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7 Things: China pops Biden’s balloon; sheriffs look to state to recoup fee losses; and more …

7. Huntsville city councilman offers a non-committal statement on theft arrest

  • Did Huntsville City Councilman Devyn Keith accidentally take a $20 pair of headphones from a Walmart in his district? If you read any comments made about his case online, the blame falls on Walmart for getting him arrested for a mistake, with some praising him. But according to his statement about his arrest last Thursday, the fault lies on him but he left it rather ambiguous.
  • What Keith did say was, “Yesterday, after purchasing items at the self-checkout at Walmart, I left the store with a $20 pair of headphones in my cart that I failed to pay for.” He added, what reads like an admission of guilt, “No one is above the law and as someone who works for and aspires to devotedly represent the best of the people of Huntsville, I can’t make these type of mistakes. I know I am better than this.”

6. Terrorist gets vigil in Birmingham

  • It’s not every day that a group of people congregates outside of a construction company to hold a vigil for a dead suspected terrorist, but Brasfield & Gorrie’s office saw just that. Manuel Esteban Paez Terán was killed by police after he shot a police officer.
  • Birmingham chapter of Democratic Socialists of America held the vigil for Terán, who was killed while attempting to attack police to stop them from building a “Cop City” in Atlanta. The proposed training facility has been a source of protests for months.

5. Record year for Alabama exports

  • Alabama ports are open for business, full numbers are not in for 2022 yet but the data available for November shows a number higher than the amount exported in all of the previous record year 2017, $23.4 billion vs. $21.7 billion.
  • Michael Brooks, associate director of the Alabama International Trade Center at the University of Alabama, credits “Export Alabama,” a trade alliance of numerous groups, some government and some not, for the success of Alabama’s export business. Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, says, “Alabama is full of next-level innovation taking place in key industries, and we’re ready to bring what’s happening inside our factories and laboratories, and within our entrepreneurial ecosystem to the world.”

4. Alabama college attendance near pre-pandemic levels, equity achieved

  • According to the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, somehow the pandemic stopped some kids from going to college but the number of kids going to college is starting to recover as many place the pandemic in the rear-view mirror. Kids going to a 4-year college straight out of high school in 2021 is actually tied for the record number to do that, at 32%.
  • For fans of the equity agenda, the fact that both 33% of black and 33% of white kids enrolled in 4-year colleges should be a massive win. But community colleges saw a drop off from about 15,000 a year to 11,389 in 2021, partially because of the uptick in 4-year college attendance.

3. Sheriffs trying to recoup permit fees from the Legislature

  • While many sheriffs across the state of Alabama claimed officer safety as a main reason to oppose constitutional carry, or permitless carry, skeptics suggested funding was a big factor as well. Now that permits for concealed carry are gone, as is the revenue, those sheriffs are asking the Legislature to give them some money to make up the shortfall.
  • Morgan County sheriff’s spokesman Mike Swafford says the amount of money the sheriffs are losing is substantial, “We saw a 17% drop in funding from permits from 2020 to 2021 and an additional 40.3% drop from 2021 to 2022. We’re expecting more losses.” State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) says help is on the way but, not surprisingly, sheriffs believe it may not be enough.

2. Biden administration shoots down Chinese spy balloon and claims massive victory

  • After days of being savaged for allowing a Chinese spy balloon to traverse the country, the Biden administration claimed success for downing the balloon on Saturday. The argument being used for the victory lap is two-fold, look at all the intel we got by allowing it to continue and it happened to Trump too.
  • Touting their success the Biden team, Democrats and their media said, with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) saying, “See. All better, bed wetters.” As for claims that Trump allowed balloons to go across the U.S. too, that was finally debunked by Biden’s own team when they acknowledged they were not discovered until after Trump left office and Trump’s team was never briefed.

1. Alabama Republicans in Congress pop Biden’s balloon

  • After the Biden administration finally shot down the Chinese spy balloon, members of the Alabama Congressional delegation noted what a debacle the situation has been for Biden, for America, and for national security. U.S. Rep. Dale Strong (R-Monrovia) noted, “I’m looking forward to discussing SOLUTIONS to the CCP threat & revitalizing the DoD industrial base at my HASC hearings next week.” Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Hayesville) remarked, “I’m glad the United States military has shot down this balloon. But there are more questions that need to be answered. Like why was this not detected over the Pacific and shot down there? And we must make sure the Chinese stop violating our sovereignty and airspace.”
  • U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) said, “China challenged Biden, and Biden failed.” The Rogers’ led GOP Armed Services Committee tweeted, “The White House must provide answers about why they decided to allow a CCP spy balloon to cross the United States and what damage to our national security occurred from this decision.”

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