The Wire

  • Black Bear Sightings Continue to Increase in Alabama

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    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.

  • Rep. Byrne Releases Statement on Russia

    From a Bradley Byrne news release:

    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.”

  • Alabama Recreational Red Snapper Season Closes July 22

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    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.

4 weeks ago

How seeing ‘racism’ everywhere keeps black Americans blind to real problems

For several decades, a few black scholars have been suggesting that the vision held by many black Americans is entirely wrong. Dr. Shelby Steele, a scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, said: “Instead of admitting that racism has declined, we (blacks) argue all the harder that it is still alive and more insidious than ever. We hold race up to shield us from what we do not want to see in ourselves.”

Dr. John McWhorter, professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, lamented that “victimology, separatism, and anti-intellectualism underlie the general black community’s response to all race-related issues,” adding that “these three thought patterns impede black advancement much more than racism; and dysfunctional inner cities, corporate glass ceilings, and black educational underachievement will persist until such thinking disappears.”

532

In the 1990s, Harvard professor Orlando Patterson wrote, “America, while still flawed in its race relations … is now the least racist white-majority society in the world; has a better record of legal protection of minorities than any other society, white or black; (and) offers more opportunities to a greater number of black persons than any other society, including all those of Africa.”

During an interview in December with The Daily Caller, Steele said the anti-Americanism that started during the 1960s and has become mainstream and visible in the black community is “heartbreaking and sad.” That anti-Americanism that so dominates the American black identity has been “ruinous to black America, where we are worse off than we were under segregation by almost every socio-economic measure.”

Some people might challenge Steele’s assertion that in many measures blacks are worse off than during segregation. How about some numbers? As late as 1950, female-headed households were only 18 percent of the black population. Today 70 percent of black children are raised in single-parent households. In the late 1800s, there were only slight differences between the black family structure and those of other ethnic groups. In New York City in 1925, for example, 85 percent of kin-related black households were two-parent households. According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers. Today about 75 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. From 1890 to 1940, a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. Today about twice as many blacks have never married as whites. The bottom line is that the black family was stronger the first 100 years after slavery than during what will be the second 100 years.

What about the labor market? In every census from 1890 to 1954, blacks were either just as active as or more so than whites in the labor market. During that earlier period, black teen unemployment was roughly equal to or less than white teen unemployment. As early as 1900, the duration of black unemployment was 15 percent shorter than that of whites; today it’s about 30 percent longer. Would anyone suggest that there was less racial discrimination during earlier periods?

White liberals and the Democratic Party are the major beneficiaries of keeping black people fearful, angry, victimized and resentful. It’s crucial to both their political success and their efforts to change our nation. Racial harmony would be a disaster for leftists, be they politicians, academic liberals or news media people. As for black politicians and civil rights hustlers, Booker T. Washington long ago explained their agenda, writing: “There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

1 month ago

Roseanne, Trump and the myth of conservatives’ racism

(Inside Edition, MSNBC/YouTube)

Roseanne Barr posted what many are convinced was a racist tweet, and ABC summarily canceled her sitcom. As Roseanne is considered a Donald Trump supporter and Trump is widely accused of racism, people are loosely smearing Trump as responsible for her, however indirectly.

Maybe I’m defensive about loose charges of racism, but if so, I’ve acquired my defensiveness honestly, because racism has become the left’s favorite categorical smear of conservatives and Republicans. It’s not something I’m imagining. I’ve written about it many times, basing it on my observations of leftists and Democrats in action.

I don’t believe that Democrats are racists, but I do believe they cynically exploit racial smears against Republicans as part of their strategy to retain a disproportionate percentage of African-American and other minority voters, without which they would be reduced to a permanent minority party. Considering the closeness of so many national elections, can you imagine the electoral impact of even a small percentage of African-American voters leaving the Democratic Party and voting Republican? Trust me, Democratic apparatchiks believe it — and act accordingly. Their fear leads to such baseless, disgraceful claims as the one about how George W. Bush purposely left blacks stranded on rooftops in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina because they were black and Republicans don’t care about blacks.

756

It has always particularly frosted me that conservative policies are associated with racism even though our policies, historically, expand opportunity and prosperity for African-Americans and other minorities. Indeed, we aspire to colorblindness rather than the individually degrading identity politics habitually practiced by Democrats. We’ve recently learned, for example, that African-American and Hispanic unemployment numbers are at historical lows. You would think that after a while, word would get out that Republican actions speak louder than Democratic words and there would be a mass conversion of minorities from the Democratic Party to the GOP. Frankly, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened already, not just because of the serial failure of Democratic policies and the success of Republican ones but because of the drippingly patronizing attitude Democratic politicians have toward minorities. Why aren’t minorities offended by their being used so conspicuously? My guess is that many don’t have much faith in Democrats but they’ve been convinced that Republicans and conservatives truly are racist.

Think about how outrageous my statement is — especially if it is true. But I can’t imagine a better explanation for African-Americans consistently voting in the 90 percent range for Democrats. The Democrats’ slander, by the way, doesn’t just hurt the Republican Party and, by extension, the nation; it also hurts African-Americans and other minorities who believe the lie that roughly half the nation (Republicans) is somehow against them. How can it be healthy for minorities to believe such a lie? How could it possibly lead to improved race relations? Democrats constantly preach about diversity and racial harmony, but they do more damage with their vilification than with their destructive policies, and that’s saying something.

Now back to the alleged connection between Roseanne Barr and Donald Trump. Democrats and Republican never-Trumpers are tweeting and writing that Roseanne’s disgraceful Twitter outburst should be expected in the Trump era because Trump has ushered in an era of racism — soft or hard, racism nevertheless. Plus, Roseanne is a Trump supporter, so her negatives must attach to him.

I think it’s a major stretch to call Roseanne a conservative. She clearly is not a social conservative, and I doubt she’s much of a conservative otherwise, but let’s just assume, for discussion purposes, that she is a Trump-supporting Republican.

How about the claim that Trump is a racist or has created a climate conducive to racism? Well, the accusers have their talking points, and they can tick them off with the discipline of an A student on exam day, but instead of relitigating those specific statements (or actions, such as Trump’s challenging Barack Obama’s birth certificate or calling MS-13 gang members “animals”), I’ll tell you what I think is at the root of the smear. Trump is now a Republican, and thus he is fair game to be cast as a racist for the reasons already stated. But a bigger point is that Trump’s signature policy is immigration enforcement. The left — and an increasing number of open-borders advocates on the right — associates that policy with nativism, which is a euphemism for racism, and with outright racism. In addition, many believe that Trump is an alt-right white supremacist or, at the very least, encourages the support of this group through his policies and language.

I don’t believe that Trump is a racist. I reject that his policies, including his immigration policies, are racist, and I don’t believe there is a strong alt-right movement in this nation. Call me naive.

The charge is utterly predictable from leftists, but it is regrettable that people on the right are willing to so carelessly malign Trump as a racist and then blame him for the racially charged climate in this country. I suppose it fits the Trump opponents’ narrative that Trump is the worst human being alive, someone with no redeeming character qualities, but it is lazy and reckless.

Attempts to blame Trump for Roseanne Barr’s ugly statements are the same kind of categorical slur that makes racism a sin. Attempts to denigrate Trump supporters by extension are even more objectionable, and as you can tell, I’m using mild, nonincendiary language here that understates my indignation on this issue.

But as racism is probably the worst sin with which to be branded, people ought to be especially careful not to make such claims lightly. Shame on them for trying to shame the rest of us, for we abhor real racism every bit as much as they do — probably way more, but as I say, my purpose here is not to inflame.

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney.

(Creators, copyright 2018)

2 months ago

The racist history of gun control

(NYT/YouTube)

Frequently we see the case against gun control entirely grounded upon a Constitutional defense of the Second Amendment. While the Founding Fathers’ warnings about the importance of defending liberty with an armed populace are as important today as they have ever been, this approach has some flaws.

For one, the Constitution was not meant to grant positive rights to citizens but rather was intended to recognize the natural rights and restrict the ability of the federal government to limit them. The Founding Fathers did not believe that these rights could not be limited, however. Instead, they saw that legislation that restricted one’s natural rights should be handled by governments closer to the people themselves, including states and localities.

699

This is why the Bill of Rights was not intended to apply to state government.

Though many state constitutions shared similarities with the Bill of Rights, by 1820 only 9 of 22 states had language explicitly protecting the right to bear arms: Massachusetts (1780), Pennsylvania (1790), Kentucky (1792), Tennessee (1796), Ohio (1801), Indiana (1816), Mississippi (1817), Connecticut (1818), Alabama (1819), and Maine (1819). (The number was 18 of 33 by 1886.)

Of course that lack of state constitutional protection did not mean that states were necessarily hostile to gun rights – at least, for white citizens.

The same could not be said for “Indians,” “Free Negroes,” “Mulattos” and certainly not slaves.1

Prior to the passing of the 14th Amendment, eight states2​ had gun control legislation that criminalized the possession of fire arms by non-white free citizens. Virginia required such individuals to receive government permission. Three additional states3​ had constitutional language that specified that gun rights were reserved exclusively for white men.4

In order to maintain the horrific institution of slavery, the state had to disarm those most likely to empathize with its victims.

While the “peculiar institution” was ended as a result of the Civil War, racially motivated gun control laws were not.

While the 14th Amendment prevented states from explicitly mentioning race in legislation, state governments still managed to find ways to disarm black citizens.

As David Kopel and Joseph Greenlee have noted, these included laws that banned pistols that were not used by former Confederate officers, severe racial discrepancies in the penalty for unlawfully concealed carrying, as well as gun licensing requirements  that, in the words of a future Florida Supreme Court Justice, were “passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers” and “was never intended to apply to the white population.”

The racial motivation behind gun control did not end in the 19th Century either.

One of the most obvious examples was California’s Mulford Act, signed in 1967 by Governor Ronald Reagan. The law was a direct response to the Black Panthers’ open-carry patrols of Oakland neighborhoods, and banned the carrying of loaded weapons. It is also worth noting that the NRA, who for all the attention given to them by the media has often promoted the growth of government restrictions on gun rights, actively supported the legislation.

Of course, the outcome of gun control policies continues to have a disproportionate effect on minority communities. Every government hurdle placed on legal gun ownership renders citizens more dependent upon the state for their own protection. As we have seen, not all police response is equal.

For example, in Chicago the ACLU has found that:

African American and Latino neighborhoods wait much longer for a police officer to be dispatched after an emergency 911 call, have fewer officers assigned to minority districts for each emergency call than predominantly white neighborhoods and that minority neighborhoods continue to have more violent crimes per officer than white neighborhoods.

Justice Clarence Thomas also noted the unique experience of black Americans in his opinion on McDonald v. Chicago.

The use of firearms for self-defense was often the only way black citizens could protect themselves from mob violence. As Eli Cooper, one target of such violence, is said to have explained, “ ‘[t]he Negro has been run over for fifty years, but it must stop now, and pistols and shotguns are the only weapons to stop a mob.’ ”

So while it is easy for well-protected politicians, celebrities, and billionaires to champion the cause of gun control, it’s important to remember that the history of such legislation has come at the expense of those most vulnerable in society.

An unarmed populace is always easier to victimize than an armed one.

1. As Chris Calton informs me “the first colonial statute that specifically targeted black people (not just slaves, not Indians, and not white servants) was a Virginia law prohibiting gun ownership for blacks in 1639. ”
2. Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, and North Carolina
3. Arkansas, Florida, and Tennessee
4. Frassetto, Mark, Firearms and Weapons Legislation up to the Early 20th Century (January 15, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2200991 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2200991

(Courtesy of Mises Institute in Auburn)

3 months ago

If you don’t agree with me, you’re a racist who likes death threats

(OU Outreach Video/YouTube)

On Monday, George Yancy, a black professor of philosophy at Emory University, wrote a lengthy piece in The New York Times detailing the awful death threats he has received from white racists. I can sympathize — throughout 2016, I received my fair share of death threats. But Yancy sees those death threats as representative of a deeper malignancy plaguing all of white America, not a sickness within a subset of the population. Thus, he asks, “Should I Give up on White People?”

Yancy’s case isn’t particularly strong.

According to him, he faces a serious dilemma: “Do I give up on white people, on white America, or do I continue to fight for a better white America, despite the fact that my efforts continue to lead to forms of unspeakable white racist backlash?” But why exactly is that a serious dilemma? America isn’t filled with racists — America is one of the least racist places on Earth, and its rate of racism has been decreasing steadily for years. In order for Yates’ complaint to make any sense, he has to believe that America is actually becoming more racist.

407

And he does. He says that he is “convinced that America suffers from a pervasively malignant and malicious systemic illness — white racism.” He offers no statistics to support this contention. And he suggests that those who disagree with his contention do so out of willingness to ignore white racism: “There is also an appalling lack of courage, weakness of will, spinelessness and indifference in our country that helps to sustain it.”

So, to get this straight, you may not be racist, but if you believe that most Americans aren’t racist, just like you, you’re an aider and abettor of racism. You’re in league with those sending the death threats. In fact, you’re a monster under almost any circumstances. Yancy calls white Americans “monsters … Land takers. Brutal dispossession. And then body snatchers and the selling and buying of black flesh.” No one alive in the United States has forcibly dispossessed anyone of land; this has been true for generations. No one alive in the United States has been involved in the slave trade. Yet the legacy of white racism lives on in us, according to Yancy.

So, how are white Americans to escape this label?

Only by agreeing with Yancy. He praises one of his white students who agreed: “The system is racist. As a white woman, I am responsible to dismantle that system as well as the attitudes in me that growing up in the system created. I am responsible for speaking out when I hear racist comments.”

Well, of course we’re responsible for speaking out when we hear racist comments. That’s not a revelation. But Yancy wants more than that. He wants a collective oath by white people to never deny generalized white racism, fact-free or not.

Which, of course, is racist. Yes, racism plays a central role in American history. Yes, there are still racists in America. But slandering white America in general for the crimes of a few bad apples is no better than slandering black America for the crimes of a few. If Yancy wants to deal with racist death threats, he could start by recognizing that we’re all in this together — and that we side with him against those who threaten him — rather than pre-emptively characterizing us as the types of people who would write such vitriolic and evil screeds.

Ben Shapiro, 34, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show” and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com.

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

Why whites — and blacks — flee some cities as soon as they can and what intelligent mayors must do about it

When World War II ended, Washington, D.C.’s population was about 900,000; today it’s about 700,000. In 1950, Baltimore’s population was almost 950,000; today it’s around 614,000. Detroit’s 1950 population was close to 1.85 million; today it’s down to 673,000. Camden, New Jersey’s 1950 population was nearly 125,000; today it has fallen to 77,000. St. Louis’ 1950 population was more than 856,000; today it’s less than 309,000. A similar story of population decline can be found in most of our formerly large and prosperous cities. In some cities, population declines since 1950 are well over 50 percent. In addition to Detroit and St. Louis, those would include Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

During the 1960s and ’70s, academic liberals, civil rights advocates and others blamed the exodus on racism — “white flight” to the suburbs. However, since the ’70s, blacks have been fleeing some cities at higher rates than whites. It turns out that blacks, like whites, want better and safer schools for their kids and don’t like to be mugged or have their property vandalized. Just like white people, if they have the means, black people can’t wait for moving companies to move them out.

486

At the heart of big-city exoduses is a process that I call accumulative decay. When schools are rotten and unsafe, neighborhoods become run-down and unsafe, and city services decline, the first people to leave are those who care the most about good schools and neighborhood amenities and have the resources to move. As a result, cities lose their best and ablest people first. Those who leave the city for greener pastures tend to be replaced by people who don’t care so much about schools and neighborhood amenities or people who do care but don’t have the means to move anywhere else. Because the “best” people — those who put more into the city’s coffer than they take out in services — leave, politicians must raise taxes and/or permit city services to deteriorate. This sets up the conditions for the next round of people who can do better to leave. Businesses — which depend on these people, either as employees or as customers — also begin to leave. The typical political response to a declining tax base is to raise taxes even more and hence create incentives for more businesses and residents to leave. Of course, there’s also mayoral begging for federal and state bailouts. Once started, there is little to stop the city’s downward spiral.

Intelligent mayors could prevent, halt and perhaps reverse their city decline by paying more attention to efficiency than equity. That might be politically difficult. Regardless of any other goal, mayors must recognize that their first order of business is to retain what economists call net positive fiscal residue. That’s a fancy term for keeping those people in the city who put more into the city’s coffers, in the form of taxes, than they take out in services. To do that might require discrimination in the provision of city services — e.g., providing better street lighting, greater safety, nicer libraries, better schools and other amenities in more affluent neighborhoods.

As one example, many middle-class families leave cities because of poor school quality. Mayors and others who care about the viability of a city should support school vouchers. That way, parents who stay — and put a high premium on the education of their children — wouldn’t be faced with paying twice in order for their kids to get a good education, through property taxes and private school tuition. Some might protest that city service discrimination is unfair. I might agree, but it’s even more unfair for cities, once the magnets of opportunities for low-income people, to become economic wastelands.

Big cities can be revitalized, but it’s going to take mayors with guts to do what’s necessary to reverse accumulative decay. They must ensure safe streets and safe schools. They must crack down on not only violent crimes but also petty crimes and misdemeanors, such as public urination, graffiti, vandalism, loitering and panhandling.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

The bigot went down to ‘Bama: Controversy over ‘white nationalist’ speech in Tuscaloosa is sign of progress

(Wikicommons)

So a racist is going to give a speech next week on the campus of the University of Alabama.

The speaker, Jared Taylor, has been called a white nationalist, a white supremacist, and a racist for advocating what he describes as “race realism.”

The student newspaper, the Crimson and White, denounced Taylor’s views as “abhorrent and incorrect” and the university made sure people knew it had nothing to do with the event.

“This speaker was invited by a registered student organization that followed appropriate policies and processes,” said Stuart Bell, the university’s president. “The best way to demonstrate distaste for hateful dialogue is not to give it an audience.”

I’ll provide some thoughts this week on Taylor’s views, the administration’s decision, and how students should respond, but before diving into all of that we should revel in this beautiful fact: If someone planned to deliver a racist speech on campus six decades ago, it wouldn’t have been called “abhorrent” and “hateful.”

It would have been called … Thursday night.

156

Nobody would have noticed.

Campus life would have moved along as if nothing controversial was happening.

And not a single reporter would have wasted their time writing about something so commonplace as a little-known racist saying racists things somewhere in Alabama.

But we have noticed. Students aren’t ignoring it. And as you clearly see, writers are indeed writing about it.

That’s undeniable progress, and Alabamians should use this moment to pause and recognize the substantial gains our state has made on the issue of racism.

Do we still have problems? You bet.

Have our hearts changed enough? Not yet.

But are we the same state … the same culture … that cheered as our governor stood in the way of a young woman attending class at the University of Alabama? Of course not.

And for that, we can be, and ought to be, quite proud.

You’ve come a long way, ‘Bama.

@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter

1 year ago

Alabamians cannot let a small minority speak for us

At 8:00 a.m., Phones rang at Jewish community centers across the country. When workers answered, they faced the frightening position of hearing someone issue a bomb threat. Understandably, people at the centers went into lock down until someone qualified could confirm that no one was at risk. Fortunately, everyone was physically okay, but nonetheless shaken up from the traumatic experience.

The location and date of this incident is not 1940s Germany, but rather 2017 America.

Birmingham’s Jewish Community Center, along with at least 19 others across 11 states, was threatened by an unknown individual who claimed there was a bomb on the premises. Although, the threat turned out to be false, such a violent threat towards any group of people is something we as Alabamians must not tolerate.

RELATED: Alabama Jewish Community Center receives bomb threat

You would think what I’m writing is pretty straight forward: be nice to people and don’t threaten them with violence. But I’m not so sure that it is. While there are certainly folks out there trumping up claims of racial motivations, or flat out making-up violent encounters, there are indeed incidents in the current political climate that are all too real.

The United States Constitution protects the rights to free expression and to freely worship simultaneously. America’s founders so loved these freedoms that they placed them first in the package now known as the Bill of Rights. In this country, Jews can worship as freely as Christians, Muslims can express their belief as freely as those who choose not to believe in God, but all have the right to hold their values without being blown away.

The First Amendment Protects all kinds of speech. It protects speech that I agree with, such as the right of people to criticize the government or the right of organizations to advocate on behalf of policies they like. It also correctly protects expression I personally disagree with such as flag burning. Such speech is vital to the marketplace of ideas, and society, not the government, should decide which ideas are good and bad.

But the Amendment does not, and never has, protected direct incitement to violence. As far as ideology goes, I’m as small government guy. But even I know that government was created to protect people’s lives, liberty, and property – especially for those of us who are different from the majority.

As a student of history, I understand that Alabama has not always been the most welcoming of people who are different. We’re not perfect, but to say that the state is in the same of worse shape than it was during the era of George Wallace and Bull Connor is just dishonest. The people of Alabama are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met, and it is often a small, vocal minority that tarnishes the goodness of the whole.

But in the face of progress, Alabama took a step back with the bomb threats that have occurred not once, not twice, but three times against the same Birmingham Jewish center. America took a step back. We fought a war against Nazism and Fascism already; I’d rather not have to fight one at home, too.

For the vast majority of Alabamians who understand the difference between right and wrong, we cannot allow a small group to speak for us. In the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

We can do better. We have to.

1
2 years ago

Byrne slams Cory Booker over Sessions racism claims: ‘Campaign is over, and you lost.’

byrne-booker

Senator Jeff Sessions faced an intense round of questioning on Tuesday at his confirmation hearing for Attorney General. Today he awaits an unprecedented testimony against him, brought by colleague Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and South Alabama Congressman Bradley Byrne is coming to his defense.

Sen. Booker, says that he is testifying against Sessions over concerns of racism allegations, which have been widely debunked. His testimony would mark the first time a Senator has ever spoken against a colleague during a confirmation hearing.

“It’s unfortunate that we now have Senators testifying against other senators when they have been nominated for a key position,” he said during an appearance on C-SPAN Monday morning.

Byrne went on to list several cases in which Sessions actively fought against systematic racism, pointing to cases where he “took out” the KKK and corrupt public officials.

“I just don’t understand where he’s coming from. Those of us that know Jeff Sessions because he’s one of us, he was our U.S. Attorney in Mobile for 12 years,” Rep. Byrne said.

“This is a man of principle who knows how to effectively enforce the law. That’s what we want, and he never uttered a single word or said anything that would intimate any sort of racism.”

Later in the program, Rep. Byrne said he believed that Sen. Booker’s decision to testify against Sessions has more to do with policy disagreements than anything.

“Policy differences are what we get into the legislative branch,” said Byrne. “I would say to Senator Booker, you got policy differences with President-elect Trump. Campaign is over, and you lost.”

1
2 years ago

Sessions broke the back of the KKK in Alabama. Now the media wants you to think he’s racist.

Sen. Jeff Sessions at the 50th anniversary of the march at Selma. (Photo: Todd Stacy)
Sen. Jeff Sessions at the 50th anniversary of the march at Selma. (Photo: Todd Stacy)
Sen. Jeff Sessions at the 50th anniversary of the march at Selma. (Photo: Todd Stacy)

President-elect Donald J. Trump over the weekend nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to serve as United States Attorney General, signaling that he is serious about returning the Justice Department to its core of mission of “ensuring fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”

Sen. Sessions’ credentials are impeccable.

Assistant United States Attorney. United States Attorney. Alabama Attorney General. United States Senator. A combined 35 years of public service and a lifelong commitment to the rule of law.

And yet if you read the New York Times and Washington Post, or watch MSNBC and CNN, you would think President-elect Trump brought segregation-era George Wallace back from the dead and appointed him to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. (In reality, Sessions campaigned against Wallace as a college Republican, but that’s a story for another time.)

The media constantly point back to Sen. Sessions’ failed confirmation after then-President Ronald Reagan nominated him to a federal judgeship as evidence that he is, as CNN puts it, “dogged by allegations of racism.” During Senate confirmation hearings in 1986, Sessions was accused of making racially insensitive comments.

When a former Justice Department colleague came forward with the accusation, Sessions did the unthinkable in Washington: he told the truth. He conceded that he had made a joke that was being taken out of context.

And his actions clearly backed that up, because at the moment Sessions made the unfortunate joke, he was tenaciously leading a fight to deliver justice for the family of an African American man who had been viciously murdered by the KKK.

And this is the part of the story the media never tell.

Michael Donald, a 19-year-old African-American man, was walking home when he was kidnapped by two Klan members, who drove him to a secluded area, nearly beat him to death with a tree limb, tied a noose around his neck, strangle him, then slit his throat and hung him from a tree.

KKK member Henry Francis Hays was responsible for the vicious murder, and did so at the order of his father, Klan leader Bennie Hays, who ordered the killing “to show Klan strength in Alabama.”

Sessions was so disgusted by what had happened that he allowed the State of Alabama to try the case, rather than making it a federal case, because Alabama had the death penalty.

Years later, when Sessions was Alabama Attorney General, the story came full circle as he oversaw the execution of Mr. Hays.

Barry Kowalski, the now-legendary civil rights attorney and former Special Counsel in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, recalls Sessions’ involvement with the case.

“Senator Sessions could not have been more supportive of our investigations, and in the Michael Donald case specifically, he personally contributed to making sure his killers were brought to justice.”

In short, Jeff Sessions made Henry Hays the first white person to be executed in Alabama for the murder of a black citizen since 1913. Additionally, Mr. Hays is the only known member of the KKK to be executed in the United States in the 20th century for murdering an African American.

The successful prosecution of Hays also led to a $7 million civil judgment against the Klan,” which the Associated Press in 1997 noted bankrupted the KKK in Alabama.

And yet these days the AP is busy cranking out stories about Sessions’ “racial issues” and claiming that he’s facing “a tough senate confirmation,” even though he has already garnered bi-partisan support and Republicans clearly have the votes to confirm him.

If you want to know the truth, listen to what the people who actually know Jeff Sessions have to say.

Larry Thompson, who worked closely with Sessions at the Justice Department and went on to serve as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, said this week that Sessions “does not have a racist bone in his body.”

“I have been an African American for 71 years and I think I know a racist when I experience one,” he added. “Jeff Sessions is simply a good and decent man.”

William Smith, who Sessions tapped to be the first African American to ever serve as Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, called Sessions “a man of high character and great integrity” who always “treated me like family.”

U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow said Sessions “has done more to protect the jobs and enhance the wages of black workers than anyone in either house of Congress over the last 10 years.”

Civil rights attorney and founder of the Black American Leadership Alliance Leah Durant said Sessions “has been a leader in the fight for preserving American jobs and ensuring opportunities for African American workers.”

And Kenyen Brown, the Obama appointee who now fills the very same US Attorney seat that Sessions once sat in, called Sessions “a man of outstanding character with an impeccable reputation for integrity.”

Jeff Sessions is a brilliant legal mind with a titanium spine, but most importantly, he is a good man. And that, in short, is why liberals and their allies in the media are resorting to 30-year-old, trumped-up lies to try to take him down — because that’s all they have.

1
2 years ago

Democrats call Alabama’s voter ID law ‘racist’ but require DNC delegates to show ID to vote

voter-id-20%
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — In a twist of irony, the Democratic National Convention is requiring delegates to show photo ID to receive their official credentials. While the Democrats require an ID to get into their convention, they have consistently fought against voter ID laws requiring citizens to show one when they vote.

During the 2011 Regular Legislative Session Governor Robert Bentley (R-Ala.) signed a voter ID law that went into full effect for the 2014 primary elections. Act 2011-673 requires an Alabama voter to have a specific type of photo identification at the polls in order to vote. Since that time, Democrats across the country have decried the law as “racist” and “hateful”.

The 2016 Democratic Party platform declares, “we will continue to 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.” Yet, at their own convention, it seems like a different set of rules apply.

DNC voter ID

In 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.

RELATED: Bentley and Clinton spar over whether Alabama Republicans are racists

“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.”

Before that, Vice President Joe Biden chided supporters of voter ID laws in light of liberal defeat in the Supreme Court case of Shelby County v. Holder which stemmed from a legal challenge in Alabama. “These guys never go away,” Biden said. “Hatred never, never goes away. The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason.”

RELATED: Biden: There’s ‘hatred’ behind Alabama’s photo voter ID law

Shelby County, Ala. sued the U.S. Attorney General in 2011 claiming that portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that the formula used to determine which areas were subjected to pre-clearance was unconstitutional, effectively gutting that portion of the law.

“Alabama has made tremendous progress over the past 50 years, and this decision by the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that progress,” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said at the time. “We will not tolerate discrimination in Alabama.”

Despite calls of racism, Alabama’s implementation of the voter ID law does not seem to have suppressed turnout.

There are currently at least 10 different types of ID that are acceptable to use at the polls (including a driver’s license) and the Secretary of State’s office also offers free Alabama photo voter ID cards and free non-driver IDs for purposes of voting.

1
3 years ago

Alabama Democrat: Republicans are racist, homophobic Confederate flag wavers

County Commissioner Janet Buskey with then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008 (Buskey's Facebook)

County Commissioner Janet Buskey with then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008 (Buskey's Facebook)
County Commissioner Janet Buskey with then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008 (Buskey’s Facebook)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Montgomery County Revenue Commissioner Janet Buskey is coming under fire Thursday after she allegedly posted a politically-charged rant on Facebook.

Though the original post has now been deleted, WSFA in Montgomery obtained a screenshot of it and posted the text.

The top 3 scariest things to me on the face of the earth are:

1. Racist (with or without guns)
2. Homophobes
3. Republicans…wait that is redundant…hmmm…make that Clowns…wait that is redundant…Confederate flag wavers…wait…FB messenger.

Montgomery County officials are speaking out about Buskey’s post, disagreeing with her sentiments.

This is not a black or white issue, this is a right or wrong issue,” said Republican Montgomery County Commissioner Ronda Walker, who said her heart sank when she read the post. “What she did was wrong, the wrong thing to do. Am I offended by it? No, I’m no offended by it because I don’t consider myself a racist homophobic clown, although I am a Republican.”

“I really want to stress that the Montgomery County Commission does not feel like what was posted on Facebook, we represent everyone in Montgomery County,” added Montgomery County Commission Chair Elton Dean, “we want to make sure that everyone is treated fairly.”


1
3 years ago

The surprising take on the Confederate flag that every Alabama Christian should consider

Confederate Battle Flag

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Yellowhammer Radio host Cliff Sims made waves on air Tuesday afternoon by joining the discussion over whether or not the Confederate Battle Flag should continue to fly on public property in places of prominence.

The South Carolina legislature is currently debating whether to remove the flag from state house grounds. Alabama leaders have been largely quiet on the issue to this point, but the flag remains inside the state capitol and in various state symbols.

Sims said he hesitated to delve into the debate because he believes it is distracting from other issues, like the U.S. Senate voting to expand President Obama’s power to negotiate international trade agreements. He chose, however, to address it after wrestling with the issue himself for the first time over the last couple of days.

This is an issue that stirs up passions on both sides…

There are conservatives who passionately defend it. They say the Civil War was not entirely about slavery. That’s true. They say there were honorable men who fought for the Confederacy. That’s true. Some of them are my ancestors…

Now, there are deplorable opportunists using this shooting in Charleston to advance their political agenda. For some of them that includes trying to paint all white Southerners as racists and, in an effort to do that, point to the Confederate Battle Flag still flying as evidence of that. They should be ashamed of themselves.

There are also some opportunistic politicians — and I know that’s redundant — who see this as a chance to raise their national profile and are calling for the flag’s removal for political gain, arbitrarily caving in just like they do every other time the political winds shift directions…

The truth is the Confederacy was not simply about limited government and states’ rights. It was also dedicated to preserving a great evil — slavery — by protection of law. The idea that one human can ‘own’ another is antithetical to the Christian view of humanity. So to prop up that system, many in the South had to create a counter-Biblical theology to justify what they were doing.

Sims then began quoting from an article by Russell Moore, the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Alabama’s largest Christian denomination.

Even beyond that, though, the Flag has taken on yet another contextual meaning in the years since. The Confederate Battle Flag was the emblem of Jim Crow defiance to the civil rights movement, of the Dixiecrat opposition to integration, and of the domestic terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens’ Councils of our all too recent, all too awful history.

White Christians ought to think about what that flag says to our African-American brothers and sisters in Christ, especially in the aftermath of yet another act of white supremacist terrorism against them.

The gospel frees us from scrapping for our “heritage” at the expense of others. As those in Christ, descendants of Confederate veterans have more in common with Nigerian Christians than we do with non-Christian white Mississippians who know the right use of “y’all” and how to make sweet tea.

“And here’s the big one,” Sims said, before continuing to quote Moore’s article.

The Apostle Paul says that we should not prize our freedom to the point of destroying those for whom Christ died. We should instead “pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Rom. 14:19). The Confederate Battle Flag may mean many things, but with those things it represents a defiance against abolition and against civil rights. The symbol was used to enslave the little brothers and sisters of Jesus, to bomb little girls in church buildings, to terrorize preachers of the gospel and their families with burning crosses on front lawns by night. That sort of symbolism is out of step with the justice of Jesus Christ.

Sims then referenced a story from the New Testament in which a group of Christians went out of their way to eliminate barriers to the spread of their faith, and encouraged Christians to consider that when it comes to the Confederate Battle Flag.

I’m reminded of the church at Corinth in the New Testament. There was a big debate over whether or not it was ok to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Christians were like, “Whatever, I know those gods aren’t real… I can eat this meat and it’s not a problem.” And that’s actually true… However, some of their brothers and sisters had been brought out of idolatry. They had grown up serving those idols. And so Christians voluntarily gave up their freedom to eat that meat so it would not cause their brothers and sisters who had been brought out of idolatry to stumble.

“The Confederate Battle Flag is a stumbling block to the Gospel for some people,” Sims concluded, “and that reason alone should be enough to Christians to put their personal feelings and freedoms aside for the sake of the Gospel.

“I’m annoyed to no end that there is so much political opportunism caught up in this. But this is one of those times where I feel like my Biblical worldview and my conservative political worldview are not in absolute perfect alignment, and in those situations… my Biblical worldview has to supersede what I believe politically as a conservative.”

Check out the full Yellowhammer Radio segment in the audio clip below.

1
3 years ago

(Audio) Son of KKK member stuns Finebaum with incredible story of racial healing


(Video above: The incredible story of how an Alabama man left his racist past behind during the Vietnam War)

A call into the Paul Finebaum Show from 2008 resurfaced this past week and is well worth revisiting.

“Jay in Huntsville” explained to Finebaum that he “grew up in Alabama and was raised a racist.” His father was in the KKK, as were all his uncles, and he was proud of it.

But in a decision that would end up changing his life in countless ways, Jay joined the Marine Corps in 1967 and ended up in Vietnam alongside a fellow Marine who he described as the “most militant acting and talking black person that was ever on the face of the Earth.”

They “tried to kill each other for the next couple of weeks, about every day,” until a Gunnery Sergeant took them aside and told them “next time that happens, you’re going home on a bad-conduct discharge.”

They decided to put aside their differences for the time being, in spite of the strong animosity they continued to feel toward each other.

But once they ended up in a fox hole together in the jungle of Vietnam and the bullets started flying, things would never be the same.

“Over the next two years, he saved my life a couple of times and I saved his life a couple of times,” Jay explained. “And didn’t neither one of us want to leave Vietnam… but in ’69, we both had to leave.”

Jay moved back to Alabama to go to school and his newfound “well, I guess you could call us ‘friends'” moved to Detroit.

They kept in touch over the next several years as Jay earned his engineering degree in Tuscaloosa. But things weren’t going quite as well for his buddy in Detroit, so Jay invited him down to Alabama to work under him at the company where he’d landed a job after graduation.

His friend went on to get his degree from UA, but the story gets even better.

“He decided he wanted to outdo me, which he always did, and he went on and got his Master’s degree,” Jay explained, “so I wound up working for him.”

And then the bombshell:

“And 32 years ago come April 3rd of this year… I will have been married to his sister for 32 years,” Jay said, stunning Finebaum. “He was the best man in my wedding. We had two sons a piece. All four of them graduated from the University of Alabama.”

And four decades after they met each other in a war zone on the other side of the planet with hatred in their hearts, they’re best friends and live on the same street.

“We’ve had a good life and he lives about 3 houses down now and we still try to lie as much as we can about our war exploits,” Jay laughed. “But it just goes to prove that anything can happen to a former racist… He turned out to be a lot better than I thought at first, and I hope I did, too.”


1
4 years ago

10 things liberals think are racist, and 10 things they don’t — you decide

Earlier this week, Alabama State Rep. Alving Holmes, D-Montgomery, said on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives that he does not like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas because he’s married to a white woman, then went on to call him an “Uncle Tom.”

Numerous conservative national media outlets picked up on Holmes’ comments, but as usual, the liberal media ignored them. Of course, we all know what would have happened if a conservative had said those things. So it got us at Yellowhammer thinking, how exactly do liberals decide what’s racist and what’s not?

Here’s a handy guide…


10 Things Liberals Think are Racist


1. Opposing ObamaCare

opposing obamacare

2. Respecting the rule of law on immigration

Immigration racist

3. Criticizing the IRS

IRS

4. The Tea Party

tea party kkk

5. The 2013 government shutdown

race shutdown

6. Disagreeing with the president

disagree with president

7. Opposing Medicaid expansion

medicaid

8. Supporting a black Republican

Herman Cain

9. School choice

school choice

10. Pointing out that more people are food stamps now then ever before

Reforming food stamps


10 Things Liberals Don’t Think are Racist


1. Calling a Supreme Court Justice an “Uncle Tom”

Alvin Holmes Uncle Tom

2. Anti-Semitism

Being antisemetic

3. Insinuating that being black means being poor and shining shoes

Being black means shining shoes

4. The phrase “negro dialect”

negro dialect

5. Racial slurs

Racial slurs

6. Stereotyping individuals of Indian descent

Racio stereotype Indians

7. Perpetuating racial stereotypes of black males

Stereotyping

8. Wanting to kick individuals of Asian descent out of your community

Wanting asians out

9. Saying this about a black conservative…

black republican

10. Giving dirty looks to interracial couples

interracial couplesder_j


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

1
5 years ago

Rep. Joseph Mitchell: Some white people have the power to kill us

Rep. Joseph Mitchell made national and international headlines earlier this week when our story about his racially charged email correspondence with an Alabama citizen went viral.

An internet poll posted by AL.com asked if Rep. Mitchell should resign over his comments. A staggering 89.4% of over 12,000 respondents said “yes.” But in spite of the public outcry, Rep. Mitchell has since doubled down on his remarks via social media. “I am a descendent of a run-away slave. If you have problems with THAT, then it’s YOUR PROBLEM,” he wrote on his Facebook account.

And a quick look through his Facebook account revealed a long history of inflammatory remarks.

Here’s a quick look inside Rep. Mitchell’s Facebook account.

He addresses calls for his resignation by saying, “We do not need ‘leadership’ to go no place.”


He also wants to make it clear that not enough time is being spent in schools teaching the “importance of blackness.”


And as you scroll down through his profile, it becomes clear that this most recent incident is far from the first time Rep. Mitchell has shared his perspective on issues of race in politics and pop culture. In one post, he shares his concerns about “some white people who have the power to kills us.”

Around the time the GOP’s landmark education reform bill passed, Mitchell appeared to blame the Tea Party and said they are well on their way to taking us back to 1901. He also wasn’t impressed with most of his white Democrat colleagues.

He also alleges that some “white folk” were engaging in some unsavory campaign tactics during the Presidential campaign…

…and expressed concerns that the “skanks” were trying to steal the election.

Although some of his colleagues have distanced themselves from his remarks, there have been no calls from the Democrat side of the aisle for Mitchell to resign. What say you, Alabama Democrat Party Chairman Mark Kennedy?

1