4 months ago

Rumors and Rumblings, 2nd Ed. Vol. X

“Rumors and Rumblings” is a regular feature on Yellowhammer News. It is a compilation of the bits and pieces of information that we glean from conversations throughout the week.

Enjoy.

1. Success has 1,000 fathers. President Donald Trump has held a special affinity for the state of Alabama since the early stages of his 2016 campaign. And the feeling has been mutual. Thirty thousand people turned out to his first rally in Mobile all the way back in August 2015. Then on Super Tuesday in March 2016, he received over 43% of the vote in the state’s Republican presidential primary. The next closest candidate was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) with 21%. As recently as this week, polling showed that his favorability rating among Republicans in Alabama hovers around 80%.

Trump maintains a lofty perch in the state. There’s no doubt about that. What’s a little more unclear is who is responsible for getting him there. Alabama political observers have for some time marveled at the perpetual jockeying to stay at the front of the line of people representing Trump’s interests in the state.

Four stand out to us as being those most readily acknowledged as having a claim to the Trump throne in Alabama. All four evidently have, or had, the title “chairman” attached to their names in some form.

Two held visible roles from the beginning. State Rep. Jim Carns (R-Mountain Brook) and former State. Rep. Ed Henry. Both participated in the original Trump rally in Mobile and evidence would indicate that Carns carried the title “campaign chairman” while Henry carried the title “campaign co-chairman.” Considerable talk arose after Trump’s win that Carns could even fill an ambassadorship in Central America.

A third, Chess Bedsole, seemed to have held a hybrid role. Bedsole was both a paid political consultant for the Trump campaign and in leadership as “Trump’s Alabama campaign Chairman.”

Finally, former State Rep. Perry O. Hooper, Jr. is the man who — by at least one account — has risen to the top of the Trump leadership ladder in Alabama. For a time, Hooper shared the campaign chairman title with his peers. Perhaps  as a nod to his elevated status, however, Hooper somewhere along the line received the unique title “Trump 2016 Alabama Victory Chair.”

Hooper’s social media accounts document him becoming a fixture at the White House. According to his own account, he has been in the middle of West Wing meetings on fighter jets and trade and the Easter Egg Roll.

2. Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him. While Hooper has asserted himself as the unofficial Trump contact in the state, it has not happened without risk. It is fairly common in politics for someone to claim a significant piece of political real estate and then be the object of derision from others who aspire to occupy the same space. The key for someone in that potentially vulnerable position is to be ready and aware.

Opposition to Hooper’s role in Trump world came to a boiling point a few weeks ago following an NBC News article in which Hooper said he spoke to Trump about Alabama’s U.S. Senate race. The article quoted Hooper as saying that there was a “plan” in place for Trump to endorse former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville in the Republican primary.

Yellowhammer News had picked up some rumblings earlier in the year that a certain amount of consternation existed regarding Hooper’s service as an unofficial spokesman for Trump in the state. Sources with knowledge of the situation told us that a conference call on the subject took place among Republican National Committee (RNC) officials, and on that conference call the phrase “restraining order” was used, at one point.

While those in Washington, D.C. continued to monitor, Hooper’s use of the national media to convey Trump’s purported thoughts on Alabama’s senate race may have sent some over the edge. One RNC official told us Hooper’s outspokenness on Trump’s views went from harmless to meddling to dangerous in light of the NBC News article. We were told that RNC Trump Victory Political Director Chris Carr spoke with Hooper to clarify some of the boundaries of his involvement in Trump world. We were also told that Carr directed Hooper to refrain from issuing statements to the press, holding press conferences and otherwise representing the thoughts and views of Trump.

Hooper told Yellowhammer News that the Trump comments he conveyed to NBC News occurred during a meeting he had with the president on tariffs. He said the president asked him about Tuberville and the state of the race, in general, and he simply offered his assessment. Hooper said he considers both Tuberville and Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) friends.

Whether any of this amounts to anything — or deters Hooper in any fashion — remains to be seen. Merely five days ago, Hooper posted a photo of himself attending a Chicago Cubs baseball game with Trump Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

3. What are the odds? Scott Cooley of SportsBetting.ag has provided Yellowhammer News with some prop bets surrounding a number of current political storylines.

Bettors can wager on the blockage of a potential Mexico tariff, the possibility of a presidential impeachment, whether or not President Trump will attend a World Cup match and whether he will have to hand over his tax records.

The oddsmakers don’t anticipate an impeachment or Trump’s tax records to be made public, but the numbers do suggest Congress would block a tariff on Mexico.

Will the House of Representatives pass Articles of Impeachment against President Trump before end of his first term?

Yes 2/1 (+200)
No 2/5 (-250)
–Note: The odds imply a 71.43% probability articles will not be passed

Will the Democratic Party gain access to President Trump’s federal tax returns before the end of his first term?

Yes 3/2 (+150)
No 1/2 (-200)
–Note: The odds imply a 66.67% probability returns will not be accessed

Will Congress successfully block President Trump from imposing tariffs on imported Mexican goods? (disapproval vote must take place for action)

Yes 1/2 (-200)
No 3/2 (+150)
–Note: The odds imply a 66.67% probability a tariff would be blocked

Will President Trump attend a World Cup match?

Yes 20/1 (+2000)
No 1/100 (-10000)
–Note: The odds imply a 99.01% probability Trump will not attend

8 hours ago

Roby: U.S. service academies nomination deadline is quickly approaching

It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through the month of October. November will be here before we know it, and with it comes Veterans Day. This is a uniquely special holiday, and as it approaches, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on the endless sacrifices made by those who have worn the uniform.

It is a tremendous honor to serve the Second District, which is home to two of our nation’s finest military installations, thousands of active duty and reserve personnel, and a large veteran population. Working on behalf of our service members and veterans has always been a top priority of mine in Congress, and it continues to be one of the most rewarding parts of my job. With Veterans Day on the horizon, I am personally reminded of the great debt of gratitude we owe the men and women of our military.

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As this important holiday nears, I believe now is an appropriate time to remind high school seniors in the Second District that the deadline to apply for nomination to the United States service academies through my office is less than one month away on November 8 at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. If you or someone you know is interested in pursuing this fantastic opportunity, please remember to submit all necessary materials to my Montgomery office by the deadline.

As a member of Congress, one of my distinct privileges each year is to nominate candidates for appointment to four of the five service academies: The United States Military Academy at West Point, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, and the United States Merchant Marine Academy. The fifth service academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy, does not require a congressional nomination for appointment.

I can nominate up to 10 individuals for each vacant slot allotted to the Second District. If you are pursuing entry to one of our nation’s distinguished service academies and endeavor to serve our country, I would like to offer my sincere gratitude and wish you the very best. It is because of our veterans, active-duty personnel and young leaders with hearts for serving this nation that we enjoy our uniquely American freedoms.

In the spirit of the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, I offer my sincerest thanks to all who have served our country in uniform. It is an honor to represent you in Congress, and I hope you will call on me if I can ever be of assistance to you. If you are a high school senior in the Second District and are interested in learning more about obtaining a nomination to the service academies from my office, please contact my staff in Montgomery by calling (334) 262-7718. Additional application information is also available on my website: www.roby.house.gov/student-resources/service-academy-nominations.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

9 hours ago

Tide continues to top AP poll, Auburn No. 11

The Associated Press released their weekly college football poll on Sunday, with the Crimson Tide holding on to the top ranking after a 48-27 win at Texas A&M and Auburn moving up one spot following a bye-week.

Alabama (6-0) received 1,503 total points and 30 first-place votes, while LSU (6-0) moved up to number two with 1,449 points and 12 first-place votes after beating Florida.

Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma rounded out the top five, followed by Wisconsin, Penn State, Notre Dame and Florida.

Georgia fell from third to number ten after a stunning home loss to unranked South Carolina. The top seven teams are all undefeated.

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LSU and Bama will play in Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 9.

One conference has held both the top two spots 75 times since the AP poll started in 1936, none more than the SEC. Incredibly, this is the 27th time the SEC has simultaneously had the numbers one and two teams in the rankings since 2000. Ten of those times have involved the Tide and LSU Tigers at the same time.

RELATED: Return of ‘rat poison’: Saban warns players about listening to buzz about draft stock, records

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

10 hours ago

VIDEO: Almost everyone wants impeachment, Sen. Doug Jones feels the pressure, Alabama Democrats’ chaos continues and more on Guerrilla Politics

Dale Jackson and Dr. Waymon Burke take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Can President Donald Trump and other Republicans force House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) hand on impeachment?

— What happens if U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) votes for President Trump’s impeachment?

— Will Alabama Democrats ever end their infighting and unite as a party?

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Jackson and Burke are joined by Lt. General Jim Link (U.S. Army – Retired) to discuss foreign policy matters in Syria and Hong Kong.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” where he talks about how the NBA’s hypocrisy on Hong Kong will undermine all their social justice preening they do on American political issues.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

11 hours ago

Rain barrels helping Alabama city combat flooding

Patsy Stallworth loves her rain barrels.

“I didn’t understand it at first, but after my husband explained it to me, I like it.”

Stallworth has two 55-gallon rain barrels installed at her home in the Mobile suburb of Prichard, catching up to 110 gallons of rainwater for her to use to water her flowers, wash her cars and wash the dirt off the house.

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“I was amazed at how it worked,” Stallworth said. “When it rains it fills up really quickly. This is a new adventure for me.”

Rain barrels helping alleviate flooding issues in Prichard from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The rain barrels were installed at Stallworth’s home, free-of-charge, thanks to a stormwater mitigation program organized by the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program. Christian Miller, Watershed Management Coordinator for the Mobile Bay NEP, said the rain barrels are a big help in reducing flooding in Prichard, which is part of the Three Mile Creek Watershed.

“We’ve had a lot of issues with residential street flooding and some issues with sanitary sewer runovers, so some of the ways to combat this are to put in these rain-catchment devices,” Miller said. “These two 55-gallon drums aren’t going to solve all of our problems, but as we get more of these out it will hopefully help to reduce these localized issues with residential flooding.”

An inch of rain falling on a typical 1,000-square-foot roof yields more than 600 gallons of water which, in urban areas like Prichard, ends up washing down streets and other hard surfaces, picking up and carrying pollutants into waterways. Miller said increased rainwater harvesting will help reduce impacts associated with residential stormwater runoff.

“The residents have been the biggest champions,” Miller said. “Once we get them in and see what utility they have, they go around and tell their neighbors, the neighbors come to see them and we get phone calls at the office. People really like them and want to have them installed at their house.”

Miller said dozens of rain barrels have been installed in Prichard thanks to donations of materials and labor, including 98 barrels at 46 homes installed by volunteers from Alabama Power Service Organization.

“We’ve got a really good partnership with several different entities,” Miller said. “Greif Packaging and Soterra LLC have donated the barrels and Alabama Power has been really helpful providing supplies and labor to help install. With those folks and Mobile Bay NEP, we’ve really had a good combined effort to put all of these rain barrels out around the community.”

To learn more about the rain barrel program, visit mobilebaynep.com or call the Mobile Bay NEP at 251-431-6409.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

12 hours ago

Return of ‘rat poison’: Saban warns players about listening to buzz about draft stock, records

Two years ago in College Station, Texas, one of University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban’s most famous lines was born.

After a 27-19 victory at Texas A&M, one in which the Tide led 24-3 and did not close to Saban’s liking, he lamented that positive media headlines about the team were “rat poison” to the players.

It must be something about the Aggies — or maybe it’s just this time of the season — but Saban brought the phrase back after Saturday’s 47-28 win on Saturday.

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Speaking to reporters post-game, Saban was asked about quarterback Tua Tagovailoa becoming the school’s career passing touchdowns leader, moving ahead of A.J. McCarron with four touchdown tosses for the top-ranked Tide against No. 24 TAMU.

Saban gave a hat tip to how Tagovailoa handles himself before pivoting to talking about what really is important.

“Well, it means [Tagovailoa] had a great career to this point and we certainly appreciate his competitive spirit, the way he prepares for games, his leadership, the way he practices, his ability to help us score points on offense,” Saban answered. “He’s very instinctive, so it means a lot from that standpoint, but it also doesn’t mean much when it comes to, ‘What are you going to do in the future?’ And I think he has an opportunity, based on the type of offensive team we have, to have great production if he can continue to just stay focused on what we want to do.”

The legendary coach then referenced the genesis of the “rat poison” line two years ago in the same location, before explaining how it is relevant today.

“I mean, this is where — this very seat is where ‘rat poison’ was born,” Saban continued. “So I remember that two years ago, all right? And when I hear things in the media about whether guys are first-round draft picks or they’re setting great records and all that type of thing, that’s not really what I like for players to be focusing on right now.”

He emphasized, “You’ve got to focus on what are you doing right now, not what’s going to happen in the future, not really what happened in the past, but, ‘What can I learn from what’s happened in the past? How can I affect what’s going on right now?’ Because that’s what’s going to affect the future in a positive way. So, that’s how we want our players to think regardless of how difficult y’all make it for us sometimes with some of our players.”

RELATED: Yellowhammer Power Poll after college football week seven

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