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Barbara Bush and the unique legacies First Ladies leave


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THE DEATH OF BARBARA BUSH & REFLECTION ON ROLE OF FIRST LADY

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, over the weekend, Barbara Bush, only the second woman in our nation’s history to be a president’s wife and a president’s mother, she was laid to rest outside of Houston at the George H. W. Bush Library.  

DR. REEDER: Yes, Tom, she’s a very interesting lady and it also brings up an interesting observation. Because our culture has, up until the recent fabricated rulings of Obergefell concerning what is marriage, has always honored the fact that marriage is a foundational institution in the culture that was established by the Creator as one man, one woman, for one life and that that was a foundational issue.

Therefore, we have long been grateful and elected presidents who were married. And the one that they married affected the election, not because you were trying to elect two-for-one or because the position of First Lady was actually an office in the Constitution, but everyone just recognized that, when you elect the one, that you get the marriage partner because the two have become one.
And then First Ladies have carved out their own ministry all the way through Martha Dandridge Washington, the wife of our first president, George Washington, then it was taken to another whole level in the aggressive and independent dynamics and outspoken statements of an Abigail Adams, wife of our second president.

As you move through, our presidents’ wives have all carved out their own space, but there was already an anticipated activity and respect accorded to them in context of their complementarian relationship, that is, they completed their husband — that their husband was not all that he could be or should be without them.

FIRST LADIES LEFT UNIQUE AND VARIED LEGACIES

And then they’ve all had their own commitments, their own emphases, and it’s really been interesting to watch them. Pat Nixon, who was very much in the background — refused to be seen and highly sophisticated and thoughtful but never verbal, never out front — to the aggressive commitment to Equal Rights Amendment by Betty Ford.

I’m just looking at my lifetime experiences and, of course, before I was born was FDR’s wife, Eleanor, who clearly disagreed with her husband and let everyone know about it and, in fact, did not live in Washington like Martha Washington, who would stay back home quite a bit in watching over the farm and the plantation, so Eleonor Roosevelt would spend extensive stays away from the White House.

You had Mrs. Kennedy, who carved out her own, quite the object of not only curiosity but esteem and compliments with her sophisticated, thoughtful and warm personality that was on public display. You remember the famous statement of President Kennedy after he had returned from the trip to Europe and, particularly, to her family ancestral home of France and said, “I am the guy that accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy on her triumphal tour of France.”

The notable manner in which Michelle Obama conducted herself and also her burdens for children’s literacy. Mrs. Clinton came in and saw herself much more in an elected position and tried to become a policy maker with the failed attempt, at that time, of a national healthcare policy. And now it remains to be seen how President Trump’s wife, Melania will ultimately… You can see her feeling her way through this and, being a naturalized citizen, of course, she is trying to gain the sensibilities of it.

WHAT LEGACY DOES BARBARA BUSH LEAVE BEHIND?

Now, Mrs. Bush was her own woman. She was a strong woman; she was a powerful woman; she is the archetype of the “Republican President Woman” in terms of myth and fact in that, somewhat on the liberal side like a Betty Ford on some of her views, but on the other side was a woman of doing things right. You can see somewhat the patrician New England dynamic in her life and in her marriage.

And it was notable that, when you went to eat with her — I quote one visitor — you ate before you went because food would be sparse on the plate as it was bad manners to fill up a plate with food so you ate like a bird and if you wanted to be a vulture, you better have eaten before you got there. Everyone was supposed to be mannerable and etiquette was everything.

FAITH EVIDENT TO THE NATION

And then you see the religious movement in her life. I listened to the interview where she said, “I have no fear of death because I have a great God.” It was notable that President George Bush has given a number of incidents where they have had theological discussions and the fact that he believes his dad and his mom had made a commitment to Christ and they had been drastically affected by the life and ministry of Billy Graham, so much so that they actually, in a sense, had him on the speed dial when they would have family theological discussions.

Therefore, I do pray she knows Christ. She cut her own figure in and, in many ways was a wonderful model. Like all of us, we all have our warts and pimples, but I pray for the family now. I would join with them in remembering their mother. Critiques can, of course, be done by biographers later — I want to join with them in remembering her and being grateful.

What I think of her is this: She has handled the death of a child with dignity, she has mothered her daughters well, she has a son who is effective in business, she has a son who has been president and a son who was a governor, to some degree successful in their attempts and admirable in their commitments and overall evaluation. I do believe, very much, that the hand that rocks the cradle controls the world and you can see the effects of her motherhood as well as her demeanor as a wife and completer in the life of her husband and the obvious devotion that they had to each other.

THANK YOU, BUSHES, FOR EXAMPLE OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE

TOM LAMPRECHT: And she and George H.W. Bush set the high-water mark for the number of years married, 72 years. That’s the longest period of any president.

DR. REEDER: And so that is commendable and it’s, of course, something we strive to see: the return of the Biblical, historical definition of marriage, one man, one woman, and that last part for one life. And I’m grateful for their 72-year marriage and her 92-year life here. And I do hope and pray that the power of the Gospel has been seen.

And, as she said, no fear of death, she had a great God and one of the ways we know the greatness of our God is He can save all of us who are sinners from all of our sins through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

TOMORROW: TRUMP MEETING WITH KIM JONG UN AND AMERICAN PASTOR JAILED IN TURKEY

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, we’re out of time for today. On Tuesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you back to last Wednesday where President Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan got together for a press conference. They talked about a number of things, but at the top of the list was North Korea. North Korea has taken citizens from Japan captive and there are three Americans being held at North Korea.

Harry, tomorrow, I would like to discuss the whole North Korean situation and the upcoming summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, but I also want to examine the situation in Turkey where Pastor Andrew Brunson is being held captive because, as the Turkish government says, evangelism is a form of terrorism.

DR. REEDER: Andrew Brunson in prison, under trial and facing some significant possible penalties, including death in Turkey. We need to look at that.

And then the first one you mentioned because not only the announcements concerning North Korea from that meeting with the Japanese prime minister, but, Tom, it’s also been announced that there’s going to be a “quasi-summit” between President Trump and the president or dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. And, also, surprising tactics that have befuddled that we’ll try to give some clarity to as to how that meeting was set up. We need to do some analysis of his not so surprising but yet befuddling to the media unorthodox style and evaluate it from a Christian world and life view.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

6 hours ago

The surprising link between Alabama seafood, timber and U.S. national security, and how Shelby is leading the way

There are plenty of areas of debate over exactly how and where the U.S. should spend its foreign aid dollars. But for Alabamians in particular — and the entire Gulf Coast region more broadly — the international assistance that flows into cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking is paying massive dividends, both economically and, perhaps more surprisingly, in terms of national security.

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates Americans grossly overestimate the amount the federal government spends on foreign aid.  The average answer was foreign aid accounts for a whopping 31 percent of spending. Fifteen percent of respondents actually thought it represented over half of the U.S. budget.

In reality, according to the Congressional Research Service, it accounts for about 1 percent total when military, economic development and humanitarian efforts are combined.  And it is paying massive dividends for Alabama.

Here’s how:

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First, foreign aid dollars fund multi-nation efforts to combat illegal trade in timber and fish. These illicit practices cost U.S. foresters and fishers billions of dollars in lost revenue every single year by flooding the market and driving down prices.

According to the Alabama Department of Commerce, “Alabama has the second largest commercial timberland base in the U.S., with 23 million acres. Forestry is the state’s second largest manufacturing industry, producing an estimated $14.8 billion worth of products in 2013, the latest data available.” Alabama also ranked second in the country in fish production. By cracking down on the black-market trading of timber and fish, our foreign aid dollars are protecting Alabama jobs.

Second, foreign aid that flows into international conservation efforts, which has enjoyed bipartisan support for decades, helps countries manage their natural resources sustainably. This prevents the scarcity of water, food or forests that often contributes to instability and sparks regional conflicts.

Third, cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking cuts off a major source of income for armed groups and organizations with terrorist ties throughout the world, many of which pose a direct threat to American interests.

A report by the United Nations and Interpol found that the “illegal wildlife trade worth up to $213 billion a year is funding organized crime, including global terror groups and militias.” Additionally, “the annual trade of up to $100 billion in illegal logging is helping line the pockets of mafia, Islamist extremists and rebel movements, including Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked terror group al-Shabaab.”

Fortunately, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who recently rose to the powerful post of Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, has remained a staunch supporter of ensuring that resources continue to flow into efforts to combat the illegal trade in timber and fish.

“The Committee has worked together to strike the appropriate balance between the competing priorities of law enforcement, national security, scientific advancement, and economic development,” Shelby said after announcing critical funding for Fiscal Year 2018. “Additionally, the measure includes necessary oversight provisions to fight waste, fraud, and abuse. This is a step forward in maintaining critical funding for core programs and addressing the needs of our nation while staying within our spending boundaries.”

The move did not go unnoticed by leaders in the seafood industry, a major source of economic activity in all Gulf States, including Alabama.

“We cannot thank Senator Shelby enough,” said Southern Shrimp Alliance Executive Director John Williams after fiscal year 2018 appropriation. “Their extraordinary efforts ensure the survival of the domestic shrimp fishery in the face of what has been an endless stream of illegal shrimp imports.”

Support for foreign assistance and international conservation is smart domestic policy. It protects our economy and cuts off the flow of cash to criminals and terrorists. Sen. Shelby and the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers from whom he has helped rally support deserve recognition and praise for their leadership.

Allison Ross is the owner of Yellowhammer News.

 

 

6 hours ago

What’s wrong with Calhoun County’s economy?

Earlier this week, Zippia, one of the many job search websites out there, released its list of 2018’s 50 worst job markets in America. Only one in Alabama made the list: Anniston-Jacksonville, AL, which came in at number 43.

That’s not bad given what we’re told about Alabama and poverty. But it does raise one question: Why are Anniston and its surrounding areas struggling compared to other similar places in the state?

Although unemployment in Calhoun County is not nearly as high as counties in the Black Belt, compared to other quasi-urban areas of Alabama, Calhoun has the highest unemployment rate, coming in at 5.9 percent according to data posted recently on the Alabama Department of Labor’s website.

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That far exceeds the seasonally adjusted numbers for the state of Alabama, at 4.1 percent, and nationally, at 4 percent.

So, what gives? Why does Calhoun County struggle economically?

“It’s a good question,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) said in response to that in an interview with Yellowhammer News back in April. “I saw those numbers come out for my congressional district and Calhoun County had the highest unemployment rate, still. It is better than it has been, but I don’t know the answer to that question.”

Rogers said part of the answer to that question may be tied to military spending during the Obama administration and its impact on the nearby Anniston Army Depot.

“[T]here was a real downsizing at the Depot,” he added. “They had had a couple more thousand employees than they have now at the height of the war and there had been a downsizing since the drawback from Iraq and Afghanistan. You don’t need to refurbish as much equipment. But now they’re trying to ramp back up as we try to rebuild our military.”

He credited the potential for a turnaround in that trend to President Donald Trump’s commitment to the military.

Beyond that, why isn’t Calhoun County booming? It seems like every other day, Gov. Kay Ivey is announcing a new addition or manufacturing facility in the Huntsville area that includes a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Let’s compare the Anniston-Oxford area to another economic hot spot in Rogers district, the Auburn-Opelika area.  Although Lee County isn’t quite enjoying the successes of Madison and Limestone Counties, it seems to be growing. Its unemployment rate is 4.7 percent – a little higher. But when you look around Auburn and Opelika, there are all kinds of new commercial and residential construction projects.

That doesn’t seem to be a trend in Anniston and Oxford.

Both Lee and Calhoun Counties have some similarities. Having Auburn University in Lee County is a big difference. Besides that, the two approximately the same distance from Atlanta and its international airport. The two are served by the Interstate Highway System – I-20 in Calhoun County and I-85 in Lee County.

If Lee County can make it work, then why not Calhoun County?

Getting to the bottom of determining what is ailing Calhoun County is not an easy chore. Although reading the pages of The Anniston Star is not quite the adventures of “Alice in Wonderland” it was when H. Brandt Ayers was in charge, under Josephine Ayers and Anthony Cook, it still tends to dwell in the politics outside of Calhoun County.

Addressing Calhoun County’s struggles is a politically worthwhile endeavor. While Kay Ivey is patting herself on the back for economic prosperity in north Alabama at plant-opening ceremony number 105, and Walt Maddox is championing his heroics in Tuscaloosa post-2011 tornado devastation, what about Anniston? What about Oxford? What about Jacksonville?

From an outsider’s perspective, there seems to be a presentable case for manufacturing to make Calhoun County a home given its infrastructure and proximities it Atlanta and Birmingham. But first, we need to determine what’s behind its current struggles.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

7 hours ago

Six vote difference: Republicans Todd Rauch and Debbie Wood in tight race for House District 38

Todd Rauch and Debbie Wood are in a tight race to become the Republican nominee for House District 38, where only six votes separate the two candidates. Wood has 2,165 votes to Rauch’s 2,159 votes.

The number is well within Rauch’s reach considering there are still votes to be counted.

A winner won’t be declared until at least next Tuesday, July 24, when provisional ballots are officially counted and even then, it could take longer for Secretary of State John Merrill to certify the results officially declaring a winner.

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“There’s never a winner until everything is certified,” Secretary of State John Merrill told Yellowhammer News.

Even in the case of such a wide margin as Attorney General Steve Marshall has over Troy King – 62 to 38 percent – there is still no official winner because it hasn’t been certified, Merrill said.

Provisional ballots are provided to those whose names do not appear on the voter roles when they show up to vote but who insist they belong, and still want to vote.

In order to have their votes counted, those who participate in the provisional process must prove to the board of registrar’s office that they ought to be on the roles.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

8 hours ago

Alabamians less likely to be understood by ‘Alexa’ and other ‘smart’ tech because of southern accents

The remarkable drawl that embodies Southern culture may be responsible for the frustration many Alabamians feel when trying to get their smart tech to answer a question. The repeated “Sorry, I didn’t get that” can lead people with accents to underutilize voice-activated devices such as Alexa and Google Home that are rapidly growing in popularity.

study conducted by the Washington Post and two research groups revealed people with Southern accents were three percent less likely to get accurate responses from a Google Home device than those with Western accents.  Foreign accents face the largest challenge with 30 percent more inaccuracies.

But, help is on the way.

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According to the study, the artificial intelligence used in programming the technology is taught to comprehend different accents by processing data from a variety of voices.  The more it learns, the more accurate the programming will become.  Even though these tools may be more useful for some people at the moment, Amazon, the maker of the smart home product Alexa, says to keep trying.

“The more we hear voices that follow certain speech patterns or have certain accents, the easier we find it to understand them.  For Alexa, this no different,” Amazon said in a statement.  “As more people speak to Alexa, and with various accents, Alexa’s understanding will improve.”

Over 20 percent of U.S. households with WiFi utilize smart speakers, and the number of users is growing.  Hopefully, for the benefit of Alabamians, that growth will happen in the South.

Allison Ross is the owner of Yellowhammer News.

Learning from President Trump: Words matter

“I don’t see any reason why it would be”.

Those words, voiced by President Trump when asked whether he believed it was true that Russia interfered with the 2016 election, set off a media firestorm early this week.

Trump, of course, is used to media criticism, but this time was different. Joining the normal critics were a multitude of Fox News hosts including Neil Cavuto, Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Dana Perino, and even Brian Kilmeade of the oft-lauded by Trump Fox and Friends.

The morning after Trump’s press conference with President Putin, Kilmeade spoke in second person “you” language and pleaded for President Trump to clarify his statement and his belief in our intelligence agencies over Russians who, as Kilmeade said “hate democracy.”

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To his credit, Trump – who had previously agreed that Russian meddling existed – corrected his statement within twenty-four hours.

Regardless of whether his clarification was believable or timely, this episode reminds us that in politics and government – and in everyday life – words matter.

19thcentury German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche recognized the power of words. Nietzsche wrote, “All I need is a sheet of paper, and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down”.

Nietzsche’s statement wasn’t merely hypothetical. His declaration that “God is dead” shattered worldviews across western civilization into pieces that PureFlix (the movie company behind God’s Not Dead and its sequels) is still trying to pick up.

Even so, it seems that many have forgotten the power of words and have embraced the idea that simply being heard, regardless of content, is of utmost importance.

In NBC’s hit show The Office, Michael Scott tells viewers, “Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.” I think a lot of us are more like Michael Scott than we’d like to admit.

We might do well to envision more intentional dialogue from ourselves and from our elected officials, especially our state and local representatives.

In an environment where soundbites are everything, Trump’s statements in Helsinki and the backlash that ensued ought to prompt Alabama officials and candidates to rethink any “wing it” sympathies they may have towards public statements, press conferences, or tweets.

This is even more important in the post-primary period of our election cycle.

Now that the nominees are chosen, we must remind each of their responsibility as leaders to use words, strategies, and express differences in a way that is less divisive and more unifying, less bombastic and more genuine. Our officials and candidates should think twice before resorting to name-calling or vilifying their opponents, as doing so endorses that type of behavior and lowers the standard of Alabamians for those who represent them.

We should also expect, now that the in-fighting of our primary process is over, nominees to run thoughtful campaigns where issues, not personalities, are articulately debated.

Candidates and regular Alabamians alike must remember that words yield tremendous power. Therefore, as Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the BFG, and Matilda, suggests, “Don’t gobblefunk around with words”.

Parker Snider is Manager of Policy Relations for the Alabama Policy Institute, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to strengthening free enterprise, defending limited government, and championing strong families.