Monday, May 29, 2017

Michael Josephson: Memorial Day, a Day of Remembrance

  It’s not just an excuse for a three-day weekend or a day for barbecue and beer.

  Memorial Day is a time for Americans to connect with our national history and core values by honoring those who gave their lives fighting for this country.

  It’s said that this special day to salute fallen Americans was born during the Civil War in Mississippi when a group of grieving mothers and wives who were placing flowers on graves in a Confederate cemetery noticed a neglected graveyard for Union soldiers.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Trump budget’s attack on people with disabilities

  President Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric about people with disabilities during the presidential campaign is no longer just words. Now his budget threatens to set disability rights and inclusion back 50 years or more by stripping away critical protections and slashing vital programs that ensure basic living standards for the 1 in 5 Americans with disabilities. Meanwhile, despite media reports to the contrary, his budget breaks one of his core campaign promises: not to cut Social Security.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Gene Policinski: Montana millionaire charged with journalist assault – and headed for Congress?

  Sadly, shamefully, disgustingly, it has come to this: A Montana candidate for Congress was charged Wednesday evening with assaulting a reporter who was asking him a question about the American Health Care Act.

  The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported Thursday morning that U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte, a Republican, was charged with misdemeanor assault for what witnesses and the reporter involved said was an unwarranted attack.

  Ben Jacobs of The Guardian, who has reported for weeks on the state’s close race for its only House seat, later tweeted that “Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses.”

Friday, May 26, 2017

Craig Ford: It’s not about right-wing and left-wing - It’s about right and wrong

  It would be easy to think nothing good has happened lately in the world of Alabama politics and that Montgomery is so mired in corruption and bickering that nothing ever gets done.

  After all, the legislative session that just ended began with one governor and ended with a different one. Tensions over legislative redistricting and a controversial email slowed its final days to a crawl, and important issues that were left unfinished will most likely lead to a costly special session.

  In what may be an historic first, we now have a governor, U.S. senator, chief justice of the state Supreme Court, and a state Attorney General – none of whom were elected to those positions.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1563: Ain’t no fun when the rabbit got the gun

  Ain’t no fun when the rabbit got the gun. Senator Bobby Singleton proclaims this phrase with gusto. He is making the point that the hunter usually has the gun hunting the rabbit, but on rare occasions, the rabbit gets the gun and hunts the hunter.

  Sheer power usually determines who has the gun. On occasions, circumstances determine who has the gun. In the Alabama Legislature, the majority nearly always has the gun. Republicans have super majorities in both the Alabama House and Senate. Therefore, they have the gun virtually all the time. But every now and then circumstances allow the rabbit to get the gun.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Crowded field lines up for U.S. Senate race

  Well, folks, the field is set for the sprint to fill the open U.S. Senate seat of Jeff Sessions. The primary is less than three months away on August 15. There will probably be a run-off on September 26, and the winner of that GOP run-off will be our Junior Senator from Alabama. In the Heart of Dixie, winning the Republican nomination is tantamount to election. The December 12 General Election will be a coronation for the winner of the September 26 Republican primary.

  It was an interesting closing day of qualifying last Wednesday. It was unbelievable how many people showed up to qualify. There are 11 candidates running in the Republican primary and amazingly, the Democrats fielded eight candidates. It was like ants coming out of the woodwork. It was similar to our olden days of Alabama politics when everybody and their brother ran for an open governor’s race or a seldom seen open Senate race. We ought to refer to this race as an ant race rather than a horse race.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Trump budget will worsen climate change while hurting the most-affected families

  Throughout his campaign, President Donald Trump referred to climate change as a “hoax.” And now, along with 180 members of Congress who question the legitimacy of climate change or humans’ contributions to it, he is undercutting progress toward limiting greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to warming our planet. At the same time, he is pursuing budget cuts that will make climate change even worse while hurting the families struggling most with its effects. Such cuts include eliminating the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children pay for their utility bills.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Gene Policinski: Hassling journalists damages our ‘watchdog on government’

  It’s not just journalists who are getting hauled out of a state capitol, pinned to the wall in a federal office building, or serving as the butt of a recent tone-deaf “joke” from a cabinet member involving a ceremonial sword.

  The ultimate targets of these incidents are you and me, and our fellow citizens. Conservative and liberal. Republican and Democrat. People from all states, all regions.

  When it comes to the government, at any level, “we the people” are the ones who run the place.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Miscarriage of justice

  In rural Alabama, the men were told they were being treated for rheumatism, bad stomachs, or “bad blood.” They were promised free meals and free health care.

  They didn’t get the health care they needed most.

  Hundreds of men — mostly poor, all of them black — were recruited in 1932 for the infamous Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male. They were never told they were to be the subjects of a secret U.S. Public Health Service experiment. They were never informed that they had been diagnosed with syphilis. And they never received treatment.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Rosa DeLauro: It’s time to stop shaming students when their parents can’t pay the lunch bill

  Last spring, a third grader in an Alabama elementary school walked into the cafeteria to get lunch. But because his lunch account was running low, he was stamped on the arm by a school employee with the words “I need lunch money” for all his peers to see.

  Across the country, schools are using similar tactics to humiliate students with outstanding lunch bills. According to a troubling 2014 report from the United States Department of Agriculture, almost half of all school districts used some form of lunch shaming to get parents to pay outstanding bills. These tactics range from making children clean the cafeteria, to forcing them to wear a special wristband, to replacing their hot lunches with alternate food, to throwing away a student’s lunch right in front of their eyes—and the eyes of their peers.