Saturday, May 23, 2015

Sam Fulwood III: Choosing our words carefully

  Not long after the violent shootout at a Twin Peaks Restaurant in Waco, Texas, my Twitter newsfeed lit up with comments that linked what many media outlets termed a “brawl” to the public protests and disturbances last month in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray. The comparison was largely unfavorable, as many noted a race-tinged discrepancy in the language used to describe two separate acts of lawlessness.

  In Baltimore, the activity involved black people and the language was less than subtle, typically describing the looters as “thugs” and their behavior as a “riot.”

Friday, May 22, 2015

Katherine Green Robertson: If everything is a priority then nothing is a priority

  As the debate over Alabama’s General Fund budget shortfall continues, four schools of thought have emerged on how to solve this problem: a) tax increases, b) gambling revenue, c) unearmarking, d) and across-the-board cuts. Each one of these proposals has been deemed the obvious, simple solution to the problem, but none would actually be that straightforward. As proposed, three of the four would require the second, overlooked step of prioritizing spending—a difficult task in a currently fragmented Republican majority.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Right-to-Work takes us in the wrong direction

  Anti-union state and local policymakers in communities across the country are attacking an already weakened labor movement by enacting so-called right-to-work laws that inhibit workers from bargaining for better wages and benefits. Wisconsin became the 25th state to enact a right-to-work law this spring. Following on its heels, the Republican-led Missouri legislature enacted a similar law last week. And where statewide legislation has previously failed, a new strategy has emerged among anti-union lawmakers. These laws are going local in Kentucky and Illinois, with city and county governments enacting ordinances to create local right-to-work zones.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Ward leads charge on prison reform

  The hallmark accomplishment of this year’s legislative session will be a comprehensive prison reform package. This legislation is the one long-term substantive issue tackled by the super majority Republican legislative body.

  This comprehensive prison project has been in the works for a while. A lot of research and planning went into the plan. Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) has been the steward of the project. Senator Ward chairs the Prison Reform Task Force, which formulated the plan. He is also Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and he shepherded the plan through the legislative process.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Charles C. Haynes: Tattooed Jesus, yoga and the debate over school endorsement of religion

  Legal battles over when and where to draw the church-state line on school endorsement of religion can be a nightmare for administrators, a headache for judges and a payday for lawyers.

  Consider the recent lawsuit in Lubbock, Texas over an advertisement a company called Little Pencil wanted to display during the football games played at the local high school.

  The ad featured a depiction of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns with words like “outcast,” “addicted” and “jealous” tattooed across his upper body (symbolizing the belief that Jesus took on the sins of the world).

Monday, May 18, 2015

Craig Ford: Who’s leading the Alabama House of Representatives?

  Who’s really leading the Alabama House of Representatives? Or maybe the better question is: who is ready to step up and lead?

  "Who’s Leading The Alabama House of Representatives?"

  Every organization needs leaders. An Army needs a general. A team needs a coach. A company needs a president or CEO.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Michael Josephson: How to succeed by failing forward

  The best way to teach our children to succeed is to teach them to fail.

  After all, if getting everything you want on the first try is success, and everything else is failure, we all fail much more often than we succeed.

  People who learn how to grow from unsuccessful efforts succeed more often and at higher levels because they become wiser and tougher.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Robert Wilkerson: An outrageous proposal

  It is outrageous that gambling is being considered for legalization in this state. Have our political leaders sunk so low they are willing to use the methods associated with and dominated by criminals and organized crime to bring in money? Gambling should be against the law and looked upon as a crime. It has been shown that legalizing gambling does not limit it. On the contrary, organized crime and criminal activity thrive where gambling is legalized.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

David L. Hudson Jr.: Government surveillance threatens First Amendment freedoms

  Mass governmental surveillance impacts First Amendment freedoms in profound ways, chilling speech and even thought.

  We tend to think of such surveillance under the rubric of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits the government from engaging in “unreasonable searches and seizures.” But, surveillance also negatively impacts freedom of speech, assembly, association – and even thought.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Will the legislative session go to extra innings?

  Unless you've been living under a rock for the past six months, you know that the Alabama General Fund has a shortfall and Gov. Robert Bentley has proposed a $540 million tax increase solution to resolve the problem.

  This crisis has been brewing for close to a decade now. It is under Dr. Bentley’s watch that the train wreck has finally occurred and the chickens have come home to roost. During Bob Riley’s eight year ride, money was shuffled around and a lot of federal stimulus money fell on the state like manna from Heaven. Riley got to spend his last two years in office playing cops and robbers. He rounded up all the troopers and rode around the state closing down constitutionally sanctioned and tax paying gaming casinos with the zeal of a child pretending to chase Al Capone.