10 months ago

‘Women for Kavanaugh’ bus tour visits Alabama in support of President Trump’s SCOTUS nominee

HOOVER – Concerned Women for America’s eight-state bus tour made a much-anticipated stop in Alabama on Thursday, with citizens from around the state assembling in Hoover to voice their unequivocal support of President Donald Trump’s nominee to the United States Supreme Court — Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Approximately one hundred Alabamians, men and women, were in attendance for this “Women for Kavanaugh” rally organized by Concerned Women for America (CWA), a national Christian women’s organization.

CWA is encouraging Alabama voters, especially females, to reach out to Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) and voice support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) voiced his strong support for the nominee’s confirmation after meeting with him recently, but Alabama’s junior senator is still undecided.

Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan has repeatedly called on Jones to listen to the majority of his constituents and vote to confirm the nominee, including at a rally in Mobile last week.

Jones recently, talking about efforts to urge him to vote one way or the other, said, “It’s silly. It’s a waste of time.”

Thursday, leaders from CWA and the Birmingham metro area, along with hardworking Alabamians who sacrificed their lunch hour to support Kavanaugh’s confirmation, urged Jones to listen. One Republican elected official summarized their ask best, saying Jones “needs to be in line with the very fiber of this state and vote for Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.”
The rally occurred in front of a bus, which is owned and operated by an Alabamian and emblazoned with the phrase “Another Great Justice.” Former state Rep. Paul DeMarco kicked things off and called on Shelby County Republican Chair Joan Reynolds to open the program with prayer. Following the prayer, Jefferson County District Attorney Mike Anderton led the large crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and a local resident sang a powerful rendition of the National Anthem.

Then, the CWA’s National Field Director, Janae Stracke, got down to the heart of the matter and discussed how pivotal the Supreme Court is to the nation and “generations and generations” to come.

Stracke outlined to the crowd what happened after the late Justice Antonin Scalia – “a true constitutionalist” – passed away in 2016. The CWA immediately called an emergency meeting and got to work, helping Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to ensure that an excellent jurist would fill the “pivotal” vacancy.

This occurred as the 2016 election cycle was in full swing, and Stracke acknowledged that the Supreme Court was the main reason many Americans voted for Donald Trump, citing a statistic that one-in-five “voted because of the Supreme Court.”

Stracke explained that Trump was the only presidential candidate in history to release a list of potential judicial nominees – an action that she praised extensively. She told the crowd that then-candidate Trump “gave people hope and trust of knowing exactly what they were going to get.”

For the CWA, this is exactly what Trump has done. He kept his promise to them first by nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace Scalia and now again with Judge Kavanaugh.

“We finally have someone that says, ‘this is what I’m going to do,’ and then does it,” Stracke said.

It is a time of great excitement for conservatives nationwide, with Stracke calling the opportunity to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy with Kavanaugh, “a gift from God, an answer to prayer, and a blessing.”

She also warned Alabamians to beware of contrived opposition to the confirmation, reminding the crowd that liberals were already saying they would oppose President Trump’s nominee even before Kavanaugh was chosen.

“We couldn’t ask for a better nominee,” Stracke emphasized.

She went through a litany of positive traits about Kavanaugh, including his status as a “family man,” intellectual giant and judge who applies the law as written.

After Stracke spoke, state Rep. Jim Carns gave a brief address. Carns was the Trump campaign’s Alabama Co-Chair and on the stage for the famous, early Mobile rally that acted as a springboard to his candidacy.

Carns raved about Trump’s performance since assuming office and listed off some of his accomplishments, including over four percent GDP growth, a “soaring” stock market, record lows in unemployment and ending burdensome, job-killing regulations from the Obama Administration.

“However, I have to give the [Democrats] credit, because they did do one thing,” Carns said, drawing the crowd in.

“They stopped us having plastic straws,” Carns continued, as laughter erupted. “That’s their claim to victory.”

Carns then joined in the mounting calls for Jones to confirm Trump’s nominee, saying the recently-elected Alabama senator “needs to be in line with the very fiber of this state and vote for Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.”

The keynote speech of the day was delivered by Penny Nance, CWA’s CEO and president. She started by thanking DeMarco for helping to put the event together and transitioned into an inspiring speech on the importance of grassroots advocacy.

“Ladies – this is your moment,” Nance said, rallying the dozens of Alabama women in attendance.

She spoke extensively about the importance of women’s voices being heard in modern America, alluding to the fact that the mainstream media does not celebrate Christian women’s perspectives, but instead elevates the Hollywood idea of what a woman should be.

“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I’m a Christian does make me a different kind of woman,” Nance emphasized.

Nance, a prominent national voice who frequently appears on Fox News as a guest, talked about how important confirming Kavanaugh is to the nation’s present and future.

“The question is whether we’ll be the constitutionally driven, proudly patriotic nation that our Founding Fathers fought for … or whether we’ll fade to the left and become more of a European, socialist nation,” Nance warned.

She and Stracke repeatedly expressed that CWA only supports constitutionalist nominees. Nance even added that they want nominees “who want to be judges, not senators.” From their perspective, Kavanaugh is “another great justice,” just like Gorsuch.

“Brett Kavanaugh is a man of character, he is over-qualified … and is recognized for his intellect, his discretion and his judgment and he’s a constitutionalist,” Nance outlined.

She closed with a final rallying call to the attendees and all supporters of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

“Go home, call your friends, and make sure they call Doug Jones. Call him, email him, go to his office, go to his town hall meetings – and make sure your voices are heard that he must vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh,” Nance urged.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

11 hours ago

Are you afraid to answer the phone?

Millions of Americans fear answering their phone due to a plague of billions of robocalls. These calls have made a mockery of the national Do Not Call Registry and touch on several public policy questions.

We had seemingly ended the problem of unwanted telemarketing calls. Congress authorized the Do Not Call Registry in 2003 after more than a decade of calls disrupting the peace and quiet of our homes. Fines of $11,000 per violation largely put telemarketing companies, with hundreds of thousands of employees, out of business.

609

Why have unwanted calls returned? VOIP technology (voice over internet protocol) allowed anyone with a computer and an internet connection to make thousands of calls. A handful of responses can make thousands of calls worthwhile when the cost is almost zero. Furthermore, technology makes robocallers mobile and elusive.

By contrast, telemarketing firms employed hundreds of people at call centers. The authorities could find and fine telemarketers. Firms had to comply with the Do Not Call registry, even if forced out of business.

Technology further frustrates the control of robocalls. Spoofing makes a call appear to be from a different number. Spoofing a local number increases the chance of someone answering, defeats caller ID, and makes identifying the calls’ source difficult.

By contrast, technology allowed the elimination of spam email. It’s easy to forget that fifteen years ago spam threatened the viability of email. Email providers connected accounts to IP addresses and eventually identified and blocked spammers. Google estimates that spam is less than 0.1 percent of Gmail users’ emails.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) banned almost all robocalls in 2009 (political campaigns and schools were excepted). Yet the volume of calls and complaints from the public rise every year. And the “quality” of the solicitations is lower: legitimate businesses employed telemarketers, while most robocalls seem to be scams.

Telephone companies and entrepreneurs are deploying apps and services to block robocalls. The robocallers then respond, producing a technological arms race. The technology of this arms race, however, is beyond me.

I’d rather consider some issues robocalls raise. The root of the problem is some people’s willingness to swindle others. Although we all know there are some bad people in the world, free market economists typically emphasize the costs and consequences of government regulations over the cheats and frauds who create the public’s demand for regulation. People can disagree whether a level of fraud warrants regulation, but free marketers should not dismiss the fear of swindlers.

Robocalls also highlight the enormous inefficiency of theft. Thieves typically get 25 cents on the dollar (or less) when selling stolen goods. Getting $1,000 via theft requires stealing goods worth $4,000 or more. In addition, thieves invest time and effort planning and carrying out crimes, while we invest millions in locks, safes, burglar alarms, and police departments to protect our property. America would be much richer if we did not have to protect against thieves or robocallers.

Finally, having the government declare something illegal does not necessarily solve a problem. Our politicians like to pass a law or regulation and announce, “problem solved.” Identifying and punishing robocallers is difficult; the FTC had only brought 33 cases in nearly ten years. And less than ten percent of the over $300 million in fines and relief for consumers levied against robocallers had been collected. Government has no pixie dust which magically solves hard problems.

The difficulty of enforcing a law or regulation does not necessarily imply we should not act. The Federal Communications Commission, for instance, recently approved letting phone companies block unwanted calls by default, and perhaps this will prove effective. We should weigh the costs of laws and regulations against a realistic projection of benefits and laws failing to solve problems as promised should be revised or repealed.
Still, a law that accomplishes little can have value. Cursing robocalls accomplishes little yet can be cathartic. A law that costs little might provide us satisfaction until technology solves the problem.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.

12 hours ago

VIDEO: Culverhouse vs. UA, Trump and Biden battle in Iowa, the Bentley saga could be over and more on Guerrilla Politics

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

— Why did the media get the story with Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. and Alabama so wrong?

— Is the Iowa slap-fight between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden a 2020 preview?

— Now that former ALEA head Spencer Collier has settled his case with the state over his firing, is the sordid Bentley saga over?

65

Jackson and Burke are joined by State Representative Mike Ball (R-Madison) to discuss medical marijuana, the prison special session and the lottery.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” that calls out Joe Biden for lying about the lack of lies and scandals in the Obama administration.

VIDEO: Culverhouse/UA, Trump and Biden battle in Iowa, the Bentley saga could be over and more on Guerrilla Politics

Posted by Yellowhammer News on Sunday, June 16, 2019

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

13 hours ago

Alabama team targets international connections at SelectUSA Investment Summit

Alabama is home to a diverse lineup of international companies, and the state’s business recruiters are looking to expand those ranks.

The economic development team is in Washington D.C. at the 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit, which starts today and is the premier foreign direct investment (FDI) event in the U.S.

349

FDI is a significant part of Alabama’s economy. Last year alone, it came from 16 different countries, for a total of $4.2 billion in investment and 7,520 new and future jobs.

Since 2013, the state has attracted $12.8 billion in FDI, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce. It’s spread across a variety of sectors, including automotive, aerospace and bioscience.

“Team Alabama is looking to capitalize on a record-breaking year for FDI in the state, by continuing to build partnerships with world-class international companies looking to grow in the U.S.,” said Vince Perez, a project manager for the Alabama Department of Commerce.

SHOWCASING ALABAMA

SelectUSA is led by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and its annual summit regularly attracts top industry leaders and investors from around the globe. This year’s event is expected to draw more than 2,800 attendees from more than 70 international markets and 49 U.S. states and territories.

Participants of the past five summits have announced $103.6 billion in greenfield FDI in the U.S. within five years of attending, supporting more than 167,000 U.S. jobs.

“We are excited to have another opportunity to showcase Alabama’s vibrant business climate that’s been cultivated over the years through business-friendly policies,” Perez said.

“This year’s Investment Summit is very timely as we will be armed with the recently passed Incentives Modernization Act, which upgraded our already-strong incentive tool kit, making us more marketable than ever.”

The measure targets counties that have had slower economic growth. In particular, it expands the number of rural counties that qualify for investment and tax credit incentives. It also enhances incentives for technology companies.

Joining the Commerce Department at the SelectUSA Summit are PowerSouth, the North Alabama Industrial Development Association, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Alabama Power Co., and Spire.

Speakers at the summit will include key government and industry leaders who will discuss opportunities in a broad range of areas and industries, such as energy, infrastructure, agriculture and technology.

FDI supports nearly 14 million American jobs, and it is responsible for $370 billion in U.S. goods exports. The U.S. has more FDI than any other country, topping $4 trillion.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

A ‘Story Worth Sharing’: Yellowhammer News and Serquest partner to award monthly grants to Alabama nonprofits

Christmas is the season of giving, helping others and finding magic moments among seemingly ordinary (and occasionally dreary) days. What better way to welcome this season than to share what Alabamians are doing to help others?

Yellowhammer News and Serquest are partnering to bring you, “A Story Worth Sharing,” a monthly award given to an Alabama based nonprofit actively making an impact through their mission. Each month, the winning organization will receive a $1,000 grant from Serquest and promotion across the Yellowhammer Multimedia platforms.

Yellowhammer and Serquest are looking for nonprofits that go above and beyond to change lives and make a difference in their communities.

Already have a nonprofit in mind to nominate? Great!

Get started here with contest guidelines and a link to submit your nomination:

125

Nominations are now open and applicants only need to be nominated once. All non-winning nominations will automatically be eligible for selection in subsequent months. Monthly winners will be announced via a feature story that will be shared and promoted on Yellowhammer’s website, email and social media platforms.

Submit your nomination here.

Our organizations look forward to sharing these heartwarming and positive stories with you over the next few months as we highlight the good works of nonprofits throughout our state.

Serquest is an Alabama based software company founded by Hammond Cobb, IV of Montgomery. The organization sees itself as, “Digital road and bridge builders in the nonprofit sector to help people get where they want to go faster, life’s purpose can’t wait.”

Learn more about Serquest here.

14 hours ago

Alabama Power wins Electric Edison Institute awards for power restoration efforts following Hurricane Michael

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) awarded Alabama Power with the EEI “Emergency Assistance Award” and the  “Emergency Recovery Award” for its outstanding power restoration efforts after Hurricane Michael hit Alabama, Georgia, and Florida in October 2018.
The Emergency Assistance Award and Emergency Recovery Award are given to EEI member companies to recognize their efforts to assist other electric companies’ power restoration efforts, and for their own extraordinary efforts to restore power to customers after service disruptions caused by severe weather conditions or other natural events. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process.

181

Alabama Power received the awards during the EEI 2019 annual conference.

Alabama Power’s extraordinary efforts were instrumental to restoring service for customers across Alabama, Georgia, and Florida quickly and safely,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “We are pleased to recognize the dedicated crews from Alabama Power for their work to restore service in hazardous conditions and to assist neighboring electric companies in their times of need.”

Hurricane Michael, the strongest storm to make landfall during the 2018 hurricane season, was a Category 5 hurricane with peak winds of 160 mph. The storm hit Mexico Beach, Fla., on October 10 before being downgraded to a tropical storm and traveling northeast through Georgia and several Mid-Atlantic states. Alabama Power sent more than 1,400 lineworkers and 700 trucks to help restore service to customers over the course of two and a half months.

Hurricane Michael also resulted in 89,438 service outages in Alabama Power’s territory. Due to their tireless work, Alabama Power’s crews restored power to 100 percent of customers within four days after the storm, dedicating more than 124-thousand hours to the recovery.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)