After years of debates
, notoriously contentious
, 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]
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.
made a documentary
about the real Walter White. [more inside]
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.
The civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery,
as described in the New Yorker by Renata Adler in 1965. [more inside]
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]
"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.
"'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]
What Does D-Day, MLK JR and Tennessee Williams have in common?
NO, not that D-Day.
The other D-Day. [more inside]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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.
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)
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]
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]
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.
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.
and Alabama. [more inside]
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]
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]
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
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]
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.
"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]
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]
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]
, 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]
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]
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
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]
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]
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
Wonderfully artistic video
for the song "God Loves My Country", by Balthrop, Alabama
, a small-town band.
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]
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]
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.
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
"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]
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
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?
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