgomery Metro using the Twitter account @HiddenCashMGM.  The cash hunt will involve most of the Montgomery Metro.  The hunt for cash will then move to Riverwalk Stadium at 6 pm when the stadium will open to the public without a ticket during the 8th inning and clues will continue until all envelopes are found.

Not surprisingly, some people are concerned that certain people are so desperate for cash, they will be pushing, shoving, snatching, and grabbing their way to the money.  So, I don’t know if this hidden cash thing in Alabama is a very good idea?  With Alabama being the only state in America experiencing an uptick in unemployment, and people struggling to live day-to-day, I think a better idea would be to use that cash and help people who needs help!  For states like Texas, California, and others with better economies, going to find Hidden Cash is a fun thing to do.  But Alabama has a lot of poor people, who are desperate for any help they can get!

The person behind Hidden Cash wants people to tweet their cash finds, and either use the money to help yourself or pay it forward.  Yes, these scavenger hunts are fun in most cities, but Alabama is a poor state, and if you hide cash somewhere and announce you have done so, prepare for the masses, because if it’s only $20, or $200, people will want to find that money.  I hope security will be increased for this Hidden Cash event in Montgomery, and if you are going to participate in this Hidden Cash promotion from the Montgomery Biscuits, good luck to you!  You are going to need it!

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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!

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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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