6 years ago

Alabama plays leading role in stirring new viral video

Ryan Houke of Free Market America on Fox Business with John Stossel discussing the impact his short films have had on the national energy debate
Ryan Houke of Free Market America on Fox Business with John Stossel discussing the impact his short films have had on the national energy debate
Based on Paul Harvey’s seminal essay, “If I were the devil,” Free Market America produced one of the most viral conservative videos to hit the web in the last couple of years, titled “If I Wanted America to Fail.”

“If I wanted America to fail; to follow, not lead; to suffer, not prosper; to despair, not dream — I’d start with energy,” the narrator, Ryan Houck, says ominously to start the video.

He then meticulously lays out the environmentalists’ tactics that threaten to cripple America’s economy.

The video now has over 2.7 million plays.

Free Market America is back this week with another stirring video that points out a real-life example of the left’s tactics being put into practice. And what specific example do they give? A liberal northeastern state where energy prices are shooting through the roof? How about a left-leaning western state like California, the home of the green energy movement in America? Nope. The looked no further than right here in Sweet Home Alabama.

“Welcome to Alabama — red state. For months, environmental interests have been waging a campaign here to kill coal,” Houck intones. “Of course, they can’t say that to the conservative voters of Alabama. So instead, environmental front groups are pretending to care about the costs of electricity. It’s a joke. And their money betrays their true intentions. New reports reveal that San Francisco-based environmental interests are funneling millions to the very Alabama front groups now seeking to hijack the state’s Public Service Commission. Millions flowing from California to radical environmental groups in Alabama. All part of a backdoor effort to bring down the free market. In the very heart of a conservative stronghold.”

Houck is alluding to a story Yellowhammer broke in December that revealed documentation showing the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation funneled several million dollars into Alabama earmarked for things like “accelerat[ing] the retirement of coal-fired power plants” and to promote “clean energy issues in Alabama.” Large chunks of money were spent during recent utility hearings at the Alabama Public Service Commission, which the environmental groups viewed as the ideal venue to make their move.

Using data made publicly available by the Energy Foundation, here’s a quick snapshot of how much money environmental groups participating in the Alabama Public Service Commission hearings received, and what the funds were earmarked for:

  • Alabama Arise: $50,000 during the Alabama PSC hearings “to advance clean energy policies in Alabama.”
  • Alabama Environmental Council (AEC): $107,000 “to increase capacity and stakeholder engagement on clean energy issues in Alabama,” including $62,000 during the Alabama PSC hearings.
  • Alabama Rivers Alliance: $40,000 matching grant during the Alabama PSC hearings “to accelerate the retirement of coal-fired power plants in Alabama.”
  • Greater Birmingham Alliance to Stop Air Pollution (GASP): $70,000, including a $20,000 matching grant “to accelerate the retirement of coal-fired power plants in Alabama” and $50,000 “to increase capacity and support for clean air policies in Alabama.”
  • Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE): $810,000 for a wide variety of climate-related issues in the southeast, including $60,000 during the Alabama PSC hearings “to accelerate retirement of coal-fired power plants.”
  • Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC): $1.8 Million, including $60,000 during the PSC hearings “to accelerate retirement of coal-fired power plants in the Southeast.”

Don’t let them get away with it, Alabama,” Houke said defiantly. “Whether they serve in Congress in Washington, work at a federal agency, or sit on the Public Service Commission in Alabama, our public officials were not empowered to negotiate the slow surrender of our freedoms. And the cause of energy independence is the cause of freedom. Let not our children say our cause was quietly forsaken. And those profess to led, let not history say we deserted our principles when they were most in need of a vigorous defense. Let it be said that we saw things clearly even when it was difficult, that we stood up, spoke out, and fought back.”


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_SimsVideo

15 mins ago

It’s time for Alabama legislators to end the wasteful practices of subsidizing newspapers to print public notices

Every year, Alabama’s various governments are required by law to take tax dollars collected from their citizens and hand them over to print newspapers to comply with public notice laws.

These laws force these entities to notify the public of matters facing them through the pages of these newspapers. There are no other options.

Local city governments? Yep.

Local boards of education? Yep.

State agencies? Yep.

With each of these requirements, a private entity is subsidized by tax dollars for a service that no one actually uses. To say this is a scam is an understatement.

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Current Alabama law requires government entities in Alabama to advertise and pay for legal notices, legislation, constitutional amendments, voter rolls and other public matters in the local print media outlets.

As I have pointed out before, this is not chump change.

  • The City of Huntsville spends up to $115,000 each year.
  • Madison County spends up to $153,000 each year.

The real cost across the state is clearly into the multiple millions of dollars range.

Last week, Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong appeared on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” and explained that Madison County alone was forced to pay $75,000 to Alabama Media Group, the parent company of AL.com, which runs a sports blog with a liberal bias.

For what? A 112-page list of voters.

Strong says he knows no one is reading this list to see if they are eligible to vote.

“You’re printing a 112-page document that will be used to light fires in people’s burn pits,” he explained. “People don’t even look at it, they throw it in the garbage can.”

The Secretary of State’s Office has a phone number and a website where people can see if they are eligible to vote, so this is all completely unnecessary.

Keep in mind, this is one county. All 67 counties in the state had to pay for this “service,” and they all know it is a waste of their resources.

Strong noted, “I promise you $75,000 practically every two years over 10 years, that’s $375,000, and I can tell you Madison County has a bunch of needs that money could go toward a lot more beneficial than a list.”

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Multiple lawmakers have attempted to cut in on these legal notices over the years, with little success.

State Representative Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals) tried last year. He said in 2019, “I think it’s really hard to make a case in Alabama that we need more taxes while we are not spending the money we have in an efficient manner.”

Sorrell is trying again this year:

Relating to public notices; to provide for electronic publication of public notices on a public notice website operated by the Secretary of State; to provide for fees for publication; to allow counties and municipalities to opt out under certain conditions; and to provide for delivery of public notices to the Secretary of State for publication on the public notice website.

Secretary of State John Merrill is all in on supporting this bill.

My takeaway:

The same challenges that came up in 2019 will come up again in 2019. No one wants to fight the newspapers on this because they know the newspapers will fight back.

We all know the old saying: “Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.”

But it is time to pick this fight. The status quo is a scam that gives tax dollars to newspapers and citizens get little in return. It is time for other legislators to join him and get this done.

Listen:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

3 hours ago

Greg Shaw releases first ad in Alabama Supreme Court reelection bid — ‘One of us’

Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Greg Shaw on Monday released the first television ad in his reelection bid to Place 1 on the court.

The spot, entitled, “Trump Tough,” lasts 30 seconds and opens with footage of Shaw driving a truck around a farm.

“Activist judges legislate from the bench, but not conservative Justice Greg Shaw,” a narrator says.

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“Justice Shaw is one of Alabama’s most conservative judges — fighting activism and interpreting the law,” the narrator continues. “A Christian fighting for our values, Justice Shaw has been married for 39 years, is of the highest character and never wavers from biblical principles. Justice Shaw is respected, Trump tough and, like the president, Greg Shaw is one of us.”

Watch:

Shaw is facing a tough Republican primary challenge from State Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster), the chairman of the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee.

As of last Monday, February 10, Shaw had approximately $252,000 cash-on-hand while Ward had $113,000. Ward to that point had spent about $106,000 in the cycle while Shaw had spent $38,000. Updated financial disclosures are due on Tuesday, February 18, two weeks before the March 3 primary.

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

4 hours ago

Hightower campaign unveils ads featuring the candidate’s faith in God, pro-life values

Bill Hightower’s campaign for Congress released two new ads on Monday that play up the candidate’s conservative values.

One is a 30-second television spot and the other is a one-minute radio spot.

Both ads begin by asserting Hightower’s strong commitment to the sanctity of life, which the candidate believes begins at birth.

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Hightower has long been one of Alabama’s most vocal pro-life politicians. His new television ad mentions pro-adoption legislation he sponsored while a member of the Alabama Senate.

Hightower has also frequently mentioned his pro-life stance on the trail during his congressional run and his unsuccessful pursuit of Alabama’s governorship in 2018.

The radio piece goes deeper into Hightower’s faith in God. The candidate says, “I committed my life to Jesus when I was 16 years old, and since then I’ve been a student of the word.”

Hightower’s main competitors for Alabama’s First Congressional District are Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl and State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile). The seat is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), who is running for the U.S. Senate.

Both Carl and Pringle have released ads recently. All three men have voiced their support of President Donald Trump and the ongoing construction of a wall on the United States’ border with Mexico.

Hightower is alone in choosing to promote his support for term limits in his ads, though Pringle has signed a pledge signaling support for a term limits proposal.

The Alabama Republican primary is March 3.

Listen:

Watch:

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

Matt Fridy releases ad showcasing citizen testimonials — ‘On Tuesday I’m voting Fridy’

State Representative Matt Fridy’s (R-Montevallo) campaign for the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals released an ad Monday that shows Alabama citizens vouching for the candidates’ character and legal abilities.

In the closing moments, the ad also features a clever turn of phrase, “Vote Fridy on Tuesday,” that the campaign hopes will stick with viewers.

The 30-second spot will begin airing on radio and cable this week.

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The individuals featured in the ad, who go unidentified, vouch for Fridy’s “brilliant legal mind” and his “integrity.”

Additionally, one man in the ad lauds Fridy as a “staunch conservative.”

The new piece is more conventional than the campaign’s first advertisement, which went for a humorous tone.

Fridy is widely considered the favorite to win the Civil Appeals Court race. His only opponent in the primary, Phillip Bahakel, has not been able to accrue much money for his campaign and has not released a television ad.

Watch:

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

Ainsworth to unveil legislation shortening appeals process for capital murder death row inmates

Alabama Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth on Tuesday will unveil legislation that will reportedly shorten the appeals process and expedite the death penalty for individuals convicted of capital murder and sentenced to be executed in the state.

Originally inspired by the record number of Yellowhammer State law enforcement officers across the state who have been killed in the line of duty over the past 13 months, the legislation will actually apply to all capital murder convictions resulting in the death penalty that occur in Alabama.

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RELATED: State Rep. John Rogers calls for automatic death penalty with no appeals for convicted cop killers

Ainsworth will be joined by bill sponsors at an 11:00 a.m. press conference in the State House to make the announcement. The Republican lieutenant governor announced two months ago that he was working on this legislation.

“‘Back the Blue’ must be more than just a slogan. Actions must follow words,” Ainsworth has said in a tweet. “Murdering an officer who maintains law and order should quickly cost your own life.”

Last year, the Alabama legislature passed a bill by State Rep. Chris Sells (R-Greenville) making it a capital offense to kill any on-duty first responder, not just policemen and corrections officers.

Killing an on-duty police officer has long been a capital offense in Alabama.

In Alabama, capital murder convictions result in either life imprisonment without parole or the death penalty.

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