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1
Alabama / Contract related to execution won’t be released
« on: Today at 04:16:22 PM »
Contract related to execution won’t be released

The Alabama attorney general’s office says it will not release to the news media a copy of a contract related to death penalty litigation. The attorney general’s office on Tuesday cited security reasons for refusing a records request from The Associated Press for a copy of a $25,000 contract with a Tennessee firm specializing in […]


The post Contract related to execution won’t be released appeared first on Alabama Today.




The Alabama attorney general’s office says it will not release to the news media a copy of a contract related to death penalty litigation.


The attorney general’s office on Tuesday cited security reasons for refusing a records request from The Associated Press for a copy of a $25,000 contract with a Tennessee firm specializing in occupational safety. The state office declined to answer questions about the contract.


State Sen. Greg Albritton said the attorney general’s office indicated the contract was related to litigation over nitrogen gas as an execution method.


The state has authorized nitrogen hypoxia as an execution method but has not used it.


A federal judge last year ruled Alabama must release its lethal injection protocol but can keRepublished with the permission of the Associated Press.ep some information secret, such as employee names.


Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.


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Source: Contract related to execution won’t be released

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2
Roy Moore defamation lawsuit against accusers is paused

A judge has paused a defamation suit filed by Roy Moore against women who accused him during his unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid of past misconduct. Circuit Judge Albert Johnson ruled last month case will be held on the administrative docket until a related defamation case against Moore by one of the women is resolved. During […]


The post Roy Moore defamation lawsuit against accusers is paused appeared first on Alabama Today.




A judge has paused a defamation suit filed by Roy Moore against women who accused him during his unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid of past misconduct.


Circuit Judge Albert Johnson ruled last month case will be held on the administrative docket until a related defamation case against Moore by one of the women is resolved.


During Alabama’s 2017 special Senate race, several women accused Moore of having pursued relationships with them decades ago when they were teens and he was in his 30s.


Leigh Corfman said Moore sexually touched her in 1979 when she was 14 and he was a 32-year-old prosecutor.


Moore denied the allegations.


Moore said Friday he went to court to clear his name and the court’s decision is “very unfair.”


“Nothing that’s happened to me has been fair in court. Nothing,” Moore said.


Corfman filed a defamation lawsuit against Moore last year. Four months later, Moore later countersued her and other accusers.


Johnson says Corfman’s case will proceed first.


Moore is a former Alabama chief justice who has a strong following among some evangelical voters. He was twice removed from the bench for defying, or urging defiance, of court orders regarding same-sex marriage and the public display of the Ten Commandments in a state court building.


Support from evangelical voters helped Moore secure the GOP nomination to replace Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate, but Moore lost the 2017 Senate race to U.S. Sen. Doug Jones amid the accusations against the ex-justice.


Moore is running for the Senate again. He is part of a crowded Republican primary field competing for the GOP nomination and the right to challenge Jones in 2020.


Republished with permission of the Associated Press.


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Source: Roy Moore defamation lawsuit against accusers is paused

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3
Martha Roby Weekly Column: A Recap of my August Recess travel to date

Each year, during the month of August, Congress is out of session for a month-long district work period. This is an excellent time for me to travel throughout the Second District to hear directly from many of the people I’m honored to represent. During my recent time on the road, I made several productive stops […]


The post Martha Roby Weekly Column: A Recap of my August Recess travel to date appeared first on Alabama Today.




Each year, during the month of August, Congress is out of session for a month-long district work period. This is an excellent time for me to travel throughout the Second District to hear directly from many of the people I’m honored to represent. During my recent time on the road, I made several productive stops in Enterprise, Dothan, Headland, Montgomery, Troy, Opp, Andalusia, and Red Level, and I would like to take this opportunity to share what I learned.


In Enterprise, I visited Enterprise State Community College (ESCC) with several members of my staff, and we received a very warm welcome. I received updates from ESCC President Matt Rodgers, division chairs and directors, and State Representative Rhett Marques. It was exciting to learn more about the college’s many facility improvements, as well as new programs and opportunities ranging from academics to athletics. As I told ESCC leadership, I will continue to do all I can in Congress to support their critical role in workforce development. We are certainly fortunate to have this outstanding school in the Wiregrass.


In Dothan, I had the privilege of speaking to the Associated General Contractors (AGC) during their monthly lunch meeting. We had a fantastic discussion, and I appreciated the opportunity to update the group on my committee assignments for the 116th Congress and how I will continue to fight for their priorities in Washington. AGC has been a friend to me over the years, and I am thankful for their diligent efforts to keep me informed about what’s important to their organization.


On my second stop in Dothan, I visited Key Fire Hose Industries, Inc. (KFH) to talk with company leadership and greet employees. I was truly blown away by their impressive operation designing and manufacturing hoses for firefighting, forestry, the military, agriculture industry, and more. KFH has more than 300 distributors reaching more than 70 different countries worldwide, and the company has sold a fire hose to every continent. I was glad to see the work they perform firsthand.


In Headland, I participated in a roundtable discussion with local farmers and business owners. We had a very productive conversation about some of the challenges they’re facing and how I can be helpful. I sincerely appreciate all who took the time to speak with me.


In Montgomery, I was honored to offer the keynote address at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues event. I always appreciate the opportunity to speak with friends in my hometown, and I am glad the event was a success. My next stop in Montgomery was to the Alabama Fusion Center where I received an informative update from Secretary Hal Taylor, Fusion Center Director Jay Moseley, and others. I appreciated their presentation about the important work they’re doing each day to combat human trafficking and other heinous crimes against humanity. These men and women are on the front lines fighting the terrible crimes that plague communities throughout our state, and I am tremendously grateful for their work.


In Troy, I attended Rex Lumber’s open house and was given an awesome tour of their extensive operation. Rex is one of the most technologically-advanced sawmills in the South, and I am so grateful they’ve chosen to invest in the Second District. I am looking forward to partnering with their company and others as we work to strengthen our economy and create more jobs for Alabamians.


In Opp, I visited with local leaders and small business owners. I was glad to hear directly from these hardworking folks on the ground in Covington County, and it was especially great to see my good friend, Mayor Becky Bracke.


Down the road from Opp in Andalusia, I enjoyed lunch at the Buckboard Restaurant with my friends at PowerSouth, the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce, and many other constituents. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to speak one-on-one with some of the people I represent, and I appreciate all who attended.


My next stop in Andalusia was to the South Alabama Regional Airport (SARA) for a tour and an update from Executive Director Jed Blackwell. SARA is a major job creator for the area, and we are fortunate to have this economic activity in our district.


Last, but certainly not least, in Red Level, I stopped by the municipal complex where I sat down with Mayor Willie Hendrix, Water Clerk Sandy Williamson, and Town Clerk Tonya Cook. We discussed some of the ways we can help each other improve the lives of our shared constituency.


My time on the road during the August district work period was very productive, and it would not have been possible without the many constituents and local leaders who took the time to share their thoughts with me. Spending this valuable time with the people who live and work in Alabama’s Second District enables me to better represent our shared priorities in Washington.


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


The post Martha Roby Weekly Column: A Recap of my August Recess travel to date appeared first on Alabama Today.


Source: Martha Roby Weekly Column: A Recap of my August Recess travel to date

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4
Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson blasts Casi Callaway of Mobile Baykeeper for “divisive propaganda”

Mayor Karin Wilson of Fairhope has had enough with the misinformation campaigns and baseless allegations being made against her and her administration. Rather than sitting idly by, she and her office are on a mission to set the record straight, in several cases going straight to the source.  In a letter written to Casi Callaway […]


The post Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson blasts Casi Callaway of Mobile Baykeeper for “divisive propaganda” appeared first on Alabama Today.




Mayor Karin Wilson of Fairhope has had enough with the misinformation campaigns and baseless allegations being made against her and her administration. Rather than sitting idly by, she and her office are on a mission to set the record straight, in several cases going straight to the source. 


In a letter written to Casi Callaway of Mobile Baykeeper and copied to their board, August 7, 2019, she wrote, “I can no longer, as Mayor, sit back and allow the City’s reputation to suffer while Mobile Baykeeper continues to share sensationalized “news” releases without transparent facts.” 


She went on to say, “I have read Baykeeper’s mission featured on the website and do not see how divisive propaganda and the constant finger-pointing is effective? Why doesn’t Baykeeper hold itself to the same accountability as it does everyone else?


The City of Fairhope is doing more than ever to improve our water quality and protect our environmentally sensitive watersheds. We are taking responsibility for our role in upgrading our entire sewer system and so much more as you know. Why Baykeeper refuses to share this important information (and even take credit for it!) has become a source of great concern for the City I love. I sincerely hope you will read this entire timeline with links starting with the first day of this term. I spent a great deal of time putting this together to demonstrates the persistent focus of my administration to finally address the long-term neglect of an inherited Utility.”


On her Facebook Page, Mayor Wilson posted copies of hate mail she’d received along with the link she provided Callaway guiding people to a detailed timeline her office created to show the mayors efforts and the strides that have been made. 


Read the full facebook post below and letter here (as originally reported by The Ripp Report) and follow the link to the timeline here


The open letter to Callaway underscores frustration from a number of sources over Baykeeper’s role along the coast and what many consider Callaway’s grandstanding and maybe even political ambitions in Mobile. 

 

The Baldwin County blog who first reported the letter written by Wilson, the Ripp Report, only fanned the flames, writing an editorial that stated in part, “Mayor Wilson has done more in Fairhope than Casi has in the entire bay, don’t throw stones in a glass house Casi.”

 

“P.S.,” the report added. “The Ripp Report heard Casi may run for Mayor of Mobile so look for more fundraisers soon.”


The post Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson blasts Casi Callaway of Mobile Baykeeper for “divisive propaganda” appeared first on Alabama Today.


Source: Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson blasts Casi Callaway of Mobile Baykeeper for “divisive propaganda”

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5
Donald Trump ties U.S. success to 2nd term:  ‘You have to vote for me’

President Donald Trump sought to reassure his supporters about the state of the U.S. economy despite the stock market volatility and told rallygoers in New Hampshire, a state that he hopes to capture in 2020, that their financial security depends on his reelection. “Whether you love me or hate me you have to vote for […]


The post Donald Trump ties U.S. success to 2nd term:  ‘You have to vote for me’ appeared first on Alabama Today.






President Donald Trump sought to reassure his supporters about the state of the U.S. economy despite the stock market volatility and told rallygoers in New Hampshire, a state that he hopes to capture in 2020, that their financial security depends on his reelection.


“Whether you love me or hate me you have to vote for me,” Trump said.


Speaking to a boisterous crowd at Southern New Hampshire University Arena, Trump dismissed the heightened fears about the U.S. economy and a 3 percent drop Wednesday in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was fueled by a slowing global economy and a development in the bond market that has predicted previous recessions. Avoiding an economic slump is critical to Trump’s reelection hopes.


“The United States right now has the hottest economy anywhere in the world,” Trump said.


Trump, who reached the White House by promising to bring about a historic economic boom, claimed, as he often does, that the markets would have crashed if he had lost his 2016 bid for the presidency. And he warned that if he is defeated in 2020, Americans’ 401(k) retirement accounts will go “down the tubes.”


The Republican president also defended his tactics on trade with China. He has imposed 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion of imports from China and has threatened to hit the remaining $300 billion worth of Chinese imports with 10 percent tariffs. He has delayed that increase on about half of those items to avoid raising prices for U.S. holiday shoppers. He said China wants to make a trade deal with the U.S. because it’s costing the country millions of jobs, but he claimed that the U.S. doesn’t need to be in a hurry.


“I don’t think we’re ready to make a deal,” Trump said.


Trump’s rally was the first since mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, killed 31 people and wounded dozens more. The shootings have reignited calls for Congress to take immediate action to reduce gun violence. Trump said the U.S. can’t make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves, but he advocated for expanding the number of facilities to house the mentally ill without saying how he would pay for it.


“We will be taking mentally deranged and dangerous people off of the streets so we won’t have to worry so much about them,” Trump said. “We don’t have those institutions anymore, and people can’t get proper care. There are seriously ill people and they’re on the streets.”


Along with discussion of the economy and guns, Trump hit a number of other topics, accusing the European Union of being “worse than China, just smaller”; bragging about his 2016 electoral victories in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania; and calling it a “disgrace” that people were throwing water on police officers in New York.


The rally was interrupted about a half an hour in by a handful of protesters near the rafters of the arena. As the protesters were being led out, a Trump supporter wearing a “Trump 2020” shirt near them began enthusiastically shaking his fist in a sign of support for the president.


But Trump mistook him for one of the protesters and said to the crowd: “That guy’s got a serious weight problem. Go home. Start exercising. Get him out of here, please.”
After a pause, he added, “Got a bigger problem than I do.”


New Hampshire, which gave Trump his first GOP primary victory but favored Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election, is doing well economically, at least when using broad measures. But beneath the top-line data are clear signs that the prosperity is being unevenly shared, and when the tumult of the Trump presidency is added to the mix, the state’s flinty voters may not be receptive to his appeals.


An August University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll found that 42 percent of New Hampshire adults approve of Trump while 53 percent disapprove. The poll also showed that 49 percent approve of Trump’s handling of the economy and 44 percent disapprove.


Some Democratic presidential campaigns are holding events to capitalize on Trump’s trip. Joe Biden’s campaign set up down the street from the arena to talk to voters and enlist volunteers. A group for Pete Buttigieg’s campaign gathered in nearby Concord to call voters about his support for new gun safety laws. And Cory Booker urged Trump to cancel the speech and instead order Congress to take immediate action to prevent gun violence.


At 2.4 percent, New Hampshire’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May was among the lowest in the nation. But wage growth is significantly below national gains. Average hourly earnings rose a scant 1 percent in New Hampshire in 2018, lagging the 3 percent gain nationwide, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


In other ways, like the home ownership rate — first in the nation — and median household income — seventh in the U.S. — the state is thriving, according to census data.


New Hampshire’s four Electoral College votes are far below that of key swing states like Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan, but its influence can prove powerful in close election years like 2000, when George W. Bush’s victory in the state gave him the edge needed to win the White House.


By Kevin Freking Associated Press

AP Economics Writer Josh Boak and AP Polling Editor Emily Swanson in Washington and Associated Press writer Hunter Woodall in Manchester, N.H., contributed to this report.


Republished with permission of the Associated Press.


 


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Source: Donald Trump ties U.S. success to 2nd term:  ‘You have to vote for me’

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6
Alabama / John Hickenlooper ending his 2020 White House bid
« on: August 16, 2019, 10:25:20 AM »
John Hickenlooper ending his 2020 White House bid

John Hickenlooper will drop out of the Democratic presidential primary on Thursday, according to a Democrat close to him. The former two-term Colorado governor, who ran as a moderate warning of the perils of extreme partisanship, struggled with fundraising and low polling numbers. His planned departure from the 2020 race was confirmed Wednesday night by […]


The post John Hickenlooper ending his 2020 White House bid appeared first on Alabama Today.




John Hickenlooper will drop out of the Democratic presidential primary on Thursday, according to a Democrat close to him.


The former two-term Colorado governor, who ran as a moderate warning of the perils of extreme partisanship, struggled with fundraising and low polling numbers. His planned departure from the 2020 race was confirmed Wednesday night by a Democrat who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly before the announcement and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.


Hickenlooper, 67, is not expected to announce a decision Thursday on whether he will run for Senate in Colorado, though he has been discussing the possibility with advisers.


Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, up for reelection in 2020, is considered one of the most vulnerable senators in the country because of Colorado’s shift to the left.


Hickenlooper became a political giant in Colorado for his quirky, consensus-driven and unscripted approach to politics. He once jumped out of a plane to sell a ballot measure to increase state spending and won two statewide elections in a purple state during Republican wave years. He was previously the mayor of Denver.


He launched his longshot White House bid in March, promising to unite the country. Instead, he quickly became a political punch line.


Shortly before taking his first trip to Iowa as a candidate, Hickenlooper, who became a multimillionaire founding a series of brewpubs, balked at calling himself a capitalist on national television. Then, at a CNN town hall, he recounted how he once took his mother to see a pornographic movie. With the campaign struggling to raise money, his staff urged Hickenlooper to instead challenge Gardner. But Hickenlooper stayed in and hired another group of staffers in a last-ditch effort to turn around his campaign.


Positioning himself as a common-sense candidate who couldn’t be labeled a socialist by Republicans, Hickenlooper couldn’t make his voice heard in the crowded Democratic presidential field of about two dozen candidates. It didn’t help that, by Hickenlooper’s own admission, he’s a mediocre debater and erratic public speaker. In the end, he couldn’t even scrape together enough money for many of his trademark quirky ads, only launching one in which avid beer drinkers toast Hickenlooper by comparing him to favorite brews.


Hickenlooper softened his denials of interest in the Senate in recent weeks as his campaign finances dwindled and pressure increased from other Democrats. He started telling people he’d make a decision by the end of this week.


It’s unclear whether Hickenlooper plans to run against Gardner, whom national Democrats have urged him to take on since last year. He’s repeatedly said he’s not interested in the Senate and prefers an executive position.


But if Hickenlooper did run against Gardner, he’d first have to get through another crowded Democratic primary field. Numerous Colorado Democrats have launched primary bids for Gardner’s seat, and many have indicated they’d stay in the race, even if Hickenlooper enters the contest.


Hickenlooper isn’t the first Democratic hopeful to end his 2020 presidential bid. U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California announced his departure in July.


By Nicholas Riccardi Associated Press.


AP Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace contributed to this report from Washington.


Republished with permission of the Associated Press.


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Source: John Hickenlooper ending his 2020 White House bid

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7
Alabama / States oppose Alabama’s effort exclude migrants in Census
« on: August 15, 2019, 10:17:54 AM »
States oppose Alabama’s effort exclude migrants in Census

A coalition of 15 states and several major cities is opposing a lawsuit by the state of Alabama that would have the U.S. Census count only U.S. citizens and other legal residents in totals that play a key role in congressional representation and the distribution of federal funding. New York, California, Virginia, other states, the […]


The post States oppose Alabama’s effort exclude migrants in Census appeared first on Alabama Today.




A coalition of 15 states and several major cities is opposing a lawsuit by the state of Alabama that would have the U.S. Census count only U.S. citizens and other legal residents in totals that play a key role in congressional representation and the distribution of federal funding.


New York, California, Virginia, other states, the District of Columbia and some other cities have asked to intervene in Alabama’s federal lawsuit against the U.S. Census Bureau. The states and cities want to defend the longstanding practice of counting all U.S. residents regardless of immigration status, and oppose Alabama’s effort to have it declared illegal.


Alabama’s 2018 lawsuit continues a battle over immigration status and the U.S. Census after President Donald Trump abandoned an effort to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.


New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement that the coalition will fight to ensure all people are counted in the census “despite the Trump Administration’s previous racist and xenophobic attempts to tip the balance of power in the nation and Alabama’s endeavor to continue down that path.”


“No individual ceases to be a person because they lack documentation. The United States Constitution is crystal clear that every person residing in this country at the time of the decennial census — regardless of legal status — must be counted, and no matter what President Trump says, or Alabama does, that fact will never change,” James said.


The cities and states argued in a Monday court filing that the Constitution requires an actual enumeration of the population, which means all people regardless of their citizenship or legal status.


Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks of Huntsville filed the 2018 lawsuit that says counting all residents, regardless of immigration status, was not intended by the Constitution’s writers and the practice unfairly shifts political power and electoral votes from “states with low numbers of illegal aliens to states with high numbers of illegal aliens.”


Alabama argued in the lawsuit that “illegal aliens have not been admitted to the political community and thus are not entitled to representation in Congress or the Electoral College.”


Alabama has said it could lose a congressional seat as a result of the 2020 Census.
Attorneys for the intervening states argued they too have a “significant stake in the outcome of this litigation” because it will affect their political representation in Congress and their eligibility for federal funds.


In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court in a similar case ruled against two Texas residents who argued their votes were diluted by the practice of using the “whole population” to draw legislative district lines.


The Department of Justice is defending the Census Bureau in the lawsuit. However, the cities and states seeking to intervene in the case questioned the Trump’s administration commitment to defending the practice.


U.S. District Judge David Proctor in December allowed others to intervene in the case, noting the federal government’s “rather halfhearted” argument to dismiss the lawsuit. The latest motion to intervene noted that Trump Attorney General William Barr had noted the “current dispute over whether illegal aliens can be included for apportionment purposes.”
The states seeking to intervene in the lawsuit are: New York, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. The United States Conference of Mayors, the District of Columbia and nine other cities and counties, including Seattle and New York City, are also asking to join the lawsuit. The city of Atlanta also asked to intervene in a separate court filing.


This story has been corrected to say the opponents include 15 states and several major cities, not 16 states.


Republished with permission from the Associated Press.


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8
Beto O’Rourke resuming presidential run with ‘major’ Texas speech

Beto O’Rourke will formally rejoin the presidential race on Thursday, resuming a campaign that has been suspended for nearly two weeks with what he promises will be a “major address to the nation” from his hometown of El Paso, Texas, where a mass shooting killed 22 people. The Democratic former congressman will outline “the path […]


The post Beto O’Rourke resuming presidential run with ‘major’ Texas speech appeared first on Alabama Today.




Beto O’Rourke will formally rejoin the presidential race on Thursday, resuming a campaign that has been suspended for nearly two weeks with what he promises will be a “major address to the nation” from his hometown of El Paso, Texas, where a mass shooting killed 22 people.


The Democratic former congressman will outline “the path forward” for his presidential campaign “and for the future of the country.” He will then resume traveling the nation as a 2020 White House hopeful, though his advisers have yet to announce where he’ll go.


O’Rourke was campaigning in Nevada on Aug. 3 when a gunman who denounced immigrants in an online screed opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, a U.S.-Mexico border town. O’Rourke rushed home and has tried to help his city cope. He missed scheduled visits to California, Colorado and Iowa, forgoing the state that opens presidential primary voting during the state fair, when nearly every other Democrat in the crowded presidential field was there.


Canceling a high-profile Iowa stop immediately began clamor in Texas and beyond that O’Rourke could scrap his presidential bid and return to Texas to challenge Republican Sen. John Cornyn, who is up for reelection next year. O’Rourke, who became a political star by nearly unseating Republican Sen. Ted Cruz last year, entered the race for the White House with strong buzz and fundraising but has seen both fade.


Still, O’Rourke’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, dismissed that notion, saying in a statement to The Associated Press: “Now more than ever, this country needs the honest leadership Beto continues to demonstrate — and that is why he is running for president.”
O’Rourke aides also say privately that the El Paso shooting only strengthened the candidate’s resolve to be president since he feels President Donald Trump helped cause it.


In a CNN op-ed, O’Rourke noted that the shooting suspect drove more than 600 miles (965 kilometers) to “hunt and kill Hispanic people” and that he “followed a path of vile inspiration that reaches from the darkest chapters of our history and runs directly to the White House today,” despite the Republican president blaming mental illness and video games.


“It is on all of us, individually and through the institutions of the press and Congress, to decide what this country will stand for at this defining moment of truth,” O’Rourke wrote in the op-ed.


By Will Weissert Associated Press


Republished with permission from the Associated Press.


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Source: Beto O’Rourke resuming presidential run with ‘major’ Texas speech

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9
Alabama / Daniel Sutter: Why go to college?
« on: August 14, 2019, 10:37:39 PM »
Daniel Sutter:  Why go to college?

More than three million students will begin college this year, many pursuing degrees needed for high paying jobs. Amazingly, bachelor’s degrees open economic doors despite little evidence of significant learning in college. How can students who retain so little knowledge make so much money? A college degree can identify people who employers want to hire. […]


The post Daniel Sutter:  Why go to college? appeared first on Alabama Today.




More than three million students will begin college this year, many pursuing degrees needed for high paying jobs. Amazingly, bachelor’s degrees open economic doors despite little evidence of significant learning in college. How can students who retain so little knowledge make so much money?


A college degree can identify people who employers want to hire. A recent book by George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan provocatively titled The Case Against Education argues that this signaling explains much of the college earnings premium.


The college earnings premium is real. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 college grads earned 64 percent more than high school grads who never attended college, and 39 percent more than associate’s degree holders. College grads are also less likely to be unemployed, with a 2.2 percent unemployment rate, versus 4.1 percent for high school grads. The earnings and unemployment differentials have both persisted for years.


Businesses require bachelor’s degrees for many jobs. Every time a business chooses college grads, they pay more. Profit-hungry businesses should not hire more expensive workers unless they create more value.


Economics offers two theories for education’s value. The first, called human capital, contends that learning makes workers more productive. In the human capital story, the college curriculum must be directly valuable to employers. High paying degrees, like economics, must teach skills businesses value more.


Alternatively, college degrees might allow students to signal characteristics which businesses desire; the content of degrees may be largely irrelevant. Life offers many examples of signaling. Romance and courting involve numerous signals, like engagement rings. A diamond is of little practical value, but signals the willingness to make a life-long commitment.


What does college signal? Professor Caplan argues three main traits: intelligence, conscientiousness, and conformity. Businesses desire workers who are smart, able to learn challenging material, and willing to follow rules. Conformity is probably becoming more important, as businesses can no longer afford workers who tell off-color jokes or express racial, religious or sexual intolerance.


Intelligence and ability to learn are valuable because the details of jobs differ greatly across employers. Employers must train workers to do a job their way. Employees must be willing to turn off their cell phones and pay attention.


How important is human capital versus signaling? Discussions of higher education policy generally presume human capital theory. Yet Professor Caplan contends that the college premium is about 80 percent signaling and 20 percent human capital. The content of education clearly has some relevance; engineering firms will not hire inexpensive social work majors over expensive engineers because they prefer graduates already familiar with engineering.


Professor Caplan presents a wealth of statistical evidence in support of signaling. Yet several puzzles demonstrate signaling’s importance. Perhaps most telling is the one mentioned above, the lack of evidence on long-term learning. Knowledge forgotten – of Shakespeare, calculus, or supply and demand – cannot be generating productivity. Furthermore, a student who is one or two classes short of a degree has acquired perhaps 95 percent of a degree’s human capital, but will face a significant salary penalty. And attending classes allows acquisition of knowledge without earning college credit, and has essentially no market value.


Signaling creates value for the economy even if course content is largely irrelevant. College helps employers find the workers they want. Yes, four years of college is costly, but everyone wants high paying jobs and would likely lie during an interview. Whether higher education provides efficient signaling depends on whether an alternative can separate high and low quality potential workers at a lower cost.


The potential exists for excessive and wasteful signaling. Completing high school used to separate one from the crowd. Arguably we now use college degrees as a signal instead of high school diplomas. Credential inflation is potentially costly.


For parents of college students, signaling offers some solace. Even if Sally or Johnny seem to forget everything after the semester ends, passing forgettable classes can readily signal employers their willingness to learn a boring job.


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.


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10
Analysis shows 12 percent could vote without paper backup in 2020

More than one in 10 voters could cast ballots on paperless voting machines in the 2020 general election, according to a new analysis, leaving their ballots more vulnerable to hacking. A study released by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law on Tuesday evaluates the state of the country’s election security six […]


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More than one in 10 voters could cast ballots on paperless voting machines in the 2020 general election, according to a new analysis, leaving their ballots more vulnerable to hacking.


A study released by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law on Tuesday evaluates the state of the country’s election security six months before the New Hampshire primary and concludes that much more needs to be done. While there has been significant progress by states and the federal government since Russian agents targeted U.S. state election systems ahead of the 2016 presidential election, the analysis notes that many states have not taken all of the steps needed to ensure that doesn’t happen again.


The report also notes that around a third of all local election jurisdictions were using voting machines that are at least a decade old, despite recommendations they be replaced after 10 years. The Associated Press reported last month that many election systems are running on old Windows 7 software that will soon be outdated.


“We should replace antiquated equipment, and paperless equipment in particular, as soon as possible,” the report recommends.


The analysis comes as Congress is debating how much federal government help is needed to ensure state election systems are protected. Democrats have put forward legislation to require paper balloting, give more assistance to the states and give them more money to make improvements. But some Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are wary of too much federal intervention and have said no more funding is needed.


Using voter registration and turnout data, the Brennan Center estimates that as many as 12% of voters, or around 16 million people, will vote on paperless equipment in November 2020. Security experts have said that paper-based systems provide better security because they create a record that voters can review before casting their ballots and election workers can use them to audit results.


Still, the number represents an improvement from 2016, when 20 percent of voters cast ballots on paperless equipment. In the last presidential election, 14 states used paperless voting machines as the primary polling place equipment in at least some counties and towns. In 2020, the Brennan Center estimates, that number will drop to no more than eight.


The states that could still have some paperless balloting are Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Mississippi, Texas and Tennessee.


Three states, Arkansas, Delaware and Virginia, transitioned to paper-based voting equipment since the 2016 election. And Georgia, South Carolina and Pennsylvania have committed to replacing equipment by the 2020 election.


Homeland Security officials notified election officials in 21 states in 2017 that their systems had been targeted by Russia. Authorities have since said they believe all states were targeted to varying degrees.


Russian President Vladimir Putin, responding to a question from the AP during a meeting with chief executives of international news agencies in St. Petersburg in June, denied that his government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election despite the extensive evidence to the contrary. Putin also insisted that Moscow has no intention of interfering in any future elections, saying that “we didn’t meddle, we aren’t meddling and we will not meddle in any elections.”


By Mary Clare Jalonick Associated Press.


Republished with permission from the Associated Press.


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11
Michael Wilson principal of Glen Iris  to lead Birmingham’s proposed LGBTQ Charter High School

Earlier today, WBHM posted on their Facebook page that Dr. Michael Wilson will be leaving Glen Iris Elementary school to lead a proposed charter school for LGBTQ students in Birmingham.    According to the Birmingham City Schools Facebook page, Dr. Wilson was named “the National Distinguished Principal of the Year for the state of Alabama by the […]


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Earlier today, WBHM posted on their Facebook page that Dr. Michael Wilson will be leaving Glen Iris Elementary school to lead a proposed charter school for LGBTQ students in Birmingham. 

 

According to the Birmingham City Schools Facebook page, Dr. Wilson was named “the National Distinguished Principal of the Year for the state of Alabama by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)! The program honors outstanding principals who ensure children acquire a sound foundation for lifelong learning and achievement.”

 

The school, which AL.Com reported on in April, will be named the “Magic City Acceptance Academy” is expected to open as soon as 2020. 

 

According to the AL.Com story, “more than 800 LGBTQ youth have received services through the Magic City Acceptance Center, which Birmingham Aids Outreach opened five years ago to provide many free programs, including a legal clinic, counseling, HIV/STI/STD testing and health and wellness workshops.”

 


According to their website, “The Magic City Acceptance Center (MCAC) provides a supportive and affirming space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer or Questioning individuals in Birmingham, Alabama.”

 


MCAC initiatives for LGBTQ youth, ages 13-24 include*:


  • Drop-In Hours

  • Movie Nights

  • Art Workshops

  • Unicorn Pizza Club- a monthly discussion forum focusing on various and diverse aspects of LGBTQ sexual health and well-being.

  • Access and linkage to Community and National Resources

  • Free HIV/STI Testing and Education

  • Free Counseling with Licensed Professional Counselors

  • Steel City Spectrum- a peer-led advocacy group for trans and non binary individuals QTPOC Talk- LGBTQ People of Color Talk

  • Self-Care Workshops

  • BAGSLY (Birmingham Area Gender and Sexuality League of Youth)

  • BAGSLY YouTube Channel

  • Racial/Social Justice Workshops

  • Know Your Rights Workshops

  • Special Events: Holiday Parties, Pride Events

  • Magic City Acceptance Summer Camp

  • Prom and Homecoming


 

LGBTQ Children’s Program:


  • Space to Be Me- This is a professionally facilitated group for parents of trans youth under the age of 14. Children will also have space to meet, connect and participate in activities with other trans youth.


 

LGBTQ Adult Programs:


  • Speak OUT: Professionally facilitated support group for LGBTQ adults, ages 25+.

  • Out and About- A social group for LGBTQ individuals ages 40 and better. Programs include movie nights and art programs.

  • Steel City Spectrum- Professionally facilitated support group for trans, non-binary and genderqueer adults ages 25+.

  • Love TRANSformed- Professionally facilitated support group for partners and spouses of trans adults.

  • All-Gender Survivors of Sexual Assault Support Group- professionally facilitated, in partnership with the Crisis Center of Alabama.

  • LGBTQ Book Club

  • Gay Dad’s Support Group

  • Monthly BAO Bingo

  • Legal Name Change Clinic

  • Wills/Permanency Planning Legal Clinic



 

 


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12
Alabama / Jim Zeigler starts No Tolls PAC as fight heats up
« on: August 13, 2019, 10:40:41 PM »
Jim Zeigler starts No Tolls PAC as fight heats up

Grassroots opposition to the proposed Mobile Bayway Toll continues to gain strength. The effort which boasts tens of thousands of people joining a Facebook Group created for by Jim Zeigler has shown up at meetings, written Governor Kay Ivey’s office, and most recently filed all of the necessary paperwork with the Secretary of State to start […]


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Grassroots opposition to the proposed Mobile Bayway Toll continues to gain strength. The effort which boasts tens of thousands of people joining a Facebook Group created for by Jim Zeigler has shown up at meetings, written Governor Kay Ivey’s office, and most recently filed all of the necessary paperwork with the Secretary of State to start the No Toll PAC


The PAC’s GoFundMe page has raised almost $1,700 in 3 days but the potential for having a coordinated outlet is staggering. If even just 50% of the Facebook users gave $10 that would be $242,205 which could go to the efforts intended goal to stop the toll road by bringing attention to the financial hardships it would cause to families living in the area. 


In a written statement to Alabama Today the PAC’s founder, State Auditor Jim Zeigler said, “We decided to form the ‘No Tolls PAC’ after meeting with legal counsel for the Secretary of State’s office.  The PAC will be transparent.  Donations and expenditures will be reported each month to the Fair Campaign Practices site.  They will be visible to our members – and to anyone – online.”


He went on to describe the power of grassroots opposition saying, “Our Facebook page has been successful in a short period.  We went from one member on May 12 – me – to 48,000 now.  We will pass 50,000 members next week.  There are two reasons.  One, the I-10 toll scheme will have a devastating effect on thousands of families.  People are passionate against the toll scheme.  Two, we have great leadership organizing our toll opposition group.”


Ziegler stressed that, “The toll issue is the hottest and most concerning issue I have ever participated in.  People on Alabama’s Coast mostly know that.  People in the rest of Alabama will know it soon, because tolls are ALDOT’s new tax of the future.


We have a viable plan to defeat the toll scheme.  If we had not started this opposition group, it was a done deal.  Even now, we are fighting uphill.  We can win because it is a horrid plan and the people are on our side.”


For those who don’t have money to give he says there’s more you can do to stay involved, “People can help by joining our Facebook group, encouraging their friends to join, donating to our PAC and praying.”


 






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13
Alabama / Former Alabama legislator wounded in shooting
« on: August 13, 2019, 04:29:30 PM »
Former Alabama legislator wounded in shooting

A former Alabama state representative was shot several times inside his car but didn’t report the shooting. WSFA-TV reports former Rep. James Thomas was wounded last week on Aug. 5 and has since recovered. Selma Interim Police Chief Robert Green says Wilcox County Sheriff’s Office asked the department to check on Thomas. Police discovered Thomas’ […]


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A former Alabama state representative was shot several times inside his car but didn’t report the shooting.


WSFA-TV reports former Rep. James Thomas was wounded last week on Aug. 5 and has since recovered.


Selma Interim Police Chief Robert Green says Wilcox County Sheriff’s Office asked the department to check on Thomas. Police discovered Thomas’ vehicle laced with bullet holes and blood on a seat.


Thomas says someone fired at his vehicle near the George Washington Carver Homes. Green says Thomas didn’t report the shooting but police are now investigating.


Thomas was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1982.


AL.com says Thomas was sentenced in 2012 to one year in jail for having sexual contact with a female student while he was the principal at a high school.


Republished with permission from the Associated Press.


 


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Alabama / Medical marijuana commission to hold first meeting
« on: August 13, 2019, 10:11:12 AM »
Medical marijuana commission to hold first meeting

Alabama’s commission considering laws about medical marijuana is holding its first meeting. The Medical Cannabis Study Commission is tasked with recommending legislation to be considered in the 2020 legislative session. The panel will hold its first meeting at the Alabama Statehouse on Tuesday morning. The commission was created by lawmakers as a compromise after a […]


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Alabama’s commission considering laws about medical marijuana is holding its first meeting.


The Medical Cannabis Study Commission is tasked with recommending legislation to be considered in the 2020 legislative session. The panel will hold its first meeting at the Alabama Statehouse on Tuesday morning.


The commission was created by lawmakers as a compromise after a bill to allow medical marijuana stalled in the Alabama Legislature.


Sen. Tim Melson’s original bill would have allowed patients with certain medical conditions to purchase medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval. The Alabama Senate approved the measure, but the proposal hit opposition in the House of Representatives.


The National Conference of State Legislatures says more than 30 states have approved some form of a medical marijuana program.


Republished with permission of the Associated Press.


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15
AP fact check:  Donald Trump’s made-up claims on shootings, tariffs

Playing defense, President Donald Trump made up facts in the aftermath of two mass shootings and as U.S. businesses braced for a potentially devastating trade war with China. Trump distorted science in seeking to assign blame on video games for the deadly shootings in Texas and Ohio, rather than on his own words that critics […]


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Playing defense, President Donald Trump made up facts in the aftermath of two mass shootings and as U.S. businesses braced for a potentially devastating trade war with China.


Trump distorted science in seeking to assign blame on video games for the deadly shootings in Texas and Ohio, rather than on his own words that critics say contributed to a combustible racial climate spawning violence. He also pointed to an imminent magic solution in the form of legislation on background checks that was far from certain and misrepresented his record on gun control.


On trade, Trump repeatedly exaggerated the benefits of tariffs and sought unfairly to fault the Federal Reserve — not his own policies — for any weakness in the U.S. economy. Trump says he will impose new taxes on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese imports on Sept. 1 that are almost certain to inflict pain on American consumers.


Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden claimed Trump did nothing on gun control, but in fact Trump banned bump stocks, a gun attachment deemed legal during the Obama-Biden administration.


A look at recent claims and reality:


TRADE


TRUMP: “China wants to make a deal so badly. Thousands of companies are leaving because of the Tariffs, they must stem the flow.” — tweet Saturday.


TRUMP: “China is losing so many — they’re losing — thousands and thousands of companies are leaving China now because of the tariffs.” — remarks to reporters Wednesday.


THE FACTS: Not so fast. It’s true that many companies are rethinking their supply chains in an effort to dodge Trump’s tariffs on goods from China. Some are moving production to other countries such as Vietnam and Mexico. But there’s no evidence of a mass exodus. For one thing, relocating factories takes time — often 12 to 18 months. For another, it will be hard for multinationals to duplicate what they have in China — long-standing relationships with Chinese contractors and access to a vast array of specialized suppliers who can quickly deliver niche components.


Trump is seeking to intensify pressure on China to reach a trade deal by saying he will impose 10% tariffs on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports he hasn’t already taxed.


TRUMP: “China dropped the price of their currency to an almost a historic low. It’s called ‘currency manipulation.’ Are you listening Federal Reserve? This is a major violation which will greatly weaken China over time!” — tweet on Aug. 5.


TRUMP: “China is intent on continuing to receive the hundreds of Billions of Dollars they have been taking from the U.S. with unfair trade practices and currency manipulation. So one-sided, it should have been stopped many years ago!” — tweet on Aug. 5.


THE FACTS: He’s misrepresenting the facts.


Trump is correct to be worried that China may decide to use its currency as a weapon in its ongoing trade war with the United States. But it is Trump’s own Treasury Department that had failed to cite China as a currency manipulator in five reports it had issued since Trump took office in January 2017, even though Trump promised in the 2016 campaign to do so right away. Treasury’s surprise move to formally label China a currency manipulator last Monday came after China allowed its currency, the yuan, to fall below the seven yuan-to-$1 level for the first time in 11 years. In the following days, China continued to lower the trading range for the yuan, showing the potential to use its currency as a weapon in the trade war with the United States.


A weaker yuan would make Chinese goods less expensive in the United States, potentially offsetting some of the impact of the tariffs Trump has already imposed on $250 billion in Chinese goods and is threatening to widen to an additional $300 billion in goods next month. Those U.S. tariffs drive up the cost of Chinese imports to American consumers.


Trump appeared to blame the Federal Reserve for not taking action against China in the currency area. In reality, the Treasury’s previous reports had repeatedly said that China did not meet the requirements established in U.S. law to be branded a currency manipulator.


Under U.S. law, the Federal Reserve plays no role in deciding whether countries are unfairly manipulating their currencies.


In its announcement, the Treasury Department contended that the real purpose of “China’s currency devaluation is to gain unfair competitive advantage in international trade.” It was the first time Treasury put China on the currency blacklist since 1994.


The administration’s surprise announcement raised questions about what exactly had changed from the Treasury’s last report issued in May that said China did not meet the criteria to be labeled a currency manipulator.


FEDERAL RESERVE


TRUMP: “As your President, one would think that I would be thrilled with our very strong dollar. I am not!” — tweet Thursday.


TRUMP: “The Fed’s high interest rate level, in comparison to other countries, is keeping the dollar high, making it more difficult for our great manufacturers like Caterpillar, Boeing …. John Deere, our car companies, & others, to compete on a level playing field. With substantial Fed Cuts (there is no inflation) and no quantitative tightening, the dollar will make it possible for our companies to win against competition.” — tweet Thursday.


THE FACTS: The president is oversimplifying the Fed’s role in determining the dollar’s value and failing to take into account possible threats to the country from a weaker dollar.


Trump is correct that U.S. interest rates play a role in determining the value of the dollar against other currencies. Higher U.S. rates tend to attract foreign investors who want to earn higher rates of return on dollar-denominated investments and this does push the dollar’s value higher.


The Fed cut its key short-term rate by a quarter-point last week, its first reduction in more than a decade. But the Fed’s action in setting its short-term rate is only one factor influencing the dollar’s value.


U.S. economic growth also plays a major role. Investors have pushed up the value of the dollar because they are attracted to U.S. assets since America’s economy is growing faster than most other major economies.


And Trump’s drumbeat for a lower dollar ignores the threats that could be posed if the dollar were to weaken significantly. That could spark higher inflation in this country and push interest rates up as foreign buyers of Treasury bonds to fund the government’s $22 trillion debt demand a higher return to guard against the devaluation of the dollar.


GUN VIOLENCE


TRUMP: “We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence.” — remarks on Aug. 5.


THE FACTS: There is no scientific link between video games and mass violence.


Some studies show a short-term increase in aggressive thoughts and feelings after playing video games, but nothing that rises to the level of violence.


In 2006, a small study by Indiana University researchers found that teenagers who played violent video games showed higher levels of emotional arousal but less activity in the parts of the brain associated with the ability to plan, control and direct thoughts and behavior.


“Plenty of gamers and get upset when they lose or feel the game was ‘cheating,’ but it doesn’t lead to violent outputs,” said Benjamin Burroughs, a professor of emerging media at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.


Patrick Markey, a psychology professor at Villanova University who focuses on video games, found in his research that men who commit severe acts of violence actually play violent video games less than the average male. About 20 percent were interested in violent video games, compared with 70 percent of the general population, he said.


Another study by Markey and his colleagues showed that violence tends to dip when a new violent movie or video game comes out, possibly because people are at home playing the game or in theaters watching the movie.


Trump’s recent statements assigning blame to the video game industry were more reserved compared with his last brush with the subject in 2018, when he called video games “vicious” and summoned game-industry executives to meet at the White House, to little lasting effect.


TRUMP, on prospects for gun control legislation: “There’s a great appetite — and I mean a very strong appetite — for background checks. And I think we can bring up background checks like we’ve never had before. I think both Republican and Democrat are getting close to a bill on — they’re doing something on background checks.” — remarks to reporters Wednesday before departing for Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.


THE FACTS: He’s overstating the level of political will for gun control measures.


Passage of a background checks bill in the Senate remains far from certain. Support for a bipartisan background checks measure co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia reached a high point with a 2013 vote after the Sandy Hook shooting, but it fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, under pressure to call senators back to Washington from their summer recess to work on gun measures, said Thursday that he hopes to consider legislation to expand federal background checks when Congress returns in the fall. He said he wants to spend the August recess talking with senators to see what’s possible.


Two other gun bills have passed the House this year but languished in the Republican-controlled Senate. One of them would require federal background checks for all firearms sales and transfers, including those online or at gun shows. The second bill allows an expanded 10-day review for gun purchases.


With gun control legislation stalled, some senators have pushed for a bipartisan proposal to create a federal grant program to encourage states to adopt “red flag” laws to take guns away from people believed to be a danger to themselves or others. But it remains to be seen if such a law could pass Congress.


BIDEN, Democratic presidential candidate: Trump is “doing nothing — nothing about the endemic and epidemic of guns that is fueling a literal carnage in America.” — remarks Wednesday in Burlington, Iowa.


THE FACTS: He’s wrong that Trump did absolutely nothing on gun control
A nationwide ban took effect in March on bump stocks, the attachment used by the gunman in the 2017 Las Vegas massacre to make his weapons fire rapidly like machine guns.


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives outlawed the attachments at Trump’s direction after the shootings killed more than 50 people in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. It is the only major gun restriction imposed by the federal government in the past few years.


The Trump administration’s move was an about-face for the bureau. In 2010, under the Obama-Biden administration, it found that the devices were legal. But under the Trump administration, officials revisited that determination and found it incorrect.


After the Las Vegas shootings, the National Rifle Association initially said “devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.” After the bureau’s ruling banning the devices, however, the gun lobby called it “disappointing” and said it should have provided amnesty for gun owners who already have bump stocks.


The government estimates that more than 500,000 bump stocks were sold after they were legalized in 2010.


TRUMP, on gun restrictions: “We have done much more than most administrations. …We’ve done, actually, a lot.” — remarks on Aug. 4 to reporters.


THE FACTS: Trump’s record on gun control is not groundbreaking.


Congress has proved unable to pass substantial gun violence legislation, despite the frequency of mass shootings, in large part because of resistance from Republicans, particularly in the GOP-controlled Senate. That political dynamic seems difficult to change.


It’s true that after other mass shootings Trump called for strengthening the federal background check system, and in 2018, he signed legislation to increase federal agency data sharing. In December 2018, the Trump administration also banned bump stocks.


But he has rolled back restrictions, reneged on pledges and resisted Democratic calls to toughen other gun control laws.


Within weeks of taking office, Trump scrapped a federal rule imposed by Obama that could have made it harder for some mentally ill people to own guns. Under the rule, the Social Security Administration was supposed to provide information to the gun-buying background check system on recipients with a mental disorder so severe they cannot work or handle their own benefit checks. The rule didn’t make certain people ineligible to buy a firearm but was designed to ensure the background check system was comprehensive.


In February, the House approved bipartisan legislation to require federal background checks for all gun sales and transfers and approved legislation to allow a review period of up to 10 days for background checks on firearms purchases. The White House threatened a presidential veto if those measures passed Congress.


At a February meeting with survivors and family members of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting in which 17 people died, Trump promised to be “very strong on background checks.” Trump claimed he would stand up to the gun lobby and finally get results in quelling gun violence. But he later retreated, expressing support for modest changes to the federal background check system and for arming teachers.


Some Democrats have called for stronger measures such as renewing a federal ban on assault weapons, which was put in place during the Clinton administration before it expired under President George W. Bush. Trump has shown no interest in embracing that issue.


TRUMP: “We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment, but, when necessary, involuntary confinement.” — remarks on Aug. 5.


THE FACTS: His words don’t match his past actions.


Trump’s budgets would have slashed the federal-state Medicaid program, which provides health insurance for more than 70 million low-income and disabled people and is also the major source of public funds for mental health treatment.


Such proposals failed to advance in Congress, even when both chambers were under Republican control.


The president’s 2020 budget does call for some spending increases on smaller mental health programs, including an increase of $15 million, for a total of $107 million, to expand school-based programs. The Parkland shootings last year at a Florida high school heightened sensitivity to the mental health needs of students.


But such increases for specific programs pale in comparison with the impact of Medicaid cuts. This year Trump again proposed to turn the program over to the states, limiting future federal financing. That would have led to a cut of about $1.4 trillion over 10 years from currently projected levels of federal spending.


The administration says that’s not really a cut, since spending would have continued to grow, just more slowly. But limits on federal financing would have forced states to confront hard choices over competing priorities like mental health or addiction treatment, nursing home costs or prenatal care for low-income women.


As a candidate, Trump had originally promised that he would not cut Medicaid.


JOBS


TRUMP: “I am the least racist person. Black … Unemployment is the lowest (BEST) in the history of the United States!” — tweet Tuesday.


THE FACTS: Trump is seeking credit he doesn’t deserve for black job growth.


It’s true that black unemployment did reach a record low during the Trump administration: 5.9 percent in May 2018. It currently stands at 6 percent.


But many economists view the continued economic growth since the middle of 2009, when Obama was in office, as the primary explanation for hiring. More important, there are multiple signs that the racial wealth gap is now worsening and the administration appears to have done little, if anything, to specifically address this challenge.


The most dramatic drop in black unemployment came under Obama, when it fell from a recession high of 16.8 percent in March 2010 to 7.8 percent in January 2017.


By Hope Yen and Martin Crutsinger Associated Press

Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro, Colleen Long, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Paul Wiseman in Washington, Lisa Marie Pane in Boise, Idaho, and Mae Anderson in New York contributed to this report.


Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd
Follow @APFactCheck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APFactCheck


Republished with permission of the Associated Press.


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