Monday, December 11, 2017

Our Stand: Alabama needs Doug Jones

  Though the campaign to fill Alabama's vacant U.S. Senate seat his been marked by controversy - namely twice-ousted former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore's shady past and serial abuse of elected office - since the beginning of the race, it has been clear who is better qualified and suited to represent the people of Alabama: Doug Jones.

  As the U.S. Attorney for Alabama's Northern District, Jones successfully prosecuted two Klan members for their involvement in the horrible bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963, which killed four little girls. Those perpetrators had evaded justice for nearly 30 years by the time of their convictions, and Jones has been credited for taking the stalled case, putting in the work, and finally bringing the long nightmare to an end.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Tales and truth in the Masterpiece Cakeshop arguments

  In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins went into Masterpiece Cakeshop to buy a wedding cake. The store owner, Jack Phillips, refused to sell the same-sex couple a cake. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission and state courts have agreed that Phillips’ refusal to serve Craig and Mullins violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination act, which bars businesses such as Masterpiece Cakeshop from refusing service based on characteristics including religion, race, and sexual orientation.

  Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and will decide whether Phillips’ has a constitutional right to discriminate under the First Amendment. At stake is whether nondiscrimination laws will continue to provide meaningful protection against discrimination, not only for LGBTQ people but potentially for other protected classes as well.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Six things President Trump got wrong when decimating America’s national monuments

  On Monday, President Donald Trump announced the largest revocation of protected areas in U.S. history. The two proclamations he signed removed protections of more than 2 million acres by eliminating both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments and replacing them with five much smaller national monuments. His illegal action could result in the destruction of Native American archaeological sites, widespread loss of wildlife habitat, and economic harm to local businesses.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Jacob G. Hornberger: No American is willing to die for South Korea

  Let’s engage in a thought experiment. Let’s assume that President Trump today ordered all U.S. troops in South Korea to immediately withdraw and come home, a position that I hold is the best and possibly only solution to the Korean crisis. After all, let’s not forget that the reason North Korea wants nuclear capability is to deter or defend against one of the U.S. government’s storied regime-change operations (e.g., Iran, Guatemala, Cuba, Chile, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Libya, etc.). Virtually no one suggests that the reason North Korea wants a long-range nuclear capability is to enable it to start a war with the United States. It wants nuclear capability for defensive, not offensive, purposes. Once U.S. troops are brought home, the incentive for North Korea to acquire nuclear capability that would strike the United States plummets.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1591: I am going to vote on Dec. 12th!

  I am going to vote on Tuesday, December 12, 2017. I am going to vote because my vote matters. I am going to vote because your vote matters. I am going to vote because my vote is my voice. I am going to vote because my mother and father were denied the right to vote for most of their lives. I am going to vote because I couldn’t vote in Alabama when I became of age. I am going to vote because too many are working to make it more difficult for me and others to vote. I am going to vote because people died so I and others could vote. I am going to vote on Tuesday, December 12.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Moore vs. Jones

  The final vote for the remaining three years of Jeff Sessions' six-year term in the U.S. Senate will be next Tuesday. The race is between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore.

  Jeff Sessions is probably sorry he left his safe Senate seat of 20 years to be at the Justice Department in a tentative position with constant ridicule from an irrational egomaniac as president.

  It would be highly unlikely that a Democrat could beat a Republican for a U.S. Senate seat in the Heart of Dixie.  We are one of the most reliably Republican states in America, especially when it comes to federal offices.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Rosa Parks, #MeToo, and the nature of the struggle

  Three and a half years before Rosa Parks sat down, Pfc. Sarah Keys refused to get up.

  Keys was in the Army and traveling home on furlough. When a new bus driver took the wheel in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, he demanded that she give up her seat to a white Marine.

  Keys refused. So the driver emptied the bus, directed the other passengers to another vehicle and barred Keys from boarding it. She was charged with disorderly conduct and jailed, paying a $25 fine.

  She filed a complaint — and in a milestone for civil rights, she won.

Monday, December 4, 2017

High Court to examine Minnesota law banning all political speech near polls

  Pure political speech represents the core type of speech the First Amendment was designed to protect. A case this term, Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, before the U.S. Supreme Court will test the Justices’ commitment to this principle.

  A Minnesota law forbids voters from wearing a “political badge, political button, or other political insignia . . . at or about the polling place on primary or election day.”

  The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law, reasoning that a polling place is a nonpublic forum instead of a traditional, designated or limited public forum where free-speech rights are greater. Under the Court’s public forum doctrine, restrictions on speech in nonpublic forums are constitutional if the restrictions are viewpoint neutral and reasonable.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Craig Ford: State leaders have lost their credibility on prisons

  With all the attention being given to the special election for the U.S. Senate, you may not have seen what has been happening in Montgomery with the prison crisis.

  Last year, Gov. Robert Bentley proposed a plan to build four new “super prisons” at a cost of about $800 million. At the time, a lawsuit had been filed claiming that the state’s prisons were overcrowded and did not provide adequate safety and healthcare services, which is a violation of the 8th Amendment that prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.”

  State leaders claimed that building new prisons would solve all the problems by allowing the state to house the same number of prisoners without having to hire more guards or mental health care professionals.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Ulrich Boser: The value of guardrails in education

  The real estate crash of September 2008 provided a powerful lesson about the nature of government oversight. After federal regulators failed to rigorously manage the real estate industry, a pool of bad loans caused a housing bubble that nearly destroyed the world economy.

  While schools are much different than houses, education reformers should take note of the value of government oversight because the core lesson remains the same. Markets function better when government plays a strong role, and education policymakers should help to inform consumer decisions and police bad actors.