Politics & Government

Special Election Set
5:55 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Schedule Set For Special Alabama House Election

Sutherland Boswell Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Robert Bentley has called a special election to fill the Alabama House seat vacated when Rep. Blaine Galliher of Gadsden joined the administration.

Party primaries for the House District 30 seat will be held on Oct. 23, followed by any runoffs that are needed.

The general election will be either Dec. 11 or Jan. 29, 2013, depending on whether there's a runoff.

The district includes parts of Etowah and St. Clair counties.

Emergency Planning
5:07 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Tuscaloosa Gets FEMA Grant For Warning System

ci.tuscaloosa.al.us City of Tuscaloosa

The city of Tuscaloosa plans to begin using a system that will warn residents of threats ranging from tornadoes to chemical spills.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a $124,000 grant for the city to implement an early warning system that sends alerts by telephones, pagers and text messages.

City officials say a computer linked to a phone system will send alerts to any resident who signs up for the service.

The system is similar to one that the University of Alabama uses to send alerts to students and staff members during an emergency.

Politics & Government
1:41 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

U.S. Army veteran described as suspect in Sikh temple shooting

OAK CREEK, Wis. (AP) — More details are emerging about yesterday's deadly shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Authorities say 40-year-old Army veteran Wade Michael Page walked into the suburban Milwaukee temple without saying a word and opened fire with a 9mm handgun that was purchased legally. They say he killed a woman and five men before being shot dead in an exchange of gunfire with a police officer. The police chief says that officer was shot eight to nine times at close range. He's in critical condition. Two other people were critically wounded.

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Politics & Government
8:24 am
Mon August 6, 2012

Baldwin County Meeting to Hire More Teachers

The Board of Education in Baldwin County meets today to hire additional teachers and other employees before classes begin on Aug. 20. A school system spokesman told The Mobile Press-Register that enrollment has increased roughly 2 percent.
 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Politics & Government
8:21 am
Mon August 6, 2012

Alabama Residents Get Help to Build Storm Shelters

FEMA.gov

Residents of several Alabama communities ravaged by last year's tornadoes are completing storm shelters with some help from federal money.

The Florence TimesDaily reports (http://bit.ly/NwmoHX) that the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved 100 individual shelters for Franklin County with the promise that it would cover 75 percent of the cost of the shelter, as long as 75 percent of the cost did not exceed $4,000.

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Siegelman Back To Prison
4:03 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Ex-Ala. Gov. Going Back To Prison For Bribery

Dave Martin Associated Press

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman is going back to prison.

Federal judge Mark Fuller sentenced Siegelman on Friday to 6 and a half years for his conviction on bribery and other charges. Earlier in court, Siegelman apologized for his actions.

Siegelman and former HealthSouth chief Richard Scrushy were convicted in 2006. They arranged $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery in exchange for the governor appointing Scrushy to an important hospital regulatory board.

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Prison Fingerprinting
3:48 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Alabama Prisons To Scan Fingerprints Of Visitors

Exercise Tradewinds Flickr

State prison officials say visitors to Alabama prisons will have their fingerprints scanned for security reasons.

The the policy begins this weekend.

Prison officials say the new system will improve security by making sure visitors are who they claim to be, and that the new system will also speed up the process of checking in.

Some are expressing concerns about the new system.

State Sen. Cam Ward, who chairs a joint legislative committee that oversees prisons, said he's troubled by the idea of fingerprinting people who have not broken laws.

Politics & Government
8:24 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Former Alabama Governor Headed to Federal Court

Dave Martin / Associated Press

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman heads back to federal court in Montgomery today for a new sentencing hearing for his conviction on bribery and other charges.

A judge will decide Siegelman's new sentence and could order the 66-year-old former governor to immediately return to federal prison after more than four years of freedom. 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. 

Middle East
3:58 am
Fri August 3, 2012

U.S. Sees Signs Of Al-Qaida Arm In Syria

Members of the Free Syrian Army are seen in a neighborhood of Damascus, Syria on June 28. Several huge suicide bombings this year suggest al-Qaida or other extremists are joining the battle against President Bashar Assad's regime.
AP

Originally published on Sat August 4, 2012 4:34 am

Late last month, counterterrorism officials discovered a disturbing video on YouTube that showed what appeared to be a faction of the Syrian rebel army standing in front of a fluttering black banner. The mysterious flag — which read "no god but God" in white Arabic cursive — is thought to be a reproduction of the Prophet Muhammad's battle flag. It has also become al-Qaida in Iraq's calling card in Syria.

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Gambling Corruption Case
5:09 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Judge Delays Sentencing For Ala. Casino Lobbyist

A judge has delayed the last sentencing in Alabama's gambling corruption case.

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins granted a request Thursday from former Country Crossing casino lobbyist Jennifer Pouncy to delay her sentencing from Aug. 29 to Sept. 26. She sought the delay to allow more time to study a presentencing report by federal probation officers. That report is due Aug. 22.

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Politics
12:47 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Are Polls Good News For Either Candidate?

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 1:08 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, we'll hear why some analysts are calling Mali, of all places, the Afghanistan of Africa. We'll ask NPR's West Africa's correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton about why this formerly stable democracy has so many in the region on edge. We'll have that conversation in just a few minutes.

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Sales Tax Holiday
10:31 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Alabama's Sales Tax Holiday: Good For Business, Bad Tax Policy

Joseph Henchman is vice president for legal and state projects for The Tax Foundation.
taxfoundation.org Tax Foundation

Alabama's seventh annual sales tax holiday for school-related items starts Friday. Items from pencils to computer equipment are exempt from the state's four percent sales tax as well as sales tax in participating counties and cities.

The holiday is expected to help businesses and customers alike but a new report says such holidays are poor tax policy. Joseph Henchman is vice president for legal and state projects for The Tax Foundation. He says when you get down to it, customers aren't really saving that much money.

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Politics & Government
8:28 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Alabama Taxpayers Warned of Email Scam

The Alabama Department of Revenue says taxpayers should be on the lookout for an email scam that is using the department's name.

The emails say the taxpayer has been awarded gift cards or other prizes from the Department of Revenue. Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee says the department does not initiate communications with taxpayers through email. She said taxpayers should not reply to an email from someone who claims to represent the department and is seeking personal information.

Presidential Race
4:32 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Breaking Tax Code: Obama Jumps On Romney's Policy

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

A damaging analysis has worked out the implications of Mitt Romney's plan to change the tax code. Romney says if elected, he would cut taxes, and do it in a way that does not expand the federal deficit.

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Politics
4:32 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Back To The Debt Debacle: A Look At What's Changed

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 10:53 am

It was just a year ago that the House rejected a deal with President Obama and threatened to allow the U.S. to default on debt obligations coming due. The Tea Party refusal to raise the debt ceiling led to a downgrade in U.S. credit and a selloff in the markets. NPR's David Welna reports on what's changed since then and what hasn't.

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