Monday, November 19, 2018

Making the web, social media ‘better’ places — with caution

  We’d all like a “better” internet in terms of privacy, politeness, taste, and safety. And who would oppose eliminating false or misleading information from social media sites, or preventing online bullying and such?

  Some of the world’s most significant, influential and powerful figures around such issues — in the words of The Wall Street Journal, “the giants of the web” — gathered at the 2018 Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal and in Brussels at an international conference on data privacy and policy.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1640 - My last Sketches written as an Alabama Senator

  This is my last Senate Sketches. Wait! Wait! Wait. Don’t be disappointed. Sketches will continue, but Senate Sketches will cease. My tenure in the Alabama Senate ended on November 6, 2018. The new senator for Alabama Senate District 23 is Malika Sanders Fortier. I have written Senate Sketches for 1640 weeks over more than 32 years. That’s too, too long to stop now. Therefore, my weekly writings will be Sketches, not Senate Sketches. I no longer have the right to call it Senate Sketches because I am no longer a member of the Senate.

  I was elected to the Alabama Senate on November 8, 1983. As I recall, Gov. George Corley Wallace called us into Special Session immediately after the election. I had to hit the ground running. I have been running ever since for 35 years. I published the first Senate Sketches on April 29, 1987. I have not missed publishing Senate Sketches even once in nearly 32 years. I can’t miss now. It just will not be Senate Sketches. It will be Sketches.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Trump lies again about voter fraud

  The president is using a far-right tabloid to elevate baseless conspiracy theories and undermine our democracy.

  Studies have repeatedly shown that voter fraud is virtually non-existent. President Trump’s new claim, in fact, is about as valid as his false assertion in 2016 that millions of people voted illegally for his opponent. His own commission dissolved after finding no evidence to support it.

Friday, November 16, 2018

The conservative life of the lie

  Attempting to bolster the spirits of conservatives in the wake of the Democrat takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives, Kay Coles James, the president of the Heritage Foundation - the premier conservative think tank in the country - sent out an email to her fellow conservatives that states in part:

    Now is not the time to falter and shrink, but rather the moment to fight harder, send more resources and become more committed to preserving the principles of limited government, freedom, opportunity and a flourishing civil society.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Voters repudiate President Trump and GOP policy agenda—2020 re-election is uncertain

  Americans took to the polls in record numbers in the 2018 midterms, shifting party control of the House of Representatives and sending a clear message of disapproval to President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans. Although the president and his party gained ground in the U.S. Senate, primarily in states Trump won handily, they failed to capitalize on the low unemployment rate or overall positive sentiments about the economy. The signature GOP legislative achievement of the first two years—the $1.5 trillion tax cut that passed last year —failed to boost Republicans’ chances overall and hurt candidates in several seats. Subsequently, they lost in major suburban and urban districts across the country and also lost ground in some rural areas.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse – Kay Ivey, our 55th governor

  The legendary Alabama storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham used to say, “Alabama is like a big front porch.” She was right, and I have found that to be the case my entire life. Even recently, as I’ve traversed the state, I am always amazed at how you can visit with someone in one part of the state who is kin to or were college roommates with someone in another corner of Alabama. 

  The Alabama that Kay Ivey and I grew up in was even more like a front porch. Ivey grew up in Wilcox County where her family had been for generations. Therefore, she knew most everybody in the county and Camden. There were and still are less than 12,000 people in Wilcox County. There have always been more pine trees than people in the county. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Long lines, broken machines, voter ID laws: Welcome to the neo-Jim Crow

  Felon disenfranchisement was designed to “preserve the purity of the ballot box,” or in other words, the whiteness of the electorate.

  By the time the Alabama Supreme Court issued that opinion in 1884, Florida had already beaten it to the punch. Florida outlawed voting for anyone convicted of a felony in 1868, at the very same time that it began to convict more black people of felonies.

  Exactly 150 years later, Florida voters finally overturned that discriminatory policy, re-enfranchising 1.5 million people in a single stroke last Tuesday. The news that Florida had passed Amendment 4, giving as many as 40 percent of the state’s black men the right to vote, was cause for celebration around the country and certainly here at the Southern Poverty Law Center, where we invested heavily to support its passage.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Thank you, veterans

  A cold north wind chilled the backs of their necks as they waited outside the church. Tired, hungry, and homesick, the soldiers of the 353rd Infantry stood like time-worn statues against the tattered and war-worn buildings of stone. Some of them had dreamed of seeing France one day, but not like this. All they wanted now was a hot meal, a bath, and a good night's sleep in their own beds back home.

  It was November 11th, 1918, and these brave individuals had given their all to defend the freedoms of millions of people they would never meet. Slowly the minutes ticked by and, after what seemed like forever, the moment finally arrived. The Armistice was signed, and on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, World War I, "the war to end all wars," was over.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1639 - Government is powerful in what it does and does not do

  Government is powerful. Government is powerful in what it does. Government is powerful in what it does not do. We often focus on what government does. We also focus on what government fails to do. For this brief moment, let’s explore what government refuses to do. I want to share two recent examples of what government has refused to do. I participated in two press conferences within the last week or so, one concerning each example. Government is powerful in what it does. Government is powerful in what it does not do.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Paradoxical Commandments

  In 1968, when Kent M. Keith was a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard University, he wrote “The Paradoxical Commandments” as part of a booklet for student leaders. He describes the Commandments as guidelines for finding personal meaning in the face of adversity:

1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.

2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.

3. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.