Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tami A. Martin: The global reach of religious liberty rhetoric

  For the past 16 years, the U.S.-affiliated and Kampala, Uganda-based Makerere University Walter Reed Project has conducted research on HIV vaccines and public health issues in the East African country. Earlier this month, Ugandan officials raided the project, detaining and interrogating a staff member, reportedly because of the project’s assistance to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, people. According to the project’s website, "the operations of the program are temporarily suspended to ensure the safety of staff and the integrity of the program." Speculation that Uganda’s new Anti-Homosexuality Act, which prohibits "promoting homosexuality," inspired the raid raises the question of what inspired the act in the first place.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: The legacy of Looney's Tavern

  A good many of you found last week’s historical column interesting. You seemed fascinated about the vast diversity regarding the folks who settled in South Alabama versus those who homesteaded North Alabama at the state’s origination.

  You found it even more interesting how close the secession from the Union vote was in 1861 with the vote falling in line with regional sentiment with South Alabamians for and North Alabamians against secession. However, the most enthralling passage was my brief mention of Winston County and its legendary stand to secede from Alabama when Alabama seceded from the Union. This bold anomaly really piqued your interest. Therefore, this week I will expound on the in-depth details of the story of the "Free State of Winston."

Monday, April 21, 2014

Katherine Green Robertson: Tax season reflections on the growing cost of prisons

  With Governor Bentley's sign-off, the state’s budgets for both the Education Trust Fund and the General Fund are now set for fiscal year 2015. Of the $1.8 billion budgeted for the General Fund, spending on corrections is the second largest line item, behind only Medicaid, at $394 million or 21.43% of the total General Fund budget. With nearly 26,000 inmates in custody at an average cost of $42 a day, it is not hard to see why the system accounts for such a large portion of our General Fund–and this is case in many states.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Patrick Oakford: Top 5 reasons why immigration reform means more tax revenues

  Last year, the Senate passed the bipartisan Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, or S. 744, which the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, found would have significant fiscal and economic benefits for the nation. Yet since its passage, the House of Representatives has dragged its feet and failed to act on meaningful reform. This inaction means that the United States has already missed out on billions of dollars in potential tax revenues.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lisa Curtis: After encouraging turnout, Obama must stick with support for war-torn Afghanistan

  Afghans went to the polls earlier this month, but results won’t be in for at least another week. If none of the candidates wins a majority of votes (the most likely scenario), a run-off election will have to be held probably in late May or early June.

  The Taliban did their best to deter voting and undermine the electoral process in Afghanistan.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Patricia E. Gaston: What Anita Hill’s struggle still teaches women about equality

  How can something that happened nearly 23 years ago feel as if it just happened yesterday? I felt that way while watching the newly released documentary "Anita," which tells the story of Anita Hill, the law professor who accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his Senate confirmation hearings.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

David L. Hudson, Jr.: Thomas again calls for overruling of Buckley v. Valeo

  A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court recently invalidated another campaign-finance restriction on First Amendment grounds in McCutcheon v. FEC.

  Eight of the nine justices evaluated the case under the Court’s seminal decision, Buckley v. Valeo (1976). Justice Clarence Thomas, however, once again reiterated his strongly held views that Buckley was wrongly decided.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: The legend of Winston County

  When Alabama was being settled in the early 1800s our first settlers were diverse in their origins. Our river regions were the most desirable lands. Indeed this is where the Indians lived. They realized the importance of water and the abundant fishing for their sustenance besides the natural advantage offered by these waters. The river basins also offered the most fertile soil for cultivation.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Michael Josephson: Do bad people think they’re good?

  When she was six, my daughter Carissa asked, "Do dumb people think they’re smart?" Answering her own question, she added, "They probably do because they’re dumb."

  This made me think: "Do bad people think they’re good?"

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cameron Smith: Five questions to ask Alabama’s federal candidates

  Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District, which encompasses the suburbs of Birmingham, may be the only hotly contested election this cycle, but that is no excuse for voters to give the remaining federal candidates a free pass on detailing their solutions to the challenges facing Alabama and the nation.