Thursday, April 2, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is fueling fear and hate across America

  Since the first report of COVID-19 on American soil, Asian Americans, especially Chinese Americans, have endured physical and economic abuse at the hands of their classmates, neighbors, and fellow citizens. Last month, in New York City, a woman was physically assaulted while walking to the subway. For weeks, hate groups and elected officials at the highest levels of government have used racist scapegoating language to stoke fear, bias, and blame. These actions have produced a rash of hate incidents and xenophobia targeting Asian Americans. If left unaddressed, hate, like any virus, will continue to spread. Lawmakers must act now to combat misinformation, mitigate hysteria, and protect vulnerable communities.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse - The 1964 Goldwater landslide was the beginning of Republican dominance of the South

  Our primary runoffs have been postponed until July 14, 2020. It was a wise and prudent decision by Secretary of State John Merrill and Gov. Kay Ivey. Most voters are older, and the State of Alabama was asking them to come out and vote and at the same time stay home.

  The main event will be the GOP runoff for the U.S. Senate. The two combatants - Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville - will now square off in the middle of a hot Alabama summer. The winner will be heavily favored to go to Washington. We are a very reliably Republican state, especially in a presidential election year.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Six things you can do to cope with boredom at a time of social distancing

  More and more of us are staying home in an attempt to slow down the spreading coronavirus. But being stuck at home can lead to boredom.

  Boredom is a signal that we’re not meaningfully engaged with the world. It tells us to stop what we’re doing, and do it better – or to do something else.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Whose votes count the least in the Electoral College?

  In the days following the 2016 presidential election, many pundits and voters alike were stunned by the disparity between the popular vote, which went for Hillary Clinton, and the Electoral College, which favored Donald Trump.

  If the president were elected by popular vote, every voter’s ballot would have been given equal weight, or influence, over the outcome, and Hillary Clinton would have won. But, as evidenced by Donald Trump’s victory, the Electoral College gives different weights to votes cast in different states. What are these weights, and how can we best compare them?

Sunday, March 29, 2020

What ‘Walden’ can tell us about social distancing and focusing on life’s essentials

  Seeking to bend the coronavirus curve, governors and mayors have told millions of Americans to stay home. If you’re pondering what to read, it’s easy to find lists featuring books about disease outbreaks, solitude, and living a simpler life. But it’s much harder to find a book that combines these themes.

  As the author of three books about essayist, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, I highly recommend “Walden,” Thoreau’s 1854 account of his time living “alone” in the woods outside Concord, Massachusetts. I qualify “alone” because Thoreau had more company at Walden than in town, and hoed a bean field daily as social theater in full view of passersby on the road.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Four reasons not to buy guns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

  As Americans struggle with fear and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new disturbing trend has emerged: an increase in the purchasing of guns and ammunition. Some gun dealers and online retailers have reported an uptick in sales, and stories abound of individuals motivated to buy their first gun in response to this pandemic.

  But in a time of crisis, it is crucial to resist the impulse to make decisions driven by fear and anxiety. The threat posed by the new coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, is not the only relevant public health crisis to consider when deciding whether to buy a gun. Gun violence is already an urgent public health emergency in this country that takes the lives of nearly 40,000 people annually. Putting more guns in more hands is certain to exacerbate that problem.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Hank Sanders: Sketches #1711 - Things are real bad now, so we have to be at our very best

  Times are real bad now. Therefore, I feel compelled to share my Mama’s advice. Ola Mae and Sam Sanders were not just poor, but “Po.” They lived in harsh poverty and under oppressive racial segregation. They carried the weight of a very large family, eventually growing to 13 children. But their spirits were strong. Daddy and Mama were both powerful in presence and in their work. But Mama put words to key moments and difficult situations. Things are real bad now, so I am calling on my Mama.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

How hope can keep you healthier and happier

  Hope can erode when we perceive threats to our way of life, and these days, plenty are out there. As we age, we may struggle with a tragic loss or chronic disease. As we watch the news, we see our political system polarized, hopelessly locked in chaos. The coronavirus spreads wider daily; U.S. markets signaled a lack of hope with a Dow Jones free fall. Losing hope sometimes leads to suicide.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Steve Flowers - Inside the Statehouse: U.S. Senate runoff moved to July

  The GOP contest to determine who sits in our number two U.S. Senate seat has been delayed until July 14, 2020 due to the coronavirus. The winner of the battle between Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville will more than likely be our junior US. Senator for six years.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Closing polling places is the 21st century’s version of a poll tax

  Delays and long lines at polling places during recent presidential primary elections – such as voters in Texas experienced – represent the latest version of decades-long policies that have sought to reduce the political power of African Americans in the United States.

  Following the Civil War and the extension of the vote to African Americans, state governments worked to block black people, as well as poor whites, from voting. One way they tried to accomplish this goal was through poll taxes – an amount of money each voter had to pay before being allowed to vote.