Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gary Palmer: Two more rulings in bingo battle

  The latest rulings on the legality of electronic bingo in Jefferson and Walker Counties raise serious questions about the legality of these operations in other parts of the state. These rulings, along with the ruling in September by Federal Circuit Court Judge Lynwood Smith, have strengthened the legal case that many believe will result in the Alabama State Supreme Court declaring electronic bingo illegal in this state.

  While these rulings apply only to the jurisdictions in which they were rendered, all three established a significant baseline that will very likely impact gambling operations in other counties. Essentially, all three judges concluded that so-called “electronic bingo” is not bingo as understood by Alabama state law.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sen. Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1169

  What do we do when we have several things of importance to do at the same time in different places? Do we just decide which is most important and participate in that one? If so, how do we decide which is most important? On the other hand, do we try to find a way do all of them or as many as possible? What do we do and why?

  It was Saturday morning. I had come to Montgomery the night before for the Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC) Annual Fall Convention. The day’s session started at 9 am. I felt strongly that I should be at this convention. First, I have not missed but one semi-annual convention since 1986, a total of 48 conventions. It has been important that I participate in each during these 24 years and as president emeritus of ANSC, it was now more important than ever. Secondly, I had a convention assignment: present the gubernatorial candidates to speak at the luncheon.

Sen. Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1168

  Sometimes we really want to do something but one little thing stands in our way. Sometimes we allow that small thing to stop us from doing the big thing we want to do. Sometimes we overcome that small thing to do the big thing and sometimes we don’t. I faced such a choice this week.

  The big thing was a special occasion. A friend and fellow struggler was being honored. It was important that I be there with her and her family and friends for this occasion. I really wanted to be there but one small thing stood in the way.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Joseph O. Patton: America first?

  It seems conservatives and the Republican Party have a woefully short memory. Throughout each waking hour of the Bush presidency, every time any well-intentioned American - regardless of party affiliation - dared to question or comment on the president’s defense or national security policies, Bush’s henchmen, hate radio blowhards and conservatives in general would lash out with unprecedented venom. En masse they would hound, harass, belittle, demean and even question the patriotism of anyone who exhibited such unbridled audacity by merely engaging in debate and being inquisitive. The bloodthirsty conservative gang would all but have these people tarred and feathered on the front lawn of the White House… assuming Dubya was on yet another vacation down in Crawford tossing hay for a photo-op of course.

  “The White House must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger,” said Dick Cheney at a Neocon coven meeting this week. My, my, how the rules have changed!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gary Palmer: Personal attacks don’t change Alabama’s education facts

  On October 4, the Mobile Press-Register published an opinion article by Alabama State Superintendent of Education Dr. Joe Morton disparaging a column that I wrote concerning the academic outcomes for Alabama school children as reported by the Alabama State Department of Education.

  In August, I pointed out that there is a significant gap between what the Alabama State Department of Education reports for proficiency results for Alabama school children and what other national tests such as the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) report. That was not my first article on this topic. In November 2007, I wrote about a report entitled The Pangloss Index: How States Game the No Child Left Behind Act. According to that report, states were lowering standards to improve education results in order to comply with the No Child Left Behind law (NCLB.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

John Feffer: Obama must pick gurneys over guns

  We're close to our spending limit on the nation's credit card. The bank bailout, the stimulus package, the Iraq War and the overall military budget: each is costing more than $500 billion.

  Now the Obama administration is looking at two more hefty charges: a national health care plan and a surge in Afghanistan. It's time to make a decision. We can't do both guns and gurneys. After all, we're looking at a $1.6 trillion government deficit for 2009. That's what our entire national debt used to be in the early 1980s.

  The last time we tried to fight a major war and launch an ambitious domestic program, we ultimately failed at both. The war was in Vietnam and the domestic program was called the Great Society. The Obama administration can still learn from the failures of the Lyndon Johnson era before it succumbs to failures of its own.

Michael Josephson: Character Counts: Parenting by lying

  A new study titled “Parenting by Lying” reports that the vast majority of parents tell their children that lying is wrong. Nevertheless, almost all parents admit they lie to their children for a wide variety of reasons. In addition to lies concerning fantasies about the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, parents lie to influence behavior and manipulate emotions.

  Parents make up all sorts of lies to get their children to behave. Many parents admit to telling their kids that something bad, sometimes something very bad, will happen if they don’t brush their teeth, eat their vegetables, go to sleep, or stop crying. Threats included: a monster will get you, you’ll get pimples, or the police will take you away. Sometimes the lie promised something nice: you’ll become a beautiful princess or you’ll develop superpowers.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nicolas Dumesnil de Glapion: Henriette DeLille: A True Southern "Saint"

  Just a little under six weeks before Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the following obituary appeared in a New Orleans, La. newspaper:

  "Last Monday died one of these women whose obscure and retired life was nothing remarkable in the eyes of the world but is full of merit before God.... Without ever having heard speak of philanthropy, this poor maid had done more good than the great philanthropists with their systems so brilliant yet so vain. Worn out by work, she died at the age of 50 years after a long and painful illness borne with the most edifying resignation."

  Henriette DeLille was born to a well-to-do New Orleans family in 1813. While still a girl, she began visiting the sick and the aging of her race, slave and free. By the age of 22 her mother suffered a nervous breakdown and was declared mentally incompetent and unable to manage her own assets. Henriette was granted guardianship of her mother’s assets and after providing for her mother’s care, Henriette sold off the rest of the estate and started an unrecognized order of nuns, The Sisters of the Presentation.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Charles C. Haynes: Cheerleading for Christ: not in public schools

  The varsity cheerleaders at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School are getting their 15 minutes in the news media spotlight this week. Unfortunately, much of the sound-bite coverage may serve only to fuel the ignorance and strife over the role of religion in public schools.

  In case you missed it, on Sept. 28 school officials in Catoosa County, Ga., reluctantly barred the cheerleaders from holding banners with Bible verses for the football team to burst through when they take the field — a ritual that has been performed religiously for at least six years.

  A recent banner read: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Gary Palmer: The Columbus Hoax: Promising what can't be delivered

  It occurred to me that an incident which took place on October 13, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio might just be the best analogy of how socialized health care is being sold to the American public.

  According to media reports, a woman pulled up to a Burlington Coat Factory in a Hummer limousine, walked to the store check-out counter and loudly announced that she had just won the lottery and would pay for everyone’s purchases up to $500 and she would stay until the store closed.

  Not only did people flood the cash register lines, they phoned their friends and relatives to tell them the good news. According to one Columbus police officer, there were at least 500 people in the store aisles and another 1,000 outside trying to get in. Unfortunately for all those people with their shopping carts full, the lady had not won the lottery and she could not pay for everyone’s purchase.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Josh Carples: Sen. Sessions should be ashamed

  With congratulations to Minnesota’s junior senator, Al Franken, on his recent legislative accomplishment, should come a denunciation of our own Senator Jeff Sessions.

  Here is the background: a 19-year-old female contractor employee for KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, was gang-raped by her co-workers while working in Iraq. After the assault, she was locked in a shipping container for more than 24-hours. Because of fine-print in her employment contract, she was informed that she was not allowed to sue her employer. The contract clause made sexual assault allegations to be subject to arbitration. Keep in mind that the assault would normally be a criminal matter, but this occurred in Iraq, outside U.S. criminal jurisdiction.

Sheldon Richman: Exit Afghanistan and leave Iran alone

  The Obama administration’s quest to control the health-insurance industry has dominated the headlines for months, but finally — with the news out of Iran and Afghanistan —foreign policy has again asserted itself. It was almost easy to forget that the United States maintains a worldwide empire, but the reminders came leaping off the front pages and the television screens.

  Word that the U.S. commander in Afghanistan wants 40,000 more troops and that Iran has a hitherto undisclosed uranium-enrichment facility gave the empire enthusiasts something to get excited about. The advocates of Pax Americana tell us that we must “win” in Afghanistan and be ready to bomb Iran if the leaders there don’t prostrate themselves to the U.S. government forthwith. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nicolas Dumesnil de Glapion: Squirming out of the 'race boxes'

  Since the '60s and Martin Luther King's crusade to free all Americans from the stigma of racial hatred, racial favoritism and racial bullying, a great deal has changed. Among other things, the self-appointed black leadership-claiming its legitimacy from the Civil Rights Movement and its line of descent from MLK himself-has metamorphosed from an underdog position to the one it enjoys today, namely as the supreme arbiter of all questions that deal with race in the United States. These leaders, who include representatives of government and government-sponsored agencies, academics at prestigious universities, high-level civil servants and politicians, media spokespersons, free-lance intellectuals and opinion-makers, generally lean to the left in their thinking, which greatly endears them to the white, left-oriented media marshals, who seem determined to expiate their own guilt over past racial injustices by embracing as Holy Writ any kind of politically correct twaddle regarding "race" that their black colleagues put forth.

Sen. Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1167

  What is legal is not always right. What is right is not always legal. This has been my mantra to elected officials and others for many years. It was my mantra to one elected official for more than 30 years. Before I share more about this elected official, allow me to illustrate the truth of this mantra: Segregation laws were legal, but they were not right. Violating these laws was right but not legal. Enough said!

  Now back to the elected official. I have known Johnny Jackson for nearly 40 years. I was close to his family over the years, often eating at his mother’s home when she was alive.  I really began working closely with Johnny Jackson in 1978, helping him incorporate the White Hall area into a town. He was never paid for his time and effort. I was never paid for mine.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Joe Bageant: Howling in the belly of the Confederacy

  How can the region of America that gave us lynching, Jim Crow, Harry Byrd, George Wallace, Taliban Christianity, David Duke, the KKK, Bible hair, Tammy Fay Bakker, congregational snake handling, the poll tax, inbreeding, and chitterlings possibly take another step back down the stairs of human evolution? Beats the hell out of me. But somehow here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia we have managed it.

Joseph O. Patton: Fourth down and… fail!

  Former Auburn-Montgomery Chancellor Roy Saigo humorously told former Montgomery Mayor Emory Folmar - with his tongue planted squarely in his cheek - that the university would form a football team… as soon as it started a sumo wrestling team. If only that remains true…

  I was disheartened to read in the AUMnibus that my alma mater is taking its first steps toward bringing football to its campus. I’m certainly not opposed to college football (“Rammer Jammer, Yellowhammer, Give ‘em Hell, Alabama!”), but dressing AUM up with football is like trying to fit Madonna with a chastity belt - it’s not a practical or attractive idea.

Joseph O. Patton: Guess who’s back?

  Granted it’s painfully cliché… but it can also be true: Never say never.

  It was less than a year ago that Josh Carples - managing editor of the Capital City Free Press - and I put down our pens. After seven years, countless headaches and over 15,000 steady readers, we called it a day. But like a stalking ex or a severe case of indigestion, we simply couldn’t shake the desire to write, inform, enlighten and provoke. And that damn online magazine that practically ran our lives since 2001 kept leering at us at from the shadows, teasing and taunting, unwilling to disappear. So the best advice I’ve ever received I am now following: Don’t give up… give in!