Saturday, July 4, 2015

Gene Policinski: New thought on ‘the flag’ – and a new lyric line for ‘Dixie’

  Amid all the discussion and debate over public display of the Confederate flag, where do Americans actually agree or disagree?

  A new survey shows that a majority of all Americans agree with banning the Confederate battle flag from license plates, public buildings and store shelves.

  But a majority of white and Hispanic respondents, asked what they think when they see the contested flag, don’t identify it as a symbol of racial bias against African Americans, even though an overwhelming number of African  Americans do.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Sam Fulwood III: Confronting white privilege

  In a remarkably straightforward and honest essay that’s perfectly timed to make sense of current events, Katherine Speller lays out the argument for “why it’s not racist to talk about white privilege.”

  “We know these conversations can be really hard to have,” Speller posted Tuesday morning on the MTV.com website. “They involve taking a critical look at not only our lives, but the society we live in and the power structures that have been in place since way before we were born.”

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: The VictoryLand revival

  Last week’s verdict that VictoryLand be allowed to reopen is justice served. The people of Macon County voted for a constitutional amendment to allow for electronic bingo. The issue of pari-mutuel style casino betting and the closing of the ultramodern and successful luxury gaming resort in Macon County has been laid to rest.

  There have been extensive studies and articles that crystallize several obvious observations. First of all, gambling or gaming is an extremely profitable venture, and it is apparent that most Alabamians and Americans gamble whether it be online, through a bookie, or via a lottery. By the way, 48 of the 50 states receive revenue from gambling. Alabama and Utah are the only states that do not.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Richard Cohen: Either comply or resign else you're just being arrogant

  Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that bans on same-sex marriages are unconstitutional, we've seen many Alabama probate judges – including Steven Reed in Montgomery, Alan King in Jefferson County, and Don Davis in Mobile – say that they'll comply with the law by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

  But some Alabama probate judges say that they'll get out of the marriage business altogether.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Craig Ford: Alabama needs a real answer to the gambling question

  Decisions made by the government and high profile court rulings consumed the news last week. Most of the breaking news has centered on the U.S. Supreme Court decisions. But there is one court ruling that hasn’t gotten as much attention, and it’s just as important to the people of Alabama because it has such a huge impact on the future of our state.

  Late last week, an Alabama circuit judge ruled that the state was wrong to “cherry-pick” the casinos it prosecuted (and I think “persecuted” would be more accurate), and that the state must return all the seized money and bingo machines. The case was brought by VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor, and the judge’s ruling means that VictoryLand is once again free to open its doors.

Monday, June 29, 2015

5 Criteria for a nuclear agreement with Iran

  The United States is on the verge of preventing one of the most serious threats to the security of the United States and its allies in the Middle East: a nuclear-armed Iran. After two and a half years of intense negotiations and more than 20 years of sanctions, the P5+1—the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany—are finalizing the details of a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran ahead of their self-imposed June 30 deadline.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Charles C. Haynes: After Charleston

  The brutal murder of nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17 was an act of “racial terrorism” – to quote NAACP President Cornell Williams Brooks.

  It was also a chilling assault on fundamental freedoms guaranteed every American under the First Amendment – the freedom to worship, the freedom to speak out for justice, and the freedom to assemble and organize for change.

  What happened in Charleston must not be reduced to a story about a mentally disturbed “lone wolf” – as often happens when a young white man commits mass murder.

Friday, June 26, 2015

3 Facts you need to know about proposed child support rules

  In fall 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Child Support Enforcement—after consulting with states, law enforcement officials, employers, and other stakeholders—published and sought public comment on a set of proposed changes that would modernize the federal rules that govern the child support system. These changes would strengthen the child support system in ways that would increase regular, on-time payments to families; boost employment and earnings for noncustodial parents; and increase the amount of time that noncustodial parents spend with their children.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1463: Symbols are powerful

  Symbols are powerful. On Wednesday night, June 17, 2015, a 21-year-old white man named Dylann Roof drove 120 miles to Charleston, South Carolina. He entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where African Americans were participating in weekly Bible studies. He shot down nine human beings in cold blood, reloading his .45 caliber Glock handgun five times. I grieve for each life lost, each suffering family, each community in mourning, and each person weighed down by this terrible tragedy. But we cannot lose sight of the powerful role symbols played in these hate-filled acts of terrorism. Symbols are powerful.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Sizing up the budget crunch

  Alabama is only one of a handful of states that work out of two budgets. We have a General Fund Budget and a separate Education Budget. Our General Fund is where the severe problem rests. The reason is that the General Fund gets none of the growth taxes, so its volume of revenue has remained the same for decades.

  The Alabama Legislature failed to find a solution during the four-month regular legislative session. The new fiscal year begins October 1. Therefore, a summer special session will be necessary.