2 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.

4 hours ago

Alabama Senate passes lottery bill

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Senate passed Sen. Greg Albritton’s (R-Range) lottery bill as amended after hours of debate on Thursday, advancing the legislation to the House.

SB 220 was passed by the upper chamber on a 21-12 vote.

As a constitutional amendment, the bill needed 21 votes exactly for passage. The margins were as tight as could be, with one state senator appearing to rush up to the Senate secretary at the last moment to change his vote to “aye” in order to get over the threshold.

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Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville), who sponsored dueling lottery legislation, spoke after the vote to express that he now supports Albritton’s bill because it ultimately will allow his constituents to not need to drive to Georgia to get a lottery ticket.

McClendon urged the House not to amend the bill but instead let it move on to a referendum of the people.

Senator Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham), who wanted a version of the bill which would have allowed further gaming and revenue and voted against the bill in committee on Tuesday, expressed his agreement with McClendon’s remarks, saying the legislation the Senate passed was not perfect but good enough. He also asked the House to advance the bill to a vote of the people.

Follow a live tweet thread here.

This is a breaking news story and may be updated.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

5 hours ago

Cindy Griner is a 2019 Woman of Impact

Huntsville’s high-tech explosion has done wonders for the state of Alabama.

While this continuing economic boon gets much fanfare when new project announcements, groundbreakings and ribbon ceremonies happen, the many individuals who serve as the backbone of north Alabama’s technology sector often get overlooked.

Cindy Griner, vice president of the Engineering Services and Solutions Division at Dynetics, is one of these people that garners little outside attention but is, in fact, a giant of the industry.

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A 36-year veteran of Dynetics, Griner also serves as the president of Dynetics’ wholly owned subsidiary, Aviation and Missile Solutions. Her division is responsible for electro-optical/infrared and acoustic sensor systems; lethal mechanisms; platform integration; Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) ground programming and trainers; and CMMI Level 3 computer applications.

She oversees major contract activities, with a primary focus on engineering services and development activities for the U.S. military and defense community. This is a big money business, where the stakes of getting it wrong are the highest – we are, after all, talking about modern, highly complicated national defense mechanisms here.

While Griner is now one of the most powerful and influential members of Huntsville’s high-tech industry, her journey to get there was not easy. As she explained, this was not an industry when she got started that was particularly friendly to women.

“In the 80’s when I began work, there were only two women on the technical staff of my company,” Griner told Yellowhammer News. “I was very young and admittedly ‘green.’ There was largely the perception that women are not technical, are too emotional, and don’t think strategically.”

“Women were sometimes overtly harassed,” she said, adding that sexual harassment training was not yet a norm.

However, joining Dynetics in 1982, she found a culture where she could strive on her merit – and a mentor that supported her along the way.

“I had the tremendous benefit of working for Tom Baumbach in an ethical company founded on excellence,” Griner explained. “Tom was very open-minded and encouraging. He never looked at my limitations, he looked at my potential. He mentored and believed in me and helped me to believe in myself.”

This is not to say there were not unique challenges of being a woman in a traditionally male field.

Griner outlined, “The ‘challenges’ of questioned credibility, men assuming I was hired because I was female, and the occasional overt harassment sparked a defiance and strength that fueled my desire to achieve. I worked harder, double checked my work, went above and beyond in my preparation largely to prove to both myself and those who would believe otherwise that I brought real value to my employer and my customers.”

She advised that with every challenge came an opportunity to overcome that obstacle.

Griner mentioned her educational attainment as a way to address some doubts, both internal and external. She earned her master’s in electrical engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1992.

“At the urging of my mentor, I became a life-long learner. I continued my technical education, obtaining my MSEE, which added to both my credibility and my confidence,” Griner said.

She also offered some wisdom, gleaned from personal experience, on being able to take a step back and gain perspective.

“Over time I learned self-awareness,” Griner noted. “I learned to use my strengths, but just as importantly, to rely on others for their strengths.”

She added, “I occasionally experienced setbacks, but over time I learned perspective and I learned perseverance. Better days will come. No one stays on the peak. We all experience peaks and valleys; the valleys give you the perspective to recognize the sweetness of the peaks. For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”

And for Griner, the peaks have indeed been sweet. She has supported a number of huge customers and programs during her tenure with Dynetics, including most recently the U.S. Army Futures Command; Aviation and Missile Center in UAS interoperability; architectures; MBSE, prototyping and integration of emerging technologies; and AO/PO trainer development for Army Air Force programs such as Shadow, Gray Eagle, Hunter, Reaper and Global Hawk.

She named the the Javelin missile system and Army UAS program development as perhaps her crowning jewel, the projects she is most proud of.

In a true sign of leadership, Griner also explained how what makes her proud has evolved over time.

“Early in my career it was about what ‘I’ did… in Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom… systems that I personally supported in development and training have been used to make our soldiers and airmen safer and more effective. In fact I have a GI Joe in my office that was one of the first 50 produced in honor of one of those programs,” she advised.

More recently, Griner’s duties and responsibilities have grown to become more about her Dynetics family.

This included her leading the 2011 Dynetics ESOP Transaction.

“I worked with a small employee committee to transition Dynetics to 100% Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) ensuring our employees reap the benefits of their dedication and excellence,” Griner highlighted.

“This was a huge undertaking that gave me the rare opportunity to work closely with outstanding female professionals from nationally recognized law and retirement firms on something that would make a huge impact on our company and our employees,” she added. “A few years later, I led the design and implementation of an internal market for our ESOP, creating increased investment opportunity for employees and underpinning the health of the ESOP.”

Just as she had the support of a key mentor, Griner now takes tremendous pride in being a mentor to others. That is one of the defining aspects of leadership, she said, as well as the most rewarding part of her career journey.

Griner shared, “On 1 January of 2017, I was named the president of a Dynetics wholly owned subsidiary and later that same year, I was named a Dynetics vice president. While the titles are very nice and sometimes help open doors for strategic conversations, at this point, my proudest and most humbling moments are witnessing the accomplishments of others, especially those I’ve mentored – in FY18, five employees in my organization won annual corporate awards for engineering and business excellence, product innovation, customer service, ethics or safety which are typically only given to one employee each year.”

A mentor through-and-through, Griner also offered some inspirational words of advice to all the girls who want to be a leader in their own right one day.

“Work hard on yourself FIRST; become credible, and always keep learning. Don’t be afraid. ASK QUESTIONS,” Griner emphasized.

She named finding “good mentors and role models” as a key to success.

“Great leaders are generally good communicators,” Griner said. “Girls have a natural advantage here. From birth, girl babies spend more time studying the people that are holding them, looking into their eyes and learning their emotions. Girls see things that boys don’t see.”

She named four core components of being a strong communicator.

I. Listen, not just for a pause to talk, but for true understanding (If you are “writing your speech” while someone else talks, you are not truly listening).

II. Realize when you’re talking to others, especially leaders, that they are listening for the point, not the experience.

III. Ask questions, don’t be afraid of looking uninformed/uneducated, sometimes asking questions shows what you really do know.

IV. Breathe….. Try to think about everything from an objective perspective, not from your emotional side. Give others the benefit of the doubt and assume that it’s NOT PERSONAL when they disagree with your view. Perhaps they know things you don’t.

Even though she works in a sector focused on cutting-edge technology (literally robots), Griner concluded her thoughts by stressing how crucial it is to see and understand others as the individual human beings they all are.

“Look outside yourself, if you are going to LEAD, someone has to follow. If you want people to follow you, you have to care about them and appreciate them,” Griner said. “Not just whether they do something that serves you and your bottom line, but are they fulfilled, are they healthy, do they have obstacles that you can remove to help them succeed, how can you help them grow in their career and life.”

“Say THANK YOU to your subordinates, co-workers, bosses, customers and creator. None of us do this alone. If you think you do, you are delusional,” she continued.

And, through it all, “BE OPTIMISTIC,” she concluded.

That she has certainly been, and the results are there for all to see.

Yellowhammer News is proud to name Cindy Griner a 2019 Woman of Impact.

The 2nd Annual Women of Impact Awards will celebrate the honorees on April 29, 2019, in Birmingham. Event details can be found here.

5 hours ago

ALGOP chair Lathan: Doug Jones, Biden ‘two of a kind’

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan has commented on Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) announcing his support for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign on Thursday, with Lathan saying, “Both support bigger government, ObamaCare and abortion.”

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In a statement, she said, “Senator Jones and Vice President Biden are ‘two of a kind’. Both support bigger government, ObamaCare and abortion – all issues the majority of Alabamians oppose.”

“The endorsement is really no surprise coming on the heels of the Senator’s interview yesterday with the liberal Mother Jones podcast,” Lathan added.

Read more about that interview here, which Lathan continued to discuss.

“Senator Jones clearly sidesteps the sexual harassment allegations against the former Vice President saying people should ‘not be so judgemental’. This coming from the man who refused to vote for Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice because of unproven allegations against him,” Lathan remarked.

She concluded, “As long as the Democrats embrace their liberal propaganda and platform, Alabama will continue to reject their candidates. It’s just not Alabama.”

Jones is up for re-election in 2020.

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) and former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville are the only announced Republican candidates against Jones thus far.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 hours ago

Watch live: Alabama Senate debates clean lottery bill

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Senate is set to debate and consider State Sen. Greg Albritton’s lottery bill, SB 220, on Thursday.

The bill was favorably recommended on a 6-5 vote by the Senate Tourism Committee on Tuesday.

Watch the debate live:

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Ahead of the Senate gaveling in for the day, Albritton spoke with reporters outside of the chamber.

He explained his bill would be alone on a one-bill special order calendar on the day, even though there is a back-up special order calendar if something unexpected occurs.

Albritton said he was unsure if he has enough votes to pass SB 220 on Thursday, saying, “I’m optimistic but it is certainly not in the bag.”

The sponsor expects “heated, open debate” on the floor.

Albritton also decried the “regionalism” that occurs when trying to make statewide gaming changes in Alabama, due to previous “piecemeal” approaches with certain counties and types of gaming.

“When you start getting into video gambling, there’s still a lot we don’t understand,” Albritton said. He added that sports gambling will become a part of that complication, too.

Albritton advised that video gaming “opens the wound.” His legislation would not legalize any video gaming or alter any existing parimutuel gaming in the state.

“This paper lottery is a simple matter that most of us understand, comprehend, and I believe it has the greatest opportunity for passing,” he remarked. “The people of Alabama want to make the decision on this principle … most of them I believe want to have a lottery.”

Albritton concluded that attempting passage of the lottery bill in the legislature should be tougher than getting it passed in by a referendum of the people, which would occur if the legislature advances it.

“We’ve been working it but so has everyone else,” Albritton said, speaking of the opponents of the bill.

He explained that the greatest challenge to the bill is “misunderstanding” fueled by misinformation efforts by the “opposite side.” Albritton further mentioned floor amendments as a challenge to passage and keeping the legislation clean.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 hours ago

Poll: Ivey approval ratings unchanged by gas tax push in first quarter of 2019

According to newly released polling from Morning Consult, Gov. Kay Ivey’s approval ratings were completely unchanged from the final quarter of 2018 through the first quarter of this year.

The new survey polled registered voters from January 1 through March 31, 2019. The margin of error was one percent.

Ivey’s signature Rebuild Alabama Act was signed into law on March 12.

Morning Consult’s polling showed that 63 percent of Alabamians approve of her job performance, while 19 percent disapprove. This currently makes her the fourth most popular governor in the nation.

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The final quarter of 2018 showed Ivey holding the same topline polling numbers.

The most recent survey breaks down to Ivey having a positive net approval with all political subgroups: 73 percent with Republicans, 8 percent with Democrats and 36 percent with independents.

Another recent poll, by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, showed that 60 percent of Alabamians approved versus 28 percent who disapproved of Ivey.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn