2 years ago

Doug Jones: Trump is ‘the offender in chief’

Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) is doubling down on his harshest criticisms of President Donald Trump while also announcing that he has no plans to run against the president in 2020.

However, in his interview on Reckon Radio, Jones did reveal who his preferred Democratic choice is to beat Trump.

In the second Yellowhammer News article looking at Jones’ wide-ranging interview (you can read the first on Jones’ re-election bid here), we look at this, as well as Jones’ thoughts on Trump, modern political rhetoric and the book Jones is releasing in a few months.

Trump

When it comes to Trump, Jones admitted that Trump has done some good things, but hedged by calling even these accomplishments “a mixed bag.”

Jones told host John Hammontree, “I think it’s a mixed bag right now because he has done some things primarily through regulation that a lot of businesses and folks like. Some of them, I think, were good. Some of them, I think he went too far.”

Jones then took a swipe at the president, saying that Trump has “divided this country a lot.”

“The biggest problem I see right now is that the president simply uses his Twitter account and says things that are simply not true. And he uses that as a weapon for political reasons. And he’s really divided this country a lot,” Jones outlined.

He continued, “And the interesting thing about that is I think as much as any president that I’ve seen in a long time, he has the ability to bring the country together if he would just do it. But I’m afraid he is continuing to just try and divide people along racial lines, along economic lines, any number of things that he really doesn’t have to do.”

The junior senator from Alabama then used one of his favorite phrases to double back and say the president has not actually done much, forgetting to mention that he needs 60 votes to pass things through the Senate.

“I think that it’s going to be interesting, he’s had both houses of Congress, but yet there’s not a lot except the tax bill, which is a mixed bag for America, it’s not the be all to end all, it’s a mixed bag,” Jones asserted. “There’s not a lot of legislative accomplishments that he’s been able to do.”

Now, Jones believes Trump can either compromise with Democrats in the interest of “progress” or else he “can continue to try to polarize the country.”

Jones advised that unless the president gives ground to Democrats, they will not let much through Congress.

“But if he’s willing to talk to us, we can do a lot of things. We can get immigration reform, we might can get some good gun sense policy that will help reduce the number of deaths in this country,” Jones said.

Rhetoric (and more on Trump)

Later in the interview, Jones doubled down on a previous assertion he made that Trump’s rhetoric reminded him of George Wallace, putting it in the specific context of bombs being recently sent to leading Democratic and media figures.

“It speaks for itself, you know we come from a state and, don’t forget, right before those bombs were found, there were two African Americans killed in Kentucky where a guy tried to get into a church, went across the street to a grocery store … I think rhetoric like what we have seen, particularly from the [Trump] administration, is very dangerous,” Jones told Hammontree.

Jones continued, “In this state, we have seen words matter. And words have consequences. In my view, and I’ve studied the Civil Rights Movement an awful lot, as you know, and what I saw were political leaders in this state – Wallace and Bull Connor in particular – that in effect empowered people like the Klan and others to just have their way and do the things that resulted in four deaths in a church. It resulted in the deaths of two children, two black boys, that same day. Other bombs being planted.”

Jones then called Trump “the Offender in Chief of this rhetoric,” adding that his recent comments on the caravan traveling from Central America were the latest example.

The junior senator afterward admitted that Trump was not the sole “offender” in his view, as Democratic congressmen (like Maxine Waters) from across the country have encouraged supporters to harass Republicans.

“We need to dial back this rhetoric,” Jones said.

“But it really starts with the American public, as well,” he added.

Jones’ book, not running for president and who he will support

Jones went on to discuss his upcoming book, “Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights,” that will be released in March (not January as originally scheduled).

“It’s a play on Dr. King’s words that the arc of the [moral] universe is long but it bends towards justice,” Jones explained. “It is primarily a memoir about the church bombing cases.”

It traces Jones’ upbringing in metro Birmingham, through college and his professional career as a prosecutor.

In the book, he uses this famous prosecution to segue into a “little bit about the campaign and the election and just kind of the state of politics in general.”

Jones then said, 2019 book aside, he “has no plans” to run for president in the 2020 cycle.

While laughing, he said, “There is nothing like that on my radar.”

Jones advised that he sees the 2020 Democratic primary field being “wide open,” but that he would tend to support his old friend, former Vice President Joe Biden, over anyone else who may run.

“He’s just an amazing man,” Jones emphasized. “He’s an incredible and gifted public servant.”

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

2 hours ago

Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator taking applications for 2021 class

Startups from around the world are encouraged to apply for the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator 2021 class.

In its second year, the innovative program, located in Birmingham, seeks early-stage startups focused on emerging energy technologies. Areas of interest include smart cities, electric grid resiliency and sustainability, industrial electrification, connectivity and electric transportation.

The class will run for 13 weeks and include 10 companies. Through their participation in Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator, startups will receive seed investment, business coaching and mentorship through Techstars’ worldwide network of business leaders.

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At the end of the 90 days, the program will culminate in Demo Day, a public pitch event on Dec. 9.

“We had a fantastic first year, made successful through the hard work and creativity of our inaugural class, even during a pandemic,” said Nate Schmidt, Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator’s managing director. “If you have an energy tech startup, you simply don’t want to miss out on the amazing opportunities and relationships this accelerator will provide your business.”

Techstars Alabama is supported by Alabama Power, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, the Alabama Department of CommerceAltecPowerSouth and the University of Alabama. They play a key role in the accelerator process, with the common goal of growing the number of startup companies based in Alabama and making the area a hub of innovation activity.

The application deadline is May 12. For more information, visit the Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator program page at Techstars.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

4 hours ago

VIDEO: Gov. Ivey extends mask mandate, lottery could be an option as gambling bill languishes, Merrill backs off ‘no excuse’ absentee balloting and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and political consultant Mecca Musick take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Did Governor Kay Ivey make the right decision when she extended the mask mandate?

— Is the Alabama Legislature going to look to move forward with the lottery if they can’t get a more comprehensive gambling bill?

— Why did Secretary of State John Merrill support and then retract his support for “no excuse” absentee voting?

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Jackson and Musick are joined by Matt Murphy of Talk 99.5 in Birmingham to discuss the issues facing the state of Alabama this week.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” at Alabama Democratic Party Chairman and State Representative Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) for not following through on his plan to make the party more relevant in Alabama.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

6 hours ago

Mo Brooks: Stopping H.R. 1, amnesty keys to winning in 2022 midterms — ‘Then we will be able to neuter Joe Biden’

FLORENCE — With the third month of the 117th Congress now underway, House Democrats have pushed forward in their efforts to pass H.R. 1, which would impose so-called reforms to the country’s voting system.

Also among the priorities for Democrats, who control the White House, House and Senate, are immigration measures that could include amnesty for illegal aliens.

During an appearance at the Shoals Republican Club on Saturday, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) panned those efforts and said he hoped to stymie the progress of House Democrats on those two fronts.

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Brooks told those in attendance that if Republicans could prove successful in those efforts, it would set the GOP up for wins in the 2022 midterm elections and hamstring President Joe Biden’s push to promote a left-of-center agenda.

“We’ve got to stop H.R. 1, and we’ve got to stop the amnesty and citizenship that Joe Biden has promised,” he said. “If we do those two things, then we’re going to take back the House in 2022. I hope we will take back the Senate in 2022. And then we will be able to neuter Joe Biden over the next two years if we control the House and Senate and set the stage as well for us taking back the White House in 2024 with whoever our nominee may be.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

8 hours ago

2021 Birmingham Heart Walk goes virtual

COVID-19 has forced many nonprofits to shift gears in their fundraising efforts and the American Heart Association (AHA) is no exception. The AHA’s 2021 Birmingham Heart Walk has been reimagined as a digital experience this year to maintain necessary safety protocols due to the ongoing pandemic.

Through the event design, AHA is striving to get more people moving in Birmingham while continuing to raise life-saving funds and keep participants safe in the process. The Birmingham Heart Walk is Saturday, June 12, from 9-11 a.m. and participants can walk from anywhere.

Leading up to the event, participants are encouraged to track their activity through the “Move More Challenge” using the free Heart Walk activity tracker app that can be downloaded from Apple or Google Play. Once registered, users have 30 days to log minutes, and any activity counts. Top movers and fundraisers will be recognized on Heart Walk day.

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“The American Heart Association holds a special place in my heart,” said Southern Company Vice President of Technology David Coxwho will chair the walk for the second time. “They have done so much for my family and for my daughter, Emily, who was born with multiple congenital heart defects. I’m pleased to partner with this outstanding organization in their efforts help our community connect and stay active as we adapt to this virtual world.”

More than 600,000 Americans die each year from heart disease, and the risks have only been compacted by the pandemic. Among COVID-19 hospitalizations, 40% are heart or stroke patients, so this year, donations from the Heart Walk will help fast-track COVID-19 research and train front-line workers in addition to the many other research projects and resources funded by the AHA.

Fundraising and activities for the Heart Walk are beginning to ramp up as the warmer months approach.

“Now is the time to sign up, lace up and start fundraising for the 2021 Birmingham Heart Walk,” said Hannah Carroll, Heart Challenge director of the Birmingham AHA. “Signing up now ensures you won’t miss any of the fun this year, like Rally Days and our new activity tracker.”

On Feb. 18, Cox hosted a virtual kickoff for business leaders in the Birmingham area who will be fielding teams at this year’s Heart Walk. He encouraged counterparts to begin their fundraising efforts by saying, “We’re here for a reason – to fight for a world of longer, healthier lives.”

To view Emily’s story, click here. To learn more about the 2021 Birmingham Heart Walk or to create a team, click here.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

11 hours ago

Schoolyard Roots growing stronger, smarter kids in Alabama

When kids participate in the life of a garden, they see the complete cycle of growing food, cooking and preparing it to eat. School gardens are exciting places for kids to learn basic academic subjects, too.

The Tuscaloosa community came together more than 10 years ago to develop a garden-based learning program called the Druid City Garden project, now called Schoolyard Roots.

Schoolyard Roots employs a full-time teaching staff that provides garden lessons for students, as well as professional development training for teachers. The school gardens provide an outdoor experience rare to many students. They are more likely to make healthy choices and try new foods. Students gain a sense of responsibility, to collaborate and work together as a team.

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“When we see a child’s health and education improve, we know that we’re not only investing in that child’s life today – we’re helping them build a better future,” said Nicole Gelb Dugat, interim executive director. “Schoolyard Roots builds community through food. By increasing access to fresh, locally grown produce, we empower our community to make healthy and sustainable food choices.”

In March 2020, the impact of COVID-19 significantly affected the teaching community. Almost immediately, the Schoolyard Roots team began distributing produce from its gardens directly to local families. By the end of last year, the program had distributed more than 750 pounds of fresh garden vegetables to the community.

“We stewarded our gardens as fresh-air sanctuaries, where children and adults could relax, refocus and reconnect,” said Dugat. “Through it all, we shared vegetables and flowers. We cultivated moments of peace and learned together. We could not have done any of it without our incredible community of supporters.”

They found hope and inspiration in the small miracle of seeds planted by the students. Gardens bring joy, peace and courage in times of struggle. And gardens remind us to have hope for new growth and what is to come.

Schoolyard Roots partners with Tuscaloosa-area elementary schools to bring learning to life through teaching gardens. The nonprofit works in 11 elementary schools across Tuscaloosa County.

Its mission is to build healthy communities through food with the Gardens 2 Schools program.

Gardens support and encourage healthful eating as a key component of children’s physical wellbeing, which can aid their academic and social success, too. The garden is woven through many aspects of a school’s curriculum and adapted for different grade levels.

“The Gardens 2 Schools program cultivates curiosity,” Dugat said. “The program teaches the students how to work together (and) learn self-reliability and compassion.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)