By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, April 16, the Rainy Day Patriots gathered at Hoover Tactical Firearms to hear from renowned scientist Dr. Roy Spencer with the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) about his research into climate theory.
The UAH professor said that he has been fighting the global warming wars for 25 years. “If it weren’t for the politics nobody would really care about this.”
Dr. Spencer said, “Global warming or global cooling can be natural or manmade…Many in the public as well as many scientist have grown up and been indoctrinated into the idea that it is all manmade…There is abundant evidence that climate changes have occurred in the past.”
The global warming theory got popular in the 1980s. 1988 was a big drought year in the Midwest. It was good timing.
Spencer said the theory is that man’s burning of fossil fuels has resulted in more CO2 being released in the atmosphere leading to global warming.
Dr. Spencer said, “That should cause some warming, but how much…The warming in the last 50 years is partly manmade…We do not have a clue as to how much…The earth was on a warming pattern and then 17 years ago it began flattening out.”
Dr. Spencer presented charts showing a Roman warming period from 1 to 200 A.D. followed by a cooling off from 200 to 600 A.D. with a medieval warming period to 1200 A.D. followed by a little ice age that lasted to about 1700 A.D. “Man made CO2 admissions did not really ramp up until after WWII.
Dr. Spencer said, “Global satellite measurements show no warming in the last 17 years…The climate models are failing. Spencer said that scientists who write computer programs predicting how the climate will perform in their, ‘toy climate system’ have all predicted warming since 1979…These models can’t even hind cast…The models have been producing twice as much warming as has actually occurred.”
Dr. Spencer said that this has become so political, “The modelers won’t change their models…It would be politically suicidal to say their models are wrong… Theoretically they could be right…We don’t know how sensitive the climate is to adding CO2…So far the warming on average has been beneficial.”
Most climate modelers are not meteorologists. Dr. Spencer said that the computer modelers think all the warming is human caused. They don’t include El Nino effects. “We found that the climate system is only half as sensitive as they think it is and it may actually be less than that…It is possible that there is no effect.”
The modelers also don’t count the cooling from all the added particulate matter that has been added to the atmosphere.
Dr. Spencer said that, “CNN had me on against some guy who I didn’t even know who turned out to be a nut job.”
Dr. Spencer said that, “We need to quit acting irrationally. There is actually a net downward trend in tornados since 1970. 2005 was the last year a major hurricane struck the US. There is a long record of major droughts in California. Big snow storms have happened before. Global warming fears are almost entirely based upon the theory of what could happen.”
Dr. Spencer said that Humanity requires so much energy now that we are forced to rely on fossil fuels. Renewables are producing only about 14 percent of the power that we need and even in the most optimistic scenario that will be less than 20 percent by 2035. I think it is immoral not to tell people you will kill people if we make them use more expensive energy.
Dr. Spencer said that, “CO2 is necessary for life on earth. Almost all types of vegetation responds positively to more CO2 including phytoplankton in the ocean.
Spencer said that it is amazing that it (global warming theory) took hold. “A lot of people have a certain amount of self-loathing. They are trying to rectify it so their lives have meaning. Why do politicians and many scientists persist on an issue that: Has such flimsy scientific evidence, the public doesn’t care very much about, and we can’t do anything about it?
Spencer says that nothing gets accomplished when he testifies before the Congress or the Senate. “Everyone already has their minds made up…I don’t have the illusion that I am going to change any minds in Congress. You really can’t change any minds…They attack your credibility.” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) slam dunked me as ‘Rush Limbaugh’s climatologist.’”
“Nature takes out half of all the CO2 in the atmosphere for use by plants. Life on Earth has been starved of CO2. As we are adding some of it back life on Earth is breathing easier. The corn growers consult with me to see if they should be worried. No one has seen any evidence yet of negative crops,” Spencer said.
Dr. Spencer said, our ability to grow food on an acre of ground has increased exponentially. Technological improvements have led to huge increase in corn yields since 1960. Through statistical analysis I did find a small negative signal. The U.S. grows most of the world’s corn. The limiting factor is normally temperature in the middle of the summer. There has been some warming in the middle of summer that should produce a 6 percent decrease in crop yield; but the CO2 fertilization guys say that we have experienced a 7.5 percent increase in yield due to more CO2 so warming has still been a net positive.
Spencer said “Humans adapt.” Ocean levels rise and we just decide that the next building that goes up on the beach will be a few feet back.
Dr. Spencer said, “Sen. Jeff Sessions has been very strong on this…He is outnumbered, but he doesn’t really care.”
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) has gone after the funding of scientists whose work casts doubts on global warming.
Spencer continued, “Severe weather has not gotten worse….The damages have gotten worse because we are wealthier and we build fancier buildings on the Coast….For the most part Congress is not hearing it….They are so scared of the media. If enough of the public puts pressure on the public Congress will know it.”
Dr. Spencer said that over the years I have gotten the impression that most members of Congress have at some point made a calculated decision on which position they are going to be on. Only a minority have a strong ideological belief.
Dr. Spencer said that radical environmentalists have caused a lot of damage. Rachel Carson and the DDT scare was totally overblown. Millions of people have died needlessly around the world because DDT was taken off the market and it is enormously effective at combating malaria. Green Peace started to fight atmospheric nuclear weapons testing and transformed itself into an organization that attacks humans.
Dr. Spencer said that Rush Limbaugh claims the whole thing (man-made global warming) is a hoax. “Ted Cruz has taken the same line. I think that is a dangerous track to take. I think that is risky, but he is a smarter lawyer than I am….I don’t like the word hoax.”
Spencer said, “Politicians I don’t see any progress with. The public is becoming more skeptical and that is a good thing.”
Spencer said that most, “Earth scientists have a preconceived bias that the Earth is fragile and needs protecting.”
That has become their religious world view and it is a mistake to pass that off as science.
On Common Core math that he has reviewed Dr. Spencer said, “Are we going to let all the science engineering and math be done by China in the future?”
“We’re not going to get a do-over:” Alabama health officer on Thanksgiving and COVID-19
There were 1,427 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Alabama on Monday, the most since Aug. 11.
Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris on Monday pleaded with the public to avoid gatherings over Thanksgiving as COVID-19 continues to surge in Alabama and hospitals statewide are filling with coronavirus patients.
“We don’t want this to be the last ever Thanksgiving for someone in your family, like your parents or your grandparents,” Harris said during a press conference Monday.
Harris said Alabama’s numbers aren’t headed in the right direction and more than 230,000 Alabamians — roughly 4 percent of the state’s population — have been infected by the coronavirus.
“We are adding a couple of thousand new cases a day, at least, that we are aware,” Harris said. “This is a time for people to be vigilant. This is a time to be careful and to think about what you’re going to be doing.”
Alabama added 1,574 new coronavirus cases on Monday, and the state’s 14-day average for new daily cases was at a record high 2,087. In the last two weeks, the state has added 29,223 cases, the most cases in any two week period since the pandemic arrived in Alabama in March.
There were 1,427 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Alabama on Monday. The last time so many were hospitalized in the state was on Aug. 11, during Alabama’s summer surge.
Harris said that he and his wife will be staying home for Thanksgiving instead of having his family’s regular large, intergenerational gathering. What happens with Alabama’s COVID-19 numbers over Thanksgiving will impact what the state’s December holiday and Christmas season will look like, Harris said.
“Are we gonna be here a month from now trying to have the same conversation? I really, really hope not,” Harris said.
Dr. Mary McIntyre, the Alabama Department of Public Health’s chief medical officer, said during the briefing that her home usually sees between 15 and 20 family members arriving for Thanksgiving. They’ve limited this year’s Thanksgiving to three additional people from out of their household, for a total of seven people, she said.
Everyone must wear masks and have temperatures checked at the door, she said.
Everyone will be seated six feet from one another and a Zoom video conference will be set up for those family members who won’t be attending in person, McIntyre said. They’ll use disposable plates, cups and utensils and have the ability, weather permitting, to eat outdoors.
“If we want to live to see another Thanksgiving, and I do, that it may mean stepping back this Thanksgiving and really limiting the number of people, and some of the things that we do,” McIntyre said. “Now is not the time to get out to do Black Friday shopping.”
Dr. Kierstin Kennedy, UAB’s chief of hospital medicine, in a separate press briefing Monday echoed concern over the possibility of spikes following Thanksgiving and Christmas if the public doesn’t do what’s needed to keep themselves and others safe.
“We are very much worried about the potential spike in numbers. We’ve also seen some of our own staff getting sick,” Kennedy said. “And unfortunately that’s not been at work. It’s been because we are just like you. We’re tired. We’re lonely. We want to try to socialize, and some of us have let our guards down and, as a result, have gotten sick.”
Kennedy said while there’s is concern over future spikes following the upcoming holidays “there is a way for all of us to help prevent that from happening.”
Kennedy said when Gov. Kay Ivey first issued her statewide mask order and social distancing requirements, the public masked up, businesses enforced the orders, and coronavirus numbers improved.
“It didn’t get nearly as bad as we thought, and we are really hopeful that the community is going to come together and do that again for us,” Kennedy said. “Because it’s more than just not having enough space for the COVID patients. It’s also those patients who do not have COVID that have other conditions. They rely on us for routine care, and we want to make sure that we’re available to provide that.”
Kenedy said UAB has an incredible group of staff members, who’ve proven themselves to be quite resilient, but that “the group is tired.”
“We’ve been doing this every single day since March, and so as you can imagine, people are very tired. It’s very emotional, especially as we see younger patients getting sick with this and getting sick in ways that we weren’t expecting,” she said.
Harris again urged the public to make smart decisions that will help slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re not going to get a do-over on this,” Harris said. “This is a big national holiday, and we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and our numbers are worse than they have ever been during this entire response. Please be careful. Please be safe. And please try to take care of those people who are most vulnerable.”
Governor allocates $3.6 million in CARES Act funds to food banks
The money is to go to the nonprofit Alabama Food Bank Association, which will administer the funds.
Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday announced that $3.6 million in federal CARES Act money will be used to reimburse food banks for COVID-19-related expenses.
“Alabama is a state where neighbors help neighbors, even in the most difficult times,” Ivey said in a statement. “The Coronavirus pandemic presented significant challenges around the world, as well as here at home in our own state. Food banks in communities across Alabama have been a lifeline for those in need, and I am proud to be able to put these funds toward the Alabama Feeding Initiative. I have told Alabamians that I remain committed to getting these CARES Act funds into the hands of those who need it.”
The funds are to go to the nonprofit Alabama Food Bank Association, according to the memorandum of understanding. The association will administer the funds to eight participating food banks across the state, which can be reimbursed for the following:
- The purchase of food, packaging and related supplies to meet increased demand.
- operational expenses, including fuel and maintenance, incurred due to handling a higher amount for food, as well as open-air distribution events.
- Rental costs of storage space and vehicles to handle increased volumes of food.
- To purchase PPE, screening equipment and decontamination services to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Unless Congress extends the deadline, Alabama and other states have until Dec. 30 to spend CARES Act funds or the money reverts back to the federal government. Ivey has just under $1 billion left to spend before the deadline.
Alabama Education Association, Board of Medical Examiners meet over excuses to break COVID-19 quarantines
Prior to the meeting, the AEA on Nov. 5 threatened legal action against the board over the matter.
Officials with the Alabama Education Association and the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners met on Thursday to discuss a concern the association has with doctors who write excuses to allow students to return to school before their mandated COVID-19 quarantine periods expire.
At the meeting between Theron Stokes, associate executive director of the Alabama Education Association, and William Perkins, executive director of the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners, Stokes learned that the board wasn’t aware of the problem, the AEA said in a press release.
“Both groups agreed to set up a meeting with educational and medical organizations on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in Alabama,” the AEA said in the release. “A meeting should be held before the end of the year and will allow the AEA and the Board of Medical Examiners, as well as other educational and medical organizations, to review existing guidelines issued by the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and ensure conformity in following those guidelines.”
In a letter to Perkins on Thursday, Stokes wrote that it was AEA’s understanding that the board was aware of the problem, but he wrote that during their meeting he became aware that neither the board nor Perkins was aware of the problem.
“It was not the intent of AEA to cause any unnecessary problems for you, the doctors you represent, or your organization regarding this matter,” Stokes wrote.
Prior to the meeting, the AEA on Nov. 5 threatened legal action against the board over the matter.
“It is our firm belief that there exists no medical scenario under which these students could be written out of quarantine and that to do so is violative of ADPH and CDC quarantine recommendations,” Stokes wrote in the Nov. 5 letter.
Stokes in his recent letter notes that both agreed in the meeting to bring together representatives of the other organizations to come up with a uniform procedure for following state and federal guidelines.
“I agree with your plan to conduct this meeting and finalize our goals before the holidays,” Stokes wrote.
Caravan to honor the life of longtime State Rep. Alvin Holmes
The caravan is being organized by community activists Ja’Mel Brown and William Boyd.
There is a car ride caravan honoring the life and service of Rep. Alvin Holmes in Montgomery at 2 p.m. Monday. The caravan is being organized by community activists Ja’Mel Brown and William Boyd.
On Saturday, Holmes passed away at age 81. He was born in 1939 into a very segregated Montgomery and spent his life battling in favor of civil rights causes. He was one of the first Black state representatives to serve in the Alabama Legislature after implementation of the Voting Rights Act.
There had been Black legislators during Reconstruction in the 1870s, but Jim Crow segregation during much of the 20th Century had effectively disenfranchised millions of Black Alabamians for generations.
Holmes served in the Alabama House of Representatives, representing House District 78 from 1974 to 2018. Holmes participated in the civil rights movement. He was a professor and a real estate broker.
The chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, State Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, released a statement mourning Holmes’s passing.
“Representative Alvin Holmes was a great Democrat and a fighter,” England said. “He stood on the frontlines of the fight for civil rights and was willing to sacrifice everything in his fight for justice for all. He not only had a long and distinguished career as a civil rights leader, but also as a member of the Legislature, serving his constituents faithfully and dutifully for 44 years. Alabama has lost a giant, whose wit, intelligence, fearlessness, selfless determination, and leadership will be sorely missed. My prayers are with his friends, family, and colleagues.”
State Rep. Kirk Hatcher, D-Montgomery, fondly remembered Holmes, whom he defeated in the 2018 Democratic primary.
“Today we lost a dedicated warrior for social justice. Representative Alvin Holmes was a true public servant,” Hatcher said. “What an amazing legacy he has left us! He could always be seen waging the good fight for equality in all aspects of state government and beyond. His public service is legendary and without peer.”
“In recent years, I am profoundly grateful for the grace he showed me in his willingness to share with me his blueprint for effectively serving our people—and by extension the larger community,” Hatcher said. “Today, my fervent prayers are with his beloved daughter Veronica, her precious mom (and his best friend), as well as other cherished members of his family and friends as they mourn his passing. I humbly join the many voices who offer a sincere ‘Thank You’ to Mr. Alvin Holmes for his dedicated service to our Montgomery community and our state. ‘May angels sing thee to thy rest.’”
State Rep. Tashina Morris, D-Montgomery, also fondly remembered Holmes.
“Sending Prayers to The Holmes family,” Morris said. “Alvin Holmes was the epitome of greatness working for his people!! May you Rest Well !!!”
Republican insider and former State Rep. Perry Hooper Jr. also served with Holmes in the Alabama House of Representatives and the Montgomery legislative delegation.
“I served with Alvin for 20 years in the Alabama Legislature,” Hooper said. “We often disagreed on the issues, but even after a heated floor debate, we could shake hands at the end of the day. I always considered him a friend. He loved Montgomery and he was a great representative of his district and its issues. He was always willing to go the extra mile for one of his constituents. When I served as Chairman of the Contract Review Committee, he was one of the committee’s most conscientious members. He was always questioning contracts so he could be assured that the contract represented a good use of taxpayer’s dollars which as Chairman I greatly appreciated. He was one of a kind pioneer in the Alabama Legislature and will be sorely missed.”
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill served with Holmes in the Alabama House of Representatives prior to his election as secretary of state.
“I just learned that former State Rep. Alvin Holmes passed away today,” Merrill said on social media. “I enjoyed the privilege of serving with him from 2010-14. There was never a dull moment whenever he was in the Chamber. I appreciated him for his candor & for his desire to work on behalf of his constituents!”
Holmes was a member of the Hutchinson Missionary Baptist Church, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Montgomery Improvement Association, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Alabama Southern Christian Leadership Conference Board, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He has one daughter, Veronica.