A&S in the News: July 23-29, 2017

Alabama Senate Race

In Alabama’s Senate race, lesser knowns Pittman and Brinson confident they can make runoffAl.com – July 23

The U.S. Senate race on the Republican side has been labeled a three-candidate competition, with former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore out in front, followed by U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks and incumbent Luther Strange. Political observers have their doubts about Pittman and Brinson overcoming the odds. “I have to say that I think it is too late for either Pittman or Brinson to greatly elevate their standing in current polls,” said William Stewart, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Alabama.
Cullman Times – July 24

Blues Weekend

LETTERS: Inaugural Blues Weekend was a successful, exciting eventTuscaloosa News – July 23

On July 7 and 8, the Alabama Blues Project had the pleasure of collaborating with the University of Alabama’s College of Continuing Studies and School of Music to put on the inaugural Alabama Blues Weekend. Students from all over west Alabama had the opportunity to participate in classes with top blues musicians, learn about marketing and social media, and make music in a state-of-the-art recording studio. Community members were able to observe these classes and performances, and learned about the history of the blues in Alabama along the way.

New College

UA offers New College Life Track (Live Interview)ABC 33/40 Talk of Alabama (Birmingham) – July 25

The University of Alabama, along with the standard degrees offered at most universities, also offers students a chance to design their own degree. How cool is that? New College Life Track is a program that offers specialty courses with more in-depth curriculum to cater to students’ specialties. Joining us now, Dr. Scott Jones and Dr. Margaret Purcell with more information.

“Nutcracker”

Director chosen for ‘Nutcracker’Tuscaloosa News – July 25

Since George Balanchine stamped the modern “Nutcracker” template in 1954, the magic moment of a Christmas tree sprouting like an enchanted beanstalk draws oohs and aahs. It symbolizes the transition from holiday festivities into dreams, and for the time when a girl tiptoes up to the edge of womanhood … from non-dancing first-act characters, to Clara and Fritz, to the second act’s featured dancers, who range in age from Polichinelles, Mother Ginger’s small children, up to major roles filled by Tuscaloosa and University of Alabama dancers.

Solar Eclipse

Total solar eclipse 2017: How to watch safely and whenCurrently.us – July 26

The total solar eclipse being called the “Great American Eclipse” will pass through 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina on August 21. Though eclipses are not rare per se, it’s uncommon for a total solar eclipse to sweep across the third most populous country in the world … But there is one safe time during the eclipse: the main event. When the moon is blocking the sun completely, the danger of the retina burning is absent. “The main thing is if you can see any of the surface of the sun directly, don’t look,” says William Keel, a University of Alabama astronomer. “During totality, look. That’s what you’re there for,” he says, explaining that those who are in the eclipse’s path of totality can remove their glasses once the moon is completely blocking, or eclipsing, the sun.
Newsweek – July 25
Madison County Record – July 27

HBO’s “Confederate”

Josh Rothman

Dr. Josh Rothman

HBO’s slavery drama ‘Confederate’ faces minefield of “fundamentally problematic” issuesThe Hollywood Reporter – July 26

“This is not an alternative history. This is reality,” says historian Joshua Rothman. Industry vets are hesitant to (publicly) judge so soon, but what makes the premise so controversial is “that it threatens to erase the actual history,” says activist Bree Newsome … University of Alabama history chair Joshua Rothman, who specializes in studying race and American slavery, says that most historians today believe that enslaved people played a significant role in their own emancipation. “As soon as the chance for real freedom presented itself, they were on it,” he says.
Africa-News – July 27
MSN.com – July 27

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Could Jeff Sessions still get his old job in the Senate back?USA Today – July 26

Since President Trump has been making Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ life miserable recently, we wondered: Is it too late for Sessions to get his old job back as U.S. senator from Alabama? … Under Alabama law, in order to win by a write-in election, voters would have to spell his name correctly on ballots. In 1986, after losing the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Charles Graddick attempted to launch a write-in campaign but withdrew after concluding his name was too hard to spell, said Bill Stewart, professor emeritus of politics at the University of Alabama. Stewart said since Sessions is so well-known and easy to spell, it shouldn’t be an issue.

Confederate Monuments

US communities are still struggling with the legacy of Confederate monumentsThe China Post – July 27

A tall, dark figure and his horse, immortalized in bronze, stand in newly renamed Emancipation Park, overlooking gardens filled with flowers. The statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee has been in the central Virginia city of Charlottesville almost 100 years, stoically watching over the community. But possibly not for much longer … One of the turning points that touched off the trend was the murder of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, historian Lesley Gordon said. . . . Despite a public outcry over the city’s approval of the event, Gordon, chairwoman of southern history at the University of Alabama, said that while the KKK and its message of white supremacy are “abhorrent,” they have the right to express their views in public. “At the same time, it needs to be recognized just what they are advocating and why,” Gordon said.
Oman Observer – July 27

Trump’s Transgender Military Ban

Democratic Senate hopefuls in Alabama pounce on Trump’s transgender military banAl.com – July 27

Democrats nationally on Thursday said they are unafraid of a political showdown with conservatives over transgender rights in states which President Donald Trump won last year … William Stewart, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Alabama, said the position on transgender rights is a “dilemma” for Alabama Democrats. “Their party nationally strongly supports gay/lesbian rights and now, more recently, transgender rights,” Stewart said. “But Alabama has not come close to recognizing the rights of people who are not ‘straight.’ We don’t even have a hate crimes law.”

Also making headlines

Christine TaylorDiverse – July 26