Saturday, May 19, 2018

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1614 - I appreciate teachers!

  I appreciate teachers. I struggled with teachers, but I appreciate teachers. I even fought with teachers, but I appreciate teachers. This week includes National Teachers’ Day and it is National Teacher Appreciation Week. It gives me a ready-made opportunity to express my profound appreciation for teachers.

  Teaching is one of the most important vocations in our society. In fact, it is a special calling. It is a calling that touches, shapes, and molds young minds for better or for worse. No other vocation provides such an opportunity to touch young, growing minds. Teachers often spend more time with our children than we do. Teaching is a precious gift.

Friday, May 18, 2018

When calling yourself a fascist is "edgy"

  A copy of Mein Kampf. A photo of Timothy McVeigh. A North Korean flag over the couch. An American flag for a doormat. And over the kitchen table, a banner for the hate group Atomwaffen Division.

  The four young men who shared this apartment in Florida got there by way of the internet.

  It started with video games. That led to 4chan, which led to the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website so extreme its followers recently bombarded a Jewish woman and her family with hundreds of threats like, “Put your uppity slut wife Tanya back in her cage, you rat-faced kike. … Day of the rope soon for your entire family.”

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Conservatives, we must be willing to talk about race

  I’m a proud product of public schools. My teachers were dedicated, the curriculum challenging, and the fierce competition between friends forced me to study harder.

  I do have one qualm, though. Thanks to historically-selective textbooks, I remember next to nothing of our nation’s history between the Civil War and World War I. My knowledge of that era is essentially three things: railroads, long-bearded presidents, and Henry Ford’s invention of the Model T.

  I don’t think I’m alone in encountering this knowledge gap. Thankfully, a new museum and memorial in Montgomery fills in some of the spaces left out of my historical timeline and beyond. The memorial demonstrates that, although formally war-less, these decades were anything but peaceful or boring. In fact, many Southerners faced a frightening reality during that period—a reality characterized by racial terrorism.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse - Secondary statewide races on ballot this year

  Folks, we are less than three weeks away from our June 5th primaries. Besides the governor’s race, all of our secondary state constitutional races are on the ballot.

  As we head into the home stretch, there appears to be very little interest in the primary elections. People seem disinterested and disillusioned. There have been a good many scandals and ethics convictions over the past quadrennium, which has put a damper on the enthusiasm generally associated with a gubernatorial election year. Even fundraising has been down considerably.

  This voting ambivalence will result in a lower than normal turnout. This will be an advantage for incumbents and those with name identification.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

President’s press credential threat will be ‘trumped’ by the First Amendment

  Donald Trump can fantasize all he wants about taking away White House press credentials from news outlets that he doesn’t like.

  It’s unpleasant for the journalists in Trump’s crosshairs to hear such bluster, but journalists and free press advocates ought not to even imagine a moment when, in misplaced solidarity, they all walk out of the White House press room in protest over even one credential being pulled.

  As strong a message as one hopes that would send to the nation, we must remember that Trump can’t really extinguish the constitutionally protected role of journalists as “watchdogs” — but journalists, in a moment of anger and hubris, could abandon it.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Craig Ford: Alabama wants its own bridge to nowhere

  You may have seen ads on TV recently talking about a bridge project in South Alabama. If you hadn’t heard of this project before those ads, you’re not alone.

  Most people, including legislators, were not aware of the plans to build this $87 million taxpayer-funded bridge to nowhere that even many Baldwin County residents are opposed to.

  So what exactly is this bridge, and why are some state leaders pushing it?

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Jacob G. Hornberger: The pathetic U.S. golden dollar

  I recently received a U.S. golden dollar from a vending machine. What a pathetic thing. Golden in color, Wikipedia reports that it actually has “a copper core clad by manganese brass.”

  Needless to say, this golden coin is nothing like the gold coins that, along with silver coins, were the official money of the American people for more than a hundred years. The gold coins that Americans used throughout the 1800s and into the early 1900s were real gold coins, not alloyed coins consisting of base metals, like today’s golden coin.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Supreme Court could make unions a lot more radical

  Fed up with the harsh conditions under which they were forced to labor, workers from West Virginia decided to call it quits. Together, they left their jobs, donned red bandanas, and amassed 10,000 strong near Blair Mountain, where a local sheriff had assembled a 3,000-man force of police, hired security, and militia to put them down.

  No, this isn’t the recent West Virginia teachers strike — it’s a 1921 coal miners strike, which escalated into what would come to be known as the Battle of Blair Mountain. The two sides battled for five days until more than 2,000 additional U.S. Army troops entered the fray to crush the workers' rebellion. Up to 100 laborers were killed, hundreds more were injured, and more than 1,000 were arrested. While the uprising seems like an episode relegated to the largely forgotten labor wars of past, the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) may make such conflicts part of the future for unions once again.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1613 - Unveiling history to heal and lift

  It was informative. It was enlightening. It was painful. It was profound. It was powerful. I am writing about my visit to the opening of the Legacy Museum and the unveiling of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, both located in Montgomery, Alabama. It is an experience to remember.

  The Legacy Museum was wonderfully presented in holograms, photos, newspaper headlines and articles, plaques, jars of dirt and much more. It traces the pain and degradation and oppression of slavery. It also traces the long reach of slavery and white supremacy through the following: segregation; forced labor; Black codes; lynchings; mass incarceration; police killings; and more. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice documents the scope and brutality of lynching in a unique and powerful way. Each exhibit is informative, enlightening, painful, profound and powerful. Together they are overpowering.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Laurence M. Vance: People who really deserve a Trump pardon

  President Trump has issued three presidential pardons in the fifteen months he has been in office.

  According to Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution, the president “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States except in cases of impeachment.” According to the case of Ex parte Garland (1867), the scope of the president’s pardon power is quite broad. And according to United States v. Klein (1871), Congress cannot limit the president’s grant of an amnesty or pardon.

  On August 25, 2017, Trump pardoned Joseph M. Arpaio, the longtime sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, for his conviction for criminal contempt of court on July 31, 2017. He had not yet been sentenced.