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Sen. Richard Shelby will not seek a seventh term in 2022

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Sen. Richard Shelby will not seek a seventh term in 2022

Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby announced on Monday that he would not seek reelection to a seventh term in 2022.

“Although I plan to retire, I am not leaving today. I have two good years remaining to continue my work in Washington. I have the vision and the energy to give it my all​,” he said in a statement. ​

“Thank you again for the honor you have given me – the honor to serve the people of Alabama in Congress for the last 42 years. I look forward to what is to come for our great state and our great nation​,” said Shelby, 86, the ranking member on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.​

Shelby’s decision comes amid a number of Republican senators – including Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania – that they would not run for reelection in 2022. ​

The upcoming elections in the ​Senate, which is split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking any deadlocks for Democrats, will be hotly contested as Democrats seek to expand their slim majority and Republicans who hope to flip the Senate back to their control.​

The possibility that Shelby’s seat would be replaced by a Democrat is unlikely since Democrat Sen. Doug Jones was ousted in November by his Republican challenger, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville.

Jones defeated former Judge Roy Moore, who was dogged by allegations of sexual assault, in a special election in 2017 to become the first Democrat elected to a US Senate seat in Alabama since 1992. 

When word first began percolating that Shelby might not seek reelection, the Birmingham Watch, ​a non-profit, non-partisan journalism initiative in Alabama, compiled a list of state politicians who might make a bid for his seat. 

​They include: Katie Boyd Britt, a former chief of staff for Shelby who heads up the Business Council of Alabama, John Merrill, Alabama’s secretary of state, Rep. Mo Brooks, a five-term congressman and supporter of former President Donald Trump, and Rep. Gary Palmer. 

Shelby was first elected to the Senate in 1986 as a conservative Democrat but switched parties in 1994.

 “I am grateful to the people of Alabama who have put their trust in me for more than forty years. I have been fortunate to serve in the U.S. Senate longer than any other Alabamian. During my time in the Senate, I have been given great opportunity, having chaired four committees: Appropriations, Rules, Banking, and Intelligence. In these positions of leadership, I have strived to influence legislation that will have a lasting impact – creating the conditions for growth and opportunity​,” he said in the statement.​

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Penn State to replace ‘sexist and classist’ words like freshman

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Penn State to replace 'sexist and classist' words like freshman

Pigskin powerhouse Penn State has jumped on the woke wagon.

The sprawling public university will replace pronouns such as he/him/hers with they/them/theirs; replace traditional student designations such as freshman and sophomore with “first year” and “second year” and; replace “underclassmen” and “upperclassmen” with “lower division” and “upper division,” according to Penn State News.

The Preferred Name and Gender Identity Policy was passed by Pennsylvania State University’s Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs on April 27.

“Terms such as ‘freshmen’ are decidedly male-specific, while terms such as ‘upperclassmen’ can be interpreted as both sexist and classist. Terms such as ‘junior’ and ‘senior’ are parallel to western male father-son naming conventions, and much of our written documentation uses he/she pronouns,” states the resolution. 

“It is time to close the loop and ensure that all people are not only able to choose their name & gender identity within our systems, but that these documents and systems are also structured to be inclusive from the start.”

The decision was mocked by some people on social media.

“I am at my wit’s end with all of this stupidity,” said one Penn State parent on Twitter.

Asked Bill Bressier on Twitter, referencing the school’s sports teams’ nickname: “How long is that until the ‘Nittany Lion,’ which is a male term, is replaced by the gender neutral, correct subspecies ‘Eastern Cougar?’”

Penn State will also no longer use the phrase “super senior” to denote those students whose studies last beyond the traditional four years. They will instead be called fifth-year (or beyond) students.

The term super seniors “does often carry a slightly negative connotation,” the resolution noted.

Penn State announced in 2018 that it was dropping the titles homecoming “king” and “queen.”

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New book reveals how to win friends and influence post-COVID

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New book reveals how to win friends and influence post-COVID

Prior to the pandemic, Jon Levy was best known as the founder of the Influencers Dinner, a regular roving dinner party of A-listers — strangers to each other — pulled from different industries. The location would be revealed shortly before the event, and there were a few ground rules: Everyone would cook dinner together, and no one could reveal their last name or where they worked. 

It was all very mysterious. 

“There would always be this moment where people arrive for the cocktail hour,” says Levy, a behavioral scientist and author of the new book, “You’re Invited: The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence.” “And they invariably say, ‘Do you mind if I call my wife? I just want to tell her I still have my kidneys.’ ” Past guests have included Nobel laureates, Olympic athletes, executives, scientists, and the Grammy-winning voice of the bark from “Who Let the Dogs Out.” 

This past year, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone to their Zoom squares to socialize digitally, Levy realized that virtual events can be rewarding — they just have to be planned differently. 

“When TV came out, the answer to programming wasn’t to have people reading soap operas. The new platform created a new way to engage, and that’s the same with digital,” he explains. “When we design our events, we design the experiences to focus on you, the individual, so you feel you’re connecting with people. We start off by putting people in breakout rooms to meet each other. The key is not to leave people to interview each other. Humans do best when there’s a shared effort or activity. If I give you a puzzle to figure out or an icebreaker game, that’s really important. These games cause a shared investment of effort. Now you’re a team.” 

Levy’s work as a behavioral scientist focuses on influence and human connection, never more important than in the current times. 

“I really value bringing people together. And when you look at the research, people are getting lonelier and more isolated,” says Levy. “I’m all for people earning more money and having nice things, but it just doesn’t carry the day. And [by writing this], I was hoping that if I worked hard enough, we can begin to shift the cultural conversation about what gives people a higher quality of life.” 

Check out jonlevytlb.com/games for several different examples of activities to be played at virtual events. 

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Body of missing KPMG executive Alan White found in Texas

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Body of missing KPMG executive Alan White found in Texas

The body of a Dallas businessman who has been missing since October was found in a wooded area of the Texas city.

A survey crew working for Paul Quinn College found human remains near the campus Thursday, police said.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner identified the remains as Alan White, an executive at accounting firm KPMG who was last seen gassing up his Porsche after a gym visit on Oct. 22.

The 55-year-old’s vehicle was found about a week later, and there were no signs of a struggle or accident.

“Your mind goes through all these scenarios of what could’ve happened,” White’s husband Rusty Jenkins said at the time. “But it’s all just kind of guesses until we get some facts or some leads. But your mind plays games all day of what did happen, what could’ve happened.”

There is a $10,000 reward for information related to the case.

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