An apparent case of road rage led to an exchange of gunfire on Interstate 20 Thursday morning.
It all began about 7:30 a.m. on I-20 westbound just before the Interstate 459 south ramp. The victim – a 22-year-old man from Pell City – told Irondale the suspect cut off him off and then continued the harassment.
A short time later, the victim said, the motorist pulled out what looked like an AK-47 and opened fire. The victim pulled his own gun and returned shots, said Irondale police Det. Sgt. Michael Mangina.
The victim was not injured, but police have found at least nine bullet holes in his Nissan. The passenger side window also was shot out, and there was a passenger in the vehicle at the time.
TVA has re-opened the dam for very limited public tours. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the tours filled very quickly and no more are scheduled for the immediate future.
Access to the interior of the dam has not been available since the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001. The new tours are a pilot program to get people back in the dam.
For decades after its construction, the powerhouse of the dam was open to the public. You could go in just about anytime you wanted. The same was true for the top of the dam, where people could walk across. But it all changed due to the security risks after 9/11.
Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said large tariffs on imported automobiles and parts — and potential counter tariffs imposed by other countries — could lead to lost jobs in Alabama.
Canfield said his office will continue to communicate to President Donald Trump’s administration that possible 25 percent tariffs would hurt the state.
Trump has asked the U.S. Commerce Department to study the tariffs on national security grounds, hoping to bring back jobs, The Associated Press reported this week. But industry experts and analysts say the increased costs will raise prices, hurt sales and bring layoffs. Already, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on some Chinese-made autos and parts, but extending them to Canada and Mexico would hurt the industry more.
"Frontier Airlines will begin direct flights from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on April 11, the airline announced today. Frontier Airlines will start by offering direct service to Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia from Birmingham. Introductory prices will start at $39."
"At 87, Clint Eastwood is not only trying new things, he’s trying daring new things, and his new film 15:17 to Paris represents one of the most audacious gambits of his career. To dramatize the tale of three Americans who tackled and subdued a heavily armed Islamist terrorist on a train out of Amsterdam in 2015, Eastwood cast the young men, none of whom had professional acting experience, as themselves. It’s a decision with little precedent in the entire history of motion pictures."
Man That Killed Bin Laden Coming To Alabama To Campaign For Fellow Seal—Jeff Still
Jeff Still, a former Navy Seal, is running for the Alabama State Senate in District 7 and he’s kicking off his campaign with an appearance from fellow retired Seal “Rob” O’Neill.
As most Yellowhammer readers will recognize, O’Neill is the author of “The Operator: Firing the Shots that Killed Osama Bin Laden” & “My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior and he became famous in what Fox News calls its most-watched documentary ever, The man who killed Usama bin Laden. In that documentary, O’Neill recounted the harrowing raid on Bin Laden’s Pakistani compound and the moments leading up to him shooting the Al-Qaeda mastermind on the raid.
On Wednesday, October 11, 2017, O’Neill is coming to Huntsville to help his former Seal buddy, Jeff Still. Those who sign-up to host the event can attend a VIP reception to meet O’Neill before the campaign kick-off begins.
“Jeff is a former U.S. Navy officer who served his country as a Navy SEAL and retired after 22 years of service. Jeff has a deep-seated faith and love of country, and considers himself privileged to have worked with some of the greatest talents in government and commercial organizations around the world…A decorated combat veteran, Jeff is the recipient of two Bronze Stars (both with combat valor), the Joint Service Commendation Medal (with combat valor), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and numerous other high-level service awards.”
His website continues with information about Jeff’s education background and his family life.
“Jeff holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Duke University, where his studies included immersion in Russia, England, United Arab Emirates, India, and China. He received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern Illinois and holds postgraduate certifications from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Leadership and Management, Georgetown University in Project Management, and Harvard Law School in Business Negotiation. At home, Jeff is a proud husband and father who believes in America’s enduring spirit and the pursuit of the American Dream. Jeff has made his home in Huntsville, Alabama, with his wife and two children.”
Details about the Rob O’Neill visit at Jeff’s campaign kick-off event can be found on his website at this link.
Exclusive: Bubba Tells Yellowhammer About His Visits With Trump As the Two Back Luther Strange
Bubba Bussey, co-host of the popular Rick & Bubba Show, called Yellowhammer today to share his experience as the emcee of Friday night’s rally where President Trump endorsed Luther Strange, and to chat about the President’s phone call into the show today.
As is always the case with Bubba, much of the 14-minute phone call was spent laughing, but the famous radio host was completely serious when it came to his endorsement of Luther Strange. Recounting Friday night’s experience, he said:
“First, it was a great honor that Luther asked me to be the emcee. To kick things off, we recited the national anthem and pledge of allegiance and had a prayer. After that, we went backstage and were able to spend a few minutes with the President. My wife Betty and my daughter Katelyn were with me, so it was a real treat. What strikes you most when you meet him is that he’s a genuinely warm and personable guy, just super friendly man.”
Next, Bussey told Yellowhammer about the moment he first realized he was live on Fox News.
“The minute I walked back out on stage to introduce Luther, who then was set to introduce the President, my phone started absolutely blowing up, and it was the kind of thing where you know you need to check it. I glanced and saw a message that said I was live on a split screen on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. I had no idea until I got that message so that was pretty funny that I learned about it by checking my phone while I was already on stage,” Bussey laughed.
“But that didn’t slow things down one bit,” he continued. “I’ll tell you, the crowd was absolutely electrifying. Everyone was so enthusiastic. I led them in some chants of “Build That Wall” and they were on fire.”
Continuing to share the experience of the evening, Bussey said,
“When Luther asked me to be the emcee, I asked him if I could just speak from the heart and he said ‘absolutely,’ so that’s exactly what I did. I just talked about how it’s been a tough election for everyone, and part of that is, there’s been a lot of half-truths, and the real truth has been lost in the campaign sound bites. I shared that I know Luther personally, and what a good man I know him to be. In fact, I knew Luther before he ever ran for public office. Way back then, I told him I thought he was too nice of a guy to be in politics. But I’ve watched how he ran the AG’s office and how he’d been involved in bringing jobs to Alabama in the private sector before that, and I’ve always been impressed at not only what a good guy Luther Strange is, but how effective he’s been over the course of his career, and I know he’ll be equally effective in the Senate. We need someone who can get things done and truly make a difference for Alabama, and I believe Luther is that man.”
Citing a few specifics, Bussey said:
“In addition to working with the EPA on the BP disaster, he went against the EPA on their overreaching regulations. I told the folks in Huntsville the story of a farmer I know who couldn’t re-route a little creek because the EPA said it was a navigable waterway.” “Let me tell you something, I saw the creek, and it was so small GI Joe could not step across it,” Bussey joked.
On a more serious note, he added:
“Just as the President emphasized, I told the crowd that Luther Strange is Alabama’s best chance at supporting the three big items on Trump’s agenda, which are:
• Cutting taxes for working-class people
• Repealing Obamacare
• Securing our border once and for all
When asked what was the highlight of the President’s call into the Rick & Bubba Show this morning, Bussey said, “Well in addition to restating his wholehearted support of Luther Strange, I just enjoy what a fun and personable man he is, which people may not always pick up on in a speech, but that’s truly who he is in person.”
On this morning’s call, Trump inadvertently referred to Roy Moore as Ray Moore. After the second time, Bussey’s co-host Rick Burgess corrected the President and afterward said, “If he had only said Ray one time I wouldn’t have corrected him, but when he said it twice, I had to say something.” To this, Bubba quipped, “That may have been your best two-point turnaround in 24 years when you have to correct the president.”
Count on Bubba to keep everyone laughing, even during political season!
As everyone now knows, a new wave of controversy was ignited this weekend with NFL players refusing to stand for the national anthem in the wake of President Trump’s remarks in Alabama Friday night.
No matter how one may view this issue, however, it’s good to know there are some NFL players who still care about others more than themselves, and by all indications, one such player is former Alabama Crimson Tide star, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, of the Greenbay Packers.
On October 9th, Dix is hosting “Ha Ha’s Hero Celebrity Night” as he launches his new foundation, Ha Ha’s
Hero Foundation. The foundation’s mission is “to provide economically-challenged students with a voice of
motivation, empowerment, and encouragement so they can be heroes by achieving academic excellence, developing positive personal skills and make positive decisions to avoid high-risk behavior.”
A bright light at a time in which the NFL could use a few more role models, Clinton-Dix is known among Green Bay Packers fans for his million-dollar smile and taking time to talk with and young fans. As one father Tweeted along with a picture of his elated son holding an autographed Clinton-Dix jersey after yesterday’s game: “You made this kids WEEKEND! Every time you saw him you acknowledged him. Thank you for being a #classact and role model.
Perhaps this is because of who he’s become as a young man. Clinton-Dix is not ashamed to share his faith on social media about his Christian faith, as today he Tweeted, “Glory To God” and “Forever Thankful.”
Given his nickname by his grandmother, she dubbed him “Ha Ha” when he was just an infant in response to his given name, Ha’Sean. He prefers “Ha Ha” and fans, teammates, and coaches alike seem to agree.
Clinton-Dix was one of seven true freshmen that contributed to ‘Bama’s 2011 National Championship season. In 2012, he led the team with five interceptions. In an injury-shortened junior year, Ha Ha still managed 51 tackles and two interceptions, before foregoing his senior year to turn pro.
On August 19, Clinton-Dix Tweeted a picture of his cleats before Green Bay’s game, which he’d marked with a Sharpie to honor two fallen police officers. The Tweet read, “Added 2 more angels to my cleats in respect to families who loss Two HEROS in the community.#SAMHOWARD#MATTHEWBAXTER#RIP”
It’s nice in a season marked more by political statements than pick sixes to be reminded that young men like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are using their blessings to bless others.
The Senate runoff campaign between Roy Moore and Luther Strange is a big deal in Alabama. Everywhere else in America, it’s an even bigger deal, as all eyes are on the Yellowhammer State these last few days of the campaign.
A quick Google News search today shows articles on the Alabama campaign from Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, NBC News, The Washington Post, Politico, CNN, Breitbart, The New York Times, Newsweek, Business Insider, PBS, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times, to name a few.
Why the fascination with Alabama’s Republican Senate primary? Because it’s a commentary on draining the swamp!
The Alabama election is a new chapter in the playbook of the emerging populist movement that swept America last November. It’s a movement fueled by hard-working, patriotic Americans who embraced an American dream that’s turned into a nightmare, and they’re fed up. They’re tired of being told what to do, what to say, what to believe, and how to act. They’re sick of being taxed and regulated out of business, bombed by a radical religion that hates them for no apparent reason, and being labeled hate-mongers for merely saying what they believe. They don’t like being told they can’t have a gun in their truck or that they have to go to jail for clocking some punk who tried to take advantage of their daughter. They’re mad because they can’t say prayers at graduations and high school football games, or wear t-shirts that offend college students in Berkley. And they’re definitely sick and tired of politicians apologizing for all they hold dear to Europeans whose homes their grandfathers saved in places like Normandy, Bastogne, and Losheimergraben. Those grandfathers willingly died on those cold, distant battlefields for the very freedoms that K-Street power players want to take from them, and on Main Street, they’ve had enough. None of this is what they signed up for, and they’re absolutely sick of empty promises from self-serving politicians who say they’ll do something about it but never do. That’s why the swamp must be drained, and last November was just the beginning.
In Alabama, however, swamp-draining isn’t as straightforward as it may seem.
The ultimate swamp-draining icon, President Donald Trump, should have some authority to speak into this issue. After all, he’s the one that gave voice to their frustrations and had the will to stand up to the weak suits of the Republican establishment who said, may it never be.
That same Donald Trump says Luther Strange is the best guy to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate, a point Strange made abundantly clear last night in the quasi-debate with Roy Moore.
To this, Roy Moore and his supporters say “hogwash.” Many of Moore’s supporters “staked their lives and sacred fortunes” on getting Donald Trump elected last November. Now that Trump is supporting Strange, however, some of the same folks say he’s become part of the problem. Worse still, although Trump was brilliant enough to understand exactly what they needed and astute enough to become their champion, because he now stands with Big Luther they say the President is naïve and deceived. Or at best, they say, Donald Trump has made a bad judgment call.
Layered on top of this is what national reporters are calling the proxy war between Donald Trump and his former strategist, Steve Bannon. Since being fired from his White House post, Mr. Bannon and his team at Breitbart are going hard at Luther Strange, but the supposition is that they’re actually going hard at Donald Trump. Whatever the truth may be related to Trump, they’re clearly gunning for Mitch McConnell. Therefore, if Trump and McConnell both want Luther Strange and Trump gets hurt in the tussle, so be it. All is fair in war and politics, and when friends get shot, they just get shot.
Either way, Steve Bannon is a warrior, just like Donald Trump, and if he prevails, swamp draining is about to take on an entirely new identity, and the names and faces of that movement may change. Today, Bannon’s doing his best to make Roy Moore that face.
Another facet of this race is Roy Moore’s war on political correctness and whether or not that informs all of his views. Judge Moore twice defied the law when the law defied his conscience. That’s justified civil disobedience in the minds of many, and all they need to know to deem Moore the epitome of the opposition movement. While the Strange camp raises questions about Moore’s position on the wall, on silencers for guns, and other such things, none of that seems to matter. Moore’s base reasons that if he was willing to get fired twice—over the Ten Commandments and the sanctity of marriage—he will do the right thing all the time. That’s why the likes of James Dobson, Phil Robertson, and Chuck Norris, to name a few, have sided with the “Ten Commandments Judge.”
There’s yet another contingent of voters who comprise some of Luther Strange’s most vocal critics in Alabama. They may not be as much for Roy Moore as they are against Luther Strange. History isn’t easily forgotten in Alabama, and there’s most definitely a never-Strange contingent down here.
As if all this weren’t complicated enough, Roy Moore’s base is pro-gun and pro-life. The two organizations who have the most credibility on these respective issues—the NRA and the National Right to Life—stand firmly with Donald Trump in saying Luther Strange is the best man to defend their values. It’s hardly as if Big Luther’s a liberal and his record on these issues is clear. Nevertheless, a perusal of social media indicates that the die has been cast for a certain block of voters. To hear them talk, if you’re against Roy, you’re on the wrong side of the cornfield, and the shootin’s started, so you’d best keep your head down unless you wanna get shot too.
To spread one more course on this five-layer cake, the Democrats see all this friend-shooting as the most serendipitous of all scenarios. From where they sit, the Republicans have been reluctant to take a stand on anything in forever, and once they finally got mad enough to do something, instead of going after the enemy they’ve started killing one another. Everyone knows a house divided can’t stand for long, so the Dem’s are tickled pink. Enter Uncle Joe Biden, and heaven knows who else for Doug Jones, the man who will face the winner of the Moore-Strange cage match. So now Republicans must also ask, will Jones gain traction from this summer’s nuclear fallout?
When it’s all said and done, come Tuesday night the ultimate factor in who represents the G.O.P. against Doug Jones and Uncle Joe will be decided by how much sway Donald Trump and Mike Pence bring to Alabama this weekend. If the original, bona fide swamp drainer can convince enough Alabamians that he needs a Senator he can rely on to help him drain the swamp, Luther Strange is likely to be the man. If Bannon and team can convince enough Alabamians that Luther will be beholden to Mitch McConnell and will be part of the swamp, Roy Moore will likely be the man.
Whichever man it is, the swamp is a strange place indeed, and few know what truly lurks there.
Hunter To Seek Alabama Senate Seat Instead of Lt. Governor’s
Mary Scott Hunter has announced her decision to seek election for the vacant Alabama Senate Seat in District 7 Alabama in lieu of the Lt. Governor’s seat.
“The people of my district know me as a fighter, as a wife and mom of three children who attend public school, and a woman of faith,” said Hunter. “They have seen me tested and know the quality of my character. I love this state, and I love the place I call home, Madison County, Alabama. I’ve decided to enter the race for Senate District 7 because it’s where I can best serve the people.”
Senate District 7 is entirely in Madison County and is being vacated by Senator Paul Sanford. Further discussing her decision that she first made public on the Dale Jackson Show early this morning, Hunter said:
“I’m not a rookie in all of this, and I’m coming into this race with many allies and knowing where the snakes hide. There is much work ahead. I intend to use my experience serving on the Alabama State Board of Education to support efforts at all levels to improve public education from Pre-K through PhD. Good jobs are everything, and to get them we must prepare and lay the groundwork in education, infrastructure, health care, and other important areas. I look forward to the challenge.”
Hunter’s press release provided the following biographical information:
Mary Scott Hunter is an Air Force Veteran who holds her undergraduate, law, and MBA degrees from the University of Alabama. She works for Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation advising and leading the company’s business interest in Compliance, Ethics, and Risk. Mary Scott’s husband, Jon Shultz, is an engineer and has his own small business, Resolution LLC, delivering advisory services to NASA and other customers. Mary Scott and Jon married in 2000 and were stationed together in Germany before moving their family to Huntsville in 2005. The couple attends Trinity United Methodist Church where Mary Scott leads an adult Sunday School class. Mary Scott is a conservative Republican and was first elected to the Alabama State Board of Education In 2010. She has also served as a trustee for the Alabama Community College System first as an elected office holder and for the last two years as the appointed ex-officio member.
A Vision of Purpose: New Alabama Career Center Provides A Model of Partnership
From Left to Right: G-Tech student Xavier Terry, Rep. Donnie Chesteen, G-Tech Student Codi Clemmons
Xavier Terry is a kid who some teachers may have written off. Thankfully, Kenny Hagen wasn’t one of them. Kenny is Xavier’s welding instructor at the brand-new Geneva, Alabama Regional Career Tech Center, also known as G-Tech. Mr. Hagen recently made Xavier “Foreman of the Week” in his welding class, and the student thrived in the leadership role. What’s more, he’s receiving college credit for his work.
As G-Tech’s Principal, Chris Duke explained, “The Foreman of the Week program is something Kenny came up with to select students capable of being in a supervisory role and getting things done. This is very powerful because it gives young men like Xavier a taste of success right now, and that’s so critical to their future because success breeds success.”
Alabama State Rep. Donnie Chesteen, who played a critical role in making G-Tech a reality, agreed:
“I don’t think anyone had ever given Xavier a chance to lead, but when Kenny Hagen did, he blossomed. Now he realizes, ‘I can do something good with my life.’ Xavier has proved to himself, to his peers, and to his instructors that he’s a capable and competent young man who takes responsibility. He bears his weight and he can lead others. Now Xavier has a vision for his future, and from all indications, a strong sense of purpose and hope.”
Codi Clemmons is another G-Tech student who, like Xavier, was recently given a big role, and she proved herself in dramatic fashion. Codi’s a student at Samson High and is enrolled in G-Tech’s aviation program. Principal Duke asked her to give a speech at G-Tech’s opening ceremony this week. “She was amazing,” Chesteen said, “she never even glanced at her notes…that’s better than most legislators I know,” he quipped. “Seriously though, that’s how smart and good she is, and now Alabama’s governor and an entire community are aware of the kind of young people we have here at G-Tech. Who’s to say Codi or Xavier won’t be Alabama’s governor one day?”
G-Tech is critically important because more than half of the students who graduate from high school in Geneva County never attend college. “That’s why it is so vital to our community,” Rep. Chesteen said. “Now all four of our county’s high schools can offer these students a real opportunity to learn a useful skill or trade that leads to a marketable degree.”
Like most great things, however, G-Tech was not built in a day. Its funding was made possible by a $50-million bond passed in 2014 that allows the Alabama National Guard to repurpose old armories built in the 1950’s through collaborative partnerships. Nevertheless, the road to the making it a reality was not an easy one.
“I was told ‘no’ so many times I lost count,” the State Represenative and former high school football coach explained. “But with each ‘no’ I would smile because I knew it meant we were one step closer to a yes. God gave me the opportunity to serve the people of this district, and with His help, I was determined not to waste that opportunity. By His grace, people begin to see our vision, and the dream started becoming a reality.”
As Chesteen explained, the Alabama National Guard played a tremendous role in making G-Tech a reality.
“Without the National Guard and their incredible support, G-Tech would have never happened, so our community owes them a huge debt of gratitude. Their architects and engineers would come to planning meetings eager to serve and help, asking things like “What do you need to make this work for your classes?” I can never express how appreciative I am for all of those folks in the Guard. They did yeoman’s work, and because of it numerous kids are benefitting today.”
The Guard’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Sheryl Gordon embraces the opportunity to be involved in partnerships like the one with G-Tech. As she told Yellowhammer:
“We have worked with Alabama Law Enforcement Association, The Department of Human Resources, state and local school boards, and other state agencies and municipalities. Without fail, each partnership has saved money, built relationships, and allowed us to do something that no single partner could have done alone. We believe we are stewards of the public’s trust and resources – we don’t take this responsibility lightly. Moving forward, this is how business will be done.”
Rep. Chesteen also noted that Geneva County School Superintendent Becky Birdsong was the only person that started the project with him that was still in it when the dream was finally realized. “Becky deserves tons of credit,” he said. When asked about the project, Superintendent Birdsong explained why G-Tech is such a vital resource to the County:
“In rural Geneva County, industry and good jobs are hard to come by. Our county has 900 miles of roads, and 500 of those miles are dirt roads. Our students come from hard-working families who want the best for their children. Many of our students go to college, but not all. There’s a tremendous need for programs that will give our students a head-start on their careers and futures. G-tech is just that! It’s a culmination of three years of hard work and determination to offer new career tech programs for our students. It is a product of adults getting out of the way and doing what is best for students. As a superintendent, that’s when I know we have gotten it right!”
Geneva City Schools Superintendent Rhonda Stringham “wholeheartedly joined the effort as soon as she was hired and also worked tirelessly with us,” Chesteen added, “seeing it through to the end.” Superintendent Stringham also shared her optimism over G-Tech, telling Yellowhammer:
“We are excited about the career opportunities that will open up for our students that haven’t been available here before. Geneva City and Geneva County students deserve to have the same options during high school that other students across Alabama have had for years. I’m very proud of our students and their parents for recognizing the jump-start in life these programs will give them. Many thanks to The Guard, Rep Chesteen, Governor Ivey, and the ACCS for making this dream possible for our kids.”
Many others also helped in tremendous ways, Chesteen said. Wiregrass Electric Cooperative’s Les Moreland and Brad Kimbro did great work in developing the G-Tech logo and branding it in a way that shows our community how it effectively it serves our kids.
G-Tech opened last month to kick off the new 2017-2018 school year, and its five programs offer juniors and seniors from Geneva County’s four high schools college credit for the work they complete. Students from Geneva High, Geneva County High, Samson High, and Slocomb High all come to G-Tech, and are able to do so without limiting their participation in extracurricular activities. In fact, Geneva High’s starting varsity quarterback, Mason Coskrey, is also a G-Tech student.
Having students from all four high schools is important, Duke said. “These young people are learning valuable lessons by stepping outside of their immediate circle of friends. They come here and learn to get along with kids from other schools and they begin to see that the world really is a small place when people work together.”
G-Tech’s five programs are education (training for future teachers), health sciences, auto repair, aviation technology, and welding. George B. Wallace Community College in Dothan provides the instructor for the welding program; Enterprise State Community College provides an instructor for the aviation program, and L. B. Wallace Community College in Andalusia provides an instructor for the automotive program. Again, all of these are dual enrollment programs that allow G-Tech students to earn college credits for their coursework.
Duke charcterized it well, stating:
“G-Tech represents the epitome of partnership. We have three community colleges, four high schools, the Alabama National Guard, and two boards of education collaborating for a greater purpose, and the kids pick up on that. As I tell them, we want you to LEARN, GROW and GO, meaning take what you’ve learned here and go make a positive contribution. I’ve been in education for eighteen years and this is, by far, the best thing I’ve ever been a part of. I’m thankful that we’re able to give them a head-start in their profession because that makes a huge difference in their lives, and in our community. They are the future of the Wiregrass.”
Geneva County residents aren’t the only ones that see G-Tech’s value. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony where Codi wooed the crowd, Governor Kay Ivey was on hand, along with Alabama Power executive Zeke Smith who’s also chairman of the Alabama Workforce Council, and Jimmy Baker, chancellor of the Alabama Community College Systems. “Their attendance speaks volumes to the power of what was at one time just a dream that’s now become a reality for students in Geneva County,” Chesteen said.
Also recognizing the compelling nature of G-Tech’s mission is the United States Army. Each year the Army gives five awards across the entire United States to communities who bring about positive change through partnerships with the Guard. Remarkably, G-Tech was one of those five recipients this year. “For a small, rural Alabama county to win this prestigious, national award is an extraordinary achievement,” Chesteen said.
“What a tremendous honor,” Chris Duke agreed. “It shows that this unified effort among community leaders like Rep. Chesteen, the Alabama National Guard, the County Board of Education, the City Board of Education, and our four community colleges are making a huge difference in the lives of the kids we serve.”
As Chesteen concluded:
“Spending many years as a high school football coach helped me realize that kids need more than sports. I’d often ask them what they wanted to do after high school and many of my players would give the standard answer: ‘Play football for Auburn or Alabama.’ When I tried to lovingly explain how that was a longshot if not an impossibility for many of them, and would press them for something more, their answers would almost always be the same: ‘I don’t know.’ This haunted me for years because many of these kids had no vision, and even worse, they believed they had nothing to offer. The G-Tech career center is changing that for our studens, and that’s incredibly encouraging. We owe it to these young people to show them that they do matter, and to help cast a vision of what their lives can be as productive members of a thriving community. G-Tech does that in a tangible way and it’s truly helping to change their lives.”
Indeed, it is, and hopefully, G-Tech will be a model of what can be done across Alabama when communities unite to improve education. The result is that it inspires kids like Xavier, Codi, and Mason, who just might change the world.
Moore v. Stange: “Mano a Mano” Debate Set For Tomorrow Night In Montgomery—For Better or Worse
As we reported last week, Roy Moore challenged Luther Strange to a “mano a mano” debate with no moderators or panelists, Strange accepted, and it looks like that will finally take place. The showdown is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the RSA Activity Center in Montgomery, and Raycom Media will provide a live stream of the event.
This event will be interesting for a host of reasons, not the least of which is the vast majority of attention surrounding this campaign has centered not on what Roy Moore and Luther Strange know, believe, and intend to do as U.S. Senators, but on their associations. In an incredibly important election at a crucial time in history, there’s been very little issue-based vetting.
Meanwhile, each campaign’s spin on who’s an insider and who’s not, who’s gained the latest endorsement and so forth has been incessant. And it seems to be working. In both camps, these narratives are controlled by power players outside of Alabama that seem to have captivated the minds of the voters, while the dearth of substantive discussions is glaring.
The question is, will tomorrow night’s debate change this? Will voters finally gain a reasonable understanding of how each candidate views key issues and how each would work on behalf of Alabama to make America great again? Don’t hold your breath.
Clearly, the Lincoln-Douglas debates hold weighty historical significance, but Douglas used ad hominem attacks to discredit Lincoln, detracting from his views on the issues, and no one will be surprised if such diatribes predominate tomorrow night’s event as well. Moreover, as powerful as the Lincoln-Douglas debates were for a host of reasons, they were not debating as much they were giving speeches.
Perhaps that’s why most debates are conducted in the modern format—because the public needs to hear candidates answer questions that force them to abandon their platitudes and talking points and prove their fitness with substantive answers. In lieu of flimsy lines like “I support the President’s agenda” or “I’m going to drain the swamp,” it would be nice if both candidates could provide answers to questions like:
• The President wants to reduce the corporate tax rate from its current suffocating rate of 35 percent down to 15 percent. I’m sure you both agree that this much-needed tax cut would result in more jobs and greater economic development. However, if liberal Republican Senators like Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) would vote for a 20 percent rate but not 15 percent, would you concede that to get a much lower overall rate, or would you vote against the measure if you can’t get it all the way down to 15 percent?
• We all know that President Obama left a dumpster fire in the middle east. Both of you surely agree that we need to prevent Afghanistan from becoming the terrorist breeding ground it was before 9/11. To that end, Iraq taught us that walking away isn’t the answer, but neither is full-on nation building. Therefore, do you support the “train and assist” strategy as a way to ensure that the U.S. has just enough troops in the all the right places to enable the Afghan military to grow into an effective fighting force to support a self-sustaining Afghan government? The lives of young American soldiers hang in the balance, so if you do support that view, please tell the voters why you believe this is a viable strategy.
• Social Security is technically solvent, only because it’s funded by a trust fund made up of IOU’s, and we all know this won’t last long. Last December, Congressman Sam Johnson (R-Texas) introduced a social security reform bill that seems to lay out a decent path forward. However, one of its provisions requires gradually increasing the age at which retirees receive full benefits. Would you be willing to tell Alabama voters that you support increasing this retirement age as a concession to help social security remain solvent? Whether yes or no, tell us how and why you’ve reached this conclusion.
Yes, these off-the-cuff questions could be replaced with dozens of others, but that’s exactly the point. Being a U.S. Senator often means living in the weeds of highly technical policy issues and wrestling with seemingly untenable decisions like increasing the age of social security benefits to keep it solvent, or settling for a weaker bill than you hope for, but one that’s still far better than the present law.
Of course, this does not mean compromising moral standards or constitutional principles. That’s a given. In the real world of Capitol Hill, however, it often means give-and-take on policy matters. That’s why having the knowledge, wisdom, and foresight to know when to die on a hill and when to make a concession means everything for a U.S. Senator, especially when they generally agree on many issues as is the case with Strange and Moore. The real questions voters should be demanding is, how do you take those views and govern effectively?
Unfortunately, it looks like those are answers we’ll never know until the votes are cast next Tuesday. If it’s any solace, however, the entertainment value tomorrow night in Montgomery will no doubt be high!
As Trump Admonishes North Korea, Alabama-Made System Remains Crucial To National Defense
In what may have been one of his finest moments to date, President Donald J. Trump delivered a speech to the United Nations this morning that made many Americans want to stand up and cheer. After extolling America’s virtues instead of apologizing for its existence, the president stated:
In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign. I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people where it belongs. In foreign affairs, we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty. Our government’s first duty is to its people, to our citizens, to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values. As president of the United States, I will always put America first. Just like you, as the leaders of your countries, will always and should always put your countries first.
Reminding the U.N. delegates of America’s moral authority, the president continued:
America’s devotion is measured on the battlefields where our young men and women have fought and sacrificed alongside of our allies. From the beaches of Europe to the deserts of the Middle East to the jungles of Asia, it is an eternal credit to the American character that even after we and our allies emerge victorious from the bloodiest war in history, we did not seek territorial expansion or attempt to oppose and impose our way of life on others.
Trump also reminded his audience that these measures were taken because decent people across the globe have a moral obligation to reject passivity when tyrants seek to destroy human rights. As he stated:
If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.
With that backdrop, President Trump shined a clear light in the dark corner of Kim Jong-un’s madness:
No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans. And for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more. We were all witness to the regime’s deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America, only to die a few days later.
Invoking no imaginary red lines or hollow doublespeak, the president plainly articulated his position with resolute conviction, leaving the rogue tyrant and any who may support him no doubt where the United States now stands.
No nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about. That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.
Trump was no less clear in his message to Iran. Again, he articulated what so many thinking Americans know but what political leaders have for too-long lacked the courage to express:
The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos…It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. Above all, Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors. The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most.
In response, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump, saying, “In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech. President Trump spoke the truth about the great dangers facing our world and issued a powerful call to confront them in order to ensure the future of humanity.”
Unfortunately, the leaders of both countries seem to have an insatiable appetite for war and destruction, and that’s why America must remain strong if we want to remain free. One critical spoke in the wheel of our strength is a missile defense system developed right here in Alabama. In fact, the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense program (GMD) is the only one capable of intercepting and destroying the kind of intercontinental ballistic missiles the “rocket man” would use to deliver nuclear warheads to the United States.
As national security expert Lorne Thompson wrote in an article for Forbes:
It seems there is only one step the Trump administration can take that would not increase the likelihood of war and materially improve the safety of the American homeland. That step is to accelerate and expand the modest missile defense system called Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) that operates interceptors in Alaska and California.
On the offensive side of the ball, America’s largest deterrent is the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (MM3). These MM3’s would be used if the U.S. should strike Kim Jong-un. Like the GMD, the MM3 was also predominantly developed by Boeing. Finally, Boeing is working on the next generation of offensive weapons—the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), which will yield better performance using technology that didn’t exist when the Minuteman missiles were developed.
While we all hope these defense systems and offensive weapons will never need to be deployed, it’s reassuring to know they are locked and loaded to defend our homes should the call come. In the meantime, the President closed his speech today with a powerful vision of hope and peace:
In remembering the great victory that led to this body’s founding, we must never forget that those heroes who fought against evil, also fought for the nations that they love. Patriotism led the Poles to die to save Poland, the French to fight for a free France, and the Brits to stand strong for Britain. Today, if we do not invest ourselves, our hearts, our minds, and our nations, if we will not build strong families, safe communities, and healthy societies for ourselves, no one can do it for us. This is the ancient wish of every people and the deepest yearning that lives inside every sacred soul. So let this be our mission, and let this be our message to the world. We will fight together, sacrifice together, and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity, and for the almighty God who made us all. Thank you, God bless you, God bless the nations of the world, and God bless the United States of America.
Former White House Aide Gorka to Stump for Roy Moore in Alabama
Photo by Flickr user 7th Army Training Command
Former deputy assistant to President Trump, Sebastian Gorka, is coming to Alabama Thursday to join Sarah Palin in a rally supporting Roy Moore.
According to today’s article by Axios, Gorka is now working for an organization called the “MAGA Coalition.” The group’s website says it’s “a national network of over 5,000,000 America First citizens who share in the belief that both our national parties have taken America down the wrong path.”
Gorka will be leading a Thursday night rally in Montgomery along with Palin, who will be in Alabama under the banner of The Great America Alliance, a group closely aligned with Steven Bannon. Gorka worked for Bannon at Breitbart before the two became White House advisers.
It’s obvious that a big reason Bannon and Gorka are involved in this race is that Mitch McConnel supports Strange, but the more interesting question surrounds their relationship with Donald Trump in light of his support for Strange.
As the Axios article said, “Think about this. A month ago, Gorka and Steve Bannon were working in President Trump’s White House. Now they are preparing to go head-to-head against the president to support a candidate who is loathed by the same establishment that originally loathed Trump.”
Much has been reported about the implications of this fascinating turn of events. HotAir.com recently ran a story with the enticing headline “Alabama GOP Senate runoff now a proxy war between Trump and Bannon.” However, an article posted on The Hill today says “Allies of Bannon insist that the Trump-Bannon split over Moore isn’t indicative of a larger rift.”
Whatever the implications, it’s clear that Donald Trump and Mike Pence will be in Alabama campaigning for Luther Strange just as Sebastian Gorka and Steve Bannon are doing everything in their power to elect Moore because they view Strange as the establishment candidate.
As Politico stated in an August 16 article, “If Moore wins, his approach could serve as a template for other insurgent candidates…The assault from pro-McConnell forces has allowed Moore to portray himself as the underdog. During a recent appearance before the Weyrich Lunch, a closed-door gathering of conservative leaders in Washington, Moore said the Washington establishment wants nothing more than to bring him down.”
Look for Sebastian Gorka and Sarah Palin to expound upon that message at their Thursday night rally in Montgomery, as it’s now apparent that forces outside of Alabama are working hard to bring both candidates down.
President Trump’s Friday night visit will be followed by a get-out-the-vote rally led by Vice President Mike Pence on Monday, the day before the election next Tuesday, September 26th. Details will follow on this event as well.
Breaking: NRA Goes All In For Luther Strange With New Ad Campaign
In an exclusive interview with the National Rifle Association (NRA), Yellowhammer has learned that the pro-gun group is going all in for Luther Strange in advance of the Sept 26th Republican runoff for the U.S. Senate.
The NRA—the country’s largest Second Amendment advocacy organization—told Yellowhammer today that it is launching a seven-figure ad campaign across Alabama starting tomorrow as a show of support for Strange in these last ten days of the election.
The first TV ads will begin airing tomorrow on statewide cable and broadcast channels. When asked why the NRA is making this move, Jennifer Baker, the organization’s director of public affairs said:
“Luther Strange is a champion of the Second Amendment, and Roy Moore cannot be trusted with our gun rights.”
As we reported at the time the NRA endorsed Senator Strange earlier in the summer, NRA chairman Chris Cox said:
“Throughout his career, Sen. Strange has shown tremendous leadership in protecting our fundamental right to self-defense…As a champion for gun owners in Alabama and across the country, Sen. Strange is the right person to succeed Jeff Sessions as U.S. senator.”
Responding to the NRA’s endorsement, Strange for Senate spokesman Cameron Foster said, “We are proud Luther is the only NRA-endorsed candidate for the Alabama Senate race because of his strong record on the 2nd Amendment.”
With respect to that record, Cox pointed to the following work Strange has done since he’s been in Washington on behalf of Second Amendment rights:
• Consistently opposing all attempts to ban lawfully owned firearms and magazines
• Rejecting the gun control agenda of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Michael Bloomberg
• Voting to confirm Neil Gorsuch, a pro-Second Amendment justice, to the U.S. Supreme Court
• Voting to strike down an Obama-era regulation that would have stripped Social Security recipients their Second Amendment rights without due process
• Co-sponsoring national reciprocity legislation Cosponsoring the Hearing Protection Act
The NRA’s new TV ad for Senator Strange can be viewed below:
Palmer, Crosswhite Win Power of Service Awards at Yellowhammer Event
Yellowhammer’s 3rd annual Power of Service reception was held last night at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa, and it was a tremendous success, as several hundred people packed the Grand Ballroom.
Yellowhammer’s new owner and publisher, Allison Ross, presented Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite with the Power of Service Award from the business community and Congressman Gary Palmer with the Power of Service Award from the political community.
A video tribute was given to both winners, with Protective Life CEO Johnny Johns and Great Southern Wood Preserving CEO Jimmy Rane extolling Mr. Crosswhite’s virtues, as Senators Del Marsh and Jabo Waggoner did the same for Congressman Palmer. Both Palmer and Crosswhite were quick to deflect the credit to others, however—with Crosswhite thanking the Alabama Power employees for their service and Rep. Palmer crediting his staff, and most of all, his wife, Ann for his achievements.
Birmingham Business Alliance Trustee Dr. Sanjay Singh summarized the event well when he said:
“Last night was unique because the room was full of corporate executives, legislators, and lobbyists, all coming together not just to advance one agenda, but to promote the state of Alabama. As I said to Congressman Gary Palmer, his award and this entire evening was so important to me because it is absolutely incumbent on all of us to take time to say ‘thank you’, and that’s what last night was all about. Expressing our heartfelt gratitude to one another is the least expensive and most meaningful thing we can do, and that’s what Yellowhammer did—they joined us in saying thank you to Gary Palmer and Mark Crosswhite with the Power of Service awards. I think we need to do more of that every day if we want to move Alabama forward in a healthy and constructive way. That’s why I am so glad I was there last night. It was more than just a social gathering, it was a time for Alabama’s leaders to visit one another with a spirit of gratitude, and that’s where we find the common ground to make Alabama the very best it can be.”
Supreme Court Justice candidate Jay Mitchell added, “It was a wonderful night celebrating so many great Alabamians. It was also a testament to Yellowhammer’s influence that so many made being there last night a priority.”
As Ross concluded, “Mr. Singh is correct, it was an evening to express our gratitude and we’re thankful for the incredible turnout and for every single person who attended. We also look forward to using the influence Mr. Mitchell spoke of so that Yellowhammer will continue to provide the kind of trustworthy news and distinctive conservative commentary Alabama has come to rely on.”
Judge Christy Edwards Running For Court of Civil Appeals
Judge Christy Edwards is running for the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals as a Republican, seeking the seat that will be vacated by retiring Judge Craig Pittman.
Currently, Edwards serves as a Judge on the Alabama Tax Court, a position she came to after serving in the Alabama Revenue Department and as an Assistant Attorney General.
“I have the education and experience needed to serve as a Court of Civil Appeals judge,” Edwards states on her website. “I pledge to apply the laws as written in a clear and consistent manner so that the people and businesses of this state understand their rights and obligations.”
A Selma native, Judge Edwards received her law degree from Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law and her LL.M. from the University of Alabama School of Law.
Her campaign site noted that she’s an award-winning writer and orator, and has been published in national journals regarding state and local tax. Edwards wants to bring her knowledge of tax laws to bear on the appeals process.
A significant part of her platform is that she wants to bring her knowledge of tax laws to bear on the appeals process.
“Everyone has to pay taxes – businesses, business owners, consumers and regular people,” Edwards said. “The businesses and the people of this state need a judge who will oversee the tax laws and protect the taxpayers according to all the laws overseen by this court. I will do that.”
Edwards lives in Montgomery with her Husband, Boyd. They have one son and are members of Christ Church.
Meet The Army Ranger Who Lost His Leg to an I.E.D: Now He’s Running for Congress
The United States Army Ranger School is a 61-day combat leadership course that good soldiers fail by the truckloads. Clayton Hinchman—who’d already earned his is Airborne and Air Assault wings—was not one of those soldiers that failed the grueling course. In fact, he was the Honor Graduate in his Ranger class and after earning the coveted Ranger tab, he was assigned to 10th Mountain Division and Special Operations Task Force 17.
Shortly thereafter, Hinchman was deployed to Iraq in the service of his country. On a night raid in search of Al Qaeda, he received wounds from an I.E.D. that claimed his right leg. Eighteen months later, Captain Hinchman was medically retired from the United States Army, but not before being awarded a Combat Infantryman Badge, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and a Meritorious Service Medal.
Undeterred by the injury and the loss of his leg, Clay Hinchman was more determined than ever to make a meaningful contribution to his country as a civilian. With an undergraduate degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point and his masters from Georgetown, he founded and became the CEO of a successful company—USi. An information technology company, USi excels in cyber security and a host of other innovative offerings. Striving for excellence in his business endeavors, Clayton also earned the executive education certificate at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management and graduated from the Goldman Sachs Small Business Program at Babson College. Leveraging his education into a profitable businesses, Clayton eventually sold USi to Ignite in 2016, and now serves as the company’s Chief Marketing Officer.
After selling his company, Clayton sensed the need to serve his country again, but this time in the United States Congress. Last May, he declared his candidacy for Alabama’s 5th Congressional seat against longtime incumbent Mo Brooks, and Alabama State Senator Bill Holtzclaw has joined the race.
Citing the perspective he gained on the battlefield, Hinchman wrote:
“I served in direct action combat against the enemies of this nation and suffered traumatic wounds, however, my willingness to continue serving this nation endures. My faith and commitment to our country compel me to run for the 5th Congressional district to protect your freedoms our Constitution guarantees.”
In a recent speech, he said, “In the military, my battalion’s motto was Deeds Not Words. That’s why we’re a campaign of action.” Citing priorities of bolstering the defense industry, job creation, economic growth, education, national defense, and the strengthening the V.A., Hinchman said,
“Why Clayton Hinchman…why our campaign? We are the future, we were built to serve, and we will continue to serve this district.”
Debate-Gate: The Alabama Senate Race Gets Even Moore Strange
The long-awaited show down in a one-on-one debate between Luther Strange and Roy Moore in the run-off for the U.S. Senate seat was finally on the calendar for Thursday, September 21, giving voters a chance to go beyond the politics of accusation and evaluate the policy positions of each candidate. And then it wasn’t.
Moore canceled the event, citing the fact that the leader of one of the organizations hosting it is reportedly involved with a PAC that has sponsored ads promoting Luther Strange.
As Moore said in a press release yesterday:
“I have declined to participate in the Alabama Policy Institute (API) & Samford University US Senate Debate…because it was not disclosed to me or my campaign at the time the invitation was accepted, that the President of API, Caleb Crosby, also serves as the Treasurer for the Senate Leadership Fund.”
To this cancellation, the Strange campaign said:
The Alabama Policy Institute has had this event scheduled since August 16th and it was confirmed by both candidates by August 23rd. This comes on the heels of the cancelation of the News Radio 105.5 WERC last week. Another debate is scheduled on Friday, September 22 at 7:00 p.m. CST and is hosted by AARP and Raycom Media pending no refusal from the Moore campaign.
Expounding on the cancellation, Strange for Senate spokesman Cameron Foster, added:
“Another week, another canceled debate from Roy Moore. The only time we’ve seen him in the last three weeks was when he was flying to Washington D.C. for a fundraiser with NeverTrumper Alan Keyes. Roy Moore, like so many other career politicians, must believe he is above answering questions from Alabama citizens. What is Roy Moore afraid of? What is Roy Moore hiding? Voters should ask themselves, if Roy Moore refuses to answer questions from voters, will he listen to their concerns in elected office?”
In Moore’s press release, however, he was adamant that Crosby’s involvement in the SLF is grounds for him to cancel the September 21 debate at Samford, stating:
The Senate Leadership Fund is responsible for millions of dollars’ worth of malicious and false ads designed to stain my character and reputation. I have asked my opponent repeatedly to denounce these ads against me, my wife, and my family, as he knows that the content contained therein is completely false. However, Luther Strange has not done so. In fact, he has warmly embraced McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund and Caleb Crosby as his key allies. The fact that this debate was being hosted by the Treasurer of a group so partial to my opponent’s personal interests is yet another Washington trick – the same kind of tricks despised by the people of Alabama.
Despite all this, Moore was insistent that he wanted to debate Strange, but only on his terms. As Moore wrote:
“Over the course of the primary election, Luther Strange failed to show up to 8 different forums where I and the other candidates put our positions and candidacy on the line, which is a fact well known to the Alabama press corps who attended these forums. I find it hypocritical that Luther Strange is now suggesting that I am the one who is ducking debates. We shall see who is ducking debates…I propose a public debate, mano a mano, no tricks, no moderators, no questions from the press. Just Luther Strange and me on the stage presenting our issues and the opponents’ responses thereto.”
To this, Foster replied on behalf of the Strange for Senate Campaign saying:
“It is extremely telling – and frankly, a little embarrassing – when any candidate demands a ‘no questions from the press’ debate. That said, our campaign believes the voters deserve every opportunity to hear from both candidates in a fair and open forum. Our campaign will agree to Roy Moore’s conditions, as long as a mutually agreed upon person will act as a mediator and the Moore campaign accepts the invitation from AARP and Raycom on their debate. Arguing over petty issues like format, topics, or moderators is a political game Democrats play and should have no place in this election. The voters deserve a debate, so our campaign will do whatever we can to make sure that happens.
“Below is a list of extremely reputable journalists and community leaders in Alabama that would be approved by our campaign to act as the mediator. We ask that the Moore campaign respond quickly so the necessary steps can be made to put this event on.”
Michael Hart, Jeff “JT” Tyson, Dan Morris, Scott Beason, Bryan Lyman, Scott Chambers, BJ Ellis, Larry Huff, Don Dailey, Cameron Smith, Kim Chandler, Paul Gattis, John Sharp, Terry Lathan, Steve Flowers, Bob Grip, or any anchor at ABC 33/40, NBC 13, or WSFA (networks previously confirmed for the API forum)
Nevertheless, at the end of his press Tuesday release, Moore threw down the gauntlet for Strange to agree on a debate the way Moore wants it conducted, writing:
“I ask Luther Strange’s Campaign Chairman to contact my Campaign Chairman, Bill Armistead, to accept my offer.”
After all the back and forth, that’s exactly what Luther Strange has done—but with one suggestion: that Moore considers a second debate on Raycom’s terms.
In a Memo emailed to Yellowhammer moments ago, Strange for Senate spokesman Cameron Foster wrote this to Moore’s Campaign Chairman, Bill Armistead:
The Strange for Senate Campaign is extremely disappointed in how Roy Moore has handled the basic request to debate the issues for Alabama voters. That said, we are committed to the voters and will accommodate Mr. Moore’s ridiculous demands if that is the only way to get him to come out of hiding. We strongly encourage Judge Moore to also commit to the Raycom Debate in whatever format they feel necessary. This will allow Judge Moore to debate in the format he has so adamantly demands while still allowing Raycom to host the debate they have been working on for a month.
Voters throughout the state deserve to hear from the two candidates in this race and need Roy Moore’s answers to the legal questions surrounding his foundation. Voters want to know why his foundation cheated a Christian fundraising firm who they hired to raise money off of Roy Moore’s antics and who paid the court judgment of almost half a million dollars. This political maneuvering needs to stop so we can give the voters the information they need to make an informed vote on September 26th.
We ask that you please hold your preferred formatted debate on Thursday September 21st in any major media market in the state since both candidates previously indicated that date would work. We ask that the Moore campaign respond quickly so the necessary steps can be made.
For now, at least, it appears the two men may actually meet after all. If that happens, Yellowhammer will report the details. In the meantime, please stand by…
Six days ago, Hurricane Irma’s massive reach covered a 364-mile footprint, roughly the size of Pennsylvania. With that breadth, she slammed into the Caribbean as a full-strength, Category 5 hurricane, sowing widespread destruction and claiming the lives of 38 people.
According to Quartz.com, “Irma was the strongest storm ever on record in the Atlantic, outside of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico” and it was “the most powerful hurricane ever to hit the Leeward Islands, including Barbuda, Anguilla, and Saint Martin.”
Next, the monstrous storm careened into Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, but still packing a punch of 130-mph winds and massive waves, hammering Miami, Naples, Tampa Bay, and other towns across the Sunshine state. CNN reported that FEMA is estimating an amazing 25% of homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed and another 65% have major damage. The network reported that 15 million people still have no power in the state, although a subsequent CNN story said 2.3 million Floridians had power restored today.
Yesterday, Irma continued her onslaught of heavy rain and high winds through northern Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and eastern Alabama, causing flooding, power outages, and downed trees. Charleston, S.C. saw a nearly 10-foot storm surge, and for the first time since Hurricane Hugo in 1989, historic homes along the city’s battery and famous Rainbow Row took on water. More than 1.3 million homes had no power in Georgia and 161,000 South Carolinian’s were left in the dark.
According to ABC News, Irma claimed 12 lives in the U.S. in addition to the 38 in the Caribbean.
Now characterized by Weather.com as a “post-tropical cyclone,” Irma is a shadow of its weekend strength and is now dumping a steady soaking over north Alabama, while the rest of the state, along with our southern neighbors, begins to dry out and clean up.
Alabama Power estimates 71,000 of their customers were affected by Irma. At 9:00 am today they Tweeted: “This morning we’re shifting crews to help in the hardest hit areas. 20,000 outages statewide.” An hour ago, they updated the situation, Tweeting, “Our crews have worked since yesterday to restore service to nearly 57,000 customers” and added in a second post, “A reminder, our customer service team is listening here from 7a-10p on weekdays and 8a-9p on weekends. #PowerTo #Alabama.”
Before Irma made landfall, over 6 million of Florida’s 20 million residents were ordered to evacuate the state, and many came to Alabama. Today, they’re determining when and how to head home. In counties surrounding the Florida Keys, 320 shelters are offering aid and refuge to at least 54,000 residents in need.
For those wondering about gas prices, the GasBuddy App tracks prices at different stations and indicates which ones are distributing fuel. With respect to air travel, Irma forced the cancellation of 12,587 flights Sunday and some airlines are now waiving change fees as customers scramble to reschedule their flights.
As we reported yesterday, President Trump acknowledged that an emergency exists in the State of Alabama due to Irma and has ordered Federal assistance to supplement “State, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Irma beginning on September 8, 2017, and continuing.”
Thankfully, Irma didn’t hit Alabama as hard as originally expected, so many in the Yellowhammer state are now turning their attention to their southern neighbors to offer a helping hand—just as they did to thousands of Texans in the wake of Harvey.
Editor’s Note:Anna Grace Moore contributed to this article.
Strange Attacks Establishment in New TV Spot Entitled “MAD”
The Strange for Senate campaign announced today that it’s releasing a new TV ad for the Republican special primary run-off election for U.S. Senate.
In the ad entitled “Mad,” Luther Strange emphasizes his frustration with the Establishment and career politicians in Washington, D.C. for standing in the way of President Donald Trump’s agenda
“Like many Alabamians, I am mad with obstructionists – from both parties – who are stalling President Trump’s conservative agenda,” said Luther Strange. “I stand with the President and his plan to Make America Great Again, and will fight to help him build the wall and drain the swamp. I’ve taken on the swamp before in Montgomery – and won. I will do the same with President Trump in Washington.”
Alabama Court Gives Minor Permission To Have Abortion Without Parental Consent
Alabama state law says minors must get permission from their parents to have an abortion (§ 26-21-1 et seq., Ala. Code 1975).
The statute does, however, say that minors can obtain waivers from the court that allow them to have abortions without parental consent under two broad and subjective exceptions. The exceptions under which waivers are granted are:
1. The court rules that the minor is “mature enough” and “well-informed enough” to have an abortion without her parents
2. The court rules that the abortion is in the minor’s best interest
On August 16th, a minor in Alabama asked a juvenile court judge for such a waiver. The judge didn’t explicitly deny her request but did rule that while the minor was mature enough (meeting the first condition), the abortion was not in her best interest (condition 2). For this reason, the ruling was interpreted as a “no”, so the minor’s attorneys promptly appealed.
Yesterday, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals overruled the lower court’s decision, stating that the minor must only meet one of the conditions for a waiver to be granted, not both. In other words, because the juvenile court judge ruled that the minor met the first condition, the appellate court granted her the right to have the abortion without the consent of her parents.
In its opinion, the court of appeals reiterated the basis of its decision, stating:
Our supreme court has held that “the petition for waiver of parental consent may be denied only if the court specifically finds both that (1) the minor is immature and not well enough informed to make the abortion decision on her own, and (2) that performance of the abortion would not be in her best interests.”
Candidates Making Waves in Alabama’s Lt. Governor’s Race
The Republican primary for Alabama’s Lieutenant Governor’s race continues to draw the attention of voters, as evidenced by strong campaign donations in August. Here’s how each candidate’s fundraising efforts stacked up:
William Ainsworth (R)
State Representative Will Ainsworth is currently leading the fundraising race, raising $92,000 in August. Ainsworth now has over a million dollars on hand in his campaign fund—$1,031,731.32 to be exact. This is an impressive number considering that his war chest is larger than anyone in the Governor’s race, except perhaps for Kay Ivey with whom he’s neck and neck. In a press release on this achievement, Ainsworth said:
“Our campaign has attracted support from all corners of the state, and I am deeply grateful for the campaign contributions and offers of volunteer support that have been collected in my travels across Alabama. I am determined that our campaign will have the resources necessary to be highly competitive in the Republican primary, a run-off if one is necessary, and the general election, and this finance report shows we are keeping that commitment.”
Mary Scott Hunter (R)
Mary Scott Hunter, who represents Alabama’s District 8 on the State Board of Education, has also generated notable fundraising traction. She’s second behind Ainsworth in cash contributions, raising an additional $73,362.77 in August. This brings the balance of her campaign fund to $194,120.19. On these achievements, Hunter said:
I am incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support from across Alabama. We have met and exceeded our goals every month, and our momentum has only continued to grow. This is going to be statewide grassroots campaign, and my supporters reflect that.
Twinkle Cavanaugh (R)
Public Service Commissioner Twinkle Cavanaugh joined the Lieutenant Governor’s race last month, after moving over from the Governor’s race when it became apparent Kay Ivey would seek a full term. Cavanaugh raised $13,050 in August and has a whopping $587,570.23 on hand, mostly from personal funds.
Benjamin “Rusty” Glover (R)
Rusty Glover has represented Alabama’s 34th district in the Alabama Senate since 2006. Glover raised $6,125 in August and has $56,406.67 in his campaign fund.
In a White House news release, President Trump announced sixteen nominations for federal judgeships today, and Alabama jurists comprise a fourth of that list.
The four Alabamians nominated to serve on federal courts are as follows:
Jeffrey Beaverstock—nominated to serve as District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. Mr. Beaverstock is a partner in the Mobile, law office of Burr & Forman, LLP, where his practice focuses on civil and commercial litigation in State and Federal courts. Mr. Beaverstock was active duty in the U.S. Army for four years, serving as an Airborne Ranger Infantry Officer. Since leaving active duty, he’s served in the U.S. Army Reserve, and is now a Lieutenant Colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Army (Reserve) and is the Chief of Contract and Administrative Law for the 377th Theater Sustainment Command. Mr. Beaverstock earned his B.A. from The Citadel in South Carolina, where he was selected as the Distinguished Military Graduate and as the Most Outstanding Army Cadet. He earned his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law, where he served as managing editor of the Alabama Law Review.
Emily Coody Marks—nominated to serve as a District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Emily Marks is a partner in the Montgomery, Alabama, law office of Ball, Ball, Matthews & Novak, P.A., where she has practiced since 1998. She specializes in labor and employment law, civil rights law, and appellate law and she lectures on these topics before employers and other members of the bar. Mrs. Marks earned her B.A., magna cum laude, from Spring Hill College, and her J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law, where she served as chair of the John A. Campbell Moot Court Board and as a senior editor of the University of Alabama Law & Psychology Review.
Terry F. Moorer—nominated to serve as a District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. Judge Terry F. Moorer currently serves as a Magistrate Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, a post he’s held for ten years. Before his current judgeship, Judge Moorer served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Middle District of Alabama, as a Command Judge Advocate in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, and as an attorney in the Office of Staff Judge Advocate in Fort Rucker, Alabama. Judge Moorer earned his Associate of Arts from the Marion Military Institute, his B.A. from Huntington College, and his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law.
Brett Joseph Talley—nominated to serve as a District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Brett Talley serves as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy. Before joining the Department of Justice, Mr. Talley served for two years as the Deputy Solicitor General in the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. Before joining the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, Mr. Talley served as a speechwriter for U.S. Senator Rob Portman and as a Senior Writer for Mitt Romney’s Presidential campaign. Mr. Talley worked as an associate in the prestigious Washington, D.C., law office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Early in his career, he was also a law clerk for Judge Joel F. Dubina on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and for Judge L. Scott Coogler of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. Mr. Talley earned his B.A., in philosophy and history, summa cum laude, from the University of Alabama, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he served as an articles editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.
“Four months ago, I was sworn in as the 54th Governor of the State of Alabamahere hasn’t been a more humbling moment in my life…I took over at one of that darkest times in our state’s memory. I’m proud to say we’ve steadied the ship. Now it’s time to steer it to continued conservative progress and prosperity.”
Ivey added that growing up on a farm helped shaped her perspective today, saying: “On the farm, talk is cheap. I learned the importance of a hard day’s work. Of faith. Of helping our neighbors. And of keeping your word—because sometimes, that’s all you’ve got,”
One of those candidates, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, issued a press release on the heels of Ivey’s announcement saying, “I welcome Governor Ivey to the discussions we have been having over the last few months – conversations about jobs, infrastructure, and education. Since I announced in April my intention to run for governor, I’ve traveled the state and shared my plan on how to improve job creation and recruitment statewide, what it takes to make better infrastructure investments, and how to create an education system that will power job growth for the next generation of students.”
Another 2018 candidate, Birmingham minister Scott Dawson, added: “I welcome Governor Ivey to the grand conversation on the future of Alabama. Since June I have met with thousands who tell me they want a return to values we can be proud of, improving education, jobs and our quality of life. They want an end to the corruption that has plagued our state. People tell me they are tired of politicians who have all the answers but solve nothing. I believe that we must turn the ship of state, not continue the current course. I thank Governor Ivey for her service and I look forward to hearing her plans to change the course in Alabama.”
Conservative Leaders Call For End To SPLC’s “Hatewatch”
Edwin Meese, Heritage Foundation (L), Tony Perkins, FRC (R)
National conservative leaders published an open letter today from the website of the Family Research Council (FRC) that asked the mainstream media to stop using data from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hatewatch” database.
“We are writing to you as individuals or as representatives of organizations who are deeply troubled by several recent examples of the media’s use of data…The SPLC is a discredited, left-wing, political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a ‘hate group’ label of its own invention and application that is not only false and defamatory, but that also endangers the lives of those targeted with it…All reputable news organizations should immediately stop using the SPLC descriptions of individuals and organizations based on the SPLC’s obvious political prejudices.”
Near the end of the letter, the signers pointed out the hypocrisy of the media for using the SPLC’s hate map, as they wrote:
We wonder how the media would react if a corresponding situation arose on the center-right of the political spectrum.For example,let’s assume that congressional debate were raging as to whether or not taxpayers should continue to fund Planned Parenthood, which receives about $500 million a year from Congress. If a national pro-life advocacy organization were to release a map with caricatures of abortionists and title it, “Here’s Where the Baby Killers are Located in Your State,” would the media run the story? Would it reprint the map and discuss the location of these “pro-death” doctors throughout the news day? Clearly, it would not.
The letter also shed light on the SPLC’s hypocrisy for designing “hatewatch” which denigrates those who merely hold a different point-of-view.
This move follows last week’s reports of the Alabama-based SPLC transferring massive sums of money off-shore, notwithstanding its 501(c)3 nonprofit status.
Hightower Declares Candidacy as Fundraising Heats Up in Alabama Governor’s Race
State Senator Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) officially declared himself as a candidate today for Alabama’s 2018 gubernatorial race, as he competes with the other candidates in the fundraising marathon.
Meanwhile, questions about Kay Ivey’s fundraising capability seemed to be answered in August, as the incumbent Governor—who took office in April after Robert Bentley’s resignation—broke the $1-million-dollar mark this month, thanks in large part to major contributions.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle continues to trail Ivey closely with a month-end balance exceeding $825,000, and Hightower laid a strong base preceding his announcement today, with an ending balance of $505,283, after raising some $45,000 in cash contributions in August.
Minister Scott Dawson finished third in actual cash raised in August, with over $52,000 in new contributions, as he continues to tap a strong grassroots base, closing out the month with a balance of $254,135.
Birmingham businessman Josh Jones closed the month with a balance of $246,957, while David Carrington finished the month with a balance of $224,227.83.
As Hightower declared his candidacy today, he stated:
I have never been a political insider, or a Montgomery good-ole-boy. And I’ve never been content with the status quo or just maintaining. Friends, that’s not what Alabama wants, and that’s not what Alabama deserves.
As a businessman, I am blessed to work with many in our community, and throughout the State. Together, we have done much with what God has given us. The phrase, “Alone I can go fast, but together we can go far”, comes to mind. And we have much further to go, but we need to place the foundational blocks in place now, for our future.. “… Mobile has given much to me and my family, and now I want to give back. And what better place to announce my intention to do so. A special place situated on what is historically called the Bay of the Holy Spirit, which now holds a proud military vessel where so many of Alabama’s soldiers served as our nation’s greatest generation. Served with Honor. It is because I want to serve You….. AND Alabama that I announce today, my candidacy for Governor of the great State of Alabama!
In doing so I promise to you that I will be a Governor that will bring honor to you, and to God. And I’ll bring people with me that will make you proud of your capital…”
The Ford Faction” has an INCREDIBLE guest line-up this week on Yellowhammer Radio
Wednesday at 1, Ford Faction and Chris Reid will interview Alice Martin, candidate for attorney general. Martin will be in studio to discuss her vision for solving Alabama’sopioid epidemic.
Wednesday at 2, Ford Faction and Chris are interviewing Sirius-XM host Louise Schiavone, MS on the challenge of communicating in a hyper-partisan environment. Schiavone is a senior lecturer at Johns Hopkins University Graduate Business School in Baltimore and Washington.
Thursday at 12, Ford Faction and Chris are interviewing John Ziegler, writer for Mediaite (based out of LA). The two will discuss Ziegler’s recent article on Glenn Beck’s refusal to endorse and support President Trump and how that decision has cost Beck’s organization. It was announced this week that 20% of Glenn Beck’s staff at The Blaze was laid off due to declines in profit.
Thursday at 12:30, Ford Faction and Chris are interviewing Joshua Thifault. Thifault works with Turning Point USA (a conservative campus group). Thifault will give his take on the end of free speech on campuses.
Thursday at 2:00, Ford Faction and Chris are interviewing Ryan Fournier, Fox News Contributor and former president of Students for Trump. Fournier will describe his unbelievable journey leading a national Trump organization and how his life has changed since becoming a Fox News contributor.
Friday at 1, Ford Faction and Chris will interview John Malcolm, VP of the Institute for Constitutional Government at the Heritage Foundation. The two will discuss the assault on religious freedom that’s taking place in our court system and what changes to expect in the coming years.
Finally, Friday at 2, Ford Faction and Chris will be interviewing Taylor Wesley, former Miss Auburn and nationally renowned speaker on substance abuse issues.
For which interview are YOU most excited?! This week’s guests will be calling in from L.A., D.C., Charlotte, and New York. Please tune into Yellowhammer News’s talk radio show “The Ford Faction” to hear our incredible line-up of guests!