2 weeks ago

7 Things: Trump suggests an election delay, UAB doctor says masks are working, SEC says no non-conference games and more …

7. Tuberville didn’t quarantine when he traveled to D.C.

  • Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has listed many states as “hot spots” and requires any “non-essential” visitors to quarantine for two weeks after arriving in the area, and while Alabama is on the list of “hot spots,” former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, Alabama’s GOP senatorial nominee, didn’t abide by quarantine rules upon arriving.
  • Criticism came after a picture of U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Tuberville was released where neither man is wearing a mask or social distancing, but campaign manager Paul Shashy said that Tuberville wasn’t on a “non-essential” visit. According to Shashy, Tuberville “was working hard to help determine the direction of this nation for the next several years” and bring back “sanity” to the U.S. House, adding he wants to “make sure Alabama has a U.S. Senator who represents Alabama values.”

6. Pop-up hospitals being planned for coronavirus pandemic

  • While Alabama tries to get a grip on the coronavirus problem, hospitals continue to worry about patient count and a potential surge, so a plan is being created to create pop-up hospitals as seen in New York City earlier this year.
  • Alabama Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris discussed this on Wednesday and said contingency plans are being made, saying the Alabama National Guard is scouting locations across the state but no details were given.

5. Teachers are uncomfortable returning to classrooms

  • The Alabama Education Association conducted a survey and found that 65% of administrators, support personnel and teachers in Alabama are “very uncomfortable” returning to school facilities this academic year. The survey found 50% of teachers have underlying health conditions that make them at risk for the coronavirus.
  • Teachers across the country have worked tirelessly to demand the school year start online. Some are now declaring that if they don’t get their way they will strike, and some are demanding they either not be forced to return to the classroom to teach online or that they are allowed to bring their kids to the classroom with them because they don’t have childcare.

4. Auburn professor showing his true feelings about police

  • Jesse A. Goldberg, Ph.D., is starting at Auburn University as a “Lecturer of African American & American Literature and Composition in the English Department” in the fall, and this week he tweeted “F—k every single cop.” He claimed that the “only ethical choice” for any police officer “is to refuse to do their job and quit,” and Goldberg labeled cops as “instruments of violence on behalf of capital.”
  • Executive director of Public Affairs at Auburn Brain Keeter said Goldberg’s statement is “inexcusable and completely counter to Auburn values,” adding that Auburn does “not support hateful words or actions that degrade, disrespect or exclude,” and “officials are considering options available at the university.”

3. Conference only schedule for SEC

  • The Southeastern Conference has decided to go forward on a 10-game schedule for the 2020 college football season, and games will only be played against other SEC teams. The season is set to start on September 26.
  • Even though the season is being delayed by three more weeks, the SEC Championship is still scheduled for December 19. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said this “schedule is consistent with the educational goals of our universities to allow for the sale and orderly return to campus of their student populations.”

2. UAB doctor says masks are working

  • With a high of 1,851 as the seven-day average of new coronavirus cases, case numbers fell close to 1,600 just two weeks after Governor Kay Ivey put out the statewide mask mandate, which provides a little hope that we’re moving in the right direction. However, some are skeptical that the decrease directly relates to the wearing of masks.
  • Director of UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo said that with hospitalizations “we’re at a precariously stable point.” She said that masks have definitely helped new coronavirus cases across the state level off, but Marrazzo also added that a main area of concern is over the state’s positive test rate of 18%. Marrazzo added that “much is going to happen, or be determined by what happens, in the next seven to 14 days.”

1. We aren’t delaying the election

  • In an attempt to voice concern about the mail-in voting system, President Donald Trump tweeted that mail-in voting will cause the general election to “be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history” and suggested delaying the elections. Later, he clarified, “I want to have the election. But I also don’t want to wait for three months and find out that all the ballots are all missing and the election won’t mean anything. That’s what’s going to happen, and everyone knows it.”
  • During a radio interview in Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the election date is set and won’t change. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tweeted, “No, Mr. President. We’re not delaying the election.” A senior administration official explained the issue, saying Trump “is simply raising a question, whereas Democrats are proposing an entirely new system…that will result in enormous delays in the election results.”
41 mins ago

Black Alabama Sons of Confederate Veterans member opposes monument, flag removal

Daniel Sims, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, has added a unique perspective to the debate over removing Confederate monuments and flags from public display.

Sims, who is black, interviewed with Huntsville-area WHNT about the subject this week.

Wearing both a hat and shirt depicting the Confederate flag, while also holding a full-size Confederate flag on a staff, Sims told WHNT, “Regardless [of] how the next person feels, I’m not going to take my flag down.”


“If I’ve got anything to do with it, ain’t no monument going to come down,” he added.

Sims was reportedly adopted as a child and now holds his adopted family’s heritage as his own.

“My whole family’s white,” Sims explained. “[I] went to an all-white school, grew up in an all-white neighborhood. My grandfather was white, and he was the main one who fought in this war here (the Civil War). And he’s taught me everything I know.”

WHNT reported that the interview took place in Albertville, which is located in Marshall County. According to the most recent data published by the Census Bureau, the county’s population is 79.8% white, 14.7% Hispanic or Latino and 3.2% black.

About the push to take down a confederate monument and flag specifically outside the Albertville courthouse, Sims added, “It may make my blood boil if they just come up here and feel like they could just tear it down. I don’t see me still living if they do that right there. That monument ain’t hurting nobody. That monument ain’t killing a soul. It ain’t talking bad to nobody. It ain’t even racist.”


The clip has gone viral, garnering about 400,000 views in 12 hours. The WHNT reporter who conducted the interview noted in a tweet that Sims has reminded some viewers of an old “Chapelle Show” character, Clayton Bigsby.

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

2 hours ago

Byrne thanks Trump admin for ‘continuing to put American workers first’ by holding off on adding component parts to Airbus tariffs

U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) praised the Trump administration’s decision this week to hold off on implementing new tariffs on component parts used in Airbus’ Mobile assembly plant.

Airbus, headquartered in Europe, has been in the middle of a trade dispute between the United States and the European Union since 2004.

The company has an assembly plant in Mobile that employs 1,100 employees, and business groups in the area have long sought to keep the imported component parts that are fashioned into aircraft at the plant from being added to the list of products subject to a tariff by the U.S. government.

“I thank the Trump Administration for this decision and continuing to put American workers first,” Byrne said in a statement on Thursday after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer decided against placing tariffs on the component parts.


The United States kept in place tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of goods from several European countries as part of the ongoing dispute. Many of the goods remaining under tariff are consumer products like food and beverage products.

The ongoing dispute was heightened in October 2019 after the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a ruling in the United States’ favor, saying that many European nations had never ended their improper subsidies for Airbus that have long been at the heart of the issue.

The Trump administration first decided not to impose tariffs on the imported components shortly after the October decision by the WTO, a choice met at the time by the City of Mobile with “a great sense of relief and gratitude.”

In further praise of the extension of that decision, Byrne said on Thursday, “I have no doubt we will see the fruits of this decision as Mobile continues on the path to being a worldwide center of aviation excellence.”

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

5 hours ago

7 Things: Alabama passes a grim coronavirus milestone, Biden and Harris make their debut, Doug Jones raising money off Harris and more …

7. No surprise: People are losing faith in elections

  • After years of the media and their Democrats declaring the current President of the United States a treasonous fraud and fake calls of voter suppression and attempts at creating vote-by-mail requirement because they cannot get over the fact that Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton, a majority of the American people now lack confidence in the presidential election process.
  • When voters were asked, “How confident are you that the November election will be conducted in a fair and equal way?” 56% responded that they were “not too confident” or “not at all confident.” The promises of delayed and contested results around the country should only make this worse.

6. Small business outlook not optimistic


  • The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) conducted a study that shows small businesses have seen a 14% month over month drop in expecting the economy to improve, but while there’s been a drop in optimism with small businesses, there are still jobs available.
  • According to the survey, 27% of businesses are still looking for skilled workers and have been unable to fill those positions, but in Alabama, there have been improvements with NFIB State of Alabama director Rosemary Elebash saying unemployment was down “to 7.5 percent in June, a big improvement from April’s high of 13.8 percent.” She added that in July, “tax revenues grew by 4.27 percent after two months of declines.”

5. America’s confidence in police officers has fallen

  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 48% of American’s have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the police, compared to last year at 53%. This poll was taken not long after George Floyd died in police custody.
  • This year, 19% of black respondents to the survey said they had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the police, but 56% of white people had the same confidence. This is the largest gap seen between these groups since Gallup has been conducting this annual poll.

4. Cases are appearing at universities and high schools

  • At Troy University, a student living in the dorms has tested positive for the coronavirus and there are three other students who are quarantined that live in the same suite. All three students already have plans to be tested and the university is encouraging all “students to take advantage of free COVID-19 testing available to all college students in Alabama through the GuideSafe program” and to continue wearing masks and practice social distancing.
  • A Georgia high school that did not require masks has gone to virtual learning after 14 coronavirus cases with 15 other tests have been done and now has over 1,100 students and staff in quarantine.

3. Doug Jones is fundraising off Kamala Harris

  • In a recent email sent out to all of U.S. Senator Doug Jones’ (D-AL) supporters, Jones again voices his support for his “friend” U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), advocating for the “unity” that former Vice President Joe Biden and Harris bring as running mates.
  • Jones continues on in the email to say that the current “election is going to come down to the contrast between unity and division” and that “we also have to energize traditionally underrepresented communities like Black and Latinx voters, and makes sure to add a fundraising link at the end of the message.”

2. Biden and Harris have made their debut with lies

  • Together in Delaware, former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) took the stage together for the first time to debut as running mates on the 2020 Democratic ticket, with Biden saying there is “no doubt I picked the right person to join me as the next vice president of the United States of America.” He then lied about President Donald Trump’s record on Charlottesville, social security and national security.
  • Harris wasted no time to take shots at Trump, saying, “America is crying out for leadership, yet we have a president who cares more about himself than the people who elected him.” She also took time to compare the handling of the coronavirus to the way President Barack Obama handled the Ebola crisis, saying that Obama and Biden “did their job.”

1. Alabama surpasses 100,000 coronavirus cases

  • The spread of the coronavirus definitely appears to be slowing in the state of Alabama and around the country with two straight days of sub-1,000 cases in the state. The retransmission rate is below the number that shows exponential growth, and it will now take 51 days for the new case number to double.
  • While Alabama’s mask mandate may or may not be responsible for the slowing numbers, states like Illinois are so concerned about the lack of masks they are now actively fining businesses and have made assaulting a retail employee over masks a felony.

5 hours ago

College football already has a leader and he’s in Alabama

As two college football conferences muddled their way through season cancellations this week, loud cries rang out for a centralized leader of the sport.

The poor decision-making in those conferences could have been prevented by a single, national voice coordinating the process, they say. Without a doubt, the players, coaches and universities in the Big Ten and the Pac-12 have been failed by their leadership. There’s no need, though, to make this more complicated than it needs to be.

Contrary to what you may have heard the past week, college football does have a leader.

And he’s right here in Alabama.


Greg Sankey, commissioner of the SEC, has navigated the most challenging year in college football history with a steadiness envied by other programs not fortunate enough to be part of the nation’s reigning conference.

Had other conference commissioners followed Sankey’s leadership model, they would not be in such a self-inflicted mess.

Sankey’s approach has been methodical. He and the conference’s member institutions have been steadfast in their reliance upon medical professionals in assessing player safety and establishing essential protocols. Some of the world’s most renowned physicians and researchers reside within the SEC’s footprint, and Sankey and his university leaders have counted on their input from the beginning of the pandemic.

In addition, Sankey has displayed a thoughtfulness throughout the process. There has not been a day when the SEC appeared not to have a plan.

Perhaps the least thoughtful people in all this have been the national sports media. Listening to them, one would believe blame for the current state of the season should fall on nearly everyone except the virus itself. A popular target is the NCAA. Sports media hysteria at one point reached such a fevered pitch that Dabo Swinney and Danny Kannell found themselves in the crosshairs. Columnist Pat Forde went on a wild rant blaming President Donald Trump for the cancellation of football games.

The unhinged nature of sports media comes from its view of the college sports world. No one really thinks sports media wants to kill the season and risk losing their jobs. But they are in conflict. They believe college football players are exploited and, in their view, chaos will topple the power structure for which they have so much disdain.

That notion demonstrates the complete lack of thought on the part of sports media, and it is where the conflict comes in. Sports media wants to punish the power structure of college football but in doing so the season may get blown up and players, coaches and college communities become collateral damage.

Not to be outdone by sports media, the appointed authorities of the Big Ten turned their process into a complete debacle, leaving behind scant evidence of any thought whatsoever.

Almost immediately after announcing its schedule, the Big Ten decided to cancel the season. Its leaders leaked the news out as a trial balloon.

When that did not go well, the Big Ten gave the go-ahead to reporters on a scary health report it had already leaked out. Astonished that other conferences not named the Pac-12 had failed to bend at the knee to its decision, the Big Ten backtracked until it ultimately announced it would pursue an unrealistic spring football season.

There are a few reasons why the Big Ten plan is so bad. Chief among them is that nothing changes except Saturdays. Teams are allowed to continue to practice and meet 20 hours per week, and players will continue normal campus activities with tens of thousands of other students. But simply playing on Saturdays was deemed too dangerous.

Then there are the unintended consequences. Noted quarterback guru and private coach Quincy Avery has already said he will help organize national 7-on-7 leagues for players unable to showcase their skills this fall. Do not expect those players to receive anything close to the carefully monitored care they would receive in-season as part of a college football program.

Unsurprisingly, national sports media has failed to scrutinize any of the holes in the Big Ten plan and its unintended consequences. Media member Stewart Mandel said that players in conferences still playing should demand some sort of an accounting of medical advice received by those conferences. Fox analyst and former college quarterback Joel Klatt smartly pointed out that it is the players being denied the opportunity to play that deserve an explanation.

Sankey’s methodical and thoughtful leadership was on full display Monday while chaos and misinformation erupted in other conferences.

In a timely social media post he wrote:

Best advice I’ve received since COVID-19: “Be patient. Take time when making decisions. This is all new & you’ll gain better information each day.” [The SEC] has been deliberate at each step since March…slowed return to practice…delayed 1st game to respect start of fall semester… Deveoped [sic] testing protocols…We know concerns remain. We have never had a FB season in a COVID-19 environment. Can we play? I don’t know. We haven’t stopped trying. We support, educate and care for student-athletes every day, and will continue to do so…every day.

Numerous players and coaches in the Big Ten have complained about a lack of communication coming from conference leadership. The absence of similar complaints in the SEC is notable. Integral to Sankey’s leadership model has been a commitment to communication.

Under Sankey, the SEC has gathered information, set benchmarks, met benchmarks and explained its process along the way. “One step at a time,” he cautioned.

As the opening week of college football season nears, no one really knows whether the season will get started, much less completed. But Sankey has put his conference in the best position possible to handle these extraordinary circumstances.

In the aftermath of whatever happens, the lesson is not to create a king of college football. The lesson is for conference commissioners to do their homework, stick to their plan and keep the lines of communication open in all that they do.

College football does not need a czar. It needs its leaders to simply be like Sankey.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

18 hours ago

South Alabama steelmaker announces $500M expansion, creating 300 more jobs

Alabama’s AM/NS Calvert on Wednesday announced a $500 million expansion project that will create 300 jobs in the Yellowhammer State.

A 50/50 joint venture between ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel Corp., the cutting-edge steel processing plant is located in Calvert, which is about 35 miles north of Mobile.

A release announced that an electric arc furnace (EAF) steel making facility will be added to the plant as part of the new expansion.

Once completed, the facility will reportedly be capable of producing 1.5 million metric tons of steel slabs for the on-site Hot Strip Mill and a broad spectrum of steel grades required for Calvert’s end user markets. The slabs are currently shipped from Brazil.


The facility serves the automotive, construction, pipe and tube, service center, and appliance/ HVAC industries.

ArcelorMittal executives stated that the AM/NS Calvert expansion plans make “strategic sense,” specifically mentioning the historic United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which recently went into effect. This historic trade deal calls for the auto industry to use more steel produced in North America, which plays into this Alabama expansion.

“An electric arc furnace at Calvert makes strategic sense as it allows our asset to be more reactive to the local market as well as being in line with the USMCA. Furthermore, it aligns with our ambition of producing smarter steels for a better world,” said Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal.

The Alabama Department of Commerce advised that construction on the facility is expected to take two years. The completed facility is slated to create 200 direct jobs plus 100 indirect jobs in the local community. Additionally, the project is expected to support 500 construction jobs.

In addition to meeting emerging auto industry demands, ArcelorMittal advised that the expansion is aimed at the future of the energy market, as well.

Brad Davey, CEO of ArcelorMittal North America, said in a statement,“The addition of an EAF at AM/NS Calvert presents a transformational opportunity for what is already widely considered to be the world’s most advanced steel finishing facility.”

“This is a logical next step in optimizing AM/NS Calvert’s supply chain,” he outlined. “Enhancing our already highly competitive lead times with short lead-time flexibility, combined with our existing world class facilities will give AM/NS Calvert a decisive competitive advantage. In addition, the USMCA trade agreement is a ‘game changer’ … and as a result, future steel supply chains for the automotive markets will be required to use steel that was created within North America. A new EAF at AM/NS Calvert will further secure ArcelorMittal’s leadership in the North American Automotive market.”

AM/NS Calvert was originally built by Thyssenkrupp, with a total investment cost of about $4 billion. After acquiring the plant in 2014, the current joint venture ownership team invested more than $200 million in strategic projects at Calvert before Wednesday’s announcement. Approximately 1,600 employees already work at AM/NS Calvert.

“Alabama has a long heritage in steelmaking, and the decision by AM/NS Calvert to invest more than $500 million at its Mobile County mill represents another important development in the history of the industry in the state,” Governor Kay Ivey stated.

“The growth will help the company serve customers in industries such as automotive with great ‘Made in Alabama’ steel,” she added.

The expansion comes after the Public Service Commission in recent months green-lighted Alabama Power adding significant capacity to the company’s grid in a reliable and dispatchable manner. AM/NS Calvert, a member of Manufacture Alabama, is one of many large industrial customers that utilize Alabama Power’s grid.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News when the PSC made their recent decision, Manufacture Alabama president George Clark said it would be a win for the state’s growing manufacturing industry. Wednesday’s announcement would seem to vindicate Clark’s prediction.

“We have been pleased to work alongside ArcelorMittal since 2013 and will continue to work to provide clean, safe and reliable energy solutions to power their Mobile County expansion,” commented Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite.

Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield emphasized that the expansion will deliver “a massive economic impact on Alabama.”

“This investment strengthens an already great partnership and demonstrates to the world that the Mobile area is open for business,” added Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson.

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