Posts tagged Alabama

Don’t Send In The Clowns

You are going to think I am making this up, that this is a joke. I am not making it up; it is not a joke. I received this e-mail at 2:03pm on Tuesday from the Auburn University Public Safety & Security Department. This is a straight-up copy and paste job from the e-mail.[1] It is possibly the most amazing thing I have ever received from the campus cops.

From: Auburn University Public Safety & Security
Date: Sep. 20, 2016, 2:03pm
Subject: Rumors of Clowns on Campus

Auburn University Community:

On Monday evening the university and Auburn Police Division received a few reports of people dressed in clown costumes on campus. There were also several social media posts that suggested the same. We have seen similar reports of clown sightings at other universities and towns across the State of Alabama and the Southeast.

Auburn Police officers were on patrol and immediately responded to the areas reported but were unable to locate anyone. Auburn Police will continue to patrol our campus and investigate any suspicious activity. We are not aware of any danger or threat to our campus community.

We also had a report of students walking around looking for people dressed as clowns. For your safety, we strongly encourage you to leave this job to Auburn Police. Please use good judgment and avoid wearing clown masks, as it could be perceived as a hazard or threat to others.

We urge our campus community to be vigilant and always report anything suspicious by dialing 911. If you have information or questions, you can call the Auburn Police Division’s non-emergency number at 334-501-3100.

Another resource that is available to students is the free Rave Guardian app. Features of this app include the ability to send tips and photos to Auburn Police or set a safety timer to allow friends and family to help look out for your safety. Get the app and register with your AU email to maximize the features available.

We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you about the Night Security Shuttle which provides safe on-campus transportation and operates from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m. (while the Tiger Transit is not running). To request a ride on the security shuttle, please call 334-844-7400. This on-campus service is free to our campus community.

The safety of our students, employees and visitors is our priority and we will continue to do everything possible to keep our campus safe.

Over at Reason‘s Hit and Run blog, here’s Jesse Walker on the Great Clown Panic of 2016 as it comes to higher education and secondary education in Alabama.

Shared Article from Reason.com

The Clown Panic Comes to College - Hit & Run : Reason.com

Auburn University has issued a public-safety bulletin about the clown menace. Read it here.

Jesse Walker @ reason.com


The Great Clown Panic of ’16 began in August, you’ll recall, when children at an apartment complex in Greenville, South Carolina, claimed to have spotted some malevolent clowns in the woods, sparking city-wide chatter about clown conspiracies. Before long, the delirium was spreading across the Carolinas. In Winston-Salem, two kids claimed that a clown carrying candy had tried to lure them into the forest; not long after that, in nearby Greensboro, a man called 911 to report a clown, who he then supposedly chased into the woods with a machete. (“Officers responding to the call could not find the clown,” the local News & Record reported.)

The meme[2] had marched into Georgia by mid-September, when two Troup County residents claimed to have seen some clowns trying to lure kids into a van, then confessed that they had made it up and were charged with making a false report. Last week a Georgia girl was arrested for bringing a knife to her middle school. She said she needed it to protect her from the clowns. By then the currents of coulrophobia had flooded into Alabama, where Facebook posts about the clown threat prompted schools across the state to go on lockdown, and where yet more hoaxsters were eventually arrested.

Now the Alabama wave has hit the world of higher education. . . .

. . . Amid this cascade of hoaxes, pranks, and schoolyard rumors—and possibly, at some point, a sighting of an actual professional Bozo on his way to a birthday party—there have been exactly zero confirmed cases of harlequins plotting to kidnap or molest children. But you knew that already.

Meanwhile, in the Lee County high schools, it looks like a teenager, allegedly a young woman at Beauregard High School, used the clown panic to get on social media and make threats of a school shooting, either against Opelika City Schools or against Beauregard High School or against Beauregard Elementary School. The Lee County sheriff said there is no evidence that the threat is credible, but Beauregard schools announced they’ll be under a heightened sense of awareness for the rest of the week, which means, more or less, that they’ll be swarming the campus with cops from the sheriff’s office; and Opelika City Schools placed schools on lockdown yesterday. The sheriffs office announced that they had used tracking technologies to identify, track down and arrest the female student allegedly responsible for the video (We used technology available to us to identify who she was. –Sheriff Jay Jones.) They will be charging her with felony charges for making terroristic threats. Meanwhile, people in the newspaper comment threads are more or less overtly threatening to shoot people for wearing clown suits, and newsmedia stories continue to relay reports of an amorphous clowning menace lurking in the shadows of social media and the dark edges of the piney woods:

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office isn’t the only agency in the area to receive reports of creepy clown threats.

LaGrange police took to Facebook to warn the public about several calls they received Set. 12 about clowns in a van and wooded area trying to talk to children. There were also threats made on Facebook media the previous weekend from “clowns” threatening to commit crimes at LaGrange schools.

Police determined that the threats were not credible. By Friday, they arrested four people who allegedly made “creepy clown” threats toward LaGrange High School.

Two were arrested in Troup County Sept. 14 after falsely reporting creepy clown sightings in Hogansville, Ga.

–Sarah Robinson, Hundreds checked out of Lee County schools following ‘creepy clown threat’
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, September 21, 2016

And in the superstore parking lots of Alex City:

Clown sighting at Walmart proves unfounded

Wednesday afternoon a customer at Walmart on Highway 280 called police to alert them to a person dressed as a clown in the parking lot.

The caller told dispatchers that she saw a male, dressed in a clown costume in an older model red pickup truck with a confederate flag showing in the back.

. . . Officers were dispatched to the parking lot, but found the vehicle empty when they arrived. They backed off and waited for the occupant of the vehicle to return. But when the owner returned, there was no white makeup, no red nose, no rainbow wig and not a single balloon animal. The man wasn’t even wearing size 24 red shoes.

After questioning the man for a few minutes, police left and the man went on his way, and was seen dialing a cellphone to tell someone what had just happened.

While this turned out to be nothing, Alexander City Police issued an alert via social media on the subject.

“We have received social media messages in reference to clowns posting threats on social media pages” a post attributed to Deputy Chief Jay Turner reads. “The threats have not been credible and as written in the article it takes a considerable amount of time to investigate the alleged threat.

“The easiest solution is to change your social media security settings and only allow those you know to post on your social media page; this will eliminate receiving posts from these fake profiles being used in this current fad of clown hysteria.”

Elsewhere, police are locking people up when they track them down.

After threats were made to schools in Baldwin, Bibb, Calhoun, Escambia, Etowah, Geneva, Jefferson, Mobile and Montgomery counties, there have been several arrests. A 16-year-old from Pleasant Valley, an 18-year-old in West Blocton, 22-year-old Makayla Smith and two juveniles from Flomaton and four Geneva juveniles, three students at Geneva Middle School and one Geneva High School student, have all been arrested and face charges. Several are charged with making terrorist threats.

–Mitch Sneed, Clown sighting at Walmart proves unfounded
Alex City Outlook, September 21, 2016

  1. [1]If you want some corroboration, here is the Plainsman story issued about “Clown Sightings on Campus” shortly after the e-mail blast was sent out.
  2. [2]Sic. There’s no such thing as a meme. —Ed.

Holman Prison Strike and Shutdown

Here is a note that I received through the IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee about the prisoners’ strike at Holman Prison in Alabama, as well as (probably) a number of other prisons in the Southeast and across the U.S. For some context on the ongoing struggle over prison conditions and prison labor in Holman, see also GT 2016-04-10: Alabama Corrections and GT 2016-03-13: Prisoner Uprising in the Slaughterhouse. Anyway, here’s a reprint of the press release I received via e-mail from the IWOC yesterday evening at 10:36PM:

PRESS RELEASE Monday Sept 12th, 2016

Contact: Azzurra Crispino Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) Media Co-Chair
512-300-5559, iwoc@riseup.net

Prisoner Strikes and Supporter Protests Sweep the Nation

ATMORE, AL – Over the weekend more than 50 protests erupted across the country and around the world in solidarity with the September 9th nation-wide prisoner work stoppage and protest. Mothers and Families, the outside support organization for the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) rallied with drums and noisemakers outside of Holman Prison while workers kicked off their strike inside. “Officers are performing all tasks” a prisoner texted outside supporters indicating the prisoner work stoppage was successful.

Although the full extent of facilities participating in the strike will not be known for another two weeks, we have received early reports of work stoppage and resistance from Holmes, Gulf and Mayo units in FL, Fluvanna prison in Troy VA, and unnamed units in North Carolina and South Carolina. Central California Women’s Facility, Oregon State Penitentiary and St Cloud Correctional Facility in Minnesota were on lockdown in response to organizing on Friday. Hundreds of prisoners started fires, attacked surveillance cameras and damaged the facilities at Kinross Correctional in Northern Michigan and Holmes Correctional in Florida. No one was seriously injured and prisoners are refusing to work.

There are confirmed hunger strikes underway in Wisconsin, Ohio, California and Guantanamo Bay. At Merced County Jail in Central California family of inmates have reported that the hunger strikers were threatened with shotguns and dogs. In Ohio there are at least two prisons, Lucasville and Ohio State Penitentiary, where prisoners went on hunger strike beginning September 9th. Prisoners at both Ohio prisons have reported being threatened with being stripped of their contact visits in retaliation for going on strike. We stand in solidarity with prominent US Army whistle blower Chelsea Manning, who initiated a hunger strike on September 9th to protest lack of adequate medical care for trans prisoners.

In Greece and across the US, protests occurred outside of jail, prison and immigrant detention centers. Three large banners were held up facing the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville Ohio, the site of a massive and deadly prisoner uprising in 1993. The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons rallied outside Buckeye State Prison in Arizona, one of many prisons where pollution and contaminated water harm prisoners.

US Embassy protests occurred in England, Australia, Sweden and Germany. From Oregon to Florida and in between, companies profiting off prison were targeted by outside protesters, including Bank of America, McDonalds, Aramark, AT&T and Starbucks. In Lansing Michigan protesters blocked a downtown intersection for hours with a large UHaul truck. In New York City and Durham North Carolina they blocked freeways. In Portland OR protesters disrupted an AT&T and McDonalds, both corporations which use prison labor, as well as held a noise demonstration outside a local jail, then they shut down traffic. There were arrests in: Oakland, CA; Milwaukee Wisconsin; Nashville, Tennessee; and Atlanta, Georgia. Most were quickly released, but at least three protesters in GA are facing multiple felonies.

Additional Information

Up-to-date list of institutions striking and solidarity actions here: https://itsgoingdown.org/prisonstrike-resistance-to-slavery-across-the-world/

Organizations Endorsing the Strike here: https://supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org/endorsements/

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Prisoners, formerly incarcerated workers, family members, and local activists are available for interviews with local and national media.

See also.

Mike Hubbard has been found guilty on multiple ethics charges

Mike Hubbard — formerly Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, Chair of the Alabama state Republican party, and representative of Alabama House district 79 (which includes most of the majority-white neighborhoods in Auburn) — has been found guilty on multiple ethics charges, and has been removed from office.

A Lee County jury of 12 citizens has found former Auburn Republican and Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard guilty of 12 felony charges of violating the state’s ethics law — the very same ethics law he was instrumental in passing.

After only a little more than seven hours, the jury reached a historic verdict in a four-year investigation into Hubbard’s use of his offices as both House speaker and chairman of the Alabama Republican Party.

After Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker read the jury’s convictions, Hubbard’s bond was set at $160,000. He later made bond and was released from the Lee County Justice Center’s jail. He snuck around journalists through a back entrance into a black Chevrolet Corvette parked in the grass.

After he entered the Corvette, Hubbard sped off through a field instead of using the parking lot, attempting to avoid journalists seeking comment.

–Chip Brownlee, Former House Speaker Mike Hubbard guilty
Auburn Plainsman (10 June 2016)

So that’s one branch of government down, two to go. So while we’re at it, let’s impeach the Governor. Also, of course, let’s re-remove Judge Roy Moore.

Impeach everybody. ¡Que se vayan todos!

Shared Article from theplainsman.com

Former House Speaker Mike Hubbard guilty - The Auburn Plainsman

Tweets by chpbrownlee

theplainsman.com


The power to regulate is the power to destroy.

I had some far-off hopes that the general atmosphere of backstabbing chaos currently reigning within the state GOP might have derailed the awful abortion bills pending in the Alabama legislature from moving forward. Unfortunately not; the majorities managed to put everything else aside and force through a vote before the end of the session, and just sent the governor two bills directly intended to obstruct abortion access in the state of Alabama. They haven’t yet been signed into law, and are awaiting the governor’s approval. Here is the latest in Alabama Republican reproductive regulation:

  • SB 363 is a procedure ban on Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) abortions. Since 2015, a number of state anti-abortion outfits have been pushing these bills (here called Dismemberment Abortions, a propagandistic phrase coined by anti-abortion activists, parallel to the coining and use of Partial Birth Abortion to push Intact Dilation and Extraction procedure bans over the last two decades). Since they already won a federal prohibition on the most common procedure used for second-trimester abortions after 20 weeks, they’re now pushing for state prohibitions on the most common procedure used for second-trimester abortions before 20 weeks.[1] If they have their way, some day it will be technically legal to get an abortion in the state of Alabama, it’ll just be illegal to use any actually existing medical technique to get one.

  • SB 205 is a bizarre TRAP law that would prohibit the Alabama Department of Health from issuing or renewing licenses to abortion clinics located within 2,000 feet or less of a public school. This is the same perimeter that the state uses to exclude convicted sex offenders from living or working near a school. The bill’s sponsor claims that it is intended to prevent children from seeing the chaos that surrounds abortion clinics. By chaos, he means anti-abortion protesters; when a howling crowd of anti-abortion protesters harasses your building every business day, Republican state legislators decide that instead of convincing the anti-abortion to move, you have to pick up and move your building. The bill appears deliberately designed to force two of the five clinics in the state (Huntsville and Tuscaloosa) to shut down temporarily and undergo the expense of relocating. The Huntsville clinic in particular is in its current location, near a public middle school, because two years ago the state legislature forced it to close down and relocate there from its former downtown location with a previous TRAP law mandating special building standards for abortion clinics which were impossible to meet in their downtown location. So forcing them to shut their doors for months and relocate to their present location near a Huntsville middle school, the state legislature turns around and says Ha, nope, not there. Some day, if they have their way, you’ll technically be legally permitted to get an abortion in Alabama, it’s just that there will be not a square inch of land left in the state where anyone can actually operate a clinic.

These bills continue years of a deliberate policy of harassment by constant, ever-changing, unpredictable, ever-more-invasive hyperregulation of clinics, by anti-abortion legislators who pile on layer after layer of invasive hyperregulation, with an overt intent to destroy de facto access to abortion in Alabama without ever enacting a formal de jure ban that would be overturned in court. While politicians continue to pretend that abortion rights aree primarily a political battle conducted between those who favor permissive policies and those who favor restrictive policies, in real life, on the ground, the most dangerous threat to abortion and reproductive healthcare is the ever-growing, ever-shifting expansive power of the state to harass and regulate providers out of existence through licensure requirements and invasive, micromanaging targeted regulation.

The ACLU has a petition up urging the governor to veto these invasive laws:

Shared Article from American Civil Liberties Union

Stop Alabama's Attack on Abortion

Tell Alabama's Governor Robert Bentley to care about women's lives and safety and veto two anti-abortion bills - add your name now.

action.aclu.org


  1. [1]There are no exceptions to the ban for pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest, there is no general exception for abortions necessary for the health of the mother; the only exception is that the procedure is allowed only if necessary to prevent serious health risk, defined in the text as meaning a condition that so complicates her medical condition that it necessitates the abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.

Delendus iterum est.

Good. Let’s re-impeach Judge Roy Moore.

For the second time in his career, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore faces charges before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary and potential removal from office.

Until that court hears and rules on those charges, Moore will be suspended with pay from his position atop the state’s highest court.

On Friday, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission forwarded charges to the commission, accusing the chief justice of violating judicial ethics in his opposition to same-sex marriage.

— Roy Moore suspended from office: Alabama chief justice faces removal over gay marriage stance

Shared Article from AL.com

Roy Moore suspended from office: Alabama chief justice faces rem…

Second time Moore has faced such charges

al.com


Abolish the Chief Justice. Impeach everybody. One branch down, two more to go.[1]

  1. [1]Roy Moore is (or, I hope, has been, was) Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Governor Robert Bentley, head of the executive branch of government in the state of Alabama, is currently facing possible impeachment proceedings in the Alabama legislature. Alabama Representative Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn), Chair of the State GOP and Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, one of the most powerful men in the legislative branch, has been indicted on numerous ethics violations and is scheduled to go on trial in just over a week. Qué se vayan todos.