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.

19 hours ago

7 Things: Alabama AG says Huntsville’s tear gas was justified, COVID-19 is still going on, Birmingham shuts down over protests and more …

(YHN)

7. Easing restrictions on Paycheck Protection Program supported by Alabama

  • The more relaxed requirements for businesses receiving funds through the Paycheck Protection Program were passed by the U.S. Senate and House this week. Businesses would only be required to spend 60% of funds on payroll, instead of 75%, and they’ll have 24 weeks to spend funds, instead of eight weeks. 
  • All Alabama representatives in the House and Senate supported this move, and now the legislation awaits President Donald Trump’s signature. So far, the program has saved over 50 million jobs, according to the Trump administration. 

6. Remove Jefferson Davis Day?

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  • In Alabama, Jefferson Davis Day is every year on the first Monday of June, and now Alabama Democratic Party chairman State Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) is calling on Governor Kay Ivey to remove the holiday. 
  • England sent a letter to Ivey asking her to call a special session to add removing the holiday to the agenda. A spokesperson for Ivey’s office said that the governor “is certainly open to sitting down with lawmakers to discuss this proposal.”

5. Walmart is pulling firearms

  • Due to protests over George Floyd’s death, Walmart has decided to remove firearms and ammunition from some stores. A spokesperson said that this decision was made “out of an abundance of caution.”
  • Walmart hasn’t specified which stores will have guns removed. Firearms and ammunition will still be available for purchase, but they “are being stored in a secure room.”

4. On-campus learning to return for fall semester

  • The University of Alabama System, which includes Huntsville, Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, has announced that they’ll have students back on campus this summer at a limited capacity, and then full classrooms will be back by the fall semester.
  • A resolution released by the system said, “The Board of Trustees believes that the UA System can best fulfill its core mission of teaching, research, and service by resuming on-campus activities in the Fall 2020 semester.” Students are able to go back on campus with limits on June 22; the fall semester will start on August 19 for all campuses.

3. Birmingham closes down ahead of protests

  • In preparation for more protests, including rumors of the KKK protesting, a fence was put up around Birmingham’s Linn Park and Kelly Ingram Park, the University of Alabama at Birmingham closed campus early “out of an abundance of caution,” some businesses downtown closed early, and courthouses closed down at noon by order of Jefferson County Presiding Court Judge Elisabeth French.
  • The City released a statement that the parks were fenced off “for public safety purposes to ensure unregistered gatherings do not occur.” The roads around Birmingham City Hall were barricaded, but even with this reported, Mayor Randall Woodfin’s Office of Public Information released a statement saying that “the city has not announced a shutdown nor does it plan to announce a shutdown.”

2. The coronavirus pandemic is still a thing

  • A popular narrative as things have reopened whenever there are crowds is that there will be a spike in coronavirus cases, and while that is yet to actually happen, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield has said that protests going on across the country could cause a resurgence of cases.
  • Redfield spoke before a House Appropriations subcommittee and suggested that those protesting get tested for the coronavirus. He told U.S. Representative Lois Frankel (D-FL) that “there is a potential, unfortunately, for this to be a seeding event.” He went on to say that the CDC is “very concerned that our public health message isn’t resonating.”

1. Mayor and AG defend Huntsville response

  • Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle has made a public statement about the protest in downtown Huntsville that ended in the use of tear gas, and he explained that “people who were not part of our community” were responsible for the late unpermitted protest. Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner said, “We did the right thing last night.”
  • Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall defended the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and force as an appropriate and proportional response, saying, “After an hour and a half of warnings and with daylight dwindling, law enforcement dispersed the crowd with the least amount of force possible and using no lethal weapons. This, despite the fact that the crowd was found to have backpacks full of weapons and spray paint, and which attacked officers with rocks and bottles full of frozen water.”

1 day ago

Protests don’t have to end in tear gas

(Ted Eytan/Flickr, Pixabay, YHN)

The latest contentious protest in Alabama took place in Huntsville Wednesday night as the city made it clear that it would not be tolerating lawlessness and open-hostility in the street.

How long can they hold this position? Time will tell.

Before we get started, let’s take a second to remember all of this is predicated on the unanimous agreement among citizens and politicians alike that an event that happened over 2,000+ miles away was horrendous, illegal and needs to be aggressively punished to the full extent of the law.

No one in Huntsville has expressed a different opinion or begrudged anyone for being outraged.

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This was not a clear lie, much like the Michael Brown situation in Ferguson. This was clearly a situation where a man was killed at the hands of the police while in restraints and unarmed. Period.

But this is still a society where free speech is not only important — it is necessary.

That means that the government will not infringe on your right to assemble and voice your opinion. The value of that opinion is irrelevant. Klan members and Nazis have utilized it because unpopular speech is what needs to be protected.

Stating that George Floyd should be alive is not controversial in any way, and no one has pretended otherwise.

As protests across the country indicate, a multi-racial cross-section of America has taken to the streets to share this opinion.

But, and this is important, I can’t walk into a judge’s chambers or scream my opinion while running down the freeway expressing it as cars try to avoid me.

In Huntsville and everywhere else, you need a permit to close city streets, and the city appears to have even been lax on that in this matter.

Trust me, I know something about this:


Obviously, you can just walk in the road and force the authorities to stop you. Maybe they will give you “space to destroy,” maybe they won’t.

Much like Monday’s protest, Wednesday’s protest ended with most protesters going home. Both were followed with a standoff that ended in tear gas (quibble if you want, that’s what it was).

Why? Because after the protest, a portion of the protesters moved on while a remaining mob decided they were going to stand in the street until the cops made them move.

They wanted negative attention, and they got it.

Where does this end?

Huntsville’s downtown area was already shut down for two days this week. Is this to be expected every other day until those protesting declare we have racial equality? It’s unlikely we ever get there.

So at some point, the city will be required to open up the street and the protesters will have to move on.

The warning was given repeatedly. It was obvious that the crowd was not going to leave the road until a reaction from law enforcement was obtained.

So they got one. Tear gas was deployed, things were thrown, an officer was hurt and 24 non-protesters were arrested.

Did this advance the cause of the actual protests? No. It hurt them.

Was disruption the goal after the fact? Probably, so mission accomplished.

Citizens do not want this strife in their city, especially when they already agree with the cause.

Most Americans know we can always be better as a society.

Most Americans know we have come a long way from where we have been.

Most Americans want peace and fairness but they also want law and order in their communities.

Some in the media are sitting at home egging-on the protesters and hoping for more lawlessness.

But that is about them. Bad behavior at protests and after them emboldens the elected officials and law enforcement to give less leeway to actual protesters. It will also make citizens equate the actual protesters to the rioters and looters we see all day on cable news, and no one should want that.

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

2 days ago

7 Things: Alabama protests continue, all 4 officers charged in George Floyd case, Rosenstein acknowledges the FISA process was flawed and more …

(YHN)

7. Birmingham officer with coronavirus finally going home

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham police officer Sgt. Parnell Guyton has finally been sent home after spending 59 days at UAB Hospital fighting the coronavirus. A release said that he is “one of UAB Hospital’s first and most severely ill COVID-19 patients.”
  • Guyton was on a ventilator for 45 days at the hospital, “was in the Medical Intensive Care Unit for 23 days and spent 36 days in the Special Care Unit,” and his recovery from the virus has been called “a true miracle.”

6. GOP convention will be moved out of North Carolina

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  • While some portions of the Republican National Committee convention will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, due to contractual obligations, an RNC official said, “The night the President accepts the nomination will not happen in Charlotte.”
  • Apparently, the decision isn’t completely final, but with how President Donald Trump has talked about the convention and wanting it to take place in full capacity, it’s unlikely that these plans will change. Trump said on Twitter that because of Governor Roy Cooper “we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention.”

5. Marshall following through on Birmingham lawsuit

  • As promised, Attorney General Steve Marshall has filed a civil lawsuit against Birmingham for removing the Confederate monument in Linn Park, which will cost the city $25,000. 
  • In a statement, Marshall recalled how he made it known to Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin that if the monument were removed there would be a lawsuit filed and that he’s filing the suit against Birmingham for violating the Memorial Preservation Act. 

4. Byrne: We don’t need to deploy the military into cities

  • President Donald Trump recently came out and said that he could use the Insurrection Act to send military troops into cities where rioting and looting has been taking place as a way to restore order, but U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) is saying there’s “no reason” for this. 
  • On Twitter, Byrne went into detail that the Insurrection Act “is a tool that should only be used as an absolute last resort,” which is in agreement with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s statement that this act should be used “only in the most urgent and dire situations.” He added that the country is “not in one of those situations now.”

3. FISA warrants should not have been signed

  • Part of the catalyst for the premise of the Trump/Russia investigation was filled with so many errors and untruths that the man that signed off on the warrant renewals, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, now says he would not have signed off on the warrant had he known about the since-revealed misconduct. 
  • U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked about Trump/Russian collusion, “The whole concept that the campaign was colluding with the Russians, there was no there in August 2017. Do you agree with that statement?” Rosenstein replied, “I agree with that general statement.”

2. All four officers are now being charged

  • Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has announced that the other three police officers involved in George Floyd’s death will be charged with third-degree murder, and the officer, Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck will be charged with second-degree murder. 
  • The three other officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J.A. Keung, will also be charged with two counts of aiding and abetting. A maximum sentence of all four officer’s charges would carry a penalty of 50 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. This comes just before the memorial for George Floyd, which is set to be held on Thursday. 

1. Alabama protests continue

  • More Black Lives Matter protests have taken place in Huntsville, Vestavia Hills, Tuscaloosa and Montgomery, with all protests ending mostly peacefully, but some were arrested in Birmingham for curfew violations. Tear gas was deployed in Huntsville after the crowd refused to disperse. 
  • In Huntsville, a police officer was hurt by a thrown object as police attempted to clear the downtown square after fears the protest would turn violent with weapons seen in the crowd. In total, 24 people were arrested. Huntsville Police Department said, “What you saw tonight was probably the most extreme patience I’ve ever seen with people who wouldn’t do what we say and were breaking the law.” 

3 days ago

7 Things: Protests banned in Birmingham, legal issues emerge over Confederate monuments, no Fox News debate for Alabama’s Senate race and more …

(YHN)

7. Gun sales are up

  • After protests turned violent in central Alabama, gun stores reportedly saw an increase in sales, with the Alabama Guns and Outdoors Owner Russell England saying, “Everyone is making ammo runs.”
  • Murphree’s Guns in Blount County owner Randal Murphree said the increase in sales “started right after the TV started putting all these riots on TV.” He noted that sales were already up due to the coronavirus, saying, “In March I sold more guns that I have in 30 years.”

6. Protests continue across the country

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  • Protests, rioting and looting in response to the death of George Floyd continued overnight with far fewer issues nationwide. There were new curfews in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New York City, Cleveland and elsewhere. 
  • While The Washington Post declared that protests were a “pushback” against President Donald Trump, they also noted the protests were mostly peaceful after he called for cities to impose curfews and “dominate.”

5. Police officer killed in Moody 

  • Moody Police Sargeant Stephen Williams, a 23-year veteran and father of three, was killed at a Super 8 Motel in Moody. Two suspects are currently in custody.
  • Alabama U.S. Attorney for the Northern District Jay Town released a statement on Williams’ death, saying, “Moody Police Sergeant Stephen Williams’ end of watch has come much too soon. Our condolences and prayers are with his family, friends, and fellow officers. His loss is a loss for all of Alabama. This serves as yet another heartbreaking and stark reminder of the perils encountered by law enforcement each day.”

4. Confederate monument in Mobile vandalized

  • While Birmingham has removed a Confederate monument in a city park, the Admiral Raphael Semmes Confederate monument in Mobile was vandalized. 
  • City employees in Mobile have already spent time cleaning the monument. A spokesperson for the city said, “Any decision on moving it would be collaborative in nature. There is a process for that, and we are listening to the community’s voice as part of that process.”

3. Legal issues around Confederate monuments

  • At Montgomery’s Lee High School, a statue of Robert E. Lee that stood out front was knocked down around the same time as protests took place downtown, but there will be no charges as the prosecutor has determined errors in the warrants make that impossible. 
  • The City of Birmingham’s illegal removal of the statue in Linn Park has drawn a lawsuit from the attorney general’s office, the city seems prepared to pay a onetime fine of $25,000 per violation of the Memorial Preservation Act required to move past the issue. 

2. Tuberville declines a Fox News debate

  • Former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville has already declined multiple offers for debates from local media outlets, and now he has declined an offer of a debate hosted by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, even though former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had accepted the invite.
  • Polling indicates Tuberville holds a solid lead heading into the July 14 run-off election. He has already stated that he doesn’t need to debate with a lead as large as his, stating, “If coaching taught me anything, it’s that you don’t let the losing team dictate the game when you’re sitting on a lead.”

1. Birmingham has banned protests

  • After riots and looting took place in the city, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin put a curfew in place, and now that curfew has been expanded and protests and public demonstrations were banned for the time being. 
  • Woodfin said that the curfew is going to be extended for “as long as we see the need for it,” adding that if people are going to protest, they “have to have the self-discipline to engage in behavior that’s only bringing attention to the injustice.”

3 days ago

Dale Jackson: Politicians taking a knee display performative wokeness, performative weakness

(@HsvMayorsOffice, @dougmillsnyt, @BidenWarRoom/Twitter, YHN)

Why would an American politician take a knee as protesters chant “take a knee” or publish a picture of them taking a knee to social media?

There are only two reasons: performative wokeness or performative weakness.

There is a difference, but every single time some sad white politician thinks he or she can quiet a mob or show solidarity by taking a knee they are sadly mistaken.

That never appears to be the goal. This appears to be about pandering acquiescence and nothing more.

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Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, a public official of one of the most progressive non-college towns in the state, took a knee at a “mostly peaceful protest.”

Why?

According to Battle, he was attempting to show he supported the protest to keep his community safe.

“You know, I walked up and they said ‘kneel with me,'” Battle said on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show.” “I didn’t know if they wanted to pray or if they wanted to kneel, but I was fine with it. You know, there’s no pride in this thing. The pride is getting through the event and getting through it with our community intact and without shots being fired and without windows being broken. If it takes kneeling, I’ll kneel to try to make sure our community is safe.”

That is performative wokeness.

When asked about the chants and demands that cops kneel at this same protest, Battle said he never saw that and felt there was no need for it from Huntsville police.

“They kept saying, ‘They need to kneel, they need to kneel.’ There wasn’t a need for them to kneel. They were standing there doing their job and they were standing there as a blue line in front of everybody to make sure people were safe,” Battle explained.

They did not kneel.

But some cops have taken a knee.

Either way, Mayor Battle can support their cause and be a part of it. He can, and does, support the removal of the Confederate memorial on Madison County Courthouse grounds but these protesters still wanted an image of him on his knees.

They got it.

Did he get what he wanted?

Nope.

Tear gas was needed, rocks were thrown, rioters went to another part of the city, and attempted to attack a shopping center.

So it is now performative weakness on Battle’s part. We will see how it plays out at the next scheduled protest in Huntsville on Wednesday.

Nationally, Joe Biden visited a church in Delaware and took this photo:

Now, this is performative wokeness!

Mask on tight, even though it was off earlier in the visit. Biden centered in the photo, down on one knee, while black leaders stand behind him.

It might as well be this episode of “South Park,” where a main character attempts to atone for a racial slur by kissing Jesse Jackson’s backside (it didn’t work).

Joe Biden is doing whatever he needs to win an election, nothing more.

That is performative wokeness.

When it comes to a politician or any other figure being cajoled to take a knee in solidarity with protesters, it can only be a sign of performative wokeness or performative weakness. Those are the only options.

Americans do not want their leaders “taking a knee” to anyone. They want strength and someone who stands tall.

As cities burn and threats to businesses and communities remain, the last thing people want is the appearance of wokeness from their leaders and they definitely don’t want weakness.

That’s what this is.

Whether you like Trump or not, walking out to a burned church after ordering a park cleared of a disruptive element is a statement of power and leadership.

The media hates this. They wanted Trump trapped in the White House while they cheerlead for chaos and carnage.

They all want Trump to look weak, but he is engaging in performative strength.

The question is about what Americans want from leaders.

Americans want more strength, more law and order, less violence and a sense of normalcy.

Trump has to deliver this, not with words and photo ops but in action, too.

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: Protests get nasty in Alabama and across the country, Donald Trump says he will restore law and order, Alabama AG says he will sue Birmingham for taking down Confederate monument and more …

(YHN)

7. Pat Dye has passed away

  • Former Auburn Football coach Pat Dye has passed away at 80 years old. He coached from 1981-1992 and was the Auburn athletics director from 1981-1991. 
  • Dye was hospitalized after he experienced kidney issues and was diagnosed with the coronavirus in May, but his official cause of death hasn’t been released yet.

6. If you’re going to protest, at least be safe

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  • With large groups of people protesting the death of George Floyd, the Alabama Department of Public Health is reminding people that the coronavirus pandemic is still happening. 
  • Dr. Karen Landers of ADPH said that people need to remember that “social distancing, good hand hygiene, and use of cloth face coverings in public as critically important measures to protect individuals and the community during this outbreak,” so if you’re going to protest at least wear a mask. 

5. Violence is always Trump’s fault, apparently

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden has shared his thoughts on the state of things across the country amid riots and protests over George Floyd’s death. He said that President Donald Trump “breathes oxygen into the hate.”
  • Biden went on to say that things that are being said now “encouraged people to bring out the vitriol.” He’s also promising that if he’s elected he’ll “significantly increase economic opportunity that’s across the board in a way that hasn’t existed” as a way to deal “with institutional structure, institutional racism, that need to be fixed.”

4. Birmingham has a curfew and took down monuments

  • Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin’s announced curfew seemed to quell the violence the city saw Sunday with no major disruptions on Monday. 
  • Woodfin also followed through in his promise to remove the Confederate memorial at Linn Park, a promise meant to soothe tensions the day before, but that was not the only Confederate statue to fall Monday as rioters took down a statue of Robert E. Lee in Montgomery.

3. AG Marshall will sue Birmingham

  • After Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said that he would have a Confederate monument removed from a park in the city, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said that the state will bring a civil suit against Birmingham that could bring a $25,000 fine. 
  • Under the Alabama Monuments Preservation Act this is the only action that could be taken if the Confederate monument is removed. Marshall said that if the monument is removed, he “will perform the duties assigned to me by the Act to pursue a new civil complaint against the City.”

2. The White House wants to put an end to violent protests

  • President Donald Trump responded to governors of states where riots are taking place, saying, “Most of you are weak. … They’re going to run over you, you’re going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate.” Trump also said that people will have to be arrested and “you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again.” He added there will be a “central command center” established at the White House.
  • Trump also had a defiant crowd dispersed in Lafeyette Park to clear out the area so he could visit the historic St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C. to show that this will not be allowed to continue, and now he has to follow through on those words.

1. Alabama protests turn violent

  • Violence marred protests in Huntsville with rocks being thrown and teargas being used to disperse a crowd that moved across town to a shopping center, but it was less chaotic in other parts of the state.
  • Governor Kay Ivey has authorized the activation of at least 1,000 members of the Alabama National Guard due to the riots that took place in Birmingham, but this is mainly a precautionary decision. She said, “We will not allow our cities to become a target for those, especially from other states, who choose to use violence and destruction to make their point.”

5 days ago

7 Things: Protests hit Alabama, state nursing home deaths are unknown, Democrats blame Russia for riots they supported and more …

(YHN)

7. Farmers and ranchers can get help during the coronavirus

  • The coronavirus has impacted many people, including farmers and ranchers across the country, but the Farm Service Agency is providing relief to those who need it through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). 
  • The CFAP has $16 billion to support agriculture producers, specifically focusing on those who have seen a 5% or greater decline in price for their products. 

6. UAH hockey isn’t actually going anywhere

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  • The University of Alabama in Huntsville has confirmed that their hockey program will continue, even after previously announcing they would have to do away with their men’s hockey program due to financial stress from the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Due to people donating almost $800,000, the hockey program will remain. UAH Athletic Director Cade Smith said, “The university will work with the supporters of the UAH hockey program and a newly formed Hockey Advisory Board to develop a plan that will allow the Chargers to thrive in 2021-2022 season and beyond.”

5. We already have easy accessible absentee voting

  • Birmingham and Huntsville might be joined by Mobile in adopting a resolution to support absentee voting where you don’t have to submit an excuse due to the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has already said that for those who want to submit an absentee ballot for this year’s elections because of the pandemic, they just need to select the excuse of “I have a physical illness of infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls.”

4. Antifa will be treated as a domestic terrorist organization

  • U.S. Attorney General William Barr has announced that violence committed by individuals tied to the Antifa group will be treated as domestic terrorism as rallies protesting George Floyd’s death have turned into violent riots across the country. 
  • This announcement from Barr comes just after President Donald Trump said that Antifa would be designated as a terrorist organization, and Barr spoke about the protests saying, “the voices of peaceful and legitimate protests have been hijacked by violent radical elements.”

3. Maybe it’s the Russians

  • With many riots taking place across the country over the weekend, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice said while discussing the protests and riots that there are “extremists who’ve hijacked those protests and turn them into something very different.”
  • Rice went on to say that “based on my experience this is right out of the Russian playbook as well.” She added she “wouldn’t be surprised” if Russia was funding these riots or that they had “fomented some of these extremists on both sides using social media.”

2. Alabama isn’t reporting nursing home data

  • Alabama and Texas are the only southern states that don’t report nursing home cases of the coronavirus; more recently, Mississippi became the latest to require such data to be published.  
  • In Alabama, nursing homes are required to report their cases to the Alabama Department of Public Health, their county health department, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, resident representatives, staff and residents. 

1. Protests took place all through Alabama

  • Violence erupted in Birmingham Sunday evening as journalists were attacked by protestors. The Confederate monument in Linn Park became a flashpoint as they attempted to tear it down.
  • Over the weekend, several protests were held in Alabama due to the police brutality that caused the death of George Floyd. There were rallies held in Huntsville, Birmingham, Auburn, Decatur and Mobile. 

5 days ago

VIDEO: 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, voting by mail debate spins out of control, Sessions/Tuberville sparring 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:

— Have we reached the worst part of the coronavirus pandemic?

— What does the debate over absentee balloting really mean?

— Will former Attorney General Jeff Sessions be able to eat into former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville’s apparent lead?

Jackson and Handback are joined by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to discuss his campaign, the lack of debates, Tommy Tuberville’s comments about the Chinese military and the coronavirus pandemic.

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Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” at all of the protesters and rioters who are running around without masks on after we have heard that not wearing a mask at a Wal-Mart was a statement of disregard for our fellow Americans.

https://business.facebook.com/watch/?v=3145500448845286

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

1 week ago

Sen. Doug Jones misleads on Trump administration’s coronavirus response

(White House/Flickr, Senator Doug Jones/Facebook, YHN)

It should come as no surprise that the media and their Democrats are blaming President Donald Trump and his administration for the COVID-19 virus.

Call it predictable, call it politics, call it sad, but at the end of the day, call it wrong.

When U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) took part in what should have been a non-partisan conference call with the Alabama Department of Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, he took the time to call out the Trump administration for its lack of action early on in the pandemic.

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After blaming the actual people responsible for this pandemic, China and the World Health Organization, Jones said, “I’ve been disappointed in the administration and their early responses.” He added the president and his team had a “cavalier attitudes.”

Too bad he’s wrong.

And truthfully, it’s not even an original thought as former comedienne Sarah Silverman beat him to it by two days.

In response to Silverman, the Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra took her apart with a timeline that tells a different story.

January 3: Tried to get CDC into China (numerous attempts made/China never allowed)
January 6: Began issuing travel notices (issued multiple)
January 7: Created issue management system
Janurary 17: Began screenings at airports
January 20: Announces work on development of a vaccine
January 21: Activated its emergency operations center to provide ongoing support to the coronavirus response
January 23: Sought a “special emergency authorization” from FDA to allow states to use its newly developed coronavirus test
January 23: China finally quarantines Wuhan, had lied to the world for weeks about what was going on and how contagious the virus was and deadly
January 29: Creates Coronavirus Task Force
January 31: Bans travel from China / Declares public health emergency / suspends entry from foreigners who pose risk of transmitting coronavirus
February 2: CDC expands screenings at airports
February 5: Briefs lawmakers about pandemic
February 6: CDC ships tests
February 9: Briefs governors about pandemic
February 11: Expands efforts with private sector to expedite vaccine
February 14: Partners with local labs to conduct influenza surveillance to see if alarms are going off
February 24: Writes Congress asking for billions to combat coronavirus
February 29: Bans travel from South Korea / Iran
March 3: Donates entire quarter’s salary to fighting coronavirus
March 4: Announces massive buy in N95 masks (which Obama-Biden admin depleted and never replaced
March 6: Signs $8.3 billion to combat coronavirus
March 11: Bans travel from Europe/made numerous moves to lower interest rates

March 13: Declares national emergency, freeing up $42 billion.

Over 100,000 Americans are dead, but Jones has to play politics because his job depends on it.

I don’t blame Jones. He’s mostly echoing the talking points of his party, their true leaders like Silverman, and rightly expecting very little actual push-back.

His only hope of hanging on to his job is pleasing the people who fund his campaign and hoping they will keep dumping their money into his account from New York, California and Washington, D.C. He can only do that by blasting Trump, whether he needs it or not.

But President Trump listened to his health officials and our current trajectory is far below the early projections of 2.2 million dead. This is a success.

Monday morning quarterbacking might make Jones and his handlers feel better, but if he is going to do it, he needs to be accurate.

On this front, he fails miserably. And he looks like another politician who doesn’t know what he is talking about.

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: Doug Jones blames Trump for the coronavirus pandemic, Alabama Public Health Department dispels rumors about numbers, no ‘rush’ to press charges in Minnesota and more …

(YHN)

7. Sessions supporters still argue he did the right thing in recusing himself

  • In 2017, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation of Russian interference into President Donald Trump’s election campaign, and Trump has used Sessions’ recusal as a point to criticize him regularly. 
  • Despite Trump’s criticism, Sessions has maintained that recusal was required due to federal regulations, and now he’s said that these regulations “basically has the impact of law” and “you’re not able to investigate yourself,” adding that U.S. Attorney General William Barr, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former U.S. Attorney Generals Mike Mukasey and Ed Meese, and U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) all agree with Sessions’ decision to recuse himself. 

6. Birmingham may extend mask ordinance

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  • Friday, the Birmingham City Council is going to vote on whether to continue the mandatory mask city ordinance until June 12, which is set to expire on May 29 after first being put in place back on April 28.
  • Birmingham is the only city that requires people to wear a mask in public. Council President William Parker said that wearing a mask “is an intentional act of kindness because you’re helping to protect those around you.” He added that while they “can’t legislate morality, we just want our citizens to understand the importance of covering their face when they are in a public space.”

5. It’s looking more and more like we’ll have football by fall

  • State Senator Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) has said that while Auburn University and the University of Alabama don’t make the decision to have football this fall, but “every indication is that is going to happen.”
  • Whatley also said he’s hoping Auburn can have students return to campus by the end of June, adding that the university is “committed to getting students back on the Auburn campus.”

4. Trump has signed an executive order against social media companies

  • President Donald Trump was fact-checked by Twitter, which he said were “editorial decisions,” and now it has escalated to him signing an executive order to challenge the liability protections that prevent social media sites from lawsuits due to the content on their platforms.
  • Twitter responded by targeting another Trump tweet. They are granted these protections because they’re considered “platforms” instead of “publishers,” but Trump said that he’s “fed up with it” since Twitter has a reputation of targeting conservatives.

3. Charges against officers involved in Floyd death won’t be rushed

  • The four police officers in Minneapolis that were involved in the death of George Floyd have been fired, but now, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said that they aren’t going to “rush” to press charges on officers.
  • Freeman said they’re going to “do this right,” and went on to ask the public to “give me and give the United States attorney the time to do this right, and we will bring you justice. I promise.” However, after the death of George Floyd there has been an outbreak of looting and rioting throughout the city.

2. No, your whole family won’t be counted if you test positive

  • The Alabama Department of Public Health has put rumors to rest that if you test positive for the coronavirus then everyone in your household will be counted as positive, clarifying that those who are counted in the case numbers are those who test positive through a clinical lab, commercial lab or the Bureau of Clinical Laboratories.
  • In Alabama, the ADPH is also not including antibody tests in the positive coronavirus cases, and while they aren’t counting people who live in the same house as someone who tests positive in the case count, they do suggest that those people consider themselves positive and “[e]veryone in the home is instructed to quarantine for 14 days from the date of the case’s onset of symptoms.”

1. Jones doesn’t just blame Trump for the coronavirus

  • In a live-stream with Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris and U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) to discuss the coronavirus, Jones answered the question of what he would say to people about how high the death toll in the United States has gotten. Jones said that he doesn’t “think we’re at a point where we should be pointing a whole lot of blame.”
  • Throughout his comments, Jones said that there is blame to be placed on China, the Worth Health Organization, and President Donald Trump and “the administration and their early responses.” Jones went on to say that reopening states right now is “premature.”

1 week ago

Twitter should back down, and Trump should back off

(White House/Flickr, YHN)

American politics are about to enter a precarious place where the messages put out by politicians, or maybe only one politician, are going to be filtered by nameless and faceless tech employees that work for Twitter.

As we all know, Twitter is the tool used by President Donald Trump to get around the gate-keeping and absurd bias of the mainstream media.

Until this week, he had an unfiltered avenue to speak directly to the American people, and they had an avenue to hear him.

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Of course, afterward, anyone and everyone with a TV, newspaper byline or Twitter account could respond and call him a liar, fraud, treasonous monster or whatever they wanted.

But Twitter decided to step in and decide that they would start behaving differently, just for Trump, and editorialize on his content.

While they could have chosen to do so on his claims that MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough needed to be looked at as a potential murderer, but they didn’t.

SIDENOTE: There is a tape where he jokes about having an affair and killing her.

Instead, Twitter decided they needed to go after the president on the issue of voter fraud.

Twitter editorialized this tweet by adding: “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” with links to content accusing the president of getting the facts wrong.

The reality is Democrats are pushing for all vote-by-mail elections.

Some states are automatically mailing ballots to all registered voters, while some are just mailing applications.

But this is far worse than this particular case. It’s the precedent being set.

Why Trump?

When Trump gets some of the info wrong, let the media and his political enemies call him out.

Why not all the elected officials who continued to allege Russian collusion for years, and still do to this day on Twitter?

What about media figures who spread dangerous misinformation about the motives of their fellow citizens and use Twitter to delimitate their attacks?

Why not Ayatollah Khomeini, who openly threatens Isreal?

Why not the official Chinese government Twitter accounts that accuse the United States of spreading the coronavirus?

The last two don’t even allow their citizens to use Twitter, but Twitter will bow down to them?

What about the people claiming former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn’t have to recuse himself? He did.

What about those who think U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) has a chance at reelection? He doesn’t.

What about the anonymous guy who accuses me of numerous crimes and misdeeds on Twitter daily?

Does that guy now get a note depicting that his comments are untrue or unfounded?

What about essentially every column written by the bitter losers at Alabama Media Group? They had to dump their comment section because their commenters were crushing their souls. Will Twitter’s CEO or site integrity police call out their misinformation?

We could do this all day.

That’s the point. Moderation of this kind and on this scale is impossible.

It can’t be done effectively. That’s the purpose of the rule Trump wants reinterpreted.

More importantly, it should not be done — and it especially should not be done to one individual.

It shouldn’t matter how many times Joe Scarborough or any of CNN’s interchangeable talking heads declare, “This should be taken down,” Twitter should just stay out of moderating political debates because they will inevitably get it wrong and if they don’t editorialize, they now accept it.

What if Trump tweets “LOOK at all the lies Joe Biden has told, from the lies about his wife’s death to the lies about his son’s business dealings!”

If Twitter lets them stand, they are now confirmed? (SIDENOTE: They are confirmed)

Facebook actually got this as close to right as you could expect. They have attempted to discredit things linked to their site with a bit of a mixed bag approach that has angered liberals and conservatives alike.

But Twitter has now awakened the president, and he has the ability to raise questions about their status as a forum and not a publisher.

If Twitter is smart, they will follow the lead of Facebook’s CEO of stop trying to act as the arbiter of truth. Zuckerberg believes Twitter went too far, saying, “I think in general private companies probably shouldn’t be – especially these platform companies – shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”

Truthfully, Zuckerberg knows that Twitter is dragging him (and Google) into this, and he wants no part of it, nor should he.

Trump’s potential executive order makes his position clear, “This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.”

He wants to strip them of immunity, meaning if they want to editorialize, then they are responsible for anything that they allow.

This will either force Twitter to back down on moderation or die as it currently exists and take down most social media sites with it.

As with any executive order, the next president can change the rules (except for DACA, apparently).

It’s pretty clear that Twitter has over-stepped here, and they only have two options if the president’s order becomes a reality and survives a court challenge: back down on moderation of political speech or be crushed by lawsuits and government oversight.

The correct move by Twitter would be to stop this nonsense right now, acknowledge that they will stop moderating political speech, and move on knowing they messed up.

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: Alabama’s COVID-19 mixed bag, CNN’s fake news about Alabama, Trump vs. social media and more …

(YHN)

7. Casinos reopening in June

  • Wind Creek Hospitality has said that their three Alabama casinos will reopen to the public on June 8 with new measures in place to try and help prevent the spread of coronavirus. 
  • Everyone will be required to wear masks, guests and employees will have their temperature checked, capacity on the casino floor is limited to one third, tables and dining areas are all going to be more spread out, hotels will be at half capacity, and employees will be sent home if they show any symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. 

6. The census is moving along slowly

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  • In Alabama, just 58.2% of households have responded to the 2020 U.S. Census, while Governor Kay Ivey’s goal is to reach at least 80%. 
  • Alabama isn’t far behind the national response rate, which is currently at 60.1%. The counties in the state that are reporting at a faster rate are Shelby County with 72% of households responding and Madison County with 70.3%. 

5. Byrne has joined the lawsuit against Pelosi

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democrats in Congress have supported allowing “proxy” votes where members would be able to vote for their colleagues during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but a lawsuit brought against Pelosi argues that this practice is unconstitutional. 
  • U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) said that this “is a blatant violation of the Constitution.” He added that the proxy voting rules could allow “as few as 22 Democrats could claim a quorum and win a vote against all 197 Republicans.” U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) has shown some support of the lawsuit, but Byrne is the only Alabama representative listed as a plaintiff. 

4. Trump is prepared to veto FISA bill

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other House Democrats have pushed forward on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provisions, despite Republican pushback, and now President Donald Trump has threatened to veto the whole thing until the investigation into the investigators is concluded and FISA abuses are exposed. 
  • On Twitter, Trump issued his warning and added that the United States “has just suffered through the greatest political crime in history.” He added, “The massive abuse of FISA was a big part of it!”

3. Trump is mad at social media and making it everyone’s issue

  • Fact checks were placed on a few of President Donald Trump’s posts on Twitter recently, and now he’s threatening new regulations or shutting down social media websites, saying they “silence conservative voices.”
  • Trump has also said “Big Action to follow,” suggesting that he would impose some kind of executive order to shut down these sites. Action like that would likely require the support of Congress, but others like U.S. Representative Josh Hawley (R-MO) said social media sites “get this special immunity, this special immunity from suits and from liability that’s worth billions of dollars to them every year.” He asked, “Why are they getting subsidized by federal taxpayers to censor conservatives, to censor people critical of China?”

2. CNN misrepresented Alabama beaches

  • On Memorial Day, CNN released a report on how crowded the beaches in Alabama were over the holiday weekend, but now Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft is speaking out against how CNN misrepresented the circumstances. 
  • Craft said that while they “can’t control everybody,” he’s “pleased with what I’ve seen down here.” He went on to point out how people are practicing social distancing at the beach, but the camera angles CNN used can easily distort reality, with a horizontal shot making the beach look more packed than it was. Craft said he just doesn’t “think the story is very accurate.”

1. Alabama’s coronavirus cases spike but there is some good news

  • Alabama has a surge in coronavirus cases, but one of the hotspots for coronavirus in Alabama, Marshall County, has seen 660 cases of the virus and a total of nine deaths. Now, it’s reported that there are no hospitalizations in the county that are positive for the virus. 
  • The hospitals in Marshall County are part of the Huntsville Hospital Healthcare System, and they’ve seen very few patients from the coronavirus overall. Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers said he “can’t explain” why they had very few hospitalizations while seeing so many cases. 

1 week ago

7 Things: Senate race escalates, Alabama coronavirus cases increase as expected, Birmingham mask ordinance to expire and more …

(YHN)

7. North Alabama waterpark will remain closed all year

  • Despite most of the state reopening in some capacity, Point Mallard Waterpark in Decatur will remain closed for all of 2020 due to the coronavirus, Decatur city officials have announced. 
  • Decatur Mayor Tad Bowling also discussed that in the last week the city has seen their coronavirus cases increase from 119 to 176, saying that measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus must continue because “through the completion of these crucial steps that we can restart our economy that’s so vital to our communities.”

6. Twitter is fact-checking Trump now

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  • President Donald Trump put out some tweets about mail-in voting, which he called “fraudulent” and said that “mail boxes will be robbed.” Under those tweets, Twitter has added a “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” link, which is the first time they’ve done this. 
  • Recently, Trump has brought attention to himself on Twitter by posting murder accusations about MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough from when he was a U.S. Representative of Florida, but Trump is notorious for saying outlandish things on the social media site. 

5. Absentee ballot rules don’t violate voter rights

  • To file an absentee ballot in Alabama, two witnesses or a notary is required to validate the ballot. The Department of Justice has filed a statement saying that these rules don’t violate voter rights. The statement was filed in regard to a private lawsuit brought against Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill. 
  • The plaintiffs in the case are being represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center; the lawsuit argues that these requirements violate section 201 of the Voting Rights Act, but the Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said, “The Voting Rights Act does not outlaw all voting-related requirements enacted by the States.”

4. Almost 5,000 cases in Alabama within the last two weeks

  • With the state reopening, an uptick in cases of the coronavirus was expected, and now within the last two weeks, there’s been an increase of 4,743 cases throughout Alabama with 72,489 people tested. 
  • As of May 26, the total case number was 15,194. Overall, there have been 192,602 people tested with 7.9% of tests being positive, but in the past two weeks, only 6.5% of tests have been positive. 

3. Trump just wants people to die?

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden has responded to President Donald Trump’s criticism of him wearing a mask on Memorial Day. While in an interview on CNN, Biden said that Trump is an “absolute fool” for not wearing a mask. 
  • Biden went on to say that Trump is “stoking deaths” by his refusal to wear a mask. He also criticized Trump, saying that he should “lead by example,” adding that “it costs people’s lives.”

2. Birmingham allowing mask ordinance to expire

  • A new poll of registered voters done by Hill-HarrisX shows that 68% of people want masks to be mandatory in public to some extent, 40% of people think masks should be mandatory for indoor and outdoor activities, while 28% said they should be mandatory for indoor activities and 6% saying masks shouldn’t be recommended at all.
  • Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin will allow the city’s ordinance in Birmingham requiring people to wear masks to expire on Friday, but still will require city employees and anyone at a city facility to wear masks. Woodfin is still encouraging everyone to “wear masks, maintain social distancing, and do what you can to limit the spread.”

1. Sessions slams another Tuberville gaffe

  • Former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville suggested that the American military is inferior to the Chinese military, a statement that is incorrect in every possible metric. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded to this by suggesting that Tuberville should apologize for “exalting the Chinese Communist Party’s military over our own.”
  • Additionally, Sessions slammed Tuberville for having a losing record his last two football seasons and refusing to debate after Tuberville declared himself in the lead and therefore had no need to engage in a debate with the former senator.

1 week ago

Mo Brooks continues war of words with ALFA

(Mo Brooks/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

It looks like U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) and the Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA) will not be making nice any time soon after Brooks once again criticized their decision making in a Tuesday appearance on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show.”

Brooks was asked about ALFA’s decision to back former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville over long-time U.S. Senator and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the right to take on U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in November.

The North Alabama congressman highlighted the differences he has had with ALFA and pointed to similar areas where ALFA might be at odds with Sessions.

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Those areas of disagreement, per the congressman, are vast and include ALFA’s support for more employment-based immigration.

Brooks stated, “ALFA demands and expects from its politicians, huge taxpayer subsidies.”

He then credited ALFA as “successful at getting special privilege and special dispensations of monies from the United States Congress.”

On the latter issue, Brooks hit back at a particular request he believed drew ALFA into his primary race after he rebuffed attempts by ALFA to gain his support for taxpayer-funded capital improvement projects on private farmland.

My takeaway:

ALFA’s endorsement of Brooks’ 2020 primary opponent Chris Lewis sparked a war of words that continues to this day, and Brooks seems to believe he and Sessions’ similar records on key issues might be helping drive their decision to support Tuberville over Sessions in the race for the U.S. Senate (although it should be noted that FarmPAC endorsed Tuberville before Sessions even entered the race).

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: Montgomery says it can handle its coronavirus cases, Trump keeps pounding away on Sessions, Nick Saban wants you to wear a mask if you want college football and more …

(YHN)

7. Trump wants full attendance at GOP convention

  • President Donald Trump has said that if North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) doesn’t allow “full attendance” for the Republican National Convention, those planning the convention will be “reluctantly forced” to find a new location. 
  • Currently, the GOP convention is set to be held in Charlotte on August 24. Cooper’s office has maintained, “State health officials are working with the RNC and will review its plans as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte. North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety.”

6. People are trying to bring hockey back at UAH

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  • After the University of Alabama in Huntsville announced that they would be putting an end to their men’s hockey program due to financial issues they’ve seen from the coronavirus, thousands of people have already signed a petition in support of keeping the hockey program. 
  • UAH has also said in their release that they’re starting “a hiring freeze, a heightened review of spending, cancellations of faculty sabbaticals, and a temporary suspension of the 403(b) voluntary retirement employer match.” They’re also canceling the men’s and women’s tennis programs.

5. Woodfin wants churches to stay closed

  • Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin appeared on CNN where he discussed reopening churches and said, “Having physical church at the actual church grounds is very dangerous right now.”
  • During this interview, Woodfin referenced an outbreak in Chambers County that was linked to in-person church services, saying “the largest, deadliest event from the coronavirus has been from a church event.” The main concern is the larger population of elderly people who attend church, but Woodfin thinks the “local faith leaders in the city of Birmingham will remain closed,” adding, [T]hey’re listening to our local health experts.”

4. The media is at it again

  • When the American media wasn’t spending their weekend complaining that the president didn’t wear a mask outside and was praising his opponent for wearing a mask outside, they were highlighting how American human beings spend their holiday weekends and how they were going to get everyone killed.
  • The American media’s new favorite politician, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, spent plenty of time on cable news fretting about Alabamians going to the beach while beaches in South Carolina and a lake in Missouri were sources of media panic, even though less than 1% of transmission happens outside. 

3. Wear a mask if you want college football to happen

  • University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban is encouraging people to wear masks, sanitize, and socially distance for the sake of the college football season. Saban has said that it’s “everyone’s goal to try to have a football season that starts when it’s supposed to start, like Labor Day Weekend, and have as normal a schedule as possible and as normal a playoff situation as possible.”
  • In a video posted to social media, Saban is wearing an Alabama mask and says that if we’re going to have football in the fall, “we must be sure we stay at home if we have symptoms, wash your hands often, follow all social distancing guidelines and please wear a mask anytime you’re around other people.” 

2. Trump’s latest rant is about Sessions

  • In a tweet about supporting former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville for U.S. Senate, President Donald Trump also took a moment to bash former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which continued in Trump’s interview with Sharyl Attkisson of Sinclair Broadcasting. 
  • In his interview, Trump said that Sessions was “a disaster as attorney general,” adding, “He’s not mentally qualified to be attorney general.” In response to Trump on Twitter, Sessions reiterated that “recusal was required by law.” He added, “I did my duty & you’re damn fortunate I did. It protected the rule of law & resulted in your exoneration. Your personal feelings don’t dictate who Alabama picks as their senator, the people of Alabama do.”

1. Montgomery has seen an increase in hospitalizations, but they’re handling it

  • Recently, Montgomery has seen a significant increase in hospitalizations from the coronavirus, and while on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Alabama Department of Public Health’s Dr. Scott Harris said there is reason for concern about the situation.  
  • Harris also pointed out that some hospital beds are being taken up by those who had elective procedures, and not everyone in the ICU is a coronavirus patient, and while there is concern, Montgomery is “able to handle what they’re seeing right now.”

2 weeks ago

VIDEO: Alabama continues to reopen further, Gov. Ivey racks up wins over the legislature, Senator Jones wants fewer investigations of Biden 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:

— How is Alabama handling the coronavirus pandemic as Governor Kay Ivey loosens restrictions further?

— How is it that Gov. Ivey has seemingly sidelined the Alabama legislature on CARES Act funding and the building of prisons in Alabama?

— Why does U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) want the Republican-led Senate to stop investigating Joe Biden and his son’s dealings with Burisma?

Jackson and Handback are joined by State Rep. Christopher England (D-Tuscaloosa) to discuss the shortened legislative session, Ivey’s prison plans, failed Medicaid expansion and more.

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Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” at those who want to make masks political when an overwhelming majority of Americans are wearing masks.

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 further reopens Alabama, Trump says U.S. will not close again, Nick Saban wants you to wear a mask and more …

(YHN)

7. Travel has increased across the state

  • Everything has slowly been reopening, so it’s easy to assume that vehicle travel would increase across the state, especially after vehicle travel decreased by nearly 80% at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • The Associated Press released data by StreetLight Data, Inc. that showed on a daily basis in January, people in Alabama were traveling about 357 million miles by vehicle, and then just before the shutdown, travel had jumped to 550 million miles on March 6. But by April 12, travel had dropped to 80 million miles; by May 12, the weekly average of travel was 278 million miles per day. 

6. Redstone Arsenal reopening next week

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  • Garrison Commander Col. Kelsey Smith has announced that Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal will be reopening on Tuesday next week. With more than 40,000 employees, the Arsenal is the largest employee hub in North Alabama. 
  • Organizations located on base will be able to make their own decisions about when they’re returning to base. The decision to reopen was based on a steady decline over the last five days in the counties that employees live in. Smith said this is the “first step toward recovery.”

5. We won’t shut down the country again

  • President Donald Trump while touring the Ford Motor Co. plant in Detroit, Michigan, said there is potential for a second wave of the coronavirus, but he said that in the event of that happening, “we’re going to put out the fires,” adding, “We’re not going to close the economy.”
  • During his statement, Trump added that he’s “fighting to bring back our jobs from China and many other countries” because the United States “needs to be a manufacturing nation.” Trump went on to say that the coronavirus started in “China and it should have been stopped in China.”

4. Montgomery’s ICU bed “shortage” isn’t what it seems

  • The national and state media were shocked that the mayor of Alabama’s capital city announced that the city was having to send coronavirus patients to Birmingham for treatment, but State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said the situation in Montgomery is manageable
  • Harris and Dr. Donald Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association say this is nothing new, adding the hospitals have capacity and the movement of patients is completely normal. Harris advised, “They have the ability within their four walls to handle that and handle more if necessary.”

3. Americans are wearing masks

  • In the last week, 80% of Americans have worn a mask. According to a recent study, 70% of Americans believe that wearing a mask is respectful. Birmingham has 100,000 masks in storage, yet we are still seeing a pretend culture war being fought over the act of wearing masks when it is just another fabricated fake news narrative. 
  • The latest pro-mask warrior comes from an unexpected place — the University of Alabama. Head football coach Nick Saban has filmed a pro-mask PSA where he scolds Big Al for not wearing a mask and says, “All of us want to make sure we play football this fall, and to make that happen, we must be sure we stay at home if we have symptoms, wash your hands often, follow social distancing guidelines and please wear a mask any time you’re around other people.”

2. People trust Biden with more

  • Fox News has conducted a new poll between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden asking respondents which jobs they trust each with when it comes to the economy, coronavirus, dealing with China and healthcare.
  • On the economy, 45% of respondents trust Trump and 42% trust Biden, whereas 46% of people trust Biden to handle the coronavirus and only 37% trust Trump. Surprisingly, 43% of people trust Biden with China and only 37% trust Trump. With healthcare, 50% trust Biden and 33% trust Trump.

1. Alabama is reopening even more

  • Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, Governor Kay Ivey has announced that starting Friday at 5:00 p.m., an amended Safer-At-Home Order will go into effect and allow entertainment venues to reopen. 
  • Included in the venues reopening will be museums, movie theaters, bowling alleys and summer camps. Beginning on June 1, schools will be allowed to reopen, and by June 15, Ivey is planning to allow athletic competitions. Everything reopening will still be subject to rules of sanitation and social distancing. 

2 weeks ago

7 Things: COVID-19 hits Montgomery hospitals hard, Jones doesn’t want investigations into Biden, Ivey to take on prisons herself and more …

(YHN)

7. A mayoral candidate wants to hang drug dealers

  • In Sylacauga, Alabama, special education teacher Michael Ray James is a candidate for mayor. He recently went on Facebook to voice his frustration with the city’s drug problem, and he has suggested an “extreme” solution.
  • On his campaign Facebook page, James said that public hangings should be the punishment for convicted drug dealers as it “definitely brings attention to this scourge on Sylacauga, Alabama and the United States of America.” He said that those who have criticized his idea just have “a difference of opinion.”

6. Several workers at Bryant-Denny Stadium test positive for coronavirus

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  • A construction crew that’s been working at Bryant-Denny Stadium has seen an outbreak of the coronavirus, with more than 10 workers testing positive
  • Work at the stadium was shut down for a few days so that proper cleaning could be done, but it started back quickly with fewer workers. 

5. People are still loving the beach

  • Gulf Shores has been packed “like the 4th of July” most days, according to the head of city beach rescue Melvin Shepard, but there still hasn’t been any citations given for violating the state health order for people to maintain the six feet apart rule. 
  • This month alone, Gulf Shores Beach Rescue has reported at least 722,385 visitors. Memorial Day weekend is expected to only boost those numbers more. 

4. We still don’t know everything about the coronavirus

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that the coronavirus “does not spread easily” by contaminated surfaces. Previously, the CDC had said it’s “possible” for the virus to spread through surfaces. 
  • The CDC has reminded people that the coronavirus “is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads,” adding, “It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads.”

3. Ivey will deal with Alabama’s prison problems

  • Governor Kay Ivey seems prepared to go it alone on prison reform to save the legislature the hassle of passing laws and allocating spending, something they have had no interest in doing on the issue of prison construction over the last decade-plus, by building three 4,000-inmates facilities under a build-lease proposal.
  • State Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) said Ivey has the legislature “boxed in” while State Representative Christopher England (D-Tuscaloosa) said there is a chance to save money on this plan. He explained, “If the Legislature could ever get its act together and pass our own plan, we would create oversight and likely reduce the price tag by at least a billion dollars.”

2. Investigations are only bad when they’re against Biden

  • U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) has come out against the idea that former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden need to be investigated after the U.S. Homeland Security Committee authorized subpoenas to investigate Hunter’s ties to Ukrainian company Burisma. 
  • While on MSNBC, Jones said that this is “the craziest thing I’ve ever heard,” adding the Senate shouldn’t have to “investigate every perceived enemy of the president, especially this president.” He also insisted, “Democrats in the Senate are talking about the things that are necessary.”

1. Some Montgomery hospitals are overrun

  • For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic struck Alabama, we have seen hospitals at capacity with COVID-19 patients to the point where patients from Montgomery are now being sent to Birmingham for treatment because Montgomery area hospitals are down to one ICU bed.
  • After saying the issue with Montgomery is not the city but the rural community surrounding it, Mayor Steven Reed said, “We don’t want to be in a situation where we have to lock down the city.” He warned that people need to continue social distancing, wear masks and keep gatherings to a minimum.

2 weeks ago

Governor Kay Ivey threw the Alabama legislature into the briar patch over prison reform

(Governor Kay Ivey/Flickr, PIxabay, Wikicommons, YHN)

Governor Kay Ivey already threw the legislature under the bus when she released a “wish list” — containing a few projects that had nothing to do with COVID-19 relief — that a small group of legislators proposed to start conversations on how to spend CARES Act funding.

After they were run over, and the media spent a week picking at the bones, she seized the money and walked away.

Well done.

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Some legislators are legitimately upset about this, but at least one legislator did put a $200 million dollar State House on the list and, come on, that was a no-brainer.

Because our local political media can only understand one simple thing at a time, they continued this same narrative when Ivey made it clear she was moving forward with her prison plan.

Lyman is considered one of the “best” “straight news” guys who covers Alabama politics.

This is a direct insult to the others who do the job, the job itself, all of the state’s journalism programs, Edward R. Murrow, William Hearst, spankin’ H. Brandt Ayers and probably Alabama in general.

As for praise, it is faint praise at best.

Unsurprisingly, Lyman thinks legislators wanted to take up, develop and appropriate money for a massive redo of the prison system, and the governor now took this away from them?

Something they needed to do for over a decade? Something they talk about every year? Something they know the federal government will (allegedly) force on them any day?

She took that off their plate?

She will decide how much it will cost?

She will decide to take money from [insert pet project that must be done or people will die] and now wants to spend it on gangbangers, murderers, rapists, child molesters, former elected officials and future journalists?

She will own this completely on every single level?

She will absolve them of their responsibility and failure?

She will force them to go to their constituents and declare, “Gee, I didn’t want to spend all that money on the prisons but that darn Governor Ivey made us do it!”?

“Oh no! Please, Governor Ivey, don’t throw me in that there briar patch!“

“Oh no! Please, Governor Ivey, please don’t resolve that there prison issue for us!”

I am sure the legislature hates this.

Yeah, smart take.

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: Trump sours on trade deal with China, Tuberville up big, more Obamagate disclosures and more …

(YHN)

7. Charles Barkley was never going to be governor

  • Previously, NBA’s Charles Barkley has said that he’d like to be the governor of Alabama, but now he’s announced that he’s “not going to do the governor thing” because “Democrats and Republicans are both full of crap.”
  • Last month, Barkley said that Democrats “have done an awful job of taking care of poor people.” He added, “They make the same boasts every four years, come to the black community and (say) they’re going to make things better. But they don’t really make things better.”

6. We may get a photo of Trump in a mask

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  • This week, to the excitement of the media and their Democrats, President Donald Trump will be visiting a Michigan Ford Motor Company that’s been making ventilators, and Trump has been informed that he’ll need to wear a mask during his visit, as it is company policy to do so. 
  • Ford told Fox News that they’ve shared all “safety protocols, including our manufacturing playbook, employee pamphlet and self-assessment survey with the White House ahead of time and in preparation for this trip.” While Trump has refused to wear a mask previously, the trip on Thursday will show if he continues to refuse. 

5. Hubbard tries to get his court case tossed again

  • Former House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s (R-Auburn) lawyers are requesting that the courts reverse their decision to uphold Hubbard’s ethics conviction, arguing that parts of the ethics laws are unclear. 
  • In April, five of Hubbard’s ethics convictions were overturned and six were still upheld. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said that Hubbard’s actions that led to his conviction were “corrupt and betrayed the public trust.”

4. Marshall supports dropping Flynn case

  • A federal judge declined the Department of Justice’s motion to drop the case against Lt. General Michael Flynn, and now Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has joined 15 other attorneys general asking for the charges to be dropped. 
  • A statement released by Marshall’s office explains that the judge blocking the motion “betrays a lack of regard the separation of powers,” adding, “The only branch of government given constitutional authority to prosecute is the executive.”

3. The plot continues to thicken with Obamagate

  • Every day that passes another piece of evidence emerges that the Obama administration was operating to oppose the Trump administration during the transitions when they were unmasking Lt. General Michael Flynn and withholding information about Russia as James Comey was attempting to build a case against him to keep the Trump-Russia narrative moving forward.
  • Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice is now demanding that transcripts of calls between Flynn and then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak be released because this will show all of their dishonesty and duplicity was justified.

2. Tuberville has a big lead over Sessions

  • The polling firm Cygnal has conducted an independent survey from May 7-10, asking GOP voters which U.S. Senate candidate who they would vote for if the election were today. 
  • The results found 55.1% of respondents said they’d vote for former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, while 31.8% said former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In the poll, 35.6% said they’re definitely voting for Tuberville, while 19.4% are definitely voting for Sessions. 

1. Trump doesn’t feel the same about China trade deal

  • Due to the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump now feels “very differently” about the trade deal made with China, even though the deal is just starting to take effect, but the deal “seems to mean less” to him now. 
  • Trump questioned, “Why did they block it leaving Wuhan into China but they didn’t block it from going to other parts of the world?” The trade agreement requires China to stop currency manipulation, buy an additional $200 billion in U.S. products, and stop intellectual property theft. 

3 weeks ago

7 Things: Legislature passes budgets that include CARES Act funding agreement, more deaths projected in Alabama, Democrats pretend they are gearing up for another impeachment and more …

(YHN)

7. Trump has been taking medication to prevent coronavirus

  • In an effort to keep from getting the coronavirus, President Donald Trump has been taking hydroxychloroquine once a day for a little over a week, which was approved by a White House physician before Trump started the drug. 
  • Trump revealed this while at a meeting in the White House State Dining Room, but more recent studies have said that hydroxychloroquine isn’t effective in treating the coronavirus. Of course, that issue is still up for debate as no rigorous testing has been done. 

6. Businesses can now apply for loan forgiveness

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  • Loan forgiveness from the Paycheck Protection Program is now available, according to the Small Business Administration, who recently released guidelines for applications. Additional guidelines and regulations will continue to be released. 
  • Alabama Bankers Association president and CEO Scott Latham said now “small business owners are one step closer to realizing the greatest benefit of the stimulus program designed to provide relief from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

5. Excess COVID-19 testing exists

  • Even if you aren’t showing symptoms, you can be tested for the coronavirus through Huntsville Hospital, according to CEO David Spiller. This is a big change since people were previously required to be symptomatic to qualify for testing. 
  • Spillers said that they aren’t expecting a big spike in testing because they’ve already been testing some patients before elective procedures that were asymptomatic and have found one that was” COVID positive.” Spillers added, “Contrary to the belief that there were a lot of asymptomatic patients running around in our community that weren’t diagnosed, the data is not proving that to be true.”

4. Tuberville has nothing new to say

  • Former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville has consistently attacked former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on his recusal during the Russia probe, and now Tuberville’s U.S. Senate campaign has put out a television ad against Sessions on that same issue. 
  • The ad shows President Donald Trump saying he wouldn’t appoint Sessions given a second chance. Tuberville says, “Sessions quit on the president and he failed Alabama.” He then repeated popular lines that have also been stated by Trump, such as “build the wall” and “drain the swamp.” Sessions responded to the ad saying that Tuberville “doesn’t know the first thing about Alabama or the great issues facing America.”

3. Get ready for the second wave

  • The second wave of impeachment is finally here, as House Democrats have informed the Supreme Court that they have an “ongoing presidential impeachment investigation,” claiming that the full special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury testimony must be released. 
  • The Democrats are especially looking at “the possible exercise of improper political influence over recent decisions made in the Roger Stone and Michael Flynn prosecutions, both of which were initiated by the special counsel” The Supreme Court was told that new articles of impeachment could be brought against President Donald Trump if the redacted portions of Mueller’s testimony “reveals new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the articles adopted by the House.”

2. Alabama’s death projection jumps again and health officials are worried

  • The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has released another round of projections for the United States and the state of Alabama. While the United States projections show lower the numbers, Alabama’s projection go from 795 deaths by August 4 to 1,208.
  • These numbers show that we are not out of the woods yet, and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris iswarning residents that this situation is still very serious in some parts of the state like Montgomery and Mobile Counties, saying, “The numbers are not headed in the right direction, especially in some parts of the state.” 

1. Executive amendment for CARES Act funding approved

  • Governor Kay Ivey’s proposed executive amendment for the $1.8 billion given to Alabama through the CARES Act has been approved by the state legislature, with a House vote of 73-1 and a Senate vote of 30-1.
  • Ivey thanked the legislature for “supporting this amendment and for ensuring this money helps the people of Alabama who have been harmed by this disease.”

3 weeks ago

Mac McCutcheon praises Ivey, the state of Alabama on its COVID-19 response

(Representative Mac McCutcheon/Facebook)

Alabama legislators headed into their final day of the legislative session today.

The most important item on their agenda is deciding whether to approve or override Governor Kay Ivey’s executive amendment regarding $1.8 billion in CARES ACT funding for COVID-19 relief.

While appearing on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” Monday morning, Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) made it clear that he believed the House would approve the amendment and go with the governor’s recommendations moving forward.

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McCutcheon also noted that the state of Alabama has done a phenomenal job in dealing with the issues surrounding the global pandemic, adding because of that, Alabamians are in a better situation moving forward.

McCutcheon touted the information he gleaned as a member of the National Speakers Conference when talking about state budgets that did not require cuts.

“[W]hen I talk to other speakers across this country, many of the states they cannot put a budget together, they’re having to borrow money to get state governments up and running,” McCutcheon stated.

He also credited governor with sticking to her guns on her approach to open and closing the state.

“Governor Ivey has been just steadfast, she hasn’t wavered, she hasn’t done something that she had to back up and redo,” McCutcheon outlined. “I think overall, with this something being unprecedented, we’ve done well.”

My takeaway:

If, in fact, Alabama is on the other side of this issue, the state will be in good shape moving forward. But if there is a relapse and additional restrictions return, the story might have a different ending.

Listen:

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

3 weeks ago

7 Things: Alabama businesses are hurting, future of $1.8 billion in CARES Act funding could be decided Monday, Trump betting on a vaccine but not waiting for one and more …

(YHN)

7. Obama found time to criticize the coronavirus response

  • While giving a commencement speech for students graduating from historically black colleges, former President Barack Obama took a moment to say, “[T]his pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing.”
  • Obama added that the upcoming presidential election is especially important because “we’re fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided, and seeing others as an enemy — that has become a stronger impulse in American life.” While he didn’t mention President Donald Trump or anyone in the administration by name, he made it clear who he was talking about. 

6. SEC to decide this week when to reopen

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  • On May 22, the schools in the SEC will vote on if athletic facilities at schools should reopen after June 1; the vote will take place via conference call with the SEC presidents. 
  • University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis St. John has already said that they intend for schools to resume on-campus instruction and activities by fall, while Auburn University President Jay Gogue has said they will “have football this fall.”

5. China continues to be exposed as an untrustworthy nation

  • There is no question that the Chinese government has been less than truthful about the handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. Now, newly-leaked documents indicate that the communist nation has 640,000+ cases of the virus instead of the 80,000 cases they have touted. 
  • No one believed China was telling the truth, but the American media hoped it would be true so they could continue to blame the United States for underestimating the virus, even though health officials have made it clear that China’s dishonesty hid the severity of the issue at hand.

4. Pelosi is pushing for a quick decision on HEROES Act

  • The $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed the U.S. House late last week and now has to go through the U.S. Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is pushing for the Senate to act quickly on the legislative package. saying, “[W]e cannot take pause.”
  • GOP members have voiced their opposition to the package, with U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) saying it “would rewrite our immigration laws. Her bill would federalize elections.” He added that the bill “would allow federal prisoners to go free. It mentions dope more than it talks about jobs. I think it references cannabis like 68 times. It would expand ObamaCare.”

3. “Vaccine or no vaccine, we are back”

  • During the formal announcement of “Operation Warp Speed,” President Donald Trump made it clear that the resumption of American life is not 100% dependent on the creation and distribution of a vaccine and that Americans will return to work and the economy will recover.
  • Trump’s hope for a vaccine was apparent when he said, “[W]e think we are going to have a vaccine in the pretty near future.” 

2. Executive amendment expected to pass

  • Monday is the last day of the 2020 legislative session in Alabama, and the legislature will be deciding if they’ll accept Governor Kay Ivey’s executive amendment to deal with the $1.8 billion from the CARES Act. State Senator Tim Melson (R-Florence) is optimistic and said the state Senate will “agree to the amendment.”
  • While on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Ivey discussed the $1.8 billion in CARES Act funding that Alabama received, and said that the reason for the executive amendment was to “not only allocate but spend $1.8 [billion] for the purposes intended by Congress to help those who have had expenses caused by the coronavirus.” She wants the money spent by December 30 so it does not have to be returned.

1. Businesses are struggling, but some are expecting a quick recovery

  • In a survey conducted by the Alabama Workforce Council and AlabamaWorks!, 49.6% of businesses, 68% of which were small businesses, said that they anticipate the business climate to improve over the next six months. 
  • For now, 53% of businesses have issued a hiring freeze and 82% expect a negative financial impact from the coronavirus pandemic. One-third of those that participated in the survey have laid off employees, and at least 46% of businesses have been experiencing supply chain disruption. 

3 weeks ago

VIDEO: No new State House, Ivey at odds with the Alabama legislature again, immunity for businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits 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:

— Who will actually get to control the $1.8 billion in CARES Act funding?

— Has Governor Kay Ivey destroyed her ability to work with the legislature after leaking their wish list?

— Do businesses need liability immunity against frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits to fully reopen?

Jackson and Handback are joined by State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) to discuss his budgets, the State House controversy and the push to provide businesses with immunity from COVID-19.

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Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” at those members of the media who insist on covering former Vice President Joe Biden’s scandals the same way they covered Hillary Clinton’s — by ignoring them and pretending the scandal is the fact that they are being brought up.

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