The Wire

  • Maddox against constitutional amendment ‘acknowledging the sanctity of unborn life’

    Excerpt:

    Democratic nominee for governor and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, in a Monday interview on the “Matt & Aunie Show,” said that he will vote against the pro-life “Amendment Two” on the November 6 General Election ballot.

    Per the Alabama Policy Institute (API), the proposed amendment “would add language to the state constitution acknowledging the sanctity of unborn life and stipulating that the state constitution provides no right to abortion.” It will place Alabama in prime position to further limit or ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is eventually rolled back or overturned.

    “I can’t vote in favor of that because, again, it is not going to provide that exemption, if I understand it correctly, that we need,” Maddox said, referring to exceptions (exemptions) he supports in the cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother. To be clear, Alabama law does allow abortions in these cases and the constitutional amendment does not alter this.

  • Listen: Dem gubernatorial hopeful Walt Maddox, Talk 99.5’s Matt Murphy spar over Alabama Medicaid expansion

    Excerpt:

    In an appearance Monday on Birmingham’s Talk 99.5 “Matt & Aunie Show,” Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walt Maddox fielded questions from co-host Matt Murphy about the merits of expanding Medicaid in Alabama, a favorite policy position of many of the state’s Democratic elected officials.

    “I think Medicaid is working in Alabama,” he said.

    “It serves mostly our children and those that are disabled,” Maddox explained. “Those very few people that meet those criteria are on Medicaid. Nearly a million people are on it, by the way. But let me tell you why Medicaid expansion is important because we certainly have talked about it. This is where we are in Alabama 89 percent of our rural hospitals are in the red today. More than 50 percent of our urban hospitals are in the red today, places like Alex City where we were last week.”

    “So what happened?” he continued. “What flipped in the health care dynamic? When the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, passed in 2010, it was challenged in the Supreme Court. And one of the rulings that came out of that challenge was that states had the option to expand Medicaid because initially, states had no choice.”

  • Byrne introduces legislation to enhance school safety

    Excerpt:

    Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) announced on Monday his bill to provide school officials with better information regarding students concerning school safety.

    The Make Schools Safer Act ensures that the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences includes studies and resources surrounding school safety and mental health in the What Works Clearinghouse, which educators, counselors and principals have access to.

    “School safety should be a priority for every level of government. While I do not want the federal government to mandate how schools protect their students, I believe it is appropriate for the federal government to provide high-quality research and information to schools about the best practices for keeping students safe, coordinating with law enforcement, and identifying at-risk students. My bill offers a simple yet profound step toward making our schools safer,” Byrne, who serves as a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, said in news release.

7 mins ago

Animals driven to Alabama in a school bus after being saved from Hurricane Florence

(Tony Alsup/Facebook)

In the story of “Noah’s Ark except it’s a school bus,” The Washington Post detailed how a truck driver saved more than 60 animals from Hurricane Florence and drove them to Alabama.

The man who rescued the animals, Tony Alsup, has been back and forth between the South Carolina coast and Alabama in the last week, shuttling 53 dogs and 11 cats to safety from endangered animal shelters.

Running on very little sleep and fueled by Waffle House pitstops, the 51-year-old trucker from Tennessee is being hailed as a savior for the otherwise defenseless animals, many of whom would have been put down by the shelters facing the then-approaching hurricane. Now, in the aftermath of Florence, he continues to search for pets in need of rescuing.

“I’m like, look, these are lives too,” Alsup told The Washington Post during a Waffle House stop.

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He continued, “Animals — especially shelter pets — they always have to take the back seat of the bus. But I’ll give them their own bus. If I have to I’ll pay for all the fuel, or even a boat, to get these dogs out of there.”

Alsup, who wants to open his own animal shelter one day, has been rescuing shelter pets from floodwaters with his bus since Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Texas coast in 2017. When he saw on the news how so many animal shelters had become overcrowded with lost or rescued animals, Alsup figured he could help by transporting animals to vacant shelters.

Yet, he knew he could not put them in a semitrailer.

“I thought, well what can I do?” Alsup explained. “I’ll just go buy a bus.”

Since then, he has helped with rescue efforts during hurricanes Irma and Maria and, now, Florence.

Once Alsup loads the animals in his bus, he drives them to Foley in Baldwin County. There, his friend, Angela Eib-Maddux, has opened her privately run dog shelter to the new arrivals. She gives them baths and fluffy blankets and “spa treatment,” Alsup said, until they can find enough shelters or foster homes to take the animals.

As of Monday, Alsup had managed to find a permanent home or new shelter for every animal he rescued.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

29 mins ago

Dem state senator’s son arrested on domestic violence charge

(Mobile County Metro Jail)

Akil Michael Figures, son of Alabama state Senator Vivian Davis Figures (D-Mobile), has been arrested on a domestic violence charge, per Fox 10.

The 36-year-old Figures was reportedly charged with third-degree domestic violence (menacing), and this is by no means his first run in with the law in Alabama. He has an extensive rap sheet, including drug charges, giving false information and various traffic offenses.

In June, Figures made headlines when he was shot in the leg in Foley. Authorities then said a man shot Figures twice in the leg at a home in the Baldwin County city.

On Tuesday morning, he was booked into Mobile County Metro Jail just after midnight and then released on bail a short time later.

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Additional court records show that a woman, who Figures previously dated, filed near the end of August for protection from the alleged abuse. She was granted this protection until February. Figures has denied the abuse claims and asked for a hearing on the request for protection.

Per the Lagniappe in Mobile, Figures pleaded guilty in 2006 to a single charge of “possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine” after federal prosecutors agreed to a deal dropping a similar charge related to the distribution of ecstasy.

After being sentenced to five years in jail and eight years of probation for that distribution plea, lawyers representing Figures in 2016 asked for probation period to be cut in half, saying the man had kept an “unblemished” record and “regained the trust and confidence of his family.”

The attorneys’ request in 2016 did stipulate that Figures had received a “technical infraction” of his probation “for sending a text message after being ordered to refrain from any further communication with a woman with whom he had a relationship.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

Walt Maddox finally has a plan for Medicaid expansion and it’s pretty bad

(YHN)

Alabama Democrats love bad ideas.

They also have no clue how to pay for these terrible ideas, even though some have tried to figure it out, bless their hearts.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walt Maddox has been pushing the media-friendly idea that if we would just expand Medicaid. all would be well, unfortunately, he knows almost nothing about the program.

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As Yellowhammer News exposed yesterday, Talk 99.5’s Matt Murphy embarrassed Maddox on the issue:

MADDOX: There are 33 states that have gone along with the expansion of Medicaid. There are six more that are considering it.

MURPHY: You know how much the state budget for Medicaid is right now?

MADDOX: Not offhand —

MURPHY: It’s about a quarter, a quarter of the total budget. Twenty-four percent of the total budget is Medicare and that is expected to over the next decade go up to as much as 35 percent of the total state budget and I’m wondering how we stop that.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, he also has no idea how to pay for the program.

MADDOX: You take a combination of taxing the existing gambling that is here and sports gambling. And that will be what you put in your general fund as your offset to it.

The problem is this doesn’t even come close to actually covering the cost of his idea.

If he is capable of getting the legislature to allow existing gambling to be taxed, liberal columnist Josh Moon speculates it would only bring in $15 million.

If he is capable of getting the legislature to pass a sports gambling bill, we can look to Mississippi and see that they are projecting that they will collect $30 million in taxes. Granted, Mississippi is about 60 percent of the size of Alabama, so if we play with the math that puts Alabama at about $50 million a year in revenue.

Play with the math any way you want, but the guy proposing these measures is clearly out of his depth. Clearly, Maddox has no real clue what the numbers are and we still aren’t anywhere near the $150-$200 million that he acknowledges his proposal will cost.

This remains a media favorite talking point with no substance. It’s time for Walt Maddox and his campaign to figure out how to pay for his proposal.

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a conservative talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

2 hours ago

Huntsville City Council candidate’s ties to Bernie Sanders revealed in ad — ‘Few things are scarier than socialism’

(Mary Jane Caylor for City Council/Facebook)

On Monday, Dr. Mary Jane Caylor’s campaign for Huntsville City Council released a creative new social media ad that invoked her opponent’s ties to socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

With Halloween on the horizon, Caylor hit her opponent, Frances Akridge, with the tagline “few things are scarier than socialism… Especially in our local government.”

Akridge, the ad says, has donated to liberal campaigns across the country, including Bernie Sanders for President, Rick Nolan for Congress (Minnesota), Katie McGinty for Senate (Pennsylvania), Nelson for Congress (Wisconsin), Zephyr Teachout for Attorney General (New York), Nanette Diaz Barragán for Congress (California), Deborah Ross for Senate (North Carolina), Chase Irons for Congress (North Dakota), Maggie Hassan for Senate (New Hampshire), Paul Clements for Congress (Texas), Morgan Carroll for Congress (Colorado), Russ Feingold for Congress (Wisconsin) and Pramila Jayapal for Congress (Washington).

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While local races are normally less partisan than statewide or national races, Caylor’s campaign tied Akridge’s “ultra-left” activities to the local level, saying that Huntsville would be hurt by socialist City Council policies.

“Imagine how much of your money Frances Akridge will want to tax and spend… We cannot afford to let Frances Akridge traffic in her big-government values to our City Hall,” the social media caption reads.

It continues, “Huntsville’s bright future demands fiscal responsibility and a budget that is overseen by an experienced, conservative leader. We need the conservative, proven, and principled leadership of Dr. Mary Jane Caylor.”

Caylor has an extensive resume of public service, including past experience as superintendent of Huntsville City Schools, executive director of the Huntsville Bicentennial, member of the Base Realignment and Closure recruitment team and a four-term member of the Alabama State Board of Education. She was also crucial to the establishment of the Veteran’s Memorial in downtown Huntsville.

On her website, Caylor lists education, infrastructure, community safety, supporting first responders and being a good steward of taxpayer money as top issues. Akridge names community recreation, “maintenance & enhancement” and health along with safety and education.

In response to Caylor’s ad, Akridge shared a Facebook post that read, “Huntsville municipal elections are SUPPOSED TO BE nonpartisan. And now we have this crap.” The post did not dispute any of the ties to socialist or liberal candidates or that Akridge would govern as a socialist on the city council.

According to Caylor’s campaign, in the October 9 Huntsville City Council District 2 election, “the choice is clear: Socialist Frances Akridge or Conservative Mary Jane Caylor.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

Maddox kicks off bus tour in Alabama governor’s race

(Tuscaloosa News/YouTube)

Gubernatorial challenger Walt Maddox kicked off a statewide bus tour Monday, taking his message on the road as he seeks to gain ground against incumbent Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey.

The Democratic nominee began the tour in Tuscaloosa where he is mayor.

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Describing himself as the only candidate in the race talking about the state’s “big problems,” Maddox is running on a platform of establishing a state lottery to fund education programs and expanding Medicaid.

Standing with his wife, Stephanie and his two children, Maddox said the race is about ensuring the state’s children have opportunities.

“Our state is not where it needs to be. We are at, or near, the bottom in everything that matters, everything,” Maddox said. “And they deserve to grow up in a state that can provide them the opportunities that I’ve had, that your families have had.”

Alabama has not elected a Democrat to the governor’s office since 1998 when Don Siegelman won after campaigning on a lottery that voters later rejected.

To win, Maddox will need support from some Republicans and independents, similarly to U.S. Sen. Doug Jones and his victory over Roy Moore last year.

Maddox said he thinks he can do that by talking about the issues that affect people’s lives.

He joked he won his first convert in 2010 with his wedding to wife Stephanie, who is a Republican.

Maddox said he hopes to speak with all sorts of voters during the tour, including those “who may or may not vote for you. … But that doesn’t matter because when you put your hand on that Bible, you represent everyone.”

Maddox is proposing a state lottery to fund college scholarships and other education programs.

He said expanding Medicaid, as 34 states have done, could stop the closure of rural hospitals, which have been shuttering in rural communities due to financial pressures.

“If you are in Haleyville, Alabama right now you’ve had to experience an increase in taxes because your hospital is on the verge of closing.

If you are in Alex City right now, your hospital could close. All because we didn’t expand Medicaid.”

Maddox also continued to take jabs at Ivey for refusing to debate him.

The Republican incumbent said last week that there was no need for a debate because “Alabamians know my record. They know what I stand for.”

“One thing Governor Ivey can’t avoid is the Nov. 6 election,” Maddox said. “The people will ultimately determine this with their ballot. It doesn’t hurt me that she doesn’t want to debate. It hurts the people of Alabama.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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5 hours ago

Federal lawyers say 14-year-old oil leak is getting worse in Gulf of Mexico

(Pixabay/YHN)

Federal government lawyers say a 14-year-old leak is releasing much more oil each day into the Gulf of Mexico than officials previously claimed, and it may be getting worse.

A Friday court filing in a case involving Taylor Energy Co. says 10,000 to 30,000 gallons (37,000 to 113,000 liters) daily is leaking from multiple wells around a drilling platform toppled by 2004’s Hurricane Ivan.

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That estimate is far above the 16,000 gallons (60,500 liters) of oil that the U.S. Coast Guard estimated in 2015 had been spotted in slicks over seven months.

The government cites a report it commissioned from a scientist who has studied satellite images of persistent oil slicks and sampled floating oil at the site about 10 miles (16 kilometers) offshore.

That report also suggests that while the amount of leaking oil decreased after some wells were plugged in 2011, the leak may be getting bigger again.

“There has been an uptrend of the areas of the slick during the last two years,” wrote Oscar Pineda-Garcia, who runs a company that maps oil spills and is an adjunct professor at Florida State University.

New Orleans-based Taylor said only two to three gallons was leaking daily out of mud on the seafloor.

Spokesman Todd Ragusa said the company disputes the government’s new estimate and will respond in court.

“The government’s recent filing is completely contrary to the comprehensive, sound science acquired by world-renowned experts, including those regularly relied upon by the government,” Ragusa wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

A 2015 AP investigation revealed evidence that the leak was worse than the company, or government, had publicly reported during their secretive response.

Presented with AP’s findings that year, the Coast Guard provided a new leak estimate that was about 20 times larger than one cited by the company in a 2015 court filing.

Friday’s court filing also says Taylor and the Coast Guard met in August and discussed plugging more wells as part of an effort to eliminate the persistent oil sheen seen at the site.

The wellheads are more than 400 feet (120 meters) underwater and buried under 60 to 100 feet (20 to 30 meters) of mud.

Taylor sued the government in January 2016 to recover millions of dollars it set aside for work to end the leak.

The suit claims regulators violated a 2008 agreement requiring the company to deposit approximately $666 million in a trust to pay for leak response work.

The company argued the government must return the remaining $423 million.

The government’s lawyers disagree, though, saying no change to the agreement has been made and the money should remain on deposit until the work is done.

“The trust requires — and has always required — that Taylor complete all of its decommissioning obligations before the trust can terminate.

The United States’ denial of Taylor’s request for a release from its existing obligations does not constitute an imposition of a new obligation,” the lawyers wrote.

Waves whipped up by Ivan triggered an underwater mudslide that buried a cluster of oil wells under treacherous mounds of sediment.

In 2011, the company finished drilling a series of “intervention wells” to plug nine of the wells.

Using Coast Guard pollution reports, West Virginia-based watchdog group SkyTruth estimated in December that between roughly 855,000 gallons (3.2 million liters) and nearly 4 million gallons (15.1 million liters) of oil spilled from the site between 2004 and 2017.

Garcia writes in his report that the oil is thick enough that people need to wear respirators because of fumes.

He says bubbles of not just oil, but natural gas is reaching the surface, while his report shows pictures of thick, brown oil emulsions in some places.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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6 hours ago

Alabama Ethics Commission director responds to Secretary of State Merrill’s op-ed criticizing their ‘ethical political leadership’

(J. Merrill, T. Albritton/Facebook)

After Secretary of State John Merrill wrote an op-ed last week strongly criticizing the Alabama Ethics Commission, the commission’s director, Tom Albritton, appeared on Capitol Journal to push back and give their side of the story, saying, “We did our job.”

Merrill opened his piece by lamenting having “to ask what purpose the Alabama Ethics Commission serves to the people of this state.” He added, “To whom are the elected officials or those seeking public office to look to for ethical political leadership? The people of Alabama need an Ethics Commission that will enforce the laws and regulations it is charged with enforcing, with consistency.”

The dispute centers on the Ethics Commission’s handling of appeals of fines levied by the Secretary of State’s office on campaigns that filed their mandatory financial disclosures late. When fined, campaigns have 14 days under state law to appeal. When a campaign chooses to do so, the secretary of state’s office sends the appeal to the Commission to decide whether the penalty is upheld or not.

Earlier this year, the commission overturned fines even though the appeals were made outside of the allowed 14-day window. However, at the beginning of this month, the commission refused to rule on tardy appeals, saying they do not have jurisdiction after the window closes.

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Even though Merrill’s argument in the op-ed was titled “The people of Alabama need an Ethics Commission that will enforce the laws,” the issue at hand is actually that the commission did enforce the law this time but not in previous times.

This disconnect, and the op-ed itself, led Albritton to say, “We did our job. The op-ed piece was a little bit confusing to me in terms of exactly where the criticism is … If the point was that we hadn’t enforced the law, that’s what I don’t understand, because that’s specifically, exactly, what my commissioners did – was enforce it.”

He also voiced his displeasure that Merrill chose to write an op-ed – which said, in part, “without communication and cooperation between our agencies … the [law] does not work” –  instead of continuing dialogue directly between the commission and the secretary of state’s office on the issue.

“Well, to be completely honest with you, I was a little bit disappointed in the manner in which that was handled,” Albritton told host Don Dailey.

In the latest batch of appeals sent to the Commission by Merrill’s office, “there were a number of files where their office knew that they were filed well after the 14 days, yet they instructed the filers to go ahead and appeal, which is not supported by the language of the code,” Albritton added.

He continued, “So, we wrote their office and asked if they disagreed that we didn’t have jurisdiction [on the late appeals]. And instead, the op-ed piece was filed.”

Albritton reiterated that the Ethics Commission enforced the law this time, yet was criticized for it.

“[W]hat the Commission did, was simply looked at that group of files and found that there were a number that were simply filed too late, so we affirmed the fines that had been imposed by [Merrill’s] office. And now, it is their obligation to go enforce those fines by collecting on them,” Albritton explained.

Merrill argued in his op-ed, “[W]hy have they just now become aware of these appeal date issues? Each appeal delivered to the Alabama Ethics Commission is delivered as a file which includes each file that was not timely filed and a copy of the date the appeal was filed.”

The Ethics Commission director admitted that his office had made mistakes in ruling on late appeals earlier this year.

“Look, I’ll be the first one if we made a mistake to admit that we made a mistake,” Albritton said. “And in that earlier group of files, the 14 days … is something that my office did not pick up [on].”

However, while admitting the Commission’s role in these previous mistakes, Albritton also questioned why Merrill’s office had knowingly sent them appeals that were late.

“Now, again, we are dependent on [the secretary of state’s office] to point out to us if someone has filed outside of the 14 days, and in a way that it is very clear that that’s what happened. The preference would be that they not send over things that the law says that we have no jurisdiction over,” Albritton emphasized.

He reiterated that hearing the late appeals previously “was an oversight by my group,” adding “I’m not sure what my commissioners will want to do” with those corresponding fines that were overturned.

Merrill wants these fines reimposed since the commission did not have jurisdiction at the time they ruled.

“It’s the position of the secretary of state’s Office that these specific matters were improperly set aside and should be reinstated by the commission,” Merrill wrote about the fines that were improperly overturned earlier this year.

Watch, starting at the 50:35 mark:

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

Steve Marshall partners with White House to recognize ICE & border patrol agents

(Marshall Campaign)

While ICE & CBP agents are defending themselves against partisan political rhetoric from the left, Attorney General Steve Marshall is working to highlight the important role they play in defending the rule of law and thus, securing our borders.

Last month, Marshall accepted an invitation to speak on a select White House Panel discussion on border security and how border crime and illegal immigration affect the citizens of Alabama.

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“Due to our state’s proximity to Atlanta, a major distribution point for drugs, and to Texas, a border state, Alabama has become a prime transit point for drug trafficking. We see marijuana, cocaine, meth and now illicit fentanyl coming into our state as a result. The drug trade brings dangerous and violent illegal aliens into Alabama.

Just this summer, our state was rocked by the brutal murder of a special needs 13-year-old girl— killed by affiliates of the Mexican drug cartel. I am grateful to the president and the White House for allowing me to share the observations of Alabama law enforcement and our citizens.”

Marshall praised the White House and President Trump for acknowledging these agents and their contributions and dedication to the safety of U.S. citizens. He knows the importance of respecting our law enforcement, border security, and the law itself and is committed to working with all sectors of government to ensure our citizens are protected.

“We must secure our borders and we must restore respect for the rule of law throughout this country. The men and women of ICE and CBP are critical to securing our borders, and Attorneys General — I believe — must play a major role in restoring the rule of law.”

(Paid for by Steve Marshall for Alabama, P.O. Box 3537, Montgomery, AL 36109)

6 hours ago

Alabama lawmakers celebrate Decatur-based ULA’s latest rocket launch

(ULA/Facebook)

After Saturday’s launching of the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, Alabama lawmakers took to Twitter to celebrate the success ofUnited Launch Alliance (ULA)’s Delta II rocket, which was built at the company’s Decatur facility.

Fresh off of the historic launch of an Alabama-built rocket in August, NASA once again counted on Alabama craftsmanship to send its latest earth-studying satellite into space. The new satellite will have the capability of measuring the dimensions of ice and land masses within four millimeters.

The occasion also marked the end of an era in the rocket industry for the Delta II, which was first launched into service on February 14, 1989. This was the 155th and final flight of the Delta II. Missions will now shift to the newer Atlas V and Delta IV, also manufactured at the ULA facility in Decatur.

Alabama leaders applauded the made-in-Alabama rocket and the company’s tremendous success.

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Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 hours ago

UAB archaeologist leads expedition to discover 800 Egyptian tombs

(UAB/YouTube)

Dr. Sarah Parcak, an archaeology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), recently led an expedition that discovered over 800 Egyptian tombs, according to a press release by the university.

The expedition, which was a joint venture between UAB and the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, revealed one of the largest sites of Middle Kingdom tombs in all of Egypt that dates back 4,000 years. The discovery was made at Lisht – the name of the ancient burial ground.

“We were able to gain insight into ancient Egyptian life from the tombs based on artifacts we found,” Parcak, a professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences, said. “The Middle Kingdoms artifacts were looted, much like other sites we have seen. However, we learned more about the underground network of tombs that connect individuals to the afterlife.”

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Lisht is part of a series of excavations documenting tombs and collecting images and GPS coordinates to assemble a regional database, which is partially funded by National Geographic and intended to answers questions about ancient Egyptian life.

Parcak will be presented the 2018 Lowell Thomas award at a dinner in October at The Museum of Science in Boston. This award recognizes Parcak’s groundbreaking discoveries as an Egyptologist, such as the Lisht ancient burial ground and others.

The UAB professor has been hailed as “Like a modern-day Indiana Jones” for her renowned use of satellite images to locate lost ancient sites. As a “space archaeologist,” Parcack analyzes the high-resolution imagery collected by satellites in order to identify subtle changes to the Earth’s surface that might signal man-made features hidden from view.

The winner of the 2016 Ted prize, Parcak’s techniques have helped locate 17 potential pyramids and more than 3,100 potential forgotten settlements in Egypt alone. She has also made important discoveries in the Viking world (as seen in the PBS Nova special, Vikings Unearthed) and across the Roman Empire (as shown in the BBC documentary, Rome’s Lost Empire).

In one of her several TED talks, Parcak recalled being asked about her favorite discovery.

“The answer’s easy: my husband, Greg,” she said.

Parcak outlined their story, “We met in Egypt on my first dig. It was my first lesson in finding unexpected, wonderful things. This began an incredible archaeological partnership. Years later, I proposed to him in front of our favorite pair statue of the Prince and Princess Rahotep and Nofret, in the Cairo Museum, dating to 4,600 years ago.”

She explained her choice in proposal locations, which has a powerful meaning behind it.

“I thought if I was going to ask Greg to spend the rest of this life with me, then I should ask him in front of two people who had pledged to be together for eternity,” Parcak said. “These symbols endure because when we look at them, we’re looking at mirrors. They are powerful reminders that our common humanity has not changed.”

She added, “Many archaeologists have devoted their lives to unraveling the mysteries of the past under hot suns and Arctic winds and in dense rainforests. Many seek. Some discover. All worship at the temple of possibility that one discovery might change history.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

8 hours ago

Maddox against constitutional amendment ‘acknowledging the sanctity of unborn life’

(W. Maddox/Facebook)

Democratic nominee for governor and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, in a Monday interview on the “Matt & Aunie Show,” said that he will vote against the pro-life “Amendment Two” on the November 6 General Election ballot.

Per the Alabama Policy Institute (API), the proposed amendment “would add language to the state constitution acknowledging the sanctity of unborn life and stipulating that the state constitution provides no right to abortion.” It will place Alabama in prime position to further limit or ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is eventually rolled back or overturned.

“I can’t vote in favor of that because, again, it is not going to provide that exemption, if I understand it correctly, that we need,” Maddox said, referring to exceptions (exemptions) he supports in the cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother. To be clear, Alabama law does allow abortions in these cases and the constitutional amendment does not alter this.

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The Democratic candidate later asserted that a governor has “no role over” the issue of abortion, even though the governor can sign or veto legislation restricting or expanding abortion rights and access in the state.

In fact, Amendment Two will be important regardless if Roe v. Wade is revisited, per state Rep. Matt Fridy – a lawyer well versed in constitutional law.

Fridy, per API, explained that in the year 2000, “the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that their state constitution provided higher protection for abortion than the federal constitution. As a result, an array of the state’s pro-life measures were struck down by the court, which argued that they were unconstitutional on the state level.” Tennessee eventually passed an amendment – similar to the one Alabama will vote on this November – to explicitly decree that their constitution did not, in fact, guarantee any such right.

Fridy wants to eliminate any opportunity for what happened in the Volunteer State to happen in Alabama, and the proposed amendment would be effective to that end.

Nonetheless, Maddox seemed to criticize Governor Kay Ivey for her proud pro-life stance.

“I find it, as a citizen of this state, very disingenuous that someone wants to be in our state’s highest office [who] wants to talk about something they cannot do anything about,” Maddox claimed.

It should be noted that Maddox’s core campaign issue, legalizing gambling in Alabama, would have to come about through a constitutional amendment – which would not come across the governor’s desk for approval.

Maddox, when pressed in the interview, refused to say whether he supported the federal funding of Planned Parenthood. He also said he did not know enough about the Alabama Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act and the ongoing legal battle surrounding the law to say whether he supports it or not.

Ivey supports the pro-life law, which bans the most frequently used second-trimester abortion procedure, and wants to take it before the United States Supreme Court. It has the potential of being the historic case that rolls back or, albeit less likely, overturns Roe v. Wade.

“[A]ll this rhetoric about things that are beyond our control are going to continue to diminish the lives of Alabamians across this state,” Maddox added.

Full interview below:

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

8 hours ago

7 Things: Kavanaugh confirmation drama continues, Maddox still has no clue how to pay for his Medicaid expansion, Trump declassifies information related to Russia investigation and more …

(New York Times/YouTube)

7. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) makes an appearance in a local city council race

— Municipal elections are generally low turnout and non-partisan, but the campaign to elect former state school board member Mary Jane Caylor to the Huntsville City Council is now invoking her opponents’ support of the failed 2016 presidential candidate.

— The Facebook post hitting “Liberal Elite Frances Akridge” for her support of “Bernie Sanders – along with a dozen ultra-left candidates – several of which also describe themselves as Socialist Democrats” and says that Huntsville needs “conservative, proven, and principled leadership.”

6. Second-grader in Alabama shoots himself in school, but does not have a life-threatening injury

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— In a letter to parents, Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Christie Finley says a small child was shot in the hand after a student pulled the gun out of a book bag and shot himself in the hand while showing off the gun.

— The Madison County assistant district attorney says there is no criminal liability for the parents, explaining, “There is really no criminal liability for a second-grader unless the parent somehow sent the gun with the second-grader, there is really no criminal liability for them.”

5. Federal judge gives the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau more time to respond to a lawsuit brought by Alabama 

 — Attorney General Steve Marshall and Congressman Mo Brooks brought the lawsuit to stop counting illegal immigrants in the once-a-decade counting of citizens.

— If the federal government continues with its plan to count and include illegals in its census count for representation, the state of Alabama could lose a Congressional seat, an Electoral College vote and federal funds.

4. President Donald Trump is ordering the release of FISA memos details and text messages sought by the House

— The president ordered the items declassified hoping to show there was a deep state conspiracy against him and his campaign. This includes parts of Carter Page’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and “all FBI reports” prepared in connection with the FISA warrant request.

— Trump also called for every text message sent from former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Bruce Ohr related to the Russia investigation to be released.

3. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walt Maddox has a plan to pay for Medicaid expansion — it’s not good

— Maddox said on Birmingham’s Talk 99.5 “Matt & Aunie Show” that he would pay for Medicaid expansion with a tax on existing gambling and expanding sports gambling.

— If they taxed current gambling at seven percent, it would bring in roughly $15 million a year, while sports gambling could bring in $30 million a year in neighboring Mississippi (with about 60 percent of the population) — far short of Maddox’s $150-200 million price tag.

2. President Donald Trump says of Kavanaugh nomination, “If it takes a little delay, that’s OK”

— President  Trump made it clear that a delay would be fine but he is not backing down from supporting his choice for the Supreme Court.

— Trump continued to point out that Kavanaugh never “had a little blemish on his record” and repeated a point that Republicans are using to defend the judge, noting he had been through six FBI vettings (FBI will not investigate) and none of this came up until right before the vote.

1. Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser both say they will testify 

— Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is forcefully pushing back against accusations that he attempted to rape 36 years ago when he was 17-years-old. He told Sen. Orrin Hatch that “he was not at a party like the one [Ford] describes.”

— The nominee and his accuser will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, even though Democrats held the letter, refused to participate in phone calls with Kavanaugh, and continue to call for delays or a withdrawal.

Rep Byrne: Setting our funding priorities

(Rep. B. Byrne/Facebook)

I know this may be hard for you to believe, but there was a major, bipartisan victory in Congress last week that failed to gain any of the attention it deserved. I want to highlight some of the progress we made last week and explain why it should matter to those of us back in Alabama.

Last week, both the House and the Senate passed a funding bill that covered three very important parts of our government: military construction and veterans services, energy and water development and Legislative Branch operations.

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I am pleased to see us passing targeted funding bills instead of waiting until the last minute to pass a massive omnibus funding bill. Over the last few years, the House has been able to pass funding bills only to see the process stall out in the Senate.

Thankfully, since Alabama Senator Richard Shelby became Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the process has actually been moving again in the Senate. This has allowed us to focus on passing the smaller funding packages that are targeted toward our priorities.

So why is this funding bill important? Obviously, funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is important for our state, given the large number of veterans that call Alabama home. The bill includes the largest dollar amount in funding for the VA in our nation’s history. This means the VA will have the resources necessary to take care of our veterans, hire high-quality employees, and cut back on the claims backlog.

There have been serious issues at the VA over the last few years, so I am pleased the funding bill dedicates more for the VA inspector general. This money will allow for stronger accountability at the VA as we work to make sure no veteran is left behind.

The bill also includes funding for military construction programs in Alabama and across the country. As we work to rebuild our nation’s military, we must not forget about our military infrastructure. This funding includes money set aside for military housing programs. If we are to retain the best and brightest in our military, we need to ensure they have first-class facilities.

Next, the funding bill sets aside funding for the Army Corps of Engineers. Those of us in Southwest Alabama know the important work the Corps does on a daily basis to keep our waterways open and navigable. This is important to those of us who like to spend time on the water for recreational purposes, but it is especially important for our economy since so much of our commerce is conducted on waterways.

Just consider the Port of Mobile and the important commerce that goes in and out of that Port each day. Under this funding bill, the Corps will receive $7 billion for navigation projects, the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and to help with flood prevention and restoration projects. This money is very important for our country, but especially important for our state.

Finally, the bill funds our nation’s nuclear security strategy by dedicating money to support our nation’s nuclear weapons and the Navy’s nuclear reactors. The bill sets aside money to ensure nuclear weapons do not fall into the wrong hands and funding to prevent against cyber attacks. Our national security must always be the top priority.

As you can see, this commonsense government funding bill is good for our country and Alabama. I was pleased to see it pass the House on a strong vote of 377 to 20, and I hope we can keep up the positive momentum to continue getting the job done for the American people.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope.

High school RTW program sets pathway for AlabamaWorks! Success Plus

(AlabamaWorks!)

By: Garth Thorpe, workforce development manager, The Onin Group

The skills needed for today’s modern workplace are shifting, and leaders are working diligently to prepare the next generation of workers. However, there is a growing skills mismatch looming across our country – evidence that the “you must go to college and be successful” narrative, which has been built into the fabric of many of our educational institutions, no longer applies. That’s especially true in Alabama.

College isn’t the only gateway to success, as Gov. Kay Ivey said earlier this year when she announced her AlabamaWorks! Success Plus initiative, with a goal of adding to the workforce an additional 500,000 Alabamians with high school-plus credentials by 2025. This initiative emphasizes the need for businesses and educational institutions to prepare students for the workforce of today and beyond.

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Today, companies are desperately seeking prospective employees who have skills that do not necessarily require a four-year degree. This demand is across virtually all business sectors — healthcare, manufacturing, technical and industrial, to name just a few.

I became involved in credentialing and workforce development at Central High School in Tuscaloosa. The principal of Central High, Dr. Clarence Sutton Jr., was faced with a serious dilemma on his hands. He saw some of his graduating seniors who weren’t going to college falling through the cracks of society without any work or purpose.

Once we learned about the need facing Central High School and met Dr. Sutton personally, we immediately adopted his high school as our own. To solve the unemployment barrier facing graduating seniors at Central High, Ōnin brought employers together to tackle this issue. In conjunction with Phifer Inc., we designed a catalyst for change that could be applied throughout the entire state of Alabama.

The High School Ready-to-Work Program is an employer-led initiative that creates a career pathway for high school seniors and builds a local talent pipeline for industries. Students take part in a semester-long course that begins with six weeks of AIDT’s Ready-To-Work soft skills training, problem-solving and various work-readiness skills. The next 12-13 weeks cover industry-specific content that is designed by local employers to meet real, local hiring needs.

Each industry week creates a work world for the students to step into and explore. Upon successful completion of the High School Ready-to-Work program, students receive a National Career Readiness Certificate and an Alabama Certified Worker Certificate. With a job placement percentage close to 90 percent, this program has successfully created career opportunities for the students.

The High School Ready-to-Work program has since expanded rapidly to more than 15 other schools in west Alabama. It is also spreading to multiple schools in the Birmingham metro area and beyond.

True impact requires new forms of collaboration, so as this High School Ready-to-Work program grows across Alabama, Ōnin is seeking additional collaboration with employers and others to prepare today’s youth for tomorrow and jobs without letting anyone slip through the cracks. It’s a challenging goal, but one in which we must all unite to achieve.

23 hours ago

WATCH: The Ford Faction’s final thoughts on ‘In God We Trust’ in Cullman County Schools, Brett Kavanaugh allegations and more…

Ford Brown of “The Ford Faction” breaks down the topics of the day, September 17.

The show’s “Final Thoughts” segment touches on:

– Brett Kavanaugh allegations
– National motto “In God, We Trust” to be displayed in Cullman County Schools
– Launchpad Alabama to help Alabama entrepreneurs
– Industry coming back to the USA
– Tech making it hard to cheat

Watch:

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Listen to the Ford Faction on Yellowhammer Radio every day from noon to 3:00 p.m. on WYDE 101.1 FM.

1 day ago

Byrne introduces legislation to enhance school safety

(Screenshot / YouTube)

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) announced on Monday his bill to provide school officials with better information regarding students concerning school safety.

The Make Schools Safer Act ensures that the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences includes studies and resources surrounding school safety and mental health in the What Works Clearinghouse, which educators, counselors and principals have access to.

“School safety should be a priority for every level of government. While I do not want the federal government to mandate how schools protect their students, I believe it is appropriate for the federal government to provide high-quality research and information to schools about the best practices for keeping students safe, coordinating with law enforcement, and identifying at-risk students. My bill offers a simple yet profound step toward making our schools safer,” Byrne, who serves as a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, said in news release.

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The new studies and resources will “focus on educating appropriate school personnel on techniques for identifying students who may need assistance, collaborate with health care professionals, state and local law enforcement, youth organizations, and parents to implement procedures to assist students.”

Byrne suggests that by making multiple resources available, schools can choose which works best for them, rather than having the same solution for multiple schools from the federal government.

Read more about the Make Schools Safer Act here.

@RealKyleMorris is a Yellowhammer News contributor and also contributes weekly to The Daily Caller

1 day ago

Alabama is to blame for Brett Kavanaugh getting Roy Moore’d

(PBS NewsHour/YouTube, R. Moore/Facebook)

When Doug Jones beat Roy Moore to become Alabama’s junior Senator for a few years, a message was sent to politicos all over the country: Any allegation, from any time period, will be treated as absolute fact.

Discrepancies won’t matter.

Plotholes won’t matter.

Denials won’t matter.

The words “credible allegation” is bantered about as if there is some real evidence on the table that shows that Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape and possibly murder a woman  36 years ago.

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The seriousness of the allegation is all that matters. The media and Democrats don’t care about the actual allegation, the “victim” or Kavanaugh’s innocence — all they care about is politics.

Even former President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff David Axelrod can hardly hide his glee:

The facts don’t even remotely matter.

But that won’t stop Senator Doug Jones from declaring we must “pause” the confirmation process to investigate the matter.

Kavanaugh can’t remotely exonerate himself here and everyone knows it.

Barring a recanting of the allegation, Kavanaugh will be treated as guilty.

The script for this story was written in 2017 in Alabama. Make an allegation, push that allegation as “credible,” pretend anyone who questions it as someone who doesn’t believe the women.

How does Kavanaugh exonerate himself here? What could that possibly look like?

And of course, Sen. Jones wants to use this as a justification to his “No” vote. He’s not a senator without this strategy working.

Republicans can either view the allegation as true or you hate women. Remove the nominee and you accept he probably did it. Vote for the nominee and you are sending a message to women that you hate them.

This is a no win situation for everyone involved, and the more it is successful the more it will be used.

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a conservative talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

1 day ago

Listen: Dem gubernatorial hopeful Walt Maddox, Talk 99.5’s Matt Murphy spar over Alabama Medicaid expansion

(Screenshot)

In an appearance Monday on Birmingham’s Talk 99.5 “Matt & Aunie Show,” Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walt Maddox fielded questions from co-host Matt Murphy about the merits of expanding Medicaid in Alabama, a favorite policy position of many of the state’s Democratic elected officials.

“I think Medicaid is working in Alabama,” he said.

“It serves mostly our children and those that are disabled,” Maddox explained. “Those very few people that meet those criteria are on Medicaid. Nearly a million people are on it, by the way. But let me tell you why Medicaid expansion is important because we certainly have talked about it. This is where we are in Alabama 89 percent of our rural hospitals are in the red today. More than 50 percent of our urban hospitals are in the red today, places like Alex City where we were last week.”

“So what happened?” he continued. “What flipped in the health care dynamic? When the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, passed in 2010, it was challenged in the Supreme Court. And one of the rulings that came out of that challenge was that states had the option to expand Medicaid because initially, states had no choice.”

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He went on to explain that under Obamacare, Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments have decreased, meaning that the federal subsidies that some Alabama hospitals have diminished.

Murphy pressed Maddox on Medicaid expansion and pointed out that in his view it was a failing system and is on track to overwhelm the state of Alabama’s finances.

Partial exchange as follows:

MADDOX: There are 33 states that have gone along with the expansion of Medicaid. There are six more that are considering it.

MURPHY: You know how much the state budget for Medicaid is right now?

MADDOX: Not offhand —

MURPHY: It’s about a quarter, a quarter of the total budget. Twenty-four percent of the total budget is Medicare and that is expected to over the next decade go up to as much as 35 percent of the total state budget and I’m wondering how we stop that.

MADDOX: Well, the question certainly you got to go with efficiencies. But let me ask you this — do we let town after town die in Alabama to die on the hill of something that’s not going to change?

MURPHY: How are you correcting that if you’re doubling down on a system that’s not currently working that’s creating that dying dynamic that you’re discussing?

MADDOX Well that system, 33 states are invested in and you’re about to have six more. Alabama is going to continue to be left behind to die for a cause that doesn’t do the average Alabamian any good.

MURPHY: Those states are doubling down on a system that you agreed five minutes ago doesn’t work.

MADDOX: Hold on a second — so we shouldn’t invest in NASA? We shouldn’t invest in Redstone?

MURPHY: NASA works. Medicaid is not working, Walt. It’s not working.

MADDOX: No, that’s not necessarily true. And what you’re trying to tell me is there are only certain types of federal investment that we should ignore.

MURPHY: I’m telling you that we shouldn’t double down on systems that aren’t working. You agreed five minutes ago that wasn’t working.

After the two continued the debate further, Murphy asked Maddox on how he would finance the expansion, which Maddox pointed to gambling revenue.

“You take a combination of taxing the existing gambling that is here and sports gambling,” Maddox said. “And that will be what you put in your general fund as your offset to it.

@Jeff_Poor
 is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

1 day ago

Happy Constitution Day

(U.S. AF)

Today is Constitution Day.

On this day in 1787, our Founding Fathers gathered in Philadelphia to sign the Constitution. They had been meeting together throughout the hot summer to debate what form of government would best protect our hard-won freedoms and give our young nation the best chance to endure.

Little did they know, as they signed the Constitution, that the bold experiment they were undertaking would not only enable the United States to survive, but also lead to the development of the strongest, freest, most prosperous nation the world has ever known.

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It is worth pausing today to reflect on the majesty of the Constitution and consider several features that have helped to make America great.

First, the Constitution confirms that “We the People” are sovereign. Our rights do not come from government. Our rights come from God above — and “We the People” have instituted government to protect our rights. We do not exist to serve government; the government exists to serve us. Let us never forget that.

Second, the Constitution structures our government to protect liberty. The founding generation suffered under the boot of King George, and our Founding Fathers were rightly concerned that a new tyrannical regime would arise in America if power could be concentrated too easily. To guard against the risk of tyranny, our Founding Fathers divided power throughout our government. At the national level, power was separated among the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches. And through federalism, which was later reinforced in the Bill of Rights, all power not specifically given to the federal government remained with the states and the people. This diffusion of power continues to make it extremely difficult for a leader or faction to gain excessive power and trample on our individual rights.

Finally, the Constitution defines the proper role of the federal courts. Article III of the Constitution lays out the powers and responsibilities of the federal judiciary. As Chief Justice John Marshall made clear in the early case of Marbury v. Madison, under our Constitution, it is emphatically the province and duty of judges to say what the law is, not what it should be. Yet in recent decades, the U.S. Supreme Court has made its own law — by ignoring or minimizing the text of the Constitution in favor of the Justices’ own policy views and ideas of what they would like the Constitution to say. This judicial activism flouts the rule of law, makes a mockery of our Constitution, and undermines the sovereignty of the American people. We need judges who will faithfully follow and apply the law as it’s written, and will not legislate from the bench.

Let’s all give thanks today for the wisdom of our Founding Fathers in writing a Constitution that protects freedom and secures the conditions for human flourishing. And let’s rededicate ourselves to upholding the Constitution—and to holding our government officials accountable when they fail to do so.

Jay Mitchell is the Republican nominee for Associate Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court (Place 4).

1 day ago

Alabama Supreme Court voids death sentence, citing mental disability

(ALDOC)

Alabama’s Supreme Court on Friday voted 5-4 to overturn the death sentence of a Birmingham man convicted in a 2009 robbery and shooting, instead directing a Jefferson County judge to sentence Anthony Lane to life without possibility of parole.

The ruling came after the U.S. Supreme Court had ordered Alabama’s courts to reconsider the death sentence in 2015, citing cases that say states cannot execute people with mental disabilities.

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However, even after that, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals had reaffirmed that Lane should get the death penalty.

The Alabama attorney general’s office conceded in the case that the trial court shouldn’t have sentenced Lane to death, filing a joint motion with the defense.

Lane confessed that he killed Frank Wright at a car wash, stole his wallet and car and then partially burned the car in an attempt to conceal evidence.

Wright’s wallet was found in the car.

“It is undisputed that Lane has an IQ of 70,” Associate Justice William Sellers wrote for the majority Friday. “The state has never seriously argued that his intellectual functioning is anything but significantly subaverage. Rather, the dispute has centered around whether Lane also has the requisite deficits in adaptive skills necessary to render him intellectually disabled.”

Sellers wrote that clinical neuropsychologist Dr. John Goff has chronicled that Lane had deficits in all of those adaptive skills as laid out by the U.S. Supreme Court.

That evidence was presented to the trial court and the state didn’t present its own expert, but the trial judge sentenced Lane to death following a 10-2 recommendation by the jury.

Sellers wrote that the judge’s reasoning in sentencing Lane did not follow the rules.

“The state has indicated that it concedes that the evidence established that Lane is intellectually disabled and that the trial court simply substituted its own standards for intellectual disability for those accepted by the medical community,” Sellers wrote.

Two dissenters say the majority was acting prematurely because the state did not file its motion in a procedurally proper way.

“The State may have very good reasons to concede the issue. Lane may very well be entitled to a judgment in his favor. But there is a better, more procedurally proper way to do this,” Associate Justice Greg Shaw wrote in a dissent joined by Associate Justice Kelly Wise.

Shaw also argued Alabama should more closely examine whether the Supreme Court case which determined intellectually disabled people are not eligible for the death penalty applies to Lane.

Shaw wrote that Lane failed to prove to the trial judge that he “exhibited significant or substantial deficits in adaptive behavior”

Justices Tom Parker and Tommy Bryan dissented without stating any written reasons.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 day ago

Trustees authorize bid process for South Alabama stadium

(USA)

University of South Alabama trustees have voted to move forward with construction of a $72 million on-campus football stadium for the 2020 season.

President Tony Waldrop authorized the bidding process to start the second phase work on the stadium, AL.com reported.

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He said bids need to start now to meet the desired 2020 opening timetable.

South Alabama has played home games at the city-owned Ladd-Peebles Stadium since it began football, and it asked the city for $10 million to help build a new stadium on the campus.

However, the city refused to put that amount of funds into the project a few weeks ago.

“We will not have the ability to award the bid until we go back to the board again,” the school’s athletic director Joel Erdmann said after the vote this week.

The new stadium would be built at the current intramural field on campus, near the practice facility under construction.

City Council members refused the request, prompting the school’s fundraising effort.

Waldrop says officials want to finance a stadium without raising tuition on students.

The school recently announced a fundraising campaign to raise money for the stadium.

Trustees in June approved plans for construction of a 25,000-seat football stadium.

Mayor Sandy Stimpson supported the plan, saying it would save the city money over the long run as opposed to maintaining the municipally owned Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Some council members questioned what would happen to Ladd-Peebles Stadium, where the Senior Bowl and Dollar General Bowl games are played each year, as well as a slate of high school games.

There was also tension over shifting investment from a predominantly African American neighborhood near downtown hotels and restaurants to a more suburban area.

The mayor says in a statement that the city will accumulate $225 million in maintenance for Ladd, which opened in 1948.

The resolution approved Thursday says that the university “is actively seeking private partners in the funding of the stadium.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 day ago

Federal judge gives Census Bureau extension to respond to Alabama lawsuit challenging counting of illegal immigrants

(YHN/Pixabay)

Per the Associated Press, a federal judge last week extended the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau’s deadline to respond to Alabama’s lawsuit challenging their practice of counting illegal immigrants until November 13.

Lawyers representing the federal government claimed they needed additional time to finish “evaluating the arguments that the government will make in this matter.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed the lawsuit in June and was joined by Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-5). Governor Kay Ivey has also announced that she backs the effort.

The state’s argument is that illegal immigrants should not be included in census counts used to apportion congressional seats and Electoral College votes because states who are following federal immigration law are unfairly disadvantaged.

Alabama is at serious risk to lose a congressional seat, and thus an electoral vote and needed federal funding, to states like California.

Read more about the issue and its importance here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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1 day ago

Six finalists announced for Alabama Launchpad startup competition

(YHN/Pixabay)

The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA) last week announced that six early-stage companies have advanced to the Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition Finale, which will take place in Huntsville on September 27.

Startups are competing in one of two tracks – “concept stage,” which is for entrepreneurs launching businesses, and “seed stage,” which is comprised of businesses accelerating growth.

At the finale event, which you can register to attend here, the judges will select a concept startup to receive up to $50,000 cash investment and a seed startup to receive up to a $100,000 cash investment.

The finalists are:

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Concept stage (all happen to be based in Birmingham):

  • Moovmo provides a ridesharing service for wheelchair users.
  • Tomeah Health provides a platform for home care agencies to enable the delivery of non-medical, in-home care, allowing seniors to continue to live independently while providing their family with peace of mind.
  • FuelFox is an app based, on-site fuel delivery company that services two customer bases – individuals who park in surface lots and businesses that operate a fleet.

Seed stage:

  • Neowaste, based in Birmingham, converts waste into low sulfur diesel fuel using a patented catalytic conversion process which can produce up to of 260 gallons of fuel from each ton of waste processed.
  • Subzz, based in Montgomery, provides a software management platform that helps schools fill teacher absences faster and thereby eliminates the need for school staff to make phone calls to find substitute teachers.
  • MD Mobile Care, based in Mobile, provides chronic care and transitional care management services to patients discharged from a hospital, with the goal of reducing hospital readmissions and ER visits.

Alabama Launchpad, which was started in 2006, helps high-growth companies “Start, Stay and Grow in Alabama.” It is the state’s largest virtual accelerator and early seed investor and fosters innovation and job growth through startup competitions and ongoing mentoring for launching and growing businesses in Alabama. Since its inception, Alabama Launchpad has invested $4.1 million in companies that have created more than 500 jobs and gone on to raise $76 million in combined revenue and follow-on funding.

In this latest competition, 24 startups from across the state submitted applications to compete, and 21 met the criteria to be reviewed by the judges and considered to become finalists.

Five experienced individuals serve as competition judges. Their individual experience is in entrepreneurship, investment, and/or business sector executive management. The judges serve through all phases of the competition and “are able to determine which entrepreneurs listen, evolve and incorporate feedback,” according to EDPA’s press release.

Judges for this competition round are:

  • Anderson Hicklen, Managing Partner, AIM Group
  • Andrew Jennings, CCO, Lead Fearlessly
  • Chase Morrow, CEO, Fetch
  • Grantland Rice, CEO, Cobbs Allen
  • Michael White, Managing Director, Founders

Now in its 28th year, the non-profit EDPA represents the private sector’s contribution to economic development in Alabama. EDPA is supported by more than 60 partners from across the state and works to attract, retain and grow jobs, while also encouraging innovation through its Alabama Launchpad program.

Read more about the EDPA and its important efforts here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

Memorial service marks anniversary of ’63 church bombing

(Wikicommons)

The four girls killed when a bomb placed by Ku Klux Klan members ripped through a Birmingham church in 1963 were remembered in a Saturday memorial service on the 55th anniversary of the deadly attack.

Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson were killed in the Sept. 15, 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

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The four girls, between the ages of 11 and 14, were getting ready for Sunday services when dynamite that had been placed under the church stairs detonated.

The service also honored two young boys killed in separate incidents, Johnny Robinson Jr. and Virgil Ware, shortly after the bombing.

Local news outlets report that memorial service speakers spoke of remembrance and reconciliation and to guard against the hateful beliefs and rhetoric that led to the bombing.

“Birmingham is bigger than the angst and the pain of our past,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said during the service.

“Our true legacy is hope. Our true legacy is reconciliation, unity, and probably most important, justice.”

The viciousness of the bombing shocked a nation and brought national attention to Birmingham, the same city where police dogs and fire hoses had been used to turn back civil rights marchers.

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, who prosecuted two of the four men responsible for the 1963 bombing, gave the keynote address during the Saturday service.

“They remind us of what Dr. King said that we must substitute courage for caution and that we must be concerned with not merely about who murdered them but the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produce their murders,” Jones said.

He urged attendees to speak out against hateful rhetoric when it occurs, saying that it was the hateful rhetoric of segregationist politicians in the 1960s that emboldened attacks on African Americans.

There was a fifth little girl in the room that day.

Sarah Collins Rudolph survived but lost her sister, Addie Mae Collins, in the bombing. Rudolph lost an eye in the blast.

“I feel that, when we love, we’re doing what God wants us to do and when we hate, we’re doing what the devil wants us to do,” Rudolph said.

“We should take off the hate and just continue to love each other.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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