3 weeks ago

Letter from Birmingham [white] male

I’m a white male from Birmingham, Alabama. It’s time we had a talk.

I’m 42 years old, born in 1978. I grew up both literally and figuratively in the shadows of the Civil Rights movement and was lucky enough to have two parents, both teachers, who took that as a unique opportunity to educate me about injustice and inequality rather than shelter me from it. But I’ve come to realize in recent weeks that not being the problem is not a solution.

Doing my part to truly impact change requires more than just not being racist myself. It requires me being vocally and vigilantly intolerant of racism anywhere and everywhere I encounter it. It requires all of us actively being part of the solution. I intend to be from this day forward where I may not have always been in days past.

I have three children, nine and seven-year-old daughters and a one-year-old son. Not once has it ever entered my mind that someday I would need to have “the talk” with them about racism, or about how to prepare for dangerous and even potentially life-threatening situations because of the color of their skin.

For anyone still wondering, THAT is white privilege (priv·i·lege: a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group), an immunity society has given to me and my family because of the color of our skin. That is not ok.

The part that is not okay isn’t that I don’t have to have that talk with my kids, no one should. It’s that our black brothers and sisters do. It’s that their reality is different than mine, through no fault of their own, and just fixing that in my own home doesn’t fix it in others. It’s time to fix it everywhere, at every level, once and for all. It’s time we, white people, had our own version of “the talk.” And, because the reality we currently live in doesn’t require our talk to be about preparation, it must be about education. It should go something like this:

Repeat after me, “Black Lives Matter.” Good, now say it again. Yes, I know that all lives matter. Of course they do. But all lives have not been historically, systematically, repeatedly and consistently told that they don’t. Black lives have. For over 400 years, from the very origins of our country to the present day, black people have been made to feel as if they don’t matter as much as white people. Understanding that history is the only way to have the full context required to form an educated opinion about the current situation in our country.

In 1619, when the first Africans – seized from a captured Portuguese slave ship – reached the British colonies in Point Comfort, Virginia, near Jamestown, they were sold as slaves. They were told their black lives didn’t matter.

In 1640, a Virginia court sentenced John Punch, an African, to a lifetime of slavery after he attempted to flee his service, marking the first legal sanctioning of slavery in the colonies. He was told, by law, his black life didn’t matter.

In 1662 the Virginia royal colony approved a law stating that children born in the colony would take on the social status of their mother. This now meant that children could be born into slavery, making African ancestry synonymous with institutional slavery. The first black babies born in the colonies were told their lives didn’t matter.

The trade of enslaved Africans to the colonies increased substantially in the 1680s and by the mid-1700s, hundreds of thousands of slaves existed in the colonies. They were told their black lives didn’t matter.

At the founding of our country in 1776, slavery was legal in all 13 colonies, the colonies still represented by the 13 stripes on the American flag today. Under the law, an enslaved person was treated as property and could be bought, sold or given away. Black people again being told their lives didn’t matter.

In 1787, at the United States Constitutional Convention, delegates created the three-fifths clause. This clause defined how slaves would be counted when determining a state’s total population and essentially rendered the worth of a slave as 3/5 of a person. I guess you could argue they were told they mattered, but only a fraction as much as free whites.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared slaves free with the Emancipation Proclamation, but slavery was not officially abolished in the United States until the Thirteenth Amendment to the constitution was passed in 1865. Even after the Thirteenth Amendment, many black Americans were still subject to involuntary labor, particularly in the South. And, while the Thirteenth Amendment granted enslaved blacks their freedom, they were not granted the same rights as other citizens. Frederick Douglass said in 1865 that “Slavery is not abolished until the black man has the ballot.” Slavery was ended, but still in the eyes of the United States, black lives did not matter as much as whites.

During the Reconstruction Era (1863–1877) following the Civil War, Congress – all white men of course – continued to debate the rights of millions of former black slaves. And while black people now had their freedom according to the constitution, they were still far from having equal rights to white people. Now, many states instituted what were know as Black Codes, or Black Laws, used to restrict the civil and political rights of newly emancipated black Americans as well as forcing them to work for lower wages than whites. The Black Codes would be the first in a long line of systematic oppression instituted by whites in power, at all levels of government, to restrict the freedoms of blacks in the United States. More ways black lives were told they don’t matter.

In 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified giving black men the right to vote. Once again, it was not that simple. They had the right to vote, but now were faced with more laws and loopholes restricting them from exercising that right. Gerrymandering, poll taxes and literacy tests systematically disenfranchised black voters who, as former slaves, had no wealth and earned lower wages than whites and had not been educated as slaves. Black lives being told that even though they had rights, they couldn’t exercise them, because they didn’t matter.

The Fifteenth Amendment also triggered a century of violence from radical white supremacist groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, aimed at suppressing black people and keeping them from exercising this, or any other of their rights. In 1873, just three years after the passing of the Fifteenth Amendment, between 70 and 150 black Americans were killed at the Colfax massacre in Louisiana while attempting to defend their right to vote. Black lives being taken as if they didn’t matter.

This was just the beginning of another 100+ years of blacks getting lynched by white supremacists in this country for no other reason than being black. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, based in Montgomery, Alabama, 4,084 African Americans were lynched between 1877 and 1950 in the South.

The lynching of Michael Donald in Mobile, Alabama on March 21, 1981, was one of the last reported lynchings in the United States. Several Ku Klux Klan members, including Henry Hays, beat and killed Michael Donald, a 19-year-old African American, and hung his body from a tree. Klansman Henry Hays was later convicted and executed in 1997, the only execution of a KKK member during the 20th century for the murder of an African American. Thousands upon thousands of black lives being brutally taken and discarded like trash or displayed as warnings for anyone who dared to take the stance that black lives matter.

Perhaps the most open display of black lives being made to feel inferior to whites were the Jim Crow laws, a series of state and local statutes that legalized racial segregation. The first of these laws were established in the South in 1877, officially segregating blacks from the white population, and lasted until 1965.

The legal principle of “separate but equal” racial segregation extended to schools, transportation and public facilities such as restrooms, restaurants, and drinking fountains. Facilities for African Americans, if they existed at all, were consistently inferior and underfunded compared to the facilities for white Americans. Jim Crow laws institutionalized economic, educational, and social disadvantages for African Americans living in the South for nearly a century. With every drink from a water fountain, trip to a public restroom, entrance through the back door of an establishment and seat taken on the back of a bus, black lives were being told publicly that they didn’t matter.

We could have an entire talk just starting with the Civil Rights movement from the 1950s and 1960s — Brown vs. Board of Education, Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, Freedom Riders, Mississippi Riots, Birmingham and Selma, The March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s dream, Freedom Summer, and all the other moments of injustice that were met with brave activists who rose up against it — forgetting the 300+ years of oppression that led up to it, and it should be enough to convince any rational human that we still need to focus on lifting up black lives when we are only one generation removed from such bigotry and inequality.

I could focus the entirety of my talk on just the events in and around my hometown of Birmingham in 1963, and that should still be all the convincing anyone needs. I could talk about how then Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Connor took a brutal approach to silencing peaceful African American protesters by having police blast them with fire hoses, beat them with batons and turn vicious dogs loose on them. I could talk about the four little girls — Addie Mae Collins (14), Cynthia Wesley (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Carol Denise McNair (11) — killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in September 1963 by white supremacists and how we were given the nickname “Bombingham” because of eighteen unsolved bombings in black neighborhoods over a six-year span.

I could talk about how in June 1963, just months before the 16th Street bombing, Alabama Governor George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door at Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama to try and block the entry of two African American students: Vivian Malone and James Hood in an attempt to make good on his promise of “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” I could talk about Martin Luther King, Jr. being arrested in Birmingham on April 12, 1963, Good Friday, and how he was put into solitary confinement for organizing peaceful protests along with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). And I could cite his Letter from Birmingham Jail where he penned the words “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

Those words, those movements, those actions and activists who rose up against injustice anywhere was the culmination of a centuries long struggle to end legalized racial discrimination, disenfranchisement and segregation in the United States. It worked. But, the work isn’t done.

Our Declaration of Independence begins “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Those exceptional words paint a promise of what America should be, but from John Punch to George Floyd, one thing I find self-evident is that those founding principles of America have only applied to some Americans because there has been a white man’s knee on the black man’s neck for 400 years.

So yeah, speaking of things that are self-evident, all lives matter. It even says so right there in those most eloquent thirteen words from the Declaration of Independence. But the thirteenth amendment didn’t even the playing field and the thirteen stripes on our flag represent a very different story for black Americans. They are quite literally not a symbol of freedom in their story. In their story — one of discrimination, intimidation, segregation, incarceration, termination and the need for emancipation — they are more bars than stripes.

As a white male, born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, the history of my ancestors in this country is not the same as the history of black Americans. Black people were in shackles before they were even onshore, and while 2020 is a far cry from 1619, white Americans have had four-century head start on accumulating wealth, property, education, status and power in this country. We put a white man on the moon before we put a black man in the White House. Let that sink in.

If you only take one thing away from my words, let it be this. Our reality as a white people in America is still very different than that of black people because of the carryover from our past. So when we blame or shame black Americans for living in communities that are riddled with poverty, or crime, or drugs or “thugs,” we are like a disease blaming the symptom. And maybe, just maybe, if we all understand that, turn any contempt we have into compassion, and turn that compassion into action, we will have a shot at everyone being able to live in the America we were promised.

So say it with me again. Black Lives Matter. Now go stand up for them.

“The time is always right to do what is right.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Seth Griffin is the Chief Creative Officer of Birmingham-based Telegraph Creative

9 hours ago

Brooks: ‘I oppose the Socialist Democrat and racist efforts to deface and destroy Mount Rushmore’

Count Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) as a steadfast supporter of Mount Rushmore.

Ahead of President Donald Trump’s planned Friday trip to the national memorial in South Dakota for a pre-Independence Day fireworks show and patriotic tribute, Brooks released a statement emphasizing his cosponsorship of H.R. 7358.

This bill, known as the Mount Rushmore Protection Act, was authored by Congressman Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and would prohibit federal funds from being used to alter, change, destroy or remove, in whole or in part, any name, face or other feature on the namesake memorial.

Liberal organizations in recent days have begun to target Mount Rushmore, with the Democratic National Committee even claiming the monument is “glorifying white supremacy.”

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Brooks pushed back on this, saying, “Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are exceptional American heroes. Each contributed monumentally to America’s greatness and share a common legacy of spreading freedom and liberty throughout the world. Their places on Mount Rushmore are well-deserved as exemplars of what it took to make America great, and efforts to denigrate their contributions are beyond reprehensible.”

The North Alabama Republican also outlined the contributions of each American icon memorialized on Mount Rushmore.

“Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, the document that officially kicked off America’s quest for independence,” he continued. “George Washington won the Revolutionary War, served as America’s first president, and set the high standards of honor and leadership that have molded the republic to this day. Teddy Roosevelt protected America’s beautiful and special lands for public enjoyment forever. Abraham Lincoln held our young nation together through the most tumultuous period in American history, freed the slaves and gave his life perfecting of union. These men represent the best of us. Generations of Americans have celebrated their contributions to our nation. They embody American exceptionalism, freedom and liberty.”

Brooks said this issue exemplifies larger societal issues that are ongoing in America.

“With the exception of the Civil War, America has never faced greater internal threats,” the congressman warned.

“Socialist Democrats and racists, as evidenced by a recent Democrat National Committee tweet that said Mount Rushmore is ‘glorifying white supremacy’, are dead set on undermining American’s freedom and liberty,” Brooks continued. “In a frenzy of delirious ‘wokeness’, Socialist Democrats and those who promote racial division are hellbent on destroying the very fabric of our republic.”

“I oppose the Socialist Democrat and racist efforts to deface and destroy Mount Rushmore,” he stressed to conclude his statement.

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

11 hours ago

Auburn University gets $3 million grant to increase innovative conservation practices

AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn University College of Agriculture research and extension faculty will be using a $3 million grant to help forge a future for Alabama agriculture by encouraging the use of innovative conservation practices among the state’s row crop farmers.

The grant comes from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials), a new component of the Conservation Innovation Grants first authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Auburn’s $3 million grant is the largest to a single entity of the more than $24 million awarded. The grants are designed to help partners implement and evaluate innovative approaches that have demonstrated conservation benefits on farmland.

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These conservation practices are sorely needed on Alabama farms for several reasons, said Rishi Prasad, assistant professor and Alabama Extension specialist in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences and leader of the research project.

“Many soils in Alabama are severely degraded and have low organic matter content,” Prasad said. “It is important to rebuild soil health to conserve soil for use by future generations. Increased adoption of cover crops by Alabama farmers can create sustainable row-crop production systems while protecting the state’s soil and water resources.”

Another aspect of the grant will be the demonstration of water-smart irrigation practices, he said.

“Summer droughts in Alabama are very common, often causing yield losses,” Prasad said. “The adoption of water-smart irrigation in Alabama is considered one of the most important strategies for mitigating the negative impacts of drought. This project will demonstrate the use of these technologies and help increase the adoption of irrigation in Alabama.”

The project also will help farmers evaluate nutrient losses and demonstrate the agronomic, economic and environmental benefits of improved conservation practices compared to farmers’ “business-as-usual” practices, he said.

“Fertilizer is one of the major inputs used in crop production,” Prasad said. “However, more than 50 percent of the purchased fertilizers ends up getting lost in air or water. This project will help farmers evaluate those losses.”

Three Alabama farms have been selected as cooperators for this project: Posey Farms in north Alabama, Lazenby Farms in central Alabama and L.C. Farms in south Alabama. These farms will be used to demonstrate the innovative conservation practices.

“The interesting part of this project is that any farmer who wants to adopt cover crops or smart irrigation technologies will receive incentive payments that include assistance for cover crop seed, planting and termination costs, labor charges and forgone income,” Prasad said. “Farmers also can borrow inter-seeder, roller crimper and soil moisture sensors from selected NRCS offices as a part of this project.”

A network of learning sites will be established at the extension offices located in Lawrence, Geneva and Lee counties, said Audrey Gamble, assistant professor and Alabama Extension specialist in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences, who also is involved in the grant. Project meetings with cooperating farmers and neighboring farmers will be organized, and information on the project will be presented.

“Farmers will be called for face-to-face meetings, dinner meetings, workshops and field days where information on topics related to cover crops, water-smart irrigation strategies, nutrient budgets and nutrient-use efficiencies will be presented,” Gamble said. “As project data becomes available, information will be shared with farmers at learning sites. The project already is underway, and we will be instrumenting these demonstration farms in the fall of 2020.”

For Brenda Ortiz, professor and Alabama Extension specialist in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences, the grant marks the continuation of on-farm irrigation projects she initiated in 2017.

“The important thing about this project is that we will look at the whole system—the impact of cover crops on soil health and soil structure that will impact soil water storage and movement which, in the end, will impact water availability for the crops and improved nutrient and water-use efficiency,” Ortiz said.

While technological changes take time, there is a greater awareness in Alabama now of what technology can do to increase irrigation efficiency, she said.

“Farmers and consultants have gained knowledge on the use of soil sensors for irrigation scheduling, and we have been able to demonstrate the impact of variable-rate irrigation at some sites,” Ortiz said. “However, more work is needed.”

Ortiz hopes the innovation grant will increase the adoption of practices such as irrigation scheduling.

“If we can accomplish this, it will be a great success story and will result in possible environmental and economic benefits,” she said. “The other piece of the puzzle is nutrient management. This project has a strong emphasis on environmental stewardship.”

Leah Duzy of the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory is working on the economic aspects of the grant. Innovation grant awardees are required to evaluate the economic and conservation outcomes from these practices and systems, giving NRCS critical information to inform conservation work in the future. That’s where Michelle Worosz, professor of rural sociology in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, will play a role in implementing the grant.

“Production agriculture by its very nature is sociological—there is nothing that is not a product of human activity and/or social interaction,” Worosz said. “In the case of our grant, I will examine the conservation-based decision-making processes that take place on the three selected farms. These farms will serve as case studies of technological change, adoption and adaptation.

“I also will observe the extension team as they interact with a broader range of participants during workshops and field days. It is hoped that data from the case studies and the observations can be used by the team to improve conservation technology. In other words, this feedback loop is a means of co-developing knowledge about conservation strategies, particularly smart irrigation and cover cropping.

The grant’s implementation on “real” farms is important to its success, Worosz said.

“Understandably, producers can be quite skeptical of experimental plots on research farms,” she said. “Because research plots are often smaller, they may receive an unrealistic amount or type of care, they may not be subject to the same rules or regulations, the farm manager and researchers might have access to more or different resources such as advanced technologies, the plots are not required to produce the same yields or produce the same return on investment, and they may be located in a place that is not comparable to producers’ farms.”

It’s also important that the conservation technologies will be co-developed by faculty and extension specialists working alongside farmers, Worosz said.

“This is a way to develop a more robust set of bundled technologies—technologies that will be more user-friendly and better able to meet the needs of the user while also meeting larger environmental goals,” she said. “If the user has input, it will help with a broader buy-in of these conservation technologies by other producers.”

(Courtesy of Auburn University)

12 hours ago

Lara Trump: ‘We actually had never confirmed a rally in Alabama’

Senior campaign adviser Lara Trump has rebutted reporting from CNN that the president’s reelection campaign canceled a July 11 rally in Mobile, Alabama.

Trump — who is married to the president’s son, Eric — told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum this week that the rally was never finalized.

Rumors had been swirling in previous weeks that President Donald J. Trump would come to the state to campaign in person for his endorsed Republican Senate candidate, former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville.

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RELATED: Watch: Trump, Tuberville depart Air Force One together

MacCallum asked Lara Trump if the Alabama rally was canceled and, if so, why it was canceled.

“Well, we actually had never confirmed a rally in Alabama,” she responded. “We never talked about it, never announced anything. So, I’m not sure why everybody got so excited about an Alabama rally.”

The show host then interjected to followed up with, “So there never was an Alabama rally? That’s what you’re saying?”

Shaking her head to indicate a negative response, Trump added, “There was nothing official from the campaign. We never announced anything on that.”

It should be noted that the Tuberville campaign never confirmed the rally, either.

He will face former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Alabama’s July 14 Republican primary runoff.

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

15 hours ago

New public pavilion opens at Smith Lake

Anglers and tournament staff now have a shaded place on Smith Lake to host their weigh-ins.

A new public weigh-in pavilion is open at the Lewis Smith Lake Dam boat ramp in Walker County. The pavilion was funded through a partnership between B.A.S.S. and Alabama Power, and constructed with the help of many others.

“Our great partnership with Alabama Power continues with this pavilion,” B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin said. “It was exciting to see this come together, and we look forward to future tournaments that will benefit the local community.”

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New fishing weigh-in pavilion opens on Smith Lake from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The pavilion provides shade for fish holding tanks during tournament weigh-ins, which reduces stress and increases survival rates of the fish.

“This facility was designed to make setting up for weigh-ins easier and more efficient for all sizes of tournament organizations,” said B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland. “Having the pavilion close to the water, the boat ramp and the courtesy docks will improve the survival of fish released following weigh-ins – and that means more bass for everyone to catch in the future.”

Construction began in January and was initially scheduled to be completed by April but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteer labor was coordinated by the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance that provided apprentices for all phases of the build.

“The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance was privileged to be a part of this great partnership to benefit local anglers and the community,” said Robert Stroede, conservation manager for the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Our union volunteers donated more than 1,000 hours of their time and trade skills to help make this facility possible and benefit not only the community but also the valuable resources of Smith Lake. Partnerships like this one between corporate, public and nonprofit organizations are now, and will continue to be, a huge asset to the future of conservation.”

The new pavilion is the latest in a growing list of amenities offered at Alabama Power’s 65 public recreation sites. It is the second pavilion Alabama Power and B.A.S.S. have worked together to build. In 2014, B.A.S.S., Alabama Power, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Shelby County and volunteers from Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation teamed to open a similar weigh-in pavilion at Beeswax Landing on Lay Lake.

“We were thrilled to work with B.A.S.S., the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the local community to construct this pavilion,” said Zeke Smith, Alabama Power executive vice president of External Affairs. “Not only does this pavilion enhance this access point on Smith Lake, it also helps showcase the state of Alabama’s beautiful waterways.”

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources donated engineering expertise to the project, and added a ramp and docks to the nearby boat launch.

“We are very excited about the pavilion and the upgrades we have made to the access point at Smith Dam,” said Alabama Department of Conservation Deputy Commissioner Ed Poolos. “It all works together nicely and will offer a great experience for anyone interested in visiting this beautiful lake.”

Project leaders said the pavilion will boost the Smith Lake community.

“I have been involved with high school fishing for a number of years and the sport is rapidly growing,” said Casey Shelton, business manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council U-19. “This has been a great partnership to see come together and will benefit the local community for years to come.”

Community leaders said the pavilion will attract more fishing tournaments, especially among high schools and amateurs.

“I am pleased to be involved in this project alongside Alabama Power and know that those that enjoy bass fishing, especially high school anglers in our community, will enjoy this pavilion and the facilities,” said Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed. “This partnership with B.A.S.S., IBEW, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Union Sportsmen’s Alliance and Alabama Power is a wonderful opportunity for Smith Lake and will promote the sport of angling for many years to come.”

“We so appreciate the investment Alabama Power has made in the Smith Lake Dam Pavilion,” added State Rep. Connie Rowe. “For several years this area has been utilized by The Chamber of Commerce of Walker County for fishing tournaments, which bring thousands of visitors and their tax dollars into our area. This pavilion will serve as a hub for those tournaments and other events.”

For up-to-date information about Alabama lakes, download the Smart Lakes app to your smartphone at smartlakes.com. For more information on this or other Alabama Power public recreation sites, visit apcshorelines.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

16 hours ago

7 Things: No confirmed ‘coronavirus parties’ in Tuscaloosa, Tuberville’s handling of a 2nd-degree rape case becomes political fodder, Ivey open to changing Confederate holidays and more …

7. Pelosi is just out here ‘trying to save the world’

  • Recently, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for not commenting on protestors who have taken to tearing down statues like the one of St. Junipero Serra at the Golden Gate Park in Pelosi’s district.
  • Pelosi said that McCarthy “hasn’t had the faintest idea of our dynamic in our district,” and that she’s “trying to save the world from coronavirus.” Now, as coronavirus cases have increased across the country, the Senate will take up the relief package HEROES Act, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has called a “liberal wish list.”

6. Coronavirus cases in Madison County jail, Clanton mayor also positive

  • In Madison County, an employee at the jail has tested positive for the coronavirus, which is the first case at the facility, and Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner has said that they are taking “precautions” within the facility “concerning the affected employee’s contact with the inmates prior to the positive test result.”
  • Mayor Billy Joe Driver in Clanton has also tested positive for the coronavirus and is currently at St. Vincent’s Birmingham for treatment. At 84-years-old, the mayor is at higher risk regarding the virus.
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5. More than 1,100 coronavirus cases in one day

  • The Alabama Department of Public Health has added 1,162 coronavirus cases in the state in just one day. There were also 22 more hospitalizations bringing the total currently to 797, and there were 14 people who died, bringing total deaths to 961.
  • Ten counties have 57% of the new cases, which includes Mobile, Madison, Jefferson, Tuscaloosa, Marshall, Morgan, Baldwin, DeKalb and Montgomery counties. There were 5,788 tests conducted across the state in one day.

4. Record jobs numbers as economy continue to recover

  • The headlines screamed of June numbers far better than the experts expected. Much to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s chagrin, there were 4.8 million jobs created and an unemployment rate that fell to 11.1%, with President Donald Trump saying, “Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back. It’s coming back extremely strong.”
  • But tens of millions are still out of work as the American economy continues to reel from the effects of rising coronavirus numbers and a patchwork of economic lockdowns that seem to be increasing in number again.

3. Ivey open to making changes

  • Governor Kay Ivey’s spokesperson Gina Maiola said that “Ivey is certainly open to the discussion” of changing Confederate holidays, but those decisions have to go “through the Legislature.”
  • Maiola added that Ivey “believes that while we cannot change the past or erase our history, she is confident that we can build a future that values the worth of each and every citizen,” and the holidays in question would be Robert E. Lee’s birthday, Confederate Memorial Day and Jefferson Davis Day.

2. Tuberville attacked for his handling of a player’s rape case from Auburn

  • With less than two weeks to go before the run-off for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, voters are starting to see what type of attacks former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville could see in November from U.S. Senator Doug Jones and the media.
  • The attack stems from the 1999 season when wide receiver Clifton Robinson received a one-game suspension after pleading guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor (a misdemeanor) as a plea deal following being charged with the second-degree rape of a 15-year-old girl. Robinson would later be arrested on assault charges and subsequently convicted for the battery of an off-duty police officer years after leaving Auburn.

1. No, there were not coronavirus parties in Tuscaloosa

  • A Tuscaloosa City councilwoman repeated a stupid rumor that students at Alabama colleges and universities were hosting parties with bowls full of money as prizes for getting the coronavirus, and the national media ran with the story as if it was fact, but don’t expect a retraction.
  • There is obviously no evidence that any such events actually took place — not a single Facebook post, tweet or Instagram story supports this narrative, but the narrative was helpful for the media and the desires for a mandatory mask ordinance from Tuscaloosa’s leaders.