Tuesday, September 27, 2016

25 years of of Roy Moore's unconstitutional efforts to mix law and religion

  Since his appointment as a state circuit judge in 1992, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has put his personal religious views above the law and the U.S. Constitution, frequently bringing religion into the courtroom and basing judicial opinions on his Biblical beliefs. He has been removed from office once for disobeying the federal judiciary on the matter, and now he again faces a trial for violating judicial ethics for refusing to recognize federal court rulings on same-sex marriage. Here is a timeline of events leading up to the September 28 trial in the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Alexandra Thornton: Tax simplification that works for everyone

  The idea of simplifying the U.S. tax code is perennially appealing. Yet proposals to simplify the tax code often promise more than they can deliver, by dramatically changing the balance of who pays taxes or significantly reducing tax receipts needed to fund government services.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Michael Josephson: The power of kindness

  I’ve mentioned before that, despite my great admiration for people who are instinctively and consistently kind, kindness does not come naturally to me. Yet the older I get, the more I agree with Abraham Heschel, who said, “When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.” Henry James was more emphatic when he said, “Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Craig Ford: VictoryLand reopening is a victory for democracy

  I have always believed that gambling is an issue that should be decided by the voters. And I will never understand why, in the middle of the biggest economic recession our country has seen since the Great Depression, our state leaders chose to put hundreds of people out of work and shut down legally operating casinos throughout the state.

  The legal battles that followed have cost the taxpayers millions of dollars and cost the state millions more in lost revenue that would have been coming in from the taxes paid by these casinos and their employees.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Racial and gender diversity sorely lacking in America’s courts

  This month a group of African American voters sued Alabama under the Voting Rights Act, alleging that its system of at-large elections for the state’s three appellate courts discriminates against black voters. Since 1994, every black candidate for the state’s 19 appellate judgeships has lost to a white candidate. As ThinkProgress noted, “At-large elections have been a common tactic across the country” to minimize the political influence of voters of color. A similar lawsuit was recently filed in Texas. Around 40 percent of Texas’ population is Latino, yet only 5 of the 76 justices who have served on the Texas Supreme Court since 1945—a mere 6.6 percent—have been Latino.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1528: God is still at work

  I was standing in the pulpit of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. I was both pained and pleased. I was pained because it was a memorial service for a woman who died so very young. I was pleased to be there for her family and others on the 45th anniversary of her death. As I stood, I decided to talk to the person being memorialized. I was moving by the spirit.

  Margaret Ann Knott is her name. She died at the tender age of 19. On 9/11 in the year 1971, she and others were protesting the discriminatory firing of Black teachers in Choctaw County, Alabama. A White man angrily drove his car into the group of youth, snuffing out the life of Margaret Ann Knott. That’s what brought us to this memorial moment on September 11, 2016. Here is some of what I said or intended to say or tried to say.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Reflections on the special session

  Folks, I have been observing and participating in the legislative process for over 50 years. Lest you think I am really old, I started paging in the Alabama Legislature when I was 12, served in the House of Representatives close to two decades, and have been reporting on the legislative process for now close to two decades, and I am here to tell you I have not seen a more up and down roller coaster ride than the recently completed special session to deal with the lottery issue.

  Extraordinary special sessions of the legislature are the way to go to get something accomplished if you are governor. The legislature has to address the topic for which the governor has called the special session. It is referred to as “the call.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Michael Josephson: The truth about trust and lies

  Honesty may not always pay, but lying always costs.

  Reputation, trust and credibility are assets no organization can afford to lose and the surest way to lose them is to lie.

  Building trust is like building a tower, stone by stone. But no matter how high or strong the tower seems, if you remove a stone from the bottom the tower will collapse. That’s what lying does — it removes the foundation stone of trust.

Monday, September 19, 2016

L.C. Holt from ‘You’re Next’ completes first feature film

  Known by horror fans for his acting work in films such as You’re Next, V/H/S 2 and Pop Skull, L.C.
Holt has stepped behind the camera to write and direct his first feature film Spiritus.

  With the tagline “It’s lonely being dead,” the film tells the story of a troubled girl named Marjorie Hines. One year after her mysterious death, Marjorie’s tormented spirit returns to seek bloody vengeance on those responsible.

  “We were able to tell this story in an interesting, nonlinear way,” said Holt. “The story unfolds piece by piece as each of Marjorie’s friends, along with an unscrupulous documentary filmmaker, start to uncover secrets surrounding the circumstances of her death.”

Gene Policinski: Sometimes, it would seem, artificial intelligence… isn’t

  As we hurtle through the innovative and endlessly updated second decade of the 21st century, the prospects seem brighter and better than ever that our new web and social media tools will help us better communicate and more effectively confront serious challenges like terrorism.

  But then, there are the reminders that the Algorithmic Age is still in its infancy and that all the programming in the virtual world sometimes falls short of good old people brainpower. And therein are the early warning signs that tech companies need to take in consideration of free expression rights into the inevitable — and perhaps even desirable — tilt toward AI over human “editors” controlling the flow of information.