2 months ago

Alabama’s elected officials reflect on anniversary of 9/11, honor American heroes

Wednesday marked 18 years since the worst terrorist attacks on U.S. soil were perpetrated, and Alabama’s elected officials shared heartfelt words of remembrance for the 2,977 innocent lives lost that day on September 11, 2001.

At least nine Alabamians, or individuals with deep connections to the state, were killed on 9/11, including Terry Lynch – a former longtime staffer for Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL).

The Yellowhammer State’s leaders on Wednesday took to social media and released statements to mark this emotional day in American history.

Governor Kay Ivey also ordered the state’s flags to half-staff in honor of “Patriot Day” and in remembrance of the victims of the attacks.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Ivey said, “Eighteen years ago, on this day, the strength of our nation was tested, but what emerged was the resiliency of American patriots.”

“Many of those heroes made the ultimate sacrifice, leaving behind family, friends and an entire nation to mourn their loss,” she continued. “However, it is because of their sacrifice that our country could stand tall in the wake of evil.”

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) said, “Eighteen years ago, we were shaken to our core by a heinous – and cowardly – act of terrorism. We will never forget the 2,977 people who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001. We continue to pray for their loved ones, and all those who bear the physical and emotional scars of that day.”

“As dark as that day was for our country, it also revealed the true spirit of America,” he continued. “Everyday people became heroes – from the first responders and firefighters who ran towards burning buildings to the brave passengers of Flight 93 who sacrificed their own lives in a truly selfless effort to save the lives of others to the men and women who raised their hand to serve our nation’s military in a time of war.”

“The resolve and the unity of the American people in the aftermath of these senseless attacks was the bright light our world needed. I pray that today, we each honor their memory by embracing our shared ideals and our unwavering belief in American unity and strength,” Jones concluded.

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) said, “Most all of us will never forget where we were on September 11, 2001, when the world changed before our very eyes.”

“I join our state and country in marking this day by remembering the Americans who lost their lives, praying for their families, and by honoring the heroes who emerged that day and in the months and years to come,” she added. “May this always be a solemn day to reflect upon how much has been sacrificed by so many. Let us also reaffirm our steadfast commitment to the American ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice that make this country the greatest in the world.”

“When thinking back on the attacks on September 11th in 2001, the same feelings of sadness and utter horror are overwhelming,” U.S. Rep Mike Rogers (AL-03), the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement.

“Folks across East Alabama and America will never forget our innocent American brothers and sisters we lost that tragic day and the families they left behind,” he stressed. “We also remember the Americans who died in the Benghazi attacks and pray for their families.”

“May God continue to bless the United States of America,” Rogers concluded.

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04) told Yellowhammer News, “None of us alive then will ever forget that day, nor should we. We will never forget the death, the destruction and the brutal images. But we should also never forget those among us who rose up that day and became heroes for the ages.”

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) remarked, “Eighteen years ago, our country was forever changed, but our spirit and resolve were not broken.”

“Today, we remember and reaffirm our commitment to the survivors, heroic first responders and innocent victims lost on 9/11,” she added. “We will never forget!”

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth said, “I encourage all Alabamians to look to the heavens today and ask God to bless the victims of 9/11 and the families and friends they left behind. Ask Him to watch over our first responders who run towards disaster when others run away. And thank Him for allowing all of us to live in the greatest country mankind has ever known.”

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01) said, “On this day we remember and mourn the men and women who perished eighteen years ago at the hands of those seeking to take down all of us simply because we are Americans.”

“We should come together and rededicate ourselves to the phrase one nation under God, return to the principles that led to our rise to greatness, and never fail to honor the fallen and those who continue to serve and protect our nation,” he concluded.

This article may be updated throughout the day as more reactions come in.

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

10 mins ago

Tuberville: Reception for Trump at Bryant-Denny ‘brings tears to your eyes’ — ‘I was just ecstatic’

Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville on Thursday spoke to WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” about his Republican campaign for the U.S. Senate and what he thought about President Donald Trump’s attendance at the Alabama-LSU game this past weekend.

Asked at the beginning of the interview by guest host Stan McDonald about the big game, Tuberville said it “was an awesome day” of football and patriotism.

“What brings tears to your eyes is the president of the United States, the leader of the free world, comes and watches an SEC game in the state of Alabama, and the reception that he and his wife received — you know, he takes a beating everywhere he goes, especially up north,” Tuberville remarked.

Tuberville added that while the president has a lot of support across the country, he does not often get to see that support expressed firsthand.

“So I was just ecstatic at how the people in Tuscaloosa — [including] the people from LSU, everybody — were on their feet, standing and cheering,” Tuberville said. “I just hope it made him (Trump) feel good and made a good day for him. Because he made a bright day for the people in Tuscaloosa and the people of Alabama by coming to that game.”


With the interview occurring the morning after the first public impeachment hearings were held in the U.S. House of Representatives, Tuberville’s next topic turned to Democrats trying to remove Trump from office.

“It’s a joke, to be honest with you,” Tuberville decried.

He said what Democrats are doing is “an embarrassment” to our country.

“It’s all a show,” Tuberville remarked. “All they’re trying to do, the Democrats, they’re trying to make him (Trump) look bad right before an election. They know they can’t beat him. But they’re trying to make him look bad, because they know if he gets there four more years he’s going to stick it to them — and he should. He should. He should do everything he possibly can to put the Democrats back in their place and make a statement for how they’re treating him.”

As the interview progressed, Tuberville made the argument that Trump needs more true conservative fighters in Washington, D.C. working on his team rather than “wishy-washy” Republicans and career politicians.

“I’m not going to change. I’m not going to listen to special interests — I’m going to listen to the American people, the people of Alabama and Donald Trump,” Tuberville advised.


RELATED: Palmer on Trump in Tuscaloosa: ‘I went to a football game and a Trump rally broke out’

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

43 mins ago

Saban reflects on Tide’s AFCA Academic Achievement Award — Says player reactions he cut while NFL coach varied based on having a degree

On Thursday, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) announced the six recipients of its Academic Achievement Award. Among those were the Air Force Academy, Clemson University, University of Louisville, Rice University, the University of Utah and the University of Alabama.

During his weekly “Hey Coach!” program later that evening, Alabama Crimson Tide head football coach Nick Saban explained how the program under his leadership emphasizes academics to prepare his student-athletes for life after football.

Saban offered an illustration of the importance of players using their time in college from his stint in the National Football League. According to the Alabama coach, when he was responsible for cutting players as an NFL assistant, the reactions varied to the news based upon whether or not the player being cut fulfilled their obligations as a student and received a college degree.


“We really emphasize in recruiting when we recruit guys that they’re coming to college to prepare themselves for the day they can’t play football,” Saban said. “That means they need to get an education. And I can’t tell you how much difference there was – it’s never fun when you’re in the NFL for eight years, and six of those years, I was actually responsible to release guys when you had to cut somebody from the team. You know it was always amazing to me that when you cut a guy that had a college degree, he would say, ‘You know Coach, I really appreciate the opportunity. I’m going to go to work for AT&T in Dallas because I graduated, you know, last year,’ or whatever. And it was like – just ready to move on in his life. Disappointed, but ready to move on.”

“And when you cut some of these guys that put all their eggs in one basket, you know, to play in the National Football League – majored in eligibility when they were in college, didn’t do what they were supposed to do to try to graduate,” he continued. “It wasn’t important to them, and they weren’t very committed to it. And it was devastating, you know, to them when they didn’t make the team because now they’re faced with ‘what do I do next’ because they didn’t have a career off the field to go to.”

Saban touted efforts of Alabama’s Center for Athletic Student Services, which is under the direction of Associate Athletic Director for Student Services Jon Dever.

“You know, I’m very proud of a, what our players have been able to accomplish,” Saban added. “But, you know, Jon Dever, his staff of people in our academic support program, do a marvelous job of helping our players. You know, the people in the university community – our professors and all the university community is always cooperative, give us the information that we need so that we can help the players – whether it is with tutors or whatever. Some places I’ve been, that’s hard to get. It’s hard to get that kind of cooperation. So, I can’t tell you how much we appreciate that. And I think that we have one of the most successful academic support programs in the history of academic success of any school in the country because of all those things. I’m really kind of proud of it. I know it doesn’t get talked about very much. Everybody is interested in how many games you win. But for the player, it is probably one of the most important things.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

14 hours ago

Judge rules Alabama-born ‘ISIS bride’ not an American citizen, has no right to return

Hoda Muthana, who left Hoover in 2014 to join ISIS in Syria, has no right to return to the United States, according to a Thursday ruling by a federal judge.

Muthana has been begging to return to America since at least early this year, claiming she made “a big mistake.”

She has previously called for the killings of Americans on U.S. soil, as well as the assassination of then-President Barack Obama.


Muthana was 19 years old when she left Alabama and headed to Raqqa, Syria. There, she first married an Australian jihadist named Suhan Rahman, who was reportedly killed later in the town of Kobanî.

After Rahman’s death, Muthana – called “one of Isis’s [sic] most prominent online agitators” as well as one of the most militant – took to social media in a vengeful call for the blood of American citizens to be spilled by radical jihadists living in the country.

“Americans wake up! Men and women altogether. You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping! Go on drivebys, and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriots, Memorial, etc day … Kill them,” she once tweeted.

After the death of Rahman, she married a Tunisian fighter, with whom she had her son, Adam. This second husband was soon killed in Mosul, and Muthana briefly married a Syrian fighter last year to complete her own trifecta of jihadist husbands.

It is supposedly in part out of concern for her son that she wants to return to her family in the Yellowhammer State. She also claims to have become de-radicalized over time after seeing the realities in the Middle East.

President Donald Trump’s State Department has maintained that Muthana is not an American citizen, as such has no rights to return to America and therefore would be banned from reentering the country.

On Thursday, approximately nine months after Muthana’s family sued the State Department in federal court, Senior United States District Judge Reggie Walton of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia officially sided with the government.

The judge found that there was sufficient evidence to conclude that Muthana was born in America while her father, who once represented Yemen to the United Nations, still had diplomatic status in the U.S.

As reported by Buzzfeed News, “Federal regulations and international law state that children of foreign diplomats born in the US are not subject to the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees birthright citizenship, because they are born under the jurisdiction of another country.”

Additionally, the judge also ruled that Muthana’s father can not provide financial support to her or her two-year-old without being subject to federal charges of providing material support to terrorism.

A lawyer for Muthana reportedly told Buzzfeed that an appeal is likely.

The ruling came days after NBC News featured the “ISIS bride” in a new exclusive. In that latest report, which was mocked by PJ Media, Muthana asserted that every American of faith must support her return, claiming, “Anyone that believes in God believes that everyone deserves a second chance, no matter how harmful their sins were.”

That report also outlined that a return to live in Hoover was still Muthana’s goal.

“I want my son to be around my family, I want to go to school, I want to have a job and I want to have my own car,” she told NBC.

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) has previously advocated that Muthana be allowed to return to America.

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) disagreed with Jones’ position, saying, “Look, this is one of many ways that Doug Jones differs from the people – the vast majority of people – in the state of Alabama.”

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

15 hours ago

Roby presses VA officials on staffing issues at Alabama facilities — ‘My veterans are suffering’

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02), a member of the House’s Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, on Thursday participated in a hearing regarding the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection’s failures at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Roby questioned Michael J. Missal — inspector general of the VA — and Dr. Tamara Bonzanto — the assistant secretary for accountability and whistleblower protection of the VA.

In her questioning and remarks, Roby highlighted the importance of whistleblowers in uncovering critical issues at Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System (CAVHCS) and the urgent need for staffing improvements within the VA system.

She specifically pressed the inspector general as to why the system is not seeing any internal change impacting the lives of Alabama’s tremendous veterans.


Roby asked, “Is there a disconnect between the administration’s view of how the VA is operating and the IG’s reports on the issues, and is the administration doing enough to implement IG recommendations?”

She commented, “This [whistleblower] hearing is important because there are some VA facilities in this country that are working well and serving our veterans well. There are others that are not, and that happens to be the one in my district…There is a tremendous problem with our veterans even having the ability to be seen. …It’s just not getting better. …I continue to be so outraged and frustrated as to why this is not getting better…My veterans are suffering because of it.”

You can watch Roby’s full remarks here.

The southeast Alabama congresswoman has long been a vocal advocate for veterans and improving the VA system.

RELATED: Roby: ‘My name isn’t on the ballot in 2020, but I still have a few fights left in me — The VA remains at the top of my list’

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

16 hours ago

Alabama Policy Institute launches campaign to change state’s ‘dead last’ k-12 ranking

The Alabama Policy Institute (API) on Thursday launched the “#DeadLast Initiative” aimed at focusing elected officials and the public on Alabama’s recent ranking as having the nation’s lowest-ranked public education system.

The initiative includes the launch of DeadLast.org and an online video poking fun at the fact that Alabama is no longer even above Mississippi in its education ranking.

API is not just drawing attention to embarrassing problems — they are proposing tangible solutions.

Chief among the calls-to-action are for Alabama voters to pass Amendment One on the March 2020 primary ballot. The bipartisan proposal would be a historic overhaul of the state’s educational governance structure.


In addition to outreach to elected officials, API is expected to invest significant time and resources into spreading the message to the public that Alabama must do a better job in educating our children, according to a press release.

“Alabama can no longer say ‘Thank God for Mississippi’,” API president Caleb Crosby said in a statement. “We are letting our children down and not preparing them for a productive life. API is going to do everything in our power to bring about change in the way we educate our children in Alabama – they deserve nothing less.”

API is also advocating for reforms such as the expansion of school choice through charter schools and scholarships; the wise use of tax dollars and not simply increasing spending for the sake of increasing spending; and reformulation of the teacher tenure system so that teacher performance and continual professional development are rewarded more than longevity.

API chief operations officer Carl Jones remarked that it is time to get away from a failing “status quo,” which he said is perfectly represented by the Alabama Education Association (AEA).

“Alabama’s worst in the nation ranking makes clear it’s high pastime we break the status quo in education in Alabama. No one more represents the same old same old as the Alabama Education Association,” Jones stated. “Unions have one goal – get the best deal for their members – that’s it. Our goal is to get the best deal for our children. We don’t want small shiny objects; we want, and our children need, real, aggressive reforms including an immediate expansion of school choice and reforming teacher tenure, among other things.”

API chief communications officer Joshua Pendergrass added, “It is simply unacceptable for Alabama to be number 52 in education – 52 out of 50 states – that means even Washington D.C. and the military are better educating their children than we are. We are committed to moving our state forward through smart, practical education reforms.”

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