The Wire

  • Trump orders establishment of ‘space force’ as 6th branch of military

    Excerpt from Fox News:

    President Trump vowed on Monday to make space great again.

    Speaking at a meeting of the National Space Council, Trump ordered the Pentagon to immediately establish a national “space force” that would become the sixth branch of the armed forces.

    “We are going to have a space force,” Trump said in Washington D.C. “An Air Force and a Space Force. Separate, but equal.”

    This is not the first time that Trump has floated the idea of establishing a “space force.” The president mentioned the idea in May during a ceremony at the White House honoring the Army Black Knights college football team.

    Trump did not go into details about what military role the so-called “space force” would carry out or who would command it, but he framed space as a national security issue, saying he does not want “China and Russia and other countries leading us.”

  • Ivey says import tariffs could hurt Alabama industry

    Excerpt from AP:

    Alabama’s Republican governor is separating herself from President Donald Trump on the issue of trade, saying import tariffs like those supported by the administration would hurt the state.

    Gov. Kay Ivey released a statement Monday saying import tariffs could cause retaliatory tariffs that would drive up the cost of items made in Alabama and sold abroad.

    The administration already has imposed duties on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, plus steel and aluminum from China, the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

    Ivey says growth in Alabama’s auto industry could be harmed if tariffs are imposed on U.S. goods around the world. Almost 60,000 people work in automotive-related jobs in the state.

  • Police ID suspect in shooting of State Senator’s son

    Excerpt from WKRG:

    “Foley Police Department has identified 29 year old Orneal McCaskey aka “OJ” as the suspect in the shooting of Akil Michael Figures this morning at 635 East Azalea Ave in Foley. The investigation revealed that McCaskey drove to the residence to confront Figures over a female. An argument ensued at the doorway and McCaskey pulled out a handgun and shot Figures at least twice in the lower hip area. After a brief struggle in the house, McCaskey fled the area in a gold or tan colored vehicle. Figures was taken to South Baldwin by private vehicle and later flown to Sacred Heart and has since been released. Orneal McCaskey is wanted for questioning in this case. The public is asked to call Foley Police Department at 251-943-4431 if you know where McCaskey is. He is considered armed and dangerous.”

2 hours ago

Alabama watchdog group SPLC to pay anti-extremist UK group in settlement

(Quilliam International/Youtube, Maajid Nawaz/Twitter)

An American liberal watchdog group apologized and will pay more than $3 million under an agreement announced Monday after labeling a British organization and its founder as anti-Muslim extremists.

The nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center of Montgomery issued written and video statements saying it was wrong to include the London-based Quilliam and Maajid Nawaz in a “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.”

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Law center president Richard Cohen said his organization has done additional research and talked with human rights advocates since releasing the publication in 2016.

“We’ve found that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism,” said Cohen’s statement. “Although we may have our differences with some of the positions that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have taken, they are most certainly not anti-Muslim extremists.”

An agreement released online by Quilliam shows the Alabama-based law center is paying $3.4 million, which Quilliam says will be used to fight anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism.

Quilliam had threatened to sue, but its policy director David Toube said in an email the settlement offer came before any suit was filed.

Nawaz was once involved with radical Islamist groups but changed his views and started Quilliam, which describes itself as challenging both Islamist extremism and anti-Muslim bigotry. Nawaz tweeted a video in which he asked the law center to join its cause.

“Too much and for too long … many on the left have been trying to shut down any debate or critique or criticism around Islam especially by Muslims within Muslim communities,” Nawaz said. “Well, this moment should teach us all a lesson and allow us to work together to challenge the triple threat facing the world at the moment and that’s far-right extremism, far-left extremism and, from the heavens above, Islamist extremism.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center is best known for tracking United States-based radical groups including the Ku Klux Klan. Federal tax records show the nonprofit organization reported revenues of $132 million and net assets of $450 million for 2017.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 hours ago

Alabama inmate recaptured, had escaped hospital through ceiling

(BPD)

Alabama authorities say an inmate who escaped from a hospital has been recaptured.

News outlets report 39-year-old Courtnee Austin was caught after escaping Saturday night. Birmingham police Sgt. Bryan Shelton tells AL.com Austin was bit by a tracking dog inside a crack house and taken into custody Sunday afternoon.

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Jefferson County Chief sheriff’s Deputy Randy Christian says Austin claimed he swallowed a razor blade and was hospitalized June 11.

A hospital staff member had asked that Austin’s restraints be removed so he could shower. A deputy outside the shower heard a bump and saw Austin climbing through the ceiling.

Austin navigated his way out, carjacked someone and fled.

He was arrested May 24 and charged with several offenses including rape and attempted murder. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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5 hours ago

Alabama park system allowing limited shark fishing

(Outdoor Alabama)

A pilot program will allow limited shark fishing on two dates this month at Gulf State Park.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said the events will take place at the park’s saltwater fishing pier on June 19 and June 26.

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Registration is required and fishing is limited to 10 anglers.

Parks Director Greg Lein said the trial program is being implemented after feedback from people who fish at the pier. Lein said many anglers have expressed concern that they can’t catch other species because of the abundance of sharks around the pier.

The park system said anglers interested in shark fishing on the two dates can apply in person at the pier, by phone to the park pier management during regular business hours, or online.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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8 hours ago

Former Alabama state employee pleads guilty to ethics charge

(Pixabay)

A former state employee has pleaded guilty to forging travel reimbursement forms worth $15,000.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Friday that Yoshkio Denise Givner pleaded guilty to an ethics charge of using her position for personal gain.

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Givner worked as an administrative assistant at the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Marshall’s office said that Givner forged her supervisor’s name to documents in order to collect mileage and travel expenses for trips she didn’t take.

The forgeries occurred between 2013 and 2016.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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9 hours ago

Auburn to offer new outdoor recreation degree

(Auburn University)

Auburn University plans to offer a new degree to help students secure jobs in the fishing and hunting industries.

A statement from the school says trustees have approved a new degree in wildlife enterprise management. It will be offered starting in fall 2019 provided a state commission approves.

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Auburn would become one of only two U.S. universities offering such a program, with Kansas State being the other.

Students will take subjects mainly in the schools of forestry and wildlife sciences, human sciences and business. Courses will include wildlife management; hotel and restaurant management and business subjects.

The school says the degree will help develop the education and skills needed to work in outdoor recreation including hunting and fishing operations.

Auburn says it expects 25 to 30 students in incoming classes.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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10 hours ago

Univ. of Alabama students can use ID card on Apple Watch

(Pixabay)

No more ID cards for University of Alabama students with an Apple Watch or iPhone.

In a statement from Apple, students only have to raise their wrist to gain access to places including the library, dorms and events, pay for snacks, laundry and dinners around campus, the Tuscaloosa News reported.

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The software was presented this week as students with an Apple Watch or iPhone can add their ID cards to the wallet for usage this fall.

UA president Stewart Bell spoke more in depth about the pilot program at a board meeting last week. The new software is cost free.

“We have actually been working on this project for some time a little bit under the cloak of secrecy,” Bell said. “It is a next-generation technology program that will allow our students to have access to security issues and things they pay for.”

The program is set to launch at Duke University, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Alabama in September and expand to Johns Hopkins University, Santa Clara University and Temple University by the end of the year.

Bell said the university and Apple have been partnering to develop the program for about a year.

The functions will be available in September after students arrive for fall classes on Aug. 22.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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11 hours ago

Fire officials: 1 person killed in Birmingham blaze

(BFD)

Authorities say a fire has claimed a person’s life in east Birmingham.

Al.com reports that fire crews responded to the blaze around 9 p.m. Sunday.

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Authorities said a passerby spotted flames and called 911.

Birmingham Fire Capt. Harold Watson said one victim was found inside the home. Investigators didn’t immediately know the gender, race or age of the victim.

The cause of the fire had not been determined early Monday.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

Alabama jobless rate increases slightly

(YHN/Pixabay)

Alabama’s unemployment rate is up slightly from a month ago.

The state says the May jobless rate was 3.9 percent, up one-tenth of a percent from a month earlier.

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That rate is far below the rate of 4.6 percent from a year earlier, but it’s one-tenth of a percent higher than the national unemployment rate.

Despite the increase, the state says wage and salary employment is at a 10-year high. More than 2.04 million people are now working in the state. More workers are available, leading to the slight increase.

Shelby County in metro Birmingham has the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.7 percent, followed by Cullman County at 3.1 percent.

Wilcox County in rural western Alabama is worst at 8.9 percent. Greene County is next at 7.2 percent.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

Auburn raises tuition amid hikes at other state universities

(Auburn University)

Auburn University has raised its tuition following increases at other colleges in Alabama.

AL.com quotes a statement from Auburn’s president’s office in a Thursday report as saying the school’s Board of Trustees decided to hold the tuition increase for fall 2019 at 2 percent.

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Auburn’s tuition has gone up by 3 percent each year since 2016.

The board approved the increase for the 2019-2020 school year last week. The statement says the annual rise in tuition was less this year because of an increase in state funds. An average undergraduate student will now pay nearly $5,500 for one semester.

The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees also approved an increase last week. In-state tuition will rise by 2.9 percent at its Birmingham campus and 4 percent at its Huntsville one.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

Two arrested for north Alabama slaying of 13-year-old

(Madison County Sheriff)

Two men are charged with capital murder in the slaying of a 13-year-old girl in north Alabama, and her grandmother is missing.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office says 26-year-old Yoni Martinez Aguilar and 34-year-old Israel Gonzalez Palomino are being held in the killing of Marian Feit Lopez.

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A farmer discovered the body of the middle school honor-roll student off a rural road last week.

Investigators say no one can locate her grandmother and guardian, Oralia Mendoza.

Relatives last saw the two on June 3.

It’s unclear what if any connection the woman and the girl have to Aguilar and Palomino. Court records aren’t available to show whether either man has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

Tired of Facebook censoring what you read? Here’s how to fix that

(YHN/Pixabay)

Yellowhammer News can send our most important and popular articles straight to your inbox and bypass the censors at Facebook who now limit the number of posts you see from conservative-leaning organizations like ours.

To get the news you need and the conservative opinion and analysis you want, sign up for one, two or all three of our email newsletters right now!

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3 days ago

Crews search for man missing in south Alabama river

(U.S. Coast Guard/Flickr)

Crews are searching for a man who went missing in the Tombigbee River near McIntosh.

The U.S. Coast Guard said early Friday that a helicopter crew from New Orleans was working with police, volunteers and others in the search.

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Authorities say they received a report shortly before 9 p.m. Thursday of a vessel with two people aboard that became grounded in the river. They say an 87-year-old man was reported to have gone into the water.

Coast Guard officials say a second person on the boat received a leg injury and was taken to the University of South Alabama Medical Center in stable condition.

The area is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Mobile.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

Funeral set for Alabama WWII pilot missing since 1944 crash

(Pixabay)

An American pilot is being buried at Arlington National Cemetery more than 70 years after he crashed on a Pacific island during World War II.

Second Lt. Robert Keown (pronounced Cow-uhn) was flying a P-38 aircraft that went down in Papua New Guinea in 1944.

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Relatives never knew what happened to him until November. That’s when genetic testing confirmed that remains found years ago on the island were his.

Keown will be buried Friday with full honors.

Nieces and nephews are the closest remaining relatives to attend the funeral of Keown, who grew up near Atlanta in Lawrenceville, Georgia, before moving to Scottsboro, Alabama.

His father died in 1937 and his mother in 1979. Keown’s two brothers also died while he was missing, the most recent in 2015.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

NOT REAL NEWS: Alabama Democrat reported to have been ‘recently’ arrested

(Alabama TV/YouTube)

A story circulating online falsely suggests the head of the Alabama Democratic Party has recently been arrested.

The stories posted this week on sites called Conservative Army and Right Wing News says that Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley was “recently” in legal trouble after being indicted for several felonies and misdemeanors and had been hauled away in handcuffs.

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Efforts to reach the sites by email and Twitter were not immediately successful.

The stories, hedged on the vague definition of “recently,” discuss decade-old criminal allegations against Worley, and do not make clear that most of the charges against her were dropped.

Worley had served as Alabama’s secretary of state. She was indicted in 2007 on charges that stemmed from campaign material she sent to her employees in the secretary of state’s office during her 2006 re-election bid.

Worley in 2012 pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of soliciting campaign support from her office staff. Prosecutors agreed to drop four other misdemeanors and five felony charges.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

Facebook to build data center in Huntsville

(Facebook)

Facebook announced Thursday that it is investing $750 million to build a new data center in Huntsville.

Gov. Kay Ivey announced the project during a news conference in Huntsville.

Ivey’s office said the $750 million center will employ 100 people with an average annual salary of nearly $80,000. Ivey said she was pleased that a “forward-thinking, major company like Facebook” was putting down roots in the state.

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“Every day millions of people go on Facebook to connect with family and friends and I sure am glad that when Facebook was looking to grow its data connections they sent a friend request to Alabama,” Ivey said. “Thank you for picking Alabama.”

Facebook created a page about the project. The social media giant said the 970,000-square-foot (90,000-square-meter) data center will begin operations in 2020.

Matt VanderZanden, director of site selection at Facebook, said during the news conference that the Huntsville site was attractive because of a strong talent pool and availability of clean and renewable energy.

“We are so happy to be joining the Huntsville community. As one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the country, we knew it would be a great location for our newest data center,” VanderZanden said.

The project under development for the last year was originally called by the codename “Starbelt.” The Huntsville City Council last month unanimous approval for Starbelt to purchase 340 acres (138 hectares) at the city’s industrial park for $8.5 million.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Student headed to Fort Rucker Alabama gets a personal graduation ceremony

(Pixabay)

A New Hampshire high school senior class president about to head out for military training couldn’t make his graduation, so he got his own personal ceremony instead.

People attending the Prospect Mountain High School senior awards program Wednesday night were asked to stay after the event ended.

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Out marched school officials, faculty and National Guard member Jacob Blair, all wearing graduation robes.

“Pomp and Circumstance” played as Blair entered to a standing crowd. He gave a speech and received his diploma.

Blair left Thursday morning for Fort Rucker, Alabama, to undergo advanced individual training.

The full senior class will graduate Friday.

Blair received a three-year Army ROTC scholarship and will attend the University of New Hampshire to study mechanical engineering in the fall.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Movie adaptation planned for true-crime podcast centered around Alabama town

(CBS 42/YouTube)

The popular true-crime podcast “S-Town” is being developed as a movie.

The film production company Participant Media has acquired the feature-film rights to the seven-episode podcast.

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“Spotlight” director Tom McCarthy is in negotiations to direct.

Made by the creators of the podcast “Serial,” ”S-Town” is about an Alabama antique clock restorer from Woodstock, Alabama, named John B. McLemore.

In 2012, he sent an email to the makers of “This American Life” asking for help in a murder investigation.

Longtime “This American Life” producer Brian Reed traveled to McLemore’s hometown.

But Reed uncovered not so much a whodunit procedural as a more mysterious small-town tale.

Deadline first reported the deal.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Decatur man pleads guilty in killing over domino game

(Decatur PD)

An Alabama man will serve 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing an opponent who was shot to death over a game of dominoes.

The Decatur Daily reports 68-year-old Sterling Gerome Warren received the sentence Wednesday after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of 32-year-old Thomas Jerome Bibb Jr. in 2013.

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Warren was charged with murder but agreed to a plea deal involving a reduced charge as his trial was about to begin.

Evidence showed the two men were playing dominoes at Warren’s home when they got into a dispute over the score.

Testimony during a previous hearing showed that the altercation turned physical.

Prosecutor Stacy Adams says Bibb lost his life over 10 points in a game.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Birmingham area in line for Amazon project after failed bid for HQ

(W.Miller/YHN)

The Birmingham area’s failed bid to be the site of Amazon’s second headquarters is being credited with helping it get in line for another big Amazon project: A distribution center that could open next year.

The region submitted a proposal for Amazon’s new headquarters, but it wasn’t selected as a finalist when the company narrowed down the competition in January. Amazon still hasn’t announced a decision.

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Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington tells WBMA-TV the bid and its accompanying promotional campaign helped put the area on the company’s radar.

And the Birmingham-area city of Bessemer could now become the home of a roughly 850,000-square-foot distribution center.

City leaders in Bessemer this week approved economic incentives for the $325 million project, which is expected to create at least 1,500 jobs.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Huntsville man arrested for having child porn videos

(Huntsville PD)

Police say a 35-year-old Alabama man accused of having more than 30 child pornography videos on his computer has been arrested.

Huntsville Police Lt. Michael Jackson told Al.com on Wednesday that Michael Justin Berger had videos depicting children as young as 3.

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He came under investigation after a Dropbox, online file sharing and storage service, detected child pornography associated with Berger’s IP address.

The company contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which linked the IP address to Huntsville and Berger.

Police were contacted on Monday.

Berger is being held at the Madison County Jail without a bail set.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Northern home of Alabama native Rosa parks to be offered at auction this summer

(F. Mendoza/YouTube)

The house where Rosa Parks sought refuge after fleeing the South will be offered at auction after being turned into a work of art and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean twice.

Guernsey’s auctioneers said it will offer the house where Parks’ family lived in a midsummer auction in New York City that also will feature several other items related to African-American history and culture.

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It said it expects the tiny wood-framed house marked with peeling paint to fetch seven figures.

The house, owned by Parks’ brother, was abandoned and set for demolition in Detroit before Parks’ niece, Rhea McCauley, bought it for $500 and donated it to American artist Ryan Mendoza in an attempt to preserve the legacy of the civil rights activist.

Mendoza shipped it to his home in Berlin and reassembled it in his yard, where it drew a steady stream of visitors.

Mendoza brought it back to the U.S. this year for a temporary exhibit in Rhode Island, but he had been searching for a permanent home.

The delicate structure should only be rebuilt one more time, he said.

“It’s a wonderful way to present the house again to the American people.

Let them decide what this house is worth,” Mendoza said. “I hope it ends up in the hands of somebody who loves Rosa Parks.

I hope it will be on public display.”

The pieces of the house, currently in Providence, will be taken in two, 40-foot (12-meter) shipping containers to a storage area in Massachusetts on Friday, Mendoza said.

Parks moved to Detroit in 1957, two years after refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama.

Her family says Parks stayed in her brother’s home with 17 other relatives.

Arlan Ettinger, of Guernsey’s auctioneers, said the house was not much to look at but is a “national treasure” for what it represents.

Guernsey’s handled the sale of Parks’ personal archives after her death for $4.5 million, and Ettinger noted that collection is now in the Library of Congress.

He said that “almost guarantees that nothing of hers of any importance will ever surface again” for sale.

“As the guy who sold a guitar recently for nearly $4 million, a baseball for nearly $3 million, there is no baseball, no guitar as important as this house,” he said.

The proceeds from the sale will go in part to a foundation set up by McCauley to help preserve her aunt’s legacy, Mendoza and Guernsey’s said.

As part of the same auction, Guernsey’s also will sell items including two pages of notes handwritten by Parks describing her first encounter with Martin Luther King Jr., in which she writes that “I knew I would never forget him;” Alex Haley’s manuscript of “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” including handwritten notes by Malcolm X and Haley; and the first recording contract for the Jackson Five and Michael Jackson, signed by their father, Joe Jackson, in 1967 with Steeltown Records.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

2 men charged in Alabama church break-in

(Birmingham PD)

Two men who are accused of breaking into a church in Alabama have been arrested.

Birmingham police Sgt. Johnny Williams tells AL.com that members of Nichols Temple A.M.E. Church arrived at the building in the morning hours of June 5 to find damage to several items including toilets and urinals.

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Surveillance footage captured both suspects prying on doors. Police say the video was placed on social media and members of the community helped identify the suspects.

Twenty-three-year-old Nicholas Lee and 19-year-old Cedric Carter were charged with burglary and criminal mischief. It’s unclear if they have lawyers.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Lawsuit claims Congressional maps dilute black voters in 3 states including Alabama

(The Daily Show/YouTube)

A Democratic political group launched a legal campaign Wednesday to create additional majority-minority congressional districts in three Southern states, claiming the current maps discriminate against black voters.

Attorneys filed separate federal lawsuits in Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana, challenging congressional maps lawmakers in each state approved in 2011.

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The lawsuits filed on behalf of several black voters in each state are backed by the National Redistricting Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is chaired by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

The suits claim the districts violate a section of the Voting Rights Act by depriving black voters of an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice to the U.S. House of Representatives.

They ask the courts to block the three states from holding any more congressional elections under their current maps.

The new lawsuits mean there now are redistricting challenges pending in a dozen states — in some places, multiple lawsuits —alleging racial or political gerrymandering in U.S. House or state legislative districts.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule later this month on at least two of those cases alleging unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering by the Republican-led Legislature in Wisconsin and the Democratic-led Legislature in Maryland.

Though likely too late to affect this year’s elections, the lawsuits could force districts to be redrawn in advance of the 2020 elections.

The timing is important because any court rulings could set precedents for when all states must redraw legislative districts based on the results of the 2020 Census.

During the last round of redistricting, Republicans who swept to power in many state capitols in 2010 used their newly enlarged majorities to draw districts that Democrats contend have made it harder from them to regain power during the past decade.

Democrats aided by Holder and former President Barack Obama are attempting to better position themselves for the next round of redistricting by backing state legislative candidates, lawsuits and ballot initiatives that would shift redistricting powers away from lawmakers to independent commissions in some states.

“The creation of additional districts in which African Americans have the opportunity to elect their preferred candidates in each of these states will be an important step toward making the voting power of African Americans more equal and moving us closer to the ideals of our representative democracy,” Holder said in a statement Wednesday.

The National Redistricting Foundation also is helping finance pending lawsuits in North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

Matt Walter, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee, accused Holder of “resorting to politically-motivated litigation aimed at taking away the constitutional authority of elected state legislators to draw district lines.”

“The cynical lawsuits filed today by Holder and the Democrats are crass attempts to rally the left-wing base and to elect more Democrats through litigation, instead of running winning campaigns on policies and ideas that voters actually want,” Walter said in an email Wednesday.

Each state’s chief elections official is named as the defendant in each lawsuit.

Holder was serving as attorney general under Obama when the Justice Department cleared the 2011 congressional maps in Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana as complying with the Voting Rights Act. But that doesn’t prohibit subsequent lawsuits asserting violations under a different section of the act.

Republicans hold commanding congressional majorities over Democrats in each of the challenged states, controlling six of the seven U.S. House seats in Alabama, 10 of the 14 seats in Georgia and five of the six seats in Louisiana.

All of the Republican House members for those states are white and all of the Democratic representatives are black.

The lawsuit challenging Louisiana’s map claims state lawmakers illegally limited minority voting influence by “packing” black voters into one majority-minority district and “cracking,” or spreading them out, among other districts. Louisiana’s U.S. House districts shrank from seven to six in 2011 because of slow population growth.

The Alabama suit claims the state’s 2011 map illegally “packs” black voters into its sole majority African-American district, now represented by U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, and “cracks” voters among three other districts.

The lawsuit contends that Alabama’s black population is large enough, and geographically compact enough, to form a second majority-minority district.

State Sen. Gerald Dial, a Republican who sponsored Alabama’s 2011 redistricting plan, said the map reflects the state’s population.

“I think their complaint is not grounded,” Dial said Wednesday.

The Georgia lawsuit claims lawmakers redrew the 12th congressional district to excise black voters in Savannah and add white voters from two counties, reducing the district’s black population of voting age from 41.5 percent to 33.3 percent.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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5 days ago

Maddox wants to debate Ivey in governor’s race

(Maddox/YouTube, Ivey/Flickr)

Democratic candidate for governor Walt Maddox wants to debate incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey ahead of the November election.

Maddox said after winning the Democratic nomination that he wants to debate Ivey and that Alabama voters deserve to hear from the candidates

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Maddox said people are interested in comparing “who is going to be best” to address the state’s problems in health care, education and infrastructure.

Maddox campaign spokesman Chip Hill wrote Tuesday in a text message that Maddox looks forward to debating Ivey.

Ivey campaign spokeswoman Debbee Hancock wrote in an email that, “There will be plenty of time for these discussions and decisions” in the months ahead.

Ivey, who was the front runner for the GOP nomination, did not debate Republican challengers.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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