2 months ago

Jerry Carl releases second TV ad in AL-01, pledges to ‘end handouts for lawbreaking illegals’

Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl on Monday released the second television ad in his Republican bid to succeed U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01).

Carl, who is running in a competitive primary field that includes former State Senator Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) and State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile), last month released the first TV ad of his campaign. The latest spot, entitled, “Problem Solver,” continues the same ad buy.

RELATED: Jerry Carl takes big cash advantage into homestretch of AL-01 primary

The ad opens with a narrator saying, “Building businesses meant Jerry Carl had to solve problems.”

“Congress is full of problems,” the narrator continues. “Jerry will stand with Trump, build the wall and end handouts for lawbreaking illegals. Jerry Carl is pro-life, because it’s immoral to stop a beating heart. As a conservative, he’ll stop liberals from destroying the Second Amendment. Like Trump, he’s tough. He does what’s needed.”

“He’s just Jerry,” the narrator concludes, utilizing from the tagline introduced in Carl’s first spot.

Watch:

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Carl commented, “South Alabama needs a conservative with a backbone to stand with President Trump and get real work done. I’ll stand with Trump to protect the unborn, fight the socialist agenda, and build the wall. Our message is resonating and I’m excited to continue talking with the voters about my conservative vision.”

The primary will be held March 3.

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

Byrne: Love in the time of the coronavirus

Like many of you I “attended” Palm Sunday worship online. It was strange not to be there at St. James Fairhope physically for the Liturgy of the Palms to gather outside for prayers and walk into the church together with our palms singing “All Glory, Laud and Honor.”

I heard the words of the Passion according to St. Matthew but wasn’t there to see the faces and expressions of the readers. We said prayers for those afflicted by the disease and those caring for them. We also said the right words for the offering, the Eucharist and the peace, but there was no offering or Eucharist, and we couldn’t physically greet one another with the words, “The Peace of the Lord be always with you; And also with you.”

Worship is more than just words. It’s the act of coming together as God’s people to worship Him, sing hymns, pray, hear God’s Word and be one body. We did it apart last Sunday and will do it this Sunday for Easter. It’s strange but necessary.

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When I was a teenager, there was a novel and movie called “Love Story.” It had one of the dumbest lines I’ve ever heard: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Love means frequently having to say you’re sorry, whether or not you caused another’s trouble or hurt.

Over a million people worldwide are confirmed to have COVID-19. Tens of thousands have died from it. I’m very sorry for them, their family members and loved ones. I’m sorry so many on the front lines are working long hours, exposing themselves to danger, and that so many have lost their jobs as we practice social distancing.

All that could drive many to depression, anti-social behavior, and self-destructive acts. To avoid that we all must help one another, just as we do down here during hurricanes, except at a physical distance. And it doesn’t do any good – in fact it’s harmful – to play the blame game. While there will be a time to assess the culpability of the Chinese government, rhetoric or discrimination against Asian Americans is irrational, harmful and just plain wrong.

Congress and President Trump put aside our differences, however temporarily, to overwhelmingly pass the CARES Act, pumping over $2 trillion into our economy in a bold move to cushion the economic effects of social distancing and pay for the health care and research to defeat this disease. I and my staff are working around the clock to get information to our constituents about the disease itself and these new government programs. And, as we hear needs, we take them directly to those in charge of providing help. We aren’t on the front lines caring for the sick, but we have a supportive role to play and are determined to do our part.

During Sunday’s online service, I remembered that love isn’t a sugary, sentimental thing. It often involves sacrifice. It’s not that sacrificial for me to miss being physically in church, though I felt I was missing something. That something is a small thing compared with risking the spread of this disease.

And, listening to the Passion narrative, I remembered what real sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice, really is. And why did Jesus do it? Because He loved us that much. It wasn’t just the physical agony, but more painful to him, taking on all our sins to himself, all our collective denial of and disobedience to God. He said “I and the Father are one” and then allowed Himself to be separated from God as He took on all our sins. No wonder he cried out at that moment, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

But God did not leave Jesus to death, for the Resurrection was three days away.

God has not forsaken us. To care for us, he requires each of us to love and take care of one another. Right now, in part, that means we must be apart from one another, and for many to suffer economically and perhaps even emotionally. Let’s all be more attuned and sensitive, and helpful, to one another.

Good Friday isn’t good because Jesus was killed but because He rose again. It may seem dark now, but the light of Easter morning is just around the corner.

The last verse of an old French Easter carol called Now The Green Blade Riseth says, “When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain, thy touch can call us back to life again, fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been: Love is come again like wheat that springeth green”.

Spring is here. So is love. Pass it on.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope.

11 hours ago

Executive power in a pandemic

This unusual moment in history has been full of surprises. Some of those surprises raise profound questions that we will be thinking through for a long time after COVID-19 passes.

Many people have been surprised to learn how much power state and county health officials have. In a March 25 guidance letter, Attorney General Steve Marshall reminded health officials to exercise their powers lawfully. This important reminder raises many questions about the legal sources and limits of executive power to respond to a pandemic.

Right away, we should acknowledge that most Alabamians are staying home and social distancing not because they fear legal reprisals but rather because it is the reasonable and courteous thing to do. Public health experts did their job, informing us of the danger and explaining how to reduce it. The average Alabama resident responded to that information responsibly and voluntarily.

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However, not everyone is responsible, as spring break revelers recently reminded us. And some responsible people have a lot at stake in the decision to stay at home, especially small business owners, those who live alone, and people whose livelihood depends on working with their hands. For these people, law comes into play.

We all have an obligation to obey the law. And because this is America, everyone shares this obligation, including public officials. That is what it means to have the rule of law. So, as they move from advising us to directing us, public health officials must take care to exercise only the legal powers they have, and not to use their powers to deprive citizens of their fundamental rights. The ends do not alone justify the means.

Health officials are exercising two executive powers. One power is conferred upon them by statute. That is the power to quarantine. The other power is inherent in the executive prerogative. That is the power to take strictly necessary actions to preserve human life in an emergency. Both of these powers are well-established in our laws, stretching all the way back to the customary law that we inherited from Great Britain at the American founding. And both must be exercised according to law. They have inherent limits on them, and an official who exceeds those limits is acting unlawfully; his actions are legally invalid.

The power to quarantine has two, important limitations. First, it can be activated only by the legislature, not by an executive officer, such as a state or county health official. As the Alabama Supreme Court explained in a 1944 decision, the legislature proclaims a quarantine and the executive executes the quarantine.

This is analogous to the war power at the federal level. The Constitution of the United States confers upon Congress the power to declare war and on the President the power to execute the war as Commander in Chief. The Constitution does not confer upon the President power to make war in his own discretion.

Similarly, the State Health Officer does not enjoy power to quarantine anyone he thinks should be quarantined. “Quarantine” is a term of art from the common law and maritime law. In maritime law, “quarantine” refers to a particular probationary period during which a ship returning from a country infected by plague was held in isolation for forty days. On land, quarantine is proclaimed by the legislature as an exercise of its police powers to promote the health, safety, and general welfare.

The Alabama legislature purports to have delegated the power to “proclaim quarantine” to “the Governor, whenever he deems it necessary, or the State Board of Health.” But this should not be read as a blanket delegation. That would be a violation of the non-delegation doctrine, a constitutional rule that prohibits the delegation of legislative powers to the executive.

The nondelegation doctrine reinforces common sense. The legislature is in the best position to consider and balance all of the various goods and interests at stake in an emergency such as this, to take into account the importance not only of public health but also the livelihoods of Alabama’s citizens. State and local health officials are experts in medicine and public health, but are not as well situated as others to consider the competing goods at stake, to understand the economic implications of their actions, or to establish benchmarks for measuring success of a quarantine.

The second limitation is that quarantine can lawfully be imposed only on a person who is infected, reasonably suspect of being infected, or dwelling in an infected house. In other words, quarantine is a targeted remedy, and it is incumbent on officials to discern who is infected and who is not. The common law remedy for an unlawful quarantine is a writ of habeas corpus, a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. It secures the ancient rights of freedom of movement and of the presumption of innocence, two of the most fundamental rights in our law.

Like everyone else, executive officials also have the right to do things that would otherwise be unlawful acts of trespass or battery, if those acts are strictly necessary to save lives. But necessity is a temporary and limited justification. A state that wants to restrain the movement of its people for an extended time must tailor the remedy to the danger under the quarantine power.

That is the job of the legislature. As this crisis drags on, it becomes more important for the people to gather in Montgomery through their elected representatives and fashion a long-term solution to the problems that we face.

Adam J. MacLeod is Professorial Fellow of the Alabama Policy Institute and Professor of Law at Faulkner University, Jones School of Law. He is a prolific writer and his latest book, The Age of Selfies: Reasoning About Rights When the Stakes Are Personal, is available on Amazon.

11 hours ago

Business Council of Alabama experts to answer coronavirus relief questions in televised event

The Business Council of Alabama (BCA) continues to be a leading resource for Yellowhammer State job creators looking to navigate the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The BCA on Monday announced that it will present the Small Business Exchange on Alabama Public Television (APT) this coming Thursday night. This event is designed to help small businesses apply for relief funding under the CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion federal stimulus package recently enacted in response to the pandemic.

In partnership with APT, BCA will bring together experts in business, banking, accounting and law to answer phone calls from Alabama business owners and employers as they grapple with the impact of the coronavirus on the state’s economy.

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New federal loans are now available for small businesses, but funding is limited in some cases and quick action is required to take full advantage.

“We have to make sure that Alabama’s small businesses get the loans and support they deserve in these tough economic times,” BCA president and CEO Katie Boyd Britt said in a statement. “These business owners need as much help as we can give them to work through the process. The first step in getting Alabama back to work is to get this loan money flowing to our businesses.”

Available funding includes $10 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loans and $349 billion in Paycheck Protection Loans. Each program has different eligibility criteria, financing and application processes, and, coupled with general confusion about the programs, this has led many business owners to be uncertain about availability, qualifications, requirements and deadlines.

The point of the Small Business Exchange is to get much-needed accurate information to business owners as expeditiously as possible.

“Our team of experts is donating their time and resources because this is a critical time for small businesses,” Britt concluded. “This federal funding can and will save companies and save jobs, so the BCA is facilitating this process in any way we can.”

The Small Business Exchange program will air Thursday on APT from 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT.

In total, BCA experts will be available to answer questions over the phone from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Thursday and from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday.

To ask a question or consult with the BCA experts during these time slots, you can call 1-833-BCA4BIZ (1-833-222-4249).

Since the start of the pandemic, BCA has hosted a landing page featuring the latest resources and information for business owners related to the coronavirus. You can access that website here.

RELATED: Keep up with Alabama’s confirmed coronavirus cases, locations here

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

12 hours ago

Alabama State Port Authority names John Driscoll as next director, CEO

The Alabama State Port Authority on Monday announced that its board of directors has named John C. Driscoll as director and chief executive officer for the port authority effective June 1.

He will succeed the retiring James K. “Jimmy” Lyons, who will assist Driscoll in the transition and serve as director emeritus until his full retirement at the end of the calendar year.

Driscoll most recently served as maritime director at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, CA. According to a release, he had operational and marketing responsibility for one of the nation’s top-10 container seaports. He was also credited with improving that port’s operating efficiency, financial performance and community relations.

“Over the last several months, the board and Jimmy Lyons worked through a nationwide search to identify a slate of qualified candidates,” Bestor Ward, chairman of the Alabama State Port Authority’s board of directors, explained in a statement. “It was John’s qualifications that made him the natural choice. Our board looks forward to John joining the Port Authority team in June.”

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Prior to working in Oakland, Driscoll served as vice president of export sales for CMA CGM (America) LLC, a leading global container shipping group.

He reportedly gained deep international maritime experience and contacts working with Sea-Land Service, Maersk Line and CMA CGM. Additionally, Driscoll successfully developed business operations in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.

The Alabama State Port Authority owns and operates the State of Alabama’s deep-water port facilities at the Port of Mobile, currently the 11th-largest U.S. seaport by total trade.

“This is a gratifying opportunity and a career highlight,” Driscoll stated. “I’ve seen the caliber of people who work here and the contributions the Port of Mobile makes to Alabama, the local community, and global trade. There is so much to be proud of at Mobile. The responsibility in leading this port is fantastic, and we will work together to continue the progress made under Executive Director Lyons.”

RELATED: Alabama’s seaport expansion reaches another milestone

Driscoll attended the University of Maryland (College Park) and graduated with a B.S. in Business Management with an emphasis on Transportation and Marketing.

Lyons commented, “I’ve observed over the years John’s incredible contributions to the industry. His abilities were affirmed through our extensive assessment of his body of work and my conversations with those who have worked with him. I am confident John will be an excellent fit for our seaport, our management team, and our employees, and I personally look forward to the transition.”

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

12 hours ago

The power of family during this pandemic

It’s finally spring in Alabama, and we should be on a beach somewhere living the dream. Instead, we’re all at home living the memes. You know the ones — they cover everything from the toilet paper shortage and hazmat suits to homeschooling nightmares and bad hair. I get it, they’re funny, and we all need a diversion from the stress and anxiety that’s part of this pandemic. Unfortunately, though, laughter and lightheartedness can’t solve everyone’s problems.

I work for a nonprofit that takes care of children and youth in group homes and foster homes in Alabama and Florida. These boys and girls — like all foster kids — are in the system through no fault of their own. They didn’t do anything wrong, but the adults in their lives — the ones who are supposed to love them unconditionally — made bad choices upon bad choices, and the kids are the ones who are paying.

What’s struck me these past few days is that while the rest of us wish we could go anywhere that’s not home and our children are looking for ways to hang out with anyone who’s not family, home and family are the very things foster kids wish they had the most.

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Don’t get me wrong. The kids we serve are loved. They have safe places to live, warm beds, healthy meals and an amazing support system. We make sure they participate in extracurricular activities and have everything they need, whether it’s band uniforms, prom dresses, school supplies or a chance to attend college. They get counseling if they need it, and most of them do. Our staff and foster parents laugh with them, cry with them and offer lots of hugs. We want them to know they aren’t alone, they have value and are worthy of love.

But no matter what our amazing direct care staff says or does — and trust me, they do incredible things for the welfare of our kids, sometimes at the expense of their own families — they can’t always fill the holes in our children’s hearts.

Most of the boys and girls in our care have been abused, neglected or abandoned. They come to us feeling less than, with worries and stresses most of us can’t even imagine. They’re angry, scared, sad and hurting.

It’s not an exaggeration, though, to say the folks we have caring for our kids can work miracles. Slowly but surely the children and youth in our care start to feel safe. They relish the stability in their lives, something they’ve never had much of or any at all. Routine is comforting, and when they finally get it, they begin to depend on it.

Then we have a national crisis known as COVID-19. Suddenly, their worlds are disrupted again. They miss school, friends, activities and their all-important routine. They’ve lost control, and stress and worry begin to creep back into their lives. Just like all of us, our staff and foster families are finding new ways to parent, and it’s hard.

Although I worry about our kids and what this scare will mean to their fragile lives, I take comfort in knowing they do have a family during this time. It may not be the traditional one they dream of, but if the definition of “family” is a group of people who love, care and support you, our kids are covered.

I’ve got to admit, I’m feeling a little out of sorts right now, just like most of you. Things are out of my control, we don’t know what the next few weeks or months will bring, we can’t imagine how we’ll be affected long-term, and we’re uncertain about the ramifications this may have on the future. This gives me a tiny glimpse into the struggles our foster kids faced for so long — a loss of control, fear of what the future holds, uncertainty and helplessness.

That’s why I’m going to make sure — even if I have to force myself sometimes — to take a deep breath and be thankful for this time my family has together. It’s not always easy. I’ve swept the kitchen floor more times than I can count, broken up my kids’ fights, re-learned algebra (or tried to, anyway) and juggled the demands of working remotely while coming up with ways to entertain three teenage boys.

It’s been trying more often than not, but there have been some great moments, as well. We’ve laughed a lot, played games, slowed down and gotten plenty of rest for the first time in a long time. There was also a wonderful moment when I got to show my son — who is in high school — how to use Zoom (a video conferencing app I’ve been using for years and he didn’t even know existed) despite his insistence I didn’t know what I was doing.

In these next few weeks, or for however long this lasts, I have a feeling I’m going to keep on laughing right along with you at all of these videos and images we keep sharing — the ones about eating all the quarantine snacks in one sitting or bemoaning the scarcity of hand sanitizer. I’m going to remember these moments and appreciate the fact that we found a way to laugh together to keep from crying. Then I’m going to thank the Lord that during this horrible time in our world, my family was living the memes — together.

This piece originally ran in Style Blueprint. Rebecca Morris is the senior vice president of external affairs for the United Methodist Children’s Home.