Sunday, July 25, 2021

Why the US won’t be able to shirk moral responsibility in leaving Afghanistan

  The majority of the remaining American troops in Afghanistan were withdrawn recently, with the rest due to leave by the end of August 2021. This withdrawal marks the end of nearly 20 years of American military presence in Afghanistan.

  Support for the withdrawal is widespread in the United States, with the majority of Americans – regardless of political affiliation – in favor of ending American military operations in Afghanistan. The war has been, and would continue to be, costly, both in financial terms and in terms of American lives.

  But the present regime in Afghanistan is unstable, and some experts estimate that it may collapse within the year. If it does so, the resulting power gap would likely be filled by the Taliban, whose history of human rights abuses include violence against women and children.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse - The story of Charles Henderson

  Since I hail from Troy, Alabama, allow me to share with you the story of our only governor. Charles Henderson was not only the 35th governor of Alabama, but he may also be one of the most profound philanthropists in Alabama history. He is unquestionably the greatest philanthropist to grace Pike County.

Friday, July 23, 2021

US is split between the vaccinated and unvaccinated – and deaths and hospitalizations reflect this divide

  In recent weeks, one piece of data has gotten a lot of attention: 99.5% of all the people dying from COVID-19 in the U.S. are unvaccinated.

  We are two researchers who work in public health and study immunity, viruses, and other microbes. Since the start of the pandemic, public health experts have been concerned about what might happen if large sections of the U.S. population, for whatever reason, did not get vaccinated. Over the past few weeks, the answer to that question is starting to emerge.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Hank Sanders: Sketches #1778 - Big guns, big problems

  Big guns, big problems. Guns are pervasive in America. More pervasive than any other country in the world. And more are being sold and bought each day. Big guns, big problems.

  There is a place for guns in America: to protect our homes; to protect our persons; to protect our loved ones; to engage in sport; to engage in war; etc. There is a place for guns. However, all guns do not have the same place in America.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse - Bibb Graves, the education governor

  Most states have one General Fund Budget.  We are only one of five states that have two.

  Some of you have asked why we have two budgets – one for the General Fund and one for Education. Here is why.

  During the era of the Great Depression and even afterward, education in Alabama was woefully underfunded, and that is really being generous to simply say underfunded. Our schools were similar to those of a third-world country. We had two separate systems, one for white students and one for black students. Many rural schools were one-room shanties like folks used in the 1800s, like Blab schools - no air conditioning and wood-burning stoves for heat. There were no buses to transport children, so they really did walk to school - barefoot - many times miles to and from. This was for the white schools. You can only imagine what an abysmal education was afforded to black kids. Many times teachers were not even being paid. They were given script notes in hopes of getting paid in the future.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

How ‘In God We Trust’ bills are helping advance a Christian nationalist agenda

  City vehicles in Chesapeake, Virginia, will soon be getting religion.

  At a meeting on July 13, 2021, city councilors unanimously voted in favor of a proposal that would see the official motto of the U.S., “In God We Trust,” emblazoned on every city-owned car and truck, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of US$87,000.

  Meanwhile, the state of Mississippi is preparing to defend in court its insistence that all citizens, unless they pay a fee for an alternative, must display the same four-word phrase on their license plates. Gov. Tate Reeves vowed last month to take the issue “all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court should we have to.”

Monday, July 19, 2021

Why some younger evangelicals are leaving the faith

  The extent to which the number of white evangelicals has declined in the United States has been laid bare in a new report by the Public Religion Research Institute’s 2020 Census on American Religion.

  The institute’s study found that only 14% of Americans identify as white evangelical today. This is a drastic decline since 2006, when America’s religious landscape was composed of 23% white evangelicals, as the report notes.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Biden targets noncompete agreements, which restrict the job opportunities of millions of low-wage workers

  Most American workers are hired “at will”: Employers owe their employees nothing in the relationship except earned wages, and employees are at liberty to quit at their option. As the rule is generally stated, either party may terminate the arrangement at any time for a good or bad reason, or none at all.

  In keeping with that no-strings-attached spirit, employees may move on as they see fit – unless they happen to be among the tens of millions of workers bound by a contract that explicitly forbids getting hired by a competitor. These “noncompete clauses” may make sense for CEOs and other top executives who possess trade secrets but may seem nonsensical when they are applied to low-wage workers such as draftsmen in the construction industry. A 2019 business survey found that 29% of companies paying an average wage of less than $13 an hour required all their employees to sign noncompete agreements.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

America’s founders believed civic education and historical knowledge would prevent tyranny – and foster democracy

  The majority of Americans today are anxious; they believe their democracy is under threat.

  In fact, democracies deteriorate easily. As was feared since the times of Greek philosopher Plato, they may suddenly succumb to mob rule. The people will think they have an inalienable right to manifest their opinions – which means to state out loud whatever passes through their minds. They will act accordingly, often violently. They will make questionable decisions.

Friday, July 16, 2021

3 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet

  The COVID-19 pandemic has caused price spikes for corn, milk, beans, and other commodities, but even before the pandemic, about 3 billion people could not afford even the cheapest options for a healthy diet.

  Recent analysis of global food price data reveals that as of 2017, the latest available year, around 40% of the world’s population was already forced to consume poor-quality diets by a combination of high food prices and low incomes. When healthy items are unaffordable, it is impossible for people to avoid malnutrition and diet-related diseases like anemia or diabetes.