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Fear is the highest fence.

After years of debates, notoriously contentious public meetings, and the looming specter of a civil rights lawsuit, a federal mediation agreement between the Town of Hamden and the City of New Haven, Connecticut resulted in the removal of a 10-foot chain-link fence that separated New Haven's West Rock public housing projects from Hamden's Woodin Street neighborhood for nearly half a century. NYT's Benjamin Mueller reports: In Connecticut, Breaking a Barrier Between a Suburb and Public Housing. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 14, 2014 - 9 comments

Unconstitutional, unworkable, or politically unsustainable

In 2011, Alabama passed perhaps the country's toughest immigration law, seeking to push undocumented immigrants out (previously). In October 2013, the state agreed to permanently block major portions of the law in response to lawsuits. Two years on, popular opinion and political momentum have largely turned against the law, and the immigrants are mostly still there.
posted by Chrysostom on Dec 19, 2013 - 22 comments

Y'all act like you never seen a Walter White person before

VICE made a documentary about the real Walter White. [more inside]
posted by gman on Nov 26, 2013 - 5 comments

Orange is the New Black is the new Alabama?

The Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, CT (famous for once housing Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black) is converting from a women’s prison to a men’s prison. Where will the inmates go? Aliceville, AL; a location more than 1,000 miles away, nowhere near a major airport, and 45 miles away from a train station. Eleven United States senators sent an open letter to the director of the Bureau of Prisons last month, and the transition remains in a state of delay. Piper Kerman wrote a NYT op-ed with her perspective.
posted by oceanjesse on Sep 24, 2013 - 38 comments

Why don’t you-all go and liberate the Indian reservations, or something?

The civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, as described in the New Yorker by Renata Adler in 1965. [more inside]
posted by medusa on Sep 23, 2013 - 21 comments

No Obamacare for animals

From September 1, it is illegal in Alabama to rescue raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, oppossums and other animals. [more inside]
posted by dontjumplarry on Sep 21, 2013 - 64 comments

"It is a sad story, but there is a joy that came out of it."

Fifty years ago this morning, Addie Mae Collins (age 14), Denise McNair (age 11), Carole Robertson (age 14), and Cynthia Wesley (age 14) lost their lives when a bomb set by the KKK went off in the basement of their church in Montgomery, Alabama. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 15, 2013 - 22 comments

"Are we really not going to talk about the black girl?"

"Not a lot of rushees get awesome scores," the Tri Delta member said. "Sometimes sisters [of active members] don’t get that. [She] got excellent scores. The only thing that kept her back was the color of her skin in Tri Delt. She would have been a dog fight between all the sororities if she were white." The University of Alabama's student newspaper reports on all-white sorority chapters' rejection of black applicants, including members' claims that the decisions came not from them but were handed down by alumnae. [Further coverage in the New York Times.]
posted by komara on Sep 13, 2013 - 182 comments

Take the Impossible “Literacy” Test

Slate posts on a 1960's era voting literacy tests [more inside]
posted by garlic on Jun 28, 2013 - 267 comments

America's 10 Worst Prisons

"'If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.' So goes the old saying. Yet conditions in some American facilities are so obscene that they amount to a form of extrajudicial punishment." Mother Jones is profiling "America's 10 Worst Prisons." Facilities were chosen for the list based on "...three years of research, correspondence with prisoners, and interviews with reform advocates." [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 14, 2013 - 88 comments

Forgot to Celebrate D-Day, Sister Woman.

What Does D-Day, MLK JR and Tennessee Williams have in common? NO, not that D-Day. The other D-Day. [more inside]
posted by QueerAngel28 on May 4, 2013 - 4 comments

“This is historic legislation, and it’s time to right this wrong.”

Yesterday, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed Senate Bill 97, the Scottsboro Boys Act allowing for posthumous pardons. Bentley has said he wanted to close a chapter of state history. The Scottsboro case led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision against excluding Blacks from juries. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Apr 12, 2013 - 7 comments

Two Fans and A Night They Can't Remember

An Alabama fan, an LSU fan, and one night on Bourbon Street they can't remember--and the video they can't forget. In January, an Alabama fan was videotaped placing his genitals on an LSU fan's face. The video quickly went viral on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by Four-Eyed Girl on Nov 16, 2012 - 106 comments

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Today the Supreme Court announced their 5-4 decision for Miller v. Alabama and found that mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles who commit murder are unconstitutional. [more inside]
posted by Talez on Jun 25, 2012 - 165 comments

"You won't never know whether or not I'm broke. But most of the time I am."

Ralph "Soul" Jackson is celebrating the release of his first full-length LP, The Alabama Love Man. He's been making the record with some help from friends and admirers for more than three years. But Jackson has been recording his brand of soul music with little success for more than forty years. [more inside]
posted by BitterOldPunk on Jun 16, 2012 - 5 comments

"You might not be able to do all the things you wish to do, but at least try to do some of them."

In the course of his life, he stepped into the ring as a Golden Gloves boxer, marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington DC and even fell victim to southern racism. It would not be until decades later as a mechanic that a customer would ask Gordon Burt Jr to play a song on his guitar.

In addition to receiving a recording deal, Dr. G.B. Burt continues to live in Alabama, but also enjoys his dream of performing on stage - an ambition that stretched as far back as the 1950s.
posted by Smart Dalek on Jan 23, 2012 - 7 comments

I'm Human

I'm Human A video by the students of Liberty Middle School in Madison, Alabama. Featuring the students and faculty of Liberty Middle School, Bob Jones High School, and James Clements High School; and the music of Sigur Rós. (SLYT)
posted by BitterOldPunk on Jan 17, 2012 - 12 comments

Pepperspray as school punishment

"Today’s lawsuit details how mace is used against children who are completely restrained and pose no threat to themselves or others in the school environment. These children are accused of engaging in normal but non-dangerous adolescent misbehavior – after which the adults taunt and celebrate their punishment." [more inside]
posted by 445supermag on Dec 22, 2011 - 35 comments

The National Championship of the Gulf Coast.

The Southeastern Conference has been ensured of producing its sixth straight BCS national champion as the #1 ranked 13-0 LSU Tigers will play against the #2 ranked 11-1 Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2011 BCS championship game. [more inside]
posted by clearly on Dec 5, 2011 - 63 comments

Jefferson County goes to war

Larry Langford was sentenced to 15 years in a federal prison in 2010 for his role in it. "It’s unclear how much Langford actually understood. Later he told the Securities and Exchange Commission that he wouldn’t know a swap advisor from a rubber band."

Yesterday, Jefferson County in Alabama declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to do so. "The filing means the county has declared war on its creditors. " [more inside]
posted by dig_duggler on Nov 10, 2011 - 48 comments

Crops still don't pick themselves

We discussed the impact of Georgia's immigration law previously. Apparently their neighboring state Alabama decided they needed one even tougher. The impact on businesses mirrored what happened in Georgia. Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice is challenging the law. Some estimates on the economic impact.
posted by Runes on Oct 9, 2011 - 32 comments

A Miscarriage of Justice

The Guardian looks at how pregnant women who lose their babies or are found to have been taking drugs are facing charges for foetal endangerment.
posted by dunkadunc on Jun 24, 2011 - 129 comments

Homebrew? Not in Alabama or Mississippi.

Think making beer at home is legal? Depends where your home is.

In 1978, US President Carter signed H.R. 1337, which, among other things, provided an exemption from excise taxes on up to 100 gallons of homemade wine and beer annually. It was still up to the individual states to decide whether or not to allow their citizens to brew.

33 years later, homebrewing is a very popular hobby, legal almost all states.

Except Mississippi and Alabama. [more inside]
posted by Marky on Jun 13, 2011 - 70 comments

Hard Luck Guy

Say, you wanna hear a sad song? Eddie Hinton was a guitar player, vocalist, and songwriter from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Co-writer of one of the tenderest, sexiest hits of the late 60s, Dusty Springfield's Breakfast in Bed, Hinton was a key member of the world-famous Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section from 1967 to 1971 (turning down an invitation from Duane Allman to be a member of the Allman Brothers Band) who worked as a studio musician on albums by Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, the Staples Singers, and Toots Hibbert, but his early success was sidetracked by mental problems, booze, and drugs. [more inside]
posted by BitterOldPunk on May 31, 2011 - 22 comments

Oops, my bad, I totally missed that!

Alabama's Browns Ferry Plant nuclear plant has received red finding from the NRC for an emergency coolant valve failure that wasn't detected for over a year. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on May 12, 2011 - 34 comments

Tornadoes devastate southeastern U.S.

A wave of powerful storm cells swept the southeastern United States this week, spawning hundreds of tornadoes that wreaked havoc from Texas to Virginia. While damage was widespread throughout the region, the most terrible toll was seen in Alabama, which has accounted for two-thirds of the more than 300 reported deaths -- the deadliest since the Great Depression -- and where many small towns were simply wiped from the map. Especially hard-hit was the university town of Tuscaloosa, the state's fifth-largest, where a monstrous F5 tornado (seen in this terrifying firsthand video) tore a vicious track through entire neighborhoods and business districts -- narrowly missing the region's primary hospital -- and continuing a path that rained debris as far as Birmingham, over sixty miles away. The disaster prompted a visit from President Obama today, who declared "I've never seen devastation like this" after surveying the area with Governor Robert Bentley, Senator Richard Shelby, and Mayor Walter Maddox. More: photos from In Focus and The Big Picture, aerial footage of the aftermath, "before and after" sliders, the path of the Tuscaloosa twister on Google Maps, People Locator, local aid information, MetaTalk check-in thread
posted by Rhaomi on Apr 29, 2011 - 102 comments

Alabama shop swaps sex toys for handguns

This Valentine's Day make love, not war... An Alabama sex shop is offering a handgun- for-sex-toy promotion for Valentine's Day. [more inside]
posted by anya32 on Feb 8, 2011 - 38 comments

You're Wrong! No, You're Wrong!

5 Lesser Known (Completely Ridiculous) American Civil Wars, via Cracked. [more inside]
posted by Miko on May 26, 2010 - 45 comments

ALABAMA!

Dale Peterson is running for office in Alabama! You may not like the politics, but GODDAMN this is an AD! He's on a HORSE! And wait for the :50 mark where he shows you he means BIZNESS.
posted by Cool Papa Bell on May 22, 2010 - 120 comments

NewSouth Books

"La Rosa does not care who knows she sees the world from well left of center. Williams balks at accepting the liberal title; instead he states his preference to be known as a progressive. 'When people hear liberal, this happens,' he said while making hand gestures showing steam coming out of his head." Their views and their press are helping to remake Montgomery, Alabama.
[more inside]
posted by jefficator on May 2, 2010 - 16 comments

"This is an open-and-shut case of anti-competitive behavior"

"What happened here in Jefferson County would turn out to be the perfect metaphor for the peculiar alchemy of modern oligarchical capitalism: A mob of corrupt local officials and morally absent financiers got together to build a giant device that converted human shit into billions of dollars of profit for Wall Street" - "Looting Main Street" Matt Taibbi takes an in-depth look into how finance, deregulation, corruption, synthetic rate swaps, and greed decimated Birmingham, AL. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Apr 12, 2010 - 42 comments

Butch Anthony and The Alabama Museum of Wonder.

The Alabama Museum of Wonder. Butch Anthony has a word – a word which he concocted himself. A word which he designed to precisely describe his unique personal style of art and artistic discovery. That word is “intertwangleism.” [more inside]
posted by fixedgear on Apr 9, 2010 - 12 comments

Hot Barbeque!

When we reach these, the bleakest and coldest days of winter, my mind inevitably turns towards the warm days of summer and one of America’s favorite pastimes: Barbeque. [more inside]
posted by shiu mai baby on Feb 17, 2010 - 74 comments

Alabamas Homeboys

Homeboy Industries (gang intervention organization) visits Alabama Village in Prichard Alabama. Videos, photos and an essay describe their visit.
posted by proneSMK on Dec 20, 2009 - 9 comments

Slugburgers

Slugburgers, hamburgers in which the meat has been supplemented with bread, meal, or crackers for filler, come from a triangular region that cuts across northern Alabama, northern Mississippi, and southern Tennessee and roughly corresponds with the Tennessee Valley. They're called slugburgers in Moulton, Alabama; Decatur, Alabama; and Corinth, Mississippi; doughburgers in Tupelo, Mississippi; and breadburgers in Cullman, Alabama. This regional take on the hamburger became popular during the Great Depression, when the price of meat made it necessary to use fillers to extend supply. Though the exact origin of the term is disputed, it is most commonly held that Slugburgers got their name from the coin used to pay for them: when each burger cost 5¢, you could pay for one with a nickel which was then also called a slug. Corinth, Mississippi, has held an annual Slugburger Festival since 1988. Take a photographic tour of the Slugburger Trail. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Sep 18, 2009 - 78 comments

The Alex Latifi trial was potholed with crazy.

The Curious Case of Alex Latifi. "We don’t care if Latifi is innocent. Our goal is to put him out of business." Feds knock; a business is lost: all charges dropped years after the company was charged with violating U.S. export law by sending to China classified drawings of an Army Black Hawk helicopter part and falsifying related tests. "It appears that the principal offense committed by the defendant, Alex Latifi, was breathing while being of Middle Eastern extraction.” [more inside]
posted by Non Prosequitur on Apr 1, 2009 - 17 comments

The Frilled Bonnet of Oppression

A throwback to slavery? The Azalea Trail Maids began as a celebration of horticulture in Mobile, AL in 1929, and right now they're scrambling to raise funds so they can stroll in Obama's inagural procession. The President of Alabama 's NAACP, however, is determined to see that they stay home.
posted by Julia F***ing Sugarbaker on Jan 13, 2009 - 81 comments

Lookin' for a home...

In the little town of Enterprise, Alabama, there stands a bizarre statue that would make any card-carrying surrealist proud: an archetypical Greek goddess raises her arms toward heaven and holds high above her head... an enormous insect. Of course, it's the boll weevil. That cotton-eatin' critter inspired not only the world's only monument to an agricultural pest, but some great tunes as well, from a wide range of artists. [note: see hoverovers for link descriptions] [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 15, 2008 - 35 comments

Taking Affirmative Action Against Crime and For Economic Reconstruction

The black backs by and on which the fortunes of the New South were built:
On March 30, 1908, Green Cottenham was arrested by the sheriff of Shelby County, Alabama, and charged with “vagrancy.”... Cottenham’s offense was blackness.... [After a brief trial] Cottenham... was sold. Under a standing arrangement between the county and a vast subsidiary of the industrial titan of the North — U.S. Steel Corporation — the sheriff turned the young man over to the company for the duration of his sentence.... he was chained inside a long wooden barrack at night and required to spend nearly every waking hour digging and loading coal. His required daily “task” was to remove eight tons of coal from the mine. Cottenham was subject to the whip for failure to dig the requisite amount, at risk of physical torture for disobedience, and vulnerable to the sexual predations of other miners.... Forty-five years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freeing American slaves, Green Cottenham and more than a thousand other black men toiled under the lash at Slope 12.
— from the Introduction to Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II. The book's website includes reviews of the book, an excerpt of the Introduction, and an extensive photo gallery that includes disturbing images of enslaved and tortured prisoners. [more inside]
posted by orthogonality on Jun 21, 2008 - 94 comments

Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, 1914-2008

Before developing exotic space propulsion systems like the ion engines on deep space probes, he developed guidance systems for Nazi Germany's ballistic missile, the V2. As Dr. Werner von Braun's Chief Scientist, he was one of the brilliant minds that founded the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and sent astronauts to the moon atop MSFC's Saturn V rocket. Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, one of the last surviving rocket scientists extracted from Nazi Germany in Operation Paperclip, died today at 94.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on May 27, 2008 - 28 comments

God loves my country more than he loves yours.

Wonderfully artistic video for the song "God Loves My Country", by Balthrop, Alabama, a small-town band.
posted by emelenjr on May 26, 2008 - 12 comments

Alabama Songs

Alabama - Alabama Bound - Stars Fell On Alabama - Alabama Song - Alabama Jubilee - Alabama and, as if you could leave it out of this post... Sweet Home Alabama. Oh, and by the way, I'm told that other states occasionally appear in songs as well. You can verify that here. [NOTE: see hoverovers for link descriptions]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 22, 2008 - 43 comments

The Muscle Shoals Sound

The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section was comprised of four session musicians operating out of the tiny northern Alabama town of town Muscle Shoals. Just four unassuming crackers who happened to have provided the funky underpinning for a huge number of hit songs by, among others, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Paul Simon, Joe Cocker, The Staple Singers , Jimmy Cliff and many, many others. Hey, they were the house band to the greats. Big respect to the men from 3614 Jackson Highway! [note: see hoverovers for link descriptions] [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 24, 2008 - 27 comments

Four Score and a terabyte ago…

Spartacus Roosevelt Hour Podcast is a weekly hour of obscure noise, glitchy electropop, fake nostalgia, bastardized exotica, tweaky lounge, creepy ambient and musical non-sequiturs. Also, it features an Alabaman with a Skype account named Spartacus Roosevelt.
posted by panoptican on Feb 14, 2008 - 8 comments

The Delmore Brothers: early C&W pioneers.

The Delmore Brothers, hailing from north Alabama and active from 1926 to 1952, were an early country and western duo that married effortlessly relaxed (but very polished) harmonies with soulful country-boogie blues. Bob Dylan said of them: "The Delmore Brothers, God, I really loved them! I think they've influenced every harmony I've ever tried to sing." They're sure worth some listens, y'all.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 7, 2007 - 13 comments

There is a dildo in the anus covered with a condom

NewsFilter: "A Montgomery minister found in his home this summer died with his hands and feet bound behind his back and dressed in two rubberized suits, an offical autopsy showed. ... The Rev. Gary Michael Aldridge was found dead June 24. Police ruled the 51-year-old pastor of Thorington Road Baptist Church was alone at the time of his death and that there was no foul play involved." He's a Liberty University graduate and former Liberty dean. [more inside]
posted by ibmcginty on Oct 12, 2007 - 133 comments

John Henry was a steel-drivin' bastard

You've got just over two weeks to make it to the John Henry celebration in Leeds, Alabama, where some folks believe the legendary steel driving contest actually took place. Maybe you already made it to John Henry Days in Talcott, West Virginia (or read a fictionalized account), where some more folks claim the same. John Garst, Scott Nelson, and other folklorists weigh in here, supplemented by a wealth of links and resources on the subject. While you think on it let Mississippi Fred McDowell, The Boss, Ralph Stanley, John Jackson, Merle Travis, and Jason Isbell tell their own versions. John Garst and his research mentioned previously.
posted by Roman Graves on Aug 28, 2007 - 17 comments

Sex Toys are Just Like Prostitution

Sex Toys are Just Like Prostitution
posted by expriest on Feb 20, 2007 - 74 comments

Driving a pick-up truck with "Man Love Rules OK" across Alabama

Would you drive a pick-up truck with "Man Love Rules OK" across Alabama? (YouTube video) The presenters behind UK motoring/male-entertainment show Top Gear did. See what happens when they pulled into a "gas" station. More information here. Do you think the footage was manipulated?
posted by badlydubbedboy on Feb 12, 2007 - 334 comments

The River Above

Alabama has many beautiful rivers, but the Cahaba is special. Its biodiversity is impressive. Boasting 131 different fish species, no other river in North America has more species of fish per mile. It's also the longest free-flowing river remaining in Alabama. It is home to a considerable number of rare plants*, including the Cahaba lilly. The proximity of Birmingham has taken a toll, but recovery efforts are underway, and the Cahaba remains popular with river and wildlife enthusiasts. *Page contains embedded quicktime
posted by owhydididoit on Sep 7, 2006 - 8 comments

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