The Wire

  • Three takeaways from Alabama’s Runoff Election

    Excerpt:

    With Alabama’s primary election runoffs now in the books, here are three takeaways from the results.

    North Alabama has spoken.
    When this election cycle began, it became evident that north Alabama saw a window of opportunity to increase its influence.  The results from the Republican primary runoff have shown the electorate in that area of the state was eager to flex its muscle.

    Will Ainsworth pulled out an impressive come-from-behind victory in the Lt. Governor’s race. Steve Marshall enjoyed a resounding win in his bid to retain the Attorney General’s office.

  • On Roby’s win: One false media narrative dies, a new one is born

    Excerpt:

    Like Lucy van Pelt of Peanuts comic strip fame repeatedly pulling the football away from Charlie Brown as he lines up to kick it, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) once again has shown you can’t beat her in a Republican primary.

    Similar to when she defeated “Gather Your Armies” Rick Barber in the 2010 GOP primary and “Born Free American Woman” Becky Gerritson in the 2016 GOP primary, Roby defeated former Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright for a second time on Tuesday night, this time by a whopping 36 points.

    Heading into yesterday, many national media reporters were sent into Alabama’s second congressional district looking at the possibility that Roby might have to answer to a revolt for not sticking with then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on the infamous Billy Bush weekend during the 2016 presidential campaign.

  • Mo Brooks Wins FreedomWorks’ Prestigious 2017 FreedomFighter Award

    Excerpt from a Rep. Mo Brooks news release:

    Tuesday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) was one of only 31 members of the U.S. House of Representatives awarded the prestigious 2017 FreedomFighter Award by FreedomWorks, a leading conservative organization with more than six million members nationwide. Only members of Congress who score better than 90% on the FreedomWorks scorecard receive the FreedomFighter Award. Congressman Brooks’ FreedomWorks score was in the top 4% of all Congressmen in 2017.

    Brooks said, “FreedomWorks is a leading organization in the conservative movement. I thank them for their work keeping members of Congress accountable and scoring key House floor votes which helps the American people better understand the impact of those votes. I was proud to receive the prestigious FreedomWorks 2017 FreedomFighter Award for my voting record in 2017. If America is to maintain its place as the greatest country in world history, more members of Congress must fight for the foundational principles that made America great. I’m fighting in Congress for those principles, and I’m glad to have a partner as effective as FreedomWorks in the fight.”

4 months ago

Bill advances to allow Bible elective in Alabama schools

(Pixabay)

Alabama’s public schools are a step closer to offering an elective examining the Bible and its influence on history, government, law, literature, and culture after a state senate committee approved a bill authorizing such courses earlier this week.

“The Bible has had an immense impact on every aspect of our culture,” said the bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Tim Melson, R- Florence, in a statement. “It has informed our laws, our literature, and guided many of this nation’s greatest leaders.”

The details:

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— The classes would be designed to “teach students about Bible characters, poetry, and narratives that are useful for understanding history and contemporary society and culture, including art, music, social mores, oration, and public policy,” according to the bill.

— Courses could be offered in grades 6-12.

— School would be allowed to display “artifacts, monuments, symbols, and texts” related to the Bible if they are related to what’s being studied.

— Teachers would be expected to remain “religious neutrality” and not show favoritism to any specific religious perspective.

The proposed courses:

— Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament of the Bible.

— The New Testament.

— Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament of the Bible.

The bill now heads to the Senate floor for consideration.

@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter

(Image: Pixabay)

4 months ago

The only solution to gun violence in schools is … more guns in schools

(YHN/Pixabay)

As I drove my five children to school this morning I heard on the radio that the bill allowing teachers to carry guns might be debated today on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives.

I’ve had my share of serious concerns about the proposal — training, oversight, unintended consequences — and have remained mostly unsure how we should proceed.

Until a few minutes ago.

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My youngest wanted me to walk him to class, and when his little hand passed from mine to his teacher’s — and I felt that familiar sense of worry that all good fathers feel when leaving their children — I imagined … just for a moment … that his teacher was wearing a holstered sidearm.

And I felt a genuine sense of relief.

It’s time for our lawmakers to turn that fantasy into reality so parents across Alabama can feel that same sense of relief, knowing that if some insane shooter tries to harm our children they’ll at least stand a fighting chance because some of their teachers will be armed.

The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Will Ainsworth (R-Guntersville), will need as much flexibility and local control as possible to avoid becoming a hinderance rather than a help, though. It already allows local school systems to determine if they want to arm their teachers, and that’s a good start. That way, if a community doesn’t like how their system decides, they can take it up with their locally-elected school board.

Still, lawmakers will likely need to make further adjustments next year once we’ve seen how the would-be law is implemented. There will surely be some tweaks tomorrow, but that should not be cause for complete inaction today.

Listen folks: In a sane world I’d rather see a pencil-packing teacher rather than a pistol-packing teacher, but we don’t live in a sane world.

The neo-Marxist left, with the help of libertarians and the acquiescence of lazy conservatives, has attacked and weakened our traditions and promoted filth and disorder everywhere, especially in our government-run schools. What we saw in Parkland, Florida, is a direct result of their campaign to reshape our society … and it’s certainly being reshaped.

There’s nothing left for those who seek to live in peace but to arm ourselves, and those who watch over our children.

I hate it, but that’s the reality we face.

And just as the only solution to hate speech is more speech, because we’re not getting rid of the First Amendment, the only solution to gun violence is more guns, because we’re not getting rid of the Second Amendment, either.

Whatever emerges from this legislative session, if it doesn’t end with more guns in schools — either by arming teachers, a volunteer security force, or more campus cops — then we have failed.

And the left would take our society another step down the road to ruin.

@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter.

(Image: File)

4 months ago

Alabama wins private property rights case against Obama-era regulations

In a victory for private property rights this week, the federal government agreed to reconsider rules adopted during the Obama-era that unreasonably restrict the freedom of Americans to use their land.

“We are encouraged that the Trump administration has agreed to revisit these rules, which threaten property owners’ rights to use any land that the federal government could dream that an endangered species might ever inhabit,” Alabama Attorney General Marshall said in a statement.

Why this matters: Under these rules, unelected federal bureaucrats could designate a piece of private property as “critical habitat” for an endangered species even if the land doesn’t contain that particular species and, moreover, doesn’t even contain some of the features needed to support that species. Use of the land would then be severely limited. 

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The details:

— The state filed a lawsuit, Alabama v. National Marine Fisheries Service, in November of 2016 challenging the rules, calling them “an unlawful federal overreach.”

— Nearly 20 other states joined the lawsuit, along with four large trade associations.

— The settlement forces federal agencies to submit revised rules for public review within 60 days and retains our freedom to file another lawsuit if their new rules are as excessive as the old ones.

@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter

4 months ago

Alabama shouldn’t go ‘fire, ready, aim’ before rejecting or accepting bills to arm teachers

Conservatives support limited government not because we dislike public services and institutions, but because we know government usually gets things wrong.

The higher the stakes, the messier the screw-ups, and that goes double when government reacts out of fear or anger, and especially for laws passed or rejected in haste.

Prudence. Doubt. Caution. Foresight. Wisdom — these are the qualities that should guide the conservative mind when facing a crisis. And these are the qualities that should guide Alabama’s leaders as they determine if, and how, we should arm our state’s teachers.

Rushing to say ‘yes’ to a bill because we’re worried about what could happen isn’t prudent, but rushing to say ‘no’ to a bill because we’re worried about what could happen isn’t prudent, either.

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We have to move deliberately, methodically to get this right and sewn-up tight, because a good idea, if composed shoddily or implemented poorly, could be impractical at best or harmful at worst. And if we hesitate because a few influential individuals or powerful organizations don’t like the basic idea, then we’d have missed the opportunity to make a change for the better.

Right now, our lawmakers are considering two very ambitious bills:

State Rep. Will Ainsworth, R-Guntersville, introduced one that would allow teachers and school administrators to carry firearms once they completed a “basic school policing” training program approved by the Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission.

Another bill, offered by State Rep. Allen Farley, R-McCalla, would extend that permission to school staff and even volunteers once they were vetted and trained by local law enforcement. That bill is modeled after a law already on the books in rural Franklin County.

Both bills are promising.

Both bills would give the defenseless a fighting chance.

And both bills deserve to be thoroughly debated in both chambers of our State Legislature until something near a consensus — at least among conservatives — can be reached.

There was a public hearing on the issue this morning in Montgomery where lawmakers heard directly from concerned citizens.

That was a step forward.

Let’s hope our leaders listened, and … very carefully … take the next step.

@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter

4 months ago

Alabama Rep. Martha Roby’s reelection campaign endorsed by National Right to Life Committee

U.S. Representative Martha Roby’s re-election campaign was recently endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s oldest and largest pro-life organization.

Roby, a Republican from Montgomery, has scored a perfect 100 percent prolife voting record since coming to Congress in 2011, according to the committee’s Legislative Action Center.

“All voters who are concerned with the right to life and with the protection of the most vulnerable members of the human family should vote to return Representative Roby to Congress so that she can continue to work to advance vital pro-life public policies,” the organization said in a statement.

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Roby’s strong prolife voting record includes:

— Cosponsoring and voting in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, legislation that would ban abortion after 20 weeks.

— Cosponsoring and voting in favor of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a bill that would establish a permanent, government wide policy against funding abortions or health insurance plans that cover them.

— Voting to block federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

 I am grateful to the National Right to Life Committee for its unwavering commitment to the pro-life cause,” Roby said in a statement, “I am honored to have the support of this important organization, and I look forward to continuing our work together on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves.”

The national committee’s state affiliate is Alabama Citizens for Life, according to its website.

Roby is running in the GOP primary against former Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright, State Rep. Barry Moore, former Roy Moore campaign aide Rich Hobson, and Tommy Amason.

The primary in June 5.

@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter

4 months ago

Alabama’s Republican Party should pass a resolution celebrating, not censuring, Sen. Shelby

When my wife and I began editing Yellowhammer News four months ago, we promised to always “tell the truth, even when it hurts, and especially when it’s unpopular.”

We wrote that because we believe honesty is a virtue to be constantly pursued, not only in journalism, but also in every profession and aspect of life. And when found, it should be celebrated, not censured, as an alarming 42 percent of the attendees at the recent statewide meeting of the Alabama Republican Party wanted to do.

The group pushed a resolution denouncing Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, for saying he couldn’t support the candidacy of someone who many fair-minded Alabamians believed was credibly accused of having been a serial sexual harasser of young women.

Thankfully, 58 percent of our party’s members at the meeting voted to “indefinitely postpone” consideration of the measure.

But why so much residual anger at someone for simply being honest?

When Shelby was asked about the race shortly before the election, the senator said he “couldn’t vote for Roy Moore” and instead would write-in the name of a “distinguished Republican” on the ballot.

Shelby, like many others (some who only spoke in hushed anonymity or avoided comment altogether), believed in his heart that Moore would have done more harm to Alabama than good. So instead of sheepishly avoiding the question, he answered truthfully and therefore, in doing so with full knowledge of the coming backlash, acted courageously.

Isn’t that what we seek from our elected representatives?

But because Shelby spoke honestly, supporters of the recent failed resolution blame him for Moore’s defeat.

Having a single senator tell the truth wasn’t what sunk Moore’s candidacy. The judge lacked a coherent communication strategy and failed to seriously campaign for the job.

That’s it. Period.

Three quick yet telling examples:

— During the final crucial days of the campaign when Moore should have been busy getting seen by voters in the most populated areas, he chose to only appear at rural churches and a couple of out-of-the-way rallies. (As a contrast, Donald Trump held five rallies a day in key battleground areas in the run up to his victory. That’s how it’s done.)

— Instead of deploying campaign spokesmen to overwhelm local talk radio and television speaking to actual Alabama voters, they were wasted with interviews on national television with the likes of Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper. Why? Their viewers in New York City weren’t voting in our election.

— Yellowhammer News even offered the judge’s campaign as much room on our website as they’d like to make their case, out of fairness since I wrote some pieces critical of Moore. Did they take advantage of that opportunity? No.

Had the judge aggressively campaigned in those final weeks – getting out and talking with voters, speaking directly to them, bypassing the media – he’d have easily made up the 22,000 votes he lost by.

But … if some wish to ignore those hard lessons and give Shelby credit for stopping a runaway train from crashing into the Senate and taking Alabama’s interests down with it, then fine.

For my part, I thank Shelby for having courage and telling “the truth, even when it hurts, and especially when it’s unpopular.”

Shelby swatted away this controversy like an annoying fly. His years of service and leadership have given him the power and influence to do so with ease.

Meanwhile, those of us coming up in our state’s conservative movement should take heart, and take a lesson, from Shelby’s stance.

And keep on telling the truth.

(Image: Senator Richard Shelby/Facebook)

@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter

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4 months ago

Alabama contractors, veterinarians endorse Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh for lieutenant governor

(Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh/Facebook)

Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh recently picked up two important endorsements in her bid to become Alabama’s next lieutenant governor, according to a news release from her campign.

The Alabama Associated General Contractors and the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association endorsed her candidacy.

Cavanaugh, who is currently president of the state’s Public Service Commission, already counts significant endorsements from the powerful Business Council of Alabama along with Manufacture Alabama.

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“I am honored to receive the endorsements of job creators across our great state,” Cavanaugh said in a news release. “Having owned several small businesses, I have signed both sides of a paycheck and am committed to sound conservative policies that allow job creators to do what they do best.”

The Alabama Associated General Contractors has more than 1,000 members across the state, and the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association represents about 700 veterinarians statewide, according to the news release.

Cavanaugh is running for the GOP nomination against State Rep. Will Ainsworth, R-Guntersville, and State Sen. Rusty Glover, R-Semmes.

The primary is June 5.

(Sign-up for our daily newsletter here and never miss another article from Yellowhammer News.)

4 months ago

Will Ainsworth first lieutenant governor hopeful to air campaign ads, launches statewide radio effort

(Will Ainsworth for Lt. Governor)


 
 
It begins.

Will Ainsworth became the first candidate for lieutenant governor to go up on the air after launching a statewide radio campaign Thursday.

The conservative state representative from Guntersville is airing spots on nearly 30 affiliate stations in the Yellowhammer Radio News Network, penetrating every major media market and reaching more than a million listeners statewide during the next week, said the network’s CEO, B.J. Ellis.

Ainsworth is running in the Republican Primary against Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, the president of the Alabama Public Service Commission, and State Sen. Rusty Glover of Semmes.

The ad, which focuses on Ainsworth’s recent effort to pass legislation allowing teachers to carry firearms, can be heard below:

“More gun control is not the answer,” Ainsworth says in the ad. “As a dad, I know we have to keep our kids safe, but leaving all of the guns to the bad guys is not the answer.”

“That’s why I wrote a bill to allow specially-trained teachers to carry firearms on school campuses,” he continued. “Heaven forbid a shooter ever enters an Alabama school, but if they do, we owe it to our kids to protect them with more than a No. 2 pencil.”

The primary is June 5.

@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter

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4 months ago

Steve Marshall nabs manufacturing association’s endorsement in Alabama attorney general’s race

(Marshall Campaign)

 
 
Manufacture Alabama announced Monday that it has endorsed Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall in his campaign to retain his office, according to a news release from the group.

“Steve Marshall has proven himself as a champion for manufacturers and has a distinguished track record of advocating for our members,” said George Clark, president of Manufacture Alabama.

Marshall is running for the GOP nomination against Alice Martin, Chess Bedsole and Troy Kong.

Manufacture Alabama is “focused on the competitive, legislative, regulatory and operational interests and needs of manufacturers and their partner industries and businesses” in the state, the release said.

“Manufacturing is incredibly important to our state’s economy, and I am honored to have received the endorsement of our state’s only manufacturing association,” Marshall added.

The Republican primary is June 5.

(@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter)

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4 months ago

Alabama loves President Trump but his tariffs could cost state millions of dollars and thousand of jobs in soybeans alone

(Pixabay)

(Pixabay)

 
 
President Donald Trump’s highest approval rating is in Alabama, so it’s ironic that our state’s economy could take a major hit thanks to any trade war resulting from his steel and aluminum tariffs, and nowhere is that clearer than in the soybean industry.

China has a massive appetite for soy-based products and is the world’s number one importer of the bean, and Alabama is a massive supplier … for now.

Bottom line up front: Alabama’s farmers could lose big if China retaliates and buys its soybeans elsewhere, and the trickle-down effects could be felt throughout our state’s entire economy.

The details, here in Alabama:

— Soybeans partially contribute to nearly 11,000 jobs in Alabama, according to an Alabama Cooperative Extension System economic impact study.

— Alabama’s soybean farmers planted nearly a half million acres and increased production by 21 percent in 2017.

— Alabama’s soybean crop has been surging in value, rising from $129 million in 2016 to more than $155 million last year, according to a National Agricultural Statistics Service report.

The details, over there in China:

— China was the largest importer of U.S. agricultural products in 2016, and soybeans were at the top of the list with $14.2 billion in purchases, according to the USDA.

— But China’s state-run newspaper, the Global Times, published an editorial shortly after the last presidential election warning that China will take a “tit-for-tat approach” to any unfair trade actions and that “soybean … imports will be halted.”

Meanwhile, farmers across the nation are worried about what comes next.

“Agriculture is going to be paying the price for the protection of the steel and aluminum industries,” said Herb Karst, a spokesman for Farmers for Free Trade, in a CNNMoney article.

Will the Chinese keep importing soybeans from Alabama while we place tarrifs on their products?

“The (soybean) market is huge. There are other countries other than the United States,” said Liu Yonghao, a senior executive of a major Chinese agricultural company, during a recent briefing.

Yonghao was alluding to the fact that Brazil’s soybeans crop has made sizable gains in recent years thanks to increased Chinese investment.

(@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter)

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5 months ago

Alabama’s Democratic candidates for governor want to tax … the poor! — J. Pepper Bryars

 

(Opinion) Imagine if Alabama’s Democratic candidates for governor campaigned on a tax increase to be paid mostly by the poor.

Would they win?

Probably not, but that’s essentially what’s being proposed by former state Supreme Court chief justice Sue Bell Cobb and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.

They’re just labeling it an education lottery to make it sound more palatable.

Call it the Mary Poppins Ploy — “A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down.”

The basic idea behind the plans offered by Cobb and Maddox is that lottery ticket sales would magically fund all sorts of things for education — college scholarships, workforce development opportunities, statewide universal pre-K, assistance for underperforming schools, career tech at high schools, and filling the gap between federal Pell Grants and the actual cost of college tuition.

But as with all things magical, it’s an illusion.

Their smoke and mirrors are concealing this fact — poor families make up a disproportionate number of lottery players, and thus poor families would be a disproportionate part of Cobb and Maddox’s magical revenue-generating machine.

“Those in poverty or near poverty not only are more likely to play the lottery than those with greater means, they also spend a larger percent of their money on average on these games of chance,” wrote David R. Just, a behavioral economics professor at Cornell University, in a CNN opinion article. “We find there are jumps in lottery purchases when the poverty rate increases, when unemployment increases, or when people enroll on welfare.”

But it’s worse than just the poor being a disproportionate source of this new tax lottery.

Some of the revenues collected from the poor through lotteries earmarked for college scholarships actually disproportionally benefit children of middle and upper income earners.

Yes. Poor families would actually be paying for richer kids to go to college.

This is what tax reform looks like on Bizarro World.

We only need to look next door to Georgia for proof.

“Low and moderate income Georgians spent the most on the state’s lottery games, but see the fewest dollars come back to their counties in HOPE scholarships and grants, which are funded by lottery proceeds,” wrote Cedric D. Johnson in an analysis for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. “Instead, counties with higher median income households receive the largest share of HOPE dollars.”

The reverse redistribution is real.

Johnson found that Georgians from counties with the lowest average incomes spent twice as much on lottery tickets than those in counties with the highest average income.

Moreover, the study showed that while middle-income counties provided 39-percent of lottery sales and received only 28-percent of scholarships, the highest income counties provided 46-percent of sales yet received 59-percent of the scholarships. That’s twice as many scholarships for only a 7-point difference in sales.

It’s undeniable. The poor and the middle class pay far more into Georgia’s education lottery scheme than their children get in return.

And it’s a safe bet that the same would happen in Alabama.

Imagine, poor families in Wilcox County buying lottery tickets to fund college tuition for rich kids in Shelby County.

Whether one supports gambling or not, it’s difficult to rationalize a revenue-collecting system that takes from the poor and gives to the children of the not-so-poor.

Or one that takes from the poor at all.

Shameful.

(@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter)

 

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5 months ago

VIDEO: Alabama’s Condi Rice on being pro-Second Amendment: ‘There was no way Bull Connor and the Birmingham police were going to protect you’

Condoleezza Rice appears on The View, March 2018 (YouTube/The View)
Condoleezza Rice appears on The View, March 2018 (YouTube/The View)

 

In an appearance this week on The View, Alabama native Condoleezza Rice explained to the ladies why she supports the Second Amendment and remains against gun registration, and it has to do with growing up in Alabama.

Here’s her story:

— “I was a little girl growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, in the late fifties, early sixties, there was no way that Bull Connor and the Birmingham Police were going to protect you.”

— “And so when White Knight Riders would come through our neighborhood, my father and his friends would take their guns and they’d go to the head of the neighborhood, it’s a little cul-de-sac and they would fire in the air, if anybody came through.”

— “I don’t think they actually ever hit anybody. But they protected the neighborhood. And I’m sure if Bull Connor had known where those guns were he would have rounded them up.”

— “And so, I don’t favor some things like gun registration.”

Watch the video here:

You can’t argue with that.

(J. Pepper Bryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of “American Warfighter.”)

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5 months ago

Ready for Battle? Huntsville mayor is first gubernatorial candidate to surpass 1,000 contributions

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle

 

This week Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle became the first of the four Republican candidates for governor to surpass the 1,000 mark in individual contributions.

His campaign said the milestone was a strong indicator that the mayor has deep and broad support across the state.

“I want to thank everyone that has contributed and helped our campaign reach this major fundraising milestone,” Battle said in a news release. “This shows the kind of support we have across Alabama.”

Battle’s contributions totaled 1,116 as of last week, according to his campaign.

He is running for the GOP nomination against Governor Kay Ivey, State Sen. Bill Hightower of Mobile, and Birmingham evangelist Scott Dawson.

Cash-in-hand totals, according to the most recent campaign finance reports filed with the Alabama Secretary of State’s office:

Ivey: $2,185,000

Battle: $1,301,000

Hightower: $653,000

Dawson: $377,000

The primary is June 5.

(J. Pepper Bryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of “American Warfighter.”)

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5 months ago

I just took the famed Political Compass test and it said that I was a … — J. Pepper Bryars

(Opinion) I’ve been an across-the-board political conservative since I was a teenager.

My older brother used to joke, “It takes Pepper longer to drive somewhere because he’s only capable of making right turns.”

Social issues? Saint John Paul II is my conscience.

Economic issues? Friedrich Hayek is smarter – and perhaps better– than John Maynard Keynes.

And national security? Speak softly … and carry about 20 aircraft carriers.

I’ve never been one to hyphenate or qualify my conservatism to distance myself from a particular individual or wing of our movement (except for Richard Spencer and his Alt Right racist retreads or Alex Jones and his mob of conspiracy theorists – they aren’t conservatives).

But I am conservative and proud of it.

However, a friend recently told me about an interesting test that attempts to nail down one’s political philosophy not in terms of the traditional left-right paradigm, but on a more nuanced compass of beliefs.

Political Compass.

For the creators of the compass – a group of political scientists and writers in the United Kingdom – the traditional left vs. right works fine for economic issues.

“We can show, for example, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Pol Pot, with their commitment to a totally controlled economy, on the hard left,” reads an explanation on the group’s website. “Margaret Thatcher would be well over to the right, but further right still would be someone like that ultimate free marketeer, General Pinochet.”

That’s fairly traditional.

But the difference in this test is the added social dimensions of extreme authoritarianism and extreme libertarianism. Although this test is several years old, those dimensions are quite timely considering how our society is grappling with issues surrounding freedom versus security – guns violence, terrorism, government surveillance, etc.

The compass looks like this:

And here’s where a few of the more notable people from recent history would find themselves on the compass, at least according to its designers.

I just finished the test, which took about five minutes and moved me quickly through questions about international trade, crime and punishment, abortion, parenting, and many more seemingly random but cleverly connected issues.

So what did it say I was?

Here it is: economically right and socially … libertarian.

Libertarian?

Seriously?

I’m the most socially conservative guy I know. I don’t just reject the concept of same-sex marriage; I reject the concept of divorce. That puts me a little to the right of our current pope (I kid, Father. I kid … not really).

Besides, I’ve spent much of my writing career poking fun at those guys (and yes, I say “guys” because something like 95 percent of libertarians are dudes. Don’t believe me? Just attend one of their functions and you’ll see. They’re held in conjunction with your local World of Warcraft meet-up).

And that little red dot looks far closer to the center than it should be.

On the bright side, I guess it’s better than falling on the authoritarian side of the equation.

Still, whatever this test says I am, I’m a conservative.

And still proud of it.

(Did you take the test? Take this post over to Facebook and tell your friends where you scored on the compass.)

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5 months ago

VIDEO: Oh my … watch what happens when a CNN reporter tries to shoot a gun

CNN reporter acts like a fool on the range, Feb. 2018 (CNN/Twitter)
CNN reporter acts like a fool on the range, Feb. 2018 (CNN/Twitter)

(Warning: This is NOT how to hold, aim, shoot or even be anywhere near a firearm.)

Earlier this week CNN aired a segment from Gary Tuchman where the intrepid reporter tried to demonstrate the awesome power of an AR-15 “assault rifle,” which is sort of like a civilian version of the Army’s old M-16.

Problem is, as I learned when Uncle Sam placed an M-16 into my hands when I was 18-years told, they ain’t very powerful. In fact, my 10-year old son’s .410 rabbit-hunting shotgun probably has more of a kick.

But don’t tell that to this reporter, who is just about doing everything, and I mean everything, wrong on the range.

Click the image to watch the ridiculousness:

This is what happens when all you know about firearms is from … the movies. 

Rock on, Reporter McRambo. 

(J. Pepper Bryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of “American Warfighter.”)

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5 months ago

VIDEO: Alabama Rep. Palmer eulogizes Billy Graham from the House floor

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer delivers a speech on the House floor, February 2018 (C-SPAN/YouTube)
U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer delivers a speech on the House floor, February 2018 (C-SPAN/YouTube)

 

Alabama Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) delivered a speech on the House floor Tuesday to remember the legacy of the late Reverend Billy Graham.

At the time, Graham’s body was lying in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol, just a short walk from where Palmer delivered his remarks.

Watch the video here:

Below you’ll find the full text of Palmer’s speech:

“I want to thank my good friend Mr. Hultgren for arranging this opportunity to honor Billy Graham. Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will witness something that we have never seen before –  the laying in honor of the body of an American who was not a government official, didn’t lead a political movement, and wasn’t a war or social movement hero. A nation will mourn a man who was single-minded in his devotion to one thing.

“His life and vocation centered on one thing and one thing only: proclaiming the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ. I hope we pay close attention to this. We will most likely never see it again.  In Mark, Jesus tells his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Few people followed this instruction more faithfully than Reverend Billy Graham, and with as much success and impact.

“Billy Graham has been called “America’s Preacher.” But the fact of the matter is that he was for many decades the most recognized and respected evangelical in the world. Reverend Graham preached the gospel to more than 200 million people during his more than 400 Crusades and rallies in more than 185 countries and territories.

“The impact of those reached through TV, radio, video and the Internet is unquantifiable. Reverend Graham did this sacrificially, giving up many opportunities for other, much more lucrative opportunities that most people would have jumped at, were they given the opportunity. Reverend Graham estimated that he was gone from home for about 60% of his children’s adolescence.

“Despite being a pseudo-single mom, his wife Ruth understood the importance of the sacrifice. She once said, “I’d rather have a little of Bill than a lot of any other man.” In a time when Christians are so often shunned and ridiculed, particularly those who have major followings, Billy Graham was almost universally regarded as a steady and well-respected voice. He appeared on Gallup’s list of Most Admired Men in America 60 times since 1955 – that’s every year since the research firm began asking the question.

“He counseled and covered in prayer every president from Truman to Trump. Former President Clinton said, “When he prays with you in the Oval Office or upstairs in the White House, you feel he is praying for you, not the president.” That’s the magnitude of this man.

“No matter how big or small you were, he cared about you, not your position. Titles and wealth and social stats didn’t matter to Reverend Graham. The only position of a person that mattered to him was their eternal position before God. 

“And race did not matter either. Reverend Graham was courageous. When other church leaders remained silent, he was an outspoken advocate for racial equality, consistently stating, “Christ belongs to all people.” In 1951, he called for the Southern Baptist Convention to accept black students at their colleges. At a 1953 crusade in Tennessee he personally took down ropes segregating the audience. In 1957, during his crusade in New York, he invited Martin Luther King, Jr. to open one night with prayer. Despite his actions, he said he wished he would have done more to help Dr. King. In 1964, just months after the bombing at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, Reverend Graham brought his crusade to Birmingham. Before he agreed to come, Reverend Graham insisted that the audience be integrated. Over 30,000 people attended, making it, at the time, the largest integrated audience in the history of Birmingham. The next year, he spoke to an integrated audience in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with the University of Alabama president Frank Rose and head football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant with him on the stage.

“Mr. Speaker, I don’t believe there is or will be anyone else in our lifetime that so clearly and effectively called people out of spiritual darkness into the light than Billy Graham. Untold millions were exposed to the saving message of the gospel through his ministry. I mourn the void in moral and spiritual authority that, with his death, has been left in this world, but I rejoice in knowing that he is finally at home and at rest with God.

“As it is written about David in Acts 13:36, so it can be said of Billy Graham: “He served God’s purpose for his generation.”

 “Thank you, and I yield back.”

(Sign-up for our daily newsletter here and never miss another article from Yellowhammer News.)

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5 months ago

President Trump’s attack on Jeff Sessions is the only thing that’s ‘disgraceful’ — J. Pepper Bryars

The good ol’ days – Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump campaigning in Madison, 2016
The good ol’ days – Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump campaigning in Madison, 2016

(Opinion) President Donald Trump has unfairly and rudely attacked … yet again … the most consistent, most honorable, and most trustworthy conservative in the country – Alabama’s Jeff Sessions.

Here’s what just happened:

The president didn’t like that our attorney general directed the Justice Department’s inspector general to review how the agency seeks surveillance orders under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (an entirely appropriate action, by the way). The White House wanted something else done, it seems.

So what does the president do?

He launches another Twitter broadside Wednesday against one of his only cabinet members who’s actually implementing the conservative policies Trump was elected to pursue.

We have “Good Trump,” as writer Ben Shapiro says to explain the shifting positive and negative whims of the president, and then we have “Bad Trump.”

This, my friends, is definitely Bad Trump.

Listen, before any trolls go calling me some unhinged #NeverTrumper, know that I just delivered a speech in Birmingham praising the president’s largely conservative record of achievement.

But this right here is contemptible:

Sessions, ever the gentlemen and refusing to be hauled down into the Twitter gutter, issued a statement Wednesday saying that his department “initiated the appropriate process that will ensure complaints against this department will be fully and fairly acted upon if necessary.”

“As long as I am the attorney general,” Sessions said, “I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and constitution.”

Sessions knows the law.

Sessions knows the constitution.

He knows what the law and the constitution demand of our attorney general – the top law enforcement officer in our land and NOT the president’s personal attorney.

Whatever Sessions decides is the right thing to do, we conservatives owe it to the man to support him (well, except for that whole asset forfeiture thing).

Let’s hope Sessions weathers this storm and that it quickly passes. We need him there.

Meanwhile, they say Trump demands loyalty.

Somebody should tell him that’s a two-way street before he’s left with nobody but swamp critters lurking around the White House.

J. Pepper Bryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of “American Warfighter.”

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5 months ago

VIDEO: Alabama Rep. Aderholt: World ‘desperately needs more people like Billy Graham’

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt speaks from the House floor, Feb. 2018 (Aderholt/YouTube)
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt speaks from the House floor, Feb. 2018 (Aderholt/YouTube)

 

Alabama Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) took to the House floor earlier this week to praise the life of the late Reverend Billy Graham, who he had the pleasure of meeting once during a presidential inauguration.

“While no one could ever come close to having an impact on the world in the way that Christ did,” Aderholt said, “I believe the late Reverend Billy Graham came as close as anyone ever has and I dare say ever will.”  

Watch Aderholt’s speech here.

And below you’ll find the text of his remarks, as prepared:

“I want to thank my colleague from Illinois for arranging this opportunity for us to remember the life and legacy of Reverend Graham.   Although I have to say, it is not an easy task to find words to sum up his life.  Not because he is not worthy, but because words and a few sentences seem incapable of describing a life that had such a large impact on the world.”

“I had the great opportunity to meet Rev. Graham at one of the many Presidential inaugurations he attended.  And while I only met him that one time – and most never got to see him in person – Billy Graham was one of those people we all felt we knew.  His honesty and openness in preaching the gospel made him seem like a close, personal friend.”

 “He will be greatly missed by a world that desperately needs more people like Billy Graham, but we take great comfort in knowing that he has made it home to be with his creator.”

“Author James Allan Francis, in writing about the impact of Jesus Christ on the world wrote that: “All the armies that ever marched, All the navies that ever sailed, All the parliaments  that ever sat,
All the kings that ever reigned, Put together have not affected The life of man on Earth As much as that One Solitary Life.”

“While no one could ever come close to having an impact on the world in the way that Christ did, I believe the late Reverend Billy Graham came as close as anyone ever has and I dare say ever will.”  

(What do you remember most about Billy Graham? Take this post to Facebook and share it with your friends.)

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5 months ago

Alabama AG Steve Marshall endorsed by Republican Attorneys General Association

(Marshall Campaign)
(Governor Kay Ivey/Flickr)

The national association for Republican state attorneys general recently endorsed Steve Marshall is his campaign to remain Alabama’s top law enforcement officer.

Marshall, a former district attorney in north Alabama, was appointed attorney general last year when Luther Strange left for the U.S. Senate.

He is now running in the Republican Primary against former U.S. Attorney Alice Martin, former Attorney General Troy King, and Mobile lawyer Chess Bedsole.

Key quotes from the Republican Attorneys General Association:

— “The Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) is proud to stand with Attorney General Steve Marshall and offer him our association’s full endorsement. Like President Donald J. Trump, he values our law enforcement, is strong on crime and is dedicated to keeping Alabamians safe.

— “Marshall has been serving Alabama – protecting their communities and fighting crime – for years. First, as the District Attorney of Marshall County, and now as attorney general. Marshall has been a tireless advocate for a safer Alabama, working directly with local law enforcement to combat violent crime and collaborating with Governor Kay Ivey’s and President Donald J. Trump’s administrations to tackle the opioid epidemic.”

— “Marshall has been an impressive new addition to the RAGA community, joining his colleagues from his very first day in office to fight federal overreach and restore state sovereignty. In his first year, Marshall has emerged as a dynamic leader and an ardent defender of the Constitution and the rule of law.”

The Republican Primary is June 5.

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5 months ago

See where Alabama ranks among most sinful states (you’ll be surprised)

(Wikicommons)

(Wikicommons)

 
 

Forget red states vs. blue states. The real battle is between sin states vs. saint states.

And Alabama’s halo is looking a bit tarnished, at least according to a compilation by the website WalletHub of the most sinful states in the union.

Alabama is … No. 11.

WalletHub compiled its list by collecting and measuring publically available data from 38 different metrics across seven categories: anger and hatred, jealousy, excess and vices, greed, lust, vanity, and laziness.

Our neighbor to the south, Florida, was the biggest sinner topping the list with bad marks for jealousy, vanity, lust, and laziness. Georgia was fifth overall, Tennessee sixth and Mississippi was 16th.

The biggest saint?

No, it wasn’t Utah.

It was Vermont, even though it tops the list as having the worst drug problem (that would explain why they keep electing Bernie Sanders … they’re all high!).

Alabama’s ranking within individual “sin” categories:

Anger and hatred: No. 9 (violent crime statistics, sex offenders, bullying, etc.).

Jealousy: No. 14 (theft and fraud).

Excess and vices: No. 9 (obesity levels, excessive drinking, smoking, drug abuse, etc.).

Greed: No. 33 (charitable donations, casinos per capita, gambling addiction)

Lust: No. 7 (teenage mothers, pornography use).

Vanity: No. 33 (beauty salons per capita, Google searches for plastic surgery, money spent on cosmetics)

Laziness: No. 5 (exercise rate, hours worked, high school graduation rate, etc.)

Time to put that smartphone down, y’all, and get back to work!

 (Do you agree or disagree with Alabama’s ranking? Share this post on Facebook and tell your friends why.)

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5 months ago

Steve Marshall, others, nab endorsements from the Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee

(Attorney General Steve Marshall/Facebook)
(Attorney General Steve Marshall/Facebook)

 

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall was among several candidates who recently received the endorsement of the Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee, a coalition that advocates for pro-business judicial policies in the state.

“The people of Alabama are indeed fortunate to have such an outstanding group of experienced leaders who share conservative values, a conviction to be fair while upholding the law, and a willingness to serve,” said the committee’s chairman, Tom Dart, in a news release announcing their slate of candidates.

Marshall is running in the Republican Primary against former U.S. Attorney Alice Martin, the former AG, Troy King, and Mobile lawyer Chess Bedsole.

“I am beyond honored to have the support of the committee and continue to fight for the rights of Alabama businesses in the judicial system,” Marshall said in a release. “Our state relies on these companies to boost our economy and ensure that Alabama is successful, and as attorney general, I want to make sure their voices are heard in our government.”

The Republican Primary will be held June 5.

The complete list of the Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee’s endorsements is below:

Alabama Supreme Court

— Chief Justice – Chief Justice Lyn Stuart

— Place 1: Justice Brad Mendheim

— Place 2: Justice Tommy Bryan

— Place 3: Justice Will Sellers

— Place 4: Jay Mitchell

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

— Place 1: Christy Edwards

— Place 2: Judge Terri Thomas

— Place 3: Judge Terry Moore

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals

— Place 1: Richard Minor

— Place 2: Chris McCool

— Place 3: Bill Cole

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5 months ago

Alabama Legislature passes bill to help suffering, addicted veterans

 

A bill to help healthcare professionals better identify and help veterans suffering from drug addiction passed both houses of the Alabama Legislature this week.

What the bill seeks to fix:

— Regular patients are subject to having their prescription records reviewed by doctors and pharmacists to ensure drugs aren’t being counter-productive, dangerous, or abused.

— However, that oversight breaks down when a veteran is being treated both within the Veterans Administration system and in the regular outside system.

— Doctors and pharmacists in each system may not have access to the other’s information, according to a news release provided by the bill’s sponsors.

How the fix will be accomplished:

— The bill allows those caring for veterans within Alabama to share information so doctors and pharmacists can more easily identify potential drug abuse issues among their patients who are veterans.

— The measure also strengthens privacy laws governing use of prescription data.

Key quotes from the bill’s sponsors:

Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville):

— “Drug abuse affecting our military men and women is something we don’t talk about but that we know exists given what many of them have been through, and it’s time we in Alabama did something about it.” 

“Drug abuse amongst veterans can be a ‘silent struggle’ really, one that tears apart lives and families. They are crying out for help; we just can’t hear them.” 

State Rep. April Weaver (R-Alabaster):

“For a non-VA patient, doctors and pharmacists can review those prescription records, but with a veteran, neither the doctors and pharmacists at the VA nor the doctors and pharmacists outside the VA that are also treating the patient know what prescriptions the veteran is receiving. This bill will allow them to share that information so we can get our veterans the help they need and deserve.”

The bill now goes to Governor Kay Ivey for her signature.

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5 months ago

Sen. Orr’s bill to create Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering in Huntsville passes Senate, moves to House

Sen. Arthur Orr, Chairman, Senate General Fund Budget Committee
Sen. Arthur Orr
Sen. Arthur Orr. R-Decatur

 

A bill to establish the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering for grades 7-12 in Huntsville unanimously passed the State Senate on Thursday.

Students from across the state will be able to apply for one of the 300 spots in the public school when it opens in 2020, according to the legislation.

“Our goal is to establish the best cyber engineering high school in the nation,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur. “And Huntsville is the perfect location: the Tennessee Valley has one of the highest rates of engineers per capita in the country, and there are dozens of brilliant engineering faculty members and graduate students at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.”

The proposal was mentioned prominently in Governor Kay Ivey’s State of the State address in January.

The Huntsville school will join the Alabama School of Math and Science in Mobile and the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham.

“With the Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal, Alabama is at the forefront of engineering and technological research,” Ivey said in a statement. “The Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering will position Alabama as a leading education hub for cyber research and engineering in America.” 

Orr’s proposal now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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5 months ago

See where Alabama’s tax burden ranks among our sister states

 

Alabama is known as a low tax state, but are we the lowest?

Not even close.

We’re No. 14, according to a recent Tax Foundation report titled “Facts & Figures 2017: How does your state compare?”

The study examined the individual local, county and state level taxes, but excluded federal collections.

Here’s how Alabama did:

— Taxes paid as percentage of income: 8.7 percent

— Income per capita: $38,896 (fourth lowest)

— Income tax collections per capita: $687 (14th lowest)

— Property tax collections per capita: $522 (The lowest. No. 1. Roll Tide.)

— General sales tax collections per capita: $507 (seventh lowest)

While most assume that the federal government collects the lion’s share of individual taxes, the report found that nearly 80 percent of the taxes Americans pay go straight to local and state governments via sales taxes, gas taxes, property taxes, and income taxes among many other avenues for revenue collection.

For state and local governments, every day is April 15.

 Be smart: Who we elect as mayors, to our city councils and county commissions, the state legislature and the governor’s office matters far more to our wallet than who we elect to Congress or the White House. Many people can name the president, but how many can name the chairman of their county commission? Some can name their congressman, but how many know the name of their state legislator?

How did our neighbor’s perform in the study?

— Tennessee: No. 4, with 7.3 percent in taxes paid as a percentage of income.

— Mississippi: No. 11, with 8.6 percent.

— Florida: No. 16, with 8.9 percent.

— Georgia: No. 19, with 9.1 percent.

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