4 weeks ago

Crimson Tide football receives 2019 AFCA Academic Achievement Award

The American Football Coaches Association announced Thursday that the Alabama football program, which had a 100% graduation rate for 2017-18, is among six recipients of the 2019 Academic Achievement Award.

Others who received the honor this year include the Air Force Academy, Clemson, Louisville, Rice and Utah. The NCAA’s single-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) is used to select the winner and all six schools posted perfect scores of 1,000 for 2017-18.

The eight Tide graduates who had degrees in hand before the season opener against Duke are Giles Amos, Mike Bernier, Shyheim Carter, Landon Dickerson, Miller Forristall, Anfernee Jennings, Chris Owens and Matt Womack.

“Since 2013, Alabama has seen 158 degrees earned (graduate and undergraduate) by players who were still suiting up for the Crimson Tide after having graduated,” a press release stated. “Since the 2010 season, Alabama has seen an impressive 24 players earn a master’s degree before stepping foot on the field for the final time.”

The press release also briefly detailed how they tally each team’s scores, stating, “Each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid earns one point for staying in school and one point for being academically eligible. A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by 1,000 to equal the team’s Academic Progress Rate.”

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

29 mins ago

Birmingham CEO calls on Congress to quickly ratify Trump’s historic USMCA trade deal

Altec CEO Lee Styslinger III on Wednesday announced his support for the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement, the historic trade deal negotiated by President Donald Trump’s administration that would replace NAFTA.

Altec, headquartered in Birmingham, is a leading equipment and service provider for the electric utility, telecommunications, contractor, lights and signs and tree care markets. The Alabama company provides products and services in more than 100 countries across the globe.

Not only does Styslinger bring his experience running Altec to the table, but the respected businessman also currently serves as a member of the Business Roundtable, a board member of the National Association of Manufacturers and a board member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Additionally, he was a key member of President George W. Bush’s Export Council and was responsible for advising Bush on government policies and programs that affected U.S. trade performance and export expansion opportunities.

To the point at hand, Styslinger is currently serving as a member of the official Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), which provides policy advice on trade issues to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the highest levels of the Trump administration. Alabama’s own Styslinger and other members of ACTPN have been working closely with Ambassador Robert Lighthizer (the current USTR) to help finalize the USMCA.

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On Tuesday, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that her caucus has come to an agreement with the Trump administration on the trade deal, setting the USMCA up for probable ratification now.

In a release, Styslinger outlined several benefits of the USMCA:

  • Maintains trilateral duty-free trade.
  • Modernizes key provisions and open markets more than current NAFTA.
  • Overall strengthens intellectual property protections and supports the digital economy.
  • Enhances trade facilitation and e-commerce across all three countries.
  • Expands services commitments.
  • Improves regulatory practices and enhances regulatory transparency.
  • Incorporates stronger competition and anti-corruption enterprises.
  • Includes important sectoral commitments and standards benefitting energy, telecommunications, financial services, information and communications technology, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices.
  • Incorporates stronger and enforceable labor and environment commitments.

The USMCA is also expected to have a major positive impact on American jobs, especially sectors important to Alabama such as manufacturing and agriculture.

Styslinger advised, “Over 12 million American jobs depend on the $1.4 trillion in trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.”

This is even more magnified in the Yellowhammer State.

Canada and Mexico purchase more than 33% of Alabama’s total global manufacturing exports, and over 20% of the state’s manufacturing firms export to the two countries. Most of these firms are small- and medium-sized businesses. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, skyward of 23,000 Alabama manufacturing jobs depend on exports to Canada and Mexico.

Top Alabama manufacturing exports to Canada and Mexico include: motor vehicles; iron and steel; motor vehicle parts; paper products; chemicals; engine, turbine and power transmission equipment; aluminum; aerospace products and parts; fabricated metal products and plastics.

“Implementing USMCA will significantly increase U.S. GDP, increase U.S. employment by a minimum of 176,000 jobs, increase U.S. exports to Canada by $19 billion and increase U.S. exports to Mexico by $14 billion,” Styslinger said. “The agreement will create jobs in the manufacturing sector and greatly benefit American workers, farmers and ranchers.”

“We call on the House to move quickly to finalize USMCA legislation and bring it to a vote as soon as possible,” he concluded.

A vote on the USMCA has been scheduled in the House for next week, however, the current impeachment inquiry into Trump driven by House Democrats might actually stall ratification in the Senate after that.

Assuming the two impeachment charges announced this week get enough Democratic votes to pass the House and Trump is indeed impeached, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already said he will not take up the USMCA until the impeachment trial has concluded in the upper chamber.

The USMCA now seems to be a true bipartisan agreement, having the support of both Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

RELATED: Styslinger signs major national policy statement affirming importance of free-market, supporting the American worker

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Report: Alabama has nation’s 5th-best Christmas spirit

A study conducted by CenturyLink has determined that Alabamians really love Christmas.

In a nationwide ranking of which states have the most Christmas spirit, the Yellowhammer State came in at No. 5.

CenturyLink advised that their data analysis team compared data in two main categories: online activity and area culture.

Ten metrics comprised the two categories, and the Christmas spirit ranking were finalized by calculating the weighted average for each state across all metrics.

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Under online activity, metrics included: Google searches for Christmas movies and gingerbread houses (29%); Google shopping trends for wrapping paper, Christmas cards, Christmas ornaments and “elf on a shelf” (28%); Number of Christmas songs streamed (14.5%); and Number of tweets related to Christmas (7%).

For area culture, metrics were the number of Christmas tree farms per capita (7%) and amount of charitable donations (14.5%).

Only Tennessee, North Carolina, Utah and Ohio scored above Sweet Home Alabama.

Left-leaning states such as Hawaii and California came in at the bottom of the rankings.

RELATED: Ivey lights official Alabama Christmas Tree

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Former Birmingham Water Works chair Sherry Lewis sentenced on two felony ethics charges

Former Birmingham Water Works Board Chairwoman Sherry Lewis on Thursday was sentenced for two felony ethics-law convictions. She will almost certainly avoid prison time if she satisfies the requirements of her sentence.

In a joint press release from Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and FBI Birmingham special agent in charge Johnnie Sharp, it was outlined that Jefferson County Circuit Judge Clyde Jones sentenced Lewis under Alabama’s split sentence law to 10 years of imprisonment for both counts, to run concurrently, with a “reverse split” of two years in prison. However, under a reverse-split sentence, the term of imprisonment is not imposed until the end of the sentence — which in this case is three years of supervised probation.

Jones additionally ordered Lewis to pay a fine of $15,000 for each count, for a total of $30,000, and to complete a total of 400 hours of community service for charities or agencies that feed the elderly and homeless. If she completes these conditions and her probation period satisfactorily, the judge is expected to suspend the prison time involved in the sentence.

Lewis has been in county jail since being convicted in October but walked away Thursday as a free woman.

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Her conviction followed a one and a half-week trial and involves Lewis having used her position as a director of the Birmingham Water Works Board to obtain personal gain for herself and her family, as well as having voted and participated in matters before the board involving issues about which she had a financial interest or gain.

The jury’s verdict was reportedly based on five days of testimony and hundreds of exhibits proving Lewis obtained three jobs for her son, tickets to the 2015 Cotton Bowl, trips and travel expenses and extravagant meals from a contractor performing work for the board.

This case was investigated by the special prosecution division of the Alabama attorney general’s office and the FBI. The state attorney general’s office prosecuted the case and specifically requested during sentencing that Lewis be required to perform a type of community service focused on charities or agencies that feed the elderly, needy and disadvantaged.

In a statement, Attorney General Marshall expressed his appreciation for the assistance of the FBI in this case.

“As first-vice chairperson of the Birmingham Water Works Board, Sherry Lewis advocated on behalf of, and voted for, compensation to pay a contractor three times their actual labor costs at the same time she was enjoying $63 a-la-carte steaks, $50 shellfish appetizers, and $70 bottles of wine bought for her by that contractor,” Marshall remarked. “Such abuse of public office is unacceptable. It is appropriate that she has been called to account and is being punished for this crime.”

The FBI’s Sharp added, “Lewis not only betrayed her community, but violated the law, and all in an effort to serve her own personal interests. Public officials entrusted to perform public service should do so legitimately and in the best interest of the community they represent. If not, they should expect the same outcome as Lewis had today, because the FBI and our partners will pursue you and hold you accountable for your actions.”

A contractor and a subcontractor have also been charged subsequent to this investigation and are awaiting trial in state and federal courts.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

Central-Phenix City star OL flips to Bama from Auburn — ‘No respect for that university at all’

One new Crimson Tide commitment already seems ready for the Iron Bowl rivalry.

As reported by Opelika-Auburn News, four-star Central-Phenix City offensive lineman Javion Cohen on Wednesday announced he has decommitted from Auburn and will instead sign with the University of Alabama on the December 18 early signing date.

This is not the first time Cohen has changed his mind, as he originally committed to South Carolina and then flipped to Auburn this spring.

About committing to Bama, he tweeted, “God led me home after everything I’ve been [through].”

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His switch did not come without some extra controversy.

Opelika-Auburn News added that reports began circulating Wednesday that Auburn had pulled his scholarship offer rather than Cohen withdrawing his commitment to the Tigers. However, according to the lineman, he informed Auburn on Sunday of his decommitment before publicly announcing his plans on Wednesday. Cohen’s account seems to be corroborated by a screenshot he posted and then deleted on Twitter.

Now, there is apparently no love lost between Cohen and Auburn.

“They were upset and sent reports saying my offer was pulled,” Cohen told Opelika-Auburn News. “I have no respect for that university at all, and I’m sure the feeling is mutual.”

He also emphasized his decision to flip to the Tide was purely based on his best interests — both as a player and as a human. Cohen wants to play in the NFL one day, and Nick Saban’s Alabama program is the best in the business at making that happen, as far as statistics go.

“They had a different approach to the game than anyone else,” Cohen advised. “They actually cared about me as a person by showing me the many different things that would help me grow as a young man. And it’s Alabama, where the standard is a national championship and not just a bowl game.”

Circumstances and drama aside, Cohen likes where he has landed.

“I’m super excited,” he commented. “I finally get to finish it all with where I’m supposed to be.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

Episode 7: Interview with Alabama Democratic Party Chair Chris England

Dale Jackson is joined the new chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, State Representative Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa). England describes how growing up as the son of two public servants in Alabama led him to where he is today, from leaving the state to attend Howard University to winning the contentious inner-party struggle within the Alabama Democratic Party.

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