Add Jackson, Limestone, Marshall, Morgan and St. Clair counties to the growing list of black bear sightings in Alabama in 2018. In recent years, bears have also been recorded in Chambers, Elmore, Jefferson, Lee, Macon and Tallapoosa counties. These recent sightings are more evidence of the state’s expanding black bear population.
Biologists from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources say the increase in sightings may be due to a combination of factors including changes in bear distribution, habitat fragmentation, seasonal movement and the summer mating season. However, most spring and summer bear sightings are of juvenile males being pushed out of their previous ranges by their mothers and other adult males.
Historically, a small population of black bears have remained rooted in Mobile and Washington counties. Baldwin, Covington and Escambia counties on the Florida border host yet another population of bears. In northeast Alabama, bears migrating from northwest Georgia have established a small but viable population.
“While seeing a black bear in Alabama is uncommon and exciting, it is no cause for alarm,” said Marianne Hudson, Conservation Outreach Specialist for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF). “There has never been a black bear attack on a human in Alabama.”
Black bears are typically secretive, shy animals that will avoid human interaction. Occasionally, a curious bear will explore a human-populated area in search of food.
“If you are lucky enough to see a bear, simply leave it alone,” Hudson said.
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, this morning in Helsinki.
Congressman Byrne said: “I applaud President Trump’s decision to start a dialogue with President Putin and I’m glad he is making it a priority. However, we must remember that Russia is not an ally – economically or militarily. They are an adversary. The United States should not tolerate actions by the Russians that intervene in our domestic affairs or pose a threat to our national security.”
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division (MRD) announces the closure of Alabama state waters to the harvest of red snapper by private anglers and state-licensed commercial party boats at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 22, 2018. The quota of 984,291 pounds issued under NOAA Fisheries’ Alabama Recreational Red Snapper Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) is expected to be met by the closure date.
“Alabama anglers fished extremely hard on the good weather days during the season,” said Marine Resources Director Scott Bannon. “That level of effort, coupled with larger average-sized fish harvested this year as compared to last year, resulted in a daily harvest rate two times higher than 2017, which prompted an earlier than anticipated closure.
“The purpose of the EFP was to demonstrate Alabama’s ability to establish a season and monitor landings within a fixed quota and I think we have shown we can do that,” said Bannon.
Anglers are reminded of the following:
— Possession of red snapper in Alabama waters while state waters are closed is prohibited regardless of where the fish were harvested.
— Alabama anglers may fish in federal waters off the coast of Alabama (outside of 9 nm) and land in a state that is open to the landing of red snapper, but they must adhere to the open state’s rules and not transit in Alabama state waters with red snapper on board.
— The season for federally-permitted charter for-hire vessels will close at 12:01 a.m. July 22.
"Frontier Airlines will begin direct flights from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on April 11, the airline announced today. Frontier Airlines will start by offering direct service to Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia from Birmingham. Introductory prices will start at $39."
"At 87, Clint Eastwood is not only trying new things, he’s trying daring new things, and his new film 15:17 to Paris represents one of the most audacious gambits of his career. To dramatize the tale of three Americans who tackled and subdued a heavily armed Islamist terrorist on a train out of Amsterdam in 2015, Eastwood cast the young men, none of whom had professional acting experience, as themselves. It’s a decision with little precedent in the entire history of motion pictures."
Black Alabamian’s pro-voter ID tweet goes viral: ‘It’s racist to assume we can’t get an ID’
A black Alabamian is tired of Democratic politicians calling photo voter ID laws “racist,” and has taken to Twitter to declare that “it is racist,” however,” to “assume minorities are too incompetent to get an ID.”
The latest Gallup survey caught some Democrats by surprise this week when it revealed that 80 percent of Americans support “requiring all voters to provide photo identification at their voting place in order to vote.”
“As partisan-fueled court battles over state voting laws are poised to shape the political landscape in 2016 and beyond,” explained Gallup’s Justin McCarthy, “new Gallup research shows four in five Americans support both early voting and voter ID laws.”
The 2016 Democratic Party platform declared the Party would collectively “fight against discriminatory voter identification laws, which disproportionately burden young voters, diverse communities, people of color, low income families, people with disabilities, the elderly, and women.”
Prior to that, during an October 2015 visit to Hoover, Hillary Clinton slammed Alabama Republicans for requiring proof of citizenship to vote and for shuttering driver’s license offices in the wake of state budget cuts. The Democratic presidential nominee insisted that both issues were examples of Republicans trying to return Alabama to its Jim Crow past.
“We have to defend the most fundamental right in our democracy, the right to vote,” she said. “No one in this state, no one, should ever forget the history that enabled generations of people left out and left behind to finally be able to vote.”
Vice President Joe Biden also chided supporters of voter ID laws.
“These guys never go away,” the vice president said. “Hatred never, never goes away. The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason.”
“It’s not racist to require an ID to vote,” responded an exasperated Pam Besteder, a black Alabamian who identifies on her Twitter profile as an independent voter who “loves God and Country and the American flag.”
“It IS racist,” she continued, “to assume minorities are too incompetent to GET an ID.”
It's not racist to require an ID to vote… It IS racist to assume minorities are too incompetent to GET an ID.
The tweet has already been retweeted over 2,000 times and continues to spread around the internet.
Despite calls of racism, Alabama’s implementation of the voter ID law does not seem to have suppressed turnout.
To vote in Alabama, individuals must show a photo ID. This could include a drivers license, non-driver ID, State or Federal-issued ID, US Passport, government employee ID, student ID from a public or private Alabama college, military ID, tribal ID, or, if none of those are accessible, a free photo voter ID provided by the state.
To acquire a free ID, citizens can go to their local Board of Registrars office; there is one located in every one of Alabama’s 67 counties. Additionally, the Secretary of State’s office has visited every county with a mobile photo voter ID van in an effort to reach people right in their neighborhoods.
Alabamians go to the polls Tuesday for municipal elections and will return November 8 for the presidential election and other state-level races.
Bentley and Clinton spar over whether Alabama Republicans are racists
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
HOOVER, Ala. — Speaking to the predominantly black Alabama Democratic Conference on Friday, Hillary Clinton slammed Alabama Republicans for requiring proof of citizenship to vote and for shuttering driver’s license offices in the wake of state budget cuts. The Democratic presidential frontrunner insisted that both issues were examples of Republicans trying to return Alabama to its “Jim Crow past.”
“This is wrong,” Clinton said. “Fifty years after Rosa Parks sat and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched and John Lewis bled, it is hard to believe we are back having this same debate about whether or not every American gets a chance to vote and exercise his rights.
“We have to defend the most fundamental right in our democracy, the right to vote,” she continued. “No one in this state, no one, should ever forget the history that enabled generations of people left out and left behind to finally be able to vote.”
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley pushed back against Clinton’s claims, suggesting the former secretary of state is promoting a false racial narrative in an effort to advance her personal political agenda.
“It seems Mrs. Clinton isn’t as well versed in Alabama’s budgeting process as she is in exploiting a situation for her personal political gain,” Bentley said. “If she were, she would know the closure of 31 Alabama Driver’s License offices is based on a shortfall in funds appropriated by the state Legislature to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. To claim this decision is based on race is absolutely not true. Suggesting otherwise should be considered an effort to promote a political agenda, an area where Mrs. Clinton has often clearly demonstrated her expertise.”
Alabama’s photo voter ID law, which requires voters to present any one of fifteen forms of valid identification, went into effect in 2014.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has assured voters his office will work tirelessly to provide free voter IDs across the state, with a special focus on those counties now without a satellite license office.
“The closure of 31 DMV offices will not leave citizens without a place to receive the required I.D. card to vote,” said Secretary Merrill. “All 67 counties in Alabama have a Board of Registrars that issue photo voter I.D. cards. If for some reason those citizens are not able to make it to the Board of Registrars, we’ll bring our mobile I.D. van and crew to that county. By October 31 our office will have brought the mobile I.D. van to every county in Alabama at least once.”
The state government’s efforts have not, however, stopped Democrats both inside and outside of Alabama from seizing the opportunity to make a political statement.
“My office sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling for a full, and thorough investigation into the decision to close 31 driver’s license offices across Alabama,” Sewell said last week. “This ill-conceived decision left 8 out of the 14 counties in my district – which is the only majority minority district in the state – without a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue an Alabama driver’s license. The real issue here is about access. Closing these license offices will severely limit access to the most popular form of photo identification used in voting – a state issued driver’s license.”
Gov. Bentley dismissed the criticism and said Mrs. Clinton in particular should focus on issues she would actually have to deal with if she became President.
“Alabama will continue to work toward solutions to solve our budget shortfalls,” he said. “Meanwhile Mrs. Clinton can work to solve our country’s $18 Trillion deficit, in the unfortunate event she is elected President.”
Many on the left are in a ferment over Alabama’s closure of some part-time Department of Motor Vehicles offices. It’s being done for budgetary reasons, but liberals are claiming it’s being done to raise a “barrier for poor and minority voters” in getting an ID to vote, according to the Washington Post. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said that “it’s a blast from the Jim Crow past” and Jesse Jackson claimed that “this new Jim Crow isn’t subtle.”
It’s really a sign of how desperate critics of voter-ID laws are that they would raise such inflammatory, ridiculous claims over a budget issue that has nothing to do with race, Jim Crow, or discrimination. After all, they’ve been steadily losing their fight against voter ID in the courts, with only a few exceptions, and in the realm of public opinion.
Alabama’s new voter-ID law for both in-person and absentee voting went into effect last year. Despite the outcries that it would “suppress” votes, there have been no problems or complaints that anyone has been unable to vote because of the new requirement. It’s been the same in all of the other states, such as Georgia and Indiana, that have implemented such ID laws. I’ve written numerous papers looking at turnout data in states after ID laws became effective — ID laws have no discernible effect on decreasing or preventing turnout.
Alabama has 44 driver’s-license offices throughout the state. It apparently also had 31 satellite offices that were open only part-time and that accounted for less than 5 percent of the driver’s licenses issued each year. Because of the budget passed by the state legislature, Alabama’s state government had to “allocate scarce limited resources in Fiscal Year 2016,” according to a letter sent by Governor Robert Bentley to Representative Terri Sewell (D., Ala). So the state government decided to close these satellite offices. Sewell is one of the critics whose “impulsive, ill-informed” comments about that decision were, Governor Bentley says, “based on irresponsible media reports.”
What all of the media and critics missed or deliberately ignored is that, in addition to being able to use a driver’s license to meet the voter-ID requirement, you can get a free voter ID in every single county in the state. In addition to DMV offices, the secretary of state offers free voter IDs in all 67 counties through the local election registrar.
Furthermore, as Governor Bentley points out, those satellite offices being closed are typically “located in the county buildings where the registrars and probate judges offices are located.” So individuals who would have used one of the part-time satellite DMV offices to get an ID will be able to simply walk to another office – in the same building — to get the ID they need for voting. And that is supposed to be the reimposition of Jim Crow?
Alabama even provides a free birth certificate or marriage license if you need it to get an ID. And if you can’t access a polling place because you are disabled or elderly, you don’t have to have an ID to vote by absentee ballot. Additionally, Alabama will continue to provide “mobile units to register and develop photo identification cards to those who need it throughout the state, and who may find themselves limited by lack of transportation,” according to Governor Bentley.
Finally, none of the critics mention that, in addition to driver’s licenses and the specially issued voter-ID cards, you can vote in Alabama also using an ID issued by any state or the federal government — a passport; a local, state, or federal-government ID; a student ID issued by any private or public Alabama college; and a military or tribal ID.
Jesse Jackson is headed to Alabama to protest what he calls an effort “to suppress the vote, skewed to discriminate against minorities.” And he is demanding a Justice Department investigation, although the only thing the Civil Rights Division lawyers would have to investigate is how many additional steps a voter will have to take to walk to the registrar’s office in the county government building to get an ID.
How many extra steps would it take to violate the Voting Rights Act in the view of the Obama Justice Department? Let’s hope we don’t have to find out.
Hans A. von Spakovsky is an Alabama native and a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
Alabama progressives warn blacks to vote or face silencing, targeting and ‘Klan’ events
The Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC), whose stated purpose is “to promote the general welfare of all people through independent focused organizations dedicated to progressive ideals of freedom, justice and democracy,” appears to be working to accomplish those goals through a simple method — fear.
The group is disseminating a mailer to black households around the state warning them that if they do not vote, the state will be controlled by “extremists” who will take away their “right to speak,” continuously conduct drug raids “only in the Black community,” and “honor klansmen,” among other things.
(Click image to enlarge)
Background on the Alabama New South Coalition
ANSC was founded in Birmingham in 1986 and featured Jesse Jackson as its first convention speaker. One of its founders was Sen. Hank Sanders (D-Selma), who continues to serve as the group’s president emeritus. Sen. Vivian Figures (D-Mobile), the current minority leader in the Alabama senate, also serves on the group’s board of officers.
Sanders has frequently used similar racially charged campaign tactics in the past.
In 2010 he warned voters in a robocall that Alabama would go “back to the cotton fields of Jim Crow days” if Republicans rose to power.
This election cycle, a sister organization of the ANSC encouraged its members to take advantage of Alabama’s open primary system to swing Republican elections, in spite of having endorsed a straight Democratic ticket in years past. Their efforts came up short, apparently leading them to return to these more familiar efforts to drive voters to the polls.
With very little drama at the top of the ticket, voter turnout on Tuesday is expected to be low. ANSC is likely hoping their latest tactics will swing some close elections as a result of Republicans sitting at home thinking their vote won’t matter.
Black Louisiana senator releases stirring video explaining why he became a Republican
Louisiana Senator Elbert Guillory explains why he switched parties to become a Republican. There’s nothing that could be added to this to make it more perfect. The video is above, and here’s the transcript:
“Hello, my name is Elbert Lee Guillory, and I’m the senator for the twenty-fourth district right here in beautiful Louisiana. Recently I made what many are referring to as a ‘bold decision’ to switch my party affiliation to the Republican Party. I wanted to take a moment to explain why I became a Republican, and also to explain why I don’t think it was a bold decision at all. It is the right decision — not only for me — but for all my brothers and sisters in the black community.
“You see, in recent history the Democrat Party has created the illusion that their agenda and their policies are what’s best for black people. Somehow it’s been forgotten that the Republican Party was founded in 1854 as an abolitionist movement with one simple creed: that slavery is a violation of the rights of man.
“Frederick Douglass called Republicans the ‘Party of freedom and progress,’ and the first Republican president was Abraham Lincoln, the author of the Emancipation Proclamation. It was the Republicans in Congress who authored the thirtheenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments giving former slaves citizenship, voting rights, and due process of law.
“The Democrats on the other hand were the Party of Jim Crow. It was Democrats who defended the rights of slave owners. It was the Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who championed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, but it was Democrats in the Senate who filibustered the bill.
“You see, at the heart of liberalism is the idea that only a great and powerful big government can be the benefactor of social justice for all Americans. But the left is only concerned with one thing — control. And they disguise this control as charity. Programs such as welfare, food stamps, these programs aren’t designed to lift black Americans out of poverty, they were always intended as a mechanism for politicians to control black the black community.
“The idea that blacks, or anyone for that matter, need the the government to get ahead in life is despicable. And even more important, this idea is a failure. Our commnunities are just as poor as they’ve always been. Our schools continue to fail children. Our prisons are filled with young black men who should be at home being fathers. Our self-initiative and our self-reliance have been sacrificed in exchange for allegiance to our overseers who control us by making us dependent on them.
“Sometimes I wonder if the word freedom is tossed around so frequently in our society that it has become a cliché.
“The idea of freedom is complex and it is all-encompassing. It’s the idea that the economy must remain free of government persuasion. It’s the idea that the press must operate without government intrusion. And it’s the idea that the emails and phone records of Americans should remain free from government search and siezure. It’s the idea that parents must be the decision makers in regards to their childrens education — not some government bureaucrat.
“But most importantly, it is the idea that the individual must be free to pursue his or her own happiness free from government dependence and free from government control. Because to be truly free is to be reliant on no one other than the author of our destiny. These are the ideas at the core of the Republican Party, and it is why I am a Republican.
“So my brothers and sisters of the American community, please join with me today in abandoning the government plantation and the Party of dissapointment. So that we may all echo the words of one Republican leader who famously said, ‘free at last, free at last, thank God Almight, we are free at last.'”
The hurricane-ravaged east coast has been receiving north Alabama help, but crews learned they’ll be doing work in Long Island, New York instead of in New Jersey.
Crews from Decatur Utilities headed up there this week, but Derrick Moore, one of the Decatur workers, said they were told by crews in New Jersey that they can’t do any work there since they’re not union employees.
The crews that are in Roanoke, Virginia say they are just watching and waiting even though they originally received a call asking for help from Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
Understandably, Moore said they’re frustrated being told “thanks, but no thanks.”
Huntsville Utilities said they were not turned away and are up in storm ravaged areas working.
Joe Wheeler EMC said they did not respond to New Jersey, but did go up to Maryland and headed home once they were done.
Some still reporting it’s true, others…
Our newsroom tells us the “power crews from Alabama turned away because they are non-union” story is false.
Alabama suffered a damaging blow in 2004 when a worldwide audience learned that the state voted to keep racist language in our state constitution related to poll taxes and segregation in schools. The actual vote centered around the possibility of judicially-mandated tax increases, but stereotypical images of “Jim Crow” Alabama resulted when the outdated language wasn’t removed. It’s offensive that such language is allowed to remain in our state’s governing document.
Additionally, in the competitive world of recruiting new jobs to Alabama, racist language in the state’s Constitution is used against us by competing states – even though the language has been negated by U.S. Supreme Court rulings. Old stereotypes and perceptions are dredged up to cast our great state in a bad light, at times discouraging companies from bringing new jobs here because of our past.
That’s one of the reasons why Dr. David Bronner, head of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, is encouraging his more than 300,000-member organization to vote YES on Amendment 4. The amendment has also received support from groups like the Alabama Retail Association and the Business Council of Alabama, who said they support Amendment 4 for the “sole purpose of enhancing the image of the state of Alabama in the recruitment of new business and industry to the state.”
Last year the Legislature passed a very narrowly tailored bill to focus solely on removing the existing language and avoiding the controversial issues that led to the 2004 defeat.
But just three short weeks before the November 6th vote, the state teachers’ union began an orchestrated effort to defeat Amendment 4.
The president of an accrediting agency says he has seen little or no evidence of improvement by the Birmingham Board of Education since he originally had concerns this summer, and has given the board until Dec. 1 to submit a complete implementation plan on what steps will be taken to improve the function of the school system.
Mark Elgart, president and chief executive officer of AdvancEd, the accrediting arm of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, sent a letter to Birmingham school Superintendent Craig Witherspoon saying it is “essential the school system take immediate steps to stabilize its governing functions so the focus can be on improving the overall effectiveness of the educational programming and condition of the school system.”
Elgart originally sent a letter July 31 to then-board President Edward Maddox, saying he was concerned about micromanagement and board governance and demanding a response by Oct. 1. The board responded by passing a resolution Sept. 25 saying it intended to go to board governance training and would continue to implement future phases of a financial recovery plan, necessary for the district to remain solvent.
“However, commitment to take action is not evidence of addressing the concerns,” Elgart said in his latest letter, dated Oct. 30 and distributed to board members this evening. “It is imperative that the system implement actions that are supported by demonstrable evidence of improvement related to the governance issues.”
Elgart stopped short of saying he would be launching an investigation into the board’s governance – which he threatened to do if he wasn’t satisfied with the board’s Oct. 1 response. Instead, he is giving the district until Dec. 1 to submit the implementation plan and then a Feb. 1 deadline to submit a progress report on how the implementation plan is going.
1. The larger Obama victory, which can be called “Vindication,” refers to a result in which the president wins by a margin of some 3 percentage points or more, in which the Democrats gain more than 12 seats in the House, and in which the Democrats, while losing a seat or two in the Senate, retain control of that body.
2. A narrower Obama victory, labeled “Hanging On,” describes a scenario in which the president ekes out a win by under a point and perhaps captures an Electoral College victory while losing the popular vote, maybe even by a considerable margin. (This result is what many polls suggest would be the outcome if the election were held today.) Democrats pick up only a few seats in the House, under 10, while Republicans gain a tie in the Senate or, against all odds, capture a majority.
3. A narrower Romney win, “Reversal,” describes a victory margin of under 2 points, a modest loss of 6 to 10 seats for the GOP in the House, and a gain of a couple Senate seats, still leaving Republicans short of a tie or an outright majority.
Mr. Obama has more votes already in the bank: About a quarter of those surveyed said they’ve cast their ballots by absentee or early voting, and they broke 53 percent to 45 percent in favor of the president.
But Mr. Romney, the Republican nominee, leads when it comes to those who have yet to hit the polling booth but who said they are certain or very likely to make it on Tuesday — suggesting that his key to victory is persuading his backers to actually turn out next week.
When it comes to issues, the president leads when voters are asked about foreign affairs, national security, energy and immigration, but Mr. Romney has a lead when it comes to handling jobs and the economy, which have dominated this year’s election.
“It’s what brings it to a tie — the fact that he does better on the economy,” said John Zogby, The Times’ pollster, who said it reminded him of the 2004 race, when Democratic nominee John F. Kerry led President George W. Bush on every issue except for national security, where the incumbent held a commanding lead, which powered him to re-election.