AT&T Launches Fixed Wireless Internet in Greene and Hale Counties and other Rural and Underserved Areas in Alabama

ribboncutting-gcdemocrat.jpgGreensboro, AL. July 12, 2017 — AT&T* Fixed Wireless Internet1 is now available for rural and underserved locations in parts of Greene and Hale Counties.
Joined by State Senator Bobby Singleton, State Representative Ralph Howard and members of the Hale and Greene County Commissions, AT&T announced that residents in Greensboro, Knoxville, Eutaw and other areas are included in the initial rural and underserved locations in Alabama to which AT&T has extended Fixed Wireless Internet as part of its FCC Connect America Fund commitment. As a part of this commitment, AT&T plans to reach over 400,000 locations in 18 states by the end of 2017, and over 1.1 million locations by 2020.
“In today’s world, high-speed connectivity is important,” said Alabama State Senator Bobby Singleton. “I am excited to see this newly available service bringing enhanced connectivity to Greene and Hale Counties and our rural communities in Alabama.”
“This is a great day for Greensboro, Knoxville and Eutaw,” said Alabama State Representative Ralph Howard. “It is an honor to serve these areas alongside Senator Singleton and Representative AJ McCampbell, and I applaud AT&T for their work to enhance high-speed connectivity for residents and small businesses in rural Alabama.”
AT&T plans to reach nearly 66,000 locations with this technology across Alabama by 2020, and with this initial offering, Fixed Wireless Internet is available today in parts of rural communities throughout Alabama.

“I am thankful for the leadership of our elected officials who work to ensure a pro-consumer business environment and am delighted the rural residents of Greene and Hale Counties are among the first in the nation to access this innovative technology,” said Philliis Belcher, Executive Director of the Greene County Industrial Development Authority.
“The more than 5,300 men and women who work for AT&T and call Alabama home, are proud to work with our local, state and federal leadership to provide the connectivity Alabama’s residents and businesses demand,” said Ty Fondren, Regional Director of External Affairs for AT&T Alabama. “Through this innovative service, we are helping close the remaining connectivity gap in Alabama.”
Fixed Wireless Internet service delivers a home internet connection with download speeds of at least 10Mbps. The connection comes from a wireless tower to a fixed antenna on customers’ homes or businesses. This is an efficient way to deliver high-quality internet to customers in rural and underserved areas.
After a controlled launch in Georgia in April, AT&T has is also launching service in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Louisiana. Additional states where the company plans to launch this year are Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin.
AT&T will provide updates about additional availability in parts of Alabama, and other states, as it expands Fixed Wireless Internet to more locations.
For more information on Fixed Wireless Internet from AT&T, visit att.com/internet/fixed-wireless.html.
Includes 160GB monthly data allowance. Req’s installation of AT&T outdoor antenna & indoor Residential Gateway. $10/50GB of additional data up to a max of $200/mo.
Cautionary Language Regarding Forward Looking Statements:  Information set forth in this news release contains financial estimates and other forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T Inc.’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update or revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise.
*About AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, business, mobile and high speed internet services. We offer the nation’s best data network** and the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider. We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. Nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses around the globe, turn to AT&T for our highly secure smart solutions.
AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at facebook.com/att and on YouTube at youtube.com/att.

© 2017 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

 

ANSA endorses Attorney Doug Jones, Birmingham, in the Democratic Primary for U. S. Senate on August 15

doug jones and michael  w illiam.jpg

Candidate Doug Jones with Greene County Commissioner Michael Williams (Dist. 5) at the ANSA screening

 

After a screening meeting with seven candidates for the position of U. S. Senator from Alabama, the Alabama New South Alliance unanimously endorsed Attorney Doug Jones of Birmingham for this position, in the statewide Democratic Primary set for August 15, 2017.
This is a special election, prescribed by Governor Kay Ivey to fill the U. S. Senate seat that was vacated by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions when he was selected to be U. S. Attorney General Luther Strange was appointed by Governor Robert Bentley to occupy this seat until the special election. Strange is running for the position in the Republican primary against several challengers including former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, congressman Mo Brooks, and eight others.
“It was the unanimous consensus of our ANSA Screening Committee to endorse Doug Jones for this U. S. Senate position, in the Democratic Primary, in the Special Election on August 15, 2017. He met all of the criteria that we set up to measure candidates and he gave strong answers to a wide array of questions raised by our committee,” said Sharon Calhoun, Co-Chair of ANSA.
Doug Jones was the former U. S. Attorney for North Alabama, based in Birmingham from 1997 to 2002. He was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by a Republican controlled Senate.

Jones is best known for the successful prosecution of those responsible for killing four young girls in the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.
In 2002, Jones was the lead prosecutor in the case that won murder convictions against Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry for the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church that killed four girls. The convictions came nearly 40 years after the 1963 bombing.
Jones also worked on the indictment of Birmingham abortion clinic bomber Eric Robert Rudolph, whose 1998 attack killed an off-duty police officer and severely injured a clinic nurse. Rudolph, who also placed a bomb at the Atlanta Olympics, was captured and convicted after Jones left office.
Jones has worked in private practice in Birmingham for the past 15 years and represented various clients including former Jefferson County Commissioner Chris McNair and others in various cases.
Jones said in his interview that Alabama officials spend too little time focused on the real concerns of the people — jobs, health care and education — and instead have “played on our fears and exploited our divisions for their own self interests.”
“We need leaders who people can talk to, reason with, and trust even if they don’t agree on every political position. We need leaders who people can talk to, reason with, and trust even if they don’t agree on every political position.”
Jones indicated that his work on the Birmingham church bombing cases had gained him a national following and reputation which would help in fundraising and support for his Senate race.
He told the ANSA Screening Committee, “ I want to work to use this Senate race to reinvigorate the Democratic Party in Alabama. This will be a transformational race and hopefully it will open the doors for the 2018 state races for Governor and Legislature.”
Seven candidates appeared before the ANSA Screening Committee on Saturday. They included six Democrats and one Republican. The Democrats in addition to Doug Jones were: Michael Hansen, Rev. Will Boyd, Jason E. Fisher, Vann Caldwell, and Brian McGee. The Republican was James Baretta.
“We want to encourage these candidates to stay active in the political process. We could only endorse one for this special election – but we will need many Democratic candidates in the 2018 election. We encourage these candidates to remain active with ANSC and ANSA and prepare for future elections,” said Gus Townes, ANSA Co-Chair.
For more information on the ANSA endorsement contact: Ms. Shelley Fearson – 334/262-0932

Newswire : US denies visa to Gambian school robotics team

Robot built by high school students in The Gambia will be shipped to Washington, DC, for event without its inventors.

By: Azad Essa and Colin Baker, Aljazeera News
87f862ab9177420f9972517b771b7dca_18

The team built the robot during rigorous seven-hour shifts throughout Ramadan [Moctar Darboe/Al Jazeera]

Five teenage pupils from The Gambia, a small nation in Africa. who built a robot for a prestigious international competition in the United States will not be able to accompany their invention to the event after being denied a visa.
The Gambian pupils become the second team of students refused entry to the US to attend the FIRST Global robotics event in Washington, DC, on July 16-18. On Saturday, it was reported that an all-girls team from Afghanistan were also denied a visa to travel to the US to showcase their creation at the same competition.
Moktar Darboe, director of The Gambia’s ministry of higher education, research, science and technology, told Al Jazeera that the team, made up of high school pupils aged 17-18, were “very disappointed”.
“They put in so much effort into building this, and now, after all the sacrifice and energy they put in, they have been left disheartened,” Darboe, who is also the team’s mentor, said on Monday.
The robot, a ball sorting machine, will be shipped off in the next day or two, he added.
The Gambian American Association will represent the team at the event and the students in The Gambia’s capital, Banjul, will watch it over Skype.
The FIRST Global Challenge is open to students aged 15 to 18 from across the globe. According to FIRST, around 158 countries will be represented, including 40 African countries. Only the teams from Afghanistan and The Gambia have had their visas rejected so far.
Darboe said that the visa was denied shortly after their interview at the US embassy in Banjul in April. They were not given any explanation. “We were only told that we did not qualify and that we could try again.”
According to Darboe, the students had to pay $170 each for the visa application. “Their parents had to sacrifice a lot to pay this fee.” The students continued building the robot despite being denied the visa, hoping the decision would ultimately change.
They were further buoyed by a visit of US Ambassador C Patricia Alsup to their project site last month. “She gave us hope not to give up, and she said they would give us all their support to help us go further,” 17-year-old Khadijatou Gassam, a science student and spokesperson for the team, said.
The US embassy in Banjul told Al Jazeera that it did not comment on consular affairs. Kevin Brosnahan, a spokesperson for the state department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, said he was unable to discuss individual visa cases.
Last week, the US Supreme Court allowed the partial enforcement of President Donald Trump’s travel ban on residents, citizens and refugees from six Muslim-majority countries – but both The Gambia and Afghanistan are not on the list.
In March, at least 60 African citizens were denied visas for African Global Economic and Development Summit in the US state of California. Organizers said at the time they were not sure if the rejection was linked to Trump’s anti-immigrant policies or if talk of the travel ban was being used to “to blatantly reject everyone”.
Darboe said building the robot was difficult. When parts arrived, customs officials took their time in releasing them. “They asked us if were building RoboCop,” he said.
Fatoumata Ceesay, the team’s programmer, told Al Jazeera that she had come to terms with the fact their creation will be run by other students in the US. The 17-year-old said they had worked under trying conditions, day and night, and with little guidance over the entire Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. “And we started building it after the [visa] rejection. We built it despite knowing we weren’t going,” she said.
Gassam says that she was disappointed that she wouldn’t be able to represent The Gambia and “show the world [that] ‘yes, we can do it'”. “But we’re not giving up, despite the challenges we face, we still continue to work hard,” she said. “Next year it will be somewhere else, so I think next year we have hope to get there.”

Newswire : Barack Obama urges world to stand against ‘aggressive nationalism’

By: Vincent Bevins for The Guardian in Jakarta

Barack Obama

Former President Barack Obama
Barack Obama has called on the world to stand up for tolerance, moderation and respect for others – warning that sectarian politics could lead to chaos and violence.
The former US president said some countries had adopted “an aggressive kind of nationalism” and “increased resentment of minority groups”, in a speech in Indonesia on Saturday that could be seen as a commentary on the US as well as Indonesia.
“It’s been clear for a while that the world is at a crossroads. At an inflection point,” Obama said, telling a Jakarta crowd stories of how much the capital had improved since he lived there as a child.
But he said that increased prosperity had been accompanied by new global problems, adding that as the world confronts issues ranging from inequality to terrorism, some countries – both developed and less developed – had adopted a more aggressive and isolationist stance.
“If we don’t stand up for tolerance and moderation and respect for others, if we begin to doubt ourselves and all that we have accomplished, then much of the progress that we have made will not continue,” he said.
“What we will see is more and more people arguing against democracy, we will see more and more people who are looking to restrict freedom of the press, and we’ll see more intolerance, more tribal divisions, more ethnic divisions, and religious divisions and more violence.”
Obama was born to a Kenyan father and an American mother, but after she married an Indonesian, the family moved to Jakarta in 1967 when he was six, and stayed for four years. The 44th US president made sure the crowd knew he could still speak some Indonesian.
He also spoke in direct support of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, whose own political movement has recently been rocked by the rise of intolerance in the world’s fourth most-populous country.
Widodo’s ally, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent widely known as Ahok was recently jailed while serving his term as Jakarta governor for making comments that were allegedly blasphemous.
Islamist groups had organized mass rallies to demand his imprisonment, and his sentence shocked his many liberal supporters around the country, leading analysts to question whether the stability of Indonesia’s plural democracy might be under threat from racial or religious tensions.
Obama called Widodo “a man of quiet but firm integrity and someone who sincerely wants to do what’s right for all Indonesians” and then made comments which a delighted crowd interpreted to be critical of how Ahok had been treated.
“My stepfather … was raised a Muslim but he respected Hindus and he respected Buddhists and he respected Christians,” he said, adding: “If you are strong in your own faith then you should not be worried about someone else’s faith.” The line earned raucous applause.
Obama never mentioned Donald Trump by name, but he chose a range of topics that could be seen to apply to politics in both Indonesia and the US, including fake news powered by social media, resentment, attacks on institutions, and ignorance of other peoples.
When asked about Trump’s exit from the Paris climate deal by Dino Patti Djalal, former ambassador to the US and organizer of the Indonesia Diaspora Conference, Obama sought to downplay the move’s impact.
“First of all, I think it’s important that even though the current US administration has signaled it is going to pull out, technically it’s not out yet,” he said. “Point two is that many of the changes that we locked in during my administration continue.”
Coming back to the overarching theme of “unity in diversity” – Indonesia’s official national motto – Obama warned again where a different path could lead.
“Let’s face it, if people do not show respect and tolerance, eventually you have war and conflict. Sooner or later societies break down.”

Jimmy Carter broadsides Donald Trump: Republican tapped ‘reservoir of inherent racism’

By Douglas Ernst – The Washington Times – Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Jimmy Carter

Former President Jimmy Carter

Former President Jimmy Carter pulled no punches against Donald Trump in a recent interview with The New York Times.
The 39th commander in chief told the newspaper by phone on Monday that Mr. Trump’s Republican presidential campaign is fueled by lingering U.S. racism.
Mr. Carter, 91, said in February that the billionaire was his favorite Republican candidate because he is “completely malleable.” The former Democrat president now says Mr. Trump “tapped a waiting reservoir there of inherent racism” to succeed.
“When you single out any particular group of people for secondary citizenship status, that’s a violation of basic human rights,” Mr. Carter said of the Republican’s plan to deport illegal immigrants and temporarily halt Muslim immigration into the U.S.
The newspaper also asked Mr. Carter, who is planning to hold a summit of Baptists in Atlanta, Georgia, later this summer, why Mr. Trump’s support among evangelical Christians is so strong.
“The use of the word ‘evangelical’ is a misnomer. I consider myself an evangelical as well. And obviously, what most of the news reporters thought were evangelicals [over the years] are conservative Republicans,” the former president said.

Newswire : Stalled GOP Health Care Bill would have ‘crushed working-class Blacks’

Written By Lynette Holloway, Newsone
Health care protest.jpg
Health Care protest
In a major blow to Republicans’ ongoing effort to dismantle Obamacare, Senate majority leader on Tuesday postponed a vote on a measure that would have rendered health care treatment unaffordable for working-class Black Americans.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who faced resistance from inside and outside his party, acknowledged that he had more work to do to pull together at least 50 members to vote on the measure, writes The New York Times. It has been tabled until after the July Fourth recess.
McConnell, known as a formidable deal-maker, made the announcement at a news conference late-Tuesday after meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House. McConnell warned warring factions that if they cannot come together, he would be forced to strike a deal with Democratic New York Sen. Charles Schumer, an equally wily negotiator.
In short, the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is a mess. And it’s a good thing because poor Blacks and Whites, who are barely recovering from the great recession, would have been hit hard.
For months, the media have characterized Trump voters as poor Whites, including miners and steel workers. Alternet notes that the GOP health care plan “crushes working-class Blacks and Whites,” but not middle-class Whites who voted for Trump.
The failed measure proposed more severe cuts to Medicaid than the House bill, and provided more tax credits and breaks to the wealthiest Americans. At stake is a program that provides low-cost care to mostly poor people. “An estimated 75 million Americans — including children, pregnant women, disabled individuals and elderly people in nursing homes,” writes USA Today.
Former President Barack Obama condemned the Senate healthcare plan
Barack Obama sharply condemned the healthcare plan unveiled by Senate Republicans on Thursday as a “massive transfer of wealth” to the rich, at the expense of poor and middle-class Americans.
In a Facebook post hours after the Republican bill was made public, the former president made some of his most pointed comments since leaving office in defense of what remains the most signature accomplishment of his two terms.
“The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a healthcare bill,” Obama wrote. “It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America.”
“Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family, this bill will do you harm,” he added, while highlighting some of the more contentious provisions within the legislation, such as tax breaks to top earners and drug and insurance companies, and the potential gutting of coverage for pre-existing conditions, pregnancy and mental health.
“Small tweaks over the course of the next couple of weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.”
Obama has largely kept out of the political fray since his departure from the White House – weighing in on just a handful of Donald Trump’s actions through written statements, such as his successor’s travel ban on refugees and several Muslim-majority countries, and the decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord.
But Obama’s personal stake in the healthcare debate, and his concern that Trump and Republicans will dismantle the Affordable Care Act, has transcended the other matters that have dominated Washington under the new administration.
In his post on Thursday, Obama notably echoed Trump’s alleged assertion behind closed doors that the healthcare legislation passed by House Republicans in May was “mean”. Democrats have adopted Trump’s characterization into somewhat of a slogan to rally against the Republican healthcare proposals.
The Senate bill released on Thursday has already faced some early opposition from conservatives who say it does not go far enough in repealing and replacing Obama’s healthcare law. Obama urged Republicans on Capitol Hill to not simply be driven by meeting a campaign promise, but to instead think about the potential for millions of Americans to lose their insurance. While the Congressional Budget Office is expected to score the Senate legislation by early next week, the House-passed bill would leave 23 million more people uninsured over the next 10 years.
“I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican party,” Obama said. “Still, I hope that our senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on healthcare or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.

‘Ride to Restore Section 5’ grassroots lobbyists push Voting Rights Advancement Act in Washington, D. C.

Special to the Democrat by: John Zippert,
Co-Publisher

Hodge.jpgwash group.jpgCongresswoman Terri Sewell address youth as part of the training to support ride to revive Section 5.

A group of sixty community activists from Alabama went to Washington, D. C. in six vans from Sunday to Tuesday (June 24-27, 2017) to support the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA), HR 2948, introduced last week by our Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell.
The bill was introduced on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Shelby vs, Holder decision, which gutted Sections 4 and 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore and advance Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act to include 14 states and other political subdivisions. These areas would again be placed under the protection of Section 5 and be required to have any election changes pre-cleared by the Department of Justice before they could be implanted.
The VRAA updates the criteria and establishes a nationwide coverage formula for states and political subdivisions that would be subject again to the pre-clearance provisions of Section 5. Any state that has had 15 or more voting violations in the last 25-year period; or 10 or more voting violations, at least one of the violations committed by the state itself, would be covered. A political subdivision within a state can be covered if it commits 3 or more voting violations.
The bill also carefully defines what constitutes a voting rights violation and which election changes must be submitted for pre-clearance.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell said, “The VRAA is an advancement bill, it advances voting rights throughout the country. Under this bill, all eleven states that were part of the Confederacy, including Alabama, as well as other political subdivisions around the nation and on tribal lands would be covered and subject to the pre-clearance provisions.”
The VRAA would classify voting changes such as strict voter photo identification requirements, and voter registration requirements to be reviewed and possibly overturned if they were deemed to be more stringent than the requirements in Section 303b of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.The VRAA, HR 2948, has 182 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. They are all Democrats. And the companion legislation S.1490 in the Senate has 46 co-sponsors, also all Democrats, so far.
The grassroots voting activists visited more than 75 Congressional offices, including the membership of the House Judiciary Committee, Alabama’s delegation of six Republican members besides Sewell and our two Senators – Richard Shelby and Luther Strange. The grassroots activists left a package of information including factsheets on the legislation, a Senate Sketches by State Senator Hank Sanders of Selma, which deals with the “power of one vote”, and materials about the Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma, the first weekend in March each year.
On Tuesday morning, the Alabama group joined by other activists in Washington from the Rural Coalition, Food and Water Watch, National Family Farm Coalition and other groups had a rally and press conference on the Capitol grounds facing the Cannon House Office Building on Independence Avenue and First Street NE.
The rally had many chants supporting the revival of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act along with civil rights freedom songs. Several Congresspersons, including Terri Sewell, G. K. Butterfield of North Carolina, Marc Veasey of Dallas, Texas and Katherine M. Clark of Massachusetts addressed the rally. Congressman John Lewis drove by the rally on Independence Avenue and saluted the crowd.
On Monday night, the group had a meeting at Howard University Law School, which was addressed by several civil rights veterans, including former D. C. Congressman Walter E.
Fauntroy, Viola Bradford, who wrote for the Southern Courier newspaper in Montgomery, Antonio Harrison, a former Alabama State Senator, who lives and works in D. C. Professor Ardua of the Law School spoke on the need for reparations to address the continuing impact of slavery on Black people.
The Ride to Revive Section 5 was sponsored by the SOS Coalition for Justice and Democracy, Alabama New South Coalition and other local groups in Alabama. For more information or to make donations to help the cause – contact Shelley Fearson at 334-262-0932 or email: Alabamanewsouth Coordinator@ aol.com