The Wire

  • Are Alabama Republicans softening on Medicaid expansion?

    Excerpt:

    The race for Governor in Alabama has been boiled down to three issues:

    1. Governor Kay Ivey’s claim she steadied the ship of state
    2. Democrat challenger Walt Maddox whining about not being able to secure a debate
    3. Maddox wanting to expand Medicaid without a serious plan for doing so

    Republicans in Alabama have been steadfastly against the Medicaid expansion proposal because it will require an additional outlay of up to $200 million dollars. The infusion of federal dollars that would come after an expansion has been sighted numerous times, by numerous Democrats running for statewide office. The flawed argument is that the program will pay for itself.

    It won’t.

  • Watch: Dog goes crazy after Alabama owner returns from deployment overseas

    Excerpt:

    Seeing military service members reunited with loved ones after lengthy periods of time overseas is always emotional, but this time it is man’s best friend stealing the show.

    Alabama’s Captain Josh Williams just returned from a ten-month deployment on the Korea peninsula with his brigade, which is part of the 3rd Infantry Division. In a video recorded by his wife Anna, Williams is greeted by one very happy canine companion.

    Watch:

  • Shelby praises passage of water infrastructure bill vital to Alabama

    Excerpt:

    In a press release last week, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) praised the passage of S. 3021, entitled America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.

    This bill, which answers President Donald Trump’s call to address the nation’s aging water infrastructure, is the most sweeping infrastructure package to be considered this Congress. Shelby’s office noted that it will help grow the economy, keep communities safe and cut red tape.

    “The state of Alabama and the entire nation will benefit across the board from this water infrastructure bill,” Shelby said. “The bipartisan measure provides resources to keep our communities safe by improving drinking water and wastewater systems. It also authorizes important water projects that will create jobs and spur economic growth and development, increasing the impact of federal dollars. I look forward to witnessing the effects of this legislation and will continue to work diligently with my colleagues to prioritize our nation’s immediate and long-term infrastructure needs.”

Byrne: Water infrastructure vital to Alabama’s economy

(M. Kittrell/Alabama NewsCenter)

There are very few places in the United States that can boast the sort of diverse infrastructure we have here in Alabama. There are 11 interstates, over 3,000 miles of freight rail, 5 commercial airports, and more than 132,000 miles of rivers and stream channels in our state.

One of our state’s most important pieces of infrastructure is the Port of Mobile, the 10th largest port and fastest growing container terminal in the United States. With 41 berths, 5 million square feet of warehouses and yards, and covering 4,000 total acres, it has an economic impact of around 135,000 jobs in Southwest Alabama and generates more than $22 billion per year in economic value.

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Recent expansions and developments at the Port will only further grow the economic impact of the Port on not only Southwest Alabama but our entire state. For example, the recent announcement about a new roll-on/roll-off vehicle processing facility at the Port will help our state’s automotive manufacturing industry continue to grow.

Even with these impressive facts, it has been clear that our infrastructure throughout the country is in need of updates, repairs, and overhauls to ensure that we are at the cutting edge of transportation and innovation in order to compete economically on the world stage.

Last week, in a major bipartisan effort, Congress sent a piece of legislation to President Trump’s desk that will help to unlock the full economic potential of our region and state.

America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 passed the Senate last week, after passing out of the House a few weeks back. This bill authorizes funding for waterway projects, port improvement projects, and other important water infrastructure projects in all 50 states. Not only will this allow for much-needed infrastructure improvements, but the bill reinstates a “Buy America” provision for federally funded projects, meaning a boost for American steel producers.

Commonsense legislation like this will create jobs, incentivize the use of American-made products, and build our nation’s capabilities to produce, package, and transport goods all around the globe. It will also make our drinking water safer, improve our wastewater systems, combat algae blooms, and restore our nation’s beaches through grant programs.

The Army Corps of Engineers can move forward on improving our dams, locks, reservoirs, and shipping channels. We have a major Army Corps project that needs attention right here in Southwest Alabama. The project to deepen and widen the Mobile Bay Ship Channel has the ability to fundamentally alter the economic potential of the Port and create more jobs in our state. Senator Richard Shelby has long been a champion for this project, and I am committed to working with him to make it a reality.

Our shipyards, airports, and rail yards will all see an impact from waterway projects like this, and I am thankful to the members of the Senate and my colleagues in the House for passing this water infrastructure legislation to help propel Alabama even further into the 21st Century.

The future of Alabama rests upon our ability to look beyond the short term and into what will set us up for success for years to come. Focusing locally on important infrastructure projects will spur economic growth through business investment and job creation, and it will open up opportunities we don’t even know exist yet.

Investing in our infrastructure today will lead to a stronger tomorrow. I applaud the work of my colleagues in both the House and the Senate in making a better economic future possible through this vital water infrastructure legislation.

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

9 hours ago

Shelter dogs fly from Alabama to New Jersey after Hurricane Michael leaves pets stranded

(Wings of Rescue/Facebook)

Shelter dogs from Birmingham are getting a new start after they boarded a plane and were flown to New Jersey.

A partnership between the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, Greater Good, and Wings Of Rescue made the safe transportation of 50 dogs possible.

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“It gives these animals an immediate chance at getting in a home. Animals get stressed in a shelter. And with all the storms, and all this travel, it almost makes you want to cry being out here and seeing this,” said GBHS CEO Allison Black Cornelius.

With the transportation of the dogs to New Jersey, more animals can now be taken into the Birmingham shelter from Florida and surrounding areas.

“The average length of stay for a pet transported from Wings of Rescue is about two and a half days, three and a half days,” said President of Wings Of Rescue Ric Browde.

“So, these pets have a little bit of celebrity to them, so they’re probably going to be moving out faster. They’re just going to go very quickly. ”

Donations to Hurricane Michael animal transports can be made here.

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

10 hours ago

Jones accuses ALGOP of putting ‘party over’ state, country on Kavanaugh; ALGOP responds: ‘A grave error as it highlights his arrogance’

(Screenshot/YouTube)

In an appearance on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal” that aired on Friday, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) defended his vote opposing the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jones, who had pledged to keep an open mind throughout the process, voted along party lines against President Donald Trump’s pick to replace the retired associate justice, Anthony Kennedy. In the end, Jones’ vote was not consequential, as Kavanaugh was confirmed by a 50-48 margin.

The junior Alabama Democratic U.S. Senator was criticized for voting against Kavanaugh by the Alabama Republican Party, which accused him of putting the party over the state and the country.

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“You know, I do what I think is right,” Jones said when asked by host Don Dailey about the backlash. “This is the same Republican Party who voted for a guy last year – who continued to support someone who ran against me who there were very, very serious and credible allegations. This is a Republican Party that puts party over state, party over country. So, I’m not surprised they put this in political tones. The very thing that I avoided from the beginning, from my standpoint and my standpoint was what mattered to me and my staff – we were not looking at this in political terms. We were looking at it to determine his record, what he’s said, what he’s done, what we believe he could do, look at his qualifications, as well as his temperament and other issues to determine whether or not this man should be on the United States Supreme Court. It was a completely non-partisan issue the way we looked at it. And we knew the way other people would make it partisan. But that’s fine with me. I can justify my vote to anyone.”

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Alabama Republican Party chairwoman Terry Lathan fired back and said Jones’ “no” vote” highlighted his “arrogance.”

“Looking at this from ‘his’ standpoint and his ‘staff’ standpoint and not the will of the majority of Alabamians is a grave error as it highlights his arrogance,” Lathan said. “It clearly shows us it’s about him and his liberal views, not what most of our people think. Doug Jones said the majority of Alabamians wishes were not the ‘be all to end all’ on this vote. That ‘I know better than you all’ point of view will be revisited by voters in 2020. We will remind them what he thinks of the majority.”

Later in his “Capitol Journal” appearance, Jones indicated he had no regrets regarding that vote despite what the polling in Alabama showed regarding Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

“You can’t worry,” he replied. “When you’re in a position like I am, you can’t worry about that. You know Don, if I tried to make every decision based on polling or what my political opponents say is the will of the people, then I wouldn’t be a very effective U.S. Senator. That’s not leadership. Leadership is studying the issues. And I had a heck of a lot more information than all of these politicians who came out of the chute wanting me to vote for or against. I had just as many people wanting me to vote against him as for him that had not done the research. We did our homework, and I’m comfortable where I am, and that’s the way we continue to operate in my office.”

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

10 hours ago

Are Alabama Republicans softening on Medicaid expansion?

(YHN/Pixabay)

The race for Governor in Alabama has been boiled down to three issues:

  1. Governor Kay Ivey’s claim she steadied the ship of state
  2. Democrat challenger Walt Maddox whining about not being able to secure a debate
  3. Maddox wanting to expand Medicaid without a serious plan for doing so

Republicans in Alabama have been steadfastly against the Medicaid expansion proposal because it will require an additional outlay of up to $200 million dollars. The infusion of federal dollars that would come after an expansion has been sighted numerous times, by numerous Democrats running for statewide office. The flawed argument is that the program will pay for itself.

It won’t.

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The facts are simple, the Alabama legislature, which will probably retain their super-majority status, will have to budget for any expansion. This is a wildly unpopular idea amongst Republican legislators, but now lame-duck State Senator Gerald Dial is stepping out and advocating for it.

He writes:

For years, we have used state dollars to recruit industries to locate in Alabama, and we have been very successful. We now have an opportunity to support existing health care jobs and make sure every Alabamian has access to care when they need it, and where they need it. Investing in Medicaid expansion will keep our rural hospitals open, save hundreds of local jobs, and provide basic insurance coverage to almost 300,000 Alabamians. These are our friends and neighbors, hardworking Alabamians who don’t earn enough to afford health insurance. They work in our local restaurants, in our local retail shops and build our houses. Medicaid expansion would enable them to continue working while keeping their family healthy.

Now there is nothing earth-shattering about this suggestion or the argument being made here. The expansion would bring in buckets of federal tax dollars, and that money would be spent in the state of Alabama. It will also boost the bottom lines of hospitals and provide money that will matriculate its way around the Alabama economy.

The argument could easily be made that the fight against ObamaCare is lost politically. “Pre-existing conditions coverage” has led to higher costs, but that aspect remains popular. Republicans failed to repeal and replace it in 2017, and they don’t seem to keen on revisiting that fight right now.

Even with those battles fought and lost, Republican voters still dislike ObamaCare.

But lawmakers’ desire to acquire new spending in Alabama may be leading us toward a push to expand Medicaid after this round of elections.

There is a history for taking on politically unpopular issues in Alabama shortly after elections take place. In 2007, legislators gave themselves a pay raise. In 2015, Governor Robert Bentley (and the real Governor Rebekah Caldwell Mason) found himself advocating for additional revenue after running a campaign saying that very thing would not be necessary.

Senator Dial seems to be on an island by himself on this issue right now, and he may be a lone voice in the Alabama Republican Party making this call.

But don’t be surprised if this changes after November 5th.

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

11 hours ago

Watch: Dog goes crazy after Alabama owner returns from deployment overseas

(J. Williams)

Seeing military service members reunited with loved ones after lengthy periods of time overseas is always emotional, but this time it is man’s best friend stealing the show.

Alabama’s Captain Josh Williams just returned from a ten-month deployment on the Korea peninsula with his brigade, which is part of the 3rd Infantry Division. In a video recorded by his wife Anna, Williams is greeted by one very happy canine companion.

Watch:

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The dog’s name is Milo, and, as you can tell, he is excited to have Captain Williams back home.

Williams is a Cavalry Troop Commander and earned his commission as an Army Officer through Auburn University’s ROTC program. He is a fourth-generation Army officer, and his grandfather did a tour in Korea 55 years ago this year. When Williams first arrived on the Korean peninsula in January of this year the tensions were at their highest level since his grandfather was there, but diplomatic tensions have eased to the calmest levels in recent years during his deployment.

“Praise God,” Williams’ father, state Sen. Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City), told Yellowhammer News, referencing the deescalation of tensions with North Korea and his son’s safe return.

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

12 hours ago

Ivey freezes all early paroles, appoints former Tuscaloosa DA as Board of Pardons and Paroles chair

(AL Board of Pardons, K. Ivey/Flickr)

Governor Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall met with the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday regarding recent reporting that the board had been releasing violent inmates early at an alarmingly high rate.

Following the closed-door meeting, Ivey and Marshall held a press conference at the state capitol, in which Ivey expressed her disappointment and announced an executive order shaking up the board.

The governor’s executive order freezes all early paroles for 75 days, or until the board implements a plan of corrective action that is approved by Ivey and Marshall. This plan must be submitted in the next 30 days.

According to WSFA’s original investigation on the board’s actions, approximately 100 more violent inmates were set for possible early release between Monday and the end of October.

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Ivey also elevated former Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Lyn Head to chair the board. With Head now chairing the board, former chair Cliff Walker will now serve as an Associate Member along with Dewayne Spurlock. Head was appointed to the board effective September 2016.

Before being appointed Tuscaloosa County District Attorney in 2013, Head was hired as an assistant district attorney in that county in 1999. She previously worked in the District Attorney’s Office for the 10th Judicial Circuit in Bessemer, along with extensive private sector litigation experience. This includes work for Rosen, Harwood, Cook and Sledge (now Rosen Harwood) in Tuscaloosa and Webb & Eley in Montgomery. Head earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama in 1988 and graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1990.

You can read the entire executive order here.

Update – In a statement, Ivey added the following:

“Today, I have taken decisive action to address the alarming concerns surrounding the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. First, through Executive Order, I am directing a halt on all early parole hearings, so that the Board’s focus remains entirely on addressing the problems at hand. To shift the direction of Pardons and Paroles, I have also designated new leadership. The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles’ decisions are crucial to the safety of our state, and the issues here are not to be taken lightly. I directed the Board to produce a detailed, corrective action plan, which they will report back to the Attorney General and myself. It’s clear that things need to change, and I assure the families of victims and all Alabamians that I am working diligently to solve this problem.”

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

14 hours ago

Huntsville man arrested for terroristic threats against police officers

(Huntsville PD)

The Huntsville Police Department arrested a local man Friday after he allegedly threatened to kill officers on two occasions.

Micah Duane Chisom, 39, faces federal charges as a felon in possession of a firearm, as well as making terroristic threats to 911 call takers, dispatchers and police officers both over the phone and in person.

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According to a press release by the department, the first occasion occurred on September 24, when officers responded to a shots fired call at the man’s current residence. In this initial incident, Chisom called 911 and made threats regarding the officers on the scene.

Then on October 4, Chisom called 911 again and demanded that law enforcement respond to an abandoned former residence of his on Grizzard Road, threatening that he would kill and cut someone in half if they did not. Chisom threatened to kill or shoot police officers on this occasion, too.

Per WAAY, neighbors and law enforcement say he wanted police officers to go to the Grizzard Road address because his neighbor was parked in his portion of a shared driveway.

“We’ve never had anything that has happened over here like thats been going on with the shootings,” one neighbor at Chisom’s current residence said.

Chisom has an extensive criminal history, including four prior felony convictons for drug trafficking, domestic violence and firearms possession. He will be transferred to the federal court system and could face 10 to 15 years behind bars for making threats to first responders, as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm.

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

17 hours ago

Alabama veteran’s military mementos stolen – ‘God forgive me, but I would give my soul to get those things back’

(Fox 10 News/YouTube)

One veteran in Mobile served our nation abroad over a decade ago, and now the mementos he brought home to remember his service, his sacrifices and those he fought alongside have been stolen.

Carl Sanders, Jr. served in the U.S. Army for four years and experienced one tour in Iraq, according to a report by Fox 10.

Most of his keepsakes were packed up in a duffel bag that was recently stolen, including his uniform.

“I don’t regret one second of anything I’ve done serving my country and the people I served with,” he said.

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To remember that intense time in his life he packed up the bag with most of his memories. From an Iraqi flag and helmet he found on a mission to his uniform, Sanders’ remembrances of his military service have been snatched away by crime back at home.

“It’s the boots I lived in, I fought in,” Sanders explained. “A soldier’s boots and soldier’s uniform – that’s more important than anything.”

Sanders is rightfully upset over the cowardly crime and is scrambling to recover the items as he tries to never forget his service to America.

“Those things actually reminded me of who I served with, where I’ve been, some of the things we’ve had to do and I don’t ever want to forget that,” he outlined. “I don’t ever want to let that go.”

Thankfully, a few pictures and some patches still remain, regardless of whether police can recover the stolen items. Yet, what was taken from Sanders goes beyond a uniform or mementos.

“I still got a lot of memories in my head, some are hard to remember, some are hard to forget, but as time goes it kind of fades away,” Sanders shared. “That’s why I’m glad I do have some of these things – I can always pick up these pictures and look back and always remember.”

While he cherishes what he has left, Sanders prays the thief realizes what was taken and does the right thing.

Sanders said, “Outside of monetary value things go a lot further than that. You never know what something might mean to someone, maybe the smallest little object.”

An American hero’s uniform stolen away and, with it, his very identity assaulted.

“God forgive me, but I would give my soul to get those things back,” Sanders emphasized.

Sanders is currently putting together a scrapbook, from what little he does have left, for his family so his service is never forgotten.

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

17 hours ago

Selma mayor files lawsuit against city council

(ADECAgov/YouTube)

The mayor of Selma has filed a lawsuit against the city council over an effort to take away his appointment powers.

The Selma Times-Journal reports that Selma City Council Attorney Jimmy Nunn and Council President Corey Bowie said the lawsuit stems from a dispute over appointment powers.

The newspaper said council members on Sept. 25 voted to remove Mayor Darrio Melton’s ability to appoint the city’s police chief, fire chief and tax collector.

The newspaper reports that the lawsuit contends the council’s actions violated state law.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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17 hours ago

Shelby praises passage of water infrastructure bill vital to Alabama

(Wikicommons)

In a press release last week, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) praised the passage of S. 3021, entitled America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.

This bill, which answers President Donald Trump’s call to address the nation’s aging water infrastructure, is the most sweeping infrastructure package to be considered this Congress. Shelby’s office noted that it will help grow the economy, keep communities safe and cut red tape.

“The state of Alabama and the entire nation will benefit across the board from this water infrastructure bill,” Shelby said. “The bipartisan measure provides resources to keep our communities safe by improving drinking water and wastewater systems. It also authorizes important water projects that will create jobs and spur economic growth and development, increasing the impact of federal dollars. I look forward to witnessing the effects of this legislation and will continue to work diligently with my colleagues to prioritize our nation’s immediate and long-term infrastructure needs.”

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Besides his historic role as the chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, Shelby is also a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which handled the bill.

In a tweet, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) added his support.

“Glad to see important, bipartisan water infrastructure legislation heading to [President Trump] for his signature. This bill is important to the Port of Mobile and many other important projects in our state.”

This bipartisan legislation authorizes funding that will impact all 50 states and supports important projects that would improve nationally significant ports, maintain inland waterways, upgrade dams and irrigation systems and increase water storage. These projects will help safeguard the shipment of American-made goods to the coasts and around the world, while also ensuring water delivery to America’s ranchers and farmers. Further, the measure approves resources to help rural communities participate in successful federal leveraging programs.

In an effort to improve safety in local communities, the legislation provides maintenance for dams and levees and addresses drinking water and wastewater systems across the country. Additionally, the legislation reauthorizes the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds for the first time since 1996 – granting states the ability to address drinking water needs.

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

17 hours ago

Alabama’s Democratic U.S. House challengers ignoring Kavanaugh impeachment questions

(MSNBC/YouTube)

All of the Democratic candidates running against incumbent Republican members of the United States House of Representatives in Alabama have yet to state their positions on calls for the impeachment of Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Each Democratic candidate has failed to respond to Yellowhammer News’ requests for comment regarding whether they, if elected, would support the impeachment of Kavanaugh.

The questions were publicly posed on Twitter once on October 9 and twice on October 10, with no responses yet having been returned as of Monday morning. The Democratic candidates and their respective congressional districts are: Robert Kennedy, Jr. (AL-1), Tabitha Isner (AL-2), Mallory Hagan (AL-3), Lee Auman (AL-4), Peter Joffrion (AL-5) and Danner Kline (AL-6).

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Since October 10, Kennedy has tweeted 13 times, Isner 37 times, Hagan 31 times, Ausman twice, Joffrion 15 times and Kline twice.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has publicly claimed that impeaching Kavanaugh “would not be [her] plan” if the Democrats win back the House in November. This makes the Alabama candidates’ collective silence that much more unusual, given that all of the districts they are running in are solidly red.

The House challengers’ non-stance stance is reminiscent of Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, who ducked three direct interview questions on the subject in the days leading up to the vote. Senator Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation and Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-7) voiced her opposition, as well.

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

18 hours ago

7 Things: Sanctions on Saudi Arabia could be painful for all, President Trump grants Governor Ivey’s disaster request, and more …

(D. Trump/Instagram)

7. NBC News, and plenty of other outlets, told a lie this weekend about President Donald Trump, President Ulysses S. Grant and General Robert E. Lee,  and they took two days to correct it.

— President Trump was at a rally in Ohio telling a story about Ohio-born then-General Grant beating Robert E. Lee. When Trump talked about Lee he said he was a great general and most outlets decided this was Trump praising the Confederate cause.

— The NBC News’ retraction via Tweet was long after the story spread, “CORRECTION: An earlier tweet misidentified the general President Trump described as ‘incredible’ at a rally in Ohio. It was Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, not Gen. Robert E. Lee.”

6. Still too early to poll 2020, yet we are still going to do it.

— Democrats are already thinking about 2020. The leaders before the race even starts are former Vice President Joe Biden with 33 percent and Sen. Bernie Sanders with 13 percent. Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren are next, with 9 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

— In 2014, Trump wasn’t even in the running for Republicans, Mitt Romney was in the lead with 20 percent, while Hillary Clinton was polling at 65 percent.

5. Hillary Clinton LOVES the sound of her own voice.

— On CBS Sunday Morning, Hillary Clinton denied her husband’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky was an abuse of power, and that President Bill Clinton was right not to resign during the scandal, where he committed perjury.

— The comments were a reaction to Leslie Stahl asking Clinton what the difference was between her husband’s allegations and Brett Kavanaugh’s. Clinton chose to focus on the least serious of her husband’s many sexual misconduct issues.

4. Imprisoned pastor released in Turkey, Alabama Congressman Robert Aderholt praises the decision.

— On Friday, after months of sanctions on the country, Pastor Andrew Brunson’s was released from a prison in Turkey after almost two years in confinement, accused of associating with a group that tried to carry out a coup.

— Congressman Aderholt’s statement read, ““I’m so thankful for the release of American Pastor Andrew Brunson from prison in Turkey.  He was detained simply for practicing his Christian faith. I’m also thankful that President Trump and his administration took unprecedented action to work for Brunson’s release.  The President made his release a top priority from the moment he took office.  And of course, above all else, I am thankful to God for Dr. Brunson’s release, health and safety.””

3. Everybody wants prisoners released until they start releasing prisoners.

— Gov. Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall are planning to meet with the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles after learning that violent offenders are being released too early; the board says there is no evidence to that assertion.

— The early releases were brought to Ivey and Marshall’s attention by Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey who wrote, “The current Board has repeatedly and consistently released violent offenders after they have served only a minute portion of lengthy sentences.”

2. President Trump approves Governor Kay Ivey’s request for a disaster declaration.

— President Donald Trump approved Governor Ivey’s Emergency Disaster Declaration and Ivey thanked him in a press release saying, “This assistance will help us recover some of the cost of response and recovery efforts conducted by the state and local governments. This will be a huge benefit to the smaller communities in Alabama that have been affected.”

— The Alabama Farmers Federation has set up a fund to help farmers hurt by the storm, and you can donate to farmers who lost their crops and barn by going to alabamafarmersfoundation.org.

1. Saudi Arabia threatens that any sanctions against their kingdom will be met with retaliatory measures.

— The fallout from the disappearance and suspected murder of a Washington Post contributor by the Saudi Arabian government continues and President Trump is now promising “severe punishment” if the royal court was responsible.

— American leaders are calling for action, and if action is taken, there is a good chance the retaliation will be in the form of higher oil prices which will impact every aspect of the world’s economy.

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Tips on smoking brisket the right way

(Mealfit)

By Thomas Cox

I have tried to cook brisket numerous times and have screwed it up most of them.

Brisket is hard to cook because of timing.

• If you don’t cook it long enough, it is inedible
• If you cook it too hot, the bark is too hard and it, again, is inedible.
• If you cook it too long, it falls apart and that is not what you want.

So, there are a lot of ways to screw it up.

This method worked out wonderfully. We did a video, but left out some of the details. You can watch it here:

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I cooked it overnight simply because I did not make the time to do it during the day and we were using the smoker during the day. In the afternoon, trim the fat but leave ¼ in fat but carve big hard fat off. Then season with brisket rub.

I have my own rub that I make that I will be releasing soon.

It is a mix of:

• Salt
• Garlic
• Pepper
• Paprika

Simple stuff.

• Season good both sides.
• Set for 2-3 hours to let it sweat. Do not put in fridge and bring to room temp.
• Load smoker with wood. I use cherry and pecan.
• Put on fat side up and set your smoker to 215 degrees (Be above Boiling point so fat can be rendered). Tip: I put it on at night around 10.

Cooking Times

Small Brisket (10-11 lbs) – 7 Hours @ 215 Degrees

Large Brisket (14-16 lbs) – 9 Hours @ 220 Degrees

• The next morning, pull and wrap with a bunch of foil. Use the heavy duty foil and wrap it 3 layers thick.
• Put back smoker @ 220 degrees for about 2 hours.
• Cook to 202-203 internal temp. Make sure you use an internal thermometer and test it in the thick side of the meat.
• Take immediately off the smoker and put in a cooler. TIP: I use an Orion 65 and it is OK for it to sit in the cooler for 6-8 hours.

• 3 hours before event/dinner: Slice against grain, pour BBQ Sauce on top and wrap in Saran wrap. Then, put it in a ½ pan and put back in cooler.

I did one brisket like this and then I did another one where I left it in the foil and sliced it on site. So, it was in the foil in the cooler for 11 hours. Tip: the one I sliced on site was better.

I cooked this brisket for the same group of friends that I cooked the first one I tested.

After slicing the last few ends off the last brisket of the night, Jeff comes up to me and says, “Brisket was great! Helluva lot better than the first one you did.”

That’s why I love my friends.

Thomas Cox is the founder and owner of mealfit.co
He can be reached at thomas@mealfit.co
or on Instagram @mealfit.co
Facebook: @Mealfit
on Youtube: Mealfit

1 day ago

Almirola scores victory in Stewart-Haas dominated 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

(Yellowhammer News)

TALLADEGA — “Boring.” “Momentum-killer.” “Snoozefest.”

Those were some of the ways the majority of Sunday’s 1000Bulbs.com was described by some — that is right until the very end.

After a late-race caution and a subsequent overtime period, Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Smithfield Bacon for Life Ford, was able to score his second career NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race victory.

By virtue of the win, Almirola joins Chase Elliott with a clinched spot in the next round of eight in the Monster Energy Cup’s playoffs.

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Almirola’s victory was his first in four years and the second of his career. His first also came at a restrictor-plate race track in the 2014 Daytona’s Coke Zero 400.

“I knew when we qualified with all four of us starting up there in the front,” he said. “We kind of talked about it in our competition meeting that we needed to be committed to each other. We needed to score as many stage points as we can.”

Almirola added, “When we all qualified top four, all of us together — I knew that all four of us were going to be tough to beat.”

Aric Almirola in Victory Lane at Talladega, 10/14/2018 (Yellowhammer News)

Almirola likened the Stewart-Haas effort to the past efforts from the stable of Roger Penske-owned cars at restrictor-plate race tracks.

“We’ve been chasing those Penske cars at the restrictor-plate races,” he said. “They’ve been able to do somewhat of what we did today where they get out front, Brad [Keselowski], Joey [Logano] and [Ryan] Blaney — you know, get organized and basically dominate the race.”

“It was us against the field,” he added.

Second-place finisher and Almirola teammate Clint Bowyer talked about the team effort, noting that there had been other times in NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series history where teams had dominant performances, as Stewart-Haas did on Sunday.

“I don’t think you can write enough about the job that everybody at Stewart-Haas did,” Bowyer said. “Those cars were so fast. I’ve seen other guys, other teams, other organizations put that together before. The Hendrick organization has been there before. The Gibbs cars have done that before. It was our turn, you know what I mean? The Penske cars have done that before. We finally got all four cars to the cream of the crop, and oh my gosh was it awesome.”

The early stages of the race were also dominated by the Stewart-Haas Racing cars, with pole winner Kurt Busch winning stage one and Kevin Harvick winning the second stage.

Field, led by Kurt Busch, driver of the Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford, heads to the green, 10/14/2018 (Yellowhammer News)

However, the magic ran out for those two Stewart-Haas drivers. Busch and Harvick came up short on fuel in the end and came away with 14th place and 28th place finishes respectively.

For much of the race, the pack racing that spectators had become accustomed to over the years in restrictor-plate racing was not on display. For the first time in a long time at the Talladega Superspeedway, a Monster Energy Cup race had long spells of single-file racing and was broken up into two or three distinctive packs throughout.

That brand of racing was called boring by some of those watching from home.

NASCAR legend and Alabama native Bobby Allison signs autographs, 10/14/2018 (Yellowhammer News)

Among the manufacturers, Ford had the most dominant showing at the aerodynamic-sensitive track with five drivers finishing in the top 10 — Almirola, Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in third, Joey Logano in fifth and Paul Menard in ninth.

Two Toyotas finished in the top 10, Denny Hamlin with a fourth-place finish and Erik Jones with an eighth-place finish. Chevrolets filled out the rest of the top 10 with AJ Allmendinger in sixth, Jimmie Johnson, who rallied from mid-race trouble for a seventh-place finish and Regan Smith with a tenth-place finish.

The car of #48 Jimmie Johnson in the pits after some early race trouble, 10/14/2018 (Yellowhammer News)

Kevin Harvick came away with the points lead, followed by Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer rounding out the top five.

Drivers make their way onto pit road during a mid-race caution, 10/14/2018 (Yellowhammer News)

Next up on the schedule is the Hollywood Casino 400 at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City as just five races remain to determine the 2018 Monster Energy Cup series championship.

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

1 day ago

Trump approves Ivey’s Emergency Disaster Declaration request for Alabama

(Gov. Kay Ivey/YouTube)

In response to Governor Kay Ivey’s Thursday request, President Donald Trump on Saturday approved an Emergency Disaster Declaration for the state of Alabama as a result of Hurricane Michael.

This declaration means that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Program will provide assistance under category B to affected Alabama counties.

“I greatly appreciate President Trump approving our request for federal assistance. Alabama has suffered damage, but we have also stepped in to help our neighbors,” Ivey said in a press release. “This assistance will help us recover some of the cost of response and recovery efforts conducted by the state and local governments. This will be a huge benefit to the smaller communities in Alabama that have been affected.”

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Alabama has been granted a Federal Emergency Declaration for the state and Dale, Geneva, Henry and Houston counties. The declaration will help local and state governments cover costs associated with preparing and responding to the category four hurricane. Under the Public Assistance Program, aid will be provided at 75 percent federal funding for approved costs related to Michael.

Some counties who were not hit as severely will still have preparatory costs covered, per the White House. Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent funding in the counties of Baldwin, Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Escambia, Mobile, Montgomery, Pike and Russell and the Poarch Creek Band of Indians.

“Working together with our federal partners is an important part of helping Alabamians move back to some sense of normalcy when impacted by a storm like Hurricane Michael,” Alabama EMA Director Brian Hastings outlined. “We are extremely thankful that although Hurricane Michael was a historic storm our state did not encounter any loss of life.”

The state’s EMA is working with all impacted areas to assess damages in order to possibly qualify for additional assistance to aid in the repairs to infrastructure and the collection and disposal of debris.

On Thursday, Ivey met with statewide EMA and county-level emergency management officials and toured storm damage in Houston and Geneva Counties. She then held a press conference held at the Houston County EMA office., along with Hastings, in which the governor commended the courageous, exemplary efforts by emergency management workers, first responders and linemen to help Alabamians recover in the wake of disaster.

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

1 day ago

Alabama Farmers Federation establishes relief fund for farmers affected by Hurricane Michael

(Alabama Farmers Federation/Twitter)

To help the state’s farmers recover from Hurricane Michael’s devastation, the Alabama Farmers Federation has established a relief fund to directly benefit producers.

Federation President Jimmy Parnell, in a press release, thanked the many Alabamians who have expressed support for the hardworking producers affected by the historic hurricane.

“Farmers in south Alabama have received an outpouring of support from neighbors and people across the country,” Parnell said. “Many have asked where they can donate to help farmers who’ve lost their crops and barns, so we have created a special fund within the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation to accept these gifts.”

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Donations are tax deductible and may be made online here or by sending checks payable to Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation to P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, AL 36191.

Parnell, in addition to his extensive duties leading Alfa and the Federation, also serves as the foundation president.

“Hurricane Michael devastated crops, homes, barns and livelihoods in the Wiregrass,” Parnell outlined. “Farmers are resilient, but recovery takes time and money. Alabama producers are grateful for financial help from friends and supporters — and covet your thoughts and prayers during the rebuilding process.”

The Farmers Federation is also working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Alabama Cooperative Extension System, state and national elected officials and others to collect crop damage reports. Alfa Insurance agents and claims adjusters are on the scene helping customers hit by the Category 4 hurricane.

All funds collected by the Foundation through November 30 will be directed toward farmer losses not covered by a farmowner policy, crop insurance or disaster relief programs.

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

2 days ago

Southern Research is advancing green chemistry in the heart of Alabama

(Southern Research)

Birmingham’s Southern Research has developed a reputation in cancer treatment and other medical advancement, but an area where it is showing much promise today could end up having its greatest worldwide impact.

Environmental research has emerged as an exciting field for Southern Research, so much so that it has become one of three pillars the institution is focusing on in its Change Campaign fundraising efforts.

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The “Earth” pillar focuses on green chemistry and ways to reduce the use of petroleum in consumer goods or find ways of recycling carbon dioxide, among other initiatives. The mind pillar focuses on neuroscience to find treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS. The body pillar focuses on cancer treatments.

The fundraising for green chemistry is a vital part of Southern Research’s efforts in the field.

“It is highly competitive,” said Amit Goyal, director of Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis at Southern Research. “A lot of this is high-risk, high-reward, so it is funded by federal funds.”

Most federal funds are directed at universities and national labs, Goyal said.

“A lot of times good ideas also do not get funded,” he said. “It’s not just that they’re not good enough.”

Jonathan Geisen is an attorney with Baker Donelson law firm and is a “Change Agent” working on the Change Campaign for the Earth pillar.

“I think green chemistry, environmental R&D is going to have a harder time sometimes raising funds than health-care research or other medical innovations,” Geisen said. “It’s a long game and I think it’s the sort of thing that we really need to support.”

Geisen said he knew more about the other areas of research than he did green chemistry when he joined the Change Campaign.

“When I got involved with this particular group and met with some of the scientists and met with some of the other people involved with the program, I was just blown away,” he said.

The more he knows about the areas of focus, the more excited he is to support the Earth pillar, Geisen said.

“I think some of the things that Southern Research is doing – alternative fuels, different types of recycling plans – there are so many things going on here that I was unaware of until I got involved,” he said. “It’s the sort of thing that we need to support in this community to continue to improve our life.”

Goyal said there are a couple of areas where Southern Research shows great promise.

“There are two areas that we are really excited about,” he said. “(One is) a chemical that we are trying to make from sugars extracted from plants that are used in fibers in clothing and carbon fibers. It’s a high-growth area, so it might have a lower inertia to become commercialized if we’re successful. The second is to use CO2. There is a lot of CO2 that if it can be consumed rather than just emitted it can lower greenhouse gas emissions.”

Philanthropic funds give Southern Research freedom to explore those ideas. The payoff could be huge, Goyal said, as a large amount of petroleum-based products could become plant-based and have rippling benefits on the economy.

“It is not easily to compete with petroleum-derived sources, these things developed over the last century,” he said. “If you think of a commodity chemical, it usually costs about $1 a kilogram, so there is not much room between the feedstock price and the final product, which is a chemical in this case. To develop processes at scale to produce at the same economic value with less greenhouse gas is quite challenging. We’re trying to address that.”

Geisen said Southern Research is a vital part of the three-legged stool that makes up the entrepreneurial and innovation base for Birmingham, along with UAB and Innovation Depot.

“Birmingham needs things like Southern Research,” he said. “We need places that are innovative, that are bringing the best and the brightest to Birmingham.”

The Change Campaign ends October 11 with the “An Evening of Change” event.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 days ago

Talladega Superspeedway ‘Transformation’ renovation project to start ‘in a matter of days’

(Yellowhammer News)

TALLADEGA – Sunday before the 1000Bulbs.com 500 green flag, Talladega Superspeedway chairman Grant Lynch unveiled some aspects of the track’s $50 million infield renovations set to begin shortly after the checkered flag drops on Sunday.

Lynch, who is set to retire as track chairman at the end of next year, boasted about how he is leaving the sport.

“To say we’re excited about this process and what we’re going to be bringing to the fans would be an understatement,” Lynch said. “We’re proud of what the company is going to invest in us. It’s going to be north of $50 million.”

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“And everybody, I’ve talked about my retirement – this is a hell of a way to go out,” he added. “I’m going to work until November 30 of next year. I get to build one more thing, [a] huge thing for the Frances. So, I am one happy fellow right now.”

Among those infield renovations is a wider tunnel that will provide access to the 2.66-mile track’s massive infield. Lynch said he anticipates starting construction on that around a “week or so” after Sunday’s race.

Proposed new Talladega Superspeedway tunnel (Talladega Superspeedway PR)

“It will be about a week or so before we start breaking ground, or even more,” he said. “We’ve got to lay out everything for the tunnel and then we’re going to start digging.”

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

AG Marshall on the front lines of battling Alabama’s opioid crisis

(Marshall Campaign)

Just last month, Attorney General Steve Marshall attended the opening of a treatment center in Mobile aimed at combating the growing opioid epidemic in our state. Marshall gave remarks at the opening of the new Pathway Healthcare location, stressing the importance of acting now to put an end to the crippling effects of addiction in Alabama.

“Some of you are aware of the personal story of my life. Having seen what addiction can do to families, this is a personal issue for me going forward and will continue to be a personal issue for me as attorney general.”

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The opioid epidemic is one of Marshall’s key issues that he intends to continue working on while in office. The new treatment center provides resources that redirects focus to the root of the addiction. As the co-chair of Governor Ivey’s Opioid Overdose & Addiction Council, Marshall has bridged communication between all sectors of law enforcement and developed recommendations to combat the epidemic after six months of extensive research. He mentioned the state has begun to implement an action plan to fight opioid addiction.

“Badges and guns matter in this issue. But for us to make tremendous strides going forward, we’ve got to deal with those individuals right now who are suffering from these addictions to be able to get help.”

Marshall has remained focused on ensuring state and local law enforcement have the resources they need to effectively deal with those trafficking drugs while in office and plans to continue working with community members, activists and the church to identify how to most effectively treat the problem.

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

2 days ago

Prevention, therapy may be key to slowing down how we age successfully

(Pixabay)

It is becoming increasingly clear that the biological rate of aging can be slowed, and Steven Austad, Ph.D., chair of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Biology, believes the geroscience hypothesis holds great promise for dramatic increases in life expectancies – including the eradication of many chronic health problems now and in future generations.

In the paper “Aging as a biological target for prevention and therapy,” Austad and colleagues from The Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine stated their view that addressing the aging process itself is key to alleviating many health-related issues associated with aging.

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“Treating the underlying aging process, which we actually know a lot about now, would allow us to basically delay the onset or get rid of diseases or disabilities of later life such as cancer, heart disease, vision and hearing problems, and joint pain at the same time with one form of treatment,” said Austad, a distinguished professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. “It is a very different concept of medicine as we now know it.”

While those researching the biology of aging have long held this view, Austad says the subject is coming more and more into focus in light of the continuing aging of the global population, which in the United States and elsewhere is having a profound impact on the cost of health care and pension plans.

“Chronic health problems attendant on the unprecedented aging of the human population in the 21st century threaten to disrupt economies and degrade the quality of later life throughout the developed world,” according to the paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

Roby: Rebuilding together

(M. Roby/Facebook)

Hurricane Michael, the third most powerful hurricane to ever make landfall on the United States mainland, ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia on October 10th. While only early estimates are available at this point in time, it has been reported that more than 650,000 homes and businesses across the Southeast lost power, and 60,000 of those are in Alabama. Thus far, the Coast Guard says it has rescued 30 people, mostly from badly damaged homes. Hundreds of families lost everything, and it has been confirmed that at least half a dozen people were killed.

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While Hurricane Michael appears to have done its worst in Panama City, Florida, and the nearby areas, Barbour, Dale, Henry, Geneva and Houston Counties in our district were also impacted. It could potentially take days, or even weeks, before we know the full scale of the damage, but we do know that Hurricane Michael is the most powerful storm to ever hit Houston County according to recorded history.

According to The Dothan Eagle, Dothan Fire Chief Larry Williams said crew members performed 22 rescues during the storm. We’ve not yet received official word on how many injuries there are, but we have been told there are several, some of which are severe. Crews across the Wiregrass remain in search and rescue mode to date.

Our farmers face significant troubles as well. While the full scale of the damage to local agriculture is still being assessed, Hurricane Michael dealt a devastating blow to cotton farmers in the area. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to view some of the cotton crop firsthand, and it was clear that our cotton farmers were set up to have a very good yield this year. Wiregrass peanut farmers are waiting to see the full extent of devastation to their crop, too.

As our cotton farmers, peanut farmers, and farmers of other commodities in our district learn more about the impact of this storm on their crops, my office is eager to assist in any way and will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on assistance that may be available to impacted farms. Agriculture and its related industries are the engine of our economy in Alabama’s Second District, and this catastrophic storm has unfortunately resulted in an economic setback.

Hurricane Michael was an unprecedented disaster for our district and the Southeast. While the threat of severe weather is no longer hovering over us, those who live in the Wiregrass – and not to mention the people across the Florida Panhandle and parts of Georgia – are facing terrible damage. My office has been engaged with FEMA, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross, and others throughout this difficult time. We stand ready to assist in whatever ways we can as we work through the aftermath of this storm. I encourage anyone who lives in Alabama’s Second District to contact my office for help, and we will do all that we can to provide assistance and point you in the right direction. We are committed to ensuring no one endures this time of rebuilding alone.

Above all, please join me in praying for all those impacted by Hurricane Michael. Some families have lost their loved ones, their homes and their livelihoods. I encourage everyone to help out with relief efforts in whatever way you can. We should all be deeply thankful for the first responders and all those working to repair the damage. This is a very, very trying and difficult time for so many people across the Southeast, and we will get through it together.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

2 days ago

Veteran Driver Timothy Peters takes Saturday Camping World Truck Series event at Talladega Superspeedway

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

TALLADEGA — Although much of Alabama was either preparing to watch the Crimson Tide on the way to their next rout or watching the Auburn Tigers go down to the University of Tennessee, the drivers of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series were putting on a fantastic show at the Talladega Superspeedway.

Coming away with the checkered flag and the Fr8Auctions 250 “Vulcan” trophy was Timothy Peters, driver of the Kingman Chevrolet, who won on a last-lap pass as trucks were crashing around him.

It was the 11th career victory for the 38-year-old NASCAR veteran, who is driving for GMS Racing for three races.

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GMS Racing winning driver Timothy Peters flanked alongside crew chief Jerry Baxter and owner Maury Gallagher (Jeff Poor/YHN)

“If I kept my head on straight, I knew I would have a shot to win,” Peters said in his post-race press conference. “You know, God is good, and he’s got a plan, and I’m just glad to be here sitting in front of you guys talking about my day.”

Finishing second was Myatt Snider, driver of the RideTV Ford, who tied his career-best in what he described as an “insanely hectic” race.

“It was insanely hectic,” he said. “Everyone was just kind of darting all over the place. Luckily I got behind some good trucks. I got behind Timothy for awhile. Me and him worked together really well, so I’m just proud of everybody on my team for being awesome.

The race is a cutoff race in the series championship playoff. Surviving Talladega and advancing to the next “Round of 6” were Johnny Sauter, Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, Brett Moffitt, Matt Crafton and Grant Enfinger.

The Fr8Auctions 250 was a warm-up for the weekend’s feature event on Sunday, the 1000Bulbs.com 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race, the second (of three) in the Round of 12, with a green flag time of 1 p.m. CT.

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

2 days ago

Jefferson County sheriff impacted by #MyTurn movement

Mark Pettway and Mike Hale/Facebook)

It’s not clear to me how or why it happened, but running for elected office has become a #MyTurn movement.

#MyTurn went mainstream with the failed candidacy of Hillary Clinton. She had no policies, no vision for America, no apparent rationale to be elected president – except one: she thought it was her turn. So did the Democrat Party. She was going to be the first female president of the United States. That was the Clinton campaign in a nutshell – it’s my turn.

Quick disclaimer, I created the hashtag #MyTurn writing this piece.

In a few weeks, Alabamians will go to the polls to elect a governor, members of Congress and local elected officials. The #MyTurn movement is well represented at the local level.

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Let’s take the Jefferson County sheriff race fter the mayor of Birmingham, arguably the most crucial role in the Greater Birmingham region. The sheriff provides law enforcement to the county and maintains full law enforcement jurisdiction in all cities and townships. It’s an important, difficult job. The best person for the job should have the job. The street they live on, where they shop, and where their parents went to school are not qualifications. Nor is #MyTurn.

The Democrat running for sheriff of Jefferson County, Sergeant Mark Pettway, is a poster child for the #MyTurn movement. Like Hillary Clinton before him, he is not campaigning on new ideas to keep the community safe. He seems oblivious to the strides and initiatives made within the department he is meant to be part of.

Don’t take my word for it, let’s look at Pettway’s four-point “Pettway Protective Plan,” outlined in his recent mailer:

1. “Protect our children in school” by “increasing the presence of both law enforcement and protective equipment…”

Good idea, except it has already been done. Sheriff Hale implemented a program earlier this year to place a School Resource Officer in every Jefferson County School.

2. “Equipping Deputies with Body and Dash Cameras”

Maybe Pettway failed to show up at work the day the fifth-generation body and dash cameras were rolled out in Jefferson County? Maybe he doesn’t understand the enormous cost savings resulting from a cloud-based system. Pettway does not seem to understand technology and has no grasp of the tremendous effectiveness of the Metro Area Crime Center (MACC).

3. “Criminal Justice Reform so inmates can earn a GED or learn a trade”

I guess Mr. Pettway missed the memos over the years?  GED programs have been available in Jefferson County for a number of years.  An average pre-trial inmate stay is 145 days. Despite the relatively short time frame, in recent years between 35 and 60 inmates have graduated with a GED.

4. “Law Enforcement Training”

Maybe the sergeant hasn’t been keeping up with his own training? To quote the county’s own website, “The Sheriff’s Academy is the only law enforcement academy in the state where the training curriculum is specifically developed for the unique duties and responsibilities of deputy sheriffs. This allows for the teaching of departmental specific topics”.

Like any bona fide #MyTurn candidate, Pettway is validating the incumbent’s initiatives. The cruellest blow, perhaps, is that by ineffectively plagiarizing Sheriff Mike Hale’s programs, Pettway has given a big thumbs up to the incumbent and his policies. A sheriff is charged with keeping the county safe by enforcing law and order.

#MyTurn is not and should not be a qualification. Democrat or Republican, your safety and security depend on it. I urge you to vote for the most qualified, innovative person to wear the sheriff’s star. #MyTurn politics should not impact your safety. #MyTurn is the siren call of the unqualified. Just ask citizen Clinton.

LCDR Greg “GW” Keeley, USN (ret) is the Managing Partner of Dreadnaught.

He was recently included on The Yellowhammer Power & Influence 50 the annual list of the 50 most powerful and influential players in Alabama. Greg is a contributor to The Hill, Washington Times, Daily Caller, Fox News. He is a veteran of Iraq and, Afghanistan and served in the U.S> Congress as Senior Advisor to the Vice Chairman of the House Armed Service Committee, the Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee and the Chairman of the Republican Senate Policy Committee.

2 days ago

AABE Birmingham Chapter brings careers to students

(Dennis Washington/Alabama NewsCenter)

“This is bigger than cool. It’s amazing.”

That was Brianna Desirae Beverly’s reaction to the recent Energy Awareness Fair, hosted by the Birmingham Chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy. (AABE). The seventh-grader at Wilkerson Middle School already has big plans for her future, and through this fair, she saw firsthand that technology can help her reach those goals.

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“It’s hard to say what I liked best about the event because everything here is so amazing,” said Brianna, who wants to become an architectural engineer. “There’s a bunch of kids I know here, and they are enjoying what they see, especially the technology.”

More than 200 seventh-grade students and teachers from Wilkerson, Wylam and Hudson middle schools thronged the exhibits at the career fair at Alabama Power’s12th Street Crew Headquarters in downtown Birmingham on Oct. 5.

The event was designed to introduce students to careers in technology, engineering, math and science, particularly jobs in the energy sector. For those students interested in other career paths, there were booths that focused on business, human resources, marketing and accounting. The event was part of AABE’s annual Black Energy Awareness Month held in October.

Phillip Coffey, chairman of the chapter’s Education and Scholarship Committee and Alabama Power market specialist, said the organization is hoping to “generate a spark” in these seventh-graders.

“Middle school is where students typically start getting exposed to future careers,” Coffey said. “By the time they get into high school, they are already choosing classes that will help prepare them for college. We wanted to catch them at a young age and broaden their horizons by exposing them to the latest technology and energy careers.”

Circe Starks said the chapter “intentionally” invited students from the Birmingham City School System.

“We partnered with the Birmingham Education Foundation because we wanted to remove all barriers to attendance, such as lack of transportation, to maximize the opportunity for students to be exposed to future careers,” said Starks, Southern Power compliance director.

Starks said the organization is striving to open these students’ minds to a whole new world.

“As children who are trying to decide what they want to be when they grow up, what makes the biggest impact are the people they know and what they have seen,” she said. “I grew up in the Bessemer City School System, where the only professionals I interacted with on a regular basis were nurses and schoolteachers. We are hoping to expose these kids to other professions to let them know there are other career opportunities open to them.”

The fair featured outdoor demonstrations of drone technology, bucket trucks and electric cars.

After they viewed the outdoor exhibits, the students moved inside, where they took part in hands-on activities. They toured a substation thanks to virtual reality, built a circuit, used iPads to view the innovations in the company’s Smart Neighborhood, and saw a robot in action and a mock-up of the new units at Vogtle Nuclear Plant in Georgia.

The students played a bean game to learn about budgeting, participated in mock job interviews and wrote their own brief biography.

T’Marcus Threatt, Wilkerson Middle School seventh-grader, said the best part of the day for him was the bucket truck and drone demonstrations and learning the benefits of driving a Tesla.

“I wanted to attend this event so I can learn about technology and the things around me,” Threatt said.

The AABE Birmingham Chapter teamed with Alabama Power and the Birmingham Education Foundation to coordinate the event. Other sponsors included the Alabama Power Service Organization, Southern Power, the Southern Company Energy Innovation Center, UAB, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), McWane Science Center, iCan, Balch & Bingham and Bud’s Best Cookies.

“This event is huge for our students,” said Adrian Jones, operations manager, Birmingham Education Foundation. “Alabama Power and AABE are doing a great job of helping our students get exposed to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields in a fun and exciting way. I think when there’s talk about math and science, a lot of students disconnect because they are not able to see the hands-on experience they can get by coming to an event like this one.”

The AABE Birmingham Chapter works to provide energy professionals, executives, entrepreneurs and students a pathway to learn more about the energy industry through education, mentoring, community service and networking. As part of that effort, AABE provides scholarships to students to encourage them to pursue careers in energy-related fields.

“This fair is just the start,” said Coffey. “We want to make an impact in Birmingham City Schools and the community as well. We want to arm students with knowledge and resources so they can be prepared to go to the next level.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)