The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

5 hours ago

Alabama’s budgets will face real issues post-coronavirus

(Pixabay, YHN)

Every American is fixated on the current coronavirus pandemic. It dominates local and national news, daily talk radio and Alabama’s major newspapers three days a week.

The Alabama political press is busy using this to accuse Governor Kay Ivey of wanting Alabamians to die because she hasn’t issued a “shelter-in-place” order. To their credit, usually, it’s Alabama’s budget cuts, low taxes, taxes on food, failure to expand Medicaid or abortion bans that are being used as an implement of murder by their target of the day, so give them credit for creativity.

If we as a state look past this healthcare issue and look at the damage it is already doing to the state’s economy, we will see a bunch of major issues on the horizon.

When State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) appeared on WVNN Friday morning, he talked about budgeting issues that will definitely be of major concern when the state is back open for business and the legislature resumes its budgeting process.

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Orr, who has chaired both the General Fund and Education Trust Fund committees, said that the next legislative session will be a hard one with hard fiscal choices.

Planned pay raises for teachers and other state employees are gone. Orr noted that the budgets that are passed will be “level-funding” — or close to it — and hard choices will have to be made.

But that “pain” may be short-term, not that the reverberation of the coronavirus pandemic won’t last for years. There could be long-term issues as well.

The Retirement System of Alabama has long been a hot-button in this state.

Orr sounded the alarm on the viability of the system, saying, “The RSA is among, if not the most, highly exposed defined benefit, public defined benefit plan in the country to equities or to the stock market.”

He noted, “When the stock market has tanked 30 plus percent, RSA feels a much larger hit than other retirement funds. It’s going to be a concern.”

My takeaway:

With a defined benefit payout and few opportunities to increase revenue. the actuarial tables will take a beating as the stock market slides.

Most expect the market to rebound eventually, but Orr has been talking about the RSA’s vulnerabilities for years. And this will not help.

Even if you aren’t a beneficiary of the Retirement System of Alabama, you will still feel the impact if its finances continue to head south. Orr warned of a stark reality where “taxpayers will be ending up having to pay more for retirement for all the government employees.”

Obviously, no one is thinking about this right now, but we will be revisiting this in the very near future and the impact of this could go on for a very long time.

Listen:

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

13 hours ago

7 Things: Ivey still resisting shelter-in-place, 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, Brooks wants people back to work and more …

(YHN)

7. Democratic National Convention postponed

  • Originally planned for July 13-16, the Democratic National Convention will now be pushed back to the week of August 17 due to concerns of the coronavirus. 
  • Democratic National Convention Committee CEO Joe Solmonese said this decision was made “to monitor how this situation unfolds so we can best position our party for a safe and successful convention.” Just a day before this was announced, former Vice President Joe Biden said he expected the convention to be postponed until August. 

6. Prisons on a two-week lockdown

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  • The Alabama Department of Corrections has noted that they have zero coronavirus cases, but federally there are 37 workers and 57 inmates who have tested positive so, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has ordered that all facilities be on lockdown for the next two weeks. 
  • This shutdown includes three federal prisons in Alabama. A worker at the Talladega prison has tested positive for the coronavirus. During the lockdown, inmates will be confined to “their assigned cells/quarters to decrease the spread of the virus.”  

5. There’s a new House committee for the coronavirus

  • A new committee is being created to oversee actions taken against the coronavirus. The committee will have subpoena powers to get information from President Donald Trump, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “It’s no use having a committee unless you have subpoena power.”
  • Pelosi said that subpoenas wouldn’t be about “investigation of the administration,” which no one believes, but it’s about the coronavirus response. The House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis will be chaired by U.S. Representative James Clyburn (D-SC). 

4. Trump wants Sessions to stop mentioning him

  • According to a report published by the New York Times, President Donald Trump’s campaign COO Michael Glassner sent a letter to former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ 2020 U.S. Senate campaign requesting that Sessions stop tying himself to Trump. Glassner said it was a “delusional assertion” for Sessions to claim he’s Trump’s number one supporter. 
  • The letter also accused the campaign of trying to confuse voters with Sessions’ support of Trump actually supporting Sessions, saying, “Nothing could be further from the truth.” In response, Sessions campaign spokesperson John Rogers has released a statement emphasizing how well Sessions would represent the people of Alabama and once again calling for former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville to debate. 

3. Brooks wants to see people get back to work

  • U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) has co-authored a letter with U.S. Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL) and Ami Bera (D-CA) that asks the federal government to push “coronavirus antibody testing since it tells us who can safely return to work.”
  • U.S. Representatives Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) and Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) have both signed the letter. A main argument in the letter is that many people who were “young and minimally symptomatic” have already built up an immunity to the virus. Brooks would like to see the government “deploy these antibody tests rapidly and widely to help America’s medical profession acquire another weapon in the fight against COVID-19.”

2. There are more than 1 million coronavirus cases worldwide

  • The number of coronavirus cases across the globe has surpassed 1 million, and there are more than 51,300 deaths worldwide, with 500,000 of those cases being added within the last week. Alabama currently has almost 1,300 cases and 17 confirmed deaths from the illness.
  • The United States has the most cases reported in one country with at least 234,462 cases, which has been credited to the level of widespread testing that’s occurred. And while China has reported the fifth-highest number of cases and deaths, U.S. intelligence officials have said this is due to them purposely underreporting their coronavirus cases and deaths. 

1. Ivey holds question and answer session, discusses shelter-in-place

  • President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci has repeatedly called for a national shelter-in-place order, but Governor Kay Ivey continues to resist. She was asked again during a Twitter Q&A session about why she is yet to order Alabamians to shelter-in-place, especially when a majority of the country has already done so, to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 
  • Ivey responded to these questions by saying, “All health care options are being considered.” The governor added that she’s “in communication with local, state & federal officials on a daily basis. We are taking a measured approach to keep Alabamians healthy, safe & working, wherever possible.”

2 days ago

7 Things: Alabama’s neighbors tighten restrictions, Alabama passes 1,000 confirmed cases, getting the stimulus check just got easier and more …

(YHN)

7. Some seniors already graduated in Alabama

  • Alabama high schools will be going back to class online, but a lot of seniors who were already “on track to graduate” this spring have been declared graduates, as decided by State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey’s task force. 
  • School districts get to independently decide if seniors will graduate early, but Madison County will grant seniors graduate status and Vestavia Hills will grant them the status but continue offering classes to prepare them for continuing their education. Huntsville City Schools have pushed graduate dates back to June 25 and 26. 

6. Hospitals in Alabama and around the country are cutting staff

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  • Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers has said that the hospital is cutting staff where they’ve seen a decline in patients as a way to free up funds in the event that the hospital sees a surge of coronavirus patients. Other hospitals are doing the same.
  • Spillers said that they are working “to make sure this doesn’t impact patient care when we need people to come in and take care of patients.” So far, cuts have been made to cafeteria workers, cleaning staff and construction.

5. Pence is defending the president’s response to the coronavirus

  • While on CNN, anchor Wolf Blitzer said to Vice President Mike Pence, “It would have been good if the president wouldn’t have been belittling the enormity of this crisis.” This was referring to the coronavirus pandemic and repeating a popular mainstream media talking point that President Donald Trump was slow to act with the virus.
  • Pence rejected the assumption that Trump downplayed the severity of the virus, saying Trump has “expressed gratitude and confidence in health care workers in this country.” Pence went on to bring up how Trump initially wanted to “suspend all travel from China” and how the Coronavirus Task Force was set up at the beginning of the year.

4. China lied, people died

  • Much to the chagrin of the American media and their Democrats, the United States’ intelligence community is making it clear that their narrative that China was truthful and has the coronavirus pandemic under control in their country is not true. Those still repeating those lies are handing China a propaganda win.
  • The secret report indicates that that China has been misleading the world on the number of coronavirus cases and deaths intentionally incomplete, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse and others are calling out the lies saying, “The Chinese Communist Party has lied, is lying, and will continue to lie about coronavirus to protect the regime.”

3. Trump administration fixes hiccup with stimulus checks

  • While the Internal Revenue Service announced that it would start sending out stimulus dollars over the next three weeks, they also initially said that you need to file a tax return to receive it, which, according to Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), was not the intention. He added, “IRS should follow the law that Congress passed.”
  • In response to the outcry, the administration reversed course with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying, “Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action, and will receive their payment directly to their bank account.”

2. Alabama coronavirus cases surpass 1,000

  • The Alabama Department of Public Health has reported that the number of coronavirus cases in Alabama is at least 1,100, and there are at least 28 people who have tested positive for the virus and then passed away, but ADPH has only verified 17 of those.
  • There are at least 305 cases in Jefferson County and 107 cases in Madison County with one death in each county. Chambers County has 45 cases but the highest death toll with four.

1. Alabama still hasn’t tightened restrictions

  • After immense pressure from the media and health experts, because boats and beachgoers kept mingling in the waters off Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis (R) issued the order and shut the state down for 30 days to bring the total number of Americans under some mandatory order to 272 million. 
  • Other southern governors did similar things. Georgia issued a shelter-in-place order, and Tennessee and Mississippi now have “safer-at-home” and “stay-at-home” orders, leaving Alabama and Governor Kay Ivey as one the sole outlier in the region. 

3 days ago

7 Things: Up to 240,000 could die in coronavirus pandemic, WH task force explains China’s role in spreading the virus, Alabama legislature looks forward and more …

(YHN)

7. Seattle to investigate racial slurs

  • In response to increased racism toward Asian-Americans since the start of the coronavirus, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best has told people to call 911 to “Report hate, including racist name-calling” and police “will respond to investigate.”
  • Best said that they “will document and investigate every reported hate crime,” adding that even if people are unsure “if a hate crime occurred, call 911.”

6. SEC has canceled spring meetings

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  • The spring meetings for the SEC that were planned for the end of May have been canceled. The meetings have commonly been used for rule changes for the upcoming seasons, and coaches and administrators regularly attend.
  • The SEC said in a release that they will continue to “determine alternate methods for holding meetings important to conference operations and explore opportunities to recognize award winners who [were to be] honored at the event.”

5. Abortions allowed during a pandemic, but nothing else is

  • Despite the State Health Order to ban all elective or unnecessary medical procedures, a U.S. District judge has ruled that abortions still need to be provided during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • This ruling came after the American Civil Liberties Union challenged Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s suggestion that all clinics should close and medical staff and supplies should go elsewhere.

4. This is the worst quarter for the market ever

  • The coronavirus outbreak has significantly impacted the stock market, and now the Dow Jones Industrial Average has seen its worst first quarter in 124 years, dropping 23.2% in the first quarter of this year.
  • This was also the worst overall quarter for the Dow since the market crash of 1987, and the S&P 500 has seen its worst overall quarter since 2008.

3. Alabama legislature meets, then adjourns

  • Both the Alabama State House and State Senate met Tuesday and then agreed to meet at a later date when it is safer to do so. Some members wore masks and other protective gear on the floor and kept their distance while huddled into groups discussing state business.
  • When the legislature returns they will have two areas of focus, according to State Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia): economic stimulus and “bare-bones” budgets.

2. WH task force attempts to help the media understand China 

  • During questioning from reporters to the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Deborah Birx highlighted how China’s disinformation hindered the United States’ response because they “were missing a significant amount of the data” from China. Birx added that the data from Spain and Italy tell a more accurate picture.
  • Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session called for a total reset of our relationship with China, saying, “America must now fundamentally reset our relationship with China. This is no time for half-measures or a slap on the wrist. This Chinese-made global health crisis should be a wake-up call. China is lying and people are dying. Enough is enough.”

1. “Painful two weeks”

  • In a rather grim press conference, President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force said the nation is on track to see between 100,000 and up to 240,000 deaths.
  • Trump appeared to be attempting to set expectations and show the nation the worst-case scenario, saying, “I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks.”

3 days ago

Jeff Sessions has a clear message for China: The world knows your communist regime is culpable for the Wuhan coronavirus

(Jeff Sessions/Twitter, Pixabay, YHN)

Former Attorney General and U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions seems to have a clear message for China: The United States will not take your Godless, communist regime’s lying and cheating anymore.

During an appearance on WVNN this week, Sessions said the United States and the world know that China covered up the origins and spread of the virus for months, and we know they are now engaging in a disinformation campaign to shed their culpability.

Sessions on Monday’s broadcast of “The Dale Jackson Show” took some strong punches at China, saying, “It’s a duty we have to explain to the American people, and to the world, really, the danger of this kind of government. It cannot be the dominant government in the world, it will not be if we stand up to it.”

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Sessions acknowledged that we have allowed this to happen with weak trade and foreign policy. He noted the reaction of the world would be far different if America was responsible.

“Imagine an American company, or American government, had learned about this virus and sat on it for weeks and allowed the world to be infected,” he stated. “I mean, the world would be in an outrage.”

But what can be done?

If elected to his old Senate seat, what will he specifically work to do?

Sessions isn’t the first politician to point out that we can’t allow China to dominate the markets of critical supplies and infrastructure needs, such as medical supplies and high-speed internet.

Specifically, Sessions outlined, “This is one where we need to send a message to China. No. You’re not gonna supply our medicines. Especially when you say you might cut them off. You’re not gonna supply our 5G high tech communications system, high speed. We’re not gonna let you dominate that.”

My takeaway:

This is nothing new for Jeff Sessions.

He has long been a leading critic on China for most of his career. He was calling for us to get tough on China before anyone else even cared.

The world has been too soft on China, and the United States has an obligation to end that. This is our wakeup call. This isn’t about trade, it is about the lives of Americans, which Sessions correctly noted that China’s state-run press has threatened.

America has an obligation to make sure the world knows this coronavirus is the fault of China and punish them for unleashing this on the world.

The coronavirus pandemic proves Jeff Sessions has been correct on China for decades. They lie, cheat and steal to achieve world dominance. He is also right when he says we cannot allow this to continue and our allies around the globe can’t keep turning a blind eye to it or they will win.

China has a plan to continue to dominate globally, and we need people that understand it and know how to combat it at the forefront of this fight.

Listen:

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

4 days ago

7 Things: Ivey urges people to stay ‘safe at home’, Democrats continue abortion obsession, more ventilators and more …

(YHN)

7. Letting prisoners out because of the coronavirus

  • In a letter, Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee requested that due to the coronavirus, Attorney General William Barr “release as many prisoners as possible.” This comes after the first coronavirus death of a federal prisoner.
  • Those who sent the letter include U.S. Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Karen Bass (D-CA). At first, the letter specifically asks Barr “release medically-compromised, elderly and pregnant prisoners,” but then goes on to say “as many as possible.”

6. Private industry is fighting the coronavirus, too

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  • Multiple corporate entities have announced that they will be making products that will help in dealing with the supply-chain issues that are affecting the fight against the coronavirus.
  • 3M is making more masks, MyPillow has converted a factory to make cloth masks, as is Under Armour, GM and Ford are making ventilators. All of this is in addition to the massive medical leaps being made in testing.

5. America buying more ventilators

  • The Pentagon is buying 8,000 ventilators from Hamilton Medical, VyAire Medical, Zoll Medical Corp and Combat Medical Systems. It’ll cost $84.4 million, with 1,400 ventilators being delivered by May.
  • President Donald Trump has already compelled General Motors to make ventilators through the Defense Production Act. There are about 153,000 coronavirus cases worldwide and almost 3,000 deaths.

4. UAB preparing to test a coronavirus vaccine

  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham is working to start preclinical testing of one of the potential coronavirus vaccines, which will begin first with mice. 
  • This first step in testing the potential vaccine is important for there to be human testing later this year, which will be done by Altimmune Inc. based in Maryland. 

3. Even the pandemic is about abortion

  • The American Civil Liberties Union is representing a doctor in Huntsville who provides abortion care and three clinics and is challenging the Alabama Department of Public Health order that would suspend all non-emergency medical procedures. 
  • According to the court filing, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall will not clarify “the scope of the order other than to make plain that in its view some — and perhaps most — abortions are not permitted.” Currently, abortion clinics in the state have to close down to comply with the health order and reschedule any procedures for a later date. 

2. Projection puts Alabama’s coronavirus deaths at 1,700

  • A few weeks ago, irresponsible members of Alabama media promoted the idea that 25,000 (or 97,000) Alabamians could die because of the coronavirus, but a new study vastly downplays those numbers to 1,700, with the state expected to see 57 death at its peak on April 20.
  • The numbers were always a worst-case scenario, but there seems to be some thought that says restrictions on movement and social distancing is leading to fewer fevers, a leading indicator, and fewer hospitalizations.

1. Ivey asking people to socially distance, still hasn’t issued a statewide lockdown

  • Governor Kay Ivey has released a video where she urges people to “please consider staying safe at home,” but she is yet to issue a statewide lockdown. 
  • Ivey also clarifies in the video that staying home means avoiding contact with other people, not using it as an opportunity to catch up with friends. This video comes just after President Donald Trump has approved the State of Emergency for Alabama. 

4 days ago

Gary Palmer offers hope for the future even with the coronavirus pandemic raging

(Congressman Gary Palmer/Facebook, YHN)

The news on the coronavirus pandemic in the United States is bleak as our numbers are climbing in both cases and deaths.

U.S. Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) does not view all of this with a doom-and-gloom perspective and believes that as a nation, we are nearing the peak of this crisis, and then we will see the number of deaths and spread decline.

Palmer believes there is hope ahead that Americans can deal with and excel in this moment.

People have and will become sick and die. Americans will lose their jobs for no fault of their own. Large and small businesses will fold as the American economy has shut down for at least another month and probably more.

Palmer said that while right now we are seeing an increase in the number of cases of the illness, he thinks there are things that could happen in the “next few weeks” that “could change the whole dynamic.”

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Not only is more testing being done, which is increasing the number of positive cases but it is also increasing the number of people that are aware that they have become ill.

Palmer noted Monday on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” that Abbott Labs has received FDA approval to begin creating 50,000 tests that can determine if a person is infected withing five minutes, saying, “That is going to tremendously help this.”

Palmer also hit on the fact that there are “therapeutic drugs that are showing great promise” in treating patients, including the malaria drug that the President of the United States was maligned for referencing which has been approved for use with patients as well.

Commercial plants have begun manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment and ventilators. Breakthroughs in both the testing and the treatment of the symptoms of the coronavirus are moving forward as well.

There is hope ahead, and Representative Palmer believes America can get through this.

He’s right.

Listen:

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

5 days ago

7 Things: Trump extends social distancing to April 30, bleak outlook with the coronavirus ahead, Rogers wants medical equipment manufacturing done in America and more …

(YHN)

7. Trump handling of the economy and favorability hit all-time highs

  • Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are locked in a dead heat, according to a new poll, but that poll also shows there has been a “rally around the flag” moment for President Trump with the president receiving his highest average approval rating (47%) and rating on the economy (57%) of his presidency. 
  • Granted, the approval numbers are not great, but he has never been able to get great approval from Democrats, including when he was a candidate. It also doesn’t help that the mainstream media have been on a mission to destroy his presidency from day one. 

6. Florida stopping people from coming in

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  • In an effort to crack down on travel to Florida and slow the spread of the coronavirus, there have been checkpoints set up on the state line, including Alabama’s border with Florida. 
  • At checkpoints, people will have to provide the address of where they intend to quarantine themselves for two weeks. Florida has also stopped vacation rentals for at least two weeks due to the number of people who were going to the state because of coronavirus lockdowns. 

5. Alabama could be getting medical supplies from South Korea and Apple

  • On behalf of Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, the Hyundai Motor Corporation is requesting that the South Korean government send medical supplies to Alabama to assist in fighting the coronavirus. 
  • Governor Kay Ivey has announced that Alabama healthcare providers have received 63,000 masks from Apple to help in the coronavirus outbreak. 

4. China is still lying

  • While the American media is cheering the fact that America now leads the world in reported cases of the coronavirus, U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) reminds the world that the Chineses government lied when all of this started and is still lying now.
  • Senator Cotton made it clear, and minced no words, saying, “The Chinese Communist Party is still lying.” He added, “They say they’ve only had 2,500 cases that resulted in deaths or so, yet a single mortuary has ordered more than 5,000 urns. You can look at these basic facts to know that the Chinese Communist Party is still lying today, as they were in December and January, and that’s why what could have been a local problem in Wuhan turned into a global pandemic from which more than 2,000 Americans have now died”

3. Rogers wants more medical equipment made in America

  • U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-Saks) has come forward with the idea that the United States needs to be producing 50% of “personal protective equipment, medical devices that we use in this country” domestically.
  • Rogers has argued that this would be a measure we could take so that we aren’t reliant on China, reasoning, “They literally own the marketplace for a lot of this medical equipment, personal protective equipment and devices.” 

2. Dr. Fauci thinks there could be 100,000 deaths

  • Director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci was on CNN on Sunday to discuss the coronavirus in the United States, and Fauci said they don’t have a “firm idea” about how the virus could grow in America. 
  • Fauci went on to say that he thinks there will be 100,000 to 200,000 deaths and millions of coronavirus cases in the country but added that “it’s such a moving target that you could so easily be wrong and mislead people.” There are currently serious problems in New York and New Orleans.

1. Social distancing guidelines extended until April 30

  • With 140,000+ instances of the coronavirus and 2,400 deaths in the United States thus far, President Donald Trump has announced that he is keeping his proposed social distancing guideline in place another month, saying, “Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before victory is won. It’s very important that everybody strongly follow the guidelines.”
  • The state of Alabama has seen as many as 10 coronavirus deaths, with four confirmed by the Alabama Department of Public Health, in 827 cases across the state.

5 days ago

VIDEO: Shelter-in-place, $2.2 trillion in stimulus, Sessions wants China held responsible and more on Alabama Politics This Week

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Alabama Democratic Executive Committee member Lisa Handback take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Should Alabama join other states by issuing a shelter-in-place order?

— Will the $2.2 trillion stimulus deal hold off a total economic collapse?

— Former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions wants to hold China responsible for its role in the spreading of the coronavirus. Will they pay a price?

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Jackson and Handback are joined former Chairman of the Madison County Commission Dale Strong to discuss his county’s preparedness for the coronavirus pandemic.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” at Governor Kay Ivey asking her to call for a shelter-in-place-order because we all know it is coming eventually.

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

1 week ago

Dale Jackson: Ivey needs to pull the trigger on a shelter-in-place order and be done with it

(Hal Yeager/Governor Kay Ivey's Office)

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has become a worldwide disaster.

In Alabama, all businesses are impacted, schools are closed for the academic year and life is in disarray.

Friday, Governor Kay Ivey inched closer to the inevitable but, for whatever reason, didn’t quite get there.

She held a so-called “press conference” in which she read a statement, took pre-screened questions and then answered them by reading responses off of a piece of paper.

This isn’t reassuring.

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The results?

No more than 10 can gather in one place and most businesses can’t be open to the public under these rules.

What is the purpose of this step-by-step piecemeal approach? We have seen a slow trickle of new rules put out every day.

There shouldn’t be public gatherings at all at this point — just stay home.

If you need something, go get it and then go back home.

Bars are still serving drinks in certain “entertainment districts,” with people still congregating outside these establishments. People are still visiting with each other and playing basketball in public parks.

Most are taking this pandemic seriously, but more need to.

The force of a statewide “shelter-in-place” order will drive that home.

Penalties for violations (equivalent to misdemeanors) will help.

Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and others have already issued local orders going further than the state. That’s fine, but it will not be enough for Alabama as a whole.

Ultimately, everyone agrees that this is crushing small and big businesses alike, which is why President Donald Trump wants the economy opened up as soon as possible. The best way to make that happen is to expedite a decline in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. That number will spike as more testing is done and results are revealed.

Businesses want to stay open as long as they can, which is understandable — but they are getting crushed anyway, and dragging this out won’t help them. Rather, it is only delaying the inevitable.

We need to take our medicine, stomp our feet and get better.

If we shelter-in-place, the number of new confirmed cases will drop faster, and life can go back to normal quicker.

President Trump’s guidelines focus on local success; we don’t need New York to fix itself to go back to work in Alabama.

Dragging this out will not make businesses in the Yellowhammer State open up faster, it will actually prolong this ridiculousness.

We need this over as soon as possible.

Bipartisan leaders in the state agree.

Alabama’s House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels:

Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth:

A review of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic shows that aggressive “non-pharmaceutical intervention” didn’t hurt the economy of communities that implemented them more than communities that didn’t. In fact, they recovered better afterwards.

What is Governor Ivey waiting for?

We currently have 580+ cases of coronavirus and four deaths. Is there a magic number that would trigger a broader order?

Can she tell us what that magic number is?

Three thousand cases? A hundred deaths?

This will get worse before it gets better.

We need to get it better faster. We need leadership, not delay tactics and hand-wringing.

The is incredibly simple. Governor Kay Ivey will issue a shelter-in-place order at some point in the near future. She might as well do it now and help us get this over with.

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

1 week ago

7 Things: Public schools not meeting for rest of the school year, unemployment explodes everywhere, calls for shelter-in-place order rise and more …

(YHN)

7. UAB is working on a coronavirus treatment

  • The National Institution of Health-sponsored global clinical trials will now include the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  
  • A professor of at UAB in the Division of Infectious Disease said that the drug “Remdesivir worked well in the test tube and animal models against a close relative of COVID-19.” This trial will be conducted in 75 different sites globally. 

6. Democrats are mad illegals aren’t getting stimulus funds

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  • In the stimulus package passed by the U.S. Senate, American citizens who file taxes individually are to receive $1,200 and those who file jointly will receive $2,400, but any nonresident immigrants in the country don’t qualify for benefits from the stimulus package. 
  • U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) took to Twitter to voice her displeasure with the stimulus package, saying, “What Trump + Senate GOP have done is hold hospitals, working people, and the vulnerable hostage so they could get in $500 billion (that will be leveraged into $4T) in corporate welfare.”

5. Cam Ward still wants to see prison reform

  • With the coronavirus bringing meetings in the Alabama legislature to a halt, it may be more difficult to get business done in the state, but State Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) still wants to see prison reform in this legislative session. 
  • Ward has described the issues with the prison system as “urgent,” and he’s said that we “could see a situation where we come back in the first of May” and working until May 18. He added “a lot of the bills are still in position that if we came in, they’re one step closer to passing. I think we can do it still.”

4. Trump is changing the rules

  • President Donald Trump said that the social distancing guidelines could change based on a county’s risk of the coronavirus. In a letter sent to governors, Trump said, “There is still a long battle ahead, but our efforts are already paying dividends.”
  • Trump also said that some of this will rely on expanding testing, which will “enable us to publish criteria, developed in close coordination with the Nation’s public health officials and scientists, to help classify counties with respect to continued risks posed by the virus.”

3. Many believe Alabama needs to shelter-in-place

  • With 500+ coronavirus cases and growing, Governor Kay Ivey has said that there are no current plans for a shelter-in-place order across the state, but now Democrats like Alabama House of Representatives Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) are calling for a statewide lockdown. 
  • State Representative Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) tweeted, “If nothing is done, someone will lose his or her life not because of the virus, but because our hospitals will not have the resources available to save them.” U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) has said that state officials need to enact “stringent measures” to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

2. Unemployment has skyrocketed in Alabama

  • Since Sunday, 48,191 people in Alabama have filed for unemployment, and by comparison, only 5,819 Alabamians filed for unemployment in all of February. 
  • Even during the worst week of the 2007-2009 recession, Alabama saw 20,894 unemployment claims filed, and the United States Department of Labor has reported 3.28 million unemployment claims last week. 

1. Schools closed for the rest of the school year but instruction isn’t over

  • Governor Kay Ivey has announced that with the coronavirus continuing to spread throughout the state, K-12 schools need to come up with a plan for “alternative methods of instruction as established by the State Superintendent of Education” by April 6 to finish out the school year.
  • Not going back to the classroom had already been recommended by Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth, who said that the coronavirus is a “serious situation and calls for serious measures,” and there are several other states in the country that have opted to keep schools closed for the remainder of the academic year.

1 week ago

7 Things: Alabama has its first coronavirus death, coronavirus stimulus package passes, Alabama’s hospital availability a concern and more …

(YHN)

7. Lawmakers want to hold China accountable

  • U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) and U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) have introduced a piece of legislation to demand an investigation into the Chinese response to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the world.
  • If passed, the resolution would look into China’s decision to hide details of the disease during the early days of the outbreak. Meanwhile, the United States is holding up a Security Council resolution at the United Nations by demanding they declare China as the origin of the illness.

6. University of South Alabama students are coming home

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  • A group of students from the University of South Alabama have been stranded in Peru due to the coronavirus outbreak, but U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) has announced that the students are coming back to the states. 
  • The students were stuck in Peru when borders were closed on March 17, and Byrne said that he’s “thankful to all who worked so hard to ensure this positive outcome.”

5. Republicans want the economy considered

  • U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) has come out saying that the economy needs to be considered when coronavirus precautions are taken, saying, “[A]s we look beyond the crisis, we must consider that the economic damage could cripple the country.”
  • Aderholt also said that he hopes the timeline of people getting back to work will be “weeks not months.” U.S. Rep Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) agreed in a radio interview that a good economy was only on pause until the spread of the virus is contained, adding that “once we get past this the economy is going to rebound.”

4. Legislative meetings might as well be postponed officially

  • Today, the Alabama House of Representatives was supposed to continue its legislative session, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, meetings have been postponed and it’s unclear when things will resume as the Alabama Senate is on spring break until at least March 31. 
  • Technically, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon will be there to carry out the meeting, but no business can be conducted without at least 53 members in attendance and everyone has been told to stay home. It’s expected McCutcheon will announce plans for future meetings on Tuesday, and the Senate is expected to make a decision on meetings the same day. 

3. Alabama hospitals don’t have a ton of availability

  • Alabama Hospital Association CEO and President Don Williams said that during the coronavirus outbreak, “If we’re lucky, hospitals may be slammed but they’ll remain within their capacity.”
  • Alabama has 14,790 hospital beds, and usually, 75% of those beds are full on a normal day. Williams said that they “have to prepare for the worst-case scenario and hope that doesn’t happen.”

2. The $2.2 trillion economic stimulus for the coronavirus pandemic passes the Senate

  • The bill passed after Republicans called out a “major drafting error” in unemployment benefits in the coronavirus stimulus package, and now U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is saying that he’ll “put a hold on this bill” if Republicans don’t “drop their objections,” but it passed anyway.
  • Misgivings on both sides over particular issues were ignored and the 880-page bill passed unanimously. It now moves to the House.

1. Jackson County courthouse employee is Alabama’s first coronavirus death 

  • A part-time Jackson County courthouse employee who did not have regular contact with the public is Alabama’s first death, but will likely not be the last death with an Alabama connection. None of her coworkers have experienced any symptoms.
  • Lt Gov. Will Ainsworth wants to make sure Alabamians are taking the outbreak seriously, saying, “This is a serious situation and is becoming more and more threatening everyday. It WILL spread exponentially in the future and we must slow it down now. Everyone MUST follow the orders given and practice social distancing to protect lives. “

1 week ago

Sessions wants Trump to keep the pressure on China after their failure to contain the Chinese coronavirus

(Jeff Sessions/Contributed, Pixabay)

Former Attorney General Senator Jeff Sessions did not mince his words when he asked about the role of the Chinese government in the current worldwide Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

It has been noted by the media and the President of the United States that Chinese leadership was negligent in how it handled the initial outbreak in China.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly, to the disdain of that same media, noted the origins of the outbreak and China’s failures in stopping its spread.

Sessions wants China to be held responsible for what they have done and the pain they have inflicted across the globe.

During an interview on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show,” Sessions strongly noted that he wanted China to be punished for their failures here and their bad acts in the past.

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Sessions attempted to draw a distinction between himself and his opponent in the Alabama U.S. Senate Republican primary runoff, former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville, by explaining his support for tariffs against China as a tactical weapon while Tuberville once referred to those tariffs as a “noose around [farmers’] necks.”

China is a bad actor on many other measures, and now is the time to stop them, Sessions explained.

“First and foremost, we need to stop their cheating, we need to stand up to them, we need to use the tariffs that we have against them,” Sessions advised.

He added failing to do so continues to allow China to “become the preeminent world power.” Sessions believes that is dangerous for many obvious reasons.

During the interview, Sessions also voiced support for potentially opening the U.S. economy in situations where it is warranted, but supported the actions taken by Trump and the governors around the country to get the situation on the ground under control.

Listen:

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

1 week ago

7 Things: Coronavirus stimulus approved, Trump hopes to open up country again soon, no shelter-in-place order for Alabama and more …

(YHN)

7. Mobile struggling to get people to actually practice social distancing

  • With the coronavirus in the United States, many states have ordered people to stay home. In Alabama, many cities are trying to get people to distance themselves from others as much as possible, but Mobile is struggling to get citizens to stay away from crowds.
  • Mobile City Councilman Fred Richardson said that he’s seen public parks “packed out,” and he’s said that if they “don’t come up with something, we’ll be fighting this virus next year.” The city council has voted to adopt a resolution to prohibit congregating.

6. Saban wants you to stay home

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  • A public service announcement featuring University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban to let people know that they need to “wash your hands often, stay at home if at all possible” and to stay at least six feet away from people in public.
  • These recommendations have been made by the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Saban ended the message reassuring people that “we will get through these difficult times.”

5. Birmingham ordered to shelter-in-place

  • Birmingham City Council has voted to order citizens to shelter-in-place by request of Mayor Randall Woodfin, with Jefferson County having at least 90 of the 215 cases of coronavirus in Alabama.
  • The order will remain in effect until April 3, but it notes, “Those purposes include work; visiting essential businesses like grocery stores, financial institutions and gas stations; retrieving curbside pickup from restaurants.” This is a little different than what most are doing already but not following it could get you 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

4. Majority approves of how Trump has handled coronavirus

  • A new Gallup poll shows that a majority of Americans approve of how President Donald Trump has handled the coronavirus outbreak, with 60% approving.
  • If split into parties, 94% of Republicans approve of Trump’s handling of the virus and 27% of Democrats approve. Trump’s overall approval rating is at 49%.

3. No shelter-in-place order for Alabama, according to Ivey

  • Governor Kay Ivey and Alabama Department of Public Health’s Dr. Scott Harris answered questions over a conference call about the coronavirus in Alabama, and Ivey said that there are no plans as of right now to put out a “shelter-in-place” order for the state.
  • Ivey stressed that “we are not California, we’re not New York, we aren’t even Louisiana,” adding that she’s focusing on keeping the state’s “economy going as much as possible while we take extraordinary measures to keep everyone healthy and safe.”

2. Trump hopes to open the country back up by Easter

  • While in an interview with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer, President Donald Trump discussed the coronavirus and said that getting people back to work is “absolutely possible” by Easter, but that things like social distancing, not shaking hands and washing your hands would have to continue, though.
  • Trump also discussed the possible long term effects that a shutdown could cause, saying that some people could “lose their jobs maybe to never get them back” and that people “are going to lose their businesses never to get them back.” He added, “The cure is worse than the problem.”

1. Stimulus deal is finally reached

  • A $2 trillion stimulus deal has been struck between the White House and congressional leaders to provide stimulus to a battered American economy. The hope is that it will stop businesses from firing workers and will give confidence to the American people.
  • Included in the package is $1,200 for most citizens, an additional $500 per each child, $500 billion for loan distressed companies, $50 billion for airlines, four months of unemployment benefits (including the self-employed). The deal also allows the Small Business Administration to serve as a guarantor for loans of up to $10 billion so they can pay payrolls and debts. Additionally, the bill provides $130 billion for hospitals and $150 billion for state and local governments that are cash-strapped due to their response to the coronavirus.

1 week ago

Reckless American media continue trying to destroy the economy by lying about the president

(White House/Flickr)

The nation is in a dark place right now. People are hunkered down at home and must feel like they are watching their futures and fortunes be destroyed by a virus that originated in China and is now working its way through the United States.

Americans are looking for leadership, but are instead finding squabbling over stock buybacks and global warming. To put it bluntly, people want decisive action, and they want it now.

It looks as if Congress will get the third version of a coronavirus spending bill over the finish line soon, but that’s not the relief that Americans are most interested in seeing. They want America back open for businesses, and so does President Donald Trump.

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But the American media can’t report that honestly.

Americans are not as stupid as the media and their Democrats think they are. They know when the president says he wants the country open, he isn’t referencing areas like New York City and other regions where the disease is raging.

They also know he isn’t suggesting a return to normalcy for everyone. He is suggesting a relaxing of suggestions and regulations on a case-by-case basis.

What most don’t know is that a large portion of these rules and restrictions are coming from the local governments, the states, cities and counties that make up these United States.

The people want to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt (AL-04) struck an optimistic tone on WVNN radio, saying, “[I]t’s going to be months, but I don’t think months in regard that we’re going to be the way we are today.”

Aderholt also voiced support for President Trump’s notion that we will open some areas of the country as the situation warrant.

“I think we’re going to get through this,” he told “The Dale Jackson Show.” “Our country’s very strong, but I fully support, you know, what he’s saying in regard to let’s look at areas we can open up.”

The media, including some locally, think they always know best.

My takeaway:

I would say this is reckless, but what is the point? This is the exact same outlet that suggested that over 50% of Alabama will be getting sick and 25,000 will probably die with a much larger death toll likely.

If Alabama is lucky and sees a death rate of 1 percent, 25,000 people could die. In an average year, 50,000 people in Alabama die of all causes. And it’s possible, if nothing is done, that the death toll could be worse.

Sure, why not?

As of this moment, over 18,000 are dead out of the more than 407,000 infected worldwide.

These people in the media are reckless, irresponsible and are directly causing the destruction of our small businesses and the American dream.

They want an indefinite shutdown of the American economy — to hell with the consequences.

Remember what they are doing to your way of life right now and, more importantly, remember why they are doing it.

Listen: 

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

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Pelosi kills coronavirus stimulus again, Doug Jones ’embarrassed’, Alabama’s coronavirus data and more …

(YHN)

7. 2020 Olympics postponed to 2021

  • Due to the coronavirus, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to delay the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, until 2021. 
  • Details have not been decided yet, but Dick Pound of the IOC stated, “[T]he Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”

6. State Tax Day pushed

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  • Governor Kay Ivey has announced that Alabama’s state tax day will follow the federal tax day and be pushed back to July 15. 
  • Ivey says that this move is to help “reduce the burden upon Alabamians and get folks back on their feet financially. The safety and wellbeing of Alabamians is the paramount priority as we do everything within our power to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus.”

5. Absentee ballots accepted for runoff

  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill is emphasizing that absentee ballots will be accepted for the postponed runoff date of July 14. 
  • Merrill brought this up for those who are concerned about the coronavirus. The deadline to register to vote in the runoff is June 29. 

4. Trump floats lifting “restrictions”

  • Nationwide restrictions over the coronavirus have hit the economy very hard, and with one week left in the initial round of restrictions, President Donald Trump is signaling that he really wants to “reopen the economy.” He said, “This is a medical problem. We are not going to let it turn into a long-lasting financial problem.”
  • The media and their Democrats have reacted to this notion with absolute attacks, op-eds and dishonesty while there has been no directive, and Trump’s suggestions have absolutely no teeth. However, the entire premise of Trump’s comments is that we can’t shut down the American economy for months and he will look at lessening the restrictions in some areas while leaving them on in other places.

3. Coronavirus numbers

  • Alabama Department of Public Health’s Dr. Scott Harris held a press conference to address the state of the coronavirus, saying that a majority of cases are still in Jefferson County, followed by Shelby, Madison and Lee counties. 
  • By the numbers, about 53% of patients are male, patients range from ages 2-97, roughly 7% of those are hospitalized with some in the ICU, and there are currently 17 coronavirus testing sites throughout the state, but they’re working to have 25 open by the end of the week. 

2. Jones flip-flopped

  • U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) initially voted to block the coronavirus relief package and then within 24 hours changed his vote to support the legislation. Jones is the sole U.S. Senator breaking from his Democrat colleagues. 
  • Originally, Jones sided with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) after she came out opposing the bill, but Jones has claimed that he was “embarrassed” about the partisan arguing over the bill. 

1. Democrats want to weaponize the coronavirus stimulus package

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) voiced opposition to the coronavirus stimulus package and then released her own that included many unrelated items such as paying off $10,000 of student debt per person, bringing back the “Obamaphone” program, diversity mandates, climate change, voting rules and mandating airlines to reduce carbon emissions
  • The legislation would also prevent colleges from giving citizenship status information and forgiving the U.S. Postal Service debt. National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Michael McAdams said, “People are dying and all Nancy Pelosi and Democrats can focus on is ripping off the American taxpayer to help pay for their liberal wish list of government handouts.”

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Alabama ramping up restrictions, coronavirus stimulus debate continues, Ivey prepares the Alabama National Guard and more …

(YHN)

7. Delayed runoff could help Jeff Sessions

  • Before the coronavirus delayed the Alabama primary runoff, former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville had gained momentum and was polling just ahead of former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session, but political observers think the runoff being delayed could favor Sessions.
  • Former political science professor Jess Brown said, “If I’m Tuberville, I wish the election was yesterday.” U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne’s (R-Fairhope) U.S. Senate campaign manager Seth Morrow has predicted that both campaigns will stop advertising for a bit, reasoning, “People are not paying attention to this.”

6. Rand Paul diagnosed with coronavirus

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  • U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) will remain in quarantine as he has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. A statement put out by Paul’s staff says he’s “asymptomatic” and is “not aware of any direct contact with an infected person.”
  • Due to his contact with Paul, U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) will be self-quarantining for the next two weeks. Claims have been made that Paul went to the gym after learning his diagnosis, but his staff has deemed those claims “false & irresponsible.”

5. Small businesses can receive assistance in Alabama

  • Small businesses and non-profits in Alabama are eligible for benefits under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan, as announced by Governor Kay Ivey.
  • This will hopefully assist small businesses that have seen a major drop in business due to the coronavirus. Ivey said, “Small businesses represent the backbone of Alabama’s economy, and many of them need immediate help in these trying times.”

4. Travel restrictions and social distancing are helping

  • The United States is and will continue to be impacted by the coronavirus, but National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said that travel restrictions with China will help the United States from seeing a situation as severe as Italy.
  • Fauci did say that he wasn’t sure why the virus has been so bad in Europe, but explained, “One of the things that we did very early and very aggressively, the president put the travel restriction coming from China to the United States and most recently from Europe to the United States.” He also mentioned that the social distancing efforts seen in the country are helping.

3. Ivey has readied the National Guard

  • Governor Kay Ivey has authorized the activation of 100 members of the Alabama National Guard in the event that their service is necessary during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • According to Ivey’s release, she authorized this in the event that “our first responders and health care providers need additional support.”

2. Congress fails to reach agreement on bill that could reach $2 trillion 

  • Democratic leadership has worked to block a bipartisan aid bill because they believe they can gain more of their goals by holding up the bill. Some Democrats are admitting this is happening for political reasons and this all hinges on a “sign-off” from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) previously noted this deal needs to get done, but the vote failed with five members of his caucus self-quarantining because the “coronavirus is in the Senate.” Democrats insist they will not vote for the current bill and the market will react negatively to that news.

1. You can be fined for violating health orders

  • Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office has informed law enforcement officials on how they can enforce health orders during the coronavirus pandemic, in which some of the orders include no gatherings of more than 25 people.
  • Those found knowingly and willingly violating health orders could be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $500. Expect the authorities’ aggressiveness to be ramped up in the next few days.

2 weeks ago

VIDEO: Jeff Sessions talks China and the coronavirus, economic stimulus, Ivey postpones the runoff and more on Alabama Politics This Week

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Alabama Democratic Executive Committee member Lisa Handback take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Are Alabamians ready to deal with the coronavirus?

— What kind of stimulus would actually help people who need it?

— Why did Governor Kay Ivey delay the primary runoff election?

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Jackson and Handback are joined former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to discuss President Donald Trump’s reaction to the coronavirus, trade with China and Governor Kay Ivey moving the primary election runoff.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” at people who want to quibble over the people noting the origins of the Chinese coronavirus to call the president a “racist.”

https://business.facebook.com/watch/?v=920026435082474

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

2 weeks ago

Mo Brooks on coronavirus stimulus: ‘It’s better to be in debt than dead’ but we really need to help those who need it

(Pixabay, YHN)

We are in a trying time. There is a global pandemic underway, and our overreaction to it may cause even more problems than the spread of the virus itself.

Some reports indicate that the current closing of most businesses, working from home and disruptions to American life may not be enough. The implications of a national shutdown of air travel and more could cause additional issues with the economy.

The situation begs for a federal response for economic stimulus. That will lead to massive amounts of debt and every politician seems to be in agreement that something must be done.

Even budget hawk U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) expressed support for some stimulus with both his votes and comments made on WVNN this week.

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Brooks noted on “The Dale Jackson Show” that “it’s better to be in debt than dead” during a discussion about the first economic stimulus matters passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.

But Brooks made it clear that he supports more stimulus if it is targeted to those who need it and if it will help. His statements indicate that this is not a blank check for whatever Democratic and Republican leadership come up with moving forward.

Brooks said, “If the Democrats go hog wild, I might vote no, but gosh there are a whole lot of people we can help with this legislation.”

Brooks added that people need help right now, but not just individuals.

“[P]articularly small businesses, the airline industry, we’re talking about low or no-interest loans. $50 billion, in that neighborhood, for the airline industry, another $150 billion for small businesses, like restaurants that are getting hammered. So there are things that we can and should be doing,” he advised.

Brooks warned against Democrats viewing this as a “welfare grab bag” in order to “buy votes.” He said he wants to “limit the money to those people who have suffered financial loss because of a historical disease that’s threatening our planet.”

My takeaway:

Reality may creep in here for Congressman Brooks and others in Washington, D.C. who would like to see targeted assistance. The allure of doing something, anything, and doing big things may end up being too much.

Elected officials like Brooks may need to vote for a bill that they aren’t huge fans of because of the good things in the bill.

Ideally, though, targeted assistance should be the goal: government employees, including teachers and others whose pay will not be affected by this pandemic and the response to it.

This is exactly what was done during the BP oil spill repayment, it should be targeted here as well.

Over its existence More than one million claims of 220,000 individual and business claimants were processed and more than $6.2 billion was paid out from the fund. 97% of payments were made to claimants in the Gulf States.[5] During the transition period before the settlement of claims through the GCCF was replaced by the court supervised settlement program additional $404 million in claims were paid.[3]

The government should use something like that method to help people who are actually harmed by this.

That means giving more money to those actually affected and no money to those that weren’t.

This would be hard to figure out, but this is important and should be done right.

Low-wage workers, those in the service industry, those who have been laid off and furloughed could use more than those who stayed gainfully employed.

Why should I receive a check for $1,200 dollars and a server at a bar that was forced to close in downtown Huntsville receive the same thing?

Those who are harmed should be helped. The goal should not be for the government to make it rain on everyone in order to say they did something.

Listen:

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

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Ivey trying to ‘flatten the curve’, coronavirus could get you paid, more drive-thru testing and more …

(YHN)

7. Beaches are closing

  • On Friday, all public Alabama beaches closed at 7:00 a.m. due to large crowds that were still gathering amid the coronavirus outbreak. Florida has not issued a similar order, but several beaches will be shut down as well.
  • Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft said that they’re hoping to have the beaches reopen on April 6, but their goal is “to protect our local citizens who are scared to death but also to protect the public that comes here.”

6. U.S. Senators dumped stock after learning of the coronavirus outbreak

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  • As many as four lawmakers are accused of selling off stocks that would be impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. The report names U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK).
  • Burr sold his stocks after he wrote a Fox News op-ed saying the United States was “better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats.” and Loeffler and her husband reportedly sold the stocks on January 24, which was the exact day she was in a Senate Health Committee received a briefing about the coronavirus from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institutes of Health.

5. Sessions wants a debate

  • With the Alabama runoff primary being delayed until July, there’s even more time for a debate between U.S. Senate candidates Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville, and Sessions is making it known that he wants a debate.
  • Tuberville has been polling ahead of Sessions, but Sessions is focusing on the issues, saying, “Maybe he can learn a few things between now and July. But we’ve got some issues to ask about — something that a United States Senator has to be able to do and know.”

4. Amazon still hiring

  • As a shutdown of the American economy brings havoc to workers, the Amazon facility in Bessemer is on its way to fulfill its 1,500-job requirement by looking to hire 600 more people.
  • Once the facility is running at full capacity, Amazon is expecting to put out about 100,000 orders a day.

3. Huntsville the latest community to get coronavirus drive-thru testing

  • Friday, the first drive-thru testing for coronavirus will open in Huntsville at the Huntsville Hospital, and anyone wanting to be tested must first get a “physician order” to be tested, according to Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers, joining Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile in communities with testing.
  • Spillers would also like to remind people that if you don’t have symptoms you don’t need to be tested. Currently, they have about 400 test kits, and Spillers is confident that they’ll be able to continue supplying tests as needed.

2. Not everyone is going to get money

  • While speaking on the floor of the Senate, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) discussed the stimulus package being considered to send $1,200 to adult Americans, saying that the money would go to people no matter if they’re already receiving social security benefits, employed or unemployed.
  • The only people who would miss out on a check from the government would be those above the middle class, but everyone “from the middle class on down” would receive financial help. McConnell emphasized that this is something they “want to do right away.”

1. Ivey trying to flatten the curve with strict rules

  • Governor Kay Ivey has announced that in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, there’s now a Public Health Order that prohibits gatherings of more than 25 people, eating or drinking in the dining room of bars and restaurants, and all elective medical procedures are to be delayed.
  • Also included in the order is the closing of all daycares and preschools and ending of visitation to hospitals and nursing homes. Ivey said, “[W]e want to ensure that Alabama is doing our part to flatten the curve.”

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Jones and Shelby vote for huge stimulus, Ivey delays elections, Alabama economy gets pounded and more …

(YHN)

7. Sessions campaigning on law enforcement endorsements

  • During a news conference, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was endorsed by law enforcement officials from coastal Alabama. Sessions said, “I do love the law enforcement community and respect it and understand the challenges they operate under and I know the dangers they face on a daily basis.”
  • Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich discussed their endorsement of Sessions, saying that they’re confident Sessions will support “prosecuting criminals and to make our communities a better place.” However, Sessions has said his campaign is evaluating if they’ll continue campaigning while restrictions for the coronavirus are in place.

6. Bernie Sanders is done but not officially

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  • U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) 2020 Democratic presidential campaign has come to an end with the campaign saying they’re suspending to evaluate their future this election cycle. They also stopped their Facebook ads and are no longer seeking donations.
  • Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said that instead, Sanders “is focused on the government response to the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring that we take care of working people and the most vulnerable.”

5. Alabama beaches are still open

  • With the number of coronavirus cases in the state growing, Governor Kay Ivey has said that closing Alabama beaches is “under consideration.”
  • With many college students going on spring break vacations, pictures of crowded beaches have been circulating on the internet, but Ivey said that if a move is made, it’ll be announced “at a later date.”

4. Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act

  • While at a press conference, President Donald Trump announced that he’s invoking the Defense Production Act to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, saying, “It can do a lot of good things if we need it.”
  • The act allows the increase in the manufacturing and distribution of medical supplies, which includes expanding hospital capacity and producing masks, respirators and ventilators. There is now talk of Ford and GM potentially producing some of the needed items.

3. Automotive plants pausing production in Alabama, everywhere else

  • Hyundai, Honda and Toyota have decided to pause production at their Alabama plants after an employee at the Montgomery Hyundai plant tested positive for the coronavirus. Mercedes-Benz continues operating, and Honda and Toyota employees will continue getting paid. Hyundai employees will not be getting paid.
  • Across the state and the country, jobs are being lost at an alarming rate. With that, Alabama’s unemployment rates will be up a lot. Other states are seeing the same thing.

2. Runoff postponed until July

  • Governor Kay Ivey has decided that the best move would be to postpone the Alabama primary runoff until July 14 due to the coronavirus pandemic instead of holding the runoff on March 31.
  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill had previously requested the runoff be postponed and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall confirmed that postponing would be legal while Alabama is under a State of Emergency.

1. Jones and Shelby support coronavirus response funding

  • The U.S. Senate has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to make billions of dollars available for relief for those impacted by the coronavirus and respond to the virus. Both U.S. Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Doug Jones (D-AL) voted in favor of the legislation.
  • The measure will help provide financial assistance for family and medical leave, will increase food benefits and unemployment and give more ability to help small businesses. The legislative package now goes to President Donald Trump to be approved; Shelby said that while there’s still a lot to do, “this is a step in the right direction.”

2 weeks ago

Dale Jackson: Postponing the election a terrible idea long-term

(PIxabay, YHN)

You knew it was coming — the March 31 primary runoff election was never going to happen in the era of the coronavirus.

Secretary of State John Merrill wanted this delay, Attorney General Steve Marshall said it could be done and the governor pulled the trigger.

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Maybe it is prudent, maybe it is smart, but it is a terrible, awful, no good precedent that could be used in the future to delay elections for various reasons.

Sure, we will hear people saying we are in a “State of Emergency” — and we are.

But we have had other States of Emergency, and we will have more States of Emergency. What then?

There is no reason to believe anything nefarious is afoot, and I trust Merrill, Marshall and Ivey to make good decisions.

But what about a scenario where they are not in power?

What if we had a situation where our government was led by different people?

What if the top elected officials in our state looked like this?

  • Governor Robert Bentley
  • Attorney General Don Siegelman
  • Secretary of State Nancy Worley

Those are all positions those individuals have held, and all three had major ethical and legal lapses. They are all felons or plead to lesser charges when facing a potential felony charge.

Would you trust them to make decisions like this?

Would you put it past them to declare a State of Emergency to give their campaigns a little breathing room from a scandal?

For my Republican friends, what if President Barack Obama did this?

For my Democrat friends, what if President Donald Trump did this?

Look at Ohio: A judge told their governor that they could not delay their election, but they did it anyway.

We should not allow something just because we trust the people in power now.

We should oppose things because we don’t trust the people that could be in power in the future.

What we tolerate, we promote.

This is a terrible precedent.

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

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Huge stimulus coming, Alabama runoff election can be postponed, Ivey wants restaurants closed and more …

(YHN)

7. Biden trounces Bernie, Bernie stays in the race

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden, the favorite for the Democratic presidential primary, took another couple of steps towards securing the nomination by blowing out U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in Florida, Illinois and Arizona in elections that saw big turnout in spite of the coronavirus.
  • Sanders has still refused to drop out as pressure and the delegate gap grows with his campaign co-chair Nina Turner saying, “I want the senator to stay in,” adding, “I think other voters have a right to have a choice. This is not a coronation. We know what happened last time in 2016 — it gave us Donald J. Trump.”

6. State liquor stores are closing

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  • Due to the coronavirus, the Alabama Beverage Control (ABC) board has decided to close 78 stores across the state. 
  • Any ABC stores that stay open will reduce their hours to 12:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., and there will only be five customers allowed in the store at a time. Customers will also not be allowed to go through the store freely. Instead, employees will retrieve products for them. 

5. SEC has canceled all spring sports

  • For the rest of the athletic year, SEC sports competitions will be canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Schools won’t be allowed to hold practices, meetings or football pro days. 
  • SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said, “This is a difficult day for all of us, and I am especially disappointed for our student-athletes.” The SEC baseball tournament that’s been held in Hoover since 1998 has about a $15 million economic impact on the Birmingham area every year. 

4. American media carries China’s water, China kicks them out

  • The American media continues to attempt to police the language of President Donald Trump and others who accurately reference the Chinese source of the coronavirus pandemic, even though they did the exact same thing. 
  • To thank these dutiful scribes, the Communist Chinese government is now booting American journalists from such prestigious outlets like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post from the country for what they called “entirely necessary and reciprocal countermeasures” in response to the Trump administration demanding they cut their state-run staff doing propaganda in the United States.

3. Ivey suggests Birmingham close restaurants

  • With the number of coronavirus cases in Alabama increasing and a majority of them being in Jefferson County, Governor Kay Ivey is suggesting that Birmingham restaurants close their dining rooms for at least a week. 
  • Ivey has also said that restaurants in Tuscaloosa, Walker, Blount, Shelby and St. Clair Counties close restaurants as well, only leaving drive-thru and take out as dining options. The Alabama Department of Public Health is urging the rest of the state to consider following these guidelines. 

2. State of Emergency could postpone the U.S. Senate runoff

  • The U.S. Senate runoff between former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville is set to take place on March 31, but Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said that the State of Emergency issued by Governor Kay Ivey could postpone the runoff.
  • Secretary of State John Merrill has previously requested that the vote be postponed if legally possible due to the coronavirus pandemic. While Ivey can postpone the vote during a State of Emergency, it’s yet to be announced if she actually will.

1. Bipartisan support for trillion-dollar stimulus

  • The Trump administration, Republicans and Democrats in Congress are all in agreement that massive economic stimulus is needed to keep the economy afloat as we continue to deal with the coronavirus outbreak with some suggesting that every American household receives a check within the next two weeks.
  • But wait, there is more: Multiple industries, including the hotel, energy and restaurant industries are clamoring for a government bailout with the airline industry declaring the coronavirus’ impact to be worse than 9/11.

3 weeks ago

7 Things: States weigh delaying elections, Trump reassures the nation amid pandemic, no issues with coronavirus testing in Alabama and more …

(YHN)

7. Sending everyone money to help financial burdens during crisis

  • U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) called on Congress to “immediately” give every adult American $1,000, saying this needs to be done to “help families and small businesses meet their short-term financial obligations, ease the financial burden on students entering the workforce, and protect health workers on the front lines and their patients by improving telehealth services.”
  • It’s been pointed out that this proposal is very similar to Andrew Yang’s Universal Basic Income plan to give every adult American $1,000 per month, but Romney’s measure would just be temporary.

6. Club for Growth endorses Tuberville

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  • In the U.S. Senate runoff between former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, the Club for Growth has decided to endorse Tuberville.
  • Club for Growth President David McIntosh said that they’re siding with President Donald Trump in this endorsement because he thinks “both of them can win.” He added, [B]ut I think if Trump is not fully on board it becomes harder. And he’s made it clear that Tuberville is his pick.”

5. Democrats more worried about the coronavirus than Republicans

  • In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll about concern over the coronavirus, Democrats were distinctively more worried about the virus’ severity and a family member getting sick.
  • Only 40% of Republicans said they were concerned a family member would contract the virus, whereas 68% of Democrats said the same. Also, 80% of Democrats said the virus wasn’t at its worst yet, compared to 40% of Republicans. The poll found 81% of Republicans are confident in how President Donald Trump has handled the coronavirus outbreak, but only 13% of Democrats approve.

4. Many Alabama cities are under a State of Emergency

  • Montgomery declared a local state of emergency two days ago and now Mayor Randall Woodfin has declared a state of emergency for Birmingham due to the 17 cases of coronavirus in Jefferson County. Woodfin is requesting they there be no gatherings larger than 25 people.
  • Huntsville City Council approved Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle’s declaration of a State of Emergency as well. Battle says it will cut red tape, adding the declaration is so his administration “can respond quickly” to issues that arise.

3. ADPH urges caution, says testing isn’t an issue

  • Alabama Department of Public Health’s Dr. Scott Harris held a press conference where he addressed the state of the coronavirus in Alabama, saying that more than half of the cases are in Jefferson county.
  • Harris encouraged social distancing with no gatherings of more than 50 people and staying at least six feet away from strangers. Harris also asked that people who aren’t showing symptoms “avoid getting tested.” He went on to emphasize that there are no capacity issues with testing.

2. Trump has announced guidelines to slow coronavirus spread

  • President Donald Trump said we will come out of this crisis “stronger than ever” as he spoke at a briefing about the coronavirus pandemic where he admitted that the virus could cause issues into July and August. The president added he’s confident that “we can turn the corner and turn it quickly” to slow the spread of the coronavirus in 15 days.
  • The guidelines were to not gather in groups larger than 10 people, older people should stay indoors and avoid other people, work from home if you can, don’t go out to bars or restaurants, and “avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits.” Trump said, “We will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus.”

1. Elections in Ohio are suspended, Alabama elections may be next

  • A judge rejecting the governor of Ohio’s attempt to delay the state’s primary election didn’t stop the state from doing it anyway by using a directive by the state’s health director to get around the judge’s order. Notices have been posted on websites, social media and at polling places to tell people the presidential primary was canceled.
  • Rumors indicate that Governor Kay Ivey is considering acting to move Alabama’s March 31 election after Secretary of State John Merrill indicated he would like to see the election moved in a press release Sunday. The release stated, “The health and well-being of the people of this state are of paramount importance. In order to effectively practice social distancing, as recommended by the President of the United States, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the Alabama Department of Public Health, etc., the March 31 Runoff Election must be postponed.”