The Wire

  • Cagle named president of Alabama Coal Association

    Patrick Cagle has been named the new president of the Alabama Coal Association, succeeding George Barber, who has elected to retire after seven years of service to the coal group which was first formed in 1972.

    Cagle, who has worked with the association on legislative matters in the past, has more than 10 years of experience in navigating Alabama’s political landscape. As executive director of JobKeeper Alliance, a 501c(4) nonprofit whose mission is to protect and create quality jobs, he previously worked hand-in-hand with the coal industry to oppose onerous, job-killing regulations.

    Cagle and his wife, Molly, have a 15-month-old son, Bankston. They are active members at Church of the Highlands. Cagle is an avid outdoorsman and a member of the Conservation Advisory Board, which assists the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources with the formation of hunting and fishing regulations.

  • Don’t call $1K in tax cut savings ‘crumbs’ — U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer

    U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) delivered a speech on the House floor today about how tax reform has impacted Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.

  • Fatal deer disease would impact more than hunters in Alabama — Montgomery Advertiser

    Chronic Wasting Disease is a neurological disease affecting deer; mule and whitetail deer, elk and moose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. It is fatal to animals that contact the disease, there is no vaccine, the CDC says.

    And it’s getting closer to Alabama.

    “The economic impact, of course, is huge,” Sykes said. “Hunting is a major part of the economy in rural areas of Alabama. And hunting is a huge part of the culture in Alabama. It is a part of the fabric of so many people’s lives.”

    Land values will likely be the first indicator of bad news if CWD comes to the state, said Jeff Roberts, a real estate agent who sells hunting land in the Black Belt.

    “For farmers and landowners, leasing the hunting rights to their places is a huge secondary income for many,” he said. “If CWD comes to Alabama, the land values are going to go into the basement. I’ve had clients turn their backs on absolutely beautiful hunting tracts when they found out feral hogs were on the property. You can imagine what CWD would do to spook buyers.”

1 week ago

Martha Roby is a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact

When Martha Roby launched her first campaign for Congress in 2010, the complete list of women who had represented Alabama in the U.S. House of Representatives comprised Elizabeth Andrews and … that’s it.

In 93 years since the first American woman took office in Congress, the Heart of Dixie had produced just one female representative — Andrews, who served the final nine months of her husband’s term following his death in December 1971. With the backing of then-Gov. George Wallace, Andrews ran opposed in the special election to fill the vacancy but did not seek re-election.


So, Roby did not exactly have history on her side when she announced her bid in 2010. That year, Alabama elected two women to the House, the other being Rep. Terri Sewell in the 7th District. But Roby remains the only woman to defeat an incumbent representative in Alabama, edging out Democrat Bobby Bright.

Roby has a pedigree for public service. Her father, Joel Dubina, was a federal judge in Montgomery and later served 13 years on the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

But Roby did not make a beeline for politics. Once, she dreamed of making music.

A music major at New York University, Roby worked for Columbia Records during her junior year. The experience led her to shift focus from the creative side of the profession to the business side. And that led her to her father’s alma mater, Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham.

Roby, at age 26, was working for the law firm of Copeland, Franco, Screws & Gill when she saw that her city councilman was retiring after 20 years in office, according to a 2012 profile in The Hill newspaper. She said that she told her husband that “if we’re going to be here and live here and, God willing, have children some day, I want to be engaged. I want to be involved.”

Roby told The Hill that she won the seat by out-working her opponents.

“If I (wanted) people to take me seriously, then I (had) to get out there and work harder than everybody,” she said.

After two terms on the City Council, Roby signed up to run in the 2nd Congressional District against Bright, who had been mayor of Montgomery during her tenure in city government. First, she beat a field of Republicans that included Tea Party favorite Rick Barber. Then, she narrowly defeated Bright in the general election in one of the closest congressional races in the country that cycle.

Roby won in landslides in 2012 and 2014 before a relatively tight contest in 2016 when she failed to clear 50 percent against Democrat Nathan Mathis and write-in votes.

Much of Roby’s difficulties came from disaffected Republicans angry at her decision to abandon President Donald Trump after the release of the famous “Access Hollywood” video in which the then-reality TV star talked off air about grabbing women.

But Roby has persevered, making a name for herself among her colleagues in Congress. She has built a largely conservative voting record, supporting last year’s tax cut bill, backing the GOP-led effort to repeal Obamacare and voting for bills to roll back regulations imposed at the end of President Barack Obama’s administration.

This year, Roby’s congressional career will come full circle. To win re-election, she must again defeat Bright — but this time in the GOP primary. Bright now is a Republican.

Roby and Gov. Kay Ivey will be among 20 Alabama women honored in a March 29 awards event in Birmingham. Event details and registration may be found here.

Brendan Kirby is senior political reporter at and a Yellowhammer contributor. He also is the author of “Wicked Mobile.” Follow him on Twitter


2 months ago

Judge Debra Jones running for Alabama Supreme Court, Place 1

(Judge Debra Jones Campaign)

Circuit Judge Debra Jones has qualified as a candidate for the Alabama Supreme Court, Place 1. She has been a Circuit Judge in Calhoun and Cleburne counties since 2010. Judge Jones, a Republican, is running for the open seat created by the resignation of Justice Glenn Murdock. The Republican primary is June 5, 2018.

“My judicial philosophy is that judges should follow their oath of office by respecting the rule of law, by strictly interpreting the law according to the constitutions as they are written, and by applying the law without fear and without favor.  As Circuit Judge with years of criminal and civil jury trial experience, I have served with integrity, discernment, and honesty.  I have consistently and fairly applied the law equally to everyone according to the constitutions of Alabama and of the United States.  As an attorney, I have practiced in many areas of the law, particularly in criminal, civil, probate, juvenile, and family law. This invaluable experience will be an asset to the Alabama Supreme Court and the people of Alabama.”

Judge Jones has a distinguished 28 year legal career.  Before her election to the bench, Jones served the citizens by advocating for the rights of abused women and children.  She began her legal career as a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office where she founded the Calhoun Cleburne Children’s Advocacy Center.  The children’s center is a professional residential place for children to be interviewed by trained counselors when they have been victims of abuse or neglect. Jones wrote the Sexual Torture Act, which criminalized the sexual abuse of any person with an inanimate object as a class A felony and she wrote the Felony DUI Act.  After forming her own practice, Judge Jones co-founded Daybreak Rape Crisis Center, a free counseling center for rape victims.  She also founded and operated Mercy House, a faith-based domestic violence shelter for women and children.

Judge Jones is a graduate of the University of Alabama and of Cumberland Law School.  Jones and her husband, William, have been married 26 years and have five children.  Three children attended Alabama colleges with two having recently graduated and one completing a degree.  Two children are in public high school.  “Alabama is our home.  We were born, raised, and educated in Alabama.  We have lived, worked, and worshipped here our entire lives.  I want to give back to this great State by serving on the State’s Highest Court.”

(News Release/Jones Campaign)

2 months ago

Lee County public fishing lake will reopen Feb. 1

(Outdoor Alabama)


Lee County Public Fishing Lake will reopen on February 1, 2018, under the operation of new lake managers Chris and Tina Wright. The lake had been temporarily closed during the transition of operations to the new lake managers. Lee County Public Fishing Lake is located 6 miles southeast of Opelika (or 9 miles east of Auburn, Ala.).

The lake offers public restrooms, a covered fishing pier, and a boat ramp. Bait, fishing tackle and snacks may be purchased at the concession. In addition to a valid fishing license, a daily $3 fishing permit is required for anglers 12 years old and older to fish. Boats may be rented for $5 and privately owned boats may be launched for $3. State public fishing lake licenses are available for purchase at the lake.

For more information about Lee County Public Fishing Lake, call the lake managers at 334-745-6563; the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Fisheries Section at 334-242-3471; or visit here.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit this link.

2 months ago

Be sure your (Twitter) sins will find you out






Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:


TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to take you to a couple of stories, one out of The Daily Wire, the other out of Fox News.

The Daily Wire is reporting that, apparently, Twitter employees are paid to view private sex messages. All those people that have been doing things on their Twitter accounts who thought that nobody else would notice – well, apparently, at Twitter, there’s a whole group of engineers who monitor what you think are your private messages.

One Twitter employee was quoted as saying, “All your illegitimate wives and, like, all the girls you’ve been doing things with, they’re now on my server. I’m going to send it to your wife and she’s going to get you in a divorce.”

Then the second story, out of Fox News, three brothers – Ned, Roger and Steven Landau – their mom inherited some things from their grandparents and they, in turn, when their mom passed away, inherited it from her – things like a silver tea set, a couple of old paintings, perhaps, were worth a few hundred dollars.

As it turns out, one piece that was inherited, a painting, turned out to be a Rembrandt painting. What they thought they were going to get a few hundred dollars for, they got over $1 million.

DR. REEDER: Tom, when you brought these stories, first of all, they were interesting, but they were interesting beyond just a personal interest story or a human-interest story. They were interesting in that there are a couple of Biblical principles that are embedded in this.


Let’s take up the first one and that is this fact that, here, people are gathering all of these messages that you think are private, and they’re together and, as one employee said, “You’re just a moment away from financial ruin as I collect all this data and send it in a package to your wife.”

I couldn’t help but think of the Book of Numbers that contains an amazing statement – and it’s supported, of course, in the book of Galatians – in Numbers, it says, “Be sure your sins will find you out,” and in Galatians, “What a man sows, he’ll also reap.”

And then the warnings of the apostle Paul that, “We must all appear before the judgment seat and we will give an account for all that we have said and done.” And the reality that the Lord says to us that, “The things that you think are done in secret will yet be revealed in the light of day and from the housetop, itself.”

Here are these warnings that what you think is done in private and what you think is done in secret actually will also see the light of day – if nothing else, the light of day at the judgment where we all give an account.


I was absolutely convinced that my mother had some omniscient gift in that I could not get away with anything in my life. The reality is it not only comes out in knowledge; it comes out in effect, as well. When we sin, there’s no such thing as victimless sins.

What your sins do is they destroy something in you and when they destroy it in you, they destroy it in the relationships you have with other people. Secret moments of pornography, those are victimless? Well, no, it’s not victimless. Just think of what’s happening in the lives of the people that you are purveying and think of what’s going to happen in the way you now look at other people, including your spouse. They have consequences in life and they certainly have consequences in eternity.


If anyone’s listening to me and you believe that there is a God who is holy, who will by no means leave the guilty unpunished and that we must all appear before the judgment seat to give an account, then you have got to be thinking, “Oh my goodness, every sin is worthy of the judgment of God – the wages of sin, singular – is death and here I will stand before the Lord with thousands upon thousands upon thousands of capital crimes. Is there any hope?” I want you to know today there is a glorious hope for you and that hope is to come to Jesus Christ.

The Bible said, “In Christ, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us. He paid for all of the sins of all of His people.” The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5 that, “He did not count our trespasses against us.”

Now, by the way, it doesn’t say He didn’t count our transgressions – our trespasses, our sins – it doesn’t say that. He counts them. They are legally and experientially attached to us, but for all who are in Christ, He doesn’t count them against us. He did count them against His son and, when He counted them against His son, something else happened: He counted the righteousness of Christ for you.

Tom, there’s a wonderful moment when Jacob – and you can see the echo – Jacob knows what he did in deceiving his father Isaac, so when it came time for him to bless the children of Joseph, you remember how Joseph directed his hands to the younger and to the older. And now, so he reverses his hands and, by purpose, the blessings that goes to the older goes to the younger and the blessing to go to the younger went to the older.

If you’re a Christian, that’s exactly what happened to you. Jacob is a type of the glory and grace of God toward us. He took His hand and the consequences of our sin that ought to be placed on us, He switches and crosses His arms and it is placed upon the one who did not deserve it and that is Jesus. And the blessings upon his son are now put upon those sons of wrath so that we can have eternal life in Jesus Christ.


Now let me go to the other story in the few moments that we have left and that’s this. You’ve got these paintings and, “Oh, this is just throw away stuff – went down to Woolworth’s and picked up a few paintings, here,” and then they find out, “Here’s a Rembrandt. You think it’s worth a couple hundred dollars and it’s worth a million.”

I’m reminded of the story of Randolph Hearst, who hired a guy to go find a particular Rembrandt and the guy searched and searched and he came one day and said, “Well, Mr. Hearst, I’ve got bad news and I’ve got good news.” And he said, “What’s the bad news?” He said, “The bad news is I have searched every art gallery, every treasure trove in all of Europe and everywhere for that Rembrandt and I cannot find it in any of those places.”

He said, “Well, then what’s the good news?” He said, “The good news is you already own it.” He finally came back and he went through the warehouse to look for something else and, as he came to the warehouse to look for something else, he found out that Randolph Hearst had already purchased this Rembrandt years ago or one of his agents had purchased it for him. He already owns it.


I’m reminded of arriving in Heaven. One guy said, “You look at these boxes and you say, ‘Peter, what are these boxes over here for?’ and he says, ‘You don’t want to know.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I do want to know.’ He said, ‘Okay, they’re unclaimed blessings for believers.’ And he said, ‘Oh, Peter do I have any boxes over there?’ He said, ‘You don’t want to know.’ ‘Yeah, I do, Peter.’ He said, ‘Well, come here, let me show you,’ and here are these hundreds of boxes labeled ‘Unclaimed Blessings for Harry Reeder.’”

People say to me, “Have you gotten the second blessing?” I said, “Second blessing? I got the third, the fourth, the fifth.” Listen, I’ve been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. The riches I have in Christ are untold. The problem isn’t do I have them already – the problem is am I using them now?


And that’s what that story reminds me of. You and I have in our possession untold blessings. “Harry, how can I find out about these untold blessings?” Get in a Bible-believing church that preaches the riches and responsibilities of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What you are and who you are in Christ is unbelievably majestic. You think your walk and blessings in Christ are worth a pittance – actually, they are majestic in worth and value. And that’s what you need to know: the blessings that have been given to you and purchased for you in Jesus Christ. Not these unbiblically defined blessings of the riches of this world, but the gloriously defined blessings of the riches of eternity.

Remember, your sins will find you out, but what you need to do is find Jesus, who finds you and, when He finds you, God switches hands. The blessings due to Christ He places upon all those who are in Christ but don’t deserve it. Those things that you deserve, those things came from God’s hand to punish Son, that you could have eternal life when He went to the cross. Now you have riches untold that are yours in Christ Jesus, the Lord of Glory.


TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, we are out of time for today. On Wednesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, once again, a little digging in the Holy Land has unearthed a major find and a confirmation of the accuracy of the Bible.

DR. REEDER: And why is that important? Well, let’s talk about archaeology, the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what does it mean in your life.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

2 months ago

President Trump is wrong — our nation does not need stronger libel laws

(White House/Flickr)


President Donald Trump said, “We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts.” The president was responding to statements made in Michael Wolff’s new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”

Our nation does not need stronger laws against libel. To the contrary, libel and slander laws should be repealed. Let’s say exactly what libel and slander are. The legal profession defines libel as a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation. Slander is making a false spoken statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation.

There’s a question about reputation that never crosses even the sharpest legal minds. Does one’s reputation belong to him? In other words, if one’s reputation is what others think about him, whose property are other people’s thoughts? The thoughts I have in my mind about others, and hence their reputations, belong to me.

One major benefit from decriminalizing libel and slander would be that it would reduce the value of gossip. It would reduce the value of false statements made by others. Here’s a Gallup Poll survey question: “In general, how much trust and confidence do you have in the mass media — such as newspapers, TV and radio — when it comes to reporting the news fully, accurately and fairly — a great deal, a fair amount, not very much or none at all?” In 1976, 72 percent of Americans trusted the media, and today the percentage has fallen to 32. The mainstream media are so biased and dishonest that more and more Americans are using alternative news sources, which have become increasingly available electronically.

While we’re talking about bad laws dealing with libel and slander, let’s raise some questions about other laws involving speech — namely, blackmail laws. The legal profession defines blackmail as occurring when someone demands money from a person in return for not revealing compromising or injurious information. I believe that people should not be prosecuted for blackmail. Let’s examine it with the following scenario. It’s 5 o’clock in the morning. You see me leaving a motel with a sweet young thing who’s obviously not Mrs. Williams. You say to me, “Professor Williams, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees me the right to broadcast to the entire world your conduct that I observed.” I believe that most would agree that you have that right. You then proposition me, “If you pay me $10,000, I will not exercise my right to tell the world about your behavior.”

Now the ball is in my court. I have a right to turn down your proposition and let you tell the world about my infidelity and live with the consequences of that decision. Or I can pay you the $10,000 for your silence and live with the consequences of that decision. In other words, blackmail fits into the category of peaceable, noncoercive voluntary exchange, just like most other transactions. If I’m seen voluntarily giving up $10,000, the only conclusion a third party could reach is that I must have viewed myself as being better off as a result. That’s just like an instance when you see me voluntarily give up money for some other good or service — be it food, clothing, housing or transportation. You come to the same conclusion.

What constitutes a crime can be divided into two classes — mala in se and mala prohibita. Homicide and robbery are inherently wrong (mala in se). They involve the initiation of force against another. By contrast, blackmail (mala prohibita) offenses are considered criminal not because they violate the property or person of another but because society seeks to regulate such behavior. By the way, married people would tend to find blackmail in their interest. Extra eyes on their spouse’s behavior, in pursuit of money, would help to ensure greater marital fidelity.

Those who would like to dig deeper into blackmail can go to this link.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.


2 months ago

Craig Lipscomb qualifies as Republican candidate for Gadsden-area State House district

Craig Lipscomb (Lipscomb Campaign)


Craig Lipscomb, a Gadsden architect, filed paperwork with the Alabama Republican Party to qualify as a candidate for the Alabama House of Representatives in District 30. That seat is being vacated by Mack Butler, who is running for the Alabama State Senate.

“I am honored to run for the Republican nomination for House District 30,” Lipscomb said. “This decision is the result of much time and prayer with friends, family and respected members of our community. It was not taken lightly, and I am certain that this is both a wise and appropriate decision for myself and our community.”

Lipscomb plans to travel throughout the district during his campaign to meet with constituents from Saint Clair and Etowah counties. His campaign will focus on fiscal responsibility, ethics, economic development and job growth. During the course of his campaign, he will also announce his plans to offer affordable trade-specific educational opportunities for children and adults. Lipscomb also plans to release a strategy to comprehensively treat the mentally ill and chemically dependent, decreasing the burden on Alabama’s criminal justice system.

Senator Phil Williams, Chairman of the Etowah County Republican Party, made special note of Craig Lipscomb’s candidacy for the State House of Representatives, saying, “As Etowah County Party Chairman, I am excited to have someone of the caliber of Craig Lipscomb to step up to the plate and offer his service to the community as an elected official. Craig brings a great deal to the table and will definitely show the strength of the Republican ticket in the coming election season.”

Craig and his wife, Angela, have two children, Clark and Carleigh. The family attends Harvestfield Church in Rainbow City, where Craig serves as an on-call bass player. Craig has worked in his hometown of Gadsden for over 17 years, and has since opened a successful architecture firm which has received numerous design awards.

Lipscomb is the past-President of the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra, serves on the boards of the Gadsden Museum of Art, the Etowah County Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way of Etowah County. He is also a member of the Gadsden Kiwanis Club, Greater Gadsden Homebuilders Association and American Institute of Architects.

“Having devoted my life to my Family, Faith, Profession and Community Service, I feel that it is time to serve my community as their State Representative for District 30,” Lipscomb said.

Connect with Craig Lipscomb on Facebook or on his website: The Republican primary election will take place on June 5th, 2018. District 30 contains parts of Etowah and St. Clair counties.

(News Release/Lipscomb Campaign)

2 months ago

Alabama leads the nation in political corruption, new study shows


Alabama tops the country in public corruption, according to a new study examining perceptions of wrongdoing across the country.

The report by Illinois State University’s Institute for Corruption Studies ranks Alabama as the most corrupt state in the union for 2017 when it comes to what researchers call “legal corruption” — conduct by public officials that is technically legal but unethical. The state comes in second, behind Kentucky, in “illegal corruption,” conduct that is out-and-out against the law.

Oguzhan Dincer, director of the institute, said the findings have been mostly consistent since he and research partner Michael Johnston conducted their first annual study in 2014.

“Quite frankly, it’s been pretty sticky, especially states like Alabama,” he said. “Once a state becomes corrupt, it stays corrupt for a while.”

Dincer and Johnston, an emeritus professor at Colgate University, started the project when they were fellows at Harvard Law School’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

Dincer said other studies have tried to quantify corruption by examining conviction data. But he said that method has some drawbacks. For instance, he said, prosecutors in one state may be more aggressive than prosecutors in another. He also pointed to research indicating a partisan bias — Democratic prosecutors are more eager to pursue Republican wrongdoing, and vice versa.

What’s more, Dincer said, the Department of Justice’s definition of corruption is broad. He said it counts a postal worker who steals mail and an assistant district attorney who snorts cocaine, for example. He said neither would seem to fall into the same category as a politician on the take.

So Dincer and Johnston sought to solve those problems by turning to the people who should know the most — journalists who cover state government. He said it is modeled after groups like Transparency International, which ranks country-by-country corruption by polling citizens.

Dincer said asking journalists has the advantage of zeroing in on the men and women who spend their careers watching government up close.

“Instead of randomly selecting thousands of individuals in every state, we decided to ask reporters,” he said. “We thought they would know better.”

Dincer’s team surveyed 1,000 journalists covering state politics, getting responses from 48 states. They rated their perception of corruption on a scale of 1 to 5 for the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

Alabama’s composite score for all three branches was 11 points for “illegal corruption” and 13 for “legal corruption.” It was not significantly different from 2014, when Alabama was tied for sixth in legal corruption with 11 points and tied for fourth for illegal corruption with 9 points.

Dincer said the difference between one place in the rankings and the spot just below or above it is not large enough to be significant. He said it is more useful to group states. And Alabama consistently ranks in that top tier in the corruption index. The 2017 ranking put Alabama in the top group when it comes to both kinds of corruption for all three branches.

Perhaps that is not a surprise considering the heads of all three branches have left office involuntarily in the last few years. Robert Bentley resigned as governor last year after pleading guilty to criminal charges related to misuse of state resources to conceal an affair with an adviser. A 2016 criminal conviction cost Mike Hubbard his job as speaker of the state House of Representatives. And a state judicial committee suspended Roy Moore as chief justice of the state Supreme Court for his conduct following a federal judge’s ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in 2015.

Dincer acknowledged that relying on journalists has drawbacks, too. He said it is inherently subjective and prone to swings depending on high-profile cases. But he said he is convinced that the advantages outweigh the shortcomings compared to other methods and hopes to build 10 years’ worth of data to track changes in perception and policy.

“None of them is perfect,” he said. “And all are telling you different stories.”

Brendan Kirby is senior political reporter at and a Yellowhammer contributor. He also is the author of “Wicked Mobile.” Follow him on Twitter.


2 months ago

Opelika mother turns baking hobby into serious business

(Brittany Faush / Alabama NewsCenter)


A cake-decorating hobby gone awry.

Mandi Buckalew said that’s how her studio, Cakeapotamus LLC, got its start. She creates custom cakes for weddings, birthday parties and corporate and community events, specializing in odd, unusual and often geeky designs.

Buckalew, who was a certified special-education teacher at a middle school in those days, said baking started as an outlet for her.

“I would come home and bake at night to relieve stress,” Buckalew recalls. “Then, I began baking for other people, and it just exploded.”

Buckalew began dreaming of opening a bakery after retirement. When she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer several years ago, she thought, “Why wait?”

After beating cancer, Buckalew opened her brick-and-mortar bakery in Opelika in 2013, whimsically calling it Cakeapotamus as a nod to her first career as an animal behaviorist. Because her custom-designed cakes have become so popular, she closed her store earlier this year and now focuses solely on special orders. Buckalew bakes cakes and decorates them in her fully equipped private studio.

Buckalew will take on almost any challenge. She said her favorite cake was one she designed for a groom who wanted it to look exactly like his old lucky Auburn hat.

“I was so proud of that cake,” said Buckalew, who used the actual hat as her guide. “It had the scuffs in the right places, and the tears in the right places.”

Another of Buckalew’s favorites was the first cake she designed for Icing Smiles, a nonprofit organization that provides birthday cakes for critically ill children and their siblings. The organization planned to surprise a little boy who was a huge fan of “Star Wars” and Legos.

With that in mind, Buckalew sculpted a Lego Millennium Falcon cake with working lights. She brought Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper to the bakery to present the cake to the boy to make his “big day” even more special.

Since then, volunteering her talents to help bring happiness to kids has become a passion for Buckalew. In addition to providing cakes for Icing Smiles, her creations have helped make dreams come true for children through Make a Wish Alabama.

“Having my own business allows me time to do these volunteer things,” said Buckalew. “I appreciate how lucky I am that I have the opportunity to set up a wish reveal, or take birthday cake to children.”

Buckalew has been a “serious” baker for eight years. When she was in the second grade, she made a Coca-Cola cake for a Girl Scouts competition and then didn’t bake again until her daughter’s first birthday.

Not long afterward, Buckalew became interested in the art of cake decorating, with the idea of creating “cool” birthday cakes for her children (now ages 9 and 11).

Since then, Buckalew has attended classes led by experts from around the world and has traveled as far as New Mexico for training. She often visits cake shows to promote her business, teach cake decorating classes and learn the latest tips and tricks of the trade. She is helping plan the Ultimate Sugar Show, the Southeast’s largest cake and sugar art show, next fall.

“In the (19)70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, there was only the Wilton Cake Decorating classes,” Buckalew said. “But since the Food Network and The Learning Channel started airing cake shows, the industry has evolved. People have become more educated and are asking for more fun things they can do with their cakes.”

Although Buckalew has created some intricately designed cakes since opening her business, that’s not the hardest part of the job. The biggest challenge, she said, is delivering wedding cakes.

“It’s terrifying,” said Buckalew. “It can be very stressful because a couple only gets one wedding cake. It’s not like a birthday cake in that if something goes wrong, you will get another one next year. The wedding cake is the one sweet bite with which everyone at the wedding toasts the new couple.”

Buckalew said the types of requests she receives vary, but her most popular cakes are those centered on movies and college football.

“My favorite thing is when I get a really strange or weird request that has never been done before, and I figure out how to do it so it’s food-safe and edible,” said Buckalew. She has spent up to 30 hours perfecting detailed decorations on a cake.

Buckalew said the best part of owning a home business is that it allows her to spend more time with her son and daughter.

“I opened my home business because it was getting too big, and I was starting to miss important events,” said Buckalew. “I still miss having a storefront and plan to re-open the shop when the kids are older. Meanwhile, I work with several businesses, so my products are still available to the public at places around town.”

For more information or to place a request, visit this link.

(By Carla Davis, courtesy of Alabama News Center)

2 months ago

Why won’t anyone admit that we have no idea what the Democrats’ illegal immigration ‘fix” looks like?

(U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Flickr)


(Opinion) Senate Democrats shutdown the federal government over illegal immigration. We can debate the particulars of their motivations until we are blue in the face, but it was about 800,000 or 3.6 million illegal “children” aged 12 to 35. What exactly do Democrats want to do about this, that can actually pass? I have no idea, but they are sure they have the votes which, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s spokesman, isn’t true:

“We have made no decisions or announcements on floor consideration of border security/DACA, and the Leader remains committed to the ongoing, bipartisan, bicameral negotiations.”

Why this matters: A narrative has been in place for a while that argued if they placed a bill for DACA on the House floor it would pass. Missing from those comments is what exactly is agreed to. Sure, there are different pieces of legislation that different numbers of legislators will support. Some will support work permits, but not citizenship, while others would consider that insufficient and wouldn’t vote for anything less than full voting rights. And what about the wall and some Republicans desires to limit legal immigration? These issues are hardly resolved, so let’s stop pretending the end of this government shutdown clears the way for a “comprehensive” immigration bill.

The details:

— President Obama created this crisis by declaring that young illegal aliens were eligible to stay in the country, without fear of deportation, without getting any legislation passed.

— President Trump, attempting to partially keep his campaign promise, declared an artificial deadline of March 5th for Congress to find a solution to this issue or he would end the program.

— Polling indicates that 70 percent of Americans support a DACA deal but the details, like requiring a border wall, divide that support.

— More recent polling shows that Americans do not agree with shutting down the government to force a deal on immigration.

Dale Jackson hosts a daily radio show from 7-11 a.m. on NewsTalk 770 AM/92.5 FM WVNN and a weekly television show, “Guerrilla Politics,” on WAAY-TV, both in North Alabama. Follow him @TheDaleJackson.

2 months ago

Need a vacay? Here are some discounts going on at Alabama State Parks

(Alabama State Parks)


After the stress of the holidays, you deserve a few days away from work and home. An Alabama state park is the perfect place to help you recharge and get ready for the new year without draining your bank account. Select parks are currently offering winter specials on overnight accommodations now through February 2018. Check out the current specials listed below and begin planning your winter getaway.

Current Winter Specials at Alabama State Parks

Chewacla State Park
Camping and cabins: Discounted rates. Some restrictions apply.
For more details, call 334-887-5621.

DeSoto State Park
Discover DeSoto Package: Motel rooms only $79 per couple.
For more details, call 800-568-8840.

Frank Jackson State Park
Camping: Now through February 28, stay three nights for the price of two.
Campsites only, cabins not included.
For reservations, call 334-493-6988.

Gulf State Park
Cabins and cottages: 15 percent off new reservations for stays before January 30.
For reservations, call 251-948-7275.

Joe Wheeler State Park
Camping: Three nights for just $50.
Lodge rooms: Stay for two nights Sunday through Thursday for just $99.
Cabins: 25 percent off any cabin. No minimum night requirement.
Offers valid through January 31.
For reservations, call 256-247-5461.

Lakepoint Resort State Park
January only: $59.95 double queen lodge room, or stay two nights at the regular rate and get a third night free on any cabin, lakeside cottage, lodge room, or campsite. Use discount code “DQ59” when making reservations online.
February only: $69.95 double queen lodge room, if you make your reservation before January 31. You will also receive a coupon at check-in for one free boat ramp pass that’s good for your entire stay. Use discount code “FISH” when making reservations online.
For more details, call 800-544-5253.

Lake Guntersville State Park
Camping: $15 per night Sunday through Thursday.
Offers valid through February 28.
For reservations, call 256-571-5455.

Monte Sano State Park
Cabins: Now through February 28, stay three nights and get the fourth night free.
Offer valid for Sunday through Thursday nights only.
For reservations, call 256-534-3757.

Only available at DeSoto, Cheaha, Joe Wheeler, Lakepoint, and Lake Guntersville state parks
Hunter’s Special: $49.95 special lodge room rate.
Hunters must show hunting license and WMA permit upon check-in.
Now through February 28.

For more information about these and other Alabama State Parks specials, visit this link. These deals are highlighted each month in the Parks newsletter. To receive the newsletter, you can sign up here. You can also stay informed about your favorite state park via social media. For a complete list of Alabama State Parks social media accounts, visit this link.

The Alabama State Parks Division relies on visitor fees and the support of other partners like local communities to fund the majority of their operations. To learn more about Alabama State Parks, visit this link.

Press Release/Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources


Reasons for pro-lifers to rejoice — and double-down — on abortion issues

(Lorie Shaull/Flickr & Anna Levinzon/Flickr)






Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:


TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, it’s been 45 years since the United States Supreme Court made its decision on Roe v. Wade. There have been literally millions of unborn children who have gone into eternity.

Harry, as we look back on this case and what has happened to the United States and what has happened to our culture and our morals; give us some reflection and, here, in 2018, are you optimistic, perhaps, the tide has turned on this issue?

DR. REEDER: Well, I am in one sense and I’m not on another. For instance, there was a recent survey that was just done and they acknowledged that at least two-thirds of the people in the United States believe that some form of restrictions ought to be placed upon abortion. I would say to all of my pro-life friends and fellow activists on this issue, there’s nothing wrong with finding common ground with people who are, basically, pro-abortion but believe in restrictions – just realize that, if you get a law passed based on a restriction but it is not fully honoring the sanctity of life from conception on, just realize that you haven’t won the final victory, but there’s nothing wrong in saving some lives in order to move to saving all of the lives and to, again, reaffirm the virtue of the sanctity of live, ultimately, in society.

I’m also positive, Tom, because the maturing response of this among believers, believers are learning how to enter into this issue in a winsome way, but a bold way, a courageous way and a pointedly effective way. And we have learned a maturing on this issue in dealing with it, the breadth of responses.

Whenever you have a heinous foundational sin that is attempted to be embraced by a culture as a way of life so that the unthinkable is thinkable, that is, the destruction of the most innocent and defenseless of all, and that is those in the womb, who ought to be in the safest place of all but now has become a place in which a full-out assault upon them has been made to the point that it is estimated that well over 20 percent of those babies conceived are aborted today.

By the way, the cultural elite pinpoint the African-American community in the promotion of abortion, consistent with its roots in the eugenics movement of Margaret Sanger, the patron saint of Planned Parenthood. When this is embraced, there are multiple consequences and, thankfully, the Christian community is seeing this.


Tom, one time in the height of the pro-abortion movement, there were approximately 5,000 clinics promoting and doing abortion. We are now down to less than 2,000 – around 1,800 – and I praise the Lord for that. A number of states only have one or two of these clinics. Some states are now free from any abortuaries at all. The crisis pregnancy centers now number almost 3,000. The women pay nothing to participate in them and there is no taxpayer support of them. Pro-life people have provided twice as many women’s health centers available to women than the tax-supported, fee-based Planned Parenthood clinics that are only disguised abortuaries and, in some cases, body part-selling industries.


I am grateful for the progress that is there. I am grateful for the maturity of how believers are able to deal with this issue in the public square. Praise the Lord, at least we’re able to save these children, one by one, and we have made significant progress, but we need to be in a society that affirms the sanctity of life.

Our neighbor to the north, Canada, the prime minister is doing town hall meetings and this is what he says: “Oh, I will protect the right for you to believe in a pro-life position in your home and in your heart, but you are not allowed to bring to bear what you believe in the public square to try to affect public policy. I am going to protect the ‘right of women’ to abort their children. I am going to protect that by not allowing anyone who believes in a pro-life position to speak in public. You will be guilty of hate speech and you will be fined and it will be criminalized.” Now that’s our neighbor to the north.


My last point of thankfulness, at least at this point, courageous and thoughtful and prayerful believers can now be engaged in the sanctity of life and there is some hope that the recent significant number of appointed Federal Courts of Appeals judges by the current administration and the Supreme Court may finally be tilted toward affirming the right to life in our society and the full embrace of our Declaration of Independence that declares the God-given inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


Tom, finally, while people know I have been and will continue to be appropriately critical of the current administration from a Christian world and life view, I cannot help but affirm the reality that this president has done more in one year for the pro-life movement than “pro-life” presidents did in eight years of office.

He has removed the mandated abortion support in Obamacare. He has removed the threat of financial penalties upon states who defund Planned Parenthood and has given permission to states to defund Planned Parenthood. He has affirmed justices and appointed justices that are originalists in the interpretation of the Constitution and, therefore, affirming life. He has authorized the investigation of the Justice Department of Planned Parenthood and, in that investigation, he has, particularly, affirmed the search for the evidence of Planned Parenthood trafficking body parts through the abortion industry.

Finally, Tom – and this is no small matter – the vice president, Michael Pence, has arrived and has spoken at the pro-life rallies. Even pro-life presidents would not appear, nor members of their cabinet and vice-presidents, at these pro-life rallies, but Michael Pence does under the approval of President Trump so I’m grateful for all of that.


Those are the things that encourage me. What discourages me is the assault upon unborn life and what it does to the coarsening of the heart and soul of a nation. Tom, I have an offer to anyone who listens to this program.

The legal affirmation of the assault upon an unwanted category of human beings in this world, the state-affirmed legal assault upon a category of human beings for a genocidal destruction of their life – all of you who thought that was horrendous in Nazi Germany, please tell me what is different from what is done in this horrific assault upon 6 million Jews; please tell me what is different upon the same state-supported, culturally-affirmed assault upon the unwanted, deemed-undesirable category of human beings called unborn life – not 6 million, but over 60 million now.

As long as we as a nation countenance this, we are in desperate need of the delivering power of our God. If God came down to judge the slaying of one man and his innocent blood when Cain slew Abel and it said, “God came down because the blood cried up to heaven to be avenged with justice,” what does it look like for 60 million statements of destroyed life and their blood crying up to heaven from our nation?

I am pleading with God, do not bring judgment upon us. I am pleading with God, please bring a Gospel awakening so that, through evangelism and discipleship, we will again embrace life – life – to the glory of God, life made in the image of God.


TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, we are out of time for today. On Tuesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to two real-life stories that paint incredible pictures for Biblical truth: one dealing with “untold riches that are ours,” the other dealing with “be sure your sins will find you out.”

DR. REEDER: Yeah, that’ll be tomorrow. I’ll look forward to being with you, Tom.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

2 months ago

Alabama ranks 10th most affected state by the partial federal government shutdown

Alabama ranks the 10th most affected state as a result of the current partial federal government shutdown, according to an analysis by Wallethub.

Note to limited government conservatives: The shutdown’s effects serve as a stark reminder of Alabama’s economic reliance upon the federal government.

The details:

— Wallethub used six key metrics to determine which states are being most affected, including each’s share of federal jobs and contracts, access to federal lending programs, and percentages of children reliant upon the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

— Congress is still looking for a long-term solution for CHIP, putting those who rely on the program at risk as it remains unfunded.

— Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal is being affected with furloughs and other disruptions to operations, Leada Gore of has reported.

— When the government shutdown in 2013, the arsenal’s 12,000 federal employees were furloughed, as well as the many civilian contractors who were affected.

— The Alabama Policy Institute released a study last fall that showed while Alabama relies on the federal government for 42 percent of its budget, a large majority of Republican primary voters surveyed considered it important for the state to become less dependent on federal dollars.

(Do you think Alabama should become more self-reliant? Take this article over to social media and start a conversation with your family and friends).

2 months ago

A US-Turkish clash in Syria?

President Donald J. Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey at the United Nations General Assembly (White House)

The war for dominance in the Middle East, following the crushing of ISIS, appears about to commence in Syria — with NATO allies America and Turkey on opposing sides.

Turkey is moving armor and troops south to Syria’s border enclave of Afrin, occupied by Kurds, to drive them out, and then drive the Syrian Kurds out of Manbij further south as well.

Says President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “We will destroy all terror nests, one by one, in Syria, starting from Afrin and Manbij.”

For Erdogan, the Kurdish YPG, the major U.S. ally in Syria, is an arm of the Kurdish PKK in Turkey, which we and the Turks have designated as a terrorist organization.

While the Kurds were our most effective allies against ISIS in Syria, Turkey views them as a mortal peril and intends to deal with that threat.

If Erdogan is serious, a clash with the U.S. is coming, as our Kurdish allies occupy most of Syria’s border with Turkey.

Moreover, the U.S. has announced plans to create a 30,000-man Border Security Force of Kurds and Arabs to keep ISIS out of Syria.

Erdogan has branded this BSF a “terror army,” and President Bashar Assad of Syria has called BSF members “traitors.”

This U.S. plan to create a BSF inside Syria, Damascus declared, “represents a blatant attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity and unity of Syria, and a flagrant violation of international law.”

Does not the Syrian government have a point?

Now that ISIS has been driven out of Raqqa and Syria, by what authority do U.S. forces remain to arm troops to keep the Damascus government from reimposing its authority on its own territory?

Secretary of State Tillerson gave Syria the news Wednesday.

The U.S. troop commitment to Syria, he said, is now open-ended.

Our goals: Guarantee al-Qaida and ISIS do not return and set up sanctuary; cope with rising Iranian influence in Damascus; and pursue the removal of Bashar Assad’s ruthless regime.

But who authorized this strategic commitment, of indefinite duration, in Syria, when near two decades in Afghanistan have failed to secure that nation against the return of al-Qaida and ISIS?

Again and again, the American people have said they do not want to be dragged into Syria’s civil war. Donald Trump won the presidency on a promise of no more unnecessary wars.

Have the American people been had again?

Will they support a clash with NATO ally Turkey, to keep armed Kurds on Turkey’s border, when the Turks regard them as terrorists?

Are we prepared for a shooting war with a Syrian army, backed by Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Shiite militias from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, to hold onto a fourth of Syria’s territory in alliance with Kurds?

The U.S. coalition in Syria said this week the BSF will be built up “over the next several years” and “be stationed along the borders … to include portions of the Euphrates river valley and international borders to the east and north.”

Remarkable: A U.S.-created border army is going to occupy and control long stretches of Syria’s borders with Turkey and Iraq, over Syria’s objections. And the U.S. military will stand behind the BSF.

Are the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria really up to that task, should the Turks decide to cleanse the Syrian border of Kurds, or should the Syrian regime decide to take back territory occupied by the Kurds?

Who sanctioned this commitment to a new army, which, if Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies, and the Turks, do not all back down, risks a major U.S. war with no allies but the Kurds?

As for Syria’s Kurds casting their lot with the Americans, one wonders: Did they not observe what happened when their Iraqi cousins, after helping us drive ISIS out of Mosul, were themselves driven out of Kirkuk by the Iraqi army, as their U.S. allies watched?

In the six-year Syrian civil war, which may be about to enter a new phase, America faces a familiar situation.

While our “allies” and adversaries have vital interests there, we do not. The Assads have been in power for the lifetime of most Americans. And we Americans have never shown a desire to fight there.

Assad has a vital interest: preservation of his family regime and the reunification of his country. The Turks have a vital interest in keeping armed Kurds out of their border regions adjacent to their own Kurdish minority, which seeks greater independence.

The Israelis and Saudi royals want the U.S. to keep Iran from securing a land bridge from Tehran to Damascus to Lebanon.

The U.S. War Party wants us to smash Iran and remain in the Middle East forever to assure the hegemony of its favorites.

Have the generals taking us into Syria told the president how and when, if ever, they plan to get us out?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.” 



2 months ago

Dale Jackson’s 7 Things: Your government is still shutdown, Alabama senator Doug Jones votes with Republicans, Legislators want you to pay for an ex-legislator association, and more …

(Speaker Paul Ryan)


The 7 Things You Should Be Talking About Today

1. The United States of America’s government is still closed

— Trump, Ryan, and McConnell have made it clear they will not include the DACA/DREAMer issue in the deal to end the shutdown, but they appear ready to negotiate on the issue by February 8th.

— A vote will take place today at noon EST and it appears some who voted for the shutdown, like Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, and more, have come around to ending the shutdown.

— House Speaker Paul Ryan says the House has agreed to a deal that would keep the government open.

2. Alabama Democrat Doug Jones bucks his own party, sides with Senate Republicans

— As the nation moved toward a shutdown, people asked where Alabama’s newest senator stood on keeping the government open; his office was mum.

— When the vote took place in the Senate, Doug Jones was 1 of 5 Democrats to vote with the Republicans to pass a continuing resolution.

— Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri all voted with Jones and against Democrats.

3. Democrats have made this all about “DREAMers

— Most in the media and in Congress say there are 800,000 that could be affected by a deal giving legal status to illegal immigrants.

— The real number is apparently much higher, with the Migration Policy Institute placing the number at 3.6 million.

— No one can be clear what type of bill can actually pass both chambers — if one can — in spite of all the certainty with which all sides speak.

4. The real world impact of the tax cuts could have a huge impact on the midterms

— Most of the media coverage leading up to the massive tax cut vote early this month centered around how the average Americans were going to get screwed by the tax cuts.

— Since the signing of the bill, hundreds of corporations have announced huge re-investment programs and cited the tax cuts as the reason for these moves.

— As Americans see these stories, their attitude towards Congressional Republicans has become more favorable; Democrats have lost 7 points and Republicans have gained 6 points.

5. Some of Alabama’s heavy-hitters want to start a taxpayer-supported ex-legislators association

— A bill to create “The Association of Former Members of the Alabama Legislature” has been proposed in both chambers of the Alabama legislature.

— The group’s employees will not be paid by the state, but their employees would get state retirement benefits.

— According to the bill, the association will “work in cooperation with incumbent members of the Alabama Legislature, through the offices of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, to create a better understanding of the legislative process throughout the state.”

6. With #ReleaseTheMemo gaining steam, FBI loses 5 months of text messages from an agent removed for being political

— Lost in all of the government shutdown talk is the controversy surrounding a memo that allegedly lays out malfeasance in the Obama DOJ and the Comey FBI regarding President Trump’s campaign and transition.

— Muddying the waters further is news that an FBI agent removed from Robert Mueller’s team for inappropriate text messages had 5 months of his text messages lost because they “failed to preserve” them.

— Peter Strzok and his mistress exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Clinton texts while Strzok worked on the investigation into Hillary Clinton; messages included revelations that some in the FBI were discussing an “insurance policy” in the event Trump got elected.

7. Governor Kay Ivey appoints Circuit Judge Brad Mendheim to Alabama Supreme Court

— Judge Mendheim has served 17 years as a judge at a district court and county circuit level.

— Ivey tweeted, “I’m pleased to appoint Circuit Judge Brad Mendheim to serve on the Alabama Supreme Court. With more than 17 years of judicial experience, he will bring the valuable knowledge of a trial judge to the highest court in AL.”

— This is the last time you will think about this position.

2 months ago

Gov’t shutdown forces cancellation of Alabama congressional town halls (Update: Mo Brooks town hall canceled as well)


(U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne/Facebook)

[Second update added, see below]

The federal government shutdown had perhaps its first noticeable impact on Alabama on Sunday. According to a tweet from Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) and later confirmed to Yellowhammer News by Byrne’s office, Byrne has canceled two town hall meetings scheduled for Monday.

One was to be held in Monroe County’s Frisco City and the other in Baldwin County’s Bay Minette.

At the other end of the state, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) had a town hall meeting scheduled for Monday as well. As of 10 p.m. local time, Brooks’ office had not responded to Yellowhammer News’ query about the status of the meeting scheduled to be held at Oak Park Middle School in Decatur for 6:30 p.m.

UPDATE, 10 a.m. CT: A spokesman for Brooks’ office told Yellowhammer News Monday morning the plan was for Brooks 6:30 p.m. CT town hall to go on as scheduled.

UPDATE, 4 p.m. CT: Per Mo Brooks’ office, the meeting is now canceled.

Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.

2 months ago

Should Alabama be next? Florida State Reps voting on whether porn is a health risk



Florida lawmakers are voting on whether the state should declare pornography a public health risk, according to a resolution which passed a House committee Thursday.

The resolution, sponsored by Republican Rep. Ross Spano, would require education, research and policy changes in order to keep Floridians away from the potential risks of pornography, Fox 13 reported. The House Health & Human Services Committee passed the resolution by an overwhelming 18-1 vote.

“Research has found a correlation between pornography use and mental and physical illnesses, difficulty forming and maintaining intimate relationships, unhealthy brain development and cognitive function, and deviant, problematic or dangerous sexual behavior,” Spano said before the committee.

The resolution says there is an increase in demand for prostitution due to pornography and also states children continue to get exposed to pornography at younger ages because of new technology. The resolution also states that children are more likely to develop an eating disorder.

Republican Rep. Cary Pigman, was the only representative who voted against the resolution. Pigman is a doctor and said there are more serious diseases on which the state should focus.

“We have problems with hypertension, with obesity, with diabetes, with Zika. We have a whole list of things that are important medically. I’m not so sure that we need to spend legislative time annunciating a specific complaint when we have others that are far more pressing,” Pigman said.

A similar Senate resolution also reportedly exists, but it has yet to be heard in a committee.

(Henry Rodgers/Daily Caller News Foundation)

 Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact
Yellowhammer Note: A similar bill was introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives by Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham). Read the bill here
2 months ago

House Dems force vote on Bradley Byrne’s ‘Schumer Shutdown’ sign display on House floor


(Screenshot / CSPAN)


On Saturday Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) had a floor speech about the government shutdown interrupted because Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) claimed a poster he had on display was “disparaging to a member of the Senate.”

Byrne had a red poster featuring a 2013 quote from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) describing a shutdown as the “politics of idiocy, of confrontation, of paralysis.”

Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), who was presiding over the House ruled the poster was allowed, to which Perlmutter appealed and insisted on a vote.

The House voted 224-173 to find Byrne’s poster was in order.

After the vote and Byrne resumed, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) interrupted and alleged Byrne was out of order upon referencing comments from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had described the previous House continuing resolution as “doggy doo.”

After some commotion on the floor, Lewis said, “We all need to be a little more human, a little more patient, and in order to have civility among all of us, I withdraw my objection.”

After that nearly 40-minute ordeal, Byrne completed his speech and yielded the floor.

Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.

2 months ago

Yellowhammer Presents: Guerrilla Politics … Shutdown blame, Luther Strange and Alabama Supreme Court, Toyota-Mazda credit, and more!


Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Dr. Waymon Burke take you through this week’s biggest political stories including:

— Discussing who is to blame for the government shutdown

— How there’s no way for Luther Strange to get an Alabama Supreme Court seat

— the debate on who really gets credit for Toyota-Mazda bringing jobs to Alabama, and more.

Dale closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking him to bring Apple jobs to Alabama.

2 months ago

Liberal media, please get over yourselves … The press is not above reproach and the president can criticize you


At the risk of sending the left into a state of apoplexy, a monolithic, biased, renegade, politicized press is a far greater threat to liberty than a president criticizing the media.

Like their First Amendment counterparts — the freedom of religion, the freedom of assembly and the right to petition the government — the freedoms of speech and the press are an important part of what has made the United States the freest and greatest nation in world history. It is fitting, then, that we elevate them to such venerated status in this country.

But it’s important that we distinguish these constitutionally guaranteed liberties from the press itself, which theoretically serves as a watchdog against governmental excesses and abuses. There’s no question that a free press acting in that capacity can function as a vital check on government.

We must remember, however, that the institution of the press is not itself sacrosanct like the liberties that undergird it. It is made up of individuals and entities subject to the flaws that inhere in all human beings.

Just being a news network and journalists doesn’t make them sacred or above criticism and accountability. Just as the Framers separated governmental powers among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government and pitted them against one another to deter encroachments and usurpations by one branch against the others or against individuals, the Framers also conferred the freedom of expression on individuals and non-journalistic entities, as well. One does not have to be a journalist or a member of the media to possess the freedom of expression. Individuals, other entities and even officeholders have just as much a right to hold the press accountable as the press has to hold the government and government officials accountable. Let’s not lose sight of that as we examine this ongoing clash between the media and President Trump.

The insular echo chamber that is the mainstream liberal press has a very high opinion of itself. Many journalists seem to believe that merely being a member of that group invests them with unique moral authority and entitles them to condescend and treat rudely people and especially politicians and government officials with whom they disagree ideologically.

Have you watched, for example, how insolently CNN’s smug Jim Acosta treats White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and, when he gets a chance, President Trump himself? I suppose he has a right to be as insulting and annoying as he wants, but Trump, Sanders and the rest of us have an equal right to call him out for behaving this way.

The constitutional guarantees under which Acosta and media institutions operate do not contain a corollary that prohibits others from critiquing and criticizing them and holding them accountable. And they often need to be held accountable, especially considering how much power and influence they have and how egregiously biased they are.

If you have any doubt as to the collective misbehavior and excesses of the liberal media, just review their hysterical witch hunt against President Trump’s medical condition. In questioning Trump’s physician, these people acted like 5-year-olds. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to exercise my right to lampoon them for their ludicrousness.

President Trump not only has every bit as much a right to criticize the media as they do to criticize him but also does not represent a threat to their liberty or to anyone’s individual liberty by issuing such criticism. Those, like Sen. Jeff Flake, who compare Trump to Josef Stalin for criticizing the press or for calling for tougher libel laws are in danger of oxygen deprivation and mental confusion from such hyperventilation.

I don’t happen to agree with President Trump that we need stricter libel laws, but that doesn’t mean I believe he’s flirting with tyranny for advocating them. That he is recommending a legislative solution to the problem demonstrates, by definition, that he is operating constitutionally, not autocratically. He is suggesting that the law be changed through proper democratic processes.

If the whining Sen. Snow-Flake is so distressed over Trump that he would grossly compare him to the mass-murdering Stalin, then maybe he should either have the courage to run for re-election so he could continue to try to be a thorn in the president’s side or start a blog when he retires, where he could continue to exercise his First Amendment right to bellyache about President Trump and nauseate his former constituencies.

For decades, conservatives have had it with the incorrigibly biased liberal media’s cherry-picking and distorting the news to serve their political aims, and you can be sure that many of us are happy that we now have an alternative media to counter their excesses. Nor are most of us troubled by President Trump’s exercising his freedom to take them to task.

If you don’t like that Trump criticizes the media, whose main reason for existence seems to have been reduced to destroying him and his presidency, then criticize Trump — which you will anyway. But please, let’s not hear any more nonsense about how he’s abusing or exceeding his constitutional authority by challenging them. When you continue down that road, you just make my case stronger. No one in this nation, no matter how big his megaphone or how prestigious her journalistic credentials, is above criticism. So, liberal media, please get over yourselves — and in the meantime, why don’t you try to be a bit fairer, more objective, less biased, truly journalistic and, not least, less rude?

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. 


2 months ago

Pat Thetford to run for place on Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

(Thetford Campaign)


Former Jefferson County Circuit Judge Peyton C. “Pat” Thetford has announced his candidacy for Place 1 on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.

Thetford, a Republican, has qualified for the seat currently held by Judge Craig Pittman. Pittman has announced he will not seek re-election.

Thetford, a native of Montgomery, has resided in the greater Birmingham area for the past 27 years. He attended the University of Alabama, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Business Administration. He later graduated with a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Thetford graduated from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 1988 and practiced civil litigation in Mobile with the firm of Crosby Saad and Beebe, and then in Birmingham from 1994 to 2015, and is currently with Wade S. Anderson and Associates, a staff counsel firm of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company.

Thetford tried and won more jury trials for this firm than any other lawyer in its history, having handled over a thousand cases and having tried over 80 civil jury trials. In 2015, the non-partisan Jefferson County Judicial Commission selected Thetford as a top-three candidate for Jefferson County Circuit Judge of the Civil Division; he was later selected and appointed as the top candidate by Alabama’s Governor. In October 2016, the Birmingham Bar Association voted Judge Thetford the most highly qualified judicial candidate out of 14 Jefferson County judicial races in in its Judicial Qualifications poll.

In making his announcement, Thetford stated “I believe that my background of having over 27 years of experience as a civil lawyer and Civil Circuit Judge makes me uniquely qualified to serve as an Appellate Judge on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. If elected, I will bring vast experience and conservative values to the court. I will work hard to administer justice fairly and equitably, but always grounded in the rule of law.”

Thetford is married to Mary Frances Thetford and is a proud father of two sons. They are members of Canterbury United Methodist Church. Growing up, Thetford had the pleasure of seeing justice in action. His father, the late William Thetford, served 17 years as Circuit Court judge for Montgomery County.

“Experienced and Proven”

(News Release/Thetford Campaign)

2 months ago

Scare-mongering Big Brother on America’s fishing boats hurts those who know the industry best




Salt water. Seagulls. Striped bass.

My fondest childhood memories come from fishing with my dad on the creaky piers and slick jetties of the Jersey shore. The Atlantic Ocean is in my blood. So when fishing families in New England reached out to me for help spreading word about their economic and regulatory struggles, I immediately heeded their call.

Now, these “forgotten men and women” of America hope the Trump administration will listen. And act.

The plague on the commercial fishing industry isn’t “overfishing,” as environmental extremists and government officials claim. The real threats to Northeastern groundfishermen are self-perpetuating bureaucrats, armed with outdated junk science, who’ve manufactured a crisis that endangers a way of life older than the colonies themselves.

Hardworking crews and captains have the deepest stake in responsible fisheries management — it’s their past, present, and future — but federal paper-pushers monitor them ruthlessly like registered sex offenders.

Generations of schoolchildren have been brainwashed into believing that our seas have been depleted by greedy commercial fishermen. In the 1960s and 1970s, it is true, foreign factory trawlers from Russia and Japan pillaged coastal groundfish stocks. But after the domestic fishing industry regained control of our waters, stocks rebounded.

Reality, however, did not fit the agenda of scare-mongering environmentalists and regulators who need a perpetual crisis to justify their existence. To cure a manufactured “shortage” of bottom-dwelling groundfish, Washington micromanagers created a permanent thicket of regional fishery management councils, designated fishing zones, annual catch limits, individual catch limits and “observers” mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Even more frustrating for the fishing families who know the habitat best, the federal scientists’ trawler surveys for assessing stocks use faulty nets that vastly underestimate stock abundance.

Meghan Lapp, a lifelong fisherwoman and conservation biologist, points out that government surveyors use a “net that’s not the right size for the vessel,” which produces “a stock assessment that shows artificially low numbers. The fishing does not match what the fishermen see on the water.”

Instead of fixing the science, top-down bureaucrats have cracked down on groundfishermen who fail to comply with impossible and unreasonable rules and regulations. The observer program, which was intended to provide biological data and research, was expanded administratively (not by Congress) to create “At Sea Monitors” who act solely as enforcement agents.

Yes, Big Brother dispatches a fleet of spies to track and ticket commercial fishing families while they work. And the biggest slap in the face? New England groundfishermen have to pay for it. A study done by the National Marine Fisheries Service estimates the program costs about $710 per day or $2.64 million per year.

Last fall, I visited the Williams family, which owns two fishing vessels based in Point Judith, Rhode Island, and Stonington, Connecticut, to see the crushing impact of this ever-intrusive bureaucracy for myself. Patriarch and small-business owner Tom Williams Sr. began fishing with his father-in-law in the 1960s. Son Tom Jr. captains the Heritage, which harvests cod, flounder and haddock. Son Aaron operates the Tradition, which harvests scup, whiting, squid and sea bass. Grandson Andrew, 20, is the fourth-generation fisherman in the family.

“What we do is feed America,” soft-spoken Tom Sr. told me. “We’re not just indiscriminately raping the ocean, we’re trying to feed people — feed them good, healthy, quality fish.”

Long before he departs from the dock, Tom Jr. must seek permission to do his job.

“Before we sail, we have to do declarations on our boat tracks, which is a vessel monitoring system,” Tom Jr. explained. “We have to declare what areas we’re going to be fishing in. We also have to submit a sector-trip start hail and operator’s permit number. … (Then) you have to submit a daily task report, what area you were in, and all the species that you caught.”

On top of all that, an at-sea observer boards the Williams’ boats and bunks in tight quarters with the crew, looking over their shoulders at every turn. Over the years, the expanding reach of regulators has become overbearing and, as brother Aaron described it, “humiliating.”

David Goethel, a boat captain and research biologist who served on the New England fishery management council, sued to overturn the unfunded at-sea monitoring mandate. But he was rebuffed by the U.S. Supreme Court last fall because he filed the suit too late.

He worries not only about his survival and the fate of the New England groundfishing industry, but about the precedent this power and money grab has set.

“There’s nothing to stop other government agencies from doing an end-run on Congress to get a budget increase by passing off their regulatory cost to the regulated public,” Goethel warned.

For his part, 20-year-old Andrew Williams hopes someone in Washington will ignore the environmental propaganda he has been taught in the classroom and get the facts.

Working on the seas “is all I ever known,” he told me. “It started when I was 8 years old, and I never thought about doing anything else.”

Like his family, neighbors and crewmates, he is hoping President Donald Trump can help make commercial fishing great again by getting government out of the way.

Fishing Wars: Drowning in Regulations” debuts on’s “Michelle Malkin Investigates” program this week. 


2 months ago

House passes bill to bring ‘much-needed certainty’ to Poarch Band of Creek Indians

(Courtesy Poarch Band of Creek Indians)


Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, successfully shepherded a bill through the House of Representatives last week that resolves any potential legal confusion about the land governed by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians after an unrelated Supreme Court ruling in 2009.

The bill, titled the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Land Reaffirmation Act, unanimously passed the House by voice vote and is currently awaiting committee action in the Senate.

Key quotes from Byrne’s speech on the House floor:

— “This legislation is necessary due to the legal uncertainty caused by the Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar. This decision has unnecessarily created legal ambiguity about whether the Poarch Creek land is actually in trust or not.”

— “To be clear: This legislation would not have any change over the way the Poarch or their land are currently being treated in Alabama. In fact, this legislation simply provides legal certainty to help prevent future challenges regarding the status of the Tribe’s land.”

— “The Poarch Creek Indians are a valued and trusted part of our community in Southwest Alabama. Their economic impact in Escambia County, Alabama, speaks for itself. From their help with funding for community projects to their business enterprises that employ thousands of Alabamians, the Poarch help make life better for so many people in our area.”

Watch the congressman’s speech here:


(Take this post over to social media and start a conversaiton with your family and friends).

2 months ago

Bradley Byrne, Gary Palmer sign on to #ReleaseTheMemo effort — Claim document goes to ‘very foundations of our democracy’

U.S. Reps. Gary Palmer and Bradley Byrne


In a letter penned to House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) urged the release of a memo to the public he claimed involved the FBI, the Department of Justice and President Donald Trump that went to the “very foundations of our democracy.”

“This important memo will be of interest to anyone who cares about America and our democratic system of government,” the letter read about the so-called #ReleaseTheMemo effort. “We are writing to request the immediate release of this document to the public, as well as any relevant ancillary information. The audience of this document should not be limited to Members of Congress — the American people deserve to know the information it contains.”

Sixty-five other lawmakers have joined the effort for the release of a memo which Gaetz’s claims will result in people going to jail. Among those are Alabama’s Reps. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) and Gary Palmer (R-Hoover).

Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.

2 months ago

Alabama Rep. Sewell supported a short-term CHIP extension in December but just voted against a long-term extension. Here’s why:

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) voted against a resolution on Thursday that would have extended government funding through February 16 and, among other things, would also have extended the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years.

“The congresswoman voted against the [resolution] this past week because she would like to see Republicans work with Democrats to pass a long-term funding bill,” Sewell’s communications director, Christopher MacKenzie, told Yellowhammer.

Sewell’s no-vote is notable because back in December, she broke with her party and voted for a short-term funding bill, chiefly because of CHIP.

“The government funding/CHIP bill that passed in December wasn’t perfect, but Rep. Sewell voted for it because she was not willing to let CHIP expire,” MacKenzie told Yellowhammer earlier this month.

So what has changed? Why was the Congresswoman willing to vote for a short-term CHIP solution back in December, but wasn’t willing to support this recent bill which had a six-year CHIP extension?

“In December, CHIP was facing a slightly different timeline,” MacKenzie said. “The vote on the CR happened on Dec. 21 as members were leaving for the holiday and the CHIP freeze was starting Jan. 1 – there was zero room for any additional votes to ensure CHIP had funding.”

“Also, the repeal of the individual mandate in the tax bill means that new cost estimates have come out this month about the price tag on extending CHIP,” MacKenzie said. “According to the CBO, extending CHIP for ten years would actually provide savings because fewer families would enroll in the federally subsidized healthcare marketplaces. So why extend for just six years?”