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3 months ago

Alabama: Pipe bomber asks court to block planned execution

A convicted package bomber has asked a court to block his scheduled execution this week, arguing that Alabama has no right to carry out the death penalty while he is also serving a federal sentence.

Walter Leroy Moody, Jr., is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection Thursday for the bombing death of U.S. Circuit Judge Robert Vance in 1989. The judge died when he opened a package bomb that Moody sent to his home.

Moody is the oldest inmate on Alabama’s death row at age 83. He was first convicted in federal court in 1991 and sentenced to seven life sentences plus 400 years. In 1996, he was convicted in state court of capital murder and a judge sentenced him to the death.

In a court filing Monday, the Justice Department lawyers wrote that Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the U.S. will give Alabama full custody of Moody so the state can execute him.

Attorneys for Moody last week asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stay his execution as the court considers Moody’s appeal, arguing that the state cannot put him to death while he is serving federal sentence. Moody is being housed in a state prison.

“Those federal sentences are still being served, albeit in the physical custody of the State of Alabama. Attorney General Sessions has no authority to interrupt Mr. Moody’s federal sentences,” lawyers for Moody wrote.

Attorneys for the Department of Justice wrote in an earlier court filing that “Moody has no personal right to serve his federal and state sentences in any particular order and may not interject himself into a determination that is the sole province of the United States and Alabama.”

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

5 mins ago

7 Things: Trump backtracks on trusting Putin, election results, new permanent tax cuts, and more …

1. President Donald Trump backtracks and tells an absurd lie 

— After stating he believes Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence officials, President Trump backtracked. He received intense criticism from within his own party, from Democrats and from a deranged media.

— In a statement read by the president of the United States, and believed by no one, he states, “The sentence should’ve been: ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.'”

2. And the winners are…

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— Attorney General Steve Marshall crushes former AG Troy King in a race that wasn’t even close.  Marshall will face former Democrat AG and Governor’s son Joseph Siegelman.

— State Rep. Will Ainsworth squeaks by in the Lt. Gov. race, barely beating the more well-known candidate Twinkle Cavanaugh to be the odds-on on favorite to win the job in November. (Quick: Who is the Democrat candidate for Lt. Gov.?)

3. New tax cuts

— A second round of tax cuts, and a move to make the tax cuts permanent, are being discussed by the White House and Congressional Republicans. The fact they expired was a major part of the complaints by Democrats on the issue.

— Democrats, who still don’t want tax cuts, have filed a frivolous lawsuit with the federal government because blue states taxes are so high and the 1st round of tax cuts capped deductions on state taxes that could be deducted.

4. Toyota CEO continues to sound the alarm on Trump’s tariffs and how they will impact Alabama

— Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama President wrote that a 25% tariff on foreign automobiles will have a devastating impact on manufacturing.

— This is exactly the argument Kay Ivey made earlier this summer when she said, “Import tariffs, and any retaliatory tariffs on American made goods, will harm Alabama, the companies that have invested billions of dollars in our state, and the thousands of households, which are dependent upon those companies for a good-paying job.”

5. After a hate-love relationship with Trump, Congresswoman Martha Roby survives in Alabama’s only real contested Congressional race

— Roby absolutely destroyed former Democrat turned Republican Bobby Bright. Bright was possibly the worst GOP primary candidate if the goal is to point out the divisions in the GOP because he has a vote for Nancy Pelosi on his resume.

— The “can she overcome talking bad about Trump?” narrative should die — it will not.

6. More details emerge about Governor Bentley’s past and present with Rebekah Caldwell Mason

— Bentley continues to deny the affair with his former aide was sexual, which really stretches the bounds of believability.

— The former governor’s love-interest is apparently still working with Bentley at his dermatology office in Tuscaloosa. She is not listed in the staff section of the website.

7. There is a silly notion working its way through the media and Democrats that anyone upset with Trump’s comments must abandon the GOP

—  A Republican Party county chairman in Ohio resigned on Monday after watching President Donald Trump’s press conference with Vladimir Putin, calling it a “matter of conscience”

— While this continues to be a theme, many Republicans continue to support the GOP because as I wrote for Yellowhammer yesterday, “The economy matters, the Supreme Court matters, controlling our borders matters”.

33 mins ago

Alabama officers suspended for alleged ‘white power’ gesture

An Alabama mayor says four members of his city’s police force have been suspended for making a hand gesture some say is a hate symbol.

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Jasper Mayor David O’Mary tells news outlets the four Jasper officers have been suspended and will lose a week’s pay following the publication of a photograph in the Jasper Daily Mountain Eagle on July 12. O’Mary is pictured in that photo alongside several officers, four of whom are making an upside-down “OK” sign with their fingers. He says some have claimed the gesture is meant to express “white power.”

The mayor says he arranged that photo to recognize the narcotics team following a drug bust. He says he hasn’t asked the officers what they meant by the gesture, but says they showed “poor judgment.”

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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50 mins ago

On Roby’s win: One false media narrative dies, a new one is born

Like Lucy van Pelt of Peanuts comic strip fame repeatedly pulling the football away from Charlie Brown as he lines up to kick it, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) once again has shown you can’t beat her in a Republican primary.

Similar to when she defeated “Gather Your Armies” Rick Barber in the 2010 GOP primary and “Born Free American Woman” Becky Gerritson in the 2016 GOP primary, Roby defeated former Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright for a second time on Tuesday night, this time by a whopping 36 points.

Heading into yesterday, many national media reporters were sent into Alabama’s second congressional district looking at the possibility that Roby might have to answer to a revolt for not sticking with then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on the infamous Billy Bush weekend during the 2016 presidential campaign.

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Aside from it being hard to see how Bright, also a former Democratic congressman that once cast a vote for Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House, could rally a large enough number within the pro-Trump base to unseat Roby, thinking such an outcome were a possibility ignored the local politics.

One of Roby’s strengths throughout her tenure as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives has been her ability to build relationships from Houston County in the very southeastern corner of Alabama’s second congressional district to the Autauga County in the very northwestern corner.

Beyond Montgomery where Roby served as a city councilwoman, she’s become known throughout her district. Be it Greenville in Butler County, Ozark in Dale County or Slocomb in Geneva County, she’s built a stout a network of support.

To beat her, as the past has shown, it would take more than gimmicky tactics. As an opponent, Bright was never able to demonstrate to one of the most Republican-voting parts of Alabama why he was a viable alternative other than he as a former Democrat would be a better ally to Trump.

(Trump ultimately endorsed Roby, which severely crippled the line of attack.)

Many in the media looked to Alabama anyway. Could this be another show of how dangerous it is for Republicans to attack President Donald Trump, much like what happened in South Carolina’s first congressional district to Rep. Mark Sanford?

It was not. And, deservedly, the narrative that Republican voters in Alabama are too mind-numb to make decisions based on something beyond a blind allegiance to the president died.

Unfortunately, Tuesday’s outcome may have given rise to a new equally intellectually challenged notion: “Rise up, Republicans! You can criticize Donald Trump, and it won’t cost you an election.”

These simplistic contrived notions tell us one or both of two things about those reporting on Republican politics from afar: a) They’re too lazy to look beyond the daily blow-by-blow inside the D.C. Beltway bubble and therefore have a very shallow understanding of national politics, or b) They think so lowly of voters in certain parts of the country that they’re too shallow to look beyond the national headlines and consider more than the broad narratives on laid out on Fox News or talk radio.

The how and why behind Roby’s remarkable victory had nothing to do with Donald Trump. If Hillary Clinton had been president, she probably would have won. If Mitt Romney had been president, she also probably would have won. Who was in the White House had little to do with politics on the ground in Alabama’s second congressional district.

The only reason Roby was in a runoff was that she was one of five candidates competing in a crowded Republican primary field. The reason she won Tuesday’s runoff and will likely defeat Democratic congressional nominee Tabitha Isner in November’s general election is that the people in her congressional district like the job she has done as a member of Congress.

But why let the facts interfere with an opportunity to strike some symbolic blow against Trump’s supporters, or Trump himself?

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

2 hours ago

Man sentenced in kidnapping of Alabama woman who escaped car trunk

A man has been sentenced to life without parole after being convicted of kidnapping an Alabama woman who later escaped by jumping from the trunk of a moving car.

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Al.com reports 29-year-old Manuel Ali Towns was sentenced Monday after being found guilty of first-degree kidnapping and other charges. The sentence was handed down because of Towns’ prior felony convictions.

Brittany Diggs has testified that in 2017 Towns abducted her at gunpoint outside of her Birmingham apartment. She said Towns threatened to rape and kill her.

Diggs said Towns stuffed her into the trunk of her car and went to several ATMs to withdraw money with her card. She testified she used the emergency latch to pop the trunk and jumped out as the suspect pulled out of a convenience store.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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9 hours ago

Backed by Alfa, Rick Pate rolls to victory in Alabama ag commissioner race

Lowndesboro Mayor Rick Pate on Tuesday survived late-campaign attack ads dredging up a three-decade-old divorce to claim the Republican nomination for Alabama commissioner of agriculture and industries.

Pate defeated state Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) with about 57 percent of the vote. With no Democrat on the ballot in November, Pate is all but assured of succeeding Republican incumbent John McMillan, who is term-limited.

“We thought we would win,” Pate told AL.com. “We had the right message. I am a farmer and a businessman. I thought that is what people would want.”

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Dial made it to the runoff after running light-hearted ads featuring a catchy jingle proclaiming, “It’s Dial time.” Trailing by a significant margin, however, Dial went negative this month.

Ads by Dial’s campaign referenced a 1986 divorce petition filed by Pate’s ex-wife, Carolyn, that accused Pate of domestic violence.

Pate hotly disputed the allegation.

“I denied that then and I deny that now,” he told the Decatur Daily earlier this month.

Pate told the paper that he and his ex-wife now exchange Christmas cards and that she wrote a note in May explaining that she and her ex-husband hurled hurtful words at one another at the end of what had been a good marriage.

Pate had the backing of powerful agriculture and business interests, including the Alabama Farmers Federation, or Alfa. The group’s political action committee donated nearly $100,000 in cash and in-kind donations. That was nearly a fifth of Pate’s total.

Pate also racked up endorsements from the Business Council of Alabama, the Alabama Forestry Association, the Associated General Contractors of Alabama and the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, among others.

The Lowndesboro mayor, who owns a cattle ranch and runs a landscaping company, pledged to use the department to help farmers improve productivity.

Pate also promised to attack “over-regulation,” taxes and barriers to investment. He pointed out on his campaign website that some have estimated that food production will have to double by 2050 to meet worldwide demand.

It will take “visionary leaders who understand that we have to work smarter, not just harder, to achieve these goals,” according to the website.

Pate’s victory was broad. He won 59 counties — including Choctaw by a single vote — compared to just seven that went to Dial, who even lost his home base in Clay County.

The loss means Dial, come next year, will be out of elective office for the first time in 44 years.

@BrendanKKirby is a senior political reporter at LifeZette and author of “Wicked Mobile.”