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News

Alabama Governor: ‘Time To Start Blaming The Unvaccinated Folks’

Gov. Kay Ivey (R-AL)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey expressed her frustration with the low level of COVID-19 vaccinations in her state even as cases are surging.

From NBC News:

“Folks are supposed to have common sense,” Ivey told a reporter in response to a question about what it’s going to take for people to get vaccinated.

“But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down,” she continued.

Alabama has the lowest vaccination rate in the country with only 38 percent of the state’s population receiving at least one vaccine dose. According to state statistics, 31 percent were fully vaccinated as of Tuesday. Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new coronavirus cases in the state was up by 694 or 573 percent.

“Almost 100 percent of the new hospitalizations are with unvaccinated folks,” Ivey said. “And the deaths are certainly occurring with the unvaccinated folks. These folks are choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain.”

She told reporters that she’s done her best to fight the virus but “can’t make you take care of yourself.”

Categories
2020 election

Trump Cancels Alabama Rally Amid Rising Coronavirus Concerns

Trump walks past reporters with no comment
Donald Trump (image via public domain/White House)

With coronavirus infections on the rise across the US, Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has canceled plans to hold a rally in Alabama.

From CNN:

Trump was slated to travel to the state ahead of the Senate race between his former attorney general Jeff Sessions and the former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, but plans were called off as state officials voiced concerns about a mass gathering and campaign officials ultimately decided against it.

A person close to the campaign said there are currently no rallies on the horizon, but aides are scoping out possible venues for when they decide to host them again.

“We don’t ever confirm where we’re looking until a rally date and location are announced. There is always work underway to identify sites,” said Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign.

On Tuesday, Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey announced an amended order, which will extend the current rules until the end of July. The order encourages minimizing travel outside the home and wearing face coverings when doing so. The order also states that “all non-work related gatherings of any size, including drive-in gatherings, that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons from different households are prohibited.”

You’ll recall Trump’s recent return to the campaign trail in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a less-than-spectacular result as eight pre-event campaign staffers tested positive for COVID-19 just before the rally.

Following the event, which drew less than half capacity, dozens of Secret Service agents had to self-quarantine after two agents tested positive as well.

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News Round-Up

News Round-Up: June 16, 2020

Bruno, the wonder dog, at one-year-old

Some news items you might have missed:

Birthdays: Today would have been the 18th birthday of my forever bestie, Bruno. Although he crossed the rainbow bridge two years ago, I think of him constantly. No sadness here, just joy at my awesome memories. I used to refer to the photo above as his headshot, as he was clearly star-material. #LoveTheBrun

Gay Star News: The Republican Party is retaining its 2016 platform for this November’s elections – including its condemnation of marriage equality, wording against same-sex families with children, a section that indicates parents should be able to send their LGBT+ children for dangerous and futile ‘conversion therapy.’

Towleroad: Houston gay bars Buddy’s (in Montrose) and Blur Bar (in Midtown) have closed after employees and owners tested positive for COVID-19. Since Memorial Day weekend, hospitalizations in Houston’s Texas Medical Center are growing by an average of 3 percent every day.

Alabama Reporter: Alabama has recorded record numbers of new coronavirus cases for four straight days amid a worsening outbreak in the state.

Instinct Magazine: Timothy de Iturriaga, the owner of the male strip club Adonis Lounge, shares how the COVID-19 health threat has affected gay nightlife in NYC.

NewNowNext: In a press conference today, Donald Trump took a moment to praise medical researchers developing a vaccine for COVID-19 amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis. According to Trump, they’re “the best, the smartest, the most brilliant [people] anywhere”—and the same people who’ve “come up with the AIDS vaccine.” Ahem, there is NO AIDS vaccine.

Categories
Health News

Alabama: New COVID-19 Cases On The Rise As Citizens Ignore Health Guidelines

As the death toll from COVID-19 nears 100,000 in the U.S., Reuters reports that 20 states saw an increase in new cases of COVID-19 for the week ended May 24, up from 13 states in the prior week.

Alabama had the biggest weekly increase at 28%, Missouri’s new cases rose 27% and North Carolina’s rose 26%, according to the analysis of data from The COVID Tracking Project.

As folks in Alabama celebrated the Memorial Day weekend by hitting the beaches in droves with little-to-no social distancing or face masks.

Even with the state’s relaxed guidelines, groups are supposed to be six feet away from each other. Groups are also supposed to consist of only people who live in the same household.

CNN’s Gary Tuchman spoke to several beach-goers about any concerns they may or may not have about the coronavirus.

The responses were eye-opening.

“I’m just here just to have fun and meet everybody and be cool, you know,” said the first young man. “When it’s my time to go, it’s just my time to go.”

“Everybody’s gotta go somehow. I don’t wanna die, but I mean, if that’s what God has in store for my life then that’s okay,” said a 21-year-old woman.

Said another 20-something: “My family has the same mindset as me. We kind of just agreed that if we get it we get it. We’re gonna handle it as a family and just get over it because that’s what a family does.”

“Just like the flu, right,” said one woman. “People die from the flu also. To me, that’s just the way I look at it.”

Asked if she was concerned about so many people being at the beach, one woman replied, “No, not at all. There’s enough wind and air that it’ll clear it all out.”

“I just feel comfortable that we’re going to be ok,” said an older man when asked why he doesn’t wear a face mask. “The survival rate is so high…We’re all gonna get sick from something eventually.”

And in a demonstration of presidential leadership, a bearded young man said he was taking his cues from Donald Trump.

“I mean, if he’s not wearing a mask, I’m not gonna wear a mask. If he’s not worried, I’m not worried.”

And there you have it.

But it wasn’t just Alabama flouting the rules. Over in Missouri, public pool parties were just as busy.

Several videos taken from the Lake of the Ozark Saturday showed people not social distancing. Hundreds of people were packed into a pool and no one was seen wearing a mask.

Check out the report from local CBS News affiliate KMOV.

Categories
News

Evangelist Gets Over 1,000 Years In Prison For Child Sex Abuse Charges

Paul Acton Bowen (mugshot)

Yet another religious hypocrite has been found to be a sexual predator.

Alabama evangelist Paul Acton Bowen has been sentenced to 1,008 years in prison after pleading guilty to 28 counts of sexual abuse involving six male victims whose ages range from 13 to 16.

Bowen was originally arrested in April 2018 and charged with second-degree sodomy, enticing a child to enter a vehicle or house for immoral purposes, and second-degree sex abuse of a male minor under the age of 16. Further investigation led authorities to the additional victims.

The sentence is the maximum allowed on all counts and is ordered to run consecutively, not concurrently. Bowen was also ordered to pay $840,000 in fines for all counts, also the maximum.

Standing in shackles, Bowen addressed the Etowah County court before being sentenced apologizing to his victims and his own family.

“The shame and guilt I feel is overwhelming and has been for a long time,” he said. “My heart was never wanting to hurt anybody but my mind was not well.”

AL.com reports the 39-year-old “served for 12 years in a local church, led a citywide student Bible study in Gadsden and was also the host of xlroads TV, a worldwide broadcast viewed weekly by millions of teens and adults in every city in America and more than 170 countries around the world.”

The victims told investigators they met Bowen through his ministry, and the abuse lasted months, sometimes years.

District Attorney Jody Willoughby read the impact letter of one of the victims who wrote he initially saw Bowen as a “cool guy” who gave him money and took him on trips. But the teen developed a drinking problem that led to blackouts as he tried to cope with the shame of abuse and now sees himself now as “damaged goods.”

A second victim wrote that Bowen “did his best to ruin the lives of other young men.”

A third victim intended to testify in court, but became so overwhelmed with emotion he changed his mind.

Bowen’s attorney John Floyd told the court that his client acted out after being sexually molested himself as a boy.

In addition to his time in prison, Bowen faces another trial in Jefferson County on three felony charges of traveling to meet a child for sex, enticing a child for a sexual act and sodomy. That trial is set for April 20, 2020.

The local NBC News affiliate WVTM reported on Bowen’s arrest back in 2018.

Categories
2020 election

Poll: Alabama Sen. Doug Jones Trails 3 GOP Challengers

Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL)

As expected, Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, who took office in 2018 after a tight race against serial sexual assaulter Judge Roy Moore, looks to be in trouble for reelection.

Via the Montgomery Advertiser:

According to the poll (from JMC Analytics and Polling), which tested head-to-head match-ups with five Republicans seeking the nomination for Jones’ seat:

• Former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville leads Jones 47% to 40%, with 13% undecided

• Former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions leads Jones 46% to 41%, with 13% undecided

• U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne leads Jones 44% to 40%, with 16% undecided

In what appeared to be pandering to conservative voters in his state, Jones recently said on ABC’s “This Week” that the allegations that Donald Trump exploited Ukraine for his political benefit are “serious” and “impeachable,” but added that there are “gaps” in the House’s case and that he is willing to acquit Trump in a Senate trial if “those dots aren’t connected.”