News Analysis By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher and Editor
Most Alabama political pundits agree that voter turnout will be the key to victory in next Tuesday’s special election between Doug Jones and Roy Moore for the U. S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became U. S. Attorney General.
Because Alabama is a deep red state, in the Heart of Dixie, very few political observes gave Doug Jones, a progressive Democratic candidate much of a chance. The polls have been all over the place but most show a tied race or a close race within the margin of error.
Most of the commentary dwells on the lopsided white Republican vote in Alabama but does not take into account Moore’s extremist religious stands which contest the ‘rule of law’ and had him removed twice from the state’s Supreme Court for unethical and unconstitutional behavior.
All of this was before the recent revelations that Moore sexually abused young women in the Gadsden area, some as young as 14, when he was a 30 year old assistant district attorney. Moore, following the example of Donald Trump, has denied all of the accusations by the women despite their believability and corroborating evidence.
The pundits also overlook and discount the efforts of Black organizations to mobilize the Black vote for Doug Jones in the rural Black Belt counties and inner city urban areas of Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile.
Since Labor Day, Black voter organizations in Alabama have been mobilizing under the banner of the ‘Vote or Die Campaign’ to awaken, register and organize Black voters to turnout in support of Doug Jones on December 12th. Alabama New South Alliance, the SOS Coalition for Democracy and Justice, NAACP chapters, Alabama Democratic Conference and others have been working at the grassroots to enlighten and empower Black voters to take part in the special election.
In the first primary on August 15, Doug Jones won the Democratic primary by 109,000 out of 165,000 total votes. In the second primary between Luther Strange and Roy Moore, Moore received 262,204 votes to 218,000 for Strange.
The turnout in both of these races was below 20%.
Next Tuesday’s election will be held in the midst of the Christmas holiday shopping season. Many people in Alabama just don’t realize there is an election going on and this will contribute to a low turnout.
Statewide in Alabama there are 3.2 million registered voters with 2.1 million active white voters and 760,000 Black voters. There are 1.5 million Republican voters, 1 million Democrats and the rest Independents.
If Roy Moore receives a third of the Republican vote – 500,000, that roughly corresponds to the Evangelic Christian vote which is dedicated to voting for him, then Doug Jones must put together a turnout of over half of the Black vote say 400,000 and enough white Democratic and Republican votes to win over Moore. Putting this type of coalition together is within his grasp but it depends on a strong Black voter turnout together with white voters who feel and know that Moore is and will be a continuing embarrassment to the state.
President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and other far right conservatives have jumped into this election on Moore’s side but they are late arrivals. Jones has outraised by Moore by $10 million to $2 million in election funds. Jones has been dominating the TV airwaves until recently.
Trump seeks to nationalize the election by portraying Doug Jones as a ‘liberal Democrat’ who win not vote for Trump’s tax cuts, immigration wall, military budget and other issues. Trump’s leaning in late may help solidify the opposition to Moore and support for Doug Jones as the more progressive reasonable candidate, who shares Alabama’s progressive views on these ‘kitchen table issues’.
When you get and read this paper, there will only be a few day left before the Special Election on Tuesday, December 12th, go and vote and show that turnout is the key and will be the difference in this election.
The Board of Directors of the Greene County Health System (GCHS) has chosen Dr. Marcia Pugh to be its new Administrator/Chief Executive Officer. GCHS includes the Hospital, Residential Care Center (Nursing Home), Physicians Clinic and other components of the county health system.
The GCHS Search Committee received over 40 applications, interviewed 10 persons by phone and held one face-to-face interview in the process of selecting the new Administrator. The GCHS Board confirmed the selection of Pugh at its November meeting. Her first day on the job at the Hospital was Monday December 4, 2017.
Prior to joining Greene County Health System, Pugh served as Director of Grants, Research and Outreach of West AL (GROWestAL), a division of the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority based at Bryan Whitfield Hospital in Demopolis. She held a number of administrative and nursing positions with the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority at Bryan Whitfield in Demopolis, starting in 1992. Prior to her service in Demopolis, she worked with the Jefferson County Department of Health and the John A. Andrews Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama.
Pugh earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree from the Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, in 2010. She has a Masters of Nursing and Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Tuskegee University. She is an Adjunct Professor of Nursing at several colleges including Aurora University and Concordia School of Nursing of Wisconsin.
“In the resume, she submitted for the position, she listed five pages of Federal and foundation grants in the healthcare field that she had written or participated in during the past ten years,” said John Zippert, Chair of the GCHS Board of Directors. He added, “We hope that she will be able to develop similar grant programs for Greene County.”
“I’m excited and I’m humbled to be given the opportunity to lead this fantastic team of employees who put quality first in providing health services support to Greene County Health System stakeholders,” Pugh says.
“Our men and women at Greene County Hospital take pride in serving the families of this community, and I am proud to join this team.”
John Zippert, Chair of the Board of the Greene County Health System said, “We welcome Dr. Marcia Pugh and will work with her in any way possible to enhance and strengthen our Hospital and health facilities in Greene County.”
Pugh listed as her major goals for improving the status and facilities of the Greene County Hospital and Nursing Home:
•Achieve a balanced fiscal position where the Hospital, Nursing Home and Physicians Clinic will have sufficient patient income and external subsidies to cover operations;
•Expand the Emergency Care capabilities of the Hospital;
•Fill the 20 vacant beds in the GCHS Residential Care Center (Nursing Home)
•Recruit additional health care providers, i. e., physicians and nurse practioners to increase services to Greene County and surrounding residents;
•Improve the image and involvement of the Hospital and Nursing Home in the community.
Dr. Pugh has two children, Nakieta, a Clinical Psychologist and Barrown, II, a husband and devoted father. She lives in Demopolis.
Shown above Chief Derick Coleman with two new officers Khadijah Williams and Bryant Snyder.
The Eutaw City Council met twice in November for its regular meetings on November 14 and 28, 2017.
Mayor Steele explained that he has been meeting with representatives of Loves Truckstop about constructing a major truckstop at the Interstate 20 and 59 exit for Eutaw, at the 40 mile-marker. “At first we were talking about 87 spaces for trucks, then it went up to 168 and now we are talking about 200 parking spots for trucks and other privately owed vehicles.
The truck stop will sell gas and related products, have a convenience store and two fast food franchise locations in the store.
The truck stop will operate 24 hours a day and employ as many as 40 people,” said Mayor Steele.
The City Council will need to consider giving the truckstop owners an abatement of one cent of the gasoline taxes as an incentive to locate in the city. The abatement generally lasts for a period of time and goes up to a certain dollar amount whichever is reached first. Mayor Steele said that he was still negotiating the details of the tax incentive agreement and would bring it up for a vote when the full proposal was ready but he wanted to alert the City Council of this development. The City Council approved applying for a TAP grant to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) for $800,000 with $180,000 in matching funds, which can be cash or in-kind services, to replace the sidewalks in the downtown area, put up decorative lighting, put up a railing along the edge of the sidewalk and plant trees and shrubs. The motion was approved. Councilwoman Sheila Smith voted against the proposal.
In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:
• re-named a street in honor of Ms. Johnnie E. Williams;
• approved making a proposal by the City of Eutaw to purchase Carver Middle School buildings for $215,000 from the Greene County Board of Education, to turn the facility into an afterschool park and recreation site for youth and adults;
• paid bills and claims for the months of October and November;
• holding one City Council meeting for the next month on Monday, December 18, 2017;
• approved two new police officers, Bryant Snyder and Khadijah Williams, who will be attending the police academy next month for training and certification.
By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
Graduates of Howard University
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) generate $14.8 billion in economic impact annually, which is equivalent to a ranking in the top 200 on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations, according to a stunning new report by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
The report, conducted by the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business Selig Center for Economic Growth, revealed that Miles College in Birmingham, a 1,634-student Alabama school generates $67 million for its local region.
In total, the nation’s HBCUs generate $14.8 billion in economic impact annually; that’s equivalent to a ranking in the top 200 on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations. This estimate includes direct spending by HBCUs on faculty, employees, academic programs and operations, and by students attending the institutions, as well as the follow-on effects of that spending. • Public HBCUs account for $9.6 billion of that total economic impact, while private HBCUs account for $5.2 billion.
The economic impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) on their local communities has never been stronger, especially at Miles College in Fairfield, Ala.
A new report funded by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and
Fact sheets for the economic impact of individual HBCUs are available at https://www.uncf.org/programs/hbcu-impact.
“It’s the first time that we’ve had a study conducted by such a professional institution to recognize the importance of HBCUs and particularly the impact on our community,” Miles College President Dr. George T. French, Jr., told the NNPA Newswire. “We’ve talked in general terms, but to quantify this is important so that our partners can understand the value of our institution. It’s a win-win for our region and for government partners who look to partner with us.”
The landmark study titled, “HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” makes clear that the benefits also flow to the local and regional economies connected to Miles College.
The study is a precursor to a larger report that UNCF plan to release on Tuesday, November 14, about the overall impact of all 105 of the nation’s HBCUs.
“The presence of an HBCU means a boost to economic activity, on and off—and even well beyond—campus. Stronger growth, stronger communities, more jobs and a more talented workforce,” UNCF authors wrote in the report.
The benefits flow to Miles College’s graduates, who’ll enter the workforce with sharper skills and vastly enhanced earning prospects, according to the report.
For every $1 spent by Miles College and its students, $1.48 is generated in initial and subsequent spending for the local and regional area, authors of the report said.
Miles College tuition for in-state and out-of-state students is $11,604 annually and the school offers courses in accounting, communication, education, humanities, social and behavior sciences, natural sciences and mathematics.
The study found that the school generates 730 jobs in its area, a total that includes 377 on campus positions and 353 off-campus workers.
For each job created on campus, another 0.9 public-or-private-sector job is created off campus because of Miles College-related spending, researchers found.
Each $1 million initially spent by Miles College and its students creates 16 jobs, according to the report.
“It’s eye-opening and, in addition to the 730 jobs created, there’s a 1-to-1 match for every full-time job at Miles, we create another job in our region,” French said. “So, we have about 377 employees on campus, but because of that, we’ve created 350 off-campus jobs.”
Miles College also plays a major role in the economic success of its graduates by enhancing their education, training and leadership skills, according to researchers.
As an example, the 196 Miles College graduates from 2014 can expect total earnings of $497 million over their lifetimes—a stunning 77 percent more than they could expect to earn without their college credentials.
Viewed on an individual bases, a Miles College graduate working full-time throughout his or her working career can expect to earn $1.1 million in additional income due to a college credential.
“What you’re looking at is, when you round it to 200 students, they already have over $2 million more in earning potential in their careers which increases by $1.1 million, because of having a degree from Miles College,” French said. “I think it’s important to have this conversation for young people, who must decide if college is worth it. At the end of the day, it’s a great economic decision.”
The figures also allow college officials to approach state and local government officials, when funding for recruitment and other programs are needed, French said.
French said, adding that because of the report he believes the city will be even more cooperative with Miles College. “With this study, we can go to the government and say we need additional money for cutting-edge programs and recruitment,” he said. “We’ve requested and will have a meeting with the city to compare our master plan with what the city is doing. Here we are, this economic engine with a $52 million annual budget and we can be helping the city with its master planning and their master plan can be intersecting with what we’re doing.”
By: Ryan Grim, The Intercept,
The tax bill moving its way through Congress is routinely referred to as a $1.5 trillion tax cut. And, in some ways, that’s true: on net, it would reduce the amount of taxes collected by the federal treasury by about $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
But that figure masks the eye-popping scale and audacity of the GOP’s rushed restructuring of the economy. Most immediately, the plan will take a large chunk out of state and local revenue that isn’t factored into that total. But more broadly, the bill cuts taxes by a full $6 trillion over a decade.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Friday afternoon before Senate Republicans voted to pass the plan, which gets referred to as only a $1.5 trillion cut because it raises $4.5 trillion in taxes elsewhere. But the key question is who gets a tax hike and who gets a tax cut. Put simply, the bulk of the tax cut is going toward the rich, while the tax increases go to everybody else.
And so the bill, properly described, is two things: the largest tax cut — and also the biggest tax increase — in American history.
Republicans have spent years describing the Affordable Care Act as the largest tax increase in U.S. history, ignoring the fact that the tax increases were balanced out by subsidies to pay for health coverage. In that respect, the ACA was a significant transfer of wealth from the top to the middle and bottom, which earned it the ire of the GOP. But all told, it raised less than $1 trillion in taxes over 10 years to pay for all that. The relative stinginess, in fact, is what fueled its unpopularity, as premiums and deductibles remained too high. But what Republicans lambasted as a historic tax hike represents just one-fifth of the tax increase of the new GOP bill.
WHERE’S THAT MONEY GOING?
The Tax Policy Center estimated that about 80 percent of the benefit of the tax plan will go to the top 1 percent, who will enjoy the following elements of the tax cut:
A full $1.5 trillion alone is going to slash the corporate tax rate. CEOs have said repeatedly they plan to pocket that money rather than invest it or give workers higher wages.
The alternative minimum tax, paid almost exclusively by the rich, is also eliminated. That’s a $700 billion giveaway.
Another $150 billion goes to repealing the estate tax, which currently exempts the first $11 million of the deceased’s estate, so nobody even remotely middle class pays it. The repeal benefits so few people you can practically list them out.
More than $200 billion in cuts goes to a provision that allows a greater deduction for dividends on foreign earnings. That’s not for you.
Roughly $600 billion goes to reducing taxes on “pass-throughs” and other businesses not set up as corporations, which law firms, lobby shops, and doctors’ offices often benefit from. Poor and middle-class people do not tend to set themselves up as pass-throughs.
Under current law, many tax credits phase out at low-income thresholds. The GOP plan changes that by raising the threshold so richer people can also claim the credit. That provision alone is, by definition, a $200 billion tax cut for the wealthy.
Individual and family tax rates are cut by about $1 trillion, and some regular people will indeed see some of that money as a tax cut — but not much. As the New York Times noted, by 2027, people making between $40,000 and $50,000 would see a combined increase of $5.3 billion in taxes. Where would that money go? Folks earning more than $1 million would see their taxes collectively cut by $5.8 billion a year.
The list above brings the total well close to $5 trillion in tax cuts almost exclusively for the wealthy. The last major element of the bill, the doubling of the standard deduction, would benefit a broader range of people, but it comes at the expense of states, cities, and towns.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY TO PAY FOR ALL OF THIS COME FROM?
While Obamacare was a transfer of wealth from the top to the bottom, this bill sends money back the other way.
Even some of the ways the plan “raises” taxes on the rich wind up being a tax cut. Some $300 billion is raised by allowing companies who stashed profits offshore to repatriate it at a much lower rate. That repatriated cash will go straight to dividends for shareholders and stock buybacks — but it gets counted as a tax increase, which then allows the GOP to give an equal $300 billion cut on the other side of the ledger. It’s neat how that works.
The bill raises $1.6 trillion by repealing the personal exemption everybody gets on their tax returns. Getting rid of it across the board is extraordinarily regressive, since it gives the same benefit to the likes of Jared Kushner as it gives to people who have much less money than he does, so they’re hit much harder.
It raises another $1.3 trillion by going after deductions for state and local taxes, mortgage interest, charitable contributions, interest on student loans, medical expenses, teachers’ out-of-pocket expenses for paper and pencils for students, and a bunch of other nickel-and-diming of the middle class. No change drawer in the car, couch cushion, or plastic piggy bank is going untouched in the hunt for money to pay for the tax cut.
(The state and local deduction is effectively a subsidy for state and local spending on things like schools, roads, and police departments. Removing that will pressure states and cities to cut spending, so future teacher layoffs at your neighborhood school will be used to pay for the tax cuts, but because that happens at the state and local level, it isn’t factored into the Congressional Budget Office or Joint Committee on Taxation analyses.)
The plan gradually raises $128 billion in taxes by changing the way inflation is tabulated, so that your taxes slowly creep up over the years as the brackets come down.
And then, of course, the plan adds about $1.5 trillion to the debt over 10 years. That gets you most of the way to $6 trillion, with a handful of smaller tax hikes thrown in, some of which won’t obviously hurt the middle class. The domestic production deduction, a $96 billion boondoggle, is repealed, for instance, and $54 billion is saved by ending the credit for testing cures for rare diseases.”
By Hazel Trice Edney
Congressman John Conyers (D- MI)
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – U.S. Rep. John Conyers, a founding member of the powerful Congressional Black Caucus and the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, retired from the U. S. Congress this week, leaving behind a stellar civil rights career amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
Conyers, 88, under pressure from many of his colleagues and House leaders to resign, had initially stepped down from the House Judiciary Committee amidst the charges, but dropped the bombshell of his immediate retirement on the Detroit-based Mildred Gaddis radio show Tuesday.
“I am retiring today and I want everyone to know how much I appreciate the support and the incredible and undiminishing support I’ve received across the years from my supports, not only in my district but across the country as well.”
He added, “My legacy cannot be compromised or diminished in any way.
Conyers says he is supporting his son, John Conyers III to succeed him.”
Conyers, a lawyer, said in the interview that Congress should fully disclose the records of all of the $7 million that has been paid out by members of Congress in sexual harassment cases. “I think there should be a complete disclosure in revealing to all of the citizens of the country what federal legislators are doing or not doing and any cost that may have incurred as a result of that. So, my answer to that is a strong unequivocal yes,” he told Mildred Gaddis’.
Conyers continued to deny any wrongdoing “Whatever they are they are not accurate and they are not true. And they are something that I can’t explain where they came from,” Conyers said.
Conyers gave the interview while in a Detroit hospital. He had complained of light-headedness and chest pains last week.
Buzz Feed News revealed earlier this month that one unidentified staffer received a $27,000 settlement from Congress for wrongful dismissal from Conyers’ office in 2015. Melanie Sloan, a former Capitol Hill staffer for Conyers’ office, said during a television interview that on one occasion Conyers was dressed only in his undershorts and a shirt while working in his office.
Sloan admitted that Conyers did not approach her with sexual intentions. She also claimed Conyers yelled at her several times in the 1990s. In the charged atmosphere of Washington, D.C., yelling and temper flare ups are common. For example, the late U.S. Sen. John Heinz (R., Pennsylvania) angrily yanked his telephone out of the office wall so often that the telephone company refused to repair it.
The Washington Post named Maria Reddick, the congressman’s former scheduler, as the person who filed but later dropped a claim last February, accusing Conyers of inappropriate sexual advances. After Conyers had stepped down, 12 former staffers who are women claimed Conyers never behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner. “Mr. Conyers was respectful, valued our opinions and challenged our thinking,” the women said.
The 88-year-old Conyers was first elected to Congress in 1964. He represents Michigan’s 13th Congressional District. Previously, he represented Michigan’s 14th Congressional District. Known as the dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, Conyers is one of its 13 founding members, which was organized in 1971. The CBC has 49 members.
NorthStarNewsToday.com contributed to this story.