10 months ago

7 Things: AG Barr says there was spying on the Trump campaign, Alabama congressman wants Democrats to help on immigration, ethics revamp hits a wall in Alabama legislature and more …

7. Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange arrested in Ecuadoran embassy

— A bearded, ranting and irritated-looking Assange was removed from the embassy he has been hiding in since 2012. He went there to avoid extradition to Sweden on a sexual assault charge. Depending on the year, and his actions, Assange has been hailed as a hero or a villain. His leaking of Bradley Manning’s stolen classified documents made him a hero of the American left, while the American right praised him and his organization for their role in exposing Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee in 2016. Wikileaks is widely believed to be a Russian front group used to create dissension across the globe.

6. The Alabama House approved an increased budget for the prison system; More will have to be done to avoid more federal complaints

— There has been a $40 million increase approved for the budget for the prison system. Governor Kay Ivey requested the increase before the Department of Justice report was released that claimed the Alabama prisons have unconstitutional conditions. $30 million will go to hiring 500 more correctional officers and increase the pay of current officers by 20 percent. Lack of staff and budget were two main issued referenced in the DOJ report. The budget passed with a 103-0 vote. Construction of new prisons, which the Alabama Department of Corrections is seeking, could cost $900 million and cost $78 million a year to operate.

5. 400 new jobs coming to North Alabama, with more expected to follow

— On Wednesday, Governor Kay Ivey visited Athens and announced that Toyota Boshoku will build its $50 million supplier facility in eastern Limestone County. This is the first announcement of indirect jobs coming to north Alabama due to the new Mazda Toyota plant. It’s expected that the Mazda Toyota plant could bring in as many as 4,000 indirect jobs once it’s fully operational. The Toyota Boshoku plant will produce 400 jobs and will be on 42 acres in the Breeding North Industrial Park where they will be producing seat systems. Construction is expected to begin around May 1 of 2019.

4. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has released his “Medicare for All” plan

— On Wednesday, Sen. Sanders introduced his Medicare for All healthcare plan again. The plan would ensure healthcare for all Americans, and Sanders claims that the health care proposal isn’t socialism. Sanders said, “It’s similar to what the Canadians have.” It’s estimated that the plan could cost nearly $32 trillion over the next decade. His plan has the support of many of his fellow Democratic candidates for the presidency. Sanders claims that his plan would eliminate insurance companies that make billions in profit every year, also alluding to the idea that insurance providers would be reduced to providing nose jobs. Will Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) force Democrats to go on the record as he did with the Green New Deal?

3. Revamped ethics bill will not happen this session

— Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) tweeted, “Ethics bill possibly dead for the session.” The bill by Senator Greg Albritton (R-Range) was criticized for its sweeping changes that would have removed the limit for gifts that individuals could give to Alabama officials. Ethics Commissioner Tom Albritton, no relation, said this bill could have potentially opened the door to rampant corruption. But Sen. Albritton claimed he was just attempting to clarify a law he felt was a bit murky. If the bill comes back, the attention the bill has received will probably significantly change the bill. Ward told AL.com, “It’s just too controversial too fast. There’s a lot of questions in there. There’s a lot of concerns. You’ve heard from the members. You’ve heard from the public. There are just a lot of concerns.” The Common Core repeal and a plan to privatize liquor sales bills have stalled as well.

2. Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Saks) said that Democrats need to give resources to deal with the border crisis

— Rogers was on Fox News Channel’s “Outnumbered Overtime” where he said, “We need the Democrats to finally give us the resources for the things they said we needed all along…They said we needed people and technology resources on the border to secure it. The president is going ahead with the barrier so they need to come around and support the things they said we needed.” Rogers also said that President Trump is getting barriers put up at the border, as well as moving Border Patrol officers around so more are on the ground rather than in administrative roles. Rogers added, “Trump is going forward with getting the fencing built. We went down with him last Friday. We were able to see the fence and demonstrate to the American public how different this is from what we’ve used in the past, how successful it is and to highlight the problem.”

1. Attorney General William Barr thinks federal authorities spied on the Trump campaign

— On Wednesday, AG Barr testified that federal authorities spied on the 2016 Trump campaign. Barr said, “I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated. … Spying on a political campaign is a big deal.” Barr doesn’t think that improper surveillance occurred, but he’s concerned so he’s looking into it. This spying was alleged by Donald Trump and denied by the media and intelligence community for almost two years. Democrats who spent two years pushing a debunked conspiracy theory of Russian collusion are understandably unhappy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) weighed in by saying, “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has accused Barr of peddling conspiracy theories. There is also an inspector general investigation into leaks of classified information involving General Flynn to the Washington Post.

17 mins ago

Jalen Hurts missed grandfather’s funeral for Senior Bowl practice — ‘Incredibly difficult’

Publicly this past week, it appeared that former University of Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts was enjoying his return to the state as he prepared for Saturday’s Senior Bowl game.

However, under the surface, Hurts has also been hurting.

According to a report by NFL.com, Hurts’ maternal grandfather passed away on January 13. His funeral was Wednesday during a daily Senior Bowl Week practice.

Since Hurts had committed to play in the Senior Bowl before the funeral was scheduled and the week’s practices are integral to NFL scouts evaluating Hurts ahead of April’s NFL Draft, he missed the funeral to stay in Mobile this week.

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“He’s a team player,” Hurts’ mother told NFL.com on Friday. “Even though that was family, he’s worked all his life to get here and this is a critical time. He’s very, very family-oriented.”

Nicole Lynn, Hurts’ agent, reportedly described the two as very close.

“Jalen had an incredibly difficult decision to make after finding out his grandpa’s funeral would be during the Wednesday practice of the Senior Bowl,” Lynn said in a statement to NFL.com. “With a heavy heart, Jalen ultimately felt his grandpa would want him to keep his commitment and play in the game — so Jalen decided to play. I would be lying if I said this week has not been extremely difficult for Jalen considering the circumstance, but I admire his strength through it all.”

Incredibly, playing through the pain, Hurts shown bright during the Senior Bowl Week practices.

Teammates voted Hurts as the South Team Offensive Practice Player of the Week among the quarterbacks over the likes of Oregon’s Justin Herbert.

Hurts’ mother, citing his maturity and compassion, said “it’s hard for me to put into words” how proud she is of the former Tide star. Her comments came after the Senior Bowl Experience’s Meet the Players event, in which Hurts drew a huge crowd of fans trying to get his autograph and visit with the player.

“I’m in awe of the lives that he impacts, but just his character alone,” Hurts’ mother added. “It almost doesn’t feel real to me. Even today, all these people in line to see him with their Alabama gear on.”

In Saturday’s Senior Bowl game, Hurts went 6/13 passing for 58 yards and one touchdown. He also threw an interception.

The 2020 NFL Draft will be held April 23-25 in Las Vegas, NV.

RELATED: Hurts on Saban: ‘He’s been nothing but supportive’ — ‘It was great to see him’

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

33 mins ago

Auburn basketball to host ESPN’s College GameDay for first time

The basketball version of ESPN’s College GameDay is coming to Auburn for the first time ever on Saturday, February 1.

The national show is set to broadcast prior to Auburn’s upcoming top-20 matchup with Kentucky.

Host Rece Davis (an alumnus of the University of Alabama) and analysts Jay Bilas, LaPhonso Ellis and Seth Greenberg will be live from Auburn Arena, beginning at 10:00 a.m. CT on ESPN.

According to the university, this marks the first time Auburn has been featured on the show as a host or visiting team. Head coach Bruce Pearl has made four previous appearances on the show when he was coaching at Tennessee.

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The Tigers have split the last six meetings with the Wildcats, including winning two of the last three inside Auburn Arena.

Additionally, Countdown to GameDay Live will serve as the pregame show to the pregame show. Each week, ESPN’s Rece Davis, Jason Fitz and Christine Williamson will join a wide array of ESPN college basketball analysts and reporters. The show will premiere this Saturday across Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and the ESPN App.

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

2 hours ago

Interview Day brings Alabama high schoolers together with employers

More than 250 high school seniors met with representatives from almost 30 companies at the Bessemer Civic Center for an Interview Day event designed to link those entering the workforce with those looking to hire.

The students were from 14 high schools across a six-county area (Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker).

Interview Day was the culmination of preparations the students made during the first semester of their senior year of school. From developing soft skills to working on resumes, the students came into the event prepared to put their best foot forward.

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Interview Day pairs Alabama high school seniors with companies from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The event was presented by Central Six AlabamaWorks and the Onin Group in cooperation with the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce58 Inc. and Central Alabama Partnership for Training and Employment.

Companies were from a wide range of industries, including automotive, distribution, construction and skills trades, health care and hospitality.

“The reason why this program is so successful is that we’re addressing a gap,” said Tiffany Bishop, regional workforce development manager with Onin Group. “We have students who are going into unemployment and then we have employers that are looking for good talent, and all we’re doing is trying to bridge the gap to help them find each other.”

The effort comes as Alabama announces it ended 2019 with record low unemployment of 2.7% in December.

“I’m so proud to be able to close out this decade with record-breaking economic measures,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “All year long, we’ve had good news to share, and to be able to end the year, and the decade, on such a positive note is wonderful. Earlier this year, Alabama had never reported an unemployment rate lower than 3%, and now we’ve had one for the last three months! Nearly 84,000 more people have jobs now than last year. I’m excited about the path that Alabama is on, and the positive impacts this news has on our people.”

(Courtesy of Alabama News Center)

4 hours ago

Rep. Mike Rogers: Donald Trump is the ‘most pro-life president ever’

Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL) strongly commended President Donald Trump and the thousands of pro-life Americans who gathered in Washington, D.C., on Friday for the March for Life event.

“This week marked the 47th anniversary of the disastrous Roe v. Wade decision that cast a dark pall over the soul of our nation,” Rogers said in a statement. “Every person who has gathered in Washington for the march today is joined in spirit with millions of Americans across our land who staunchly believe in the sanctity of life.”

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Rogers then went on to discuss President Trump and his strong support for a pro-life agenda:

I am especially proud President Trump will address the march and be the first sitting president to do so. President Trump is the most pro-life president ever to sit in the White House.  Last year, 58 pro-life laws were passed across the nation. It just shows how important and precious the lives of these unborn babies are to so many. Momentum is on our side. We must keep fighting

“As a Christian and the father of three beautiful children, I will always stand up for the rights of these precious lives and be a voice for them,” Rogers concluded.

The 47th annual March for Life was attended by thousands who celebrate the sanctity of life from conception to death and advocate for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court that legalized abortion and has resulted in an estimated 60 million deaths of unborn children.

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter 
@RealKyleMorris.

5 hours ago

UAB’s Proton International to conduct first cancer treatments at end of February

Proton therapy, a highly sophisticated radiation technology for treating cancer, has come to Alabama with the opening of Proton International at UAB. The facility opened with a ribbon-cutting Jan. 13. The center is a partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Proton International.

Proton International at UAB is one of 36 proton therapy centers in the United States and the first in Alabama.

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“With the establishment of this center, UAB Medicine has again brought one of the latest, most advanced medical technologies to our region,” said Will Ferniany, CEO of UAB Health System. “Proton therapy will be a valuable tool that our physicians and scientists in the Department of Radiation OncologySchool of Medicine and the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center can employ to the betterment of thousands of cancer patients in Alabama and the surrounding area.”

Proton therapy uses a beam of protons directed at the tumor site. The beam is configured to deliver the majority of its energy precisely at the tumor. Healthy tissue in front of the tumor receives a minimal amount of energy, and tissue behind the tumor receives little. This reduces damage to healthy tissue that is common in X-ray radiation and the cause of most side effects.

“Opening the center is an important milestone for the residents of Alabama who now have access to proton therapy closer to home,” said Chris Chandler, CEO of Proton International. “Our mission is to work in partnership with leading clinical entities, such as UAB, so patients and families do not have to travel long distances and suffer further cost and stress at such a critical time.”

UAB physicians anticipate beginning consultations with prospective patients in the next two weeks, with the first proton therapy treatments taking place at the end of February.

Proton therapy is used to treat tumors of the brain and central nervous system, spine, head and neck, lung, prostate, liver, gastrointestinal tract and colon, and some breast tumors. While it treats primarily single-site tumors, because of its focused dose capabilities in some cases it can be used for treating cancer that has spread to surrounding tissue.

“Proton therapy will allow us to treat deep-seated cancers,” said James A. Bonner, M.D., the Merle M. Salter Endowed Professor and chair of the UAB Department of Radiation Oncology. “It can be particularly efficacious in the treatment of children, who can be highly sensitive to the effects of radiation therapy. We are excited to offer this cutting-edge approach for patients and families in Birmingham, across Alabama and beyond.”

Proton International at UAB is on 20th Street South between Fourth and Fifth avenues. The facility consists of a three-story building to house clinical exam rooms, offices and the ProBeam proton therapy system, manufactured by Varian Medical Systems, a longtime partner with UAB in the delivery of radiation therapy. The medical staff, including radiation oncologists, medical physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapy technologists and nurses, will be exclusively from UAB.

The heart of proton therapy is a machine called a cyclotron, which produces the proton beam and delivers it to the precise location in the body to destroy tumor cells. Proton International at UAB’s cyclotron, nick-named Emma, was manufactured in Germany. The $25 million, 90-ton cyclotron was brought by ship to Brunswick, Georgia, then transported to UAB last March by a specialized truck, with 20 axles, 78 wheels, and drivers in front and back. A heavy-lift crane was assembled on Fourth Avenue South to lift and deposit Emma into the facility via the roof.

UAB will be involved in clinical research studies on the use of proton therapy to discover the full utility of the therapy and produce best practice parameters on its use. Click here for a more detailed explanation of how proton therapy works.

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s UAB News website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)