The Wire

  • Dale Jackson: As long as Nancy Worley leads the Alabama Democratic Party, they will remain stuck on the toilet

    Excerpt:

    In December of 2014, Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley wrote a Christmas letter, and it included details about an embarrassing ordeal where she was unable to get off the toilet, which is still a pretty good metaphor for Alabama Democrats.

    “April brought another trauma to my knees which balked when I tried to rise from my lowly 14″ commode. Again, I sat for hours awaiting Wade’s scheduled arrival; however, his attempt to lift me was futile—when he pulled me up, he fell backwards and I fell on my knees again. Solution: we installed the tallest available, 17 1/2 inch commode and a pull-up bar on my bathroom wall,” Worley wrote.

    The current head of the Alabama Democratic Party, who just won re-election, has overseen a pretty embarrassing period for her party. The only real victory that she can claim is the election of Senator Doug Jones. But even that victory was nothing to write home about. Most observers believe that election result was more about the national media descending on Roy Moore during the special election than the strength of Worley’s Democratic Party.

    And Jones’ failed wish that Worley be removed shows anyone watching that he doesn’t give her any credit; he wanted her gone and he explained to the Montgomery Advertiser’s Brian Lyman that the Alabama Democratic Party has issues he wants addressed without Worley at the helm:

  • ‘The Lord had his hand on me’: Alabama pastor struck by lightning after church service

    Excerpt:

    Pastor Ricky Adams, of the Argo Church of God in Walker County, was struck by lightning after the church’s service on Sunday.

    The Argo Area Volunteer Fire Department dispatched to the scene and discovered church members already assisting Adams upon their arrival.

    The pastor, who had been hit indirectly by a lightning strike, did not sustain any major injuries and did not even need to be transported to the hospital.

  • Alabama ranks second worst state for having a baby

    Excerpt:

    A newly-published ranking of states judges Alabama to be the 50th best – or 2nd worst – state in which to have a baby.

    The ranking, developed by the personal finance website WalletHub, compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia using four categories: cost, health care, baby-friendliness and family-friendliness.

    Its cost metric includes things like average cost of insurance premiums, cost of newborn screening and average annual cost of early childcare.

19 mins ago

WATCH: University of Alabama Police Department completes lip sync battle featuring ‘Sweet Home Alabama’

(University of Alabama/Twitter)

Monday, The University of Alabama posted a video of their campus police department participating in a lip sync battle against Clemson University.

UAPD chose “Sweet Home Alabama” as their song and, afterward, challenged all other SEC schools to join in on the competition.

Watch the full video here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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54 mins ago

Liberal heckler hurls object, expletives at Doug Jones — Jones says ‘there’s just as many people passionate on the other side’

(Satire graphic by YHN/pic: D. Jones/Facebook)

After a liberal heckler hurled an object and expletives at Sen. Doug Jones at a town hall Monday, Alabama’s junior senator compared the incident, which ended with police officers hauling the agitator out, to peaceful conservative efforts to persuade Jones to vote to confirm President Trump’s nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

AL.com’s Howard Koplowitz reported that Jones indicated at the town hall that “conservatives in the state are trying to apply the same pressure on him as the woman at the Birmingham event,” referring to the protester.

Jones said, “There’s just as many people passionate on the other side, so that doesn’t make it real easy.”

While the pressure on Jones from the left has stooped to this kind of antic, conservative efforts have all been peaceful and respectful to this point. They are backed by the fact that a majority of Alabamians polled support Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

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The Judicial Crisis Network’s massive ad buy has been flooding Alabama’s airwaves since July 9, and the NRA started their own ambitious television campaign last week.

Concerned Women for America, a Christian women’s organization, is also focusing grassroots efforts on the state.

Sen. Richard Shelby voiced his strong support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation after meeting with him recently, but Jones remains undecided.

“Senator Doug Jones’ inability to make a decision on casting an Alabama vote for Judge Kavanaugh is disconcerting,” Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan told Yellowhammer News.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

5 hours ago

How an incoming freshman overcame inner-city Chicago to get to Alabama State University – ‘This is the start of a new life’

(ABC 7 Chicago/YouTube)

Ivry Hall has a tale to tell – one that is too unbelievable and too tragic to be anything but real. But it is who life’s challenges have made him, and where Hall is going from here, that he wants to be his life’s story.

Chicago born-and-raised, Hall just turned 18 last month.

“I grew up on the South Side. Englewood, 64th and Laflin,”  he told WLS-TV. “My mom did a lot of moving, but that’s where I spent most of my childhood.”

His upbringing, like that of most in this infamous part of the Windy City, was filled with serious trouble.

“Gang banging,” Hall admitted. “I used to smoke when I was little.”

He also dropped out of school, saying that is what was expected of children like him in that urban neighborhood.

Hall said, “I did a lot of stuff. That’s just from the image I was seeing so I wanted to do it, too.”

And that was all before his mom, who was raising him as a single mother, got cancer when Hall was only 12.

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“When my mom passed away, I was so hurt,” he reflected. “And I just wanted to do better.”

This tragedy inspired Hall to go back to school, and after some time, attend Tilden High School.

While in a positive frame of mind again, his life did not necessarily get easier when he went back to get his education. Hall was living with a cousin who moved nearly two hours from where he went to class.

“I had to get on three buses and one train,” Hall explained.

However, through hard work and the right attitude, he always kept going.

“I don’t believe in giving up, and I think that failure is not an option,” said Hall.

Not only did his mom pass away when he was 12, but when he was a senior in high school, Hall’s dad died of lung failure.

“Of course, I lost my mom. I lost my dad,” he told WLS-TV in Chicago. “I wish they were still here to see what I’ve accomplished now, but they’re not. Everything is not going to come as you want it.”

Hall’s faith in Jesus Christ, sports and a local boxing gym got him through the hard times. He also had mentors at his church who never stopped encouraging him.

Hall said, “They are like, ‘Ivry, you’re going to be something. You’re so smart.’ And that stuff encouraged me to do good.”

“No pity party,” explained Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church, where Hall attends. “No ‘poor me.’ He was just a young brother who wanted the best for himself and others.”

Hall set a goal for himself when his mother died, and he never took his eye off achieving it.

“I always wish that I could graduate valedictorian, and look, I did,” he recounted. “I was beyond happy.”

Now, Hall is beginning his freshman year at Alabama State University in Montgomery, a triumph made possible in part by a $10,000 scholarship from his church.

The teen from the South Side of Chicago is just getting started on writing his life’s story, but he has a good plan for what comes next.

“Major in business, so I can open up my own business,” Hall forecasted.

He added, “I’m not for sure what I want to open up, but I want to help people.”

Hall now has his sights set on a new goal, and he is determined to succeed.

“I’m going to go to college and graduate, so I’m going to find a way to study,” Hall said. “I’m going to find a way to do everything without giving up.”

“If I give up, I will be just like everybody that I know,” he continued.

The young man also shared his key to overcoming the challenges life has thrown at him again and again.

“You have to give 100 percent in everything you do,” Hall emphasized. “Once you give up, you’ll only be used to giving up. At least try. If you can’t do it, continue to try.”

He has been through a lot in his short time on earth, but to him, a blank canvas awaits.

“This is the start of a new life,” Hall concluded.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 hours ago

Alabama AG Steve Marshall challenges reporting on new ‘In God We Trust’ law

(S. Marshall/FB)

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Monday pushed back on a recent report by the Associated Press that asserted the state’s new law allowing “In God We Trust” to be displayed in public schools is “expected” to face legal challenges.

In March, the state legislature approved a bill that took effect June 1 allowing such displays on public property, giving Alabama schools the right to exhibit the national motto.

However, critics are speaking out against the move, calling it “a constant push for theocracy,” as media outlets like AL.com and the Asssociated Press validate their outcry.

In a statement, Marshall challenged their assertions and strongly backed the law.

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“We don’t anticipate any lawsuits over this issue,” he told Yellowhammer News.

Marshall continued, “‘In God We Trust’ is the official national motto, adopted by an Act of Congress and displayed on the nation’s currency as well as in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives. A lawsuit against a school displaying the national motto would be laughed out of court.”

Alabama’s attorney general also called out critics for not being focused on the real challenges facing public schools.

“Frankly, in a time when schools are increasingly the targets of violence, it is hard to understand how one could argue that a renewed emphasis on our nation’s religious heritage through the display of ‘In God We Trust’ or the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance could be detrimental to our students,” Marshall added.

The legislation’s sponsor, state Rep. David Standridge (R-Hayden), recently decried the controversy that outside groups and the media have made out of the law.

Alabama will also decide in November whether the state’s 117-year-old constitution should be changed to allow public schools to display the Ten Commandments when voters have a referendum on Amendment One on the general election ballot.

“My hope is they have the Ten Commandments in the schools all over the state of Alabama as well as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the historical documents that go with this country,” said Dean Young, chairman of the Ten Commandments political action committee, which is pushing the amendment.

He added, “That way, children will be able to see and ask, ‘What are these documents’ and a teacher can say, ‘Those are the Ten Commandments and they come from God and this is what they say.'”

The critics claim the national political climate, including the leadership of President Donald Trump, is fueling renewed efforts to incorporate Christianity into the public realm.

“It’s a tsunami of Christian national laws in our country right now,” said Annie Laurie Gaylord, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, per the Associated Press.

“The upcoming election will say a lot about the direction of our nation,” she added.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 hours ago

Alabama leaders react after Trump gives troops largest pay raise in years

(White House/Flickr)

President Donald Trump on Monday afternoon signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2019, which gives American military personnel their largest pay raise in nine years.

“We must protect those who protect us,” President Trump said in a press release. “When our service members are in uniform, it is our obligation to ensure that they have the finest equipment, the finest training, care, and resources — better than any military on earth.

The White House emphasized that the 2019 NDAA is a sure-fire sign that the President is delivering on his campaign pledge to rebuild the American military, honor the nation’s service members, prepare for all potential threats, and stand with the country’s allies and defense partners worldwide.

Members of Alabama’s Congressional Delegation agree and enthusiastically voiced their support on Twitter, as did the state’s Republican Party.

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“Proud that @POTUS has signed the #FY19NDAA into law,” Senator Richard Shelby said. “It is vital that we continue to prioritize our national security by ensuring that our military is highly trained and well-equipped to best protect our great nation.”

The office of Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-1) released a lengthy statement, which in part highlights the leading role Byrne played in the bill as a member of both the House Armed Services Committee and the House-Senate Conference Committee.

“The strategy of peace through strength requires us to continue to produce and procure the best tools and resources possible,” Byrne said.

He also applauded the many important provisions of the 2019 NDAA that specifically benefit Alabama, including his district in the southwest part of the state.

“The bill authorizes the construction of three Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which are built by Austal USA in Mobile,” Byrne outlined. He added that he was “proud” of this victory for his district.

Byrne’s colleague in southeast Alabama joined him in lauding the latest NDAA’s signing.

“I’m so pleased that @POTUS will sign the #FY19NDAA into law today,” Rep. Martha Roby (AL-2) said on Twitter. “This important measure continues to rebuild our nation’s military and provides proper support to those who wear the uniform.”

 

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

21 hours ago

Gov. Ivey continues to talk about education policy as Maddox imitates Clint Eastwood routine

(Maddox, Ivey/Instagram)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday provided the one-year progress report on her signature education initiative – Strong Start, Strong Finish (SSSF) – as the Democratic nominee for governor, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox continued to speak to thin air.

This comes after Ivey recently launched her first television ad ahead of the November 6 general election, featuring SSSF and seeking to highlight her success in preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow.

This education initiative was designed to integrate the state’s early childhood education, K-12 education and workforce development efforts into a seamless educational pathway.

Why make education the first issue of the general election? As first reported by Yellowhammer News, a 2018 report by the Alabama Department of Education shows that Gov. Ivey’s Democratic opponent, Mayor Maddox, may have an “education problem.”

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Released in January, Alabama’s annual list of failing schools showed that two-thirds of the City of Tuscaloosa’s public high schools are failing. Maddox has governed the city since 2005.

Before being elected mayor, he worked for the Alabama Education Association from 1996-2001 and served a term on Tuscaloosa’s City Council.

In stark contrast, Ivey has spearheaded SSSF and put education policy at the center of her campaign, along with touting her success in bringing more good-paying jobs to the state. The trademark initiative is composed of three major strategies: “Pre through Three,” “Computer Science for Alabama (CS4AL)” and “Advanced Training, Better Jobs.”

“Pre through Three” aims to ensure the Alabama First Class Pre-K program is available to all families across the state and that every single one of Alabama’s third graders are proficient readers by 2022. “CS4AL” will ensure that a computer science course is offered at every Alabama middle and high school by that same year. Third, “Advanced Training, Better Jobs” will prepare a whopping 500,000 more Alabamians to enter the workforce with high-quality postsecondary degrees, certificates or credentials by 2025.

Over the past year, Governor Ivey has secured progress toward each of the SSSF goals in major ways, including:

— Investment in Alabama’s nationally recognized First Class Pre-K program received its largest single-year increase ever.

— Establishment of the Alabama Summer Achievement Program (ASAP), starting with the testing of a pilot program.

— Empanelment of an Executive Team to establish 11 regional councils that will recruit a host of local campaigns for grade-level reading.

— Creation of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Computer Science Education.
Increase in the number of schools offering a high-quality computer science course by 103 percent in one year.

— Approval of official computer science standards – the Alabama Digital Literacy and Computer Science Course of Study and Standards. The state is now one of only eleven nationwide to have such standards.

— Formation of the revolutionary Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering, which will be a hub for computer science professional development in Alabama when it opens in 2020.

— Progress in the efficiency of the state’s workforce development programs to meet growing economic demands and to incentivize more private-sector partners to offer apprenticeships.

“Governor Ivey is happy with the progress thus far but plans to further work toward these goals and continue to strive for improvement in Alabama’s education system,” the governor’s office said in a statement released with the report.

Alabama was recently ranked as having the best business climate in the nation by the economic development-focused publication Business Facilities in a new analysis that examined performance in several key economic categories. The publication also gave the state high marks for growth potential (fourth in the nation) and workforce training (second in the nation).

Education, job training and economic development are all intertwined. Ivey has branded herself using job growth first and foremost, with her campaign’s tagline of “Alabama is working again” fresh on people’s minds. Now, she is building on this success, ingraining that not only is she “The Jobs Governor,” but “The Education Governor,” too.

As for Maddox? Well, he has gone from posting videos of himself jogging to his latest two ads, which at best are imitations of Jim Zeigler’s fake interview of then-Governor Robert Bentley and at worst direct descendants of Clint Eastwood’s infamous conversation with an empty chair at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Time called it “one of the most baffling and iconic moments of the 2012 election.” In fact, when asked what moment Eastwood most regretted over the course of his long life, he pointed to that humiliation in the run-up to Mitt Romney losing against incumbent President Barack Obama.

Now, the Democratic nominee for governor in Alabama is heading for the same fate.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

24 hours ago

Rick Dearborn, former Trump deputy chief of staff with Alabama ties, lands new gig

(Adams and Reese LLP)

Rick Dearborn, the former senior White House official with deep Alabama connections, has accepted a new position as senior policy adviser at Adams and Reese, LLP – a law firm that has a large in-state presence between its offices in Birmingham, Mobile and Montgomery.

Dearborn, who recently served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative, Intergovernmental Affairs and Implementation under President Donald Trump’s administration, will collaborate with attorneys in the Louisiana-based firm’s government relations practice on federal and state strategy and public policy, per the Birmingham Business Journal.

Before serving in the Trump Administration from January 2017 – March 2018, Dearborn notably was the Executive Director of the Trump Transition Team, Sen. Jeff Sessions’ Chief of Staff from 2005 – 2017, and his legislative director from 1997 – 2005. Also currently a partner with The Cypress Group, Dearborn has more than 30 years of combined government and private-sector experience in Washington, D.C.

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“I am proud to associate with an esteemed team of government relations advisers and attorneys at Adams and Reese,” Dearborn told the Birmingham Business Journal. “It’s an honor to work with a forward-thinking team with such outstanding talent in the legal and business spheres. I look forward to bringing my knowledge to the table and collaborating with my colleagues on federal and state strategy and public policy.”

His wife, Gina, is a registered lobbyist in Alabama and President of Tucker Consulting in Birmingham.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

Million Dollar Band posts chilling video of their ‘most treasured tradition’

(The University of Alabama Bands/Facebook)

The University of Alabama’s Million Dollar Band on Monday posted a chilling rendition of the university’s alma mater.

In the post, the band calls it, “our most treasured tradition” and explained that the group’s returning members circle their new members while singing.

“Welcoming them to the MDB Family! We love starting our Fall Camp with this awesome tradition,” the post added.

Watch:

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Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

‘The Lord had his hand on me’: Alabama pastor struck by lightning after church service

(YHN/Pixabay)

Pastor Ricky Adams, of the Argo Church of God in Walker County, was struck by lightning after the church’s service on Sunday.

The Argo Area Volunteer Fire Department dispatched to the scene and discovered church members already assisting Adams upon their arrival.

The pastor, who had been hit indirectly by a lightning strike, did not sustain any major injuries and did not even need to be transported to the hospital.

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After what is being called a miracle, Adams thanked God that he is okay.

“The Lord had his hand on me,” he said, per WBMA-TV.

The church’s sign for the day read: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

Alabama CEO gives daughter’s teacher a new car, gives God the credit

(USA Today/YouTube)

A teacher in Alabama cried tears of joy after receiving a brand new car from one of her student’s parents.

When Courtney Adeleye, CEO and founder of The Mane Choice, learned her daughter’s teacher at Huntsville Christian Academy took multiple buses just to get to and from work every day, she knew she had to do something.

The teacher has taught both of Adeleye’s girls and “is the sweetest person you would ever want to meet,” the business leader said in an Instagram post.

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Adeleye, who has been featured in Forbes for building her company from a $500 personal investment into an empire with over $25 million in annual sales, set an example for people everywhere with her definition of success.

“When you ask me to define success….this is my response! (Give to those without expectations),” Adeleye said.

She concluded, “All glory to GOD!”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

Famous Christian musician shares heartfelt post about his daughter choosing to attend Alabama

(Steven Curtis Chapman/YouTube)

Famed musician Steven Curtis Chapman on Thursday shared an emotional post about his daughter leaving home to begin her freshman year at the University of Alabama.

“This is a really exciting (& really hard) day for this dad’s heart,” he began.

Chapman explained, “Shaoey is headed out into the next chapter of the Great Adventure God has her on as we take her to University of Alabama to start school.”

The rest of his post should be relatable to parents everywhere, too.

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“No question she’s gonna continue to change the world, just like she has ours,” he added. “Just gonna miss her…a lot! Thankfully we’re not too far away. So proud of you Sho Sho!”

Chapman is considered to be one of the most prolific Christian musicians of all-time. He has won five Grammy awards and 58 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, more than any other artist in history.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

Auburn President Steven Leath helps students get moved in

(Auburn University/Facebook)

Auburn University President Steven Leath personally helped move students into their new dorm rooms on Friday.

In a picture posted by Brian Keeter, Auburn’s Director of Public Affairs, Leath can be seen hoisting a mattress above his head as he assists incoming students.

This was a part of the university’s early move-in period, as was last Monday. These dates are set aside for returning band members, potential new sorority members, Army and Navy ROTC students and select other groups, according to Auburn Residence Life director Virginia Koch.

The remaining student population is scheduled to move in on Thursday of this week.

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Per the Opelika-Auburn News, a new move-in system is being utilized this year, which has reportedly improved the process for incoming students and their families.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

Rep. Mike Rogers on Space Force: ‘We are dead serious about meeting this threat from China and Russia’

(Congressman Rogers/Facebook)

Republican Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-3), who serves as the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman, said Friday in an interview with Sirius XM Radio’s Breitbart News Daily that the United States needs a Space Force to meet the threats that China and Russia pose in space.

“We are dead serious about meeting this threat from China and Russia,” he said, speaking with Breitbart News Daily host Amanda House. “People have to understand that we have become heavily dependent on space to fight and win wars, that’s our eyes and ears for the military.”

Rogers emphasized that the emerging threat posed by these two superpowers can be mitigated with proper strategy and preparation.

“China and Russia want to be able to take our eyes and ears out, and we can’t let that happen,” he asserted. “We have got to get back in the position of space dominance.”

Vice President Mike Pence, while speaking alongside Secretary of Defense James Mattis at the Pentagon on Thursday morning, declared that “establishing the Space Force is an idea whose time has come.”

The vice president explained the Pentagon, under Mattis’ leadership, has begun the process of establishing the Space Force as a sixth branch of the U.S. military.

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Alabama could be set to benefit in a major way with the presence of Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.

Rogers told Breitbart News Daily that a Space Force is long overdue.

“When it comes to these satellites, we’ve got to be able to move agile and move quickly,” he warned. “And by the way, many people don’t realize this, but China set up their own separate space service a year and a half ago, and Russia reorganized before that — we are way behind the curve on it.”

The veteran Alabama Congressman explained why the current American military structure involving space will not work moving forward.

“We started noticing about three years ago some real deficiencies in our capabilities particularly in relation to Russia and China who have become much more aggressive,” Rogers outlined. “And the more we looked at it, the more it became painfully apparent that we were not going to be able to meet the challenge of this new threat with our current structure, which currently has 90 percent of our national security space assets in the Air Force. We have a little bit in the Navy, a little bit in the Army, but most of it in the Air Force.”

He continued, “And [the Air Force is] just geared towards air dominance and space is just a subordinate mission. So the more we studied it, the more it became obvious that we were going to have to make this change just like the Air Force had to evolve out of the Army, the Space Force is going to have to evolve out of the Air Force. Because we need a service, because space has become so important to our ability to fight and win wars, we have to have a service that’s dedicated to space dominance and builds a culture of excellence when it comes to that mission.”

The proposed new branch would have their own budget, their own culture, their own promotion system, and their own educational system within the Air Force Academy.

Rogers does not expect establishing the Space Force to be a relatively expensive endeavor, considering it would be formed with existing active duty personnel in the Air Force, Army, and Navy who work on space, as well as subordinate civilians.

“We don’t expect it at all to get too expensive because we’re going to use existing personnel,” he said. “We don’t expect a lot of additional overhead and we are not going to let this thing be bureaucratized like the other services have.”

Rogers added, “In fact, it’s our expectation because we’re going to be designing this and watching it from birth, we’re going to do everything we can to keep it from getting bloated and gold-plated, and turning into what we already have which is a very slow and lethargic bureaucratic procurement system.”

The Space Force will still require action by Congress, which exclusively has the power to establish a new military branch, but Rogers is very optimistic that this will happen.

In fact, he and the ranking Democrat on Strategic Forces proposed creating a space corps a year ago, and it received unanimous and bipartisan approval from that subcommittee before being supported by the House Armed Services Committee. It was the Senate that slowed down the process by calling on the Pentagon to study the idea of a space corps first.

“The House said, ‘We think we need this,’ so [we] ordered the Pentagon to study it and let us know if they agreed … the Pentagon decided, ‘Yeah we do need a Space Force,'” Rogers explained.

The Pentagon will now be separating the proposed Space Force from the other branches over the next five months. Afterwards, they will develop a legislative proposal on what is needed regarding statutory authority to finish the process.

Rogers expects the Space Force to be authorized in next year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is annual must-pass legislation that authorizes all Pentagon activities and programs.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 days ago

Restaurant owner receives death threats after serving Jeff Sessions

(El Tiempo/Facebook)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions ate at two Mexican restaurants in Houston Friday, giving a speech to federal prosecutors and law enforcement officers. In the speech, Sessions emphasized his support for law enforcement and urged the nation to support common sense measures to reduce gang violence.

“This should be obvious: if we want to reduce violent crime we should reduce illegal immigrant crime,” Sessions said, while addressing the group. “If you’re not prepared to lock up dangerous criminals to protect the public, you’re not fulfilling your responsibility.”

National media outlets, including CNN, Newsweek and CBS News, covered Sessions’ choices in dining at La Mexicana for breakfast and El Tiempo Cantina for dinner, which posted a picture with the attorney general that said it was an “honor” to serve him.

Afterwards, the post was met with severe backlash online, including El Tiempo’s owner getting death threats.

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“We have gotten so many complaints and comments,” Dominic Laurenzo, the owner said. “And threats, death threats. This has been extremely shocking to our family.”

This forced the eatery to delete not only the Sessions post, but their entire account.

“We didn’t think we were doing something wrong,” Laurenzo told KHOU. “We didn’t have any idea this was going to happen.”

Laurenzo said his son, pictured in the post, only discussed fajitas with Sessions and that the attorney general was “treated like any other guest – with kindness and hospitality.”

In fact, the restaurant owner tried to make it clear to online dissenters that he did not support Sessions’ policy positions, especially on gay rights and immigration issues.

“People are insulting us in such a dramatic fashion, and we feel like we don’t deserve it,” Laurenzo added, per KTRK. “At least temporarily I had it taken down because I don’t want to be insulted, my children to be insulted, my family to be insulted.”

Harassing Trump administration officials about and at public restaurants has gained popularity this summer. In June, protesters swarmed Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as she dined at a Mexican restaurant near the White House. Days later, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was forced to leave the Red Hen in Virginia.

After Sanders posted on Twitter that she had been asked to leave the restaurant, the Red Hen was at the center of a social media tsunami, including widespread cheering by liberals.

After the Press Secretary’s incident, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) urged fellow Democrats to ramp up the pressure.

“If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them,” she said.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 days ago

Confirmation hearing set for Trump’s SCOTUS nominee, Doug Jones under fire

(W.Miller from D. Jones/Facebook)

The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday announced that a three or four day confirmation hearing for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, will begin September 4.

This came hours after Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan questioned Sen. Doug Jones’ (D-Mountain Brook) “inability to make a decision” on backing the nominee and called on the senator to at least meet with Kavanaugh before his confirmation hearing.

Sen. Richard Shelby voiced his strong support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation after meeting with him recently, but Alabama’s junior senator is still undecided, even though a majority of Alabamians polled support his confirmation.

“Senator Doug Jones’ inability to make a decision on casting an Alabama vote for Judge Kavanaugh is disconcerting,” she told Yellowhammer News. “If Senator Shelby can meet with Judge Kavanaugh prior to the hearings on behalf of our citizens, why can’t Senator Jones?”

On Friday afternoon, Jones doubled down in a statement to Yellowhammer News, and Lathan fired right back once again.

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“The statement of Ms. Latha[n] is simply silly and demonstrates that she does not understand the process of vetting a Supreme Court nominee,” Jones said. “It is not a question of finding the time, but finding the right time so that our meeting is most meaningful. For me that means waiting to see the questions and answers in Judge Kavanaugh’s hearing before the Judiciary Committee, which just today was set to begin September 4th.”

Conservative efforts are underway calling on Jones to listen to the majority of his constituents and confirm Kavanaugh.

The Judicial Crisis Network’s massive ad buy has been flooding Alabama’s airwaves since July 9, and the NRA started their own ambitious television campaign this week.

Concerned Women for America, a Christian women’s organization, is also focusing grassroots efforts on the state.

Jones concluded his statement by saying, “I certainly intend to meet with Judge Kavanaugh and have reached out to the White House to schedule a meeting as soon as possible following his hearing. This is the exact same process that I have followed with other presidential nominees like Secretary Pompeo, Director Haspel and most recently VA Secretary Wilkie. As I have previously stated, my responsibility when examining Judge Kavanaugh’s extensive political and judicial record is to be as thorough as possible, not to bend to political pressure from folks on either side of the aisle, especially partisans like Ms. Latha[n] who wish to put this nomination on a fast track, rather than one that is thorough.”

Lathan responded to Jones in a statement to Yellowhammer News, mentioning Saturday’s failed takeover of the Alabama Democratic Party’s executive committee which he backed.

“If Senator Jones had time to go to the AL Democratic Party meeting and nominate a state chair who lost, one would think he would put more priority in speaking with a SCOTUS nominee who is going to win his confirmation,” Lathan said.

“There is no reason for Senator Jones not to meet with Kavanaugh prior to the hearing like Senator Shelby did – none,” she concluded.

The final part of Jones’ statement above notably tracks with what he told AL.com last week, when reminiscing about former President Barack Obama’s final appointment to the Supreme Court not being confirmed.

“If it is something that could have and should be rushed, then we could have had Merrick Garland on the bench two years ago,” Alabama’s Democratic Senator said.

The White House noted Friday that the Senate has already reviewed more documents than for any other nominee to the Supreme Court in history, and there are still three more weeks to go before the hearing.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 days ago

Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell pushing minimum wage hike by region

(Screenshot / Facebook)

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) on Friday announced that she supports raising the minimum wage and changing the current system so the federal minimum wage is not the same nationwide.

Under her proposal, big cities like New York City and San Francisco would get a higher federal minimum wage compared to Sewell’s own constituents, reasoning that a dollar goes a lot further in rural Alabama.

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“The wage floor must be raised, but it must be done it in a way that makes sense for each local economy,” she said in a statement, per WBRC. “A dollar in New York City does not go as far as a dollar in rural Alabama, and we need a minimum wage policy that accounts for these differences.”

According to this regionalized plan, minimum pay rates would increase for Alabama — from $7.25 an hour up to $9.80 an hour.

Rep. Sewell plans to join other D.C. lawmakers in introducing the regionalized minimum wage increase this fall. It is unlikely to pass.

This comes the week after Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin attended Netroots Nation, a gathering of “progressives,” and met up with socialist Democrat candidate for Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 days ago

Doug Jones engineers failed takeover of the Alabama Democratic Party

(NBC News/YouTube)

Longtime incumbent Nancy Worley defeated Montgomery attorney Peck Fox as chair of the Alabama Democratic Party after Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) nominated and backed the challenger during the intraparty elections.

Minutes before the meeting, Jones shocked Alabama’s political world by announcing his backing of the leadership coup. Alabama’s junior senator signaled that he wanted change and lamented that the state’s Democratic Party had not helped him enough during his victory over Judge Roy Moore in 2017.

Until Jones’ sneak-attack-support came to light Saturday morning, Worley was expected to comfortably win re-election.

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House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, who – unlike Jones – did not attend the elections, also supported the shakeup in leadership, as did prominent state Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa).

“Now is the perfect time for a transition,” Daniels said on Friday, via the Associated Press. “More than any time before these candidates need a strong party, a stronger party.”

Worley served as Alabama Secretary of State from 2003-2007 and was the party’s vice-chairwoman from 2007 until taking its helm in 2013. She is also a former two-term president of the Alabama Education Association (AEA).

In a statement, AL GOP Party Chair Terry Lathan congratulated Worley, adding “game on.”

“In an ALGOP Steering Committee meeting for a few hours,” Lathan said. “However, upon hearing the news, the committee cheered. Game on. I like our odds.”

“We congratulate Chairman Worley on her victory,” she added.

Fox is a political veteran in his own right, working for the late Sen. Howell Heflin in Washington, D.C. and for former Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom.

After losing today’s vote for party chair, Fox ran for vice-chair and was defeated once again.

This rift in party leadership comes months before the critical November General Election, in which the state’s minority party will attempt to elect its candidates over Republicans.

Jones has recently come under fire for not committing to back President Donald Trump’s nominee to the United States Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Jones does not plan to meet with Kavanaugh before his confirmation hearing.

 

 

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 days ago

Israeli Consul General praises close relationship with ‘reliable’ Alabama

(Zachi Evenor/Wikimedia Commons)

Saturday, Israeli Consul General Lior Haiat addressed a crowd at the Business Council of Alabama’s annual Governmental Affairs Conference in Point Clear and had good things to say about the Yellowhammer State.

“He spoke about Alabama’s unique relationship with Israel and how thankful he is that Alabama is one of their most reliable friends and partners,” Secretary of State John Merrill said.

Lior Haiat is Israel’s Consul General to Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Puerto Rico. He previously served as the Department Director of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Islands at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. Haiat also served in other Israeli embassy and ministry capacities.

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Haiat served as a captain and artillery coordinator in the infantry unit with the Israeli Defense Forces. He is a graduate of Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University.

“Alabama is a strong partner with Israel and we want to grow even stronger,” Merrill added.

The Israeli diplomat’s speech followed a panel discussion featuring the top leaders in the Alabama legislature: Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, Senate Minority Leader Billy Beasley and House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels.

BCA’s 2018 conference began Friday evening and concludes on Sunday morning.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 days ago

Sessions reaffirms crackdown on sanctuary cities, urges support of law enforcement

(Wikicommons)

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told federal prosecutors and law enforcement officers on Friday that he has their backs and urged the nation to support common sense measures to reduce gang violence.

“This should be obvious: if we want to reduce violent crime we should reduce illegal immigrant crime,” Sessions said, while addressing the group in Houston. “If you’re not prepared to lock up dangerous criminals to protect the public, you’re not fulfilling your responsibility.”

He drew attention to cities run by Democrats who are defying federal law enforcement agents and said getting serious about crime means cutting off these sanctuary cities.

“We cannot continue giving funds to cities that undermine federal law officers,” Sessions stated.

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He also reiterated that massive numbers of MS-13 gang members endanger cities like Houston, Los Angeles and New York, leading to brutal murders in which undocumented immigrants are allegedly responsible.

Sessions cited examples, including the 99-year sentence handed down this week for an MS-13 member in the homicide of 28-year-old Hector Daniel Diaz in southwest Houston in 2015.

Dozens of protesters representing groups such as Black Lives Matter Houston assembled outside the building where Sessions spoke. They chanted “immigrants are welcome here.”

This comes the day after a Clinton-appointed federal judge threatened Sessions with a contempt charge for attempting to deport a woman and her daughter back to their home country of El Salvador and four days after the attorney general vowed to press forward with the Trump Administration’s efforts to rescind DACA, despite another federal judge’s order.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 days ago

Limestone County man grows ‘duck tomato’

(Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful/Facebook)

Take a gander at what a man in Limestone County grew.

On August 1, a picture of Carl Barnes and his “duck tomato” was shared on the Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful, Inc. Facebook page.

The organization shared the photo to promote their upcoming “Duck and Run 5K” on September 15, “Wacky Quacky Ducky Derby” on October 6 and “Duck Decorating Contest” spanning October and November.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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4 days ago

Shelby County school resource officer goes viral for back to school photo

(Shelby County Sheriff)

An Alabama school resource officer has gone viral in a back to school Facebook post.

Tuesday, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office posted a picture on Facebook of Sergeant Nathan Kendrick, a school resource officer, as he “reluctantly” posed for his first day of school photo.

As of Friday, the post had over 9,300 reactions, 1,300 comments and 22,500 shares.

In the viral post, Kendrick can be seen holding a Spider-Man lunch box and a sign that reads: “2018 1st Day of School.”


Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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4 days ago

ALGOP Chair Lathan marks month-anniversary of Kavanaugh nomination by calling out Doug Jones

(T. Lathan, D. Jones/ Facebook)

Thursday marked a full month since President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and Alabama GOP Chair Terry Lathan question Sen. Doug Jones’ (D-Mountain Brook) “inability to make a decision.”

After 32 days now, and still counting, Jones has not committed to backing Judge Kavanaugh, even though a majority of Alabamians support his confirmation.

Sen. Richard Shelby voiced his strong support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation after meeting with him last week, but Alabama’s junior senator is still undecided. Jones will reportedly not even be meeting with Kavanaugh before his confirmation hearing in September.

In a statement Friday, Lathan called on Jones to get off the fence.

“Senator Doug Jones’ inability to make a decision on casting an Alabama vote for Judge Kavanaugh is disconcerting,” she told Yellowhammer News. “If Senator Shelby can meet with Judge Kavanaugh prior to the hearings on behalf of our citizens, why can’t Senator Jones?”

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Lathan also questioned Jones’ priorities, noting that he had traveled to a Tennessee Democratic Party fundraiser over the summer.

“If he can find time to spend with Tennesseans to raise Democrat political funds, he can surely find a moment to meet with Judge Kavanaugh prior to his SCOTUS hearing,” she said.

Lathan continued, “Alabamians are perplexed by his unwillingness to speak with President Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee when he clearly has the time to do so.”

The head of Alabama’s Republican Party reminded voters of Jones’ core promise from November 2017.

“The night Senator Jones was elected he said he would ‘reach across with those that didn’t vote for us to try to find that common ground,'” she said.

Lathan also posed a question to Jones: “How is refusing to simply meet with Judge Kavanaugh before his confirmation hearing finding ‘common ground?'”

Conservative effort are underway to push Jones to listen to the majority of his constituents and confirm Kavanaugh.

The Judicial Crisis Network’s massive ad buy has been flooding Alabama’s airwaves since July 9, and the NRA started their own ambitious television campaign this week.

Concerned Women for America, a Christian women’s organization, is also focusing grassroots efforts on the Yellowhammer State.

Lathan stressed that Jones simply meeting with the nominee is not a partisan decision, but rather an essential duty of any United States Senator.

“A meeting doesn’t mean a promise to vote one way or another,” she emphasized to Yellowhammer News. “A meeting with a Supreme Court nominee is an easy opportunity to address any concerns or questions Senator Jones may have surrounding Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.”

The Alabama Republican Party chair called on Jones to meet with Judge Kavanaugh before his confirmation hearing.

“Senator Jones truly should stop making excuses and give his constituents what they deserve – a meeting with Judge Kavanaugh prior to his confirmation,” Lathan concluded.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 days ago

WATCH: Kobe Bryant shares lessons on leadership with Bama football team

(Alabama Football/Twitter)

Bama meets the Mamba.

Thursday, basketball legend Kobe Bryant, of Los Angeles Lakers fame, visited the University of Alabama’s football team and shared some wisdom with the players as the Crimson Tide continue to prepare for their opening game on September 1 against Louisville.

This comes the day after world-famous entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk shared powerful lessons from his life and his keys to success with the players.

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“To be an effective leader, you have to be a really good listener,” Bryant advised the group.

Watch a clip of his speech below for more tips about leadership:

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 days ago

Clinton-appointed federal judge threatens Sessions with contempt charge

(Wikicommons)

Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt of court.

This came after the Trump administration on the same day attempted to deport a woman and her daughter back to their home country of El Salvador while the ACLU handled an appeal hearing on their behalf.

The woman, only referred to as Carmen by the ACLU, and 12 other migrant asylum seekers being represented by the organization had previously failed their initial “credible fear” interviews, as their claims were determined to be unfounded by the federal government.

However, the judge is now blocking the Trump Administration from following their normal procedure of removing rejected migrants from the country, because the ACLU claims that Sessions’ Department of Justice is not being fair to people seeking asylum on grounds unrelated to government persecution.

“This is pretty outrageous,” Sullivan said. “I’m not happy about this at all. This is not acceptable.”

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The ACLU hailed the Clinton appointee’s actions.

“We are thrilled the stay of removal was issued,” Jennifer Chang Newell, the managing attorney of ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who argued the case in court, said in a statement via The Hill.

“In its rush to deport as many immigrants as possible, the Trump administration is putting these women and children in grave danger of being raped, beaten, or killed,” she continued.

The ACLU tweeted earlier this week, “We’re suing Jeff Sessions for illegally denying asylum protections to immigrants. … These policies undermine the fundamental human rights of women and violate decades of settled asylum law.”

This comes days after Sessions vowed to press forward with the Trump Administration’s efforts to rescind DACA, despite another federal judge’s order.

“The judicial branch has no power to eviscerate the lawful directives of Congress—nor to enjoin the executive branch from enforcing such mandates,” Sessions admonished, via The Hill. “We have recently witnessed a number of decisions in which courts have improperly used judicial power to steer, enjoin, modify, and direct executive policy.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn