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    The subject of abortion is a very touchy one in America. The ...
1. Alabama Crimson Tide 2. LSU Tigers 3. Oklahoma Sooners 4. Boise State Broncos 5. ...
    There were a few minor upsets in week 2 of the college football ...
    The books are closed on 2012, as 2013 has finally arrived. We ...
    The death toll from Wednesday's tornado outbreak has reached 318. The number ...
    All local area schools will be closed tomorrow and Wednesday. This includes ...
    Last night, a fire erupted in a home on Maple Ave in Satsuma. ...
    The weekly unemployment numbers hit a four year low last week. The ...
    This past Sunday, 28 year old Kendall Woodard was at a local fast ...
    Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg teamed up to take over the box office ...

Byrne And Leflore To Debate Tonight

Posted by David Merrell On December - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

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    Election day is less than two weeks away. After vanquishing Dean Young in the Republican primary, Bradley Byrne must now face Democrat Burton Leflore in the general election. Tonight, the two candidates will debate at the gym of McGill-Toolen high school. The school, along with the League of Women Voters, will be hosting the debate.

    Byrne is considered a heavy favorite to win the election. The seat has been held by Republicans since 1965, and became open when Congressman Jo Bonner decided to step down to take a job at the University of Alabama. Byrne came out on top of a crowded Republican primary field in the summer, but did not manage to gain the majority needed to win the race outright. He won a close contest against Dean Young in the runoff a few weeks ago.

    Leflore won his nomination outright in the Democratic primary. He is the son of civil rights leader John Leflore, and is hoping to become the first Democrat to win the 1st Congressional District of Alabama in 50 years.

    The debate will be held at 7:00 PM. The Student Government Association of McGill-Toolen will moderate the debate, which is open to the public. The election will be held on Tuesday, December 17th.

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Republicans Have Abandoned Reason For Madness

Posted by David Merrell On August - 25 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

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    What happened to the Republican Party? The party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Eisenhower has somehow morphed into the party of Boehner, McConnell, and Cantor. Compromise is a dirty word, and dedication to eliminating a single program trumps all else. Thanks to Republican obstruction, the latest Congress put the ‘Do Nothing Congress’ to shame.

    To understand the madness sweeping the Republican Party, consider this fact: a third of Louisiana Republicans blame President Obama for the response to Hurricane Katrina. The storm hit roughly 3 and a half years before Obama took office. This is not the first time Obama has been blamed for something that happened before his term. Republicans have also tried to pin the Wall Street bailout on the current president many times, despite President Bush executing that particular policy.

    The implosion of the Bush presidency in late 2008 can be blamed for a lot of the problems. His failures led to the ascension of Barack Obama, something that put many Republicans over the edge for one reason or another. In early 2009, ordinary Republicans revolted and formed the Tea Party. While advertised as a grassroots movement consisting of people who had never been a part of the political process, it was clear from the beginning that the Tea Party was just regular old Republicans under a new brand.

    While the Tea Party may not have been what it was advertised to be, its members were certainly determined. The powers that be in the Republican Party quickly took advantage of the situation. Conservative news network Fox News sent several of its popular TV hosts to Tea Party rallies around the country. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and the group Freedomworks essentially co-opted the movement and sponsored many of the rallies. Corporate leadership was there from nearly the beginning.

    Republican leadership would later come to regret backing the Tea Party so strongly. Where the movement has had the most impact is in Republican primaries. The group was well organized, and unlike the Occupy Wall Street movement, Tea Party members showed up to vote. They torpedoed several moderate candidates in GOP primaries. While Republicans were able to take back the House in the 2010 elections, the Tea Party push cost them a chance to retake the Senate.

    Tea Party participation in primaries is what has pushed Republicans over the cliff. Republican lawmakers are so afraid of a challenge from the right in a primary that they have abandoned reason and logic when legislating. Since coming into power in 2010, Republicans have voted to appeal Obamacare over 40 times, despite the fact that they know the Democratic controlled Senate nor the Democratic President would ever sign off on the legislation. These pointless votes are a waste of the taxpayer’s time and money, but they appease the Tea Party members who control Republican’s fate.

    Tea Party policies are hurting Republican’s long term viability in the US. Immigration is what will ultimately doom the party if they don’t moderate their position. Tea Party members are vehemently against immigration reform, but the resistance usually comes off as anti-Hispanic. This demographic is one of the fastest growing in the US, and is going to dominate several key states in the southwest in the years to come. The Republican stronghold of Texas is projected to change from red to purple in the next few years thanks to the Hispanic population. This one issue could take the Republicans out of the presidential race within a few cycles.

    The immigration dilemma is particularly discouraging to Republicans. Hispanics could be natural voters for the GOP, as they are generally religious and hold values similar to most social conservatives. Big business, long a staple of the Republican Party, also backs immigration reform. Despite all of these headwinds, some Republicans refuse to embrace reform out of fear of a primary challenge.

    Despite all of these problems, Republicans are still believed to have a strong chance to retake the Senate in the 2014 midterms. They are also not likely to lose the House anytime soon thanks to gerrymandering. Even if they do, President Obama will still be president for two more years. Republicans are then looking at the prospect of facing Hillary Clinton in 2016. She would likely be one of the biggest favorites in a presidential election in recent memory. While the Republicans may control Congress, it is doubtful that they will have a veto proof majority. Will they still push for policies they know a Democratic president won’t sign?

    It is important to remember that the primary problem is one the Republicans created. Without the backing of traditional Republican powers like Fox News and Freedomworks, the Tea Party would not hold nearly the clout it does now. They created the monster, and now it will no longer follow their orders. The American people have been collateral damage in this civil war for the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

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Newt Gingrich Dropping Out of Republican Primary

Posted by David Merrell On April - 26 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

    Long after pundits have called the primary for Mitt Romney, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has decided to withdraw his bid for the Republican nomination. The Speaker is expected to formally withdraw on May 1st and back Romney. He will make his final campaign appearance this Tuesday in Washington D.C.

    The run for president has been up and down for Gingrich. He got off to a poor start and lost most of his staffers last year before the primary season had even begun. He was polling in single digits for most of the fall. Romney’s inability to seal the deal as the GOP front runner led to a carousel of candidates momentarily taking the reigns atop the leader board, and Gingrich got his turn in the early winter.

    Gingrich’s time as the front runner was short lived, and Rick Santorum won the Iowa Caucuses. Romney would win the New Hampshire Primary. Gingrich once again rose from the dead and won the South Carolina primary. He was contending in Florida before being buried in an advertising onslaught by Romney and his Super PAC.

    After his wipe out in Florida, Gingrich was essentially done. He would go on to win his home state of Georgia, but that was it. The battle for the Republican nomination came down to Santorum and Romney, with the former Massachusetts governor eventually pulling away. Though he currently lacks the delegates to seal up the nomination, Romney is now the presumptive nominee. Only Ron Paul remains in the race.

    It is interesting to see Gingrich back Romney so quickly after pulling out of the race. Most insiders believed he only stayed in the race to take shots at Romney after getting hammered in Florida. Once again the old saying about Republicans falling into line is proven true as most of those who dropped out have now endorsed Mitt Romney. The establishment is now solidly behind him. The challenge is going to be getting conservative voters to get on board, and thus far Romney has failed to do so.

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Newt Gingrich Shuffles Staff, Vows to Remain in Campaign

Posted by David Merrell On March - 28 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

    According to reports by CNN and Politico, Newt Gingrich is making some major changes to his campaign staff. The former Speaker of the House is replacing his campaign manager and laying off a third of his staff. Michael Krull is being replaced as campaign manager by Vince Haley, a longtime aide of Gingrich. Krull took over as campaign manager in June of 2011.

    R.C. Hammond, a Gingrich spokesman, explained that the campaign is transforming to be ready for the Republican National Convention in August. The campaign plans on convincing delegates that Gingrich is the best choice to be the Republican nominee. The plan obviously assumes that neither Mitt Romney nor Rick Santorum will get the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination. They plan on using low cost online communications.

    What this move really indicates is that the Gingrich campaign is running out of money. Laying off staffers and using “low cost” communications are dead giveaways. Considering the fact that Gingrich has only won two states and is now being written off by pundits that is not surprising. It is hard to raise money when you are not winning.

    Given Rick Santorum’s recent string of wins in the South, which was supposed to be Newt Gingrich’s home turf, one has to ponder why the former Speaker remains in the race. The odds of him somehow pulling off the nomination at this point are astronomically low if not zero. If someone other than Romney is going to win the race at this point it is going to be Santorum.

    It is no secret that Newt has animosity towards Mitt Romney following a very brutal campaign in the state of Florida. At that point Newt was riding high after his win in South Carolina. He was competing well in Florida until he was buried by Romney’s super PAC advertising. Some pundits believe he is staying in the race only to dig at Romney, yet he has become the former Massachusetts Governor’s biggest ally by siphoning votes away from Rick Santorum, who is a similar candidate.

    If Romney fails to secure 1,144 delegates it looks like we are going to be in for one nasty summer. The political bloodshed that comes from the fight of a brokered convention could do severe damage to the Republican brand. With the economy on the mend, President Obama is looking stronger every day. One thing is certain, and that is the fact that we are in for a very interesting presidential campaign this year.

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Rick Santorum Sweeps Southern Primaries

Posted by David Merrell On March - 14 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

    Rick Santorum once again haulted front runner Mitt Romney’s momentum dead in its tracks yesterday. The former Pennsylvania Senator picked up wins in the Alabama and Mississippi primaries. Santorum won 35% of the vote in Alabama, and 33% of the vote in Mississippi. This marks the third straight southern primary Santorum has won following his victory in Tennessee on Super Tuesday.

    The victories were achieved more in the perception department than anything else. Romney picked up victories in American Samoa and Hawaii later in the evening, and both southern states handed out their delegates proportionally. Santorum’s delegate gain was minimal. What the wins did show was that Romney is still struggling to get conservative voters, and that is very much a concern for the former Massachusetts governor.

    The spotlight will now turn momentarily towards Newt Gingrich. The pressure to step down and allow Santorum to challenge Mitt Romney one on one is about to be turned up to eleven. There is essentially no path towards victory for Newt at this point. Santorum still has an outside chance of challenging Romney. Oddly enough, most analysts believe Newt is remaining in the race because of his hatred for Romney after the wave of attack ads thrown at him in Florida. The irony is that his continued presence in the race is going to help Romney get the nomination.

    A lot of interesting information came from the exit polls from both Mississippi and Alabama yesterday. The ability to defeat President Obama was listed as the most important quality for a candidate. Given the GOP’s hatred of the president this is not surprising. The economy was listed as the top issue worrying voters. Most voters were unhappy with the way the federal government has been run.

    A pair of Alabama Representatives fended off primary challenges on Tuesday. Jo Bonner defeated three other Republican candidates in convincing fashion. Spencer Bachus also took home a primary victory. Both representatives had to fend off attacks from the Campaign for Primary Accountability, a super PAC from Texas looking to unseat incumbents.

    For the first time in a long time Alabama mattered in presidential politics. Candidates and media figures alike descended on our neck of the woods and the state was given a lot of exposure. Through the entire process, Alabama was revealed little by little to the whole country over the past week. It was refreshing to see the candidates campaign in a state that is normally just glanced over because its primary comes later in the season. Given the new rules in the Republican nominating process, this could be the new normal.

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Primary Day Has Arrived

Posted by David Merrell On March - 13 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

    After a week of big media attention focused on both Alabama and Mississippi, the day of action has finally arrived. A highly competitive Republican presidential primary has brought candidates to states they never though they would have to actually contest. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were in Birmingham on Monday night speaking at the Alabama Theatre at an event sponsored by the Alabama GOP. Mitt Romney was also in Alabama today, campaigning at the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mobile on his 65th birthday.

    The race is still very tight. A poll released Monday by Public Policy Polling had Romney leading with 31% of the vote, Newt in second with 30%, and Santorum in third with 29%. Romney has also been leading in Mississippi. A win in either state by Romney will likely be the nail in the coffin for his opponents. If Gingrich fails to win either state he is expected to face a lot of pressure to exit the race.

    If Romney is able to finally cement his status as the inevitable nominee, it would come at the perfect time. Recent polls show President Obama’s approval rating taking a slight dip lately due to surging gas prices. As the economy continues to improve the president’s approval is sure to go up. The GOP needs a nominee who can begin to take on the president now if they hope to truly challenge him in November.

    Those who plan to vote tomorrow need to remember to bring some form of identification with them. Acceptable forms of ID include your driver’s license, social security card, college ID, work ID, passport, hunting license, fishing license, or a utility bill with your address on it. If you are unsure of where you need to go to vote, check out http://alabamavotes.gov/ to find your polling station. This site will tell you where you need to go to vote, all the forms of ID that are acceptable, and just about anything else you need to know about voting.



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Newt Gingrich Coming to Alabama

Posted by David Merrell On March - 5 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

    Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich will be campaigning in Alabama two days this week ahead of next Tuesday’s Alabama primary. On Tuesday Gingrich will be at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. He plans on holding a rally at 12:30 PM and then touring the Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology.

    On Wednesday Gingrich will be in multiple cities across Alabama. He will be at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery at 10:30 AM. Next he heads to Pell City Civic Center at 2:30 PM. He will finish the day at the Harbert Center in Birmingham at 6:30 PM.

    February polls showed Alabama was still in play for three of the four candidates remaining. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich were all hovering in the 20% range. Ron Paul came in a distant 4th at around 7%. Gingrich could have the inside track to taking Alabama since he is a native of the neighboring state of Georgia. That state holds its primary tomorrow on Super Tuesday. A Gingrich win there could spill over and influence Alabama.

    The field could change greatly after tomorrow’s big day. Odds are that all candidates will remain in the race, but a poor showing by Santorum or Gingrich could convince one of them to drop out. If Romney does not have a strong showing both would be enticed to remain in the race. Romney has been gaining momentum and could deliver a severe blow to their chances tomorrow.

    This Republican primary season has been one of the most competitive in recent memory. At least 5 different candidates have been national front runners at different points in time. Mitt Romney began the season as the leader. When Rick Perry joined the race he rocketed to the top. Herman Cain grabbed the lead for a short time on the back of his 9-9-9 plan. After a scandal brought Cain down Newt Gingrich climbed to the top due to his strong debate performances. Rick Santorum assumed front runner status for a time after winning the Iowa caucuses. Now Mitt Romney appears to have reclaimed the lead.

    Establishment Republicans are desperate to see this primary wrapped up and the focus returned to attacking President Obama. Most feel the competitive primaries have hurt all of the candidates and strengthened the president. A growing economy has already hurt one of their lines of attack. This presidential election is probably going to be one of the ugliest in history and require a ton of campaign money. The longer Republicans fight each other, the less time they have to fight President Obama.

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Mitt Romney Wins Michigan and Arizona Primaries

Posted by David Merrell On February - 29 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

    Tuesday night was a big one for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney as won both primaries contested that night. Romney cruised to victory in Arizona defeating Rick Santorum by a 20% margin. The former Massachusetts Governor squeaked by Santorum in Michigan by about 3%. Though the race was tight in Romney’s home state, the victory was crucial. Santorum had gained momentum and a win in Michigan would have been disastrous for Romney.

    The next big date on the election calendar is March 6th, aka Super Tuesday. Ten states will hold elections on that day including Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. Romney figures to struggle in the Southern states that will be contested that day. Georgia is Newt Gingrich’s home state and he is likely to do well there. Santorum has been leading Romney in Ohio, which figures to be a crucial battleground state in the general election. Romney should do well in Massachusetts and Vermont.

    It is not a good sign for the Republicans that their long time assumed front runner is still struggling to hold off flawed challengers like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Ron Paul’s support is understandable as he is a vastly different candidate who has a particularly fierce following. He is essentially a third party candidate running in the Republican primary at this point. Romney’s weakness against the other two challengers is troubling.

    Romney’s biggest problem is that the trait that probably most defines who he is, his Mormon faith, is something he has to hide. He can not wear his religion on his sleeve like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. I believe that is one reason why he appears so awkward at his events. His second biggest problem is that he is a rich guy in a time when the very rich are not looked at to favorably.

    Romney’s flip flopping could also come back to hurt him. He was a moderate governor, and now he is tracking hard to the right. If he goes on to win the nomination he will have to pivot back to the center. He is in danger of getting motion sickness from constantly shifting his position on key issues.

    President Obama has pulled in front of all of the challengers in recent polling. As the economy grows stronger the Republican chances grow weaker. If the unemployment rate falls below 8% Obama could win in a landslide. Republicans are now looking to rising gas prices as a new call to arms against the president much as Democrats did against President Bush towards the end of his term. That could be effective if prices rise above $4 a gallon.

    This was a good night for Mitt Romney. He put it perfectly in his victory speech: he didn’t win by a lot, but he won by enough. Winning has proved to be a momentum changer in this Republican primary. Perhaps these victories will propel him back over Rick Santorum in the national polls. He needs to put this thing away soon if wants a prayer of competing in the general election because he is losing independent voters fast. Those voters will likely determine the fate of the 2012 election.

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GOP Candidates Stage Last Debate Before Super Tuesday

Posted by David Merrell On February - 23 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

    The four remaining candidates for the GOP nomination took to the stage last night in yet another debate. The two front runners, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, sparred over health care and government bailouts. Santorum hit Romney for setting up a health care system in Massachusetts that is similar to the health care law President Obama signed into law in 2010. He also accused the former governor of supporting the bailout of Wall Street. Romney hit back at Santorum for supporting former Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter. Specter later went on to switch parties and voted for Obamacare.

    The Republican primary season is about to heat up in the coming weeks. This coming Tuesday there will be primaries in Arizona and Michigan. On March 6 Super Tuesday occurs, which is ten primaries in one day. The candidates were all in need of good press as all four are currently losing in the polls to President Obama. Voters are now more optimistic about the state of the economy and the direction of the country.

    Mitt Romney has long been the front runner in the campaign, but he has struggled to seal the deal. Several candidates have risen to challenge him for the top spot, including Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich. Rick Santorum is the latest to rise to the top with recent wins in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado. Santorum is known more as a social conservative while Romney is known for his corporate experience. Romney is currently leading comfortably in Arizona, but faces a stiff challenge from Santorum in Michigan.

    Alabama’s Republican primary is scheduled for March 13 along with Mississippi and Hawaii. The latest polls show a very tight race in Alabama. The Capital Survey Research Center in Montgomery had Romney leading with 27% of the vote in a survey conducted February 6-8. Santorum followed with 23% and Gingrich was right behind with 22%. Ron Paul came in last with 7%. Alabama has followed the national pattern of consistently changing front runners.

    The winner of the Republican nomination will likely not be of great significance in the fall. The 2012 presidential election is going to be a referendum on President Obama. If the economy continues to improve in the coming months the president will likely get reelected. If the economy falters and gas prices continue to rise he will likely lose. A key number to look at is the unemployment rate. If unemployment drops below 8% then President Obama is almost assured of winning the election.

    Who is your candidate of choice to run against President Obama? Leave a comment and vote in our poll to let us know what you think.

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