Posts tagged with "Alabama"

Five-year-old in a Chucky costume terrorizes unsuspecting Alabama neighborhood

July 28, 2022

“Hi, I’m Chucky. Wanna play?” There are some things in life that require a double take. For Kendra Walden, it was seeing what appeared to be a Chucky doll come to life walking down the street in her Alabama neighborhood.

The 31-year-old, who works in Albertville, Alabama, was in a car with two other women when she first spotted a life-sized version of the murderous doll from the 1988 horror film, Child’s Play.

“I was remodeling a house in the area and me and some of my employees were headed home from that house,” Walden told Today Parents—a segment of the Today morning show on NBC-TV.

Walden said she thought she was hallucinating. “When we got closer to him we saw that it was real,” she said. “It scared the heck out of us.”

Walden told Today that everyone in the car was “screaming like little kids.”

“My brother Zack, who is a Marine, was working on this house the day before,” Walden said. “His biggest fear in the entire world is Chucky so he would have died on the spot.”

Walden said her employee driving the car, Alexis Atchley, turned around so everyone could get a closer look.

“When we circled back around [the boy] had his mask off, but quickly popped it back on and crossed the street after we passed,” Walden told Today. “We turned around again and that’s when we got the photos.”

Walden uploaded three photos to her Facebook page of the encounter.

Dear Parents of the little boy in the chucky costume in Pinson,” Walden captioned the photos. “GET YOUR KID….I almost had a heart attack.”

Walden said her social post, which has garnered more than 51,000 likes and 105,000 shares, was “just for fun” and she did not expect it to go viral.

“At first it was private and then a friend asked to make it public and after that it’s been crazy,” she said. “I can rarely check my notifications because so many are on the Chucky post. I’ve had so many people reach out about people sharing it and such.”

Research contact: @TODAYshow

America sends Soviet air defense systems it secretly acquired to Ukraine

March 23, 2022

The United States is sending some of the Soviet-made air defense equipment that it acquired clandestinely decades ago to the Ukrainian military as it seeks to fend off  Russian air and missile attacks, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Indeed, the United States has acquired a small number of Soviet missile defense systems so that they could be examined by U.S. intelligence experts and help with training American forces. The weapons are familiar to Ukraine’s military, which inherited this type of equipment following the breakup of the Soviet Union, sources say.

The Pentagon declined to comment on the U.S. decision to reach into its little-known arsenal of Soviet weapons, which comes as the Biden Administration is mounting a major push to expand Ukraine’s air defense capabilities.

The secretive efforts received public attention in 1994 when a Soviet-made transport plane was observed at the Huntsville, Alabama, airport within sight of a major highway. It was later disclosed that the plane was carrying an S-300 air defense system that America had acquired in Belarus as part of a clandestine project involving a Pentagon contractor that cost $100 million, according to a former official involved in the mission.

The S-300—called the SA-10 by NATO—is a long-range, advanced air defense system intended to protect large areas over a much wider radius.

The SA-8 is a short-range, tactical surface-to-air missile designed to move with ground forces and provide cover from aircraft and helicopters. While the SA-8 has a shorter range, it is highly mobile and potentially easier to hide.

Some of the Soviet-style weapons have been kept at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, which its website notes serves as “the Army’s center for missile and rocket programs.” At least some of what the U.S. sent was from that base, said officials, who added that C-17s recently flew to a nearby airfield at Huntsville.

The S-300 from Belarus wasn’t among the systems that are being sent to Ukraine, one U.S. official said.

The United States is hoping that the provision of additional air defenses will enable Ukraine to create a de facto no-fly zone, since America and its NATO allies have rebuffed Ukraine’s appeals that the alliance establish one. Such a step, Biden Administration officials have said, could lead to a direct confrontation between the U.S.-led alliance and Russian forces, which it is determined to avoid.

Research contact: @WSJ

NBC: Mitch McConnell’s U.S. ancestors owned 14 slaves, bringing reparations issue close to home

July 10, 2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky)—who said recently that he opposes paying government reparations to the descendants of American slaves—has a family history that is deeply entwined with that controversial issue: Two of his great-great-grandfathers were slave owners, U.S. census records show, according to an exclusive report by NBC News.

The two great-great-grandfathers, James McConnell and Richard Daley, owned a total of at least 14 slaves in Limestone County, Alabama — all but two of them female, according to the county “Slave Schedules” in the 1850 and 1860 censuses.

The details about McConnell’s ancestors, discovered by NBC News through a search of ancestry and census records, came in the wake of recent hearings on reparations before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

“I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, when none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea,”McConnell said June 18, a day before the House reparations hearing. “We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We’ve elected an African-American president.”

NBC News, in several phone calls and emails to McConnell’s office, asked if the senator was aware that his great-great-grandfathers were slave owners. The office did not respond to those requests.

Slavery experts have stressed that descendants of slave owners should not be held personally responsible for the deeds of their forebears. But they have also argued that the families that descended from slave owners, like McConnell’s, are likely to have benefited from the labor of slaves that propped up farm families in earlier generations — a point made by many reparations supporters, who have said that descendants of slaves were never compensated for the economic benefit their forebears made to white families.

“Smaller farms and plantations still benefited enormously from the unpaid labor of enslaved people, which likely helped them build multigenerational wealth,” Chuck Collins, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal think tank in Washington. DC, told NBC News.

Collins’ assertion is supported by research done by two American professors and one Danish college professor, who found that the Southern slave owners were able to rebound more rapidly economically than non-slave owners after the Civil War.

“We see recovery for the sons of both small and large slaveholders, as well as in the counties that specialized in non-plantation crops,” wrote the authors of  The Intergenerational Effects Of A Large Wealth Shock: White Southerners After The Civil War,” a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the nation’s leading nonprofit economic research organization.

McConnell has not mentioned—either personally, or in his 2016 autobiography, The Long Game—that his family owned slaves.

As a legislator, he generally has been supportive of civil rights measures—and he has said that his parents, whom he has described as “very enlightened Southerners,” opposed the rampant segregation that surrounded his family in northern Alabama

However, like most Republicans, he supported the narrowing of the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court in 2013, and has also been an advocate for strong voter ID laws. Both positions have been criticized by current civil rights leaders for making it more difficult for minorities to vote.

A strong supporter of President Donald Trump, McConnell has repeatedly refused to take up bills in the Senate that have been passed by the Democratic-majority House—earning him the nickname, Grim Reaper, from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California).

The slavery issue, as well as his reluctance to discussion reparations, will not aid his cause, as he stands for re-election in 2020 against Amy McGrath, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel and combat pilot who says that McConnell is to blame for the dysfunction in Washington. Indeed, in her announcement video, McGrath said that the majority leader had turned the capital into “something we despise.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

Blue wave or bust? Today’s primaries may provide some perspective

June 5, 2018

California is not the only state holding primaries today although it has gotten the lion’s share of newsprint and posts on the subject. In fact, nationwide, June 5 will be the closest thing we get to a Super Tuesday in a non-presidential-election year, the news site FiveThirtyEight points out this week.

The following three states will hold primaries—and FiveThirtyEight has given us a heads-up on which races to watch:·

  • Alabama (2nd Congressional District): Republican Representative Martha Roby could become the next congressional incumbent to lose a primary this cycle. She put a target on her back, FiveThirtyEight believes, when she announced she would not support Donald Trump in the aftermath of the “Access Hollywood” tape scandal in 2016. Furious Trump supporters waged a write-in campaign against her that dramatically cut down her margin of victory—and they still view her as a turncoat. While her two Democratic opponents may not beat her in the primary, all they need to do is keep her from winning more than 50% of the vote, which would force a one-on-one runoff in July. This race could tell us a lot about the importance of absolute loyalty to Trump in today’s GOP.
  • Mississippi (3rd Congressional District): No matter who wins this  six-way Republican primary, the open seat is unlikely to figure in November’s battle for House control. The 3rd District is 26 percentage points more Republican-leaning than the nation as a whole, FiveThirtyEight says, so there will be no drama.
  • New Jersey (S. Senate; 2nd, 5th, 7th and 11th Congressional Districts): With five of its 12 congressional districts expected to be competitive in November, New Jersey is one of a handful of blue states that, alone, have enough vulnerable Republican seats that they could decide which party controls the House next year, FiveThirtyEight says. We all should be watching these results closely.

What’s more, the Senate race will be a cliffhanger: Incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Menendez was “severely admonished” in April by the Senate Ethics Committee for accepting gifts from a wealthy friend, after a multiyear corruption scandal that ultimately ended with a mistrial and the government’s decision not to retry him. Although state Democrats have stuck by Menendez as he faces re-election, his legal trouble has left him unpopular with New Jersey voters. Menendez faces one challenger in the Democratic primary, Lisa McCormick, and her performance on Tuesday indicate whether New Jerseyans want to move on from Menendez’s scandal—or from Menendez, himself. Given New Jersey’s D+12 partisan lean, the Democratic winner will be heavily favored over the Republican nominee, who is likely to be wealthy former pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin. Hugin has been campaigning on the platform that he will not bow to the whims of the current president, if he wins the job—but will concentrate on serving his constituency.

Research contact: @baseballot

American voters say Moore should be expelled, if elected to Senate

November 24, 2017

Most American voters think that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) should be expelled by U.S. legislators if he wins next month, according to findings of a poll released on November 21 in The Hill. .

Sixty percent of 1,416 of U.S. voters who responded to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday said the Senate should vote to remove Moore, should the GOP candidate win the December special election; while 28% said it should not.

Republicans were the only voter group in the survey to say Moore should not be expelled from the Senate, (49% to 33%), while the majority of voters in every other category of political party, gender, and education level said the Senate should remove him from office.

Moore is the target of accusations by seven women, who have come forward in recent weeks to allege that the former judge and prosecutor harassed and assaulted them—including one woman who said he had initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 years old and he was 32.

Moore has denied the allegations and remained in the Alabama Senate race, despite the urging of Republicans in Washington—except President Trump—for him to step aside ahead of the December 12 special election against Democrat Doug Jones.

On the issue of sexual harassment generally, a slight preponderance of GOP voters (43% to 41%) said they still would consider voting for Moore over his Democratic opponent.

Meanwhile, 62% of Americans overall said they would not vote for such a candidate and only 27% would consider it.

The survey was conducted by telephone between November 15 and November 20.

Research contact:  timothy.malloy@quinnipiac.edu