Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jacob G. Hornberger: A Cold War breakthrough

  More than 50 years after the U.S. government’s imposition of its brutal economic embargo against the Cuban people, yesterday’s announcement by President Obama calling for a lifting of the embargo represents a major breakthrough for libertarians and others who are committed to the principles of individual liberty, free markets, private property, liberty of contract, freedom of travel, and freedom of association.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Robert Wilkerson: Scrooging Christmas

“. . . I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).

  The “bah humbug” attitude toward Christmas is widespread today. The liberal pulpits have demythologized Christmas, while evangelical pulpits preach against it due to its pagan symbolism. They don’t like the pagan Christmas tree, the gluttonous feasts, the special emphasis on children, and particularly Santa Claus himself.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: What to watch for in 2015

  As we approach the end of the political year, I'll offer a few thoughts and observations on 2014 political happenings in the Heart of Dixie.

  Jim Sumner retired as Executive Director of the Alabama Ethics Commission in October. He had been Ethics Commission Chairman for 16 years. Jim had an outstanding career in state public service that spanned 35 years. Prior to heading the Ethics Commission, he worked as an administrative assistant to Bill Baxley while Baxley was Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor. He also lobbied for the University of Alabama. The only other person in state politics as meticulous and detail oriented as Sumner is Seth Hammett. Jim’s proudest accomplishment as Ethics Chairman was his overall success in 2010-2012 in garnering more power for the Commission by allowing them subpoena power.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Michael Josephson: Questions that must be asked about the use of brutal interrogation techniques

  1. Does our position reveal anything about our personal and our nation’s fundamental character and values?

  2.If it does, should we focus primarily on efficacy (does it work) or ethics (is it right)?

  3. If “what’s right” turns on our belief as to whether it works, are we comfortable telling our children our flag stands for the principle; “the end justifies the means” when security is at issue?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Norbert J. Michel: Ease up on easing?

  Two reasons the Federal Reserve should stop trying to stimulate the economy:

-The policies it has enacted so far have contributed very little to the economic recovery.

-It has likely already reached the limits of what monetary policy can do to boost the economy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Why we must pass comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination protections

       Our nation’s uneven but dogged journey toward truer and more meaningful freedoms for our citizens has brought us continually to a deeper understanding of the first three words in our Constitution: we the people. ‘We the People’ have become a broader, more diverse family than once imagined. … We have arrived upon another moment in history when We the People becomes more inclusive, and our freedom more perfect. — Judge Arenda Wright Allen, Bostic v. Schaefer

  Individuals’ ability to fully and freely participate in society is fundamental to every person’s pursuit of the American Dream. Throughout the 230-year history of the United States, the nation has slowly but steadily expanded access to every vital facet of daily life—from housing to employment to the public marketplace—for communities of Americans who were once excluded. Through exhaustive efforts, each generation has broadened the nation’s perception of “we the people.” But despite this progress, too many Americans are still left behind, excluded from the country’s most basic legal protections.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1435: The power of faith

  Senator Vivian Davis Figures, Alabama Senate Minority Leader, asked each of the eight Democratic senators to say whatever was on their hearts and minds. I did not congratulate anyone. I did not say I was glad to be re-elected. I did not say what I intended to do. I did not say what others should do. Because we are so few, just eight out of 35, I shared my version of the biblical story of Gideon. I want to share the same with you.

  Gideon was a great general. He had some 32,000 troops. God told him to go forth and fight the Midianites. Gideon’s response was that he was willing to fight but he did not have enough troops. The Midianites had far more, “a whole host of troops.” Instead, God directed Gideon to reduce his troops. He had too many troops to fight effectively.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Michael Josephson: A vital dimension of respect

  We demonstrate the virtue of respect for others by being courteous and civil and treating everyone in a manner that acknowledges and honors basic human dignity.

  An important but often neglected aspect of respect is listening to what others say. Respectful listening is more than hearing. It requires us to consider what’s being said. That’s hard when we’ve heard it before, aren’t interested, or don’t think much of the person talking. It’s even worse when we act like we’re listening but are just waiting for our turn to speak.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: The big red wave

  The GOP takeover of the U.S. Senate has a silver lining for Alabama. We came out like gangbusters with the Republican victory.

  Both of our U.S. Senators are Republicans and both have seniority. Our Senior Senator Richard Shelby has been in the U.S. Senate 28 years. He is in the top ten members of the Senate in seniority. He will become one of the Senate’s most powerful members. He will chair the Senate Banking Committee and will be Vice Chairman of Appropriations.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Richard Cohen: Decision in New York City exacerbates mistrust in justice system

  The decision by the Staten Island grand jury not to indict the police officer who choked Eric Garner to death in July cries out for an explanation. Without it, the anger being expressed across the country will only intensify.