Tag: JoAnna Mitchell

Roy Moore speaks at JSU, goes on to win run-off election

JoAnna Mitchell Staff Reporter

The JSU College Republicans hosted Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Alabama Senator, on Sunday, September 24 at Houston Cole Library as part of his campaign. The speech came two days prior to his victory over President Trump’s endorsed candidate Luther Strange in Tuesday’s Republican primary run-off election. The Senate seat was left vacant by Jeff Sessions after Trump appointed him to the position of U.S. Attorney General.

Roy Moore, former Alabama Supreme Court judge, spoke at JSU on September 24. (photo via WTVY)

Moore stated that “Washington is watching this election and attempting to control the vote in Alabama” and said that he believes the opposition against him is because he is “not part of the establishment.” Moore claimed that there is “a lot of fighting between parties” and that “nothing is getting done.” He stated that Trump’s agenda has stagnated but that with his victory, he could help repeal the Affordable Care Act and help the fight against “illegal aliens” coming to the country.

Moore said that despite threats against him and his family and slanderous ads paid for by the Luther Strange campaign he has run no negative ads against his former opponent.

In his speech, Moore stressed the importance of the limits of the Supreme Court and other governing bodies imposed by the Constitution and argued for smaller government. He claimed that the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage changed the definition of marriage and that is was not within the Court’s right to do so. Moore went on to compare the Supreme Court and its interference with “God-given law” to the genocide of people who wore eye-glasses during the reign of Pol-Pot and the Khmr Rouge in Cambodia.

“The government is out of control” said Moore.  His promise is to keep the government restricted to their powers given by the Constitution and preserve the Christian ideals this nation was founded on.

Moore stated that the government is trying to “flip the 1st Amendment so that God has nothing to do with it.” He claimed that “God gives you the right to disbelieve” and that without a Christian government we could have an alternative like an “Islamic form of government.” According to Moore, there is “no law against free exercise of religion and fulfillment of our duty to the Creator.”

The JSU College Republicans are a “fast growing political group dedicated to giving conservative students on campus a greater voice.”

According to the group’s vice president, Coleman Amason, the group contains “many different beliefs, just like any political organization should.”

Amason said the group does not endorse any one faction of the Republican Party.

“We stand for the obvious intentions this nation was founded on, like personal liberties, freedom from despotism and tyranny, government accountability, fiscal conservatism, freedom of speech and a much smaller government,” Amason said.

The group does not take public stances on issues that the party may be split on due to the differences of opinions within the group. The College Republicans meet every second and fourth Tuesday in Brewer Hall room 213 at 7:00 p.m.

Members of JSU’s College Republicans, including President Jesse Battles (center)smile after  Roy Moore’s presentation on September 24. (JSU Republicans/Facebook)

“It wasn’t easy getting Roy Moore to come speak at JSU,” said Amason. “Our president, Jesse Battles, did a great job making sure every precaution was in place for the event.”

Amason’s personal response to the speech was that it was “one of the best he’s ever given.”

“Judge Moore consistently recited historical documents from America’s founding from memory, all while tying those documents into his unwavering faith in the U.S. Constitution,” Amason said.

Wesley Brewer, a 21-year-old sophomore at JSU who attended the speech said, “I did not appreciate the repetitive moral stance he took on almost every issue.”

Brewer agreed with parts of Moore’s speech, too: “I agreed with his ideals on the Constitution and its goal on limiting power to the three branches.”

Brewer appeared to have a moderate stance stating that he has mixed feelings if Moore is elected to the Senate.

“Although he stands for limited power,” said Brewer, “his moral stance may be a conflict of interest while in the Senate.”

Other students disagreed with Moore, such as Noah Davis, a sophomore and president of the Secular Student Alliance.

“The thing I disliked most about Moore’s speech was his reasoning behind his claim that America is a Christian nation,” Davis said. “He cites the parts of the Constitution where God is mentioned but does not recognize that all references to a creator are made to define the freedoms of individuals as rights given at birth and not to define the law.”

“The thing I took away from the speech was that his arguments were fallacious,” Davis continued. “He claimed that the Constitution is often misinterpreted by people, especially the Supreme Court justices, but his interpretation is right based on the sole interpretation of someone that agrees with him.”

The Secular Student Alliance is dedicated to secular advocacy on campus and in the community as well as a support system for atheists, agnostics, and skeptics. The group meets on Monday night in Martin Hall room 202 at 6:30 p.m.

Roy Moore, also known as “The Ten Commandments Judge,” has been the subject of controversy since he was ousted from his position as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

In 2003, Moore was removed from office by a judicial ethics panel after refusing to remove a 5,000-pound monument of the Ten Commandments from the Supreme Court building. He ran again and won in 2012 but was again under scrutiny of the same ethics panel after defying a federal court ruling on same-sex marriage. He resigned in April of this year to focus on Sessions’ vacant Senate position.

Moore sparked controversy days before his JSU appearance with this quote: “Now we have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting. Who’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A president? A congress? No. It’s going to be God.”

This quote sparked backlash as his use of the terms “reds and yellows” was seen as racially insensitive to Native Americans and Asians.

Moore’s Democratic opponent in the December 12th general election is Doug Jones, a lawyer and politician who has been involved in prominent court cases such as the Monsanto case in Anniston and the last trial of those the bombers of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

U.S. orders closure of three Russian diplomatic facilities

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Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin (photo from CNN.com)

JoAnna MitchellStaff Reporter

The U.S. has ordered the closure of three Russian diplomatic facilities in retaliation for being forced to downsize its own diplomatic presence in Russia by 60%.

The American order, issued on Thursday, August 31, 2017, called for the closure of Russia’s oldest consulate general in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington D.C. and a consular annex in New York City by the following Saturday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry that he “expressed regrets over the escalation of tensions in bilateral relations, which were not initiated by us.”

Russia ordered the decrease in U.S. diplomats on Sunday, July 30, days after Congress approved sanctions to punish the Kremlin for election tampering, the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s continued military presence in the Ukraine.

“We waited for quite a long time, that perhaps something will change for the better. We held out hope that the situation would somehow change. But, judging by everything, if it changes, it will not be soon,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Rossiya 1 Television, a state-run television channel. The Kremlin claims its expulsion of U.S. diplomats was to seek “parity” in the number of diplomats working in either country.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that the White House wishes to “halt the downward spiral” of relations between the countries.

“We’re going to look for opportunities to do that, but we’re also going to make sure that we make decisions that are best for our country,” Sanders said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has stated that relations between the two countries could be at their worst since the Cold War.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, suggested on Sunday that President Donald J. Trump may not serve a full four-year term.

“Not all American presidents have reached the end of their term. It could be worth remembering, considering the government we are dealing with in today’s historical times,” Zakharova said on Rossiya 1 in an interview which aired 2 days after the closure of the diplomatic centers in the U.S.


Hurricane Harvey hits hard in Houston

JoAnna Mitchell, Staff Reporter

Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 storm, made landfall in Texas near Port Aransas late on the night of Friday, August 24. In the days since, up to 50 inches of rain has flooded Houston and surrounding areas, setting a record for the continental United States.

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Sgt. Steve Perez drowned while performing his duties as a police officer for the City of Houston. (photo from Huffington Post)

Harvey is the first Category 4 storm to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Charley in 2004. Thus far, Harvey has claimed 30 lives including the life of senior Houston Police Sgt. Steve Perez, age 60. Perez drowned while carrying out his duty to serve the people of Houston in their time of need.

Rescue efforts are being carried out around the clock, with over 2000 survivors rescued as of 7:33 a.m. Tuesday morning. The Coast Guard has sent 500 service members as well as 20 helicopters to aid other groups and individuals such as the Cajun Navy, a group made famous during Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. The group is made up of individuals from Louisiana who use their own boats and supplies to carry out rescue operations for those stranded by the storm. You can donate to the American Red Cross relief efforts at www.redcross.org.

Many people are criticizing Joel Osteen, a televangelist with a net worth of around $40 million, for closing the doors of his multi-million-dollar megachurch to Harvey’s victims. Osteen initially claimed flooding had rendered the church inaccessible but after immense internet backlash, Joel and his wife and co-pastor, Victoria, have opened the building as a shelter as of 11 a.m. Tuesday. The building seats 16,800 people and at one time housed the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

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A rescue team helps a man and a dog amidst flooding in Houston. (photo from The Military Times)

Several groups and individuals have begun rescue efforts for pets who were tragically left behind after their owners’ hasty evacuations. Many animal shelters and private individuals have donated their time and risked their lives to save animals stranded by the deluge. The Animal Care Services of San Antonio had taken in an estimated 200 displaced and abandoned animals as of Monday afternoon, according to the New York Times. The ASPCA is also aiding in the animal rescue efforts. You can donate on their website www.ASPCA.org .

Harvey has doubled back as a tropical storm, now heading towards Louisiana on the 12th anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina.

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A satellite view of Hurricane Harvey. (photo from The New York Times)

Invasssssive snake found by JSU student



An Indotyphlops braminus, or Brahminy blind snake, similar to the one pictured here,  was brought to Dr. Cline by a student last week. (Gary Nafis/Californisherps.com)


JoAnna Mitchell, Staff Writer

On April 4, a student in Dr. George Cline’s herpetology class found a rare species of snake in a flowerbed in Baldwin County.

The Brahminy blind snake has been found in Alabama on only two verified occasions. The first was found in Theodore, Ala. in Mobile County only a month ago and released back into the wild.

The particular specimen that Cline received is pictured above next to a dime for size comparison. (Katie Cline/The Chanticleer)

Cline’s specimen was sent to Auburn University on April 7 where Raymond Corey of the Alabama Herpetological Society confirmed its identity. It will be used for educational purposes in their herpetology department. According to Auburn University, this is the only vouchered specimen for the state of Alabama.

The scientific name for the species is Indotyphlops braminus, which comes from Indo, meaning India or Indonesia, typhlops, a Greek word meaning “the blind” and Brahmin, a caste of Hindus. Brahminy blind snakes are found on almost every continent, but cold temperatures prevent northern expansion. The blind snake spends most of its time underground and has developed reduced eyes that sense light and dark as opposed to seeing like most snakes.

Brahminy blind snakes are often mistaken for worms due to their small size. The snake is very slender and typically only reaches around 200 mm, or 8 in. in length. The blindsnake is not venomous, and if it were, its mouth is too small to be able to bite a human. They feed on soft-bodied invertebrates such as ants, ant eggs and termites.

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A close-up shot of a Brahminy blind snake’s head shows its almost invisible eyes. (Gary Nafis/CaliforniaHerps.com)

This species of snake is the only known all-female species.

“Females are able to produce viable, fertile eggs without being fertilized by male sperm.  his process is called parthenogenesis, and it can be seen in numerous invertebrates and vertebrates (some fishes, amphibians, and lizards),” said Cline. “This is the only species of snake in the world that can reproduce in this manner.”

Furthermore, this species is also considered triploid, meaning that even though they only have one parent, they have three sets of chromosomes.

While triploidy is common in plants, most sexually reproducing species, including humans, are diploid, receiving one set of chromosomes from the mother and one set from the father.

“Usually, individuals that have unbalanced (odd-numbered) sets of chromosomes suffer high mortality,” said Cline. “Brahminy blind snakes have somehow solved that problem evolutionarily.”

The implications of finding this non-native species in Alabama are hard to pin-point.

“It’s a non-native with no native predators,” said Cline. “Its ability to reproduce from a single specimen suggests that its population size could increase rapidly.”

If left unchecked, Brahminy blind snakes may dominate fossorial competition and have negative effects on native underground invertebrates.

Katie Cline holds a Brahminy blind snake, which is so small that it fits in the palm of an adult hand when full grown. (Katie Cline/The Chanticleer)

Invasive species are appearing in the country, both accidentally and intentionally, at an increasing rate. Several species, such as geckos and anoles, have been introduced by the sale of ornamental plants. Others, like cane toads and pythons, have been introduced through the exotic pet trade.

“More insidious are the diseases that have been introduced, for example the chestnut blight, Dutch Elm disease and avian flu in birds,” said Cline. “We just don’t know what impact blindsnakes could have.”






Donuts with the Dems brings awareness to inequality

JoAnna Mitchell, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, March 29, Brewer Hall room 230 saw the gathering of a group of passionate young students who stand together against inequality. The group served donuts and drinks while discussing issues within our society.

The College Democrats are a nationally chartered branch of the Democratic Party who seek to further the ideals of the party through fundraising and other forms of issue based campaigning.

“We want to be the armed force for everyone at JSU,” said Kyteria Marshall, the Public Relations Director for the JSU chapter. “We stand for everyone.”

Founded in August 2011, the group focuses mainly on issues of inequality and acceptance within society. According to their Facebook page, JSU College Democrats, they are “committed to providing JSU students and the community with the ‘other side’ of the story in Alabama politics.”

The group also seeks to encourage students to educate themselves on the issues affecting our society. Other Chapter officers include President Tyler Gay, Vice President Landon Watson, Secretary Caitlin Waits, Treasurers Dalton Cuttergoode and Hayden Hope, and Community Relations Director Alexis Paige.

One issue concerning the College Democrats is that of mental health. Marshall has noticed that within African American communities especially, mental health is not given proper attention.

This issue is close to the heart for Marshall, who recently lost a loved one to suicide. Marshall’s cousin Erica was told to simply “pray it away” when she approached their grandmother about her depression. Without proper support and professional attention, Erica could not cope with her mental health issues. Marshall hopes to educate people and prevent others from losing their life to a treatable illness.

The group is working with 3 other campus organizations Active Minds, the Secular Student Alliance, and W.I.S.E. to host The Entitlement Ball. The event will take place Thursday, April 6 at 10 p.m. at Camp Pink, 710 Lonely Pines Rd. Admission is $5 per person and all proceeds will go to The Choice, a local non-profit organization that seeks to raise mental health awareness and support suicide prevention. The event will have a casual dress code and a live DJ.

The group is also concerned with issues involving the LGBTQ community. Several members of the College Democrats are also members of the LGBTQ community and the group feels strongly about acceptance and understanding.

“They are our brothers, sisters, friends,” said Marshall. She feels that in the south, many people fail to recognize this.

The College Democrats also tackle the issue of race relations within U.S. society. The “I Refuse to Hate” campaign was started to bring students together regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, in telling the world why they refuse to hate one another. The campaign posts pictures of students holding a sign stating “I refuse to hate” along with a brief statement, to social media.

Marshall began this campaign after experiencing discrimination as a black woman. The photos can be found at any of the groups social media accounts. Search “JSU College Democrats” on Facebook and Twitter.

The bi-weekly meetings for the College Democrats are held every other Wednesday in Brewer Hall room 230 and begin at 7:00 p.m. If you are interested in joining the group, you may email a member via the social media accounts. There is a $10 membership fee.


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Above: JSU students take the #IRefusetoHate pledge

You can follow the JSU College Democrats on Facebook, Twitter (@JSUDems).