4 years ago

Andrews: Trump or Clinton will be President. Here’s how to decide who to vote for.

Clinton, Trump pick up big wins

My name is Andy Andrews. I am a husband and a father. I have written several books, a couple of which have been moderately successful. In a national discussion of celebrity, money, or power, however, I would not be mentioned.

My family and friends love me though, and in Alabama, where I was born, I like to believe there are those who are happy that I still live here. As for my books, they seem to defy conventional literary description and are most often characterized as “stories of common sense.” That’s fine with me. In fact, it’s exactly what I was after all along.

Through the years, for whatever reason, I decided to make “common sense” my personal quest. The most important part of that quest, I determined, would be to somehow develop the ability to harness common sense for the benefit of other people. Specifically, I prayed to learn how to take complicated subjects that were confusing people and explain to them the “bottom line truth” in a simple, understandable fashion. I wanted to be able to do this in order that they might utilize that understanding in ways that would make their lives better—that would prosper them and their families.

That brings me to today, the looming 2016 presidential election, and perhaps the most critically important issue I have ever attempted to explain:


Why You Must Vote

(even if you must hold your nose while doing so. And…)
Why There Are Only Two Candidates from Which to Choose


First, allow me to say that I am not an admirer of either candidate. I never have been. My wife and I have two teenaged sons and, like you, we are aware that manners and good behavior are a reflection of character. That said, it is ironic that many of us now find ourselves in the position of choosing a president of the United States whose conduct we would not tolerate in our own family.

But choose we must, for this is the first election in our lifetimes that has virtually nothing to do with the “personality” who will serve as our president. This election is about the Supreme Court.

This time, forget everything else. Forget crimes that may have been committed. Forget any alleged sexual assault. Forget the possibility of treasonous acts, adultery, fraud, vindictiveness, and mean or childish behavior. Think only of the Supreme Court. For the first time in your life, you really are about to determine what this country will be like for the rest of your life. This is true, also, for the lives of your children and your children’s children.

As a people, we have not had a choice before us with more power to heal or destroy since the civil war. The United States of America is clearly about to move down one of two roads. No rhetoric can disguise either path. And once the Supreme Court is in place, no Congress or Senate can change that path.

This coming Tuesday, November 8, 2016, you and I will choose which of two people will become president. Soon after being inaugurated, that person will begin the process of selecting the person who will fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court—the one who will tip the scales one way or the other. Laws will be upheld or overturned. New laws will be imposed or not. In either case, the way you are allowed to live will soon be determined by the Supreme Court. The court’s majority will be determined by the new president. But one thing is certain: after Tuesday, you will have no more say in the matter.

Lest you think this might be a temporary situation, able to be shifted or redone by the next president, it is critical to understand that whichever of the two major candidates we elect this Tuesday will be the person who will set the Supreme Court in stone for generations. The person we elect this Tuesday will not be making one Supreme Court appointment, but perhaps as many as four!

Considering possible retirements and death, look at the court’s current makeup: The vacant seat is that of Justice Scalia who recently died at the age of 79. Of the eight justices that remain, five—Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan—are under the age of 70. The rest are far older. Justice Breyer is 78, Justice Kennedy is 80, and Justice Ginsburg is 83 and has been treated for pancreatic cancer.

Supreme Court appointments are for life. This means that the justices serve until they resign, retire, or die. Therefore, a president able to appoint even one member of the court is able to determine the direction of the country. Especially in the situation that exists at present…

The court has voted 5-4 on crucial decisions for years. The swing vote (Scalia) died. The person we elect as president this Tuesday will appoint Scalia’s replacement—the new swing vote.

Pay Close Attention: During the next four years of the president’s term, he or she will likely appoint a second Supreme Court justice. The votes on crucial decisions will then be decided by a vote of 6-3. The opportunity to appoint a third and even a fourth justice to the court will allow whomever we elect on Tuesday the ability to cement the Supreme Court’s voting—think 7-2 or imagine 8-1—for as long as you live.


So it all comes down to this:


First, be aware that there is no possibility of a third party winning this election. None. Therefore, a vote for a third party candidate is a wasted vote. “But I am voting my conscience,” you say. Fine. Just remember that it will be your body (not your conscience) and your children who will live in the world our Supreme Court is about to create. Forever.

Do you want a say in what that world will be like? I’m sorry, but there are only two choices. Him or her.

Yes, I understand. You are furious at being put in a position to have to choose between the “lesser of two evils.” I do understand. It is infuriating. On the other hand, you must understand that “the lesser of two evils” is the only choice you’ve ever had in any election in which you’ve ever voted in your life! Jesus has never run for office. That leaves only the rest of us—you and me—well-meaning, good-hearted people who, despite our best intentions, have still managed to lie, cheat, and say things out loud for which we remain grateful to this day that no one recorded during what we thought was a private conversation.

It is time to put away our self-righteousness. It is time to wake up and understand that we have no ability—zero—to make either candidate feel our contempt with our vote. Even if we did, they would not care! ONE OF THESE TWO PEOPLE WILL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT. Neither you nor I will change that fact by voting for someone else or by not voting at all.

The only way you can possibly vote this time and have it matter is to vote for the America in which you wish to live. That America will be defined by the Supreme Court justices chosen by one of the two major candidates.

For once in our lives, whatever “President” we have to watch on television for the next four years doesn’t matter. We have all suffered through four or eight years of one presidential face or another and, this time, we will do it again. That face will not matter. In the long run, that person’s name will not matter. ONLY THE JUSTICES THAT PERSON CHOOSES FOR THE SUPREME COURT MATTERS!

Remember that whoever the president of the United States is…whoever the president might ever be—despite the amount of television time they get, no matter the round office and forget the cool plane—that person’s actual power, his or her ability to truly affect your day-to- day life, is extremely limited. Congress, Senate, the will of the people, the approval of the media…all are very real factors that prey upon a president’s ability to do as he or she wishes.

The Supreme Court, on the other hand, is under no such constraints. Once appointed, there is virtually no oversight or even influence that can be brought to bear. The media? Polls? Voters? There is no quarterly review, no coming election. A Supreme Court justice is appointed for life. His or her word is, quite literally, the law. These are the big laws, the ones that determine your daily life.

And the only chance you have to shape those laws is by electing the person who chooses the members of the court. So hold your nose if you wish, there are only two choices…


Here’s how you decide who to vote for:


Both major candidates have announced exactly the kind of justices they will choose for the Supreme Court if elected. One candidate has even listed the names of the judges from which the choice will be made. Your choice will be plain to see and easy to make. Again, your choice is not about a person. In the most literal sense, your choice is about the America in which you wish to live.

Knowing there are many issues that will be determined by the Supreme Court, let’s quickly examine only a few. From here, you will easily understand the direction you wish to take.

Second Amendment

Do you believe that guns are inherently bad? Do you believe that there are too many guns, that gun manufacturers should be held responsible for what individuals do with them, and that the government needs to further restrict the public’s right to own and use guns? If so, you must vote for her. She has publicly promised to appoint judges that will make these beliefs the basis for laws by which we all will live for the rest of our lives.

Or do you believe strongly in the “right to bear arms”? Do you believe that further gun restrictions will only restrict the access honest citizens have to firearms and ammunition? Do you believe that a gun—while dangerous—is a tool like a car and that when used incorrectly, it is the fault of a person, not the fault of the tool? If so, you must vote for him. He has publicly promised to appoint judges that will make laws according to this line of thinking. At that point, we will live with those laws for the rest of our lives.

And this Second Amendment issue will be determined by the Supreme Court.

Abortion

Do you believe that the fetus inside a pregnant woman is a tissue mass and that a woman should be able to rid her body of that tissue mass at any time during the nine months prior to that tissue mass being born? Do you believe that tissue mass only becomes a human being once it is outside the woman’s body? Do you believe that your tax dollars should be used to allow anyone who chooses, for whatever reason, to rid their body of that tissue mass?

Do you believe that counseling centers, funded by churches, set up for the purpose of encouraging adoption should be forced by law to offer abortion counseling as an alternative? If so, you must vote for her. She has publicly promised to appoint judges that will enforce these beliefs into laws by which you and I must live for the rest of our lives.

Or do you believe that the baby inside a mother is a human being? Do you believe that life has a purpose and that, from the moment of conception, each and every child is unique and valuable?

Do you believe that you should not be forced to fund Planned Parenthood—the largest abortion provider in America—with your tax dollars? Do you believe more than 50 million government-approved abortions in the United States since 1970 are enough? If so, you must vote for him. He has publicly promised to appoint judges that will reduce, restrict, and eventually do away with abortion on demand and what you believe will be made into laws by which you and I will live for the rest of our lives.

And this abortion issue will be determined by the Supreme Court.

Immigration

Do you believe the United States should move toward a policy of “open borders”? Do you believe undocumented persons in the United States illegally should not only be allowed to stay, but issued driver’s licenses, food stamps, and provided medical care? Do you believe that if someone wishes to enter our country, they have every right to do so without explanation? If so, you must vote for her, for she has publicly promised to appoint judges that will reverse laws currently on the books regarding immigration. These laws will eventually lead to her stated “dream of open borders” and a new way of life for us all.

Or do you believe that America’s borders are her first line of defense? Do you believe that the word “illegal” means just that? Do you believe that only legally recognized citizens of America have a right to her benefits and protection as provided by your tax dollars? Do you believe America has not only the right, but the responsibility to carefully vet those who seek to enter our country? If so, you must vote for him, for he has publicly promised to appoint judges that will make and defend laws in line with those beliefs.

Regulatory Oversight

Do you believe the government is more capable of determining how your money should be used? Do you believe the government is better able to determine how your children should be educated? Do you believe the government should determine who can do business where and with whom? Do you believe a person should be given priority because of what they believe, what they are, or what they believe they are? If so, you must vote for her, for she has publicly promised to appoint judges who will open our borders, our bathrooms, and our wallets. She has promised laws to punish those who do not agree.

Or do you believe you can decide what’s best for your family? Do you believe that if you earn a certain amount of money you should be able to keep and reinvest the largest part of it to benefit those things you decide are important? Do you believe the government has been created to serve the people, not the other way around? If so, you must vote for him, for he has publicly promised to appoint judges whose rulings allow prosperity for those who work to deserve it.

These are but a few examples of the two pathways you will choose this Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Religious freedom, taxes and the economy, healthcare…in every category you examine, you’ll find drastic differences in the America that will be shaped by this election. Don’t be fooled—how you vote matters, because the Supreme Court matters.

So what kind of America will we have for the rest of our lives? This time, you actually get to choose.

7 hours ago

Gov. Kay Ivey signs bill into law allowing alcohol delivery in Alabama effective later this year

MONTGOMERY — Governor Kay Ivey on Monday signed into law SB 126, which will legalize the home delivery of alcohol in the state of Alabama effective October 1, 2021.

Sponsored by Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills) and Rep. Gil Isbell (R-Gadsden) in the respective chambers, SB 126 will create a licensing process that ultimately allows liquor, beer and wine sold at retailers to be delivered to residences, including by services such as Shipt, Instacart or DoorDash.

The new law contains limits on the amounts of each beverage that can be delivered, and deliveries can not be made to dry counties and dry cities.

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Deliveries of sealed alcoholic beverages under the law may occur from grocery stores, restaurants, breweries and other retail establishments licensed by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Any alcohol delivered from a restaurant under the provisions of SB 126 must accompany a meal.

All delivery drivers carrying alcohol will be required to undergo a background check and must be at least 21 years old. The bill requires that a person age-21 or older must receive all deliveries of alcohol.

SB 126 received final passage by the legislature last week.

“Our legislation allows for alcohol delivery with strict, multiple layers of checks and balances in place. The legislation explicitly regulates that alcohol deliveries are made only to adults of legal drinking age,” Waggoner has said in a statement.

Isbell added, “Passing common sense rules for safe alcohol delivery in Alabama is smart all around – giving more options to consumers relying on delivery services while providing a boost to delivery workers and local retail businesses during a pivotal time.”

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

8 hours ago

The Frontier Industrial Innovation Conference set for April 13-14

The past decade has brought tremendous changes to businesses in industrial and energy sectors. Taking advantage of those changes to uniquely position and empower each sector to shape the future industrial economy is the objective of The Frontier Conference. The two-day event is being held virtually this year from The Frontier‘s home in Birmingham.

The Frontier is the only conference of its kind to focus on emerging technologies for all key industrial subsectors. Its goal is to forge connections and collaboration among industrial innovation stakeholders. The conference will include an exciting mix of innovators, executives, entrepreneurs, investors and up-and-coming leaders of the industrial world to think, talk and hear about ideas and technologies that are shaping the future of industry.

“The Frontier Conference is about solution-seekers who are shaping the future of industrial innovation,” said The Frontier founder Hank Torbert. “Our goal is to contribute to that process and help companies succeed by sharing ideas and innovations across sectors. That also helps us stay focused on emerging development and trends and ensure that we continue to provide all who attend with valuable information, access and opportunities.”

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More than 200 people have registered for the conference, representing 130 organizations and 17 major industries from more than 20 states and five foreign countries. Attendees include business leaders seeking capital, partners, customers, new lines of business and innovative solutions for specific functions, such as economic development.

The 2021 conference is the first for The Frontier since its move from New Orleans to Birmingham in 2019. Torbert called Birmingham “the ideal home for The Frontier,” given the city’s industrial history and its emerging status as an epicenter for development of future industries.

“Throughout its history, Birmingham has been a city of pioneers, builders, innovators and entrepreneurs,” Torbert noted. “Today, it is a major epicenter of industrials, as is Alabama as a whole, whether you’re talking about automotive, chemicals, transportation, aerospace or manufacturing in general. That energy fits with our goal of building an industrial innovation community across all sectors that allows for the collaboration and expansion of emerging ideas and technologies.”

Torbert said Birmingham benefits from both private and public leadership that understands the economic evolution underway worldwide and is committed to an approach to economic growth that is diversified, innovative, strategic and collaborative. That’s a key factor in Birmingham’s emergence as a national leader in creating and attracting jobs of the future, he added – an assessment that is endorsed by Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin.

“We understand that the industrial world is undergoing rapid transformation,” Woodfin said. “Birmingham’s commitment to innovation is part of our vision for helping our industrial sector remain competitive by transforming the ways they operate, compete and do business. We’re pleased to have The Frontier as a partner and a resource in our efforts.”

The growing energy for innovation in Birmingham extends to the rest of the state. Alabama continues to position itself for sustained success in the economy of the 21st century.

The state ranks third nationally in auto exports and has a strong presence in the chemical industry, where over 200 companies employ a total of more than 10,000 people, with annual exports exceeding $2 billion. Alabama also ranks among the top 10 states in the growth of biotech research funding, led by major research facilities in Birmingham and Huntsville.

In just the past five years, Alabama’s biotech startups have attracted well over $100 million in venture capital. At both the state and local levels, public and private entities are investing in workforce development initiatives to ensure a well-educated labor pool for new and expanding industries.

“Increasingly, Alabama’s innovation community demonstrates its commitment to the idea that we are here to work, learn and grow together,” said Greg Barker, president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA). “Collaboration is an essential ingredient in our overall success, and we’ve seen that The Frontier is committed to helping those partnerships flourish.”

Along with EDPA and 30 other corporate and organizational partners, Alabama Power is a sponsor of The Frontier Conference. The conference will provide benefits from connections made and information shared, in addition to promoting the benefits of doing business in Alabama.

“We are constantly identifying new initiatives, products and services to meet our customers’ evolving needs,” said John Smola, director of Business Transformation and Administration for Alabama Power. “The Frontier conference provides an opportunity for us to learn from, engage with and gain best practices from other industry peers focused on innovation and customer offerings.”

To learn more about The Frontier, or to register for The Frontier Conference, visit thefrontier.co.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

8 hours ago

Seven-ton elephant statue takes its place outside Bryant-Denny Stadium

Tuska, a 19-foot-tall, seven-ton bronze elephant statue, was installed Monday in front of Bryant-Denny Stadium at the University of Alabama.

The newly named Tuska Plaza is at the southeast corner of Tuscaloosa’s University Boulevard and Wallace Wade Avenue. The project includes new landscaping, a large pedestal for Tuska to stand on, sidewalks surrounding the statue and lighting elements for nighttime viewing, UA announced.

The statue was recently donated to UA by the Tuscaloosa-headquartered Westervelt Company, along with a generous gift from Bill and Mary Battle.

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The statue was sculpted by English artist Terry Mathews and has resided at nearby NorthRiver Yacht Club for the past 20 years.

Tuska’s installation comes just in time for Alabama football’s annual A-Day scrimmage, which will kick off at noon on Saturday, April 17.

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

8 hours ago

Regions lighting up Birmingham headquarters building for annual Regions Tradition golf tournament

Regions Bank, title sponsor of the Regions Tradition, will light up the Regions Center in downtown Birmingham with the image of a golfer in preparation for the upcoming golf tournament.

Starting on Monday night at 8:00 p.m. CT, all four sides of the Regions Center will be lit with images of a golfer, allowing a 360-degree view from anywhere near the building. The 20-story light display will be lit daily from 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. and again from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. through May 9.

This year’s Regions Tradition will be held May 5-9 at Greystone Golf and County Club. Enhanced protocols will be in place related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The tournament – even last year when it was canceled due to coronavirus – continues to be a major generator of charitable support and donations. In fact, the total amount raised in 2020 represented the largest amount raised in one year in the history of the tournament. Children’s of Alabama is the primary beneficiary, and other area nonprofit organizations also significantly benefit.

Overall, the event generates an estimated annual economic impact of $25 million statewide.

The Regions Tradition remains one of the premier stops of the PGA TOUR Champions, which is the men’s professional senior golf tour for those aged 50 and older. In fact, it is one of five majors on the tour.

The event will once again feature Hall of Fame-caliber golfers, as well as a celebrity pro-am with some of the biggest names around.

On the professional side, this year’s lineup is slated to include the likes of Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Steve Stricker, Bernhard Langer, John Daly and Vijay Singh.

Celebrities set to participate include Nick Saban, Bo Jackson and Kirby Smart.

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

9 hours ago

Allowing lottery purchases through a cellphone is a terrible idea but the Alabama Legislature might do it

Another week is here, and that means we are into another week of gambling conversation.

Many discussions have already been had about what type of gambling we will have in the state of Alabama and who will benefit.

Will it just be a lottery and nothing more? Will it be casino gaming? Will there be sports betting? Will I be able to bet on WrestleMania? Will the Poarch Band of Creek Indians be happy? Will illegal casino owners across the state be happy? Will out-of-state investors want to come to the state and build casinos? Will the money go to the General Fund? Will the money go to education? Will the money go to ISIS?

Most people of the state of Alabama don’t really care about the particulars here. They don’t know that the Alabama Senate is about to substitute a “simple” lottery bill by Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville) while Senator Del Marsh (R-Anniston) has a more complicated and comprehensive bill that would open up gambling in the state of Alabama.

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Personally, I don’t think the votes are there for any of this. There are too many competing factions that will not allow gambling legislation to move forward unless their side benefits, but at the same time they don’t want the other sides to benefit. This is why we are in a never-ending stalemate.

But missing in all of this is a very bad idea wrapped in a very vanilla idea.

No one is really concerned about the lottery. Over 70% of the people in the state appear to want a lottery of some kind, and support for other types of gaming is less but still there.

Most people view the lottery as a relatively benign thing. They want to be able to buy lottery tickets at their local grocery store and gas station while picking up other items. The average person will buy whatever they need at the store and then plop down a couple of one-dollar bills on chances to win a couple million in return. It’s a long shot, but it is simple fun and generally harmless.

Unless it is not.

The Alabama legislation, as currently proposed, would allow Alabama residents to purchase lottery tickets through their phones. While this seems generally harmless, I will remind you that to purchase lottery tickets this way you will need a credit card, a debit card or a direct link to your bank account.

So what?

What is the difference if I buy a lottery ticket with a $5 bill at the grocery store or if I do it via a smartphone app?

Good question with a simple answer.

If you allow people to buy lottery tickets on credit, people will buy lottery tickets on credit.

If you make it easy for people to drain their bank accounts to buy lottery tickets, people will drain their bank account to buy lottery tickets.

It is just human nature. No one in their right mind would go down to their local convenience store to buy $1,500 worth of lottery tickets, but if you allow them to do that by entering a passcode on their phone, they will do it.

Use of the transaction, the lack of the shame that is created by bringing in hundreds of dollars to risk on a pick 6 and the ability to do it all in the dark, make it far more likely.

This is a terrible feature of all the lottery legislation that has been proposed.

And conversations with McClendon and others make it clear that this feature — it is a feature and not a bug — will stay in the bills.

McClendon laid this out during a recent radio interview on WVNN in Huntsville.

Partial transcript as follows:

We have an entire generation that does life on their phone. They order lunch on their phone, they get their plane ticket on their phone, they call their Uber on their phone, they meet their girlfriend or boyfriend on the phone. This generation of people, they’re not going to stand in line at the “handy mart” to buy a ticket. And this business of buying an iPhone like lottery ticket is very common throughout the rest of the country, that is no big deal and it’s pretty sophisticated too…You download your charge card.

So simple, so easy, so … bad.

Our neighboring states, which we love to talk about because they already have the lottery, ban this practice.

In fact, of the 45 lottery states in the United States, only 21 allow this stuff to be done over the phone. This means that 24 states understand this to be an issue.

To make this even more clear, some merchants won’t allow this practice at their locations even if the state does.

It is because this is such a bad idea. Think about it — faceless corporations heard they could make money off of lottery tickets by accepting credit cards for them and said, “No, that’s a little sketchy and not good for the customer.”

There is a message here.

The lottery has been called “a tax on stupid people,” but that doesn’t mean we should allow the state to take advantage of them.

I know, I know, personal responsibility and all that. If someone wants to get a new credit card and max it out on Mega Millions, let him. After all, it is his money and his problem, right?

Kinda. But we should do all we can to help people make less disastrous decisions.

Look at it this way: We build roads on mountains and tell people that they need to go slower and be cautious because the risk is greater as we drive near the edge. The risk is yours if you head up there, so be careful.

But, we also put guardrails on the more treacherous parts of the path.

They operate as protection for both the dummies who want to whip around the roads for a thrill and for the Johnson family of five out for a weekend drive whose dad takes his eyes off the road to tell Timmy to stop hitting his sister. We don’t just shrug our shoulders and say, “Sorry, Timmy, you’re dead.”

For that reason, part of the bill needs to be tweaked in whatever form gambling takes in Alabama to put those guardrails up.

Listen:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.