Op-ed: F-35 injects more than $12 million into Alabama’s economy
By: State Rep. Jack Williams (R-Vestavia Hills)
While American air superiority is a global fact today, there is no guarantee it will be maintained in the future. That’s why the Pentagon is investing now to replace our country’s aging fleet of fourth-generation fighters with the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II, a process that injects more than $12 million into Alabama’s economy.
Our current fleet of aircraft has served us well, from the mid-1970s when the first fourth-generation fighter went into service (F-14 Tomcat), to today. But the F-35 is what will carry us into the future.
It is a multi-role combat aircraft that combines radar-evading stealth technology with supersonic speed capabilities and fighter agility. The aircraft tracks and transmits data from its entire battle space so threats can be identified, shared with coalition forces and neutralized quickly from long-range.
As Assistance Secretary of the Air Force Dr. William LaPlante told Congress, “A fourth generation fighter cannot successfully compete with a fifth generation fighter in combat, nor can it survive and operate inside the advanced, integrated air defenses that some countries have today, and many more will have in the future.”
Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, a former A-10 pilot and current Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, went event further, saying that he fears a greater number of American pilots will be killed in battle if the military does not continue its efforts to modernize our fleet of aircraft.
“(T)he real question for me is do I want to look at the moms and dads of America in the eye and say it’s okay that your son or daughter will be flying that older airplane because they’re really good and we’ll win the war anyway?” he told the Center for Strategic International Studies. “More of them will die. I’m not willing to have that conversation. The number-one superpower in the world shouldn’t.”
But as with any project the Department of Defense undertakes, the F-35 is not without detractors. Many have criticized the aircraft because of its costs and delays, which have made it one of the most expensive weapons systems ever created.
But its price is actually comparable to that of legacy fighters in the beginning stages of their production, and it is slated to become considerably cheaper over the next five years as production rates increase. The Pentagon currently plans to buy 2,443 of the aircraft, which is on track to be declared combat ready by the U.S. Marine Corps in July of 2015. And USAF Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan recently told reporters that by 2019, the F-35A will likely cost about the same as today’s fourth-generation aircraft.
The bottom line is this: the fourth generation fighters just cannot keep up in this dangerous world, but the F-35 Lightning II Program will help our country stay safe long into the future.
We need to ask our leaders in Washington to continue to support this program for the safety of our fighting men and women and our national security. Our military leaders understand this and are committed to the F-35 Lightning Program and its success. Alabama should be too.
Rep. Jack Williams represents District 47 in the Alabama House of Representatives. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Shapiro to speak at the University of Alabama in the spring
Ben Shapiro, a prominent national conservative commentator and writer, will speak at the University of Alabama during the 2019 spring semester.
In an announcement Tuesday, Young America’s Foundation (YAF) said Shapiro will speak on campus in Tuscaloosa as part of the organization’s Fred Allen Lecture Series. UA will be one of six campuses to host the hot ticket speaker during the spring, on a date yet to be announced.
YAF celebrated a “wildly successful” fall lineup of campuses, adding it was “excited” to unveil the select locations hosting “the #1 requested speaker in the country” this coming spring.
Formerly an editor-at-large for Breitbart, Shapiro currently serves as the editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, which he founded in 2015. He has spoken frequently on college campus across the country in recent years, meeting with controversy along the way, including especially prominent occasions at the University of California at Berkeley and California State University in Los Angeles.
He also hosts his online political podcast, “The Ben Shapiro Show,” which is broadcast every weekday. At age 34, Shapiro’s podcast is downloaded over 1 million times per episode, with an audience that is reportedly 70 percent under the age of 40. The Daily Wire gets approximately 140 million page views per month.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn
Alexander Shunnarah gives back to the community with the first annual ‘Shunnarah Seasons of Giving’ initiative
Most people know Alexander Shunnarah for his infamous “Call me Alabama” slogan and the massive trail of billboards commonly spotted by travelers along I-65. However, what many aren’t aware of is Shunnarrah’s heart for giving back to the city he calls home.
To show his love and appreciation for Birmingham, the Alabama lawyer just launched the first ever “Shunnarah’s Seasons of Giving” initiative and is surprising locals in the community with various acts of service throughout the month of December.
Shunnurah described this initiative as a, “…small part in giving back to the community and paying it forward.”
To begin the month-long program, Shunnarrah stopped by Etheridge Brother and Sister Barber and Beauty Shop in downtown Birmingham last week where he gave locals an opportunity to receive a complimentary haircut.
“It’s been a great initial kickoff in the seasons of giving,” Shunarrah said.
In addition to these pop-up visits, Shunnarah’s law firm is partnering with The Shoe Clinic LLC for the clinic’s third annual ‘Saving One Sole at a Time” Sneaker, Sock and Coat Drive. The drive will take place at The Shoe Clinic LLC on Saturday, December 15th from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Donations are accepted now through December 15th. Both organizations hope to collect 500 sneakers and coats, and 1000 pairs of socks by December 15th.
To donate to the sneaker, sock and coat drive, visit one of the two drop-off locations listed here:
The Shoe Clinic
1801 11th Ave S. Birmingham, AL,
Alexander Shunnarah Law Firm
2900 1st Ave. S. Birmingham, AL.
To see where Alexander Shunurrah visits for the next “Shunnarah’s Seasons of Giving” pop-up, visit his Instagram page at @alexander_shunnarah.
West Alabama woman points to bullying, race after her nine-year-old daughter’s suicide
A mother in west Alabama is grieving after her nine-year-old daughter, McKenzie Adams, died by suicide.
CBS 42 reported Monday that Jasmine Adams’ daughter was a fourth grader at U.S. Jones elementary school in Demopolis, which is close to the family’s home in Linden.
Following her tragic death on December 3, Adams reportedly advised CBS 42 that McKenzie told her teachers and her assistant principal a number of times that she was being bullied.
“She told me that this one particular child was writing her nasty notes in class. It was just things you wouldn’t think a nine-year-old should know. And my baby, to tell me some of the things they had said to her, I was like where are they learning this from,” Adams shared.
Adams also opined that race played into the bullying, as McKenzie rode to school with a white family friend every day.
“Part of it could have been because she rode to school with a white family,” Adams outlined. “And a lot of it was race, some of the student bullies would say to her ‘why you riding with white people, you’re black, you’re ugly. You should just die.'”
Alex Brasswell, the Demopolis City Schools attorney, advised that the case is under investigation.
“We are working fully with the Demopolis and Linden police department. They are doing a joint investigation of these allegations. We are cooperating fully and I can’t comment on any of the aspects of the investigation until they conclude it,” Brasswell said.
Adams said that she believes that the school system let her daughter and her family down. She also explained that McKenzie only attended U.S. Jones in Demopolis because she had previously been bullied at the local school in Linden.
“I just felt that our trust was in them that they would do the right thing,” Adams said, “And it feels like to me it wasn’t it wasn’t done.”
“That was my angel, you know. She was a straight ‘A’ student, very smart,” Adams emphasized.
Funeral services for McKenzie are scheduled for Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at U.S. Jones elementary school.
Watch the full report:
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn
— Somehow, more Americans get their news from social media (20 percent) than print newspapers (16 percent). This is because of a steady decline in newspapers, but both get crushed by the Internet and television.
— American television consumption of news is still the most popular of all mediums at 49 percent, while 43 percent use “either news sites or social media” according to a Pew Research Center study.
6. Protesters were arrested in Washington D.C. for “protesting” for a “Green New Deal“
— The Democrats’ new face, Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has a trillion dollar plan to solve the climate crisis and create “16 million new good-paying jobs.” Ocasio-Cortez supporters in D.C. participated in a “take over”of the offices of Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA).
— Police arrested protesters for “unlawfully demonstrating in the Cannon and Longworth House Office Buildings,” but Democrats showed support for them with Hoyer tweeting, “I welcome visitors from @sunrisemvmt to my office today, and I’m happy to hear from them about one of the most pressing issues of our time. Speaking out is exactly what our democracy is all about, and I appreciate their passion. The new Dem Majority will #ActonClimate.”
— With the December 21 budget deadline nearing, Democrat leaders say they will offer President Donald Trump $1.3 billion in funding for a border wall, but Trump wants $5 billion.
— Trump lacks leverage here, except a government shutdown. He put out a series of tweets including, “I look forward to my meeting with Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi. In 2006, Democrats voted for a Wall, and they were right to do so. Today, they no longer want Border Security. They will fight it at all cost, and Nancy must get votes for Speaker. But the Wall will get built…”
— U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth called it “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency” and ordered the U.S. Departments of State and Justice to determine “(a) whether Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA; (b) whether the State Department’s attempts to settle this case in late 2014 and early 2015 amounted to bad faith; and (c) whether State has adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s requests.”
— While the FBI/DOJ seems to have dropped this case in the Obama-era, one activist group continues to fight for the transparency that the then-secretary of state worked so hard to avoid by creating a homebrew server, bleach bit-ing the hard drives and smashing mobile devices.
— After Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, turned down the White House job, the speculation machine ramped up and came up with new options for the job, including former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former campaign adviser David Bossi and Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC) for White House chief of staff.
— Christie may be a favorite because Trump reportedly wants “a functioning White House,” but he said on ABC’s “This Week” that the President seems to be in some legal trouble because of Michael Cohen’s issues with the Southern District of New York, citing “[t]he language in the sentencing memo is different from what we’ve heard before”
— All three of Alabama’s biggest dogs support a new gas tax: Governor Kay Ivey, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, but local legislators are finding the issue to be a bit of a harder sell to their constituents given the ALGOP/GOP’s anti-tax positioning.
— Currently, Alabama’s average price of gasoline is $2.08 a gallon, which is far below the national average of $2.42 a gallon. Alabama’s price has decreased seven cents in one week and 36 cents in one month.
— The Birmingham chapter of the Nation of Islam, which Yellowhammer News notes “is deemed an “extremist,” “deeply racist, antisemitic” “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center” is leading a boycott movement in Hoover that has a goal of moving black-owned businesses out of Hoover and in to majority-black areas of Birmingham.
— As the protesters attempt to make Hoover go “broke,” yet another arrest for blocking freeways in Hoover has taken place, bringing the total to three as the city of Hoover appears to have had enough of the protesters.
Hoover boycott leader defends Louis Farrakhan, talks about ‘the enemy’
Student minister Tremon Muhammad, who leads the Nation of Islam’s Birmingham mosque, took to Facebook Monday evening to defend Louis Farrakhan and attack the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and “all of those that are aligned with them.”
Muhammad, who posted his thoughts in an approximately 45-minute Facebook Live video, was reacting to Yellowhammer News’ article from earlier that day that revealed he was leading the Hoover boycott efforts in the wake of Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, Jr.’s death in an officer-involved shooting at the Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night.
“[W]hat’s happening in Birmingham is just a sign of what’s going to be happening all across America,” Muhammad said.
He called Yellowhammer News “the enemy” and reaffirmed that the Nation of Islam’s involvement leading the Hoover boycott was part of a bigger plan.
Locally, this is an opportunity for them to immediately advance their agenda.
“Boycott Hoover and build up black Birmingham,” Muhammad summarized.
Again using the term “the enemy,” he affirmed that the Nation of Islam’s efforts were to be a “war” against the City of Hoover and its citizens, however Muhammad emphasized they were not advocating violence.
“So, the word ‘war’ was used a few times [last week at the protesters’ organizational meeting], but of course we know that language – the English language – is not our language,” Muhammad asserted, gesturing to himself. “You taught it to us, I’m just trying to do the best I can with it.”
He then said that he has been using “war” in strictly figurative terms when it comes to unrest in Hoover, before asserting that, “You have never heard the Nation of Islam call for a race war.”
It should be noted, in context, that Muhammad said at the meeting he referenced last week that “the Nation of Islam does not subscribe to the theory of nonviolence.”
“If we go out there, we ain’t going out there to play. If we go out there, and we get engaged in combat, … If they touch one of our sisters or hit one of our young people or hit one of the brothers, we’re not out there just to fight,” Muhammad emphasized. “Everybody and everything got to die on sight.”
In the video, Muhammad then read a definition of “war” and then explained that he would continue using the word to describe the Nation of Islam’s efforts in Hoover and the Birmingham metro area.
“The creation of the City of Hoover was an act of war against Birmingham,” Muhammad reflected.
About a minute later, while talking about “white flight,” Muhammad seemed to take his definition of “the enemy” to mean white people in general. Later on, he also criticized “oreos,” which he defined as “black on the outside and white on the inside,” as well as “graham crackers,” which he referred to as “brown on the outside.”
Muhammad transitioned into a line-by-line analysis of Yellowhammer News’ article, starting with the opening line that references the SPLC calling the organization an “extremist,” “deeply racist, antisemitic” “hate group.”
“By black people – no. By the masses of white people – no. By the Southern Poverty Law Center. Stop right there,” Muhammad retorted.
The minister then launched into a tirade against the SPLC, referring to their “wicked pen” and saying if they could not prove their claims about the Nation of Islam, they should “shut [their] mouth.”
Muhammad then referenced a recent speech made by the Nation of Islam’s leader Louis Farrakhan, outlining that Farrakhan had “challenged the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ADL and all of those that are aligned with them.”
The ADL is focused on opposing anti-semitism, while working for civil rights for all. The SPLC describes itself as being “dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.”
Just this year, Farrakhan compared Jewish people to “termites,” saying, “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Termite.”
Muhammad, in the video, continued to defend Farrakhan, saying he was not an “extremist,” “deeply racist” or “anti-semitic.”
“I’ve got a question for you. Did Farrakhan bring you into slavery?” Muhammad asked his followers.
After asking more similar rhetorical questions, Muhammad said, “Farrakhan didn’t do none of that, Farrakhan redeemed fallen humanity.”
It should be noted that members of the Nation of Islam, Farrakhan included, hold a core belief that the white race was created by a black scientist named Yakub (it is their characterization of the biblical Jacob) thousands of years ago. The Nation of Islam refers to the race he created – white people – as “devils” while black people are the “Original People.”
The organization’s doctrine, which is shunned by mainstream Islam, also holds that black people’s destiny is to wrestle control of the world back away from these “devils” and put them in their supposed rightful place.
Indeed, Farrakhan has not been shy about this belief. When asked by Tim Russert in a 1997 appearance on “Meet the Press,” Farrakhan acknowledged his belief that “whites are blue-eyed devils,” adding the following:
In the Bible, in the Book of Revelation, it talks about the fall of Babylon. It says Babylon is fallen because she has become the habitation of devils. We believe that that ancient Babylon is a symbol of a modern Babylon which is America.
In the video, Muhammad continued, “The only thing [Farrakhan] did was raise his people up to a certain level [from what] they put us in. So, you charge a man that’s trying to pick us up from the condition that you put us in and you’re gunna charge him with hate.”
He went on to criticize Yellowhammer News’ article as trying to separate him from mainstream members of “the movement” and thanked the publication for saying he was following in Farrakhan’s footsteps, calling that a “compliment.”
“Trying to force brother Carlos [Chaverst] to say he’s not with [us], trying to force me to say I’m not with him, but we are family. … Even if we disagree, we’re not going to disagree in front of you, Yellowhammer,” Muhammad said.
He then continued to selectively go line-by-line attempting to rebut Yellowhammer News’ article, skipping over parts that quoted both he and Farrakhan in their own words, as well as a key line noting, “This group is so virulently ‘racist’ that they are founded on the belief that white people, as well as Jewish people, are ‘devils.’”
While his method of rebuttal throughout most of the video was to lash out at the SPLC, the ADL, Yellowhammer News, etc., simply saying they were lying and challenging them to “prove it” throughout, the clearest example of his struggle with the truth came during his version of Malcolm X’s assassination, which was quite unequivocally false.
Regarding Malcolm X’s death, Yellowhammer News originally wrote the following:
Many have blamed the organization for his assassination, with three of its members being convicted in his killing. The so-called ringleader of the three, who confessed to firing upon Malcolm X, was promoted to become the head of the Nation of Islam’s Harlem mosque after his release from prison.
In the video, Muhammad responded directly to this passage, concluding, “That did not happen.”
“You are a damn liar,” Muhammad said. “I want to say something else but I’m trying to be a good representative of the ‘honorable minister’ Louis Farrakhan. But I really want to tell you what kind of liar you are. And really I can say that you’re a God-damned liar. Because God damns all liars.”
He continued to say that there was “only one man that confessed to actually shooting Malcolm X” and “that man didn’t even get out of prison.”
“Prove it!” the Muhammad emphasized, ending his claims about the assassination.
The facts do not support Muhammad. Three Nation of Islam members were convicted of the murder. Talmadge Hayer (Thomas Hagan), Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson were all convicted. Hayer maintained the other two charged were innocent but a decade after his conviction admitted four other Nation of Islam members participated in the killing. Malcolm was shot 21 times.
All three of the convicted men were eventually released from prison, despite life sentences. Butler, today known as Muhammad Abdul Aziz, was paroled in 1985 and became the head of the Nation of Islam’s Harlem mosque in 1998. In prison Johnson, who changed his name to Khalil Islam, rejected the Nation of Islam’s teachings and converted to Sunni Islam. He was released in 1987. Hayer, who also rejected the Nation’s teachings while in prison and converted to Sunni Islam, is known today as Mujahid Halim. He was paroled in 2010.
Nevertheless, Muhammad decried that his followers were being misled – and not by him.
“[W]hen you throw these lies out here and then our people read it, and some are young and don’t necessarily know the history, or you may be a little ignorant, I’m not being disrespectful, ignorant of the ways or the history of the Nation of Islam and you may believe what they say, that’s why I gotta come out here and knock out the brains of falsehood,” Muhammad claimed.
He added, “I know the steps of the white man, because Farrakhan trained me well.”
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn