2 years ago

White BBQ sauce declared Alabama’s ‘most important food innovation’

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Ever wondered what Alabama’s most important contribution to the world of food has been? No, it’s not Lane Cake, although that was recently named the Yellowhammer State’s official dessert. According to the food and travel website Thrillist, it’s white barbecue sauce.

Thrillist listed the most important food innovations for every state, citing America’s long history of innovators, especially in the culinary world. According to the site, Alabama’s white barbecue sauce stands out from the rest because of its unique mix of ingredients, instead of using the boring tomato or mustard-based sauces famous in other states.

Here’s what Thrillist had to say about Alabama’s white barbecue sauce:

Barbecue sauce holds a precarious and little-regarded position in the world of barbecue. Many purists reject the use of the sauce, arguing (mostly correctly) that if the ‘cue is right and moist, it doesn’t need a sauce to cover its faults. The tomato- and mustard-based numbers popular in Texas, Kansas City, Memphis, and the Carolinas all play their part as a bit player in a big show. But only in the Yellowhammer State is that barbecue sauce the real damn star.

Thanks to Big Bob Gibson’s 1925 recipe, citizens of (mostly North) Alabama have been putting a mixture of mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, and pepper on the most boring of barbecue specialties (chicken) plus a bunch of other stuff, for nearly a hundred years. And let me tell you, friends: the fact that this sauce isn’t as popular as the (crappy), thick, tomato-based junk you see in your condiment aisle is a damn national tragedy that changes today.

The rest of the list reveals where some of your favorite foods and restaurants were created. Burgers were officially created in Connecticut, and Iowa is the home of sliced bread, something people are still trying to find “the greatest thing since.” And of course Idaho’s claim to fame will forever be the potato.

The home of some of your favorite restaurants may come as a surprise. Colorado is home to the original Chipotle, Georgia’s greatest innovation is Waffle House (and surprisingly not Coca-Cola), Harold and Kumar are particularly thankful to Kansas for starting White Castle, Domino’s traces its roots to Michigan, and Wendy’s was born in Ohio. And let’s not forget desserts: M&Ms were created in New Jersey, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream calls Vermont home, and TCBY frozen yogurt is a product of Arkansas.

Check out the full list on Thrillist’s site, which includes hilarious commentary for each innovation.

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Alabama nonprofit connects communities through the power of social media

Impact your world. Make a difference. Donate.

These are the mantras of Serquest, a new way to give.

Founded by Henry Hammond Cobb IV of Montgomery, the goal of the nonprofit is, “to help connect companies to a powerful nonprofit narrative in their community, where they can invest their time, money and physical resources into life-changing transformation in the city they do business, to change their focus to telling people who they are instead of what they do.”

And it has seen big successes.

Take Good People Brewing, for example. Serquest created a video about Good People Brewing and their involvement with Kings Home, ultimately driving more than 1.5 million views.

Want to watch it, too? See:

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“We realized that the best way to introduce people to our software platform was to help them create powerful media they could deploy to engage their audiences on fundraisers, volunteer events and needed items to distribute in the community to those who need it the most,” said Cobb.

How did this idea start?

When Cobb’s grandfather passed away, he was presented with 20,000 square feet of warehouse space to empty and no great system to do so. After weeks of phone calls, he met someone with an idea: Sell it on a Facebook yard sale group.

“Like magic, in the course of a couple days everything was gone,” said Cobb.

“I realized that what the nonprofit world or industry needed the most was a platform designed to help connect people who have resources to people who need resources efficiently and effectively,” and Serquest was born.

Serquest has helped more than 50 nonprofits since its inception, connecting nonprofits and companies with resources and volunteers.

Companies like Golden Flake.

Cobb is proud of the support Golden Flake has been able to give to Big Oak Ranch, “through building the girls boutique and the boys store and helping to make great citizens in our state by starting early with children.”

And Tacala and the Phoenix Club that helps Boys and Girls club in Birmingham, he said.

But Serquest isn’t done yet.

Cobb says, “Our dream is to create digital roads and bridges to connect individuals and companies to a story they want to define their life and help them get started today.

“It should be almost as easy as hailing an Uber.”

Serquest’s role is to remove roadblocks and to connect communities who want to make a difference — whether at companies, schools or churches.

“In many ways a church is an aggregator like a school or college, and so what we’re trying to do with our Facebook app is have it so any church, school or company can put it on their Facebook page to create this outreach platform to connect members to outreach opportunities,” said Cobb.

In other words, Serquest wants to help you.

“If you run a church, a school or a big hospital, we’re a digital resource to connect the large amount of people that come to you with the large amount of groups that come to you.”

Visit Serquest.com today to learn more about their digital tools.

54 mins ago

Trump: Prisoner of the war party?

“Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw from Syria.’ We convinced him it was necessary to stay.”

Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron Saturday, adding, “We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term.”

Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian civil war “for the long term”?

If so, who made that fateful decision for this republic?

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed Sunday there would be no drawdown of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, until three objectives were reached. We must fully defeat ISIS, ensure chemical weapons would not again be used by Bashar Assad and maintain the ability to watch Iran.

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Translation: Whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria. We are going deeper in. Trump’s commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is “inoperative.”

The War Party that Trump routed in the primaries is capturing and crafting his foreign policy. Monday’s Wall Street Journal editorial page fairly blossomed with war plans:

“The better U.S. strategy is to … turn Syria into the Ayatollah’s Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran began to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war or even contemplate a peace based on dividing the country into ethnic-based enclaves.”

Apparently, we are to bleed Syria, Russia, Hezbollah and Iran until they cannot stand the pain and submit to subdividing Syria the way we want.

But suppose that, as in our Civil War of 1861-1865, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, and the Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949, Assad and his Russian, Iranian and Shiite militia allies go all out to win and reunite the nation.

Suppose they choose to fight to consolidate the victory they have won after seven years of civil war. Where do we find the troops to take back the territory our rebels lost? Or do we just bomb mercilessly?

The British and French say they will back us in future attacks if chemical weapons are used, but they are not plunging into Syria.

Defense Secretary James Mattis called the U.S.-British-French attack a “one-shot” deal. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears to agree: “The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will.”

The Journal’s op-ed page Monday was turned over to former U.S. ambassador to Syria Ryan Crocker and Brookings Institute senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon: “Next time the U.S. could up the ante, going after military command and control, political leadership, and perhaps even Assad himself. The U.S. could also pledge to take out much of his air force. Targets within Iran should not be off limits.”

And when did Congress authorize U.S. acts of war against Syria, its air force or political leadership? When did Congress authorize the killing of the president of Syria whose country has not attacked us?

Can the U.S. also attack Iran and kill the ayatollah without consulting Congress?

Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election.

We have a reluctant president being pushed into a war he does not want to fight. This is a formula for a strategic disaster not unlike Vietnam or George W. Bush’s war to strip Iraq of nonexistent WMD.

The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands.

But where is the evidence for this?

What reason is there to believe these forces will surrender what they have paid in blood to win? And if they choose to fight and widen the war to the larger Middle East, are we prepared for that?

As for Trump’s statement Friday, “No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East,” the Washington Post Sunday dismissed this as “fatalistic” and “misguided.”

We have a vital interest, says the Post, in preventing Iran from establishing a “land corridor” across Syria.

Yet consider how Iran acquired this “land corridor.”

The Shiites in 1979 overthrew a shah our CIA installed in 1953.

The Shiites control Iraq because President Bush invaded and overthrew Saddam and his Sunni Baath Party, disbanded his Sunni-led army, and let the Shiite majority take control of the country.

The Shiites are dominant in Lebanon because they rose up and ran out the Israelis, who invaded in 1982 to run out the PLO.

How many American dead will it take to reverse this history?

How long will we have to stay in the Middle East to assure the permanent hegemony of Sunni over Shiite?

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

New organization to promote Mobile-Tensaw River Delta

A new group known as the Alabama Delta Alliance has come together to promote the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta (MTRD) and its many natural resources. The Delta Alliance Alliance will support the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, which is America’s second largest delta and the most bio-diverse body of water in the world.

This alliance is comprised of a diverse group of individuals, organizations and businesses that want to promote and enhance this ecological wonderland.

“The Alabama Delta Alliance is a group that shares a deep appreciation for the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta and the many benefits it offers the people of this state,” said Britton Bonner, chairman of the board of the Coastal Alabama Partnership. “Our goal is to build a robust, diverse coalition and effort focused solely on promoting the MTRD region — now and in the future.”

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Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson called the initiative “an idea whose time has come,” adding, “The delta is a hugely untapped resource for eco-tourism.”

For generations and well over a century, Alabamians and others have enjoyed the way of life and serenity of the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. The MTRD is home to more than 600 species of fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds. With habitats that include huge swaths of swamps, marshes and wetlands, it is a veritable maze of tributary creeks, rivers, streams and bayous.

“Our newly created effort will serve as a resource to further educate the public on the biological and ecological diversity of the MTRD, the expansive flora and fauna, as well as the many recreational opportunities available to all regardless of interest or income level,” said state Rep. Randy Davis, whose legislative district abuts the delta. “A major goal of our effort will be to catalog the many access points, boat ramps, trails, local businesses and other important destinations the public will want to have at their fingertips when planning a trip in the MTRD.”

The Alabama Delta Alliance is encouraging people to learn more about the delta in hopes they will be inspired to visit the region. With the goal of promoting ecotourism in the area, the Alliance has created a new website as a tool for both visitors and residents alike, at www.alabamadelta.com. The website offers visitors a history of the delta, places to visit and information about alliance and steering committee members who are committed to the effort.

“Our website will be representative of the diverse people and organizations that are working with us,” said steering committee member Russell Ladd. “The interactive map will serve as a great resource that we can promote through social media and other digital channels, encouraging more visitation and driving ecotourism in the region.”

This steering committee is comprised of long-time delta supporters. Additionally, the organization has the support of more than 40 members from across the state.

Steering committee members believe that state and local management practices are adequately protecting and expanding access to the MTRD region. Federal designations and oversight often come with limitations on access and management of those properties, and it’s important to maintain the quality of life and outdoor recreational heritage by continuing to allow the state to manage this important natural resource.

“Our goal is to protect the many natural resources and the vast biological diversity that the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta enjoys,” Ladd added. “By getting involved in our effort, people are ensuring that we can continue to provide these important lands all throughout the region for future generations to enjoy.”

2 hours ago

Birmingham’s Bill Oliver makes debut as feature film director at Tribeca Film Festival

Years ago, Bill Oliver was a sixth-grader at Highlands Day School in Birmingham when his math teacher started a photography club.

“I signed up for that, and that’s where I fell in love with photography,” says Oliver, who went on to be editor and photographer of the yearbook and to start a movie club while a student at Indian Springs School.

Little did he know where that would lead him.

This week, Oliver is debuting his first feature film as a director. “Jonathan” makes its bow at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York on Saturday.

Oliver, who wrote “Jonathan” with his longtime writing partner Peter Nickowitz, describes it as “a science-fiction drama about two brothers who share a secret and what happens when one of them falls in love and begins to neglect their relationship.”

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The movie stars Ansel Elgort (“The Fault in Our Stars,” “Baby Driver”), Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Patricia Clarkson (“The Untouchables,” “The Dead Pool,” “Six Feet Under”), Golden Globe winner Matt Bomer (“American Horror Story,” “The Normal Heart”)  and Suki Waterhouse (“Love, Rosie,” “Insurgent”).

Elgort was cast first.

“I knew him from ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ but I didn’t know any of his other work,” Oliver says. “I saw one side of his character in ‘Fault in Our Stars,’ charming and outgoing, but he was also in ‘Men, Women & Children,’ where he played a very introverted character. We met for lunch and he was just very charming, very smart, very enthusiastic about the project and won me over.”

Casting Elgort helped land Clarkson, a veteran of stage and screen.

“She responded to the script and also had met Ansel at the Toronto Film Festival and fell in love with him, too,” Oliver says. “She was excited to work with him.”

Waterhouse, a British model-turned-actress, worked with Elgort in the upcoming “Billionaire Boys Club.”

Cast and crew gathered for 22 days in fall 2016 to shoot the movie.

It wasn’t Oliver’s first time behind the camera – he’s shot several short films since graduating from Princeton University and going on to directing school at the American Film Institute – but “Jonathan” is his first feature-length project.

“It was definitely scary, but I felt prepared and made sure I was prepared,” he says. “You do all your homework. You have to understand everyone’s job and be prepared to talk to all of them about it. I did my research, did my homework, did my analysis of the script.”

The Tribeca Film Festival is a big step, and “Jonathan” is already getting noticed. More than 100 feature films are being screened, and the show business publication Variety picked “Jonathan” as one of the nine with the most buzz.

“Jonathan” will screen four times between Saturday and April 28. Oliver is hoping to find a distributor to put “Jonathan” out in theaters, and other film festivals might be in its future.

But for now, the director just wants people to see his movie.

“I’m very happy with it and very proud of it,” says Oliver, who lives in New York. “I’m excited to show it to an audience.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

4 hours ago

Students walked out of school on Columbine shooting’s 19th anniversary

Students walked out of school to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., Friday.

Students across the country staged a walkout to protest gun violence 19 years after the Columbine shooting in 1999, The Washington Post reported. Connecticut’s Ridgefield High School student Lane Murdock, 16, organized the walkouts in order to pay respects to the Columbine High School massacre, where seniors Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris opened fired and killed 13 students and one teacher before killing themselves. Students from 2,500 different schools around the United States are expected to walk out of their high schools at 10 a.m. in their time zone to commemorate the tragedy, according to the HuffPost.

However, Columbine officials are less enthusiastic about the walkouts. Current principal Scott Christy and Frank DeAngelis, the principal during the 1999 shooting, wrote a letter, asking students to instead do a day of community service.

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“April has long been a time to respectfully remember our loss and also support efforts to make our communities a better place,” the letter read. “Please consider planning service projects, an activity that will somehow build up your school … as opposed to a walkout.” Columbine high school does not hold classes on the anniversary in a practice started in 2000 in order to pay respects to the victims. Many students instead volunteer at soup kitchens, read to preschoolers, and help clean up parks.

“We feel like doing anything on that day is disrespectful for the families of people who died,” Columbine high school sophomore Rachel Hill said. “There’s a time for protest, but it’s not that day.” Hill didn’t think high school’s respected or listened to Columbine’s opinions, in regards to the walkout, the sophomore added.

The walkouts follow the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., March 24. The rally was held to advocate for gun reform following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting spree in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14.

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