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About washing machines and adult toys

By By Bob Martin, The Alabama Scene
The Alabama Supreme Court last Friday affirmed a state law passed in 1998 that bans the sale of “sex toys.” A Hoover business appropriately named “Love Stuff” had challenged the ban, but the operators of the store say there are no plans to obey the court’s edict.
A majority of the court, in an opinion written by Justice Mike Bolin, said even though people have the right to use the devices in private, the Legislature has the right to ban their public distribution. Love Stuff had asked the court to strike down the law, arguing that the ban violated a person’s right to privacy. The court upheld the law, saying public morality was a legal reason to regulate sales.
The store’s attorney, Amy Herring, said the business is considering an appeal to the U. S. Supreme Court because the federal appeals courts have decided the issue differently.
Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, won the “Shroud Award” in 2003 for the deadest bill of the session for his attempts to repeal the law, calling it ridiculous and unenforceable. “What are you going to do”, he asks, “stop people from taking these things to their bedrooms?”
When the issue arose back in the last decade, Emory Folmar, the current head of the State ABC operations but formerly the colorful and never-at-a-loss-for-words mayor of Montgomery, was challenged on a locally broadcast talk show by a female caller as he defended the sex toy ban. After the lady hung up Folmar had an answer and stated it in the highest degree of his ever familiar faux tact. “If she needs a vibrator she should just go sit on her washing machine,” the mayor quipped.
Oh well, what would we do without these little issues of humor and faux morality in Alabama?
Multi-million dollar computer programs
Since the mid-1980’s and early 1990’s when state and local governments started discovering word processor and computer systems, the cost of the technology geeks to service and upgrade these systems has spread like the California wildfires with very little accountability.
I have always been suspicious when unable to wrap my hands around an issue or new technology and am suspect that most of our politicians, like me, have very little knowledge about the subject of computers and computer systems. The first computer technology push in state government I remember was back in the first Siegelman administration.
I was suspicious then and remain so today, particularly when the Riley Administration has spent $6 million in a year and wants another $7 million to pay a corporation which lists its company headquarters as a residence outside Washington D. C., doesn’t have a phone number and couldn’t be contacted by the state’s media last week.
State Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery has also become suspicious and is asking Gov. Riley not to sign a contract for $6.9 million with Paragon Source LLC. He says he will ask the oversight committee of which he is chairman to subpoena records to determine who has gotten paid from the contract with the company which also received a $5.9 million contract from the Riley administration last year.
According to the Associated Press, incorporation papers filed in Alabama list the company headquarters as a residential dwelling in Oakton, Va., a suburb of Washington. There is no phone number, no web page nor other information available on the company.
The contract was signed by a Janet Lauderdale, who lives in Montgomery and is listed as company president on the incorporation papers.
We are told that Lauderdale works with other Paragon employees out of a state office in the RSA Union Building in Montgomery. Lauderdale does not have a listed telephone number according to the AP.
Holmes’s panel, the Legislature’s Contract Review Committee, has been asked by the administration to approve an add-on contract with the company, Paragon Source LLC, in the form of a $6.9 million increase to a $5.9 million contract approved last year.
Rep. Holmes and his committee can only delay the contract 45 days, but should investigate this deal and report what they find to the public. But before that happens, Gov. Riley should come clean about the current contract and justify the one he proposes. The people involved may be doing legitimate and important work.
If so, it should be thoroughly explained.