2 months ago

7 Things: Doug Jones backtracks after a reasonable statement, ISIS leader is dead and the media can’t handle it, impeachment frenzy is crippling Congress and more …

7. Alabama has been bumped out of the No. 1 spot

  • After LSU beat Auburn 23-20 on Saturday, LSU moved into the top spot on the Associated Press AP Top 25 poll, displacing the University of Alabama.
  • The Associated Press poll was “one of the closest votes ever,” according to the organization, but this will all be resolved on November 9 when LSU travels to Tuscaloosa and plays the Crimson Tide in a game that will air at 2:30 CST on CBS.

6. The swamp boos Trump was at Game 5 of the World Series

  • In line with tradition, President Donald Trump attended Game 5 of the World Series, but he didn’t throw out the first pitch. Instead, Trump arrived after the game already started and left before it ended to make his presence less disruptive.
  • The takeaway moment from his attendance was that the president was booed by the crowd to the delight of the media and their Democrats. Some at the game even yelled “Lock him up!”

5. 2020 Senate race has a clear frontrunner

  • The field for the Republican primary in 2020 may or may not include former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, yet, but according to a poll conducted by Alabama-based Cygnal, Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville still leads the field.
  • Without taking Sessions into account, Tuberville polled at 32% with Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) polling at 18%, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (10.6%), followed by Secretary of State John Merrill (8.6%), State Rep. Arnold Mooney (2%) and Stanley Adair (1%), while 27.9% of those polled were undecided.

4. Alabama Congressional candidate makes waves by talking about “The Squad” and impeachment 

  • Jessica Taylor is campaigning for the congressional seat in the Second District. She has said that she’s tired of how her generation has been talking about socialists “like that’s an ideology our nation should embrace.” Taylor has received a lot of attention, including a hit on “Fox & Friends.”
  • Taylor also said that she thinks she “can go toe-to-toe with that ‘Squad’ better than any other candidate,” noting that something important to her is that there’s someone in Congress “making sure we back up President Trump as these liberals attempt this coup in the House.”

3. Impeachment is preventing Intel Committee from doing their job

  • U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) has revealed that the House Intelligence Committee hasn’t been addressing terrorism or ISIS recently due to the impeachment inquiry requiring so much attention.
  • While on Fox News Channel’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Ratcliffe specified that “[i]t’s been well over a month” since the last time the committee had a terrorism briefing. Later on Sunday, U.S. Rep.Doug Collins (R-GA), ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, echoed Ratcliffe’s claims, voicing his frustration with Democrats prioritizing the impeachment inquiry over other business.

2. ISIS leader is dead — Media hit the hardest 

  • Sunday morning, President Donald Trump confirmed that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “died like a dog,” specifying that he detonated a suicide vest he was wearing, which also killed three children. Additionally, a spokesman for ISIS was eliminated later that day.
  • The media and their Democrats were not happy with Trump tearing down a rapist terrorist slavemaster. Obituaries played up his religious education, some lied about a photo op, ambassadors complained about Trump’s language and journalists fretted that this would just help ISIS.

1. Doug Jones sent a reasonable tweet, but a Hollywood actor forced him to backtrack 

  • U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) voiced his support on Twitter of the killing of ISIS’s leader on Sunday, saying, “Last night was a victory for America & the civilized world & a blow to ISIS. Our brave forces who carried out this mission are held in the hearts of a grateful nation. I congratulate President Trump & our military leaders. They deserve great credit & our thanks. They have mine.”
  • However, the tweet triggered responses from Jones’ supporters that’s absolutely absurd, with actor Michaela Watkins replying to Jones, saying, “I congratulate our troops and leaders for the operation. Trump is a traitor. Impeach now.” People made sure to bring up when Trump tweeted in 2012 to “stop congratulating Obama for killing Bin Laden,” and Jones quickly cowered under the pressure and tweeted, “Folks, for everyone who is sending me what Trump tweeted at Obama after Bin Laden’s death please know that I too remember that and did not like it at all.”
46 mins ago

Watch: Must-see video celebrating 200 years of Alabama’s contributions to entertainment

Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) on Thursday released a video highlighting the amazing contributions Alabamians have made to American culture and entertainment.

The approximately 10-minute video features famous Alabama musicians, singers, actors, comedians and authors from throughout the ages — including many you might not have realized were born and/or raised in the Yellowhammer State.

This special tribute is one way Aderholt is celebrating the 200th anniversary of Alabama becoming a state, which is Saturday.

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In the video caption, Aderholt said, “Happy 200 Alabama! As we celebrate our great state on this milestone, I wanted to highlight how our state has also had a huge impact on entertainment and culture across America. Alabama singers, actors and authors have touched people across our country and around the world. This video is approximately 10 minutes and we could still have added more. But I invite you to take a few minutes, take a stroll down memory lane and enjoy Alabama at 200!”

Watch:

The ALABAMA 200 finale on Saturday will mark the historic anniversary in grand fashion in downtown Montgomery. Members of the public are invited to attend the events throughout the day, which are all free, including the bicentennial parade at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Aderholt commented, “As Alabama turns 200, we have a lot to celebrate. And I believe our state’s best days are still ahead of it, with new jobs and new opportunities coming every day.”

“When I’m in Washington, I enjoy telling the many people I meet about our state and its warm, loving people,” he continued. “It’s truly a special place, with unmatched beauty from the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, to the foothills of the Appalachians. So, happy birthday Alabama! Here’s to 200 more years of Sweet Home Alabama.”

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

2 hours ago

Shelby, Jones formally honor Alabama’s 200th birthday

Ahead of Alabama becoming a state exactly 200 years ago on Saturday, U.S. Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Doug Jones (D-AL) on Thursday officially introduced a Senate resolution recognizing and celebrating the anniversary.

The resolution honors the bicentennial as well as the achievements of the Yellowhammer State throughout history.

In a statement, Shelby said, “Alabama has transformed over the last 200 years.”

“Our state went from existing as a territory of farmland to being a major player in national defense, space exploration, manufacturing, medical research, and so on,” he continued. “I am honored to introduce this resolution commemorating Alabama’s 200 years of statehood. What better time to remember our state’s history and celebrate how much we have accomplished over the last two centuries.”

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The resolution is expected to pass the Senate unanimously.

On Saturday, the state’s three-year ALABAMA 200 celebration will culminate with a finale for the state’s birthday.

The past three years have seen ALABAMA 200 honor the people, places and events that form the state’s vibrant history. Throughout this bicentennial countdown, the bicentennial commission has invested in schools and teachers, engaged in various communities and encouraged citizens and visitors alike to explore and learn more about the beautiful state.

“As we commemorate 200 years of Alabama history, we recognize that the history of our state is one of overcoming all odds in pursuit of the American dream,” Jones added. “We honor and remember all the men and women who helped get us to where we are now, and recommit ourselves to each do our part to continue to move Alabama forward.”

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

15 hours ago

Univ. of South Alabama provost elected chair of southern college accrediting commission

The University of South Alabama on Thursday announced that Dr. David Johnson, the university’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, has been elected chair of the board of trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

SACSCOC is the recognized American regional accrediting body in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, as well as in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees.

Johnson’s election came during SACSCOC’s recent annual meeting in Houston. He will serve during 2020.

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The Commission on Colleges’ board of trustees is the representative body of the College Delegate Assembly and is charged with carrying out the accreditation process.

“The SACS Commission on Colleges is responsible for ensuring that all accredited colleges and universities in our region meet the standards for quality and integrity that are specified in the body’s Principles of Accreditation,” Johnson explained in a statement. “I consider it a great honor, and a tremendous responsibility, to have been selected to serve as board chair of this important organization.”

Prior to his election as board chair, Johnson served as vice chair, executive council member and chair of the Alabama state delegation. He has reportedly been active with SACSCOC for many years, serving as an accreditation consultant and as a member of several site visit teams.

Dr. Belle Wheelan, SACSCOC president, advised, “This year as vice chair, Dr. Johnson demonstrated a thorough awareness and understanding of the many complex issues before us.”

“His patience, compassion and knowledge make him an obvious choice to serve as board chair,” Wheelan added.

Johnson has served in his current leadership roles at South Alabama since 2009 and is the first administrator of the Mobile university to serve as SACSCOC chair.

A member of the South Alabama faculty since 1984, he has enjoyed a distinguished career in teaching, research and community service. Johnson previously served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 2002-2009. Before that, he served as associate dean, as well as acting chair of sociology and anthropology.

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

15 hours ago

Three former NFL players with connections to Alabama charged with healthcare fraud

The Eastern District of Kentucky announced Thursday that 10 former NFL players, including three with ties to Alabama, have been charged for their alleged roles in a healthcare fraud scheme.

Carlos Rogers, a former All-American cornerback at Auburn, was joined in the indictment by Robert McCune and Etric Pruitt, who were both born and played high school football in Mobile County.

According to the indictment, McCune and Rogers were both involved in the creating of the scheme, and they both recruited other players to join.

The scheme allegedly involved the submitting of claims for expensive medical equipment, typically between $40,000 and $50,000 for each claim. Allegedly, the equipment in the claims was never purchased by the former players who are accused of pocketing the money.

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The seven other players charged included Clinton Portis, a former All-Pro running back for the Washington Redskins.

According to the U.S Department of Justice, “The alleged fraud targeted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which… provided for tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses that were not covered by insurance and that were incurred by former players, their wives and their dependents – up to a maximum of $350,000 per player.”

Carlos Rogers, who grew up in Georgia, is an Auburn graduate who garnered First-Team SEC, and consensus All-American honors during his senior year in 2004. He was selected by the Redskins with the ninth overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. He is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of health care fraud.

Robert McCune, from Mobile, went to high school at John Leflore Magnet in Mobile. He played for Louisville in college and had a three-year stint in the NFL. He is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, nine counts of wire fraud and nine counts of health care fraud.

Etric Pruitt is a Theodore native who played college football at Southern Miss before having a short career in the NFL. He is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud.

According to the indictment, over $3.9 million in false and fraudulent claims were submitted by the players in question. The NFL plan paid out over $3.4 million on those claims between June 2017 and December 2018.

“Ten former NFL players allegedly committed a brazen, multi-million dollar fraud on a health care plan meant to help their former teammates and other retired players pay legitimate, out-of-pocket medical expenses,” asserted Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski.

Over 20 FBI field offices participated in the investigation.

This investigation serves as an illustration of the rampant and deliberate scams against health care plans occurring daily throughout the country,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the Miami Field Office.

“Today’s indictments underscore that whoever you are, if you loot health care programs to line your own pockets, you will be held accountable by the Department of Justice,” added Benczkowski.

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

16 hours ago

Birmingham CEO calls on Congress to quickly ratify Trump’s historic USMCA trade deal

Altec CEO Lee Styslinger III on Wednesday announced his support for the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement, the historic trade deal negotiated by President Donald Trump’s administration that would replace NAFTA.

Altec, headquartered in Birmingham, is a leading equipment and service provider for the electric utility, telecommunications, contractor, lights and signs and tree care markets. The Alabama company provides products and services in more than 100 countries across the globe.

Not only does Styslinger bring his experience running Altec to the table, but the respected businessman also currently serves as a member of the Business Roundtable, a board member of the National Association of Manufacturers and a board member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Additionally, he was a key member of President George W. Bush’s Export Council and was responsible for advising Bush on government policies and programs that affected U.S. trade performance and export expansion opportunities.

To the point at hand, Styslinger is currently serving as a member of the official Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), which provides policy advice on trade issues to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the highest levels of the Trump administration. Alabama’s own Styslinger and other members of ACTPN have been working closely with Ambassador Robert Lighthizer (the current USTR) to help finalize the USMCA.

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On Tuesday, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that her caucus has come to an agreement with the Trump administration on the trade deal, setting the USMCA up for probable ratification now.

In a release, Styslinger outlined several benefits of the USMCA:

  • Maintains trilateral duty-free trade.
  • Modernizes key provisions and open markets more than current NAFTA.
  • Overall strengthens intellectual property protections and supports the digital economy.
  • Enhances trade facilitation and e-commerce across all three countries.
  • Expands services commitments.
  • Improves regulatory practices and enhances regulatory transparency.
  • Incorporates stronger competition and anti-corruption enterprises.
  • Includes important sectoral commitments and standards benefitting energy, telecommunications, financial services, information and communications technology, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices.
  • Incorporates stronger and enforceable labor and environment commitments.

The USMCA is also expected to have a major positive impact on American jobs, especially sectors important to Alabama such as manufacturing and agriculture.

Styslinger advised, “Over 12 million American jobs depend on the $1.4 trillion in trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.”

This is even more magnified in the Yellowhammer State.

Canada and Mexico purchase more than 33% of Alabama’s total global manufacturing exports, and over 20% of the state’s manufacturing firms export to the two countries. Most of these firms are small- and medium-sized businesses. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, skyward of 23,000 Alabama manufacturing jobs depend on exports to Canada and Mexico.

Top Alabama manufacturing exports to Canada and Mexico include: motor vehicles; iron and steel; motor vehicle parts; paper products; chemicals; engine, turbine and power transmission equipment; aluminum; aerospace products and parts; fabricated metal products and plastics.

“Implementing USMCA will significantly increase U.S. GDP, increase U.S. employment by a minimum of 176,000 jobs, increase U.S. exports to Canada by $19 billion and increase U.S. exports to Mexico by $14 billion,” Styslinger said. “The agreement will create jobs in the manufacturing sector and greatly benefit American workers, farmers and ranchers.”

“We call on the House to move quickly to finalize USMCA legislation and bring it to a vote as soon as possible,” he concluded.

A vote on the USMCA has been scheduled in the House for next week, however, the current impeachment inquiry into Trump driven by House Democrats might actually stall ratification in the Senate after that.

Assuming the two impeachment charges announced this week get enough Democratic votes to pass the House and Trump is indeed impeached, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already said he will not take up the USMCA until the impeachment trial has concluded in the upper chamber.

The USMCA now seems to be a true bipartisan agreement, having the support of both Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

RELATED: Styslinger signs major national policy statement affirming importance of free-market, supporting the American worker

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