Category: General

Afghan Refugees Not Expected Yet in Alabama, Gov. Ivey’s Office Says

MONTGOMERY — Gov. Kay Ivey’s office said Monday it is not aware of any Afghan refugees coming to Alabama as tens of thousands flee that country,

Reports of hectic and desperate scenes from Kabul’s airport continue to emerge after the Taliban’s rapid takeover of the city last week. In the U.S., political divisions have risen on how to handle the wave of Afghan refugees.

Some congressional Republicans and Republican governors have stated their willingness to accept refugees into their states, while other conservative voices have said they have security concerns about the rapid increase in refugees or that they are worried about “chain migration.”

Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville, along with 15 other Republican senators, sent a letter to President Biden urging him to act quickly to evacuate all “American citizens and all eligible Afghan partners” from Afghanistan. RepS. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, and Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, were the only members of Alabama’s delegation to vote against the Averting Loss of Life and Injury by Expediting SIVs Act, or ALLIES Act, which is meant to speed up the visa application process for Afghan citizens, USA Today reported.
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Taliban Takeover Leaves Americans More Vulnerable, Says Father of First American Killed In Afghan War

WINFIELD -– With the Taliban again in control of Afghanistan, Johnny Spann says he does not expect the Islamic fundamentalists to be any different than they were when his son Mike died there in the fall of 2001.

“Americans are more vulnerable today than they have been in 20 years because of what is going on in Afghanistan right now,” Spann said Monday in his real estate office on the edge of downtown Winfield, not far from a memorial park that is named after his son, a former Marine and CIA officer who was killed during an uprising of Taliban prisoners at the Qala-i-Jangi fortress near the northern Afghan city of Mazir-i-Sharif on Nov. 15, 2001.

Mike Spann was the first American to die in the U.S. response to the Sept. 11, 2011 ,terrorist attacks on the U.S. mainland. A section of highway in the Winfield area bears his name and, for now, so does a monument at the site of his death in Afghanistan. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
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Alabama is Home to 20 Hate Groups, 838 Operate Nationwide, SPLC Says

The Southern Poverty Law Center released its annual list of hate groups nationwide Feb. 1, and while the number of groups has gone down from last year, there are still 20 Alabama groups that made the cut. Altogether, the SPLC tracked 830 organizations defined as hate groups in 2020. “The number is a barometer, albeit only one, of the level of hate activity in the country,” the website says. Read more.

Birmingham Chosen for Project on Talking Across the Political Divide

 About the only agreement between Democrats and Republicans these days is that their opposite number is evil.

 At least that is the impression one gets in the aggregate. But what about one-on-one? Can you face a political adversary and explain what you feel, how you feel and why you feel that way? And engage in a dialogue in which you also listen to the other party’s feelings and opinions?

 Dave Isay would like for you to take that challenge.

 Isay’s Story Corps has chosen Birmingham as one of four cities where it will match up people across the political divide and record their exchange of viewpoints. A copy will be stored in the Library of Congress.
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The Pandemic Takes a Psychological Toll as Well as a Physical One

Panic. Fear. Anxiety. Stress.

If any of these words describe how you’re feeling these days, you’re not alone, judging by what people are saying and doing in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

From the locust-like razing of grocery store shelves; to the closing of schools, nursing homes and houses of worship; to the canceling of concerts, political primaries, and other large events; to the ever escalating public restrictions — you can’t meet in groups of 500, no – 250, no – 50, no, better make that 25, no – let’s make that 10, just to be safe — the virus seems to have infected daily life on a scale no one expected.

There is some good-ish news if you’re experiencing uneasy feelings: it’s normal to feel that way. But it matters what you do with those feelings, said Joshua Klapow, a clinical psychologist with the UAB School of Public Health. Read more.

Life Goes on Despite the Coronavirus Threat

Many folks may be lying low because of the coronavirus threat or locked in lines under harsh fluorescent lights trying to stock up on toilet paper. But you would not have known it Saturday afternoon in Railroad Park.

As passing clouds competed with the sun, people of all ages and backgrounds were in the park’s walkways and open spaces. There were dog-walkers, families, skateboarders, picnickers, Frisbee enthusiasts, sunbathers, kids on scooters and even a young lady in a ballgown celebrating her Quinceañera (15th birthday) with about a dozen friends, relatives and photographers. Read more.