Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: The first round of potential gubernatorial candidates

  Last week I gave you an alphabetical list of the 18 potential horses in the 2018 Alabama Gubernatorial Derby. We will begin this week handicapping them in descending order.

  The Number 18 horse is current Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard. We will know whether the beleaguered Speaker of the House will remain in the derby by next March. He is on trial in Lee County. A grand jury indicted him over a year ago on 23 felony counts of ethics law violations. If he is convicted on any of the 23 charges, he becomes a felon and will not only be removed from my 2018 Alabama Derby, he will be removed from the House of Representatives and as Speaker of the House.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gene Policinski: Want to terrorize a terrorist? Try a bit of ‘freedom’

  Want to know how to terrorize a terrorist? Read the 45 words of the First Amendment – preferably aloud.

  Airstrikes and drone strikes? Threats and condemnations from the leaders of the most powerful nations in the history of the planet? Targeted assassinations at home or abroad?

  To some degree, those tactics may well put fear in the shadowy collections of would-be dictators and pseudo-religious fanatics now operating around the world. And certainly the quick French response– including the raid in which the suspected mastermind of the November 13 attacks died – should serve as a graphic demonstration of speedy justice.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Alexandra Thornton: Getting beyond rhetoric on corporate tax reform

  It seems that corporate tax reform is perpetually in the news, but the debate never seems to move beyond rhetoric. This was reinforced when new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), acknowledged last week that congressional Republicans would take up corporate tax reform next year for purposes of positioning Republicans for the 2016 election.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches: #1484: Felony convictions are life sentences

  Every felony conviction carries a life sentence. No, I don’t mean a sentence to life in prison. However, I do mean a life sentence. Let me tell you why felony convictions carry life sentences.

  Every felony conviction carries a sentence of at least one year in prison, jail, probation, parole or a combination thereof. We tend to think of sentences to prison or probation or parole as the total sentence. These sentences certainly should get our attention because they are serious. In fact, when we plead to a felony – whether guilty or innocent – it’s usually to avoid or reduce prison time or reduce the length of the sentence. However, we don’t think about the collateral sentences that come with every plea. In reality, felony convictions carry sentences that last for life.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Craig Ford: Progress has been made, but there is more work to be done!

  Congratulations to Gov. Robert Bentley and Secretary of State John Merrill on their work to fully enact the “motor voter” law! It’s refreshing to see a news article about voting in Alabama that isn’t negative. And while it did take more than twenty years and the threat of a costly lawsuit, Alabama is finally moving toward compliance with the federal voting law.

  If you are unfamiliar with the law, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, more commonly referred to as the “motor voter” law, is a federal law that among other things requires state governments to offer voter registration opportunities to any eligible person who applies for (or renews) their driver’s license or public assistance.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Darrio Melton: National Guard Armory closings reveal priorities

  This week, our hearts went out to the victims of tragedies in Paris and Beirut. Americans stood in solidarity with the victims of these horrific attacks and committed ourselves to continue working to prevent these attacks at home and abroad.

  At the heart of the conversation about dealing with terrorism, extremism, and ISIS has been a conversation about Syrian refugees and their role in our nation.

  Many have argued it's time to shut down our borders to prevent bad people from coming in with those who are looking for safety, while others have quoted the lines etched into the Statue of Liberty: "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: The road to 2018

  We Alabamians love the governor’s race. When talk turns to politics in our beloved state, it usually leads to the governor’s race. It does not matter if the governor’s race is four years away, political gossip starts early on the subject of who will run for governor. As each new race approaches it is talked about more than ever around the coffee clubs from Sand Mountain to the Wiregrass and from the Tennessee Valley to the Gulf Coast. It is comparable to college football being the king of all sports in Alabama.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sam Fulwood III: The inequality racism begets affects us all

  Lately, I have noticed a palpable sensation that white people around me are increasingly talking about race.

  Sometimes, it is palaver about racial disparities in criminal sentencing, the reality of institutional racism, or the vagaries of white privilege. Often, these topics come up in private, one-on-one dialogues, but—just as frequently—I eavesdrop into others’ conversations and hear more frank talk than ever before.

  I hadn’t given it much thought. After all, my work focuses on race and public policy, and I am surrounded by extremely progressive and socially aware white people who aren’t shy about engaging in challenging issues and debates. Still, the preponderance of race talk has seemed oddly noteworthy—like the incessant buzzing of a bee that gets louder the more I ignore it.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Charles C. Haynes: Islam, public schools, and the challenge of teaching about religions

  In recent weeks, fights have erupted in Georgia and Tennessee over how Islam is taught in public schools.

  Charges of “Islamic indoctrination” are countered by charges of “anti-Muslim bigotry” as people shout past one another at school board meetings and in the media.

  Before this dispute becomes a full-blown culture war, my advice is for people on all sides to take a deep breath, sort out what’s actually going on in schools, and then consider how school officials can best respond.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches: #1483: DMV closures are purely about politics

  It’s about politics. It’s not about the budget. It’s about politics. It’s not about revenue. It’s all about politics, politics, politics. The closing of the driver’s license offices (DMVs) is all about politics, not revenue, not budgets. Let me tell you why.

  First, the fees for driver’s licenses were recently increased from $23.50 to $36.25. That’s a 54 percent increase. The Alabama Legislature placed explicit language in the budget requiring portions of these increased fees to be used to keep open all driver’s license offices. But the governor closed them anyway. It’s not about revenue. It’s not about budgets. It’s all about politics.