Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1549: The Transformative power of Black history

  “That Black History stuff is just going to make Black people mad.” Both Whites and Blacks made variations of this expression to me many years ago. At the time, I could not really explain the fatal flaw in their reasoning. I can now because I know how Black History made me love, not hate.  I know how Black History made me peaceful, not mad.

  When I was a child, I was always angry, always overreacting, and always being mean. I did not understand my meanness at the time. I did not know that I was really angry with myself. Even when I came to this realization, I did not understand why I was so angry with myself. Black History helped me to understand myself, Black people and all people. Black History made me love, not hate. Black History made me peaceful, not mad.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Why Americans should care about Russian hacking

  Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election was an attack on the American people, threatening the integrity and legitimacy of the democratic process, as well as the outcome of the election. And yet, the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian activity in the election found that this was but the most recent and aggressive expression to date of a longstanding Russian desire to sow chaos and instability in the United States. Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election should be a wake-up call to every American about the diverse ways in which Russian malicious cyberactivity could affect every aspect of their lives.

  The so-called information warfare campaign ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin during the election is part-and-parcel of a longstanding and multi-faceted Russian intelligence strategy that “blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyberactivity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or ‘trolls’” in order to cripple its adversaries. The election is not the first time Russian cyberactors have been successful. Over the past decade, Russian hacking groups—many of which are backed by the government—have successfully deployed a technology-based strategy to infiltrate, tamper with, and steal sensitive information across government, military, banking, and communications systems in the United States and Europe.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Hate groups increase for second consecutive year as Trump electrifies radical right

  The number of hate groups in the United States rose for a second year in a row in 2016 as the radical right was energized by the candidacy of Donald Trump, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) annual census of hate groups and other extremist organizations, released yesterday.

  The most dramatic growth was the near-tripling of anti-Muslim hate groups – from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year.

  The growth has been accompanied by a rash of crimes targeting Muslims, including an arson that destroyed a mosque in Victoria, Texas, just hours after the Trump administration announced an  executive order suspending travel from some predominantly Muslim countries. The latest FBI statistics show that hate crimes against Muslims grew by 67 percent in 2015, the year in which Trump launched his campaign.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Changing the legislative landscape

  This third year of the quadrennium regular session of the Alabama Legislature has recently gotten a lot more complex. These next four months will be trying times for our lawmakers. They will not only have to deal with a beleaguered General Fund Budget that has to feed a money-eating monster named Medicaid; they have an overcrowding problem in the state prisons to deal with as well as major public school systems being taken over by the state because of mismanagement and underfunding.

  They now have been dealt a body blow that affects their own backyards. They will have to draw new legislative lines that will need to be in effect by June because legislative elections essentially begin this June. The primaries for 2018 political offices will be held in early June next year. All 105 House seats and all 35 Senate seats are up for election.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

30 Best love quotes for your Valentine

1) I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. – Roy Croft

2) I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach. – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

3) Come live with me, and be my love, and we will some new pleasures prove, of golden sands, and crystal brooks, with silken lines and silver hooks. — John Donne

4) Love doesn’t make the world go round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile. — Franklin P. Jones

5) In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person.  — Margaret Anderson

Monday, February 13, 2017

President Trump: Don't ignore terror from the radical right

  Last week PBS premiered Oklahoma City, an illuminating documentary that revisits the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and the broader climate of far-right extremism that spawned the homegrown terrorist Timothy McVeigh.

  The documentary couldn’t have come at a better time.

  We should all hope that President Trump and his advisers are paying close attention, because by focusing their attention exclusively on terrorism inspired by overseas groups like ISIS, they could be missing the next McVeigh.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Gene Policinski: Good news for the future of the First Amendment

  There’s good news from the new “Future of the First Amendment” survey being released this week: High school students nationwide show greater support for First Amendment freedoms that at any time since the survey began more than 10 years ago.

  As an advocate for those five core freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition, I don’t see any bad news that follows that finding.

  The Knight Foundation-funded survey of about 12,000 high school students, in spring 2016, found fully 91 percent of the students said it was important to be able to “express unpopular opinions,” up from 83 percent who felt that way in 2004.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Jacob G. Hornberger: Trump’s dictatorial tendencies are normal in a welfare-warfare state

  President Trump has lashed out in anger against a federal judge in Seattle for putting a temporary quietus on Trump’s recent immigration dictates. Trump labeled Judge James Robart  a “so-called judge,” notwithstanding the fact that this “so-called judge” has been a federal judge for 13 years, having been nominated by President George W. Bush, confirmed by Congress, and duly sworn into office. Referring to the temporary restraining order that Robart issued that temporarily blocked enforcement of Trump’s immigration edicts, the president went on a tweet attack, calling the order “ridiculous” and predicting that it would be “overturned.”

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Trump administration’s two-pronged assault on public health

  The 115th Congress and the Trump administration have already set their sights on gutting the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and other cornerstone protections that ensure that our air is safe to breathe and our water safe to drink. They have promised to get rid of pollution limits for power plants instead of shifting to clean energy and nullify pollution limits for oil and gas drilling—as they also promise to drill anywhere and everywhere. These actions alone would greatly endanger public health and environmental quality. If that was not enough, however, congressional Republicans and the administration are also set on eliminating health insurance coverage for millions of Americans. This extreme rollback of federal regulations and services would allow more pollution, affect public health, and, at the same time, remove health care options for treatment when people get sick.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1548: The time is upon us!

  The time is upon us. It comes every year like clockwork. It commenced February 7, 2017 this year. It will go until mid-May. The obstacle will be great. The challenges will be gigantic. The results will fall short. It’s the 2017 Alabama Regular Legislative Session.

  Even after 33 years, I can’t tell you all or most of the issues that will come before the 2017 Alabama Legislative Session. I can tell you two for certain. I can tell you others with a great degree of certainty. I can predict others, but predictions are worth very little in this legislative narrative. It’s the 2017 Legislative Session.