Friday, February 12, 2016

Craig Ford: When ideology becomes idolatry

  We need to leave behind the idolatry of ideology and get back to what our country was founded on: Putting aside differences and coming together for a compromise that benefits everyone.

  There’s a fine line between standing up for your principles and political extremism. These days, unfortunately, political extremism seems to be the standard. There’s no clearer example of this than the reaction Alabama House Majority Leader Micky Hammon (R-Decatur) to House Democrats’ legislative agenda last week.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1496: Black history is critical for white Americans

  Black history is critical for White Americans. Wait! Wait! Wait! Don’t dismiss this idea out of hand. I know Black history is supposed to be for African Americans. Black history, however, is critical for White Americans because it is the flip side of White history (American history).

  We recognize that Black history started way before Columbus stumbled upon this place now called the Americas. Black history was in Egypt, Timbuktu, etc. But I want to start with slavery. I know that we don’t talk about slavery, but we must understand it. Black history is critical for White Americans because it’s the flip side of White history.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: "Appropriator" Shelby is facing four GOP challengers

  We are only a few weeks away from our March 1st primary. We have an early primary date this year due to the fact that we are in the "SEC" presidential primary. Therefore, we will have some say in who will be the GOP and Democratic nominees.

  Indeed, the presidential fray, especially on the Republican side, has been the center of attention. However, we do have some statewide races on the ballot this year, albeit they are not very interesting or competitive.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Darrio Melton: A great state with the wrong funding

  It's time to talk about how we fund the State of Alabama and get a few things straight. When we look to our state's funding mechanisms, money comes from three major areas and they're all three pretty dirty words: taxes, bonds, and the federal government.

  Last week, Gov. Robert Bentley rolled out his "Great State 2019 Plan" proposing big steps towards pre-k for all children, offer free community college, expand broadband access, and do away with our old, worn-out prisons and build new, state of the art "super-prisons"

  Now, if all of this sounds familiar, that's because these are policies the Democrats have been pushing for several years. The governor agrees with Democrats that these issues need resolutions, but we have big differences in terms of how we think these things should be funded.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Steve Phillips: What about white voters?

  Most analyses of America’s demographic revolution focus on the fact that people of color will comprise a majority of the country’s population in about 30 years—specifically, 2044 by the U.S. Bureau of the Census’ latest estimates. A question often underlying these analyses is: “How will this browning of America affect our country’s politics?” While the explosive growth of this group is a transformative element of modern American politics, another important and often overlooked question is: “What about white voters?” That is, how will the voting tendencies of whites affect election outcomes as our country moves toward becoming a majority-minority nation?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Setting priorities for nuclear modernization

  In the next decade, the United States will have to make decisions that will shape its nuclear arsenal for much of the next century. Nearly every missile, submarine, aircraft, and warhead in the U.S. arsenal is nearing the end of its service life and must be replaced. As Congress and the Obama administration continue to wrestle with the effects of sequestration on projected levels of defense spending, the U.S. Department of Defense has begun a series of procurement programs that will nearly double the amount the country spends on its nuclear deterrent in the next decade compared to what it spent in the past decade.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Craig Ford: Do we want super prisons or super schools?

  During his State of the State Address Tuesday night, Gov. Robert Bentley laid out his four-year plan, which included spending up to $800 million to build four new super prisons. The next day, the governor announced that he wants to transfer $181 million out of the education budget and put it in the general fund budget, which also pays for prisons.

  Don’t get me wrong. There are some very serious problems with our state prisons. What’s happening at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women is unacceptable! Changes need to be made, and more prison reform is absolutely needed.

  But how can the governor – or any legislator for that matter – justify spending almost a billion dollars on new accommodations for prisoners while thousands of our children are going to school in run-down facilities that have broken windows and no air conditioning?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1495: Wrestling with fear and facts

  Facts don’t stand a chance in the face of fear. Fear just bowls over facts like a bulldozer over outhouses. Facts don’t stand a chance when facing fear.

  I have fought fear many times. In the last two weeks I fought against fear on two occasions.

  I was called by a reporter in Mobile, Ala. He asked if Perry County was in my senate district. I said that Perry County is indeed in Senate District 23 which I represent. He explained tuberculosis cases had been reported in Perry County and some schools had refused to go there to play basketball games. This was the first I had heard of this situation. I told the reporter that I would get back to him. I wanted to get the facts even though I knew facts don’t stand a chance in the face of fear.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: The tale of Landslide Lyndon

  There are a good many stories about elections of the 1940s and 50s where votes were bought and elections stolen. The most brazen theft of an election occurred in the 1948 race for the U.S. Senate in Texas. The race was between Coke Stevenson and Lyndon B. Johnson. It can also be classified as one of the most relevant robberies in American history because if Johnson had lost as he was supposed to, it would have dramatically impacted U.S. history.

  Coke Stevenson was a Texas icon. He was the epitome of a Texas gentleman and he was revered. He was Texas’ Horatio Alger and Davy Crockett combined. He raised himself from age 12, built a ranching empire, was Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, and a very popular Governor of Texas. Stevenson was above reproach. He would not lie, steal or cheat, and Texans knew that about old Coke.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Darrio Melton: Alabama has an opportunity to improve the voting process

  With the Iowa caucuses yesterday and the New Hampshire primaries next week, the weight of the 2016 election season is upon us. We're less than a month away from Alabama's primary elections, in the first-ever "SEC Super Tuesday" where the Southern states will all head to the polls to cast their votes for their party's nominees. While Alabama has now moved to one of the first states to weigh in for the primaries, our election methods are still stuck in last place.

  While Alabama has a long way to go, I'm proud of Secretary of State John Merrill for working across the aisle and implementing common-sense changes like online voter registration. In a state where you can pay your taxes and renew your car tag online, the systems are clearly in place for safe and secure online voter registration. I'm glad to see that one more door has been opened to make the polls more accessible and reduce the need for bureaucratic paperwork.