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7 Things: The economy is about to see a pretty tough time as the Fed raises interest rate, two Alabamians are missing in Ukraine and more …

7. LGBTQ+ flag on cannon painted over

  • The cannon that had been painted with an LGBTQ flag for Pride Month in Mobile has been mostly covered with black paint. The cannon was covered overnight, and an arrest has been made in the situation.

  • According to Mobile Police, the individual who painted the cannon was a homeless man by the name of Phillip Dean. He was arrested after officers responded to reports of a person painting the cannon.

6. More fallout from the AL-5 congressional debate

  • Sparks and accusations flew during the debate to see which Republican will attempt to replace U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville). The most notable moment involved a reference to former Huntsville superintendent Casey Wardynski’s relationship with his current wife, Karen, who had a contract with the school system. Madison County Commission chairman Dale Strong noted Wardynski resigned over the relationship, to which Wardynski took offense during the debate, and his wife took offense after. Karen Wardynski and Strong had a confrontation after the debate where Karen told Strong, “I’m coming after you. I’m going to get you,” to which Strong responded, “OK, no-bid contract.”
  • Additionally, it has been revealed that there was Critical Race Theory training at Huntsville City Schools while congressional candidate Casey Wardynski was superintendent of the school district, but Wardynski has responded to the issue by blaming the desegregation order for the oversight. Wardynski mentioned how the federal government still had a hand in the Huntsville City School and Madison County School districts, adding, “[I]f they want to impose on you, what they imposed on Huntsville in 2015 was a thing called culturally responsive training. This was to basically – understand the culture of the kids you’re teaching, so when you teach, it is relevant to their world.”

5. Fentanyl should be labeled as a weapon of mass destruction

  • U.S. Representative Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) announced that he was co-sponsoring legislation to label fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction, announcing his support in a speech where he also noted, “Last year alone, fentanyl killed more Americans than any weapon of mass destruction in our nation’s history.”

  • Moore went on to say that the drug “is now the number one cause of death for Americans aged 18-45 – not guns, not COVID-19, not even car accidents, but fentanyl.” Moore added that the unmanaged crisis at the southern border was the cause for some of this, and said, “We can’t turn the other way as Mexican drug cartels kill thousands of young Americans. We must take the fentanyl threat seriously, and we must secure our border.”

4. Abortions have increased

  • From 2017 to 2020, there has been an increase in abortions nationally, including in Alabama. Guttmacher Institute released data recently that showed there had been an increase in abortions by 8% nationally. In Alabama, there were 7,466 abortions in 2020, which was only a slight decrease from 2019, but each year has seen more abortions since the 6,768 in 2017.

  • There are now 14.4 abortions per 1,000 women in the United States. Dividing the country by region, there were increases everywhere with 2% in the Northeast, 8% for the South, 10% for the Midwest and 12% for the West.

3. Two Alabamians are lost in Ukraine

  • The families of two young Alabama men are seeking the help of their respective congressional representatives to track down their sons in Ukraine after both went to the country to help during Russia’s invasion.

  • Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh of Trinity and Alexander Drueke of a Tuscaloosa are a part of a small group of military veterans that have joined the fight in Ukraine. Both U.S. Representatives Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) and Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) have been in contact with multiple agencies in the United States government as part of the effort to track the men down. Sewell noted, “We will continue to do everything in our power to assist in locating him and finding answers for his family.”

2. The economy is tanking; Today’s distractions are ‘LGBTQ… L… I… +’ bathroom bills

  • President Joe Biden gave his speech at the White House during a Pride Month event where he discussed “the ultra-MAGA agenda attacking families and our freedoms,” noting that there have been “[t]hree-hundred discriminatory bills introduced in states across this country.”
  • The White House also announced a new executive order meant to combat state legislation that was viewed as anti-LGBTQ. The executive order will also require the Department of Education to release “a sample school policy for achieving full inclusion for LGBTQI+ students,” and address “the impacts of state laws that target LGBTQI+ students.”

1. Interest rates going up to stop inflation

  • For the first time in almost 30 years, the benchmark interest rate has been raised by 75 basis points by the Federal Reserve. The move is intended to help slow inflation, but could also further hinder economic growth in the country.

  • The last time there was an action like this was 1994. It’s expected, though, that the benchmark interest rates could rise to 2008 levels by the end of this year. Before this decision, it was only expected that there would be a 50 basis-point increase.