Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: The final stretch

  The very interesting and entertaining Republican Primary for our open U.S. Senate seat culminates Tuesday with a clash between two titans. Judge Roy Moore and Big Luther Strange will be in a Titanic battle to fill the seat left vacant when Jeff Sessions became U.S. Attorney General.

  We will see if Moses with his Ten Commandments and Hebrew children of rural Alabama can slay the Philistine Mountain Brook giant.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Gene Policinski: Speaking your mind, when free speech has consequences

  Some people like Donald Trump and say nice things about him.

  Some people don’t like Donald Trump, and some say things about Donald Trump that are unkind, hurtful and downright insulting. Some people say those things on social media.

  And sometimes people who like Donald Trump respond to those comments.

  All of that is fine in free speech terms. And all of that pretty well sums up the tempest in a TV teapot over ESPN host Jemele Hill tweeting last week that the president was a “bigot” and a “white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself with other white supremacists.”

Monday, September 18, 2017

Déjà vu: Fighting for school integration in 2017

  History was repeating itself for U.W. Clemon.

  More than 40 years after winning a school desegregation case in Alabama, he found himself in a courtroom arguing once again for the integration of the very same school district.

  “I never envisioned that I would be fighting in 2017 essentially the same battle that I thought I won in 1971,” Clemon told The New York Times Magazine. “But the battle is just not over.”

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Two million parents forced to make career sacrifices due to problems with child care

  Child care is a pressing economic issue for working families across the country. At a time when 65 percent of young children have all available parents in the workforce, high-quality child care is a necessity. The exorbitant cost of child care has become a significant burden for parents who need it to support their families. Millions of parents must make an impossible choice between paying more than they can afford for child care; settling for cheaper, lower-quality care; and leaving the workforce altogether. Parents who decide to leave the workforce to become full-time caregivers stand to lose much more than just their salaries, earning less in benefits and retirement savings over the long run.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Richard Cohen: President Trump must push back against the hate he's unleashed

  As events in Charlottesville last month reflect, President Trump’s incendiary rhetoric has energized the white supremacist movement.

  By signing the bipartisan congressional resolution against hate, he now has committed himself to undo the damage he has caused. We hope Congress will hold his feet to the fire and ensure that he lives up to his commitment.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Household incomes are rising again, but share going to middle class is at record low

  The latest Census Bureau data show that for the second straight year, the typical U.S. household saw its income rise in inflation-adjusted terms in 2016, the last year of the Obama administration, and incomes have now recovered to approximately pre-Great Recession levels. The median U.S. household income was $59,039 in 2016, a 3.2 percent increase from real 2015 levels.

  While the data contain some good news, the overall story is still quite bleak.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Previewing 2018

  As I mentioned last week, we will have a plethora of political contests to follow next year, and the field is beginning to formulate.

  The governor’s race is always the marquee event. However, the most important races will be for the 35 Senate and 105 House of Representatives seats. These legislative races will be where most of the special interest money will gravitate.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Craig Ford: Should Alabama Superintendent of Education Michael Sentance be fired?

Editor's Note: Multiple Alabama news sources reported September 13 that Michael Sentance had resigned his position.

  On Thursday, the Alabama Board of Education will meet to discuss terminating State Superintendent Dr. Michael Sentance’s contract.

  Politics has surrounded Dr. Sentance’s time in Alabama, starting even before he was hired. And if the Board decides to fire him, his supporters will claim that politics was the driving factor.

  Dr. Sentance was the preferred choice of those who support charter schools and diverting tax dollars away from public schools to fund scholarships for private schools. And with his job on the line, most – if not all – of those who have publicly supported him have been those who support charter schools and the Accountability Act scholarship program.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Lata Nott: State high courts can provide greater free-speech protections

  Forty years ago in the Harvard Law Review, U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan described state constitutions as “a font of individual liberty, their protections often extending beyond those required by the Supreme Court’s interpretation of federal law.” Brennan urged state high courts to provide needed protections to individual liberty, particularly as the U.S. Supreme Court began cutting back on individual freedoms.

Monday, September 11, 2017

5 Ways Congress can help to rebuild stronger and safer communities after Harvey

  Hurricane Harvey delivered a devastating and deadly blow to Houston, southeast Texas, and parts of Louisiana. The storm unleashed unprecedented amounts of rain—more than 50 inches in some areas—and caused catastrophic flooding that consumed communities, including the entire Houston area. As of this writing, the storm has killed at least 70 people, destroyed or damaged more than 185,000 homes, and inflicted economic costs that could rise as high as $190 billion.

  It will take years for many Texas and Louisiana residents to recover from the storm. For others, recovery will never happen unless federal, state, and local officials channel disaster assistance into rebuilding strategies that will reduce the costs, health impacts, and loss of life brought on by floods and extreme weather events. Scientists are confident that climate change will only intensify storms like Harvey in the future, as sea level rise contributes to bigger storm surges, warmer oceans fuel more powerful winds, and rising air temperatures trigger heavier downpours.