Friday, December 9, 2016

Jacob G. Hornberger: The problem is foreign interventionism, not Muslims

  With Donald Trump’s accession to the presidency, the U.S. anti-Muslim crusade is going into full swing. According to an article in the November 14 issue of the Washington Post, hate crimes against Muslims hit their highest level since 2001. An article in the Post last week stated that four mosques have received letters stating that Trump will do to Muslims what Hitler “did to the Jews.”

  Ever since the 9/11 attacks, religious bigots have used that event as the excuse to go after Muslims. The problem with their mindset — or at least one problem with their mindset — is that they're letting their religious bigotry prevent them from recognizing that the root cause of anti-American terrorism is not based on religion but instead on the U.S. government’s interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Craig Ford: New buildings won't solve Alabama's prison problem

  Prisons could be the issue that defines the Alabama Legislature in 2017. Gov. Robert Bentley has said he may call a special session to address the issue, and he has indicated that he will revive the prison construction bill he first proposed in his 2016 State of the State address.

  In recent years, numerous lawsuits have been filed relating to the conditions in our prisons. Violence and riots have increased as the number of corrections officers has decreased, and even the federal government has begun an investigation of violence, rape and overcrowding in our prisons.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Ethics law could stifle charitable giving

  It is Christmas time, and since Alabama is one of the most charitable states in the nation, I would expect that many of us are in the giving mood and plan to help many worthy causes across our great state. Unfortunately, it appears that some recent rulings by the Alabama Ethics Commission are going to make it more difficult for charities across the state to raise the funds that they need to serve our communities.

  Many charities in Alabama are concerned that an unintended consequence of recent Commission interpretations of the ethics law is that it could restrict the ability of public officials and employees and their family members to be involved in fundraising for charities and other organizations that they support, including public schools and universities.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1538: Culture is pervasive, powerful, stealthy and long lasting

  Culture is pervasive. Culture is powerful. Culture is stealthy. Culture is long lasting. Culture is the vessel that transmits our values. Culture determines so much about us. And we don’t even know it’s happening to us. I was reminded of the power of culture a few weeks ago.

  We gathered in our hometown of Bay Minette, Ala., for our annual Thanksgiving reunion. There were 13 children born into the family, but one died as a baby and the other died in Vietnam at the age of 22. Nine of the eleven living children gathered with their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Other relatives and friends came including children of the two siblings who did not come. We learned so much about and from each other. Culture is pervasive.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Jacob G. Hornberger: The Cuban embargo destroyed Americans’ freedom

  Amidst increasing speculation that President-elect Trump is going to reverse the Obama administration’s attempts to normalize relations with Cuba, this would be a good time for Americans to start pushing back against any further destruction of their rights and liberties at the hands of their own government. A good place to start pushing back is by standing firm in favor of a lifting of the decades-long failed, deadly, and destructive U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.

  In the Declaration of Independence, a document whose principles Americans celebrate every Fourth of July, Thomas Jefferson observed that everyone has fundamental, God-given rights with which no government can legitimately interfere.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Michael Josephson: Surviving critical relatives at family gatherings

  I realize that not everyone lives in a Norman Rockwell world where family gatherings are sources of warmth and good memories. For some, the prospect of holiday get-togethers generates dread and anxiety; they are something to endure, not enjoy.

  One reason is that family members can be tactless and downright cruel when expressing their opinions about perceived foibles, flaws and failures of their relatives, especially in-laws. Often comments are so laden with negative judgment that they could make the Grinch wince. Whether motivated by well-intentioned, but misdirected, love and concern, or by malice, insensitive or unkind words are like spears to the heart.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Craig Ford: Alabama’s public schools do not "suck"

  Gov. Robert Bentley made headlines a few weeks ago when he told an audience at a public forum that our public school system “sucks.”

  But Governor Bentley is wrong about our public school system.

  Alabama’s high school graduation rate rose 18 percent between 2011 and 2015. Today, 89.3 percent of students graduate high school in Alabama: the third highest graduation rate in the country!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Sam Fulwood III: Embracing an accurate depiction of the American story

  In the wake of the presidential election, one theme in the postmortem emerges very clearly: Our land is starkly divided. The divisions cut through us on so many levels; we’re separated along axes of black and white; men and women; urban and rural; affluent and poor. And that’s just to name a few.

  As The New York Times’ Tim Wallace wrote: “For many Americans, it feels as if the 2016 election split the country in two.” Indeed, this idea of “Two Americas” isn’t new. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards made national headlines with a famous speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, in which he declared, “The truth is, we still live in a country where there are two different Americas.”

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gene Policinski: Back to the “basics” in a new way

  There’s no one “key” to why so many believe that journalists missed the rise and election of Donald Trump as president — and that’s a good thing to keep in mind for the future.

  There’s no easy answer to why so many Americans are so critical of the press, so distrustful of news reports and so convinced — particularly post-election — that journalists are out of step and out of touch.

  And yet, a fair amount of speculation in print and on television — including great gobs of gassy talk show speculation — seems focused around ideas that it was Facebook foolishness, retweets of “fake news” or even “the death of facts” that were responsible for Trump’s rise from pre-primary punch line to being president-elect.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Senate scramble begins

  It is definite that our Junior Senator Jeff Sessions is going to be President-Elect Donald Trump’s Attorney General, as well as his closest advisor.

  Sessions will be confirmed by the Senate. He has been a respected member of the Senate for 20 years. He has an impeccably clean history of integrity. Even though he is and has been one of the Senate’s most ardent right wing conservatives, the Democratic senators on the left respect him. He has served on the Senate Judiciary Committee his entire tenure and he has voted to confirm liberals to the high court even though he disagreed with them philosophically.