Month: March 2018

Human trafficking bill that would impose severe penalties for obstruction is step closer to becoming law

Anyone who obstructs a human trafficking investigation in Alabama could be met with the same penalties as the traffickers if the governor signs a bill that passed the House this week with near unanimous support. The bill, which already passed the Senate, increases penalties in place for those who obstruct, interfere with, prevent, or otherwise get in the way of law enforcement’s investigation into the practice that includes child sex trafficking. Under current law, such obstruction is only a Class C felony and could result in just one year in prison. The new legislation would increase the maximum offense to a Class A felony, with a minimum jail sentence of ten years. (more…)

The only solution to gun violence in schools is … more guns in schools

As I drove my five children to school this morning I heard on the radio that the bill allowing teachers to carry guns might be debated today on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives. I’ve had my share of serious concerns about the proposal — training, oversight, unintended consequences — and have remained mostly unsure how we should proceed. Until a few minutes ago. (more…)

A quick look at all of the races in Alabama this election cycle

Well, folks, the 2018 political year has begun and all of the horses are in the chute. It is going to be a good year for horse races. Perennially, the year of the governor’s race has been the best year for Alabama politics. Historically, most Alabamians have been more interested in who they elect as governor than who is president. However, we have really been more interested in who is sheriff than president. If the old adage that “All politics is local” applies in Tip O’Neil’s Massachusetts, it applies doubly in the Heart of Dixie. (more…)

‘Black Panther’ star Letitia Wright: ‘I became a Christian,’ and it ‘Gave me so much love and light’

In a recent interview on London's “This Morning,” Actress Letitia Wright, best known for her breakout role in the latest Marvel film “Black Panther,” detailed how she left her acting career to pursue God, later returning to the acting scene after she became a Christian. “It gave me so much love and light within myself,” said Wright. “I just needed to take a break from acting because I really idolized it,” stated actress Letitia Wright on “This Morning” with Eamonn Holmes, Ruth Langsford and fellow star Daniel Kaluuya. “So I came off from it, and I went on a journey to discover God and my relationship with God. And I became a Christian, and it really just gave me so much love and light within myself. And so much— And I felt secure.” (more…)

Alabama shouldn’t go ‘fire, ready, aim’ before rejecting or accepting bills to arm teachers

Conservatives support limited government not because we dislike public services and institutions, but because we know government usually gets things wrong. The higher the stakes, the messier the screw-ups, and that goes double when government reacts out of fear or anger, and especially for laws passed or rejected in haste. Prudence. Doubt. Caution. Foresight. Wisdom -- these are the qualities that should guide the conservative mind when facing a crisis. And these are the qualities that should guide Alabama’s leaders as they determine if, and how, we should arm our state’s teachers. Rushing to say ‘yes’ to a bill because we’re worried about what could happen isn’t prudent, but rushing to say ‘no’ to a bill because we’re worried about what could happen isn’t prudent, either. (more…)

Alabama’s Republican Party should pass a resolution celebrating, not censuring, Sen. Shelby

When my wife and I began editing Yellowhammer News four months ago, we promised to always “tell the truth, even when it hurts, and especially when it’s unpopular.” We wrote that because we believe honesty is a virtue to be constantly pursued, not only in journalism, but also in every profession and aspect of life. And when found, it should be celebrated, not censured, as an alarming 42 percent of the attendees at the recent statewide meeting of the Alabama Republican Party wanted to do. The group pushed a resolution denouncing Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, for saying he couldn’t support the candidacy of someone who many fair-minded Alabamians believed was credibly accused of having been a serial sexual harasser of young women. Thankfully, 58 percent of our party’s members at the meeting voted to “indefinitely postpone” consideration of the measure. But why so much residual anger at someone for simply being honest? When Shelby was asked about the race shortly before the election, the senator said he “couldn’t vote for Roy Moore” and instead would write-in the name of a “distinguished Republican” on the ballot. Shelby, like many others (some who only spoke in hushed anonymity or avoided comment altogether), believed in his heart that Moore would have done more harm to Alabama than good. So instead of sheepishly avoiding the question, he answered truthfully and therefore, in doing so with full knowledge of the coming backlash, acted courageously. Isn’t that what we seek from our elected representatives? But because…

Alabama’s Democratic candidates for governor want to tax … the poor! — J. Pepper Bryars

  (Opinion) Imagine if Alabama’s Democratic candidates for governor campaigned on a tax increase to be paid mostly by the poor. Would they win? Probably not, but that’s essentially what’s being proposed by former state Supreme Court chief justice Sue Bell Cobb and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox. They’re just labeling it an education lottery to make it sound more palatable. Call it the Mary Poppins Ploy -- “A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down.” The basic idea behind the plans offered by Cobb and Maddox is that lottery ticket sales would magically fund all sorts of things for education -- college scholarships, workforce development opportunities, statewide universal pre-K, assistance for underperforming schools, career tech at high schools, and filling the gap between federal Pell Grants and the actual cost of college tuition. But as with all things magical, it’s an illusion. Their smoke and mirrors are concealing this fact -- poor families make up a disproportionate number of lottery players, and thus poor families would be a disproportionate part of Cobb and Maddox’s magical revenue-generating machine. “Those in poverty or near poverty not only are more likely to play the lottery than those with greater means, they also spend a larger percent of their money on average on these games of chance,” wrote David R. Just, a behavioral economics professor at Cornell University, in a CNN opinion article. “We find there are jumps in lottery purchases when the poverty rate increases, when unemployment increases, or when people…

‘Good Samaritan’ helped me — turns out he’s a Huntsville City Councilman

A good Samaritan blew me away with his kindness when I injured myself playing basketball this week and I’ve just discovered who the “stranger” is. I began writing this column about the service of an unknown person, but imagine my surprise when I googled his name just now and realized the soft-spoken gentleman, who I am 100 percent certain has no idea he helped someone affiliated with a news organization, is Huntsville City Councilman Devyn S. Keith. Here’s what happened: For some reason, I thought it was a good idea to join a mostly men’s basketball league at the Hogan Family YMCA in Madison, even though I was out of shape and out of my league (I arrived for the first game last month and thought I'd stumbled into a Lakers practice). My short grab at glory ended Thursday night when I jumped for a rebound and felt a painful pop in my foot. I hobbled to the sideline, tore my shoe off, then stumbled out of the gym, red-faced, embarrassed, dying to find a chair somewhere alone-ish to catch my breath, swallow my pride, and figure out what to do. A young man must have broken away from his own team to grab the shoe I'd flung off and bring it to me in the lobby. He found me and told me to wait; he’d get ice. The Good Samaritan taped the ice to my foot, kindly talking to me about what I needed to do right when I got…

I just took the famed Political Compass test and it said that I was a … — J. Pepper Bryars

(Opinion) I’ve been an across-the-board political conservative since I was a teenager. My older brother used to joke, “It takes Pepper longer to drive somewhere because he’s only capable of making right turns.” Social issues? Saint John Paul II is my conscience. Economic issues? Friedrich Hayek is smarter – and perhaps better– than John Maynard Keynes. And national security? Speak softly ... and carry about 20 aircraft carriers. I’ve never been one to hyphenate or qualify my conservatism to distance myself from a particular individual or wing of our movement (except for Richard Spencer and his Alt Right racist retreads or Alex Jones and his mob of conspiracy theorists – they aren’t conservatives). But I am conservative and proud of it. However, a friend recently told me about an interesting test that attempts to nail down one’s political philosophy not in terms of the traditional left-right paradigm, but on a more nuanced compass of beliefs. A Political Compass. For the creators of the compass – a group of political scientists and writers in the United Kingdom – the traditional left vs. right works fine for economic issues. “We can show, for example, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Pol Pot, with their commitment to a totally controlled economy, on the hard left,” reads an explanation on the group’s website. “Margaret Thatcher would be well over to the right, but further right still would be someone like that ultimate free marketeer, General Pinochet.” That’s fairly traditional. But the difference in this test is…

VIDEO: Oh my … watch what happens when a CNN reporter tries to shoot a gun

[caption id="attachment_64874" align="aligncenter" width="800"] CNN reporter acts like a fool on the range, Feb. 2018 (CNN/Twitter)[/caption] (Warning: This is NOT how to hold, aim, shoot or even be anywhere near a firearm.) Earlier this week CNN aired a segment from Gary Tuchman where the intrepid reporter tried to demonstrate the awesome power of an AR-15 “assault rifle,” which is sort of like a civilian version of the Army’s old M-16. Problem is, as I learned when Uncle Sam placed an M-16 into my hands when I was 18-years told, they ain’t very powerful. In fact, my 10-year old son’s .410 rabbit-hunting shotgun probably has more of a kick. But don’t tell that to this reporter, who is just about doing everything, and I mean everything, wrong on the range. Click the image to watch the ridiculousness: This is what happens when all you know about firearms is from ... the movies.  Rock on, Reporter McRambo.  (J. Pepper Bryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of “American Warfighter.”)