Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Trump’s effort to cut SNAP by fiat would kill 178,000 jobs over the next decade

  President Donald Trump’s latest budget blueprint is out, and it again calls for eviscerating nearly every program that helps families afford the basics, including cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—the United States’ largest food assistance program, which helps nearly 39 million people get enough to eat—by a staggering $220 billion, literally shrinking the program by one-third. While presidential budgets are often considered dead on arrival, since they do not themselves become law, one particular proposed cut to SNAP poses an immediate and dangerous threat, given that Trump is trying to sidestep Congress to enact it by fiat.

Monday, March 18, 2019

The ongoing, never-ending U.S. death star

  The U.S. national-security establishment’s death star continues operating at full-speed and on auto-pilot. According to an article in Newsweek, the Pentagon and the CIA have now killed half-a-million people since 9/11. The article didn’t say how many of those dead people are estimated to have participated in the 9/11 attacks, but I’d say that a reasonable estimate would be maybe 10 or 20 at the most. That would mean that 498,980 people who have been killed by the U.S. death star since 9/11 had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.

  Moreover, those half-a-million deaths don’t include the hundreds of thousands of people who have been killed in the U.S.-incited civil wars in Syria and Lebanon.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Trump’s education budget ignores needs of students and schools

  When it comes to education policy, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration have no new ideas. Much like the Department of Education’s proposed budgets for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, the FY 2020 budget asks for students and teachers to pay for the administration’s misguided policy aims in the form of cuts to education programs. Though DeVos’ education agenda has never been popular, this year’s budget proposal is particularly tone deaf to the needs of students and schools. The Trump administration has been fiscally irresponsible to the extreme, granting enormous tax cuts to wealthy corporations at taxpayers’ expense and letting a costly partial government shutdown drag on. And yet, every year when the budget is released, programs that help students and families seem to come last on its list of priorities, receiving huge cuts or being targeted for elimination.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

New Zealand attack shows white supremacy is global terrorist movement

  The atrocity in New Zealand shows us, once again, that we’re dealing with an international terrorist movement linked by a dangerous white supremacist ideology that’s metastasizing in the echo chambers of internet chat rooms and on social media networks.

  This hatred is even being amplified by our own president, who speaks of an “invasion of our country.”

Friday, March 15, 2019

Hank Sanders: Sketches #1657 - Selma has given so much; we must all give back

  Selma has given so much. We must give back. Selma has given so much to Alabama. Alabama must give back. Selma has given so much to the South. The South must give back. Selma has given so much to the United States of America. The United States of America must give back. Selma has given so much to the world. The world must give back. Selma has given so much. We all must give back.

  Selma is a powerful symbol. A symbol for struggle. A symbol for overcoming great odds. A symbol for freedom. A symbol for voting rights. A symbol for democracy. A symbol for nonviolence overcoming violence. Selma is a symbol all across this country and around the world.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Trump’s FY 2020 budget exposes his false promises and misplaced priorities

  If there is truth in the old adage that “budgets are moral documents,” then-President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2020 budget is morally bankrupt. It aims debilitating cuts at programs on which American families rely in order to pay for tax cuts, strips regulators’ ability to stop corporate wrongdoers and polluters, and launches yet another brutal attack on Americans’ health care. Every year, pundits declare the president’s budget “dead on arrival,” but Americans should make no mistake: Trump’s FY 2020 budget is a clear statement of his priorities, and its policies are those the president would enact if given the opportunity. And Trump’s priorities and policies reveal his sheer contempt for the “forgotten men and women” for whom he pledged to fight.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse - Infrastructure package is sailing through the legislature

  Gov. Kay Ivey has made infrastructure improvement in the state her cornerstone issue for this year, and more importantly, for her term as governor. Within less than three months in office, she and the Alabama Legislature have successfully accomplished this mission.

  Last Friday, the Alabama House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed monumental legislation on an 84-20 vote. It was a remarkable victory for the governor and the House leadership. It was a bipartisan coalition of support. Only 18 of the 77 Republicans voted against the bills, and only 2 of the 28 Democrats voted no. It is expected to pass in the Senate this week.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Why is racism still America’s biggest problem?

  It rained on marchers from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965, and it rained on them again this month they commemorated the day when police beat civil rights marchers so badly that the date became known the nation over as Bloody Sunday.

  Fifty-four years have passed since that historic march for voting rights, but as speakers lamented at the commemoration, we are still fighting for the right to vote today.

  However, as Rep. John Lewis told a crowd at the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery as part of the Bloody Sunday anniversary, “We come with the spirit and the belief that we can change things. We have the power. We have the ability. We can do it.”

Monday, March 11, 2019

On campus speech: Thanks, Mr. President — but no thanks

  At first hearing, President Trump’s recent announcement of a planned presidential order to mandate free speech on college campuses might seem to be just what free expression advocates would support.

  However, regrettably, they should not. Keep reading, please.

  Taking a shortcut through the First Amendment in the name of free speech is not a good idea — and that’s what Trump’s approach will be, no matter how admirable the stated goal of encouraging and protecting the rights of all in university communities to speak freely.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

I paid 118 percent on a payday loan. The administration is canceling efforts to rein them in.

  There was a moment in my life when it felt as if everything that could go wrong went wrong — and all at the same time.

  I had just started a new job. My household went from two incomes to just one, and we were definitely starting to feel it. The mortgage was due, all of the regular household bills and responsibilities were still there, and my son still needed money to cover school and sports expenses.

  I managed to use the remainder of my savings to pay for everything, but I was still $500 short for my mortgage payment. I was stressed out, trying my best to make ends meet and keep some normalcy in my son’s life. I knew I had a paycheck coming, but it would not arrive in time to avoid all of the late fees and the credit hit for being 30 days late on my mortgage.