Saturday, April 22, 2017

Michael Josephson: God helps those who help themselves

  Bart’s home was in a flood area. The water was a foot high when a rescue truck offered to help him evacuate. Bart refused saying, “God will provide.” When the levee broke he had to climb onto the roof. A man in a rowboat came by and urged him to get aboard but again Bart refused, “God will provide.” Finally, the waters rose so high that Bart had to climb to the top of the chimney. A helicopter offered help but Bart said no. Soon, the water swept him away. About to drown, he yelled “God, why have you forsaken me?” The helicopter pilot heard the cry and yelled back: “Forsake you? God sent you a truck, then a boat, then a helicopter. Now, use the arms he gave you to grab this rope!”

  Our safety and survival in life does not depends on direct divine intervention, but from our ability to see and willingness to seize opportunities to save ourselves.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1558: The Alabama drama of fallen leaders

  “Senator Sanders, I called to let you know that Governor Robert Bentley will resign at 5:00 p.m. today and Lt. Governor Kay Ivey will be sworn in at 5:30 p.m.” This was Monday, April 10. The caller was Sen. Quinton Ross, the Senate minority leader. With these words, we moved toward the close of another act in the continuing drama of falling leadership in Alabama. Neither transparency nor accountability.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Craig Ford: When we vote this summer for a U.S. Senator, why not vote on a lottery, too?

  This week, Governor Ivey made the tough decision to hold the special election for our U.S. Senator this summer instead of waiting until next year's elections, as Governor Bentley had planned to do.

  This was not an easy choice to make. It is estimated that a special election will cost the state about $15 million.

  But if we also put a lottery on the same ballot as the U.S. Senate race, we can resolve two major issues for the price of one and take partisan concerns out of the equation.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Alabama rivals Louisiana in terms of political corruption

  We in the Deep South have a unique history of political theatrics. The only northern states that rival our colorfulness are New Jersey and Illinois. In those two states you are expected to be corrupt, especially in Chicago.

  Our most colorful southern state has always been Louisiana. The parishes and bayous of the Pelican State gave us Huey Long and other characters. No other states can hold a candle to Louisiana’s brazen corruption. They not only expect their politicians to steal and cavort, they frown on them if they do not. The environment of Louisiana politics is bred towards corruption and debauchery. They not only gave us the glamor of the King Fish, Huey Long, they are proud of their infamous reputation.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

In first 100 days, Congress took aim at the democratic foundations of America’s environmental laws

  A review of all roll-call votes cast in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives in 2017 shows that Congress and the Trump administration have launched an assault on environmental and public health standards that is unconventional in its approach and anti-democratic in its objective. Instead of seeking up or down votes on high profile environmental topics—such as on whether to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, overturn limits on carbon pollution from power plants, or withdraw protections for national monuments—Republican leaders in Congress are pursuing lower-profile but highly consequential changes to regulatory and legal processes that restrict the rights of citizens and communities to shape U.S. public health and environmental policy. Simply put, the 115th Congress is dismantling the democratic foundations of America’s environmental laws and executing a radical and unprecedented transfer of policymaking power to corporations.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Taylor Dawson: It’s time to call for recall in Alabama

  Looking back on the last few days of Governor Bentley’s s now-infamous administration, I can’t help but think, “It never should have gotten this far.”

  But it did. At least part of that should be credited to the fact he knew there wasn’t anything the people of Alabama could do to him politically once he won his second term in office. Bentley’s pride was unflagging even during his farewell speech.

  As a result, Alabamians’ already-damaged trust in state government took a nosedive over the last year.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Keeping America’s schools safe from gun violence

  Current federal law helps ensure that schools remain safe places of learning for students, faculty, and other personnel by limiting the ability of individuals to carry loaded, concealed guns on K-12 school grounds. This law—the Gun-Free School Zones Act, or GFSZA—was enacted with overwhelming bipartisan support more than 20 years ago and should remain in place to help keep our school communities safe from gun violence.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

David L. Hudson Jr.: Federal appeals court considers Facebook posts a true threat

  One of the more intriguing lines in First Amendment jurisprudence is between a true threat and political hyperbole. True threats are a categorical exception to free-speech protection, while political hyperbole generally is protected speech.

  A Wisconsin man learned the hard way that posting incendiary messages on Facebook about killing then-President Barack Obama can fall into the unprotected category of true threats.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1557: Death by a thousand cuts

  Death by a thousand cuts. Reputedly this was a form of death by torture practiced centuries ago in China. Instead of a quick death by a stab to the heart or a slit of the throat, death would come slowly over a series of days from many cuts on the arms, legs, face and other parts of the body. Then hands, arms, feet, legs, etc. would be cut off.

  Public education is being subjected to death by a thousand cuts. Since December 2010, there have been many painful cuts on the education body. Some cuts on the arms, some on the legs, some on the face, some on other parts of the body. There has not been a slitting of the throat or a stabbing to the heart. However, every cut draws blood, and eventually the body bleeds to death.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Jacob G. Hornberger: Trump’s new war for America

  With President Trump’s undeclared attack on Syria, a sovereign and independent nation, he has confirmed, once and for all, that he is just another foreign interventionist, no different from his predecessors Barack Obama and George W. Bush. That means, of course, another four years of war, bombings, assassinations, shootings, terrorism, war on terrorism, travel restrictions, walls, surveillance, incarceration, POW camps, torture, out of control federal spending and debt, and everything else that comes with an imperialist and interventionist national security state.