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.

9 hours ago

Birmingham-Southern College to impose fee on unvaccinated students

Unless students of Birmingham-Southern College are vaccinated against COVID-19, those who attend the private liberal arts school will be forced to pay a $500 fee “to offset continual weekly antigen testing and quarantining.”

In an email sent to students, the college announced its pandemic protocols for those returning to campus for the fall semester. In what appears to be an effort to encourage students to receive the vaccine, BSC told students it will levy a monetary charge against those who are unvaccinated. The school cited the need for funding to be applied toward COVID-related mitigation measures as a reason for the charge.

The email reads in part, “Due to the lack of federal funds for pandemic precautions this term, all students will initially be charged $500 for the fall term to offset continual weekly antigen testing and quarantining. Students who are fully vaccinated prior to the beginning of fall term will receive an immediate $500 rebate.”

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The college announced in the email that it has also set separate move-in dates for vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

The College Republican Federation of Alabama (CRFA) has condemned the move as discriminatory against students who have chosen not to receive the vaccine.

“The College Republican Federation of Alabama condemns this obvious attack on students who are not vaccinated,” says CRFA chairman Clint Reid. “While vaccines are an important tool in the fight against COVID-19 we are still a free society where one should not be held at ransom to the tune of $500 if they do not feel the vaccine is the best course of action for them. We call on Birmingham-Southern College to drop this outrageous fee.”

The college’s email goes on to direct students who have been immunized against the virus to complete a “Vaccination Report Form.” BSC stated that the school’s goal is to achieve an 85% vaccination rate among students, faculty and staff.

Portion of the email sent to BSC students as follows obtained by Yellowhammer News: 

Birmingham-Southern College did not respond to a request for comment. Yellowhammer News has inquired with the Attorney General’s Office regarding the legality of BSC’s guidelines and will provide updates accordingly.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

10 hours ago

Tim James: A house divided against itself cannot stand

Last week the discussion of COVID vaccination burst into the news and ripped the scab right off the wound exposing the divide among Alabamians about whether to vaccinate or not. We all know there can be tense moments among friends and family when the vaccine topic comes up especially when there are differing opinions in the room.

Well, last week the discussion hit a fever pitch on a grand scale and landed on the front pages of the national news outlets. According to news reports, in Alabama, there are about 2.5 to 3 million people that have CHOSEN NOT to take the vaccine out of the state’s population of 5.1 million. Approximately 60% of all Alabamians have made this their personal health choice.

I am writing this letter today to express my distaste for those bent on shaming people in which they disagree on the vaccine issue. They divide Alabamians into two classes: the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. The media’s contempt is in overdrive for anyone that dares to disagree and not blindly follow the government directives. So, they shame by spewing their poison proclaiming the unvaccinated are the problem. Their assertion of “Blame” by extension means the unvaccinated are responsible for the spread of COVID. If you want to blame someone or something, blame the virus and the makers of it. As everybody knows, it was not the bats.

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The problem is not the unvaccinated, but rather those spawning division among the population. It’s the BLAME GAME.

They shake their fingers in the face of millions of Alabama citizens for refusing to take the vaccine and are beside themselves when everyone does not fall in line like sheep. I guess the unvaccinated are the “New Deplorables.”

I’ve listened to their shaming long enough and felt it was time to stand up for millions of Alabamians that have made their decision, over the many months, NOT to take the vaccine. I fall into this category; however, like most families I have family members that have chosen TO take the vaccine. Alabamians know full well what is going on in their communities, local hospitals, nursing homes and churches. They are not ignorant to the medical realities and associated risks. Neither are they reckless or selfish.

Every unvaccinated person has considered whether to take the vaccine for months. They have discussed the matter with others, prayed about it and even may have tolled back and forth on the decision. In the end, their “call” was to not take the vaccine for their own personal reasons. I can’t help but wonder why so many vaccinated people lecture everyone else when they themselves have marginal health risk as they are the vaccinated class.

Has it occurred to them that their shaming is certain to follow children into the classroom in the form of bullying? Do they care about young women in childbearing years who are rightfully cautious about what goes into their bodies? It’s ironic that people that CHOOSE NOT to take the vaccine are labeled dissenters even though they are the majority in Alabama and cross all races and political lines.

Going forward I want to encourage people to take a deep breath and stand back from the situation. COVID, of course can be lethal, but at the same time the odds of fatality are extremely low. This is one of those times when we must not succumb to fear. Fear is the root from which anxiety and worry bud.

Fear is a weapon used to manipulate the public, and the press is its enabler. The Lord speaks to the issue of fear through the Apostle Paul. “For God hath not given a spirit of fear but of power and sound mind” – 2 Timothy 1:7

I also would like to take this opportunity to say something about Governor Ivey’s statement last week concerning unvaccinated Alabamians. She said, “It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”

The unvaccinated people represent approximately 60% of the population in our state. The Governor’s comments triggered uncontrollable elation and gaiety from politicians and news anchors at CNN, NBC and others. As one could expect, President Biden and Dr. Fauci were ecstatic at Alabamians being scolded by their Governor over this issue. I believe the Governor’s comments were off-base. I also believe she likely misspoke in the heat of the moment; something any of us could do. As we navigate forward, we need to lower the tone and not take the bait of those whose goal is to sow seeds of division amongst Alabamians.

I have a message for the American press corps concerning their hysterical, fear-based coverage of the pandemic.

It’s a quote from Edward R. Murrow, the great broadcast journalist during the first half of the 20th century.

He effectively warned his fellow journalists what would happen if the free press became compromised. He wrote: “No one can terrorize a whole nation unless we are his accomplices.”

Tim James, the son of former Gov. Fob James, is a Greenville, Alabama businessman. He was a 2010 GOP candidate for governor.

10 hours ago

Regions names Jason Isbell senior vice president of state government affairs and economic development

Regions Bank has tapped one of the state’s foremost experts on banking law and government affairs to serve as senior vice president of state government affairs and economic development.

Jason Isbell comes to the Birmingham-based bank brandishing nearly two decades of legal and government affairs experience in the public and private sectors.

Elizabeth Taylor, head of government affairs and economic development for Regions, highlighted Isbell’s depth of knowledge and relationships throughout the industry.

“Regions Bank has a strong history of working with government leaders and other stakeholder groups on issues impacting our associates, customers and communities,” Taylor said in a statement to Yellowhammer News. “Jason Isbell brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on a variety of financial services matters to this role. His work building relationships and navigating a myriad of legislative issues will serve us well. We look forward to his service advancing economic development opportunities that move our communities forward while also building on the strong relationships we have in the areas Regions serves.”

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Isbell most recently worked with Maynard Cooper & Gale where he represented a wide array of clients, including Regions, as an attorney and lobbyist in the firm’s Government Solutions Group.

Prior to his time at Maynard Cooper, he held the position of vice president for legal and governmental affairs at the Alabama Bankers Association (ABA). Isbell was charged with implementing ABA’s legislative and regulatory agendas at both the state and federal levels. He honed his skills in public policy during his 11 years in state government, first as a fiscal analyst for the Alabama Legislative Fiscal Office and then as general counsel to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Isbell is a member of the Faulkner University board of trustees and is a graduate of the school’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law.

Regions Financial Corporation recently reported $748 million in second quarter earnings. The company cited strategic decisions in high-growth areas, such as Florida, Texas and Tennessee, as contributing to those earnings.

Isbell noted the momentum of the bank’s growth and influence throughout its footprint as he prepares for this new endeavor.

“I’m excited to represent an institution with such a rich history and stellar reputation,” he told Yellowhammer News. “Regions Bank is poised to continue making a positive impact on communities in Alabama and beyond. I’m grateful for this opportunity and look forward to being part of the Regions team.”

Isbell is set to officially join the bank in mid-August.

RELATED: Joia M. Johnson appointed to Regions board of directors

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

11 hours ago

State Rep. Wes Allen: Biden administration’s mixed message on COVID shows he doesn’t put Americans first

The Biden administration is issuing warnings to Americans regarding the increasing number of COVID cases across the country. Calls for a return to mask-wearing and social distancing are becoming more frequent from the President and his advisors.

Businesses, large and small, fear the possibility of mandated shutdowns that plagued our nation last year. Parents are wondering if they will be forced to face the inadequacies and challenges of remote schooling again. These are all worries that are being forced upon law-abiding, tax-paying Americans by the Biden administration.

But it goes further. Our northern border with Canada remains closed to non-essential travel for fear of spreading the virus. Biden and his team cited concerns over the Delta variant as the reason for banning travel from 26 nations including most of Europe, South Africa and Brazil.

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This all seems like a concerned President who is trying to save our nation from the death and damage of a pandemic. But a closer look at Biden’s policies proves that his concern is not for Americans and he has little to no desire to stop the spread of COVID from coming across our border.

His policy that allows thousands of illegal immigrants to move freely across our southern border and into our towns, neighborhoods, restaurants and schools without any regard for their immigration status or their COVID test results prove that the Biden administration doesn’t care about America or Americans. Is the health of Americans, the success of our economy and the fate of our schools and health care system of any concern to this President or his advisors?

I think not.

State Rep. Wes Allen is a Republican candidate for Alabama Secretary of State.

12 hours ago

Alabama League of Municipalities launches Economic Development Academy

The Alabama League of Municipalities (ALM) on Thursday announced the creation of its Economic Development Academy, which will partner with local leaders in an educational capacity to offer their assistance regarding business and industry recruitment practices.

Developed in conjunction with the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) and supported by an advisory council of industry leaders, the Academy will engage local leaders and help them further understand their role in the economic development process.

The Academy is specifically designed to educate and engage municipal officials and designated community business leaders on best practices and strategies for successful economic and community development. Additionally, the ALM says the Academy will focus on the role of elected officials regarding evaluating abatements, legal processes and implications, correctly marketing the community, gaging the community’s expectations, workforce development as well as other key aspects of the development process.

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ALM says the Academy is unique from other economic development programs in that it is tailored to municipal officials using a team model. The mayor or another designated elected or administrative official and at least two council members are required to participate from each community to form a team of up to five members.

In promoting the new program, ALM executive director Greg Cochran conveyed the importance of economic development efforts that take place at the local level.

“Our organization is pleased to collaborate with the Alabama Community College System and Neal Wade to launch the ALM Economic Development Academy,” said Cochran. “It is our goal for the Academy to develop intentional programming and identify resources to empower our municipal officials so they can create legacy programs and projects within their cities and towns. Municipalities are the foundation of our state’s economy, and it is the League’s mission to provide our members the necessary tools to build a community where citizens can live, work, play and prosper and where businesses can thrive.”

The Academy will take place over a full year and consists of an orientation; four one-day sessions that include community assignments; and a special graduation ceremony. To graduate, participants must conduct an economic vitality survey of their communities; complete a community assessment/project; and attend all sessions.

At the conclusion of the year-long program, graduates will be presented a certificate of municipal economic development from the League and ACCS.

Neal Wade, former head of the Alabama Development Office as well as a consultant for Alabama Power, The St. Joe Company and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, has been tapped to develop the Academy’s curriculum and conduct the classes.

“The objective is for Alabama communities to be the best they can be and competitive for growth and new revenue,” Wade said. “Setting realistic expectations for each community will be foremost.”

In addition to working with Wade, the League has developed a partnership with ACCS to provide classroom space and workforce development resources for Academy participants. The four mandatory sessions for selected municipalities will be conducted at ACCS campuses throughout the state based on each region.

Chancellor Jimmy Baker praised the partnership and expressed his optimism on the potential growth opportunities he believes can stem from the Academy.

“At Alabama’s community colleges, everything we do is workforce development – from education and training to providing wraparound services and hosting community events,” Baker said. “We are honored to work alongside the Alabama League of Municipalities to launch the Economic Development Academy and host its participants at our campuses across the state. Education is so often the linchpin to positive change and the resources and training this effort will provide will have a positive impact on Alabama for years to come.”

An Academy Advisory Council has been developed to add input, assist with training and provide additional resources to the process. The Council consists of state and federal government agencies, ACCS presidents, utility partners, League strategic partners, local economic developers and statewide business associations.

Academy applications will be accepted via the League’s website July 29 – August 31. Applicants will be thoroughly evaluated and candidates chosen by mid-September. There is a community fee to participate.

Those interested in attending the Academy may apply via online application at almonline.org.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL