Alabama Mornings’ ShowPrep for March 9th, 2016…

Trump rolls on…

Cruz gets one…

Rubio reeling…


Kasich underwhelms

To Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Tuesday’s GOP primary results show that there are votes to be found that aren’t in the gutter.

“People are beginning to reward a positive campaign,” Kasich told a small but boisterous crowd in Columbus after polls closed in Michigan. “One that they say to their children, this is the way to conduct yourself in politics.”

As Kasich spoke, he was running neck and neck with Ted Cruz for second place in Michigan. The two had about 25 percent of the vote each, trailing frontrunner Donald Trump.

He also referenced a new poll showing him and three other major Republican presidential candidates neck and neck — or as Kasich called it, a “dead heat.”


Bernie gets a moral victory…

Clinton shows her weakness….

Before Tuesday’s elections, Clinton was ahead of Sanders by 673-477 pledged delegates and – with the vast majority of super delegates too – was nearly halfway to securing the 2,383 needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.

But she has yet to win a state in the north by a convincing margin – squeaking wins in Iowa and Massachusetts by only a few thousand voters – and Sanders won three of the latest four states voting over the weekend.

Crucially, several big battlegrounds next week share a similar demographic profile with Michigan, including Ohio, Illinois and Missouri, which vote on Tuesday 15 March.

But first, the two candidates are expected to clash again on the economy at a televised debate in Miami on Wednesday night.

Tempers frayed at the last debate in Flint, Michigan, at the weekend, when Clinton accused Sanders of voting against the auto industry bail-out – a charge he vehemently denies and that appears not to have swayed voters at the centre of the US car industry.

As final votes were being tallied on Tuesday night, it appeared Clinton was ahead in Detroit itself, but tied in Flint, where the two also clashed over who was doing more to help the city with its recent water crisis.

At a party for Clinton supporters in Detroit, many were shocked as results began to flood in – especially as just a day earlier their candidate had effectively called on Sanders to drop out and “end the primary”.

“I’m on the edge of my seat,” said US representative Brenda Lawrence of Michigan, a Clinton supporter. “We worked so hard for this.”

Some supporters wandered out of the bar about 10pm, confident that she would pull off a victory.

“We got this,” one woman shouted back at me as she left the bar. She patted the man next to her on the shoulder. “We’re going to win this.”

But Mike Newbecker, a field engineer and business owner based in Newport, Michigan, wasn’t as confident. “You can’t take any state for granted,” he said.

In his view, a loss in Michigan wouldn’t dent Clinton’s prospects but it could energise Sanders supporters and push the Democratic primary into the summer.

“He’s a good guy. I like his message, and we’re going to need his help in the general,” he said.

America is so boned.

Vanderbilt student killed in Israel by a terrorists…

Alabama Republicans are doing what’s right but should they be doing it?

As some cities make the decision to shed Confederate monuments, some Alabama lawmakers want to prohibit those removals unless legislators say it is OK.

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday will hold a public hearing on the bill titled the “Alabama Heritage Protection Act.”

The bill would ban the removal of any historic monument, marker or school name from public property unless a waiver is obtained from the Legislative Council, a committee of lawmakers.

Local governments would face a $100,000 fine if they remove an object without a waiver.

The bill doesn’t specify Confederate symbols, but comes after controversy about their display.

The city of Birmingham has explored removing a Confederate memorial from a park. Gov. Robert Bentley last year removed four Confederate flags from the Alabama Capitol.

John Archibald is fecklessly upset, as always

Now steaming its way through the Alabama Legislature is a bill — sponsored by Sen. Gerald Allen – to create the Alabama Heritage Preservation Act. It would prevent anybody anywhere, particularly in governments closest to home, from removing or changing any historical monument on public land.

Too bad if your majority black city had a giant statue to a Klansman erected when Confederate veterans ran the place. Get used to it.

It was initially aimed at Birmingham, after a movement sought to remove a Confederate monument from Linn Park. But it will apply to any city. And any monument.

Becasuse the  state thinks government closest to home shouldn’t have a say.

It doesn’t much matter what you think of the issue of monuments or historical preservation. You can debate the merits of context and history and providing a full telling of the pros and cons of all that took place in our past. You can debate whether it’s best to take down murals that offend some, like those in the Jefferson County Courthouse, or whether the best approach is to add more art to give the story a more complete telling.

But that’s not the issue here.

This issue is simply that Alabama believes – as it did when the Democrats where in charge and as it does since those same Democrats became Republicans – thatgovernment closest to home is a whipping boy.

These aren’t conservative principles. They are political parlor tricks.

New prisons

Gov. Robert Bentley spent much of his Tuesday rallying support among state lawmakers for his plan to consolidate most of the state’s prisons into four new ones.

That includes the plan’s crown jewel, new women’s prisons to replace the 75-year-old Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

Tutwiler over its three-century life has become an infamous place, a facility that for decades saw its inmates subject to violence, including sexual abuse, by guards and other prisoners.

Bentley has made consolidating prisons his top priority in the current legislative session and replacing Tutwiler the top priority within that effort, a fact he restated Tuesday while visiting the Legislature to meet with some lawmakers who have been opposing the plan.

“We have an opportunity in this state to do something really significant and that is to change the way we build (prisons) and take care of prisoners in this state,” said Bentley. “…We have the opportunity to really solve the problem of overcrowding in this state. I really believe we have the opportunity to go from the worst in the country to the best in the country.”


Bentley would have the state pay the estimated $800 million price tag by borrowing the money. The governor said dollars that would be saved over years in the cost of maintaining the old prisons would eventually pay for the plan.

Bentley began his day meeting for the second time in a month with only women lawmakers, many of whom see the closing of Tutwiler and the building of new women’s prisons the same way as Bentley does, both as a woman’s issue and one of equal treatment.

Bentley then spent the afternoon in his State House second floor office meeting in small groups and one-on-one with lawmakers who have so far sided with the architects, contractors, engineers and their lobbyists over their concern of just one company handling both design and building of the new prisons.

The general consensus at the end of the day is that ‘Bentley had made progress in enhancing the chances of the consolidation bill advancing.


Pay raises for teachers move forward

The state education budget and a bill that would give educators a pay raise passed without dissenting votes today in the Alabama House of Representatives.

The House passed the budget by a vote of 105-0, and followed that up with a 104-0 vote in favor of the pay raise bill.

Both bills move to the Senate.

The budget, for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, calls for spending $6.3 billion from the Education Trust Fund, an increase of $290 million, 4.8 percent over this year.

Education employees who earn less than $75,000 a year would receive a 4 percent raise, while those earning more than $75,000 would receive 2 percent raises.

All employees in community colleges and technical colleges would get a 4 percent raise.

Changes to tenure too….

A Senate committee today approved a bill that would increase the time required for teachers to earn tenure from three years to five years and change the process of teacher evaluations.

The Education and Youth Affairs Committee approved the bill on a 5-4 vote after a public hearing during which more than 20 people spoke, divided about evenly between opponents and proponents.

The bill, by Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, moves to the Senate.

Much of the disagreement about the bill concerned a new teacher evaluation process it would create.

Teachers would be rated on one of five levels, and 25 percent of the score would be tied to student growth as measured by standardized tests.

Many opponents of the bill said that put too much weight on a single metric.

Some proponents, including Marsh, said changes are needed, especially in light of the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress scores, which ranked Alabama fourth and eighth graders last among states in math.

Voting for the bill were Sens. Marsh, Jim McClendon, R-Springville, Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville and Dick Brewbaker, R-Montgomery.

Voting no were Sens. Paul Bussman, R-Cullman, Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile, Quinton Ross, D-Montgomery and Hank Sanders, D-Selma.

Some of the speakers at today’s hearing said that factors beyond a teacher’s control can hinder any ability they have to help some students learn and grow.

They opposed the plan to base 25 percent of a teacher’s evaluation on test scores.

Trump’s plans will make America great again…

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