The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

17 mins ago

Where in the world is Doug Jones? Alabama’s junior senator absent from Senate for second straight day

(Face the Nation/YouTube, Pixabay, YHN)

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) had time to vote for himself on Friday, however, he was missing in action when it came time for the senator to represent the people of Alabama on the floor of the United States Senate the same day.

Jones touted that he voted on Friday morning in the upcoming general election via in-person absentee ballot in Jefferson County.

It is unclear why Jones did not do this when the U.S. Senate was not in session. Absentee voting has been open in Alabama since September 9, and Jones’ campaign even has launched a website touting that “Every day is Election Day in Alabama.” In-person absentee voting in Alabama is open through October 29; the same date is the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot via mail.

While Jones voted for himself and the Democratic presidential ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Friday, the Senate conducted seven roll call votes. Jones was marked as “not voting” for each of these votes.

This comes after Jones also missed all votes in the Senate on Monday and Thursday. In total, Jones has now been absent from the Senate for 67% of the chamber’s votes this week.

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For the votes he did take, Jones supported Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) position all but one time (86%).

RELATED: Jones votes to block consideration of $500B COVID-19 relief bill, GOP bill protecting pre-existing conditions coverage

The only other members of the upper chamber to miss as many votes as Jones this week have been U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, has missed all of the Senate’s votes this week.

This comes after Jones last week admitted he did not watch any of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s four-day confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Alabama’s junior senator said at the time, “I have not watched the hearing. I’m in the middle of a campaign. I have not watched the hearings, and I left D.C. when we were there.”

However, Jones last Thursday did have time during business hours to instead campaign for the Biden-Harris ticket virtually in Ohio. This week, Jones also fundraised for Biden’s campaign, and on Friday Jones is set to campaign with the cast of the TV show “Will & Grace.”

Jones is set to face Republican nominee Tommy Tuberville on November 3.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

32 mins ago

Saban discusses how he recruits great players to Tuscaloosa and builds their value

Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are currently undefeated through the first four games of the season. How does he build a championship-caliber team year in and year out? Recruiting.

Thursday evening, Saban appeared on his weekly radio show “Hey Coach” with Eli Gold to discuss all things Alabama and answer questions called in from fans. Of course, questions about the upcoming game versus Tennessee were asked frequently. However, there was some interesting recruiting talk between Saban and Gold.

Saban discussed everything from his recruiting pitch, to how he does not promise playing time like other schools but rather an opportunity to play and be developed by the best.

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When Saban was asked about how he goes about his recruiting, he replied, “One of the biggest things we fight in recruiting is people historically tell guys (Alabama) has got all of these players there, and you’re not gonna be able to play, but if you come to our place you’ll be able to play earlier.”

He pointed out that this form of counter recruiting against Alabama actually ends up helping the Tide get the kind of players they want.

Saban explained, “That does us good in that we kind of get a lot of guys that are dogs I’m gonna call them… that means they’ve kind of got a competitive spirit, that he wants to be the best, wants to play against the best, and wants to compete against the best.”

The legendary coach made some comparisons to some greats that were “dogs” in his opinion, adding, “Kind of the Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Michael Jordan type guy. Which these types of guys make your team really really good.”

Some that Saban pointed out as having that competitive spirit were receivers John Metchie, Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith. He also mentioned tight end Miller Forristall as having that competitive edge that he looks for in recruiting.

He discussed what opportunities for development look like in his program, saying, “Almost every player wants to play when he is a freshman, but the thing is that how you develop, and what kind of player you become three years from now is the most important thing in creating value for yourself as a football player.”

Regarding a path to the NFL, Saban mentioned, “If you really want to play in the NFL someday it’s probably not gonna happen just in your freshman year, it’s gonna happen in terms of what you develop into three years from now.”

This recruiting approach has clearly worked out very well in Tuscaloosa since Saban got to town. The amount of four and five stars they recruit every year puts them near or at the top of recruiting lists every single year.

Alabama doesn’t have to offer gimmicks or promises to play. All they have to do is show where their players came from and where they are now. The Crimson Tide’s alumni success speaks for itself.

Saban ended the recruiting conversation by saying, “This is the approach that we have always tried to use in recruiting, not really promising them playing time, but an opportunity to play and to develop as a player. Which I think is what creates value for their future.”

WATCH:

Hayden Crigler is a contributing college football writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him through email: hayden@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter: @hayden_crigler.

50 mins ago

Alabama Democrats fundraise off Republican COVID illnesses, lie about Ainsworth’s position on masks

(Will Ainsworth/Facebook, YHN)

A Friday morning email from Alabama Democratic Victory distorts Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth’s (R-AL) position on following health and safety protocols, while also fundraising off of Ainsworth’s current illness.

Ainsworth on Wednesday afternoon announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19, and as of Friday, he is still asymptomatic. However, Ainsworth’s wife, Kendall, has also tested positive and was exhibiting “mild symptoms” as of Friday.

Alabama Democratic Victory’s email was funded by its state-registered PAC, Alabama Democratic Victory Fund. Alabama Democratic Victory is the political arm of the Alabama House Democratic Caucus, which even shares the same public P.O. box disclosed at the bottom of Friday’s email.

With the subject line “GOP Lt. Gov. and COVID-19,” the email began by mentioning Ainsworth’s diagnosis, as well as saying a Republican state senator recently contracted coronavirus.

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“Indeed, we wish them a speedy and full recovery, but we must also point out the big ol’ elephant in the room, as they say,” the email’s first paragraph concluded (emphasis added in the email, not by Yellowhammer News).

The email then continued to mock Ainsworth’s opposition to a one-size-fits-all mask mandate while also completely fabricating his position on mask usage and social distancing.

“[H]e doesn’t believe in science and doesn’t understand that wearing a mask is about social responsibility and public safety,” the email incorrectly claimed.

Ainsworth has stressed that he personally wears a mask and social distances whenever possible; he has also encouraged others to voluntarily do so and modeled mask-wearing on his social media pages and in a PSA.

“I think everybody needs personal responsibility. … I think it is smart to wear a mask,” Ainsworth said on Thursday’s broadcast of FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show.”

This is not a new position for him, either. Ainsworth has been consistent for months on the issue.

“Wearing a face mask and maintaining social distancing are among the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19, and I have tried to set a public example in those regards,” the lieutenant governor said in July. “Masks should be worn to combat further outbreaks…”

Unfortunately, Alabama Democratic Victory’s fundraising email subsequently spouted even more falsehoods.

“Just like Trump, when confronted with hard facts that don’t fit his partisan narrative, Ainsworth doubled down after his diagnosis and said he stood by his original position,” the email said, ignoring what Ainsworth’s “original position” actually is. “This, as scientists are warning of an impending massive spike in cases and deaths. So, you have to ask yourself- is that sound leadership? Is that responsible? What kind of example does that set?”

It added, “This is why it’s time to break up the Republican Supermajority in Alabama and elect Democrats who believe in facts, science, truth, and are committed to doing everything it takes to protect people during a crisis. Republicans continue to mismanage the pandemic and think that downplaying the reality of the virus will benefit them politically. It’s time to send them packing.”

It should be noted that the state’s mask mandate — which the Democratic email touted — was put in place by Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican, along with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.

“Donate NOW to the Alabama Democratic Victory Fund and let’s elect leaders who will do the right thing and set an example for others to follow,” the email proclaimed. “The GOP will continue to suffer the consequences of it’s own hubris, but it should be abundantly clear to anyone paying attention that they are failing the people of Alabama.”

The bottom of the email concluded ironically by saying, “Facts and Science Matter,” and “#WeAreInThisTogether.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Hometown heroes: Bama, UAB, Troy, Jax State and more

(Pixabay, YHN)

Before anyone has even seen a single snap of Big Ten football, national sports media this week returned to its pandemic panic room and pronounced the conference’s season a failure.

Sports media argued tirelessly during the summer months that it was not cheering for football to get canceled. However, following Nick Saban’s false positive coronavirus test, it did exactly that here, here and here.

At Yellowhammer, we are cheering for college football. More specifically, this week, we are mainly cheering for underdogs.

Let’s get to some picks.

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THE BASICS

Alabama (-22) at Tennessee: The largest margin of victory in this series was a 51-0 win by Alabama in 1906. Alabama’s current win streak over the Vols began a mere three years later (or at least that is what it feels like). Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt allegedly fired an assistant coach mid-game on Saturday. That is a bad start to what is, for some people, a favorite week of the year. Those people will not be disappointed.

The pick: Alabama 34, Tennessee 17

NC State at North Carolina (-14.5): North Carolina went into Tallahassee a double-digit favorite and lost. That may have had more to do with Florida State getting its first quality coaching since Jimbo Fisher’s national championship season. Mack Brown has a good team. Now it is a matter of them playing like it.

The pick: North Carolina 40, NC State 20

Texas State at BYU (-28.5): The Cougars have been a fun story this season amidst their mini-revival. They are physical along the lines of scrimmage, and quarterback Zach Wilson has worked his way up to No. 4 on ESPN’s Heisman Watch List. If this team remains undefeated in late November, we can all hope they handle the playoff talk a bit more graciously than UCF has in recent years.

The pick: BYU 30, Texas State 13

HOMETOWN HEROES

Louisiana (-2.5) at UAB: This is a game between two of the nation’s more underrated coaches, UAB’s Bill Clark and Louisiana’s Billy Napier. Do not be surprised to see both coaching in the SEC sooner rather than later. This will be an emotionally-charged game for Louisiana, as it will pay tribute to former assistant coach D.J. Looney, who passed away suddenly in August. The Ragin’ Cajuns plan to wear his name on the back of their jerseys. This could be as good a game as has been played at Legion Field in a while.

The pick: UAB 24, Louisiana 20

Georgia State at Troy (-2.5): The Trojans bring a two-game win streak into this Sun Belt matchup. Both teams have scored points freely so far this year. Georgia State is ninth in the country in rushing offense and 73rd in scoring defense.  Troy is a respectable 33rd in scoring defense and 31st in total offense. All signs point to a shootout.

The pick: Georgia State 42, Troy 35

Jacksonville State at Florida International (-10): This game was originally scheduled for September 2. Since its postponement, the Gamecocks have gone to Tallahassee where they gave Florida State a scare and won a couple of tight ball games against Mercer and North Alabama. It was good to see this one get back on the calendar because no one ever turns down a trip to Miami.

The pick: Florida International 38, Jacksonville State 30

BUYER BEWARE

Tulsa (-11.5) at South Florida: There was a time when the Thursday and Friday night college games meant something, and visiting favorites were constantly on upset alert. That has not been the case in a while. In late October, Tulsa has still only played two games, a close loss to No. 6 Oklahoma State and a win against Central Florida. South Florida is in rebuild mode under first-year head coach Jeff Scott, whose team has started to show just a glimmer of improvement the last few weeks. Anyone tuning in to watch this game should not expect to see a work of art.

The pick: South Florida 20, Tulsa 16

Last week: 4-1 straight up; 3-2 ATS
Season: 13-2 straight up; 9-6 ATS

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

2 hours ago

$37M in rural broadband funding coming to Alabama — ‘When rural America thrives, all of America thrives’

(Henry Thornton/YHN)

PRATTVILLE — Two Trump administration officials and U.S. Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) gathered on Friday to announce a $37 million investment by the federal government in rural Alabama’s internet access.

The investment comes in the form of grants and loans to internet providers that make expanding high-speed service to more rural customers economically feasible.

According to the USDA, the investment announced Friday will provide high-speed internet to more than 28,000 people across over 11,100 households, including 432 farms.

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The two Trump administration officials present for the announcement on Friday were United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary of Rural Development Bette Brand and USDA Rural Development State Director Chris Beeker.

“When rural America thrives, all of America thrives,” said Brand at the announcement, which was hosted by Central Alabama Electric Cooperative and emceed with efficiency by Beeker.

Six companies will split the $37 million, which will be distributed via both grants and loans. The customers receiving the upgraded internet service are in a 14-county stretch of central Alabama to the north and west of Montgomery.

The funding comes from the second round of the federal government’s ReConnect program, which was recently infused with an extra $100 billion under the CARES Act.

ReConnect is run by the USDA and is tasked with evaluating and selecting applications by rural broadband providers that want public funds to help allay the cost of providing high-speed service to more people.

Alabama received the fourth-most funding of any state in round one of the program, a big portion of which was announced in Hamilton in late 2019.

The USDA detailed each new investment it is making as follows:

  • Central Alabama Electric Cooperative will use a $8.6 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 13,853 people, 149 farms, 77 businesses and one fire station to high-speed broadband internet in Bibb, Chilton, Perry, Autauga, Talladega, Elmore and Coosa counties in Alabama.
  • Millry Telephone Company Inc. will use a $8.3 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 4,444 people, 84 farms, 46 businesses, four fire stations and a post office to high-speed broadband internet in Choctaw and Washington counties in Alabama.
  • Pine Belt Telephone Company Inc. will use a $6.5 million ReConnect grant and a $6.5 million ReConnect loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 5,799 people, 143 farms, 83 businesses, five fire stations, five educational facilities and four post offices to high-speed broadband internet in Perry, Hale and Marengo counties in Alabama.
  • Mon-Cre Telephone Cooperative Inc. will use a $5.8 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,546 people, 36 farms, 19 businesses and three fire stations to high-speed broadband internet in Crenshaw, Lowndes and Montgomery counties in Alabama.
  • Hayneville Telephone Company Inc. will use a $1.5 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,481 people, 19 farms, nine businesses, and four educational facilities to high-speed broadband internet in Lowndes County, Alabama.
  • Moundville Telephone Co. Inc. will use a $166,000 ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 111 people and a farm to high-speed broadband internet in Hale County, Alabama.

Palmer, who has constituents that will be provided better internet because of the announced grants, spoke at the event on Friday.

“Having grown up in rural Alabama, I know how important this is,” he remarked.

Palmer was raised in Hackleburg, current population of 1,466, a small town in Marion County.

“We have a chance to revitalize rural economies, especially around small towns,” he added about the impact of investing in rural broadband.

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Rick Pate echoed that sentiment after the event, telling reporters that quality internet gives communities such as his home of Lowndes County a shot at cutting down on the population loss that affects so many rural areas.

“Connectivity is critically important for families, businesses, farms, and public safety and community services – particularly during a time when remote access is paramount,” said U.S. Senator Shelby (R-AL) in a statement on Friday.

He added, “These USDA grants will help provide high-speed internet access to thousands of Alabamians in rural areas. I am proud that the Administration has awarded this $37 million investment to our state and look forward to the benefits it will bring to 14 counties in central Alabama.”

Beeker, in his remarks, praised the “great partnerships and incredible teamwork” that was necessary to pull off such a large project.

“A lot of work has gone into all of this; these are good programs. What Bette says, it really means a lot when you stop and think about it. When rural America thrives, all of America thrives,” Beeker concluded.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

3 hours ago

Following the money on Alabama New South Coalition’s $6-per-early-vote operation

(APTV/YouTube, Pixabay, YHN)

Yellowhammer News earlier this week broke the story about a group supporting the respective campaigns of U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden offering Black Belt pastors $6 “per person” they get to vote early ahead of November 3’s general election.

Now, newly filed federal campaign finance reports shed light on where the funding for this group, the Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC), is coming from.

Yellowhammer News examined FEC reports filed this week after the original story broke.

Senator Jones’ campaign reported transferring $1,100,000 to the federal account of the State Democratic Executive Committee of Alabama — the Alabama Democratic Party — on October 2.

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The Party’s FEC filings reported that they received the same sum from Jones’ principal campaign committee that day. A separate FEC filing by the Party this week shows that they also received $87,300 from the Jones Victory Fund on September 29. The Jones Victory Fund is the official joint fundraising committee for Jones’ campaign.

Five days after the October 2 transfer, the Party reported sending $75,000 to “New South Alliance, LLC” for “GOTV” — which is short for “get out the vote.” The Alabama New South Alliance is the ANSC’s political arm and has endorsed Jones’ and Biden’s respective campaigns this cycle.

The same day, on October 7, the Party also sent $10,000 to the local Jefferson County chapter of the Alliance. This expense was simply listed as a “contribution” rather than being for GOTV. That local chapter’s Facebook page shows that it is distributing sample ballots simply advising people to vote the straight Democratic ticket.

Seven days later, ANSC on October 14 ran an advertisement in a local Choctaw County newspaper advertising its $6-per-ballot operation. At the bottom of the advertisement, ANSC disclosed that it had indeed paid for the ad, listing an address in Montgomery in the disclosure. That exact same address was listed in the Party’s FEC filing for the Alliance expenditure.

The Party’s most recent FEC filing also showed a bevy of other related spending for GOTV efforts, as well as “contributions” to civic organizations in the Black Belt and Birmingham. In total, this spending amounted to $1,104,531.36. Combined with the two ANSC expenditures, that total rises to $1,189,531.36 — almost a perfect match for the recent influx of Jones campaign money into the Party’s account.

This included sending $40,000 as a “contribution” to the Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention, which is comprised of historically and predominantly Black churches across the state.

Another “GOTV’ expense by the Party that stuck out was $3,000 to “Gray Family Limited Partnership” in Tuskegee.

As reported by Yellowhammer News this week, under the leadership of Chairman Fred Gray, Jr., the Macon County Democratic Party has paid for and is distributing signs that proclaim, “Racism is on the ballot.” This text is displayed over a Confederate flag and Trump campaign flag.

“Vote the straight Democratic ticket on Nov 3 and make a difference,” the signs add.

These FEC filings come after Yellowhammer News reported how little Jones’ reelection campaign had spent directly with Black-owned businesses and other organizations through the second quarter of this year.

Jones’ campaign has still not responded to separate requests for comment on the three Yellowhammer News stories from earlier this week referenced in this article.

Background

Looking back at the ANSC’s financial ties to Democratic campaigns and political entities, it should be noted that the respective campaigns of Jones and Biden have directly given the group and its political arm at least $296,200 combined, starting with Jones’ 2017 special election victory.

Each campaign reported giving the Alliance $25,000 this spring for “printing & distributing sample ballots.”

In 2017, Jones paid the Alliance $49,000 for serving as a “consultant.” His campaign that cycle also paid the Alliance $192,000 for “canvassing.”

On the state level, the group has received funds from the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee and the Alabama AFL-CIO. Democratic gubernatorial Walt Maddox’s campaign paid the Alliance a total of $102,400 in the 2018 cycle. While $50,000 of that total was purportedly for “GOTV” (get out the vote), $35,000 was labeled for “consultants/polling” and $15,000 was designated as being for “advertising.”

A difference between the ANSC and Alliance between that 2017 Jones cycle and the current one comes down to transparency. During the 2017 and 2018 cycles, Alabama New South Alliance was registered as a federal “Super PAC,” technically known as an independent expenditure-only committee. It thus had to report federally related expenditures. The group terminated its FEC registration in summer 2019, so it is unclear exactly how all of its money — or how much — is being spent this time around.

The ANSC website says the organization has local chapters in 40 Alabama counties.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

6 hours ago

Sec. of Interior Bernhardt adds handicap accessible path in Cheaha State Park to National Trails System

(David Rainer/Outdoor Alabama)

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has added the Bald Rock Boardwalk in Alabama’s Cheaha State Park to the National Trail System.

The Department of the Interior made the announcement Thursday in a press release. The Bald Rock Boardwalk, also known as the Doug Ghee accessible trail, is one of several dozen additions to the National Trails System made public this week.

“I encourage Americans to get outside, enjoy our incredible public lands and visit a nearby national recreation trail. Spanning more than 83,000 miles, larger than the interstate highway system, the National Trails System provides easy access to a wide variety of outdoor experiences,” Bernhardt said in a release.

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The Trump administration has now added 49 trails to the national system, totaling 1,645 miles of space for Americans to enjoy the outdoors.

The National Trails System was created by Congress in 1968. It aims to establish “trails in both urban and rural settings for people of all ages, interests, skills, and physical abilities,” according to its website.

“American Hiking Society welcomes the designation of 30 new National Recreation Trails that will create enhanced recreational opportunities for hikers and all types of trail users,” remarked American Hiking Society executive director Kate Van Waes in a statement.

“Each trail selected to receive this honor must support a diversity of users, reflect its region, and be among America’s best trails, all qualities that benefit the hiking community,” she added.

The Department of the Interior described the newly designated Alabama trail as:

Located in Cheaha State Park, the Doug Ghee Accessible Trail (Bald Rock Boardwalk) is a 0.3-mile boardwalk trail that allows users of all abilities to journey through the enchanted hardwood forested foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Interpretive signs along the accessible boardwalk unfold the history, culture, and natural history of Cheaha Mountain. This unique boardwalk invites and enables all guest to embrace the natural wonder and beauty of the Bald Rock Overlook located at the end of the boardwalk.

The official state website for Cheaha state park and its offerings for hikers can be accessed here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

Habit Stacking: How simple decisions can lead to big change

(Iron Tribe Fitness/Contributed, YHN)

The power of consistency is real.

“Habit stacking” is a mantra we preach at Iron Tribe. Every time you do something good (like attend a workout or meal prep), you must do it again. And then another time. Until it’s engrained in your mind and routine. The more we practice our good habits, the easier they become!

This past year has certainly given us plenty of excuses to hit pause on our goals and slump back into old habits. If you need some motivation to get to the gym and kickstart your healthy habits, then check out this interview from one of Iron Tribe’s most dedicated gym couples, Jim and Betty Warren of Birmingham.

This fearless pair has made it a habit to show up at the gym and, more importantly, show up for themselves. They’ve hit the gym 19 weeks in a row and show no sign of slowing down.  Read their story and see how simple habits can stack up to powerful results.

To learn more about Iron Tribe, visit irontribefitness.com

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9 hours ago

7 Things: Final debate and Biden’s dealings, Jones gets support from the ‘Big Guy,’ Alabama ready for unrest after the election and more …

(YHN)

7. Facebook and Twitter called to testify

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to call Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify before the committee regarding accusations of censorship.
  • Of course, this is directly related to both platforms’ actions in attempting to hide the Hunter Biden story. As the story has unfolded, both Hunter and Joe Biden continue to look more involved in corruption, and Facebook and Twitter continue to freeze the story.

6. First FDA approved treatment

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  • The United States Food and Drug Administration has announced the first fully approved treatment for the coronavirus is remdesivir, which was produced by Gilead Science. This decision will allow the usage to expand.
  • Remdesivir was discovered and tested at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is for patients that have been hospitalized. President Donald Trump was treated with the drug during his hospital stay after testing positive for the coronavirus.

5 Democrats don’t actually want to do anything

  • As coronavirus stimulus package talks have failed, again, proving that there won’t be any relief delivered before the general election on November 3, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) voted against all stimulus.
  • U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) said that they “could have done better,” but ultimately, “the Democrats don’t want anything.” Shelby even indicated that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is likely “looking down the road, maybe, until after the election.”

4. Jerry Carl to appear at a Trump rally

  • Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl will speak at President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Pensacola today. Carl, a candidate for Alabama First Congressional District, has been endorsed by Trump.
  • Carl plans to talk about “economic development” during his allotted time. Carl said, “The last four years, the job market has gotten so good and, around the whole state, we got below 3% (unemployment) before Covid hit.” He’s also crediting Trump with this improvement.

3. Alabama is prepping for civil unrest

  • In anticipation of riots and civil unrest after the November 3 general election, people across Alabama have been stocking up on ammunition, and the concerns have just been reinforced by the general unrest the country has seen in recent months.
  • At The Gun Shop in Gadsden, employees said that ammunition for a 9mm is becoming harder to get, which drives the price up to three times what it normally is in some areas. The owner of Stone Arms Inc., Jeff Stone, has said that sales usually increase during an election year, but this year is “[n]ot even comparable” with previous election years.

2. Doug Jones must be trying to lose

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden was featured in a new campaign email sent out by U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), where Biden calls Jones an “old friend,” adding he needs “Doug’s help in the Senate.”
  • The email from Biden continues on to say, “I always say this election is a battle for the soul of our country. In a few places are those stakes as clear as in Alabama.” Biden also emphasizes Jones’ record in the Senate. It states, “Every time we needed him to stand up for us, Doug Jones was there.”

1. Final presidential debate

  • Last night, the final presidential debate was held in Nashville, Tennessee, and it was a much more substantive debate because the candidates allowed it to be. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden spent the evening declaring he never wanted to ban fracking (he did), he would end the oil and gas industry, and that no one lost their health insurance under Obamacare (they did). President Donald Trump’s sale’s pitch consisted of praising the economy he built and wants to rebuild, hammering Biden as a do-nothing politician and forcing Hunter Biden’s laptop into the conversation.
  • Moderator Kristen Welker refused to bring up Hunter Biden’s laptop and even asked if it was real, even as President Trump pushed the story. The former vice president declared the whole thing as Russian misinformation in spite of the fact that Hunter Biden’s former business partner held a press conference prior to the debate accusing Joe Biden of being involved in selling access, released text messages affirming that and is prepared to head to Washington, D.C. for hearings.

11 hours ago

Doug Jones misses all five Senate roll call votes on Thursday, 50% total so far this week

(Office of Sen. Doug Jones/Facebook)

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) continues to prioritize campaigning for reelection over his job representing the people of Alabama.

Jones was marked as “not voting” for all five roll call votes taken in the U.S. Senate on Thursday. He also missed all of Monday’s Senate floor votes; combined, he has now missed 50% of the week’s votes.

For the votes he did take, Jones supported Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) position all but one time (86%).

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RELATED: Jones votes to block consideration of $500B COVID-19 relief bill, GOP bill protecting pre-existing conditions coverage

Thursday’s missed votes for Jones included a bipartisan confirmation of a federal judge on a 67-30 vote.

The only other members of the upper chamber to miss as many votes as Jones this week have been U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, has missed all of the Senate’s votes this week.

This comes after Jones last week admitted he did not watch any of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s four-day confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Alabama’s junior senator said at the time, “I have not watched the hearing. I’m in the middle of a campaign. I have not watched the hearings, and I left D.C. when we were there.”

However, Jones last Thursday did have time during business hours to instead campaign for the Biden-Harris ticket virtually in Ohio. This week, Jones also fundraised for Biden’s campaign.

Barrett received a unanimous favorable recommendation from the Senate committee on Thursday and is expected to receive a vote by the full Senate on Monday. Jones has pledged to vote “no” on confirmation and has not even met with the nominee.

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan has lamented that Jones “has embarrassed our state and shirked one of his most important duties as a senator – represent our state in this nomination process.”

“Our state has been sidelined by his absence. Funny how he said the American people need a ‘full, fair and complete trial’ when it came to President Trump’s impeachment proceedings. He promised Alabama he would be an independent voice,” she added. “On Judge Coney Barrett’s proceedings, he has failed on all of his own promises to Alabama. His slogan is ‘One Alabama’ – it should be changed to ‘Ignoring Alabama.’”

Jones is set to face Republican nominee Tommy Tuberville on November 3.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

Alabama Democrats are shambling towards a bloodbath, and they will learn nothing… again

(PIxabay, YHN)

Let me jump forward about two weeks for you: U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) loses his Senate seat to former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville by 10+ points, incumbent Republican Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh beats Democrat Laura Casey for Public Service Commission president and every Republican running a Congressional race blows out their opponent, as U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) does not have a general election opponent.

We will then be told that some random Democratic mayor is the next major threat to a statewide Republican sweep in 2022.

This, of course, is not true.

The same was said for Ron Sparks (rural voters totally coming out), Parker Griffith (moderate enough to be a Democrat, then a Republican, then an independent, and then a Democrat again) and Walt Maddox (a “cool” young mayor), and we all know what happened with them.

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Democrats in Alabama had no business winning the Senate seat that Jones will lose in less than two weeks and their behavior, which mirrors national Democrats, only marginalizes them further.

Look at Macon County Democrats: They are placing signs telling voters that “Racism is on the ballot.” It’s not, and this divisive messaging doesn’t stay in Macon County anymore.

All over the state, voters were told that Alabama Democrats can’t stop calling everyone “racist.”

This isn’t 1965 or even 1995. This kind of inflammatory nonsense gets spread to suburbs and rural areas via the internet.

Non-racists don’t like this.

Witness the completely asinine push for a debate by Senator Jones with Tommy Tuberville. This does nothing but scream, “I am going to lose.” We are 12 days out, and all we are getting from Jones is that Tuberville was a bad coach (he wasn’t), swindled people (it appears that is untrue) or that he’s a “coward” for not debating.

Now email me at dale@yellowhammernews.com, and tell me a single candidate that lost a race because he refused to debate. I’ll wait.

Oh, and a Joe Biden endorsement? That’ll really help in Alabama. Was Hunter not available?

You know what Jones, the state’s highest-profile Democrat, can’t do? Explain how he is in touch with the politics and culture of Alabama.

His campaign is one long explanation about how the way he feels is different than what we have all seen with our own eyes.

On guns, he believes Alabamians are ready for gun control. Alabamians aren’t.

On abortion, he has said he is pro-choice until birth, but now he isn’t — and the media is going right along. Alabamians aren’t.

One of two things has to happen for Democrats to be more than a party of Birmingham, the Black Belt and a shrinking media-PR arm that can’t move the needle outside of their congratulatory tweets to each other:

  1. The state has to change.
  2. They have to convince people they are something they are not.

I don’t think the state is going to become a liberal hotspot anytime soon, so it might be time to just start attempting to change people’s minds by being honest about what you want as Alabama Democrats.

Run people that will tell you what they actually believe and not require an untrusted media to repackage your positions.

Yes, Democrats in other states will send you money, but they can’t vote for you.

Go all in. Stop trying to be Republican-lite. No one believes you and November 3’s election results in Alabama will make that point again.

Learn nothing.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN.

1 day ago

Drug discovered, tested at UAB becomes first fully FDA-approved treatment for COVID-19

(Pixabay, YHN)

Remdesivir on Thursday became the first drug to be fully approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating the coronavirus.

The antiviral produced by the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences received an emergency use authorization from the FDA in May; Thursday’s announcement will likely expand its usage across the nation. The drug has been approved for the treatment of patients requiring hospitalization.

Remdesivir showed promising results for treating COVID-19 in a much-discussed clinical trial conducted in the spring and early summer. After this trial, White House health advisor and NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci proclaimed to the nation that remdesivir “will be the standard of care” moving forward for coronavirus-positive inpatients. He called the trial results “quite good news.”

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) was a participating clinical site in the now-famous study and administered the drug to participating patients. However, UAB’s involvement goes significantly farther.

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As reported by Yellowhammer News in February, a drug discovery program housed at UAB led to the development of remdesivir. This discovery came from a public-private partnership that also included Birmingham-based Southern Research and Gilead Sciences.

The drug discovery was funded by federal monies awarded to the Antiviral Drug Discovery and Development Center at UAB after U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) became chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations.

Remdesivir was taken by President Donald J. Trump in his recovery from COVID-19, along with Regeneron’s experimental polyclonal antibody cocktail. That cocktail is currently being tested at UAB.

In a Thursday release, Gilead explained the treatment guidelines for remdesivir and reacted to the FDA approval.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gilead has worked relentlessly to help find solutions to this global health crisis. It is incredible to be in the position today, less than one year since the earliest case reports of the disease now known as COVID-19, of having an FDA-approved treatment in the U.S. that is available for all appropriate patients in need,” stated Daniel O’Day, chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences. “The speed and rigor with which [remdesivir] has been developed and approved in the U.S. reflect the shared commitment of Gilead, government agencies and clinical trial investigators to advance well-tolerated, effective treatment options for the fight against COVID-19. We will continue to work at speed with the aim of enhancing patient outcomes with [remdesivir] to ensure all patients with COVID-19 have the best chance at recovery.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer: Joe Biden ‘highly, highly compromised’ by China

(Joe Biden, Congressman Gary Palmer/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06) on Wednesday interviewed on Talk 99.5’s “Matt & Aunie Show,” discussing the recent bombshell stories that have come out indicating that former Vice President Joe Biden was potentially involved in certain lucrative foreign business dealings of his son, Hunter.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe this week announced the assessment that Hunter Biden’s laptop and the emails on it “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign.” The FBI has said that it has “nothing to add” to this assessment.

Palmer, speaking to radio host Matt Murphy, emphasized that the questions raised involving the Bidens are serious and “real.”

“This is a real story. The FBI has the laptop. This is not a Russian hoax. This is real,” the central Alabama congressman said.

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“And the most concerning thing is, it’s not what Hunter Biden did — we’ve known about Hunter Biden’s corrupt activities with Russia, with the money he got from the widow of the mayor of Moscow, we’ve known about the corrupt deal he had with Burisma, and there are other people that I think at some point we will be able to talk about that may have been involved, and we’ve known about what he did in China. What is new about this is the possibility, the allegation, that Joe Biden himself benefited personally, that he was taking money off the top for himself,” Palmer continued. “And I think that’s what’s got to be investigated.”

He lamented that “the mainstream media is ignoring this” and that “they think they can keep people from finding out about it.”

On Thursday, a business partner of Hunter Biden told Fox News that Joe Biden was indeed involved in his son’s foreign business dealings and profiting monetarily. The business partner also confirmed the authenticity of emails previously publicized by The New York Post and has provided outlets on Thursday with further electronic communications involving the Bidens not found on Hunter’s laptop.

Palmer in a subsequent part of Wednesday’s interview commented on what would be the consequence of Joe Biden becoming president while potentially compromised by China.

“You are in danger of being held hostage,” the congressman warned. “The whole world would suffer if Biden gets elected president. Because the Chinese have the goods on him.”

“Now think about that,” Palmer continued, “how it would impact nations like Australia and Japan and South Korea and Vietnam, who’s becoming an ally of ours because they fear the hegemony of China. It’s going to spread across the world. This is a critical moment for this country. And you literally have left-wing media that are part of a conspiracy to defeat a president. They tried to remove him from office, now they’re trying to defeat him and put somebody in office that is highly, highly compromised.”

He also raised the specter of what could happen if Biden is elected on November 3 and then investigations subsequently reveal that he is compromised by a foreign power.

“[I]t doesn’t give me any comfort whatsoever to think that Biden would be removed from office and replaced with … Senator [Kamala] Harris,” Palmer decried. “Communist Kamala.”

RELATED: Director of National Intelligence: Iran attempting to damage Trump’s reelection

In stark contrast to recent revelations and Palmer’s Wednesday remarks come the past statements of U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) about the Bidens’ foreign endeavors. Jones, an earlier endorser of Biden’s 2020 presidential bid, recently explained that he has considered Biden a friend and mentor since 1978. Jones recently had Biden campaign for him virtually in Alabama, and the former vice president also campaigned for Jones in his 2017 special election bid.

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) last year called for an investigation into Joe Biden’s China ties.

“Do you think everything about these ties between the vice-president’s son and China are OK? Don’t you think we ought to ask some important questions like we spent all this time and money doing with President Trump? I’d like to hear what he has to say about that,” Byrne asked of Jones at the time.

When Byrne subsequently filed a bill to investigate the Bidens over foreign dealings, Jones then went into defense mode for his old friend.

“We should all want the same things – the facts, the truth, and the rule of law – not pandering partisanship trying to be relevant,” Jones asserted at the time, while not supporting an investigation.

His campaign spokesperson at the time also claimed, “Information about Joe Biden and his son has been around for a long time and all alleged improprieties have been debunked by numerous sources.”

RELATED: Jones on Biden investigation: ‘We cannot go around trying to investigate every perceived enemy of the president, especially this president’

Overall, Jones has been quick to come to Biden’s defense this election cycle. Alabama’s junior senator defended Biden last year when he came under fire for remarks about former segregationist Democratic senators, as well as deeming past sexual misconduct allegations against Joe Biden as distractions from beating Trump in 2020.

Additionally, Jones earlier this year attacked the “credibility” of Tara Reade, the former Biden Senate staffer who has accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993. She recently interviewed with “60 Minutes” in Australia about the alleged assault.

RELATED: Doug Jones: Biden does not have ‘senior moments’ — Just ‘Joe Biden moments’

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

After staying flat for weeks, Alabama’s coronavirus numbers are going up again

(Pixabay, YHN)

Alabama’s coronavirus statistics have climbed steadily over the last week after spending more than a month on a plateau.

Over the last seven days, the state has averaged 898 new cases per day, a rate not experienced since the first few days of September.

Especially troubling to experts, 16.06% of coronavirus tests administered in the last 14 days have come back positive, the highest rate the state has ever experienced.

Yellowhammer News used numbers from the website BamaTracker for this report. BamaTracker collects and charts the information gathered by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

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The disease has reached Alabama’s halls of power; Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth and at least five state senators have come down with the virus. Ainsworth reports being asymptomatic, but State. Sen Randy Price (R-Opelika) was hospitalized earlier this year during an endured an extended battle with COVID-19.

Between 6,300 and 7,000 coronavirus tests have been reported each day in Alabama during October, a rate that has remained consistent as the totals of new positive results have risen.

Yellowhammer News is referencing new cases as those testing positive via a molecular-based PCR test and confirmed by ADPH. When including positive results from rapid test devices, the average new cases per day for the last week rises to 1,129.

Ninety-nine Alabamians have been admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 each day over the last week, a tick up from the mid-80s average seen for most of the last six weeks, but not as pronounced as the rise in the new case count.

Clicking image opens interactive new cases chart in new tab. (BamaTracker)
Clicking image opens BamaTracker in new tab. (BamaTracker)

Public health experts have reported on numerous occasions that a rise in hospitalizations usually follows a rise in new cases by around two weeks, and increased deaths follow hospitalization surges by two to five weeks.

Sixty-five of Alabama’s 67 counties reported a new case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, indicating continued widespread transmission throughout the state.

Rural counties like Dekalb, Covington and Jackson have all had pronounced outbreaks in the last two weeks.

For the last seven days, Alabama has averaged 10 deaths among people with a confirmed case of the coronavirus. The state’s total death toll from the virus is now 2,843, with another 183 that are listed as probable but not yet confirmed by ADPH.

Alabama’s new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all down from their mid to late summer peaks.

Dr. Don Williamson, head of the Alabama Hospital Association, told WSFA this week that he does not expect Alabama to be exempt “from what looks like it’s going to be a second wave” of the coronavirus.

Williamson further surmised to the Associated Press in recent days that Alabamians were suffering from “COVID fatigue” and not observing precautions like wearing masks or socially distancing as much as citizens did earlier in the fall.

Health officials are urging every citizen to go get a flu shot, saying that a bad flu outbreak on top of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could be disastrous for the state and nation’s health care system.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

1 day ago

Ainsworth stands by opposition to mandatory masks, vaccines — ‘Everybody needs personal responsibility,’ ‘Gov’t mandate is a dangerous precedent’

(Will Ainsworth/YouTube)

Late Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth’s office revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19, noting the diagnosis despite having followed CDC health and safety protocols.

Ainsworth had been a critic of the mask mandate and other restrictions implemented by Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris done in the name of preventing the spread of coronavirus in the past.

During an interview with Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5 on Thursday, Ainsworth said he still felt the mandates were a “dangerous precedent” and suggested emphasizing personal responsibility.

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“It doesn’t at all,” he said. “I think everybody needs personal responsibility. I think the government mandate is a dangerous precedent. I stand by that. Here’s what I want you to understand, Jeff — I had a mask on in Sunday school and was the only person on the row I was sitting on. Maybe I got it somewhere else. Maybe I didn’t. But I guess my point is you can still do all these things, and I exercise caution. The virus — maybe it was on a doorknob. Who knows? But I still got it. So, I don’t think the mask is the cure-all that everybody necessarily thinks it is.”

“My thing is this: I think it is smart to wear a mask,” Ainsworth continued. “It’s going to be an extra layer of protection if you’ve got health issues. You need more than a mask. You probably don’t need to be out and about. You really need to be careful. But most people — they’ll be fine. They’ll get over it. We just need to utilize common sense and, you know, I think we’ll get through this. When a vaccine gets here, it’s going to help a lot.”

Ainsworth added that he was concerned about the possibility of mandatory vaccinations, as well.

“To me, Jeff, that’s just a policy issue,” he said. “I don’t think we need to be mandating masks.  I don’t think we need to be mandating vaccines. I don’t think that’s government’s role. I think that’s each individual’s role to decide what’s best for his or her family and that government should not be involved with that. That’s been my issue with this. Jeff Poor should decide whether or not he wants to wear a mask, or whether or not he should get a vaccine, not the government.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

1 day ago

This weekend’s college football TV schedule

(Pixabay)

For a printable version, click here. Pro tip: Save the image below to your phone for quick and easy access all weekend.

(Note: All times are Central)

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Zack Shaw is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News and former walk-on for the Auburn Tigers. You can contact him by email: zack@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @z_m_shaw

Hayden Crigler is a contributing college football writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him through email: hayden@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @hayden_crigler.

1 day ago

Biden on Jones: ‘Doug and I share a vision’ — ‘I’m going to need Doug’s voice in the Senate’

(Jones for Senate/ActBlue)

U.S. Senator Doug Jones’ (D-AL) reelection campaign on Wednesday evening sent out a fundraising email from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Biden’s pitch links to a fundraising page that shows the funds raised are to be “split evenly” between the Biden and Jones campaigns.

The fine print on the page also notes that donors will automatically be signed up for recurring Biden campaign text messages.

Although 50% of proceeds are designed to go towards Biden’s campaign, the email was fully paid for by Jones’ campaign, according to a mandatory disclosure. The email was also authorized by Biden for President.

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This comes after Jones recently campaigned virtually for the Biden-Harris ticket in Ohio.

“I wanted to reach out to you about an old friend of mine: Doug Jones,” Biden’s email began.

Alabama’s junior senator recently explained that he has considered Biden a friend and mentor since 1978. Jones recently had Biden campaign for him virtually in Alabama, and the former vice president also campaigned for Jones in his 2017 special election bid.

“I need Doug’s help in the Senate,” Biden added in the Wednesday email. “You know, I always say this election is a battle for the soul of our country. In few places are those stakes as clear as in Alabama.”

“[I]n perhaps the most crucial fight of all – our health care – Doug has been there again and again standing up for all of us, especially those with pre-existing conditions,” the former vice president asserted.

However, this came after Jones the previous day voted against advancing a GOP Senate bill that would protect health care coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions, even if the Affordable Care Act were struck down or repealed.

Biden further wrote that Jones’ “record has been extraordinary” in the Senate.

Jones, of course, voted twice to remove President Donald Trump from office earlier this year. The senator at the time had already endorsed Biden, now the president’s general election opponent.

“Every time we needed him to stand up for us, Doug Jones was there. I’m going to need Doug’s voice in the Senate,” Biden stressed.

This came mere hours before Biden announced he would consider reforms to the Supreme Court of the United States that “go well beyond” court-packing.

Jones has announced he will vote “no” on confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court. That vote is expected to occur Monday after the Senate Committee on the Judiciary unanimously voted on Thursday to favorably recommend Barrett’s confirmation.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

AlabamaWorks launches online tool that shows people the path from public assistance to productive employment

(AlabamaWorks/Contributed)

Alabama state agencies launched this week an online dashboard that can show a user the pathway from public assistance into a self-sufficient career.

The tool is referred to as DAVID, an acronym of Dashboard for Alabamians to Visualize Income Determinations.

DAVID is a first of its kind joint project between the State of Alabama and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

“We are the first state to take a benefits cliff calculator and merge it with a workforce development career path planner,” explained Governor Kay Ivey in a statement. “This is a significant milestone and we are proud to, once again, be leading the way with innovative workforce development solutions for the people of Alabama. We are grateful for the work of the Atlanta Fed in developing this resource.”

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Ivey views the DAVID project as a key tool in helping Alabama achieve its goal of 500,000 newly trained workers by 2025, long a top priority of the governor’s administration.

David Altig, a high ranking executive at the Atlanta Fed, remarked that DAVID will often be used by “workforce development professionals” who are assisting a worker that is looking for a career.

“It is important to address the issue of increased marginal tax rates—or benefit cliffs—in a coordinated way, to make sure that the incentives are not sending the wrong signal to people,” said Raphael Bostic, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Bostic said one of the goals of DAVID is that people will better understand the public benefits system, which he hopes will drive citizens “to invest in themselves and get to a more stable place.”

AlabamaWorks provided a video guide to the new tool, and more information on DAVID can be accessed here.

WATCH:

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

1 day ago

Birmingham native Bobby Bowden beats COVID at age 90 — ‘I wanted to be around to vote for President Trump’

(White House/Flickr, ACC Digital Network/YouTube, YHN)

Legendary college football coach and native Alabamian Bobby Bowden, 90, has announced that he has triumphed over COVID-19.

Bowden was hospitalized October 6, three days after he first tested positive for coronavirus. He was released from the hospital last week, and on Wednesday he released a statement.

“I want to thank all the many people who were thinking of and praying for me over the last few weeks. I just went through a battle with COVID-19 and God just wasn’t ready to take me home yet to be with him,” began Bowden, who turns 91 on November 8.

“[T]he fight was tough, but thanks to the help of Dr. Michael Forsthoefel, and the support of Ann and all my children, I beat it,” he said.

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Born in Birmingham in 1929, Bowden went on to be a star quarterback at Woodlawn High School. He went to the University of Alabama as a freshman and was on the Crimson Tide football team that year. Bowden would then transfer to what is now Samford University for the remainder of his collegiate career, playing football and baseball and running track. He even garnered All-American honors at quarterback for Samford his senior year.

His football coaching career also started at Samford, where he was an assistant coach from 1954-1955 and then head coach from 1959-1962. Bowden would go on to become the second-winningest head football coach in NCAA history, also winning two national championships and 12 ACC championships with Florida State. It has been reported that Bowden left West Virginia for FSU in 1976 because Tallahassee was closer to Birmingham, where his mother and mother-in-law lived at the time. The rest, of course, was history.

Bowden on Wednesday advised, “I’ve had a chance to get a lot of wins in my life, but I really wanted to win this one because I wanted to be around to vote for President Trump.”

The coach also credited a drug developed at UAB — with the aid of Birmingham-based Southern Research — for his recovery.

“America is the greatest country this side of heaven,” he added. “We have the freedom to pursue our faith in God our dreams for our career, and our love for our families. For too long now, politicians in Washington have run America down and apologized for our greatness. I’m tired of it. Like President Trump, I had the opportunity to be treated for Covid-19 with drugs to include Remdesivir. At the age of [90], in many other countries, I might not have even been treated. In America, I was.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

Radio program launched in Birmingham where strangers who disagree on politics cross the divide with honest conversation; Volunteers needed

(StoryCorps/Contributed, YHN)

A new program has launched in Birmingham to help members of the public bridge their political differences and find common humanity.

One Small Step, a project from widely lauded radio producer Dave Isay, seeks volunteers with strongly held political beliefs who are willing to have a 4o-minute conversation with someone from the other side of the aisle.

“The dream of One Small Step is that we convince the country that is our patriotic duty to see the humanity in people with whom we disagree,” Isay told Yellowhammer News.

“It is hard to hate up close,” he offered with regards to the conversations on his program.

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Yellowhammer News interviewed Isay over the phone on Wednesday about the program’s origins and why he feels it is needed in today’s political environment.

Isay has earned many accolades across his career, including six Peabody Awards and a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.

“We were seeing each other across the divide and treating each other less than human,” he expounded about what troubled him at the ground level of modern American politics.

Dave Isay {eye-say} (StoryCorps/Contributed)

Isay’s first program, StoryCorps, has been recording episodes for more than 15 years. Public radio listeners may have heard it Fridays during Morning Edition, and others may subscribe to its popular podcast feed.

In StoryCorps episodes, two people with a close relationship interview each other in a soundproof booth. One copy of the recording is given to the participants, and one goes to the StoryCorps producers and the Library of Congress.

“The microphone gives you the license to talk about things you’ve never talked about before,” Isay told Yellowhammer about the method for the program.

StoryCorps has now had 650,000 Americans participate since its inception in 2003, a collection of interview Isay calls “the largest collection of human voices ever gathered.”

One Small Step, the new program recording in Birmingham, grew out of StoryCorps and Isay’s deep desire for people to see each other as humans instead of partisan combatants.

“A little bit more than four years ago I became aware and very concerned about the culture of contempt that was growing quickly across the political divide,” Isay said in an explanation of his desire to create a program like One Small Step.

“I believe that democracy can’t survive in a swamp of mutual discontent,” he offered with regards to his civic motivations.

Isay and his team fine-tuned the new program for years after deciding to make a go of it. A few test episodes were made in Birmingham in conjunction with NPR affiliate WBHM, and the producers found themselves drawn back to the Magic City when it came time to do a full-fledged launch of the new program.

“We did some polling in Birmingham that was both surprising and hopeful,” Isay added about the selection of Alabama’s biggest city for One Small Step.

Three other cities are part of One Small Step’s launch. One began a week ago in Wichita, Kansas. Two others will begin shortly after the Birmingham operation is up and running.

“Two-thirds of the people in Birmingham think the city is more divided than it’s ever been in their lifetime,” Isay told Yellowhammer about the polling results.

“Which is pretty dramatic considering it is, you know, Birmingham,” he continued.

“The majority of people in Birmingham felt under attack or threatened by the other side over the past year. Half the people in Birmingham feel like it is hard for them to think of people from the opposite party as mostly good people,” he added about the polling results that indicated the city was ripe for his program.

Isay advised Yellowhammer that Birmingham’s divisions were not much deeper than the rest of the country, but people’s willingness to listen to each other was higher.

The producer offered that “80% of people in Birmingham feel we can become better people by looking to the experience of others. 70% wish they better understood how people who aren’t like them think and feel.”

“So we’re hopeful,” Isay concluded with respect to the polling his team did in Birmingham.

One Small Step is now actively seeking volunteers with firm political beliefs to volunteer to participate in the conversations. Isay confirmed that the program wants people who identify as conservative or liberal and will help facilitate a respectful experience for both citizens involved.

“You’re going to have a Trump voter and a Biden voter, but you’re not going to talk about politics in these conversations. You’re going to talk about your life, who you are, where you came from, who you care about, what your dreams are for your children, and who your parents were,” Isay explained about how the conversations on the program will go.

“What we hope to do over the next year is have everyone in Birmingham know this is happening,” relayed Isay.

Those interested in participating in the program can submit their information here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

1 day ago

7 Things: A foreign nation has interfered to help Biden, Alabama Democrats claim racism (again), Ainsworth tests positive for coronavirus and more …

(YHN)

7. Mitt Romney voted against Trump

  • U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) has already voted in the 2020 general election, but he’s revealed that he “did not vote for President Trump.” Romney didn’t share who he voted for.
  • He’s previously said that in 2016, he wrote in his wife Ann Romney instead of voting for Trump. Romney voted to impeach Trump in February 2020.

6. Birmingham is refinancing

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  • A statement released by the City of Birmingham shows that they’re currently $179 million in debt, but refinancing so that they can lower their interest and save about $44 million, which has become an important part of Mayor Randall Woodfin’s proposed budget for 2021.
  • Woodfin said that when he initially took office, “the city was not on sound financial footing,” but with this decision, they “have dramatically increased our payment to the pension” that wasn’t being paid on previously. He went on to say that they “have reduced the cost of borrowing money and have strengthened our financial position.”

5. Alabama voting laws restored

  • In a sign of things to come after Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States, District Judge Abdul K. Kallon’s flippant decision to allow curbside voting is the latest voting-related ruling the Supreme Court has overturned. The vote was 5-3.
  • Secretary of State John Merrill responded by reminded people who make laws in America, saying, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked diligently with local election officials in all 67 counties to offer safe and secure voting methods — including through the in-person and mail-in processes. I am glad the Supreme Court has recognized our actions to expand absentee voting, while also maintaining the safeguards put into place by the state Legislature.”

4. More Biden corruption — media doesn’t care

  • The American media is disinterested, but more Hunter Biden/Joe Biden revelations have surfaced. Delaware Attorney General has forwarded child endangerment concerns to the FBI as former Vice President Joe Biden calls the information a “desperate smear campaign.”
  • The New York Times is trying to sell a “both sides do it” story about a bank account the Trump Organization had in China since 2013 that has been inactive since 2015. The media only stopped pushing that when they started pushing an unverified, debunked Giuliani scandal.

3. Ainsworth tests positive for COVID-19

  • Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth has announced he tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday afternoon but is asymptomatic currently. In his statement, Ainsworth said that he’s been taking the proper precautions, adding this shows “that even those of us who are the most cautious can be at risk.”
  • Ainsworth has quarantined and will remain quarantined “for the appropriate period and seek follow-up tests to ensure the virus has run its course before resuming public activities.”

2. “Racism is on the ballot”

  • The Macon County Democratic Party has been putting up signs across the area that say “Racism is on the ballot.” The sign portrays a Confederate flag next to a Trump 2020 flag.
  • The bottom of the signs being distributed say “Vote the straight Democratic ticket on Nov 3 and make a difference.” Macon County has regularly voted Democrat. It is known as one of the counties in Alabama that heavily supports U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL).

1. Election interference is happening and Trump isn’t benefiting

  • Last night, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe held a press conference to let Americans know that the Russians and the Iranians have interfered in the 2020 U.S. presidential election with Iran being behind the obviously faked “Proud Boys” emails that targeted registered Democrats with threats of harm.
  • Russian interference has not yet materialized in any quantitative way, but DNI Ratcliffe said both Iran and Russia have obtained voter data and may use it. He advised, “This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos, and undermine your confidence in American democracy.”

1 day ago

State Sen. Ward: Alabama’s open records law ‘is a joke’

(Screenshot/YouTube)

For years, the public has struggled to navigate the stipulations and bureaucracies of Alabama’s Open Records Law, whether it be a concerned citizen with limited resources or media outlets with the ability to take on government officials who repeatedly shrug off records requests.

Section 36-12-40 of the Alabama Code states, “Every citizen has a right to inspect and take a copy of any public writing of this state, except as otherwise expressly provided by statute.” However, there is no enforcement mechanism for compliance beyond judicial challenges.

For the past two years, State Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) has been attempting to change that and vows to try again in the 2021 legislative session. During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Ward criticized Alabama’s current open records law, noting that it is rated last in the country.

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“We are rated last in the country in access to public records,” Ward said. “And I know it does put a burden on a lot of government agencies. And I want to make sure we do it in a way that is most efficient. But the fact that we’re last in having people to give access to the records their government holds. It is absurd. A lot of us ran out of time because the session ended with COVID-19. That being said, we need to bring that back up. I’ve brought it up two sessions in a row. This will be my third. Our open records law is a joke.”

Ward acknowledged the public’s attitude about government in general in 2020. The seeming unavailability of state records in a digital era that suggests documents should be more available did not help with the public’s perception, according to the Shelby County lawmaker.

“I don’t think there is confidence,” he said. “I don’t have confidence sometimes in it because the biggest opposition to reforming the records laws consisting says the same things over and over: ‘Well, it’s just too much work.’ Those records don’t belong to government agencies. They belong to the people.”

“Let’s face it, we’re at the height of cynicism of government right now,” Ward added. “And in this age of cynicism, the fact we’re going to say I’m not going to turn over any records — it only makes it worse. And it is the bureaucracy stopping people from seeing what is going on in their government. Internet technology — the way it is today, there is no reason we couldn’t have full transparency on those records that are legally allowed to be viewed by the public. Now there are certain privacy issues. There are certain confidentiality issues — would it be like a health care issue? Yes, there should be a block. But at the end of the day, if someone wants the minutes of a meeting or wants to know what happened to a session that’s not confidential, why shouldn’t they have access to it?”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

2 days ago

Supreme Court again stops activist judge from unilaterally allowing Alabama curbside voting

(SCOTUS)

In a 5-3 decision spearheaded by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court of the United States on Wednesday evening blocked curbside voting from being allowed in Alabama’s November 3 general election.

Curbside voting is not provided for by state law in Alabama, however U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon recently had ordered the secretary of state to allow counties to implement the practice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kallon is an appointee of former President Barack Obama.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a stay on Kallon’s order, in effect meaning curbside voting will not be allowed in the quickly approaching election. Democrat-appointed Justices Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagan dissented.

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The case itself is still pending before the 11th Circuit on appeal. The stay granted by the Supreme Court will be in effect “pending disposition of the appeal [in the 11th Circuit].”

Additionally, should the losing side of that disposition subsequently attempt to take the appeal to the Supreme Court, the stay shall still remain in effect pending “disposition of the petition for a writ of certiorari, if such writ is timely sought.”

“Should the petition for a writ of certiorari be denied, this stay shall terminate automatically. In the event the petition for a writ of certiorari is granted, the stay shall terminate upon the sending down of the judgment of this Court,” the Supreme Court majority concluded.

Reacting to the news on Wednesday night, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said, “I am proud to report the U.S. Supreme Court has now blocked a lower court’s order allowing the fraudulent practice of curbside voting in the State of Alabama.”

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked diligently with local election officials in all 67 counties to offer safe and secure voting methods – including through the in-person and mail-in processes,” he outlined. “I am glad the Supreme Court has recognized our actions to expand absentee voting, while also maintaining the safeguards put into place by the state Legislature.”

“The fact that we have already shattered voter participation records with the election still being 13 days away is proof that our current voting options are easy, efficient, and accessible for all of Alabama’s voters,” the secretary of state concluded. “Tonight’s ruling in favor of election integrity and security is once again a win for the people of Alabama.”

The Supreme Court previously blocked essentially the same Kallon order from taking effect before Alabama’s July 14 primary runoff election.

Attorney General Steve Marshall, who represents the State of Alabama in this case, said at that time, “[T]he (Supreme) Court has cautioned lowered courts against altering election laws on the eve of an election. We made this case to the Court, and we are gratified that the Court agreed to our request for the stay.”

UPDATE 9:15 p.m.

Attorney General Marshall released a statement on Wednesday’s stay.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court has again acted quickly to grant the State’s emergency stay request to clarify that Alabama’s laws will govern Alabama’s upcoming election,” stated Marshall. “While our election laws are easily complied with, even during this pandemic, they ensure that Alabama voters can have confidence that they are voting in a fair election. The Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for Alabama’s election integrity and thus for Alabama voters.”

“As we argued in our stay request to the Supreme Court, Alabama has taken extraordinary measures to ensure that all voters can vote safely, while also ensuring that this election is conducted fairly, efficiently, and free from fraud. But Alabama law does not and has never provided for curbside voting,” he continued. “The district court’s decision to create it for the State was contrary to state and federal law.”

Marshall concluded, “Just as important, when States decide to authorize curbside voting, they typically do so through legislation and with months or years of careful planning. They don’t throw it together in a matter of weeks in the middle of a pandemic. That is a recipe for chaos that could end up making it harder, not easier, for people to vote. In addition to the specter of voters’ cars backed up further than a Chick-fil-A drive-thru, there was the risk that would come from voters handing over open ballots to poll workers without being able to see whether a poll worker would actually deposit the ballot after taking it inside the polling place. Fortunately, with the Supreme Court’s action tonight, those risks have been averted.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 days ago

Director of National Intelligence: Iran attempting to damage Trump’s reelection

(News 19 WLTX/YouTube)

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday evening held a joint announcement regarding a major attempt by two hostile powers to interfere in the November 3 general election.

“Iran and Russia have taken specific actions to influence public opinion related to our elections,” Ratcliffe said.

Ratcliffe advised that Iran and Russia have both separately obtained certain American voter registration information; there was no announcement regarding any hacking of information during the event, so it is expected that this information was of a public nature.

“This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy,” the DNI explained.

Ratcliffe specified that Iran has already sent “spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President [Donald] Trump.”

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The emails in question were of a threatening nature and sent to Democratic voters in places such as Brevard County, FL. The intended and actual effect was to get members of the media and people on social media to blame Trump supporters — and indirectly Trump himself — for the emails.

Media outlets, as well as Democratic campaign apparatus “The Lincoln Project,” amplified this anti-Trump Iranian disinformation, aiding in this attempt at foreign election interference.

In addition to supporting Democratic nominee Joe Biden, The Lincoln Project supports the reelection campaign of U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

Ratcliffe in his Wednesday remarks stressed, “We are prepared for the possibility of actions by those hostile to democracy.”

He said that for “both sides of the aisle… there is complete unanimity in the U.S. government in our resolve to combat the enemies of freedom.”

FBI Director Wray, who spoke after Ratcliffe, said, “We are not going to tolerate foreign interference in our elections or any criminal activity that threatens the sanctity of your vote or undermines public confidence in the outcome of the election.”

“You should be confident that your vote counts,” he added.

Ratcliffe and Wray both emphasized that the integrity of the American elections system is intact and that each individual vote is secure.

The FBI director encouraged Americans to turn to state elections officials rather than third parties for official election information. You can visit the Alabama Secretary of State’s elections website here.

WATCH THE FULL ANNOUNCEMENT:

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn