First Lady highlights big night in Charlotte

Published: Tuesday, September 04, 2012 @ 11:26 PM
Updated: Wednesday, September 05, 2012 @ 12:50 AM

Led by First Lady Michele Obama, Democrats Tuesday night sought to set the record straight about the last four years, proffering an opposite narrative of progress and prosperity from the tale of failure and futility cast by Republicans in Tampa last week.

From emotional personal stories about how “Obamacare” had saved lives to testimonials about how the auto bailout had saved jobs, the performance of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden was honored by Americans of various colors and creeds and different economic and social statuses.

At the same time, Republican nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan were portrayed as indifferent to the struggles of common people, concerned foremost about the rich and privileged.

In an opening night that had an Ohio tint, including a fiery speech by former Gov. Ted Strickland, the convention set an ambitious goal: To reposition Obama as the leader of hope for the future, a four-years-ago image worn away by the perils of governing.

As Democratic surrogates swiped away at Romney, Mrs. Obama offered the human and softer touch to describe the ideological underpinnings to the way her husband governs, leading a cavalcade of female speakers in a program clearly designed to solidify the president’s lead among women voters.

“I’ve gotten to see up close and personal what being president really looks like,” Mrs. Obama said. “And I’ve seen how the issues that come across a president’s desk are always the hard ones — the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer, the judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there is no margin for error.

“As president, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people,” Mrs. Obama said, “but at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.

“For Barack, it’s not about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in peoples’ lives.”

Mrs. Obama’s speech, delivered at times with hushed earnestness, cast a different tone upon delegates in the Time Warner Cable Arena, which was punctuated by roars of approval as one speaker after another condemned the Republican agenda.

In his keynote address, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro portrayed Romney as out of touch by citing a speech the Republican had delivered in Ohio, telling students they could start a business by borrowing money from their parents.

“Gee, why didn’t I think of that?” said Castro, who came from a economically struggling family.

An array of Ohioans were featured on the dais, led by Strickland, co-chairman of Obama’s re-election campaign, who brought delegates to their feet with a speech rife with red meat to sate the appetites of ardent partisans.

Strickland, keeping with the evening’s script to set the record straight about Obama’s record, recited the stories of three Ohioans whose jobs were saved by the president’s $87 billion bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, saying Obama “refused to let the American auto industry die.”

And then Strickland trained his sights on Romney with brutal bluntness, saying that “if Mitt was Santa Claus he would fire the reindeer and outsource the elves.”

Continuing, Strickland said of Romney: “On what he’s saying about the president’s policy for welfare to work, he’s lying. Simple as that. On his tax returns, he’s hiding. You have to wonder, just what is so embarrassing that he’s gone to such great lengths to bury the truth? Whatever he’s doing to avoid taxes, can it possibly be worse than the Romney-Ryan tax plan that would have sliced Mitt’s total tax rate to less than 1 percent?”

Ryan Mahoney, spokesman for the Republican National Committee, castigated Strickland for launching “into nasty and false attacks in a pathetic attempt to gloss over President Obama’s failed economic record and defend the policies that have left Ohioans worse off than they were four years ago.

“Strickland can joke about Santa Claus and elves,” Mahoney said, “but with families strapped with declining incomes, fewer jobs and skyrocketing prices, middle class Ohioans want solutions to get our country back on track.”

Also on the program was Joyce Beatty, the Democratic congressional nominee from Columbus, who appeared with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other female Democratic House members and candidates.

As part of an effort to expand the gender gap Obama enjoys in polls, Beatty said Democrats were “moving Americans forward” by fighting for affordable health care and “equal pay for equal work,” seeking to “unleash the power of moms” with programs to make child care affordable.

“America’s success is dependent on the success of women,” Beatty said.

Doug Stern, a 15-year veteran of the Cincinnati Fire Department, addressed the convention, saying Republicans had driven him out of the party with an anti-public employee agenda, including Senate Bill 5, a voter-repealed law to roll back collective bargaining rights.

Nate Davis, a military veteran from Cincinnati who described himself as a devout Christian, lauded Obama’s support for veterans and their families, saying he couldn’t have gone to and graduated from Xavier University without the president’s the new GI bill.

Mrs. Obama was introduced by Elaine Brye of Winona, Ohio, a mother of five children, four of whom are serving in a different branch of the armed services. Last year, Brye so moved Mrs. Obama with a letter thanking her for her advocacy for military families that she was invited to a state dinner in honor of British Prime Minister David Cameron.

“I’m a mom, and if someone is there for my family and families like mine, then I’ll be there for them,” Brye said.

Married private school teachers accused of sex with students in Alabama

Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 @ 10:42 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 @ 10:42 PM

            Charli Parker, left, and her husband James, right, pose for a photo during the 2015 AISA Hall of Fame Induction.
            Pickens Academy/Facebook
Charli Parker, left, and her husband James, right, pose for a photo during the 2015 AISA Hall of Fame Induction.(Pickens Academy/Facebook)

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Within just days of one another, authorities arrested a husband and wife working at a private school in west Alabama on charges of having sex with a student, according to records from the Pickens County Sheriff's Office.

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Deputies arrested James Parker, 32, on one count of being a school employee and having sex with a student on Wednesday afternoon, according to PBSO. Two days earlier, deputies had arrested Parker's wife, Charli, on the same charge.

Both work at Pickens Academy in Carrollton. On the school's website, James Parker was listed as a math teacher and the boys' basketball coach.

James Parker works as the school's boys' basketball and football coach and teaches math. Charli Parker was listed as head coach for the girls' basketball team and taught physical education, computers and elementary school, according to She was no longer listed on the school's website Wednesday.

James Parker was accused of having sex with a former female student, the Trussville Tribune reported. He remained in custody at Pickens County Jail Wednesday night.

Authorities released Charli Parker, 30, on bond Tuesday afternoon, jail records show.

According to WCBI, prosecutors have tacked on an additional 10 counts against Charli Parker, who is accused of having sex with a male student.

The incidents involving Charli Parker did not take place on school grounds, according to prosecutors. Officials have not commented on where the incident involving James Parker took place.

Coach Charli, Coach Copland and Coach Jamie after the Induction

Posted by Pickens Academy on Thursday, December 3, 2015

In a statement to after Charli Parker's arrest, Pickens Academy Headmaster Brach White said she would be suspended immediately.

“The primary concern of Pickens Academy is the safety of our students,” he wrote. “Pickens Academy is very upset about the allegations against our employee. The employee will be suspended immediately and further action may be taken upon investigation. I request prayers for our school family and for all the families involved.”

Teacher accused of sex with students in cemetery sentenced

Published: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 @ 5:38 AM

Charli Parker
Pickens County Sheriff's Office
Charli Parker(Pickens County Sheriff's Office)

A former Alabama private school teacher accused of having sex with two students is going to prison. According to court papers, at least four of her encounters with the teens occurred in a local cemetery.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Married private school teachers accused of sex with students in Alabama

On Monday, 31-year-old Charli Jones Parker was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to one charge of having sex with a student under the age of 19, reports. Parker was arrested in March; a few days later, her husband, Jamie, was taken in on nine counts of the same charge.

>> Alabama's teacher-student sex law is unconstitutional, judge rules

At the time of her arrest, Parker was still a gym teacher and head girls’ basketball coach at Pickens Academy in Carrollton. She faced 13 charges and was able to enter a plea deal to bring it down to one charge.

>> Teacher accused of sex with student, having child with him

While Parker was sentenced to 12 years in prison, she reportedly will only have to serve three years, followed by a five-year probation. She was ordered not to have any contact with the students, the New York Daily News reported.

>> Ex-'teacher of the year' gets 10 years in prison for hosting teen sex parties

Court papers allege that Parker had sex with the male students “at least 11 times” from October 2014 and March 2016. A deposition in the case accused her of “deviant sexual intercourse” and oral sex. Some of the encounters reportedly occurred at Graham Cemetery in Reform, Alabama.

>> Read more trending news

Parker’s lawyer pushed for the postponement of the sentencing until after an appeal of Alabama’s teacher-student sex law. In early August, a judge in northern Alabama ruled the law unconstitutional — a ruling that led to the dismissal of charges against two employees caught having sex with students. Parker entered her plea on Aug. 15 but did reserve her right to appeal if the constitutionality of her case should be overturned. Her husband’s trial is set for Nov. 27.

Charlie Daniels compares Confederate statue removal to ISIS' actions

Published: Sunday, August 20, 2017 @ 6:33 AM

Robert E. Lee Never Wanted Confederate Monuments Built

Charlie Daniels has always been outspoken about his political beliefs. So it comes as no surprise that he is sharing his opinions on the recent movement to remove Confederate monuments and memorials from public spaces in the U.S.

>> Watch the interview here

In a new interview with cable network Newsmax TV, the 80-year-old country music icon was asked whether or not he thought Confederate statues should be taken down.

>> On Rare Country: Blake Shelton weighs in on the Charlottesville tragedy

He simply answered, “No.”

“If you don’t like it, don’t look at it,” Daniels explained. “I walk past movie posters that I don’t like. There’s all kinds of symbolism in this country that I don’t like, but I’m not going to go tear them down. I just don’t look at them. These statues aren’t preaching or shouting out some kind of crazy epithets or something. They’re just sitting there. So just turn around and don’t look at them.”

>> There are hundreds of Confederate monuments, not just in the South

Daniels, who seemed more concerned with preserving the history and culture of America, also compared the current debate over the removal of Confederate statues to situations going on with ISIS.

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“There were pieces of history that they didn’t like. [So] they were taking them down,” he said before echoing words that President Donald Trump wrote in a tweet, “Where does it stop? Is it going to be Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, or are we headed into Jefferson, Washington, who were both slave owners? How deep into history are we going to go?

“You don’t have to condone what happened in the Civil War,” he added, “but they’re statues of people who are part of our history.”

>> On Rare Country: Charlie Daniels honors America with his latest video

Plans to remove several Confederate statues around the U.S. come just days after a white nationalist rally to protect a Statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly. According to CNN, Texas, Florida, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama are just some of the many states pushing to remove Confederate monuments.

Charles Barkley offers brutally honest take on Confederate statue debate

Published: Sunday, August 20, 2017 @ 7:55 AM

Robert E. Lee Never Wanted Confederate Monuments Built

Former basketball star Charles Barkley recently weighed in on an argument that has the entire nation riled up: the removal of Confederate statues.

>> Watch the interview here

“I’m not going to waste my time worrying about these Confederate statues. ... I’m going to keep doing great things, No. 1 in the black community because I’m black,” Barkley said in an interview with Rick Karle of WBRC.

>> Charlie Daniels compares Confederate statue removal to ISIS' actions

He continued: “I’m not going to waste my time worrying about a neo-Nazi who’s going to hate me no matter what.”

>> There are hundreds of Confederate monuments, not just in the South

When asked if the best option is to leave the statues up and ignore them, Barkley answered, “I’ve always ignored them. I’m 54 years old; I’ve never thought about those statues a day in my life. I think if you ask most black people, to be honest, they haven’t thought a day in their life about those stupid statues.”

In an interview, basketball superstar Charles Barkley called pushing for the removal of Confederate statues "wasted energy."

Posted by Fox News on Saturday, August 19, 2017

Barkley has weighed in before on the Confederate statue and flag debate. In 2004, he said he was on his way to a NASCAR race and turned around when he saw 10 Confederate flags.

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Barkley was a star player with the Philadelphia 76ers and then with the Phoenix Suns, where he earned the NBA Most Valuable Player award.