The Wire

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

    Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

    Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

    Excerpt:

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

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

2 months ago

Tuberville: Mueller anniversary offers sad reminder of the day Jeff Sessions ran away when needed most

(Tuberville for Senate/Contributed)

Three years ago this week, one of the biggest hoaxes in American history began as Robert Mueller was appointed to lead the Democrats’ Russia witch hunt, and the man most responsible for birthing that national nightmare was U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is now running to reclaim his former Senate seat.

Throughout this campaign, Sessions has claimed that nameless, faceless Justice Department bureaucrats demanded that he recuse himself from the investigation, and he had no other choice than stepping down.

So, without even a courtesy call to the man who appointed him, Sessions abandoned his president and fed him to the wolves, and he almost brought down the entire Trump presidency in the process.

The truth is that Sessions did, in fact, have several other options, but he lacked the courage and selflessness to seriously consider any of them.

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If Sessions was unsure he could remain loyal to the president, perhaps the easiest option would have been to decline the cabinet post when it was first offered, but, instead, he went in the other direction.

Just two weeks ago, President Trump appeared on the “Fox & Friends” morning show and said that Sessions literally begged him to be appointed attorney general on four separate occasions, so he made the appointment despite severe misgivings.

“(Sessions) wasn’t, to me, equipped to be attorney general, but he just wanted it, wanted it, wanted it,” Trump said. “Jeff was just very weak and very sad, and when ‘Russia’ was mentioned, just the word ‘Russia,’ he immediately, instead of being a man and saying, ‘This is a hoax,’ he recused himself.”

In response to the nationally-televised comments, Session released a harshly-worded statement that accused President Trump of lying.

Another option available to Sessions would have been to ignore the urgings of the Deep State bureaucrats at the Justice Department who supposedly told him that he must recuse himself according to “regulations.”

Ongoing revelations about inappropriate actions by entrenched liberals at the Justice Department and the FBI indicate that many of those who advised Sessions were likely working against President Trump and pushing for him to fail from the first day he took office.

But even if Sessions felt so strongly that insulating himself from the investigation was the proper path, he should have first marched into the Oval Office with his recusal in one hand and his resignation in the other and said, “Mr. President, which one of these do you want me to sign?”

That way, it would have been Donald Trump’s choice, not Sessions’, but he was too fearful of the answer, so he recused first and boxed-in the president.

Yet another option available to Sessions was to quit his job and walk away as soon as President Trump’s loss of confidence in him became obvious, which happened quickly. But like a bad houseguest who will not leave when the party is over, Sessions overstayed his welcome for months on end and forced the president to fire him.

Sessions was likely reluctant to resign because he felt he had given up his U.S. Senate seat in order to become attorney general, but when you work for the president, what you gave up, what you sacrificed, and what you think you deserve must simply be set aside and forgotten.

Selflessly doing what is best to protect the president and the nation you serve should be your one and only focus.

As a retired football coach, I know a good bit about teamwork and winning.

In order to win, each player has to be willing to put the team ahead of themselves. They have to set their own interests aside so the team can succeed, and they have to take incredible risks in order to score a win. Jeff Sessions proved too selfish and unwilling to do any of those things for the Trump team to win.

Finally, Sessions had at least one other option, and it is the one I would have taken.

He could have remained loyal to the president, watched his back against the Democrats’ fake news sneak attacks, and helped him fulfill the promise of making American great again.

President Donald Trump knows that he can depend upon Tommy Tuberville to remain loyal to him come Hell or high water, and that is why my campaign proudly carries his full endorsement and support.

Tommy Tuberville is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama

RELATED: Letter from Jeff Sessions to the people of Alabama on recusal

4 months ago

Tuberville: Jeff Sessions turned his back on our veterans and left them behind

(T. Tuberville/Facebook)

My father was a hero.

First Sergeant Charles Tuberville landed on Normandy Beach on D-Day, and he drove a tank through the streets of a newly-liberated Paris, France.

Along the way, he earned a Purple Heart at the Battle of the Bulge and five Bronze Star medals for valor.

Dad was still on active duty when he passed away in 1977 at age 53, but growing up as the son of a decorated warrior and being raised among the rich traditions of the U.S. military ingrained in me a deep respect for all of the men and women who have carried arms in defense of our nation.

That is why I get angry when our veterans are forgotten, abandoned and left behind by callous, uncaring and over-privileged lawmakers like Jeff Sessions.

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Many veterans, and especially those who have experienced combat, struggle once they return to civilian life.

Often feeling lost, unappreciated and unable to access the care that they need, roughly 22 veterans commit suicide each day across the United States, which equates to one every 65 minutes. The numbers are especially high among female veterans.

Recognizing that healthcare access for veterans was in need of significant and immediate improvement, Republicans took action and introduced the “Veteran Access to Care Act of 2014,” a measure intended to reduce the waiting periods for medical appointments and expand the options available to those with prior military service.

In a rare display of D.C. bipartisanship, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the landmark legislation passed with vote of 426-to-0, and it was approved in the Senate with a similar 93-to-3 margin.

One of the three senators voting against the bill was none other than Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who said the cost of caring for our veterans was simply too expensive in his opinion.

What kind of man plays politics with the care and well-being of our nation’s heroic veterans? What kind of man puts a price tag on ensuring that those who defended our nation are given quality health care in a timely manner? What kind of man looks veterans in the eye and tells them that promises made to them by the country they served will not be kept?

To add insult to injury, Sessions is a career politician who has spent 45 years on the government payroll receiving the finest health coverage that your taxpayer dollars can provide, yet he wanted to deny our veterans the same kind of care.

After the vote, the national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, William Thien, released a statement that read, “When it comes to taking care of America’s veterans, there is no discussion … Sessions should know this; veterans have long memories and veterans vote.”

Since President Trump has taken office – and, coincidentally, since Jeff Sessions left the U.S. Senate – the issues surrounding healthcare for veterans are being resolved.

In 2018, the president promoted, passed and signed legislation that finally makes it easier for veterans to access private healthcare programs outside the framework of the Veterans Administration system.

The legislation also created a commission that will determine which VA facilities are in need of renovation and repair, which should be torn down so new ones may be built, and which should be shuttered and replaced with private care alternatives,

As your U.S. Senator, I will never abandon our veterans in their time of need the way that Jeff Sessions once did, and I pledge to work every day to provide them with both the physical and mental care necessary to live long, happy, and fulfilling lives.

And as a U.S. Senator, I will not accept a salary but will, instead, donate every penny directly to Alabama veterans in need and to Alabama-based charitable organizations working to support them.

My father would expect no less of me.

Tommy Tuberville is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama

6 months ago

Tommy Tuberville: Make America fiscally fit again

(Tuberville for Senate/Contributed)

Federal spending is snowballing out of control. The U.S. government’s national debt is skyrocketing, recently hitting a record high of $23 trillion. While hardworking Republican Senators in Washington are proposing budget solutions, clueless Democrats on the other side of the isle are pushing for bills that would increase government spending by billions of dollars more. Our country’s current spending level is not only unsustainable but also detrimental to our future. It’s time to balance the budget.

Let’s be honest — no one enjoys being put on a restrictive budget. But creating a smart plan for allocating funds is crucial for financial prosperity. We all have experience budgeting on the micro-level by managing our families’ household expenses. Cutting back on excessive spending on things like dining out, for example, seems painful at the time, but saving money for our children’s future college educations is worth it in the long run. I’ve also been responsible for managing large budgets during my time as head coach. No one is exempt from budgeting — not even the federal government. It’s imperative that we take action now to preserve our nation’s economy for the future.

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U.S. Senator Rand Paul has proposed an attainable solution to our debt problem: the Penny Plan. With this bill, the government would spend one penny less for every on-budget dollar that they spend for five years, and over this time period, a balance would be achieved. As a part of the plan, Social Security wouldn’t be affected, and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) would be increased so Americans can cover health-care costs. The Penny Plan is a no-brainer, and I’ll be a strong Republican vote in the Senate to help pass Dr. Paul’s bill into law.

It’s up to the levelheaded, fiscally conservative voices in Washington to support President Trump’s agenda, and I’ll use my Republican vote in the Senate to support legislation that helps maintain our economy’s upward climb. Less spending and smaller government are the keys to our nation’s financial success, and a robust economy is the key to maintaining the United States’ position as the strongest country in the world.

Tommy Tuberville is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama

7 months ago

Tommy Tuberville: Expanding transparency in prescription drug prices

(Chris Potter/Flickr, Tommy Tuberville for Senate/Contributed, YHN)

The rising cost of healthcare is a concern for every American with the cost of prescription medication increasing yearly.

Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) were created to administer prescription drug plans on behalf of insurers and employers. PBMs serve as “middlemen” who negotiate prices between pharmacies and drug manufacturers on behalf of plan sponsors. They were supposed to reduce costs for sponsors, pharmacies and consumers, but this has not been the case. In fact, drug costs as a percentage of total health care spending have doubled to nearly 10 percent in 2014 — up from 5.2% in 1987.

In terms of total spending on prescription drugs, the numbers are even worse. Between 1987 and 2014, spending on prescription drugs increased by 1,010%! In the same period, patients’ actual out-of-pocket costs increased by 169%, with PBMs making an even greater percentage of profit.

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How does this happen? A number of factors have allowed PBMs to generate huge profits without reducing costs for sponsors and consumers. Mergers and acquisitions between PBMs have reduced their numbers to the point that three PBMs now control nearly 80% of prescription drug benefit purchases. PBMs negotiate rebates from drug companies to include their drugs on the PBMs plan, but there is no transparency in these deals. This means that sponsors, pharmacies and patients usually have no way of knowing what the “real” cost of a drug is to the PBM.

Recently, some companies have abandoned PBMs, choosing to negotiate directly with pharmacy networks for prescription services, with good results. A few states have taken steps to rein in the secrecy and runaway profiteering by PBMs, but multiple bills introduced into both chambers of the U.S. Congress have died in committee. Action by the federal government continues to be needed, and President Trump recognized this when he called for Congress to require drug makers, insurers and hospitals to disclose “real prices” in his State of
the Union Address.

It’s clear that PBM reforms are needed, and these reforms need to come from Congress. With President Trump’s backing, Republicans can and should work to pass bills to increase transparency across the industry so that employers, pharmacists and patients know the “real prices” of drugs. Medicare Part D drug payments for generic drugs are the logical place to begin this transparency. Finally, regulatory barriers that prevent companies from acting as their own PBMs should be reduced or eliminated. This will allow the free market to lower drug costs while preserving patient’s access to the medications they need.

Without congressional oversight and investigation, we will lose the first line of defense for healthcare–our locally owned independent pharmacies. Without Congressional action, the PBMs will continue to abuse our parents’ and grandparents’ financial security and access to the medications they need.

We will never be able to control healthcare spending unless the ever-increasing costs of prescription meds are reined in. This election season, every candidate needs to be clear about their position on PBMs and how they will work to increase transparency and reduce costs for all of us. Congress must act on healthcare, and voters need to be sure that their representatives understand the issues and what is at stake if they do not.

As your senator, I’ll work to strip away the veil of secrecy from the backroom deals and hidden kickbacks the PBMs have used to amass such huge profits at the expense of employers, pharmacies and patients. I’ll support legislation to reduce bureaucratic and regulatory barriers to companies who want to act as their own PBMs. Senator Tommy Tuberville will always stand with patients, local pharmacies and employers against profiteering middlemen who want to use medical needs for their own personal gain.

Tommy Tuberville is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama

7 months ago

America’s greatest rivalry: Conservative Christian vs. Swamp monsters

(Screenshot/WRBL)

Swamp monsters in Washington think Capitol Hill is the nation’s toughest playing field. Well, they have never competed in the Iron Bowl. They have never been on the sideline in Jordan-Hare and Bryant-Denny Stadiums, where noise levels break record decibels, where the crowd’s cheers reverberate within your chest. They have never stood at the forefront of athletics’ most celebrated rivalry. I’ve had a real job working with people, while my competition and many career politicians have been do-nothing bureaucrats.

I know how to play, and I know how to win. My track record on the gridiron speaks for itself. I have earned two SEC Coach of the Year awards, have been named Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year, and have been part of National Championship teams. I’ve managed large budgets; dealt with higher education politics; and been in the homes of the poor, the middle class and the rich.

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On Iron Bowl Saturday, Alabama and Auburn fans will be divided for 60 minutes of play, but running for the United States Senate is not a game. When the clock runs out at the end of the fourth quarter, team rivalries are set aside, and our citizens will unite in our campaign to make our state — and our nation — a better place. Alabamians deserve a proud Christian conservative leader in Washington who won’t falter under pressure and who knows how to win. After 40 years of coaching, I feel called to get off the sidelines and fight for our Alabama values.

I’m not a crooked career politician who is too weak to stand with President Trump. I’m an outsider who’s running to give a voice to the frustration that so many of us feel as Doug Jones and his socialist party are assaulting the values of life and liberty that we treasure.

If you want to recycle a career politician, then you have plenty of choices. But if you want a winner that will stand with President Trump and not get weak-kneed when the going gets tough, then I’m your best vote.

Alabama conservatives, let me be your voice in Washington. Stand with President Trump and me against the radical Democrats who are threatening the prosperity of our country. I’ve battled challenging opponents before, and I’ve proven that I will win for Alabama.

Tommy Tuberville is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama

8 months ago

A hero’s welcome: What you deserve, Mr. President

(T. Tuberville for Senate/Contributed, WH/Flickr, YHN)

Welcome back to Alabama, Mr. President.

You are in the home state of college football’s greatest rivalry, which I was honored to be a part of for so many years. Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers fans are opponents during the season, especially on Iron Bowl Saturday, and our allegiances lie with either Coach Saban or Coach Malzahn. But there’s one head coach for whom our state’s fans set aside their bipartisan differences and root for in solidarity: the president of the United States of America.

In Alabama, you will not be heckled or booed, but embraced as our commander in chief. We support you, and we are rooting for your continued success.

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Here in Alabama, we show respect for the elected leaders governing our great nation. Mr. President, you have proven throughout your administration that you are working tirelessly to make our country a better place. As I said, when I was a head coach, the numbers do not lie. This is the best economy in history. Households across the nation have benefited from great income growth, which has been at a much higher rate than any of your predecessors achieved. Over 6.5 million people are off food stamps. Disabled employment for Asian Americans and African Americans is at the lowest rate our country has ever seen. The unemployment rate has been at 4% or less for 16 consecutive months, the longest streak in 50 years. And under your leadership, the United States has become energy independent.

You have scored touchdown after touchdown for our country and have earned the right to serve four more years. And we football fans understand the value of hard-fought victories.

It is an honor to have you in Alabama, Mr. President. Alabama has your back, and all our fans are cheering for you.

Tommy Tuberville is the former head football coach of Auburn University and a 2020 Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama

8 months ago

Tuberville: Our mental health plan is broken — Let’s fix it

(T. Tuberville/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

Mental health in America is broken.

The federal government controls the funding for mental health care, but currently, there’s not a plan in place to fix the crisis tormenting our nation.

I believe it’s time for us to create a strategy. It’s time to offer an effective solution for our veterans, our first responders, our neighbors who desperately need the resources that the federal government has failed to provide for them. Transferring funding for mental health care back to the states will give us the power and means to help our fellow Alabamians in need.

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The federal government attempted to take charge of America’s mental health by passing the Community Mental Health Act in 1963. Its intentions were optimistic: The federal government created and funded community mental health centers (CMHCs) to provide appropriate care for the mentally ill. But the legislation didn’t solve the problem, and no other solution has been offered. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2 million people with mental illnesses are booked into jails each year. More are living homeless on the streets. None have access to the medical care they need.

The federal government’s blanket solution of CMHCs is ineffective. There are millions of cases that need specific, individualized attention—cases that can’t be solved by one-size-fits-all methods. The federal government doesn’t have the bandwidth to provide appropriate care for those in need. But individual states do. It’s time for us to step up and solve the problem raging in our own backyard.

We can look to telemedicine companies such as Teladoc to provide easy-access mental health care. Teladoc connects its patients with doctors, therapists and medical experts by phone and video. It appeals to individuals who may be too intimidated to visit a doctor’s office in person because of the stigma surrounding mental health. This way, patients are quickly connected to a professional while maintaining their privacy.

Our veterans are one of the many groups that need mental health attention. These men and women bravely fought to protect our country — to protect us — and they are suffering post-traumatic stress as they return home after their service and attempt to assimilate into mainstream society. Now it’s time for us to protect and provide care for our veterans. We can all help end the stigma surrounding mental health, so those who need it most will not be afraid to ask for it or receive it.

It’s time for the federal government to turn funding for mental health care over to the states. It’s time for us to take control of the crisis and help our veterans, our first responders and our neighbors who are struggling. The federal government has proven that it won’t solve the problem, so it’s time for us to reach out a helping hand.

Tommy Tuberville is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama

1 year ago

Tuberville: Americans must stop abandoning our history

(T. Tuberville for Senate/Facebook, Wikicommons, YHN)

A shoe company has once again divided our nation.

An iconic American brand, Nike, fell victim to the re-writing of history after briskly pulling a new line of USA-themed sneakers from shelves after harsh controversy arose over their patriotic design. The shoes, which displayed Betsy Ross’ flag, sparked outrage from critics, who reportedly denounced the symbol as offensive and inappropriate for present-day wear. Nike’s response has deemed an important piece of history unworthy of celebration during what’s supposed to be a week of unity honoring our nation’s independence.

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The Continental Congress adopted Betsy Ross’ flag as the first official symbol of an independent America in 1777. It’s claimed that General George Washington tapped the Philadelphia seamstress to sew the original flag a year earlier. The design — 13 alternating red and white stripes and 13 white stars — represented the 13 original colonies as a newly unified nation. Betsy Ross’ flag waved with pride as soldiers fought for hard-won independence from an overseas monarch during the American Revolution. When examining the symbolism of the first American flag, we must travel back in history to its creation and understand what it represented during the Revolutionary era: a democratic, indivisible nation established on the core ideals of liberty and justice.

In a recent tweet, Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona stated, “[Nike] has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism. It is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it.”

Critics are allowing misguided political interpretations to reshape the significance of Betsy Ross’ flag in history. For an American company to abandon such an important historic symbol in an effort to conform to ‘political correctness’ is downright dishonorable.

Extremist groups have grossly misused and misinterpreted Betsy Ross’ flag for their own individual purposes, to be sure. But those cases are just more examples of how present-day interpretations of significant historic symbols have been warped by political biases and employed by misguided missions.

Betsy Ross’ flag symbolizes patriotism and pride for the new nation that would, over the course of history, develop into and prove itself to be the greatest and most powerful in the world. As Americans, we must unite to honor our country and what it stands for during Fourth of July celebrations. We must advocate for our flag — old versions and new — and pay tribute to what it represents: the forefathers who earned our independence, the veterans who fought for our freedom against tyrannical enemies and the armed services around the world who continue to defend our great country every day.

Tommy Tuberville is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama