Saturday, December 15, 2018

Truckers spend the holidays driving too much for too little pay

  Much of America will be engaged in a holiday gift-buying bonanza this month. And whether it’s via online order or plucking wares directly off store shelves, they have truck drivers to thank for the available goods.

  “Black Friday, Cyber Monday, everything you shop for or order online is going to be brought by a truck. Many truck drivers opt to spend the holidays alone to deliver that freight and to make that little bit of extra money,” said Desiree Wood, a driver and president of REAL Women in Trucking, an organization that advocates for better work conditions for drivers. “It means you may be in some strange town you’ve never been in before, and isolated to where you can park, which is usually a truck stop where there isn’t any good food.”

Friday, December 14, 2018

Hank Sanders: Sketches #1644 - We just don’t know from whence a second gift of life may come!

  A gift of life. Life is a precious gift from God. Sometimes human beings are vessels for a second gift of life. Of course, mothers and fathers are vessels for God’s first gift of life. But sometimes a second gift of life comes from other directions. It’s still from God, but we never know from what vessel a second gift of life may come.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Frank Earnest is the chief of ‘heritage defense.’ The question is, whose heritage?

  Even before neo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr. was convicted of first-degree murder, no one disputed he drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia during the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in August 2017.

  And neither the prosecution or the defense disputed that Heather Heyer died on impact. Watching video of that moment in court last week, one juror clapped his hand over his mouth — but Fields showed no emotion.

  Fields was among the white supremacists who were in Charlottesville to protest the city’s plan to remove giant statues of Robert E. Lee and Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson from its parks.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse – Last of the famous probate judges: Hardy McCollum

  In Alabama political history, the office of probate judge was the most powerful and prestigious position. In the old days, in every county in Alabama, the probate judge was not only the judge, but he also appointed all county positions, hired all county employees, and was chairman of the county commission. He was essentially the “King of the County.” 

  In bygone days, gubernatorial candidates ran grassroots campaigns. There were no televisions, therefore, the first and maybe the only stop they would make in their quest for the governor’s mansion was to kiss the ring and get the endorsement of the probate judge. The omnipotent probate judge would endorse them and that endorsement usually meant that that they would carry that county. The local folks would follow the lead of their judge. They and their county would be on the right side of the governor’s race. 

  The last vestige of the era of vintage probate judges will end this year with the retirement of Tuscaloosa Probate Judge Hardy McCollum.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Don’t worry, Santa, the ‘war on Christmas’ isn’t real

  When I read that 52% of American adults say they believe in Santa Claus (according to a survey from Public Policy Polling), I wasn’t surprised to learn in the same poll that 42% also believe there is a "war on Christmas."

  After all (spoiler alert), both are figments of the imagination.

  Belief in Santa, at least, perpetuates a spirit of joy and goodwill. But the "war on Christmas" narrative, by contrast, does little more than stir up anger and ill will.

  Like so much else surrounding the commercial Christmas, the "war on Christmas" has become a lucrative franchise guaranteed to boost ratings for talk-show hosts and book sales for culture warriors.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Why isn't Trump making Mexico pay for his wall?

  Correct me if I’m wrong, but my recollection is that in his campaign for the presidency, President Trump said that he was going to make Mexico pay for his 1900-mile wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. All I see today is Trump and his supporters getting angry over the fact that Congress is, so far, refusing to pay for Trump’s Wall.

  I don’t get it. Forcing Mexico to pay for Trump’s Wall is quite a bit different from forcing American taxpayers to pay for it. Why did Trump go from his initial position to his new position?

Sunday, December 9, 2018

MAGA or MAFA?

  The driving mantra for the Trump administration, the one that energizes every Trumpster and Trumpista, is MAGA — Make America Great Again.

  The problem arises in how Trump defines national greatness. For him, it means a gigantic military-intelligence establishment — i.e., the national-security state, consisting of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. The more powerful this branch of the federal government, the greater the nation in the eyes of President Trump.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

‘Feel-good’ holiday stories are actually just a symptom of a crumbling society

  Over the Black Friday weekend, Mother Jones editor-in-chief Clara Jeffery saw a need on the popular education crowdfunding site DonorsChoose, where teachers request financial assistance for classroom supplies. For 22 hours, Jeffery tweeted out fundraiser after fundraiser, until her followers raised $60,000 by responding to the lone Twitter thread. They sent paper and pencils to San Francisco, books to fire evacuees in Chico, an instructor’s computer to a tribal school in South Dakota, warm weather gear to East Flatbush, and much more.

  Throughout the thread, Jeffery expressed frustration that teachers’ needs were so dire. “She [is] asking for pencils and glue sticks,” Jeffery commented on a fundraiser for a low-income San Francisco school. On a request for help buying laundry equipment, she said: “These asks for ways to help kids and their families get and clean clothes are so sad. We need to serious[ly] overhaul our society.”

Friday, December 7, 2018

Why won't conservatives take responsibility?

  One of the conservative movement’s favorite mantras is “With freedom comes responsibility.” Given such, a question naturally arises: Why won’t conservatives take responsibility for their actions and beliefs?

  Consider the current brouhaha over the Central American citizens who are trying to enter the United States to seek refugee status. They are fleeing their countries in an attempt to save their lives from violence and tyranny.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Misinformation, hoaxes and hyperpartisan news

  “Misinformation” is Dictionary.com’s word of the year. The site defines it as “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead” and is careful to distinguish it from disinformation, which does require a deliberate intent to mislead. Note that that the word of the year is not “fake news.” That’s SO 2016.

  For anyone concerned about the varieties of false information, the recent U.S. midterm elections were seen as a test of whether or not, in the past two years, we’ve learned anything about how to deal with them.