Monday, December 29, 2008


We hope you've had a wonderful, merry Christmas, and that you'll have an even better New Year. The Selma Intelligencer BETA will be taking a break for the next few days, coming back better and with more stories on the 5th of January. In the meantime, check back often for links to your latest State and National news.

Thank you for reading, and see you next year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Alabama Cuts State Jobs

The Alabama State Employees Association is cutting it's workforce by as many as 3,000 workers. Budget shortfalls have caused many departments to evaluate where cuts will have to be made.

This follows an announcement last week by Governor Bob Riley of spending cuts due to lowered tax revenue.

Monday, December 22, 2008

1st Ever Yearly Loss for Toyota

The japanese auto maker Toyota is forecasting it's first ever annual operating loss. Lowered sales in the companies largest markets and high steel prices have prompted cutbacks. The company was planning to build another plant in the southeast US, but is putting that project on hold.

Katsuaki Watanabe, the company's president, vowed to make the company lean enough to survive a massive decrease in auto sales.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Artur Davis to Run for Governor

Rep. Artur Davis stated yesterday that he would make a formal announcement in February to run for Governor. After some very early indications that he might seek a Senate seat, rumors began circulating months ago that he would seek the Gubernatorial post. His statement yesterday seems to confirm those rumors.

Bob Riley, Alabama's current governor, will be unable to run in 2010 due to Alabama's 2 consecutive term limit.

Davis is currently the Alabama 7th District Representitive to the U.S. House, which includes Selma. Davis is not originally from the area, but grew up in Montgomery.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Charities

The Christmas season is a time for sharing and giving. With all of the gift-giving and fellowship, some, this season, won't be able to experience the full joy of the holdiays. With all the layoffs and cutbacks, this year is particularly hard on some families.

If you have extra, or just want to give something, there are numerous Christmas charities.

Toys for Tots, operated by the US Marine Corps, is probably the most popular Christmas charity. Call Sgt. John McKinney at 334-294-7091 to drop off toys for the program.

My Two Front Teeth is a charity that allows people to sponsor individual children for Christmas. The children select one toy they would like for Christmas. This is listed on their website where with one click you can see what gift the child would like. With a credit card, you can purchase the gift. Volunteers then purchase and wrap the presents.

Samaritan's Purse is an organization that allows you to help on an internationals scale. Their Operation Christmas Child has garnered world renown for it's charity work.

There are many more charities that do work on Christmas. The Salvation Army, the Make a Wish foundation and others all contribute a lot during the holidays.

If you don't have enough to buy gifts, you can always volunteer to help these charities. They are always looking for gift wrappers, delivery people, etc.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Broadcasters to Shut Off Analog Signal Today

Alabama television broadcasters will be shutting off analog television broadcasts today at 5:25 PM. The move will only be temporary, however, and analog signals will return at 5:26. Some stations will not cease broadcasting, but will air a one minute message indicating that viewers need to upgrade to a digital converter or digital television.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Unemployment Hotline Overwhelmed

Recently unemployed Alabamans are reporting extremely long hold times on their required weekly phone calls to the State Government. One Selma resident reported a 1 hour and 24 minute wait, Monday, before anyone came on the line to help. This seems to be the norm, as unemployment numbers rise.

To cope with the rising demand on the state's jobless hotline, the Department of Industrial Relations, last week, instituted a new policy of allowing only those whose social security numbers ending with 0-4 to call in on Mondays, and those ending in 5-9 to call on Tuesday. Wednesday-Friday will be open for anyone. But, if Monday was any indication, it doesn't seem to be working.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chizik Back on the Plains

Newly hired Auburn University Head Football Coach, Gene Chizik, takes the reigns after leaving his only head-coaching position a troublesome 5-19. This doesn't bother some Auburn fans, however, who remember him as the defensive coordinator for the undefeated Auburn Tigers a few years back, and the National Championship he brought to Texas as an assistant coach.

Chizik came to Iowa State 2 years ago to work with a program that was 4-8 the season before he arrived. The team's record saw no improvement, going 3-9 and 2-10 in his 2 seasons at Iowa State, but, as some will point out, Chizik had yet to play with a team made up of his own recruits.

Friday, December 12, 2008

"Guidestones" Vandalized

A monument dedicated to a one world order erected 30 years ago in Georgia has been vandalized. Graffiti denouncing a "New World Order" and some profanity were spray painted on the stone monument.

The Georgia Guidestones are a monument with the following message written in multiple languages:

1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
2. Guide reproduction wisely - improving fitness and diversity.
3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
4. Rule passion - faith - tradition - and all things with tempered reason.
5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
9. Prize truth - beauty - love - seeking harmony with the infinite.
10.Be not a cancer on the earth - Leave room for nature - Leave room for nature.

In order to maintain a population of 500 million, as the stone calls for, 90% of the world's population would have to be eliminated, leading some to believe the stone is a threat to humanity by the secretive group that had the stones erected. The stones have an explanatory tablet nearby where etched in stone is the description the group gives it's self:

Just when the stones were vandalized was not made clear, but why seems apparent from the graffiti.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Obama PR Team Gets First Test

The spin team for President-elect Obama will get it's first test with the scandal surrounding the Senate seat he vacated. In November, it was reported that Mr. Obama spoke with the Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, regarding a replacement for the seat. Earlier this week, the President-elect told the Associated Press that he hadn't spoken with the Governor.

Governor Blagojevich is embroiled in controversy after reportedly trying to sell the vacant Senate seat, a seat for which he has the responsibility to appoint a replacement.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

British to Pull Out of Iraq

British troops are set to pull out of Iraq beginning at the end of January.

Since the invasion almost 6 years ago, the UK has had a significant presense in Iraq, specifically in the Basra province.

The British Command plans to have all combat troops out of Iraq by June. A small contingency of training personnel will remain, but will only number in the hundreds.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Allen Makes Presidential Debut

Dr. Geraldine Allen made her first appearance at a City Council meeting, tonight, since her election as City Council President.

Chief Riley and Sheriff Huffman also made an appearance together to request funding for the Crimestoppers program. Councilwoman Keith, a former member of the Crimestoppers board, suggested the program follow through with filing as a non-profit organization.

Other items discussed included the Good Samaritan Hospital, a near $20,000 deficit for November, and provisions for river activities.

10 Commandment Opponent Suspended by State Bar

Stephen Glassroth, filer of the initial complaint to force then Supreme Court Cheif Justice Roy Moore to remove the 10 Commandments monument from state judicial building, has had his licence to practice law suspended.

After his failure to reply to a complaint filed against him by Dana Jill Simpson, a fellow lawyer, the Alabama Bar chose to suspend Glassroth's license. Simpson has also filed a $50,000 suit against Glassroth. The trial date is set for this coming August.

Simpson made news previously when she testified to the House Judiciary about a plot hatched by Karl Rove to seek an indictment against then governor Don Siegelman. Simpson, a Republican, was working on the Bob Riley campaign at the time.

According to reports, Glassroth is listed as having contributed a total of $750 to the Artur Davis campaign.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Executions to Begin Anew in the New Year

After almost a year and a half with no executions, the State of Alabama plans to begin exercising it's death penalty again. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling temporarily halted Alabama's death penalty moments before James H. Callahan was to be executed on August 23, 2007. No one has been executed in the state since that date.

The ruling indicated that Alabama's lethal injection method could be considered cruel and unusual punishment. Alabama began to offer lethal injection as a method of execution in 2002. Previously, death row inmates were executed by electric chair. The last person executed by the electric chair in Alabama was Lynda Lyon Block, a white female, in 2002.

Since lethal injection became an option, 14 individuals have been executed in Alabama. All of them were male; 11 were white and 3 were black. They were executed at the Holman Correctional facility. Among those executed by lethal injection was the husband of Lynda Lyon Block, George Everett Sibley, Jr.

The Alabama Supreme Court plans to execute an inmate a month for the first 5 months of 2009. Callahan is now scheduled to be executed January 15th.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas on Parade

Children and adults alike lined Broad Street, today, for Selma's annual Christmas parade. The weather perfect, with just enough chill in the air to remind one of the season. The parade lasted about an hour, and was ended in the traditional way, with Santa and Mrs. Claus riding in the bucket of a Selma Fire truck.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Parade

Tomorrow is the Selma Christmas parade. This year's parade will have a military theme, "Red, White and Blue, and Santa, too." The parade is scheduled to begin at 9AM, downtown.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's Official: Tuberville Resigns

After days of speculation, and weeks of gossip, Head Coach Tommy Tuberville resigned, yesterday, as head coach of the Auburn Tigers. Just weeks after issuing a statement that he intended to be on the plains for "10 more years," Tuberville told his players that he would no longer be their coach.

Tuberville led the Tigers to an undefeated season, and 6 straight wins against in-state arch-rival, Alabama, during his decade as head coach on the plains.

Among the names floating as a replacement is Derek Dooley, son of Auburn alumni, and former University of Georgia head coach, Vince Dooley.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Birmingham Bankrupt?

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford's arrest Monday was sparked by an investigation which could lead to the city's bankruptcy. The city has a $3.2 billion sewer debt, and could move into insolvency. It would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history.

Langford was paid over $7 million in questionable transations, according to US Attorney Alice Martin. Martin also stated that profits from the city's sewer bond transactions were given to a company owned by Langford.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Big 3 Back in Washington

The Big 3 automakers are back in Washington DC asking for money. Their request could have far-reaching implications. If Congress awards the tens of billions the automakers want, they could use that money to pay thousands of auto industry workers, thus stimulating the American economy.

But do we know for certain that's where the money will go?

Rumors are circulating that American automakers are intending to spend billions in overseas markets. Do we want American taxpayer money supporting the economies of other nations? Before our lawmakers even consider giving out any money, we need assurances that this bailout will be spent to improve the American economy and to create jobs for Americans.

$25 billion is a lot of money. You could start up a whole new auto business for that kind of change.

If we are to invest billions in loans to these companies, we need to see an improved business model. We need to be shown where the Big 3 have gone wrong, and how they intend to change and improve themselves.

How do we know that GM, Chrysler and Ford won't just use this money to buy more million dollar commercials? Have you seen some of these commercials? They have major motion picture production value. There are explosions, special effects and computer generated graphics that no doubt cost a fortune. Wouldn't that money be better spent on R&D?

If GM, Ford and Chrysler are in financial trouble, it's not because the government doesn't give them money, it's because they have a failed business model. If they're not responsible enough to keep the oldest and most respected auto companies in the world profitable, it's doubtful they are capable of managing a multi-billion dollar bailout package.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Unemployment Benefits Extension

Unemployed Alabama residents could be eligible for up to 7 more weeks of benefits, if they meet requirements laid out at Over 10 thousand Alabamans could meet the requirements.

As unemployment rises, lawmakers in Washington passed legislation to make the extra benefits available.

Ironically, the benefits extension hinges on the unemployment rate for the state. If Alabama's unemployment rate was higher, our unemployed would be eligible for longer benefits extensions.