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 year ago

Alabamians cannot let a small minority speak for us

At 8:00 a.m., Phones rang at Jewish community centers across the country. When workers answered, they faced the frightening position of hearing someone issue a bomb threat. Understandably, people at the centers went into lock down until someone qualified could confirm that no one was at risk. Fortunately, everyone was physically okay, but nonetheless shaken up from the traumatic experience.

The location and date of this incident is not 1940s Germany, but rather 2017 America.

Birmingham’s Jewish Community Center, along with at least 19 others across 11 states, was threatened by an unknown individual who claimed there was a bomb on the premises. Although, the threat turned out to be false, such a violent threat towards any group of people is something we as Alabamians must not tolerate.

RELATED: Alabama Jewish Community Center receives bomb threat

You would think what I’m writing is pretty straight forward: be nice to people and don’t threaten them with violence. But I’m not so sure that it is. While there are certainly folks out there trumping up claims of racial motivations, or flat out making-up violent encounters, there are indeed incidents in the current political climate that are all too real.

The United States Constitution protects the rights to free expression and to freely worship simultaneously. America’s founders so loved these freedoms that they placed them first in the package now known as the Bill of Rights. In this country, Jews can worship as freely as Christians, Muslims can express their belief as freely as those who choose not to believe in God, but all have the right to hold their values without being blown away.

The First Amendment Protects all kinds of speech. It protects speech that I agree with, such as the right of people to criticize the government or the right of organizations to advocate on behalf of policies they like. It also correctly protects expression I personally disagree with such as flag burning. Such speech is vital to the marketplace of ideas, and society, not the government, should decide which ideas are good and bad.

But the Amendment does not, and never has, protected direct incitement to violence. As far as ideology goes, I’m as small government guy. But even I know that government was created to protect people’s lives, liberty, and property – especially for those of us who are different from the majority.

As a student of history, I understand that Alabama has not always been the most welcoming of people who are different. We’re not perfect, but to say that the state is in the same of worse shape than it was during the era of George Wallace and Bull Connor is just dishonest. The people of Alabama are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met, and it is often a small, vocal minority that tarnishes the goodness of the whole.

But in the face of progress, Alabama took a step back with the bomb threats that have occurred not once, not twice, but three times against the same Birmingham Jewish center. America took a step back. We fought a war against Nazism and Fascism already; I’d rather not have to fight one at home, too.

For the vast majority of Alabamians who understand the difference between right and wrong, we cannot allow a small group to speak for us. In the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

We can do better. We have to.

1 year ago

Byrne slams Cory Booker over Sessions racism claims: ‘Campaign is over, and you lost.’


Senator Jeff Sessions faced an intense round of questioning on Tuesday at his confirmation hearing for Attorney General. Today he awaits an unprecedented testimony against him, brought by colleague Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and South Alabama Congressman Bradley Byrne is coming to his defense.

Sen. Booker, says that he is testifying against Sessions over concerns of racism allegations, which have been widely debunked. His testimony would mark the first time a Senator has ever spoken against a colleague during a confirmation hearing.

“It’s unfortunate that we now have Senators testifying against other senators when they have been nominated for a key position,” he said during an appearance on C-SPAN Monday morning.

Byrne went on to list several cases in which Sessions actively fought against systematic racism, pointing to cases where he “took out” the KKK and corrupt public officials.

“I just don’t understand where he’s coming from. Those of us that know Jeff Sessions because he’s one of us, he was our U.S. Attorney in Mobile for 12 years,” Rep. Byrne said.

“This is a man of principle who knows how to effectively enforce the law. That’s what we want, and he never uttered a single word or said anything that would intimate any sort of racism.”

Later in the program, Rep. Byrne said he believed that Sen. Booker’s decision to testify against Sessions has more to do with policy disagreements than anything.

“Policy differences are what we get into the legislative branch,” said Byrne. “I would say to Senator Booker, you got policy differences with President-elect Trump. Campaign is over, and you lost.”

1 year ago

Sessions broke the back of the KKK in Alabama. Now the media wants you to think he’s racist.

Sen. Jeff Sessions at the 50th anniversary of the march at Selma. (Photo: Todd Stacy)
Sen. Jeff Sessions at the 50th anniversary of the march at Selma. (Photo: Todd Stacy)

President-elect Donald J. Trump over the weekend nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to serve as United States Attorney General, signaling that he is serious about returning the Justice Department to its core of mission of “ensuring fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”

Sen. Sessions’ credentials are impeccable.

Assistant United States Attorney. United States Attorney. Alabama Attorney General. United States Senator. A combined 35 years of public service and a lifelong commitment to the rule of law.

And yet if you read the New York Times and Washington Post, or watch MSNBC and CNN, you would think President-elect Trump brought segregation-era George Wallace back from the dead and appointed him to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. (In reality, Sessions campaigned against Wallace as a college Republican, but that’s a story for another time.)

The media constantly point back to Sen. Sessions’ failed confirmation after then-President Ronald Reagan nominated him to a federal judgeship as evidence that he is, as CNN puts it, “dogged by allegations of racism.” During Senate confirmation hearings in 1986, Sessions was accused of making racially insensitive comments.

When a former Justice Department colleague came forward with the accusation, Sessions did the unthinkable in Washington: he told the truth. He conceded that he had made a joke that was being taken out of context.

And his actions clearly backed that up, because at the moment Sessions made the unfortunate joke, he was tenaciously leading a fight to deliver justice for the family of an African American man who had been viciously murdered by the KKK.

And this is the part of the story the media never tell.

Michael Donald, a 19-year-old African-American man, was walking home when he was kidnapped by two Klan members, who drove him to a secluded area, nearly beat him to death with a tree limb, tied a noose around his neck, strangle him, then slit his throat and hung him from a tree.

KKK member Henry Francis Hays was responsible for the vicious murder, and did so at the order of his father, Klan leader Bennie Hays, who ordered the killing “to show Klan strength in Alabama.”

Sessions was so disgusted by what had happened that he allowed the State of Alabama to try the case, rather than making it a federal case, because Alabama had the death penalty.

Years later, when Sessions was Alabama Attorney General, the story came full circle as he oversaw the execution of Mr. Hays.

Barry Kowalski, the now-legendary civil rights attorney and former Special Counsel in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, recalls Sessions’ involvement with the case.

“Senator Sessions could not have been more supportive of our investigations, and in the Michael Donald case specifically, he personally contributed to making sure his killers were brought to justice.”

In short, Jeff Sessions made Henry Hays the first white person to be executed in Alabama for the murder of a black citizen since 1913. Additionally, Mr. Hays is the only known member of the KKK to be executed in the United States in the 20th century for murdering an African American.

The successful prosecution of Hays also led to a $7 million civil judgment against the Klan,” which the Associated Press in 1997 noted bankrupted the KKK in Alabama.

And yet these days the AP is busy cranking out stories about Sessions’ “racial issues” and claiming that he’s facing “a tough senate confirmation,” even though he has already garnered bi-partisan support and Republicans clearly have the votes to confirm him.

If you want to know the truth, listen to what the people who actually know Jeff Sessions have to say.

Larry Thompson, who worked closely with Sessions at the Justice Department and went on to serve as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, said this week that Sessions “does not have a racist bone in his body.”

“I have been an African American for 71 years and I think I know a racist when I experience one,” he added. “Jeff Sessions is simply a good and decent man.”

William Smith, who Sessions tapped to be the first African American to ever serve as Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, called Sessions “a man of high character and great integrity” who always “treated me like family.”

U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow said Sessions “has done more to protect the jobs and enhance the wages of black workers than anyone in either house of Congress over the last 10 years.”

Civil rights attorney and founder of the Black American Leadership Alliance Leah Durant said Sessions “has been a leader in the fight for preserving American jobs and ensuring opportunities for African American workers.”

And Kenyen Brown, the Obama appointee who now fills the very same US Attorney seat that Sessions once sat in, called Sessions “a man of outstanding character with an impeccable reputation for integrity.”

Jeff Sessions is a brilliant legal mind with a titanium spine, but most importantly, he is a good man. And that, in short, is why liberals and their allies in the media are resorting to 30-year-old, trumped-up lies to try to take him down — because that’s all they have.

2 years ago

Democrats call Alabama’s voter ID law ‘racist’ but require DNC delegates to show ID to vote

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — In a twist of irony, the Democratic National Convention is requiring delegates to show photo ID to receive their official credentials. While the Democrats require an ID to get into their convention, they have consistently fought against voter ID laws requiring citizens to show one when they vote.

During the 2011 Regular Legislative Session Governor Robert Bentley (R-Ala.) signed a voter ID law that went into full effect for the 2014 primary elections. Act 2011-673 requires an Alabama voter to have a specific type of photo identification at the polls in order to vote. Since that time, Democrats across the country have decried the law as “racist” and “hateful”.

The 2016 Democratic Party platform declares, “we will continue to fight against discriminatory voter identification laws, which disproportionately burden young voters, diverse communities, people of color, low income families, people with disabilities, the elderly, and women.” Yet, at their own convention, it seems like a different set of rules apply.

DNC voter ID

In an October 2015 visit to Hoover, Hillary Clinton slammed Alabama Republicans for requiring proof of citizenship to vote and for shuttering driver’s license offices in the wake of state budget cuts. The Democratic presidential nominee insisted that both issues were examples of Republicans trying to return Alabama to its Jim Crow past.

RELATED: Bentley and Clinton spar over whether Alabama Republicans are racists

“We have to defend the most fundamental right in our democracy, the right to vote,” she said. “No one in this state, no one, should ever forget the history that enabled generations of people left out and left behind to finally be able to vote.”

Before that, Vice President Joe Biden chided supporters of voter ID laws in light of liberal defeat in the Supreme Court case of Shelby County v. Holder which stemmed from a legal challenge in Alabama. “These guys never go away,” Biden said. “Hatred never, never goes away. The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason.”

RELATED: Biden: There’s ‘hatred’ behind Alabama’s photo voter ID law

Shelby County, Ala. sued the U.S. Attorney General in 2011 claiming that portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that the formula used to determine which areas were subjected to pre-clearance was unconstitutional, effectively gutting that portion of the law.

“Alabama has made tremendous progress over the past 50 years, and this decision by the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that progress,” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said at the time. “We will not tolerate discrimination in Alabama.”

Despite calls of racism, Alabama’s implementation of the voter ID law does not seem to have suppressed turnout.

There are currently at least 10 different types of ID that are acceptable to use at the polls (including a driver’s license) and the Secretary of State’s office also offers free Alabama photo voter ID cards and free non-driver IDs for purposes of voting.

3 years ago

Alabama Democrat: Republicans are racist, homophobic Confederate flag wavers

County Commissioner Janet Buskey with then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008 (Buskey's Facebook)
County Commissioner Janet Buskey with then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008 (Buskey’s Facebook)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Montgomery County Revenue Commissioner Janet Buskey is coming under fire Thursday after she allegedly posted a politically-charged rant on Facebook.

Though the original post has now been deleted, WSFA in Montgomery obtained a screenshot of it and posted the text.

The top 3 scariest things to me on the face of the earth are:

1. Racist (with or without guns)
2. Homophobes
3. Republicans…wait that is redundant…hmmm…make that Clowns…wait that is redundant…Confederate flag wavers…wait…FB messenger.

Montgomery County officials are speaking out about Buskey’s post, disagreeing with her sentiments.

This is not a black or white issue, this is a right or wrong issue,” said Republican Montgomery County Commissioner Ronda Walker, who said her heart sank when she read the post. “What she did was wrong, the wrong thing to do. Am I offended by it? No, I’m no offended by it because I don’t consider myself a racist homophobic clown, although I am a Republican.”

“I really want to stress that the Montgomery County Commission does not feel like what was posted on Facebook, we represent everyone in Montgomery County,” added Montgomery County Commission Chair Elton Dean, “we want to make sure that everyone is treated fairly.”

3 years ago

The surprising take on the Confederate flag that every Alabama Christian should consider

Confederate Battle Flag

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Yellowhammer Radio host Cliff Sims made waves on air Tuesday afternoon by joining the discussion over whether or not the Confederate Battle Flag should continue to fly on public property in places of prominence.

The South Carolina legislature is currently debating whether to remove the flag from state house grounds. Alabama leaders have been largely quiet on the issue to this point, but the flag remains inside the state capitol and in various state symbols.

Sims said he hesitated to delve into the debate because he believes it is distracting from other issues, like the U.S. Senate voting to expand President Obama’s power to negotiate international trade agreements. He chose, however, to address it after wrestling with the issue himself for the first time over the last couple of days.

This is an issue that stirs up passions on both sides…

There are conservatives who passionately defend it. They say the Civil War was not entirely about slavery. That’s true. They say there were honorable men who fought for the Confederacy. That’s true. Some of them are my ancestors…

Now, there are deplorable opportunists using this shooting in Charleston to advance their political agenda. For some of them that includes trying to paint all white Southerners as racists and, in an effort to do that, point to the Confederate Battle Flag still flying as evidence of that. They should be ashamed of themselves.

There are also some opportunistic politicians — and I know that’s redundant — who see this as a chance to raise their national profile and are calling for the flag’s removal for political gain, arbitrarily caving in just like they do every other time the political winds shift directions…

The truth is the Confederacy was not simply about limited government and states’ rights. It was also dedicated to preserving a great evil — slavery — by protection of law. The idea that one human can ‘own’ another is antithetical to the Christian view of humanity. So to prop up that system, many in the South had to create a counter-Biblical theology to justify what they were doing.

Sims then began quoting from an article by Russell Moore, the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Alabama’s largest Christian denomination.

Even beyond that, though, the Flag has taken on yet another contextual meaning in the years since. The Confederate Battle Flag was the emblem of Jim Crow defiance to the civil rights movement, of the Dixiecrat opposition to integration, and of the domestic terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens’ Councils of our all too recent, all too awful history.

White Christians ought to think about what that flag says to our African-American brothers and sisters in Christ, especially in the aftermath of yet another act of white supremacist terrorism against them.

The gospel frees us from scrapping for our “heritage” at the expense of others. As those in Christ, descendants of Confederate veterans have more in common with Nigerian Christians than we do with non-Christian white Mississippians who know the right use of “y’all” and how to make sweet tea.

“And here’s the big one,” Sims said, before continuing to quote Moore’s article.

The Apostle Paul says that we should not prize our freedom to the point of destroying those for whom Christ died. We should instead “pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Rom. 14:19). The Confederate Battle Flag may mean many things, but with those things it represents a defiance against abolition and against civil rights. The symbol was used to enslave the little brothers and sisters of Jesus, to bomb little girls in church buildings, to terrorize preachers of the gospel and their families with burning crosses on front lawns by night. That sort of symbolism is out of step with the justice of Jesus Christ.

Sims then referenced a story from the New Testament in which a group of Christians went out of their way to eliminate barriers to the spread of their faith, and encouraged Christians to consider that when it comes to the Confederate Battle Flag.

I’m reminded of the church at Corinth in the New Testament. There was a big debate over whether or not it was ok to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Christians were like, “Whatever, I know those gods aren’t real… I can eat this meat and it’s not a problem.” And that’s actually true… However, some of their brothers and sisters had been brought out of idolatry. They had grown up serving those idols. And so Christians voluntarily gave up their freedom to eat that meat so it would not cause their brothers and sisters who had been brought out of idolatry to stumble.

“The Confederate Battle Flag is a stumbling block to the Gospel for some people,” Sims concluded, “and that reason alone should be enough to Christians to put their personal feelings and freedoms aside for the sake of the Gospel.

“I’m annoyed to no end that there is so much political opportunism caught up in this. But this is one of those times where I feel like my Biblical worldview and my conservative political worldview are not in absolute perfect alignment, and in those situations… my Biblical worldview has to supersede what I believe politically as a conservative.”

Check out the full Yellowhammer Radio segment in the audio clip below.

3 years ago

(Audio) Son of KKK member stuns Finebaum with incredible story of racial healing

(Video above: The incredible story of how an Alabama man left his racist past behind during the Vietnam War)

A call into the Paul Finebaum Show from 2008 resurfaced this past week and is well worth revisiting.

“Jay in Huntsville” explained to Finebaum that he “grew up in Alabama and was raised a racist.” His father was in the KKK, as were all his uncles, and he was proud of it.

But in a decision that would end up changing his life in countless ways, Jay joined the Marine Corps in 1967 and ended up in Vietnam alongside a fellow Marine who he described as the “most militant acting and talking black person that was ever on the face of the Earth.”

They “tried to kill each other for the next couple of weeks, about every day,” until a Gunnery Sergeant took them aside and told them “next time that happens, you’re going home on a bad-conduct discharge.”

They decided to put aside their differences for the time being, in spite of the strong animosity they continued to feel toward each other.

But once they ended up in a fox hole together in the jungle of Vietnam and the bullets started flying, things would never be the same.

“Over the next two years, he saved my life a couple of times and I saved his life a couple of times,” Jay explained. “And didn’t neither one of us want to leave Vietnam… but in ’69, we both had to leave.”

Jay moved back to Alabama to go to school and his newfound “well, I guess you could call us ‘friends'” moved to Detroit.

They kept in touch over the next several years as Jay earned his engineering degree in Tuscaloosa. But things weren’t going quite as well for his buddy in Detroit, so Jay invited him down to Alabama to work under him at the company where he’d landed a job after graduation.

His friend went on to get his degree from UA, but the story gets even better.

“He decided he wanted to outdo me, which he always did, and he went on and got his Master’s degree,” Jay explained, “so I wound up working for him.”

And then the bombshell:

“And 32 years ago come April 3rd of this year… I will have been married to his sister for 32 years,” Jay said, stunning Finebaum. “He was the best man in my wedding. We had two sons a piece. All four of them graduated from the University of Alabama.”

And four decades after they met each other in a war zone on the other side of the planet with hatred in their hearts, they’re best friends and live on the same street.

“We’ve had a good life and he lives about 3 houses down now and we still try to lie as much as we can about our war exploits,” Jay laughed. “But it just goes to prove that anything can happen to a former racist… He turned out to be a lot better than I thought at first, and I hope I did, too.”

4 years ago

10 things liberals think are racist, and 10 things they don’t — you decide

Earlier this week, Alabama State Rep. Alving Holmes, D-Montgomery, said on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives that he does not like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas because he’s married to a white woman, then went on to call him an “Uncle Tom.”

Numerous conservative national media outlets picked up on Holmes’ comments, but as usual, the liberal media ignored them. Of course, we all know what would have happened if a conservative had said those things. So it got us at Yellowhammer thinking, how exactly do liberals decide what’s racist and what’s not?

Here’s a handy guide…

10 Things Liberals Think are Racist

1. Opposing ObamaCare

opposing obamacare

2. Respecting the rule of law on immigration

Immigration racist

3. Criticizing the IRS


4. The Tea Party

tea party kkk

5. The 2013 government shutdown

race shutdown

6. Disagreeing with the president

disagree with president

7. Opposing Medicaid expansion


8. Supporting a black Republican

Herman Cain

9. School choice

school choice

10. Pointing out that more people are food stamps now then ever before

Reforming food stamps

10 Things Liberals Don’t Think are Racist

1. Calling a Supreme Court Justice an “Uncle Tom”

Alvin Holmes Uncle Tom

2. Anti-Semitism

Being antisemetic

3. Insinuating that being black means being poor and shining shoes

Being black means shining shoes

4. The phrase “negro dialect”

negro dialect

5. Racial slurs

Racial slurs

6. Stereotyping individuals of Indian descent

Racio stereotype Indians

7. Perpetuating racial stereotypes of black males


8. Wanting to kick individuals of Asian descent out of your community

Wanting asians out

9. Saying this about a black conservative…

black republican

10. Giving dirty looks to interracial couples

interracial couplesder_j

Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

5 years ago

Rep. Joseph Mitchell: Some white people have the power to kill us

Rep. Joseph Mitchell made national and international headlines earlier this week when our story about his racially charged email correspondence with an Alabama citizen went viral.

An internet poll posted by asked if Rep. Mitchell should resign over his comments. A staggering 89.4% of over 12,000 respondents said “yes.” But in spite of the public outcry, Rep. Mitchell has since doubled down on his remarks via social media. “I am a descendent of a run-away slave. If you have problems with THAT, then it’s YOUR PROBLEM,” he wrote on his Facebook account.

And a quick look through his Facebook account revealed a long history of inflammatory remarks.

Here’s a quick look inside Rep. Mitchell’s Facebook account.

He addresses calls for his resignation by saying, “We do not need ‘leadership’ to go no place.”

He also wants to make it clear that not enough time is being spent in schools teaching the “importance of blackness.”

And as you scroll down through his profile, it becomes clear that this most recent incident is far from the first time Rep. Mitchell has shared his perspective on issues of race in politics and pop culture. In one post, he shares his concerns about “some white people who have the power to kills us.”

Around the time the GOP’s landmark education reform bill passed, Mitchell appeared to blame the Tea Party and said they are well on their way to taking us back to 1901. He also wasn’t impressed with most of his white Democrat colleagues.

He also alleges that some “white folk” were engaging in some unsavory campaign tactics during the Presidential campaign…

…and expressed concerns that the “skanks” were trying to steal the election.

Although some of his colleagues have distanced themselves from his remarks, there have been no calls from the Democrat side of the aisle for Mitchell to resign. What say you, Alabama Democrat Party Chairman Mark Kennedy?