Saturday, October 30, 2010

Our Stand: A Simple choice between an experienced attorney and a lobbyist

  Despite the anti-incumbency motif running through the races in Alabama and across the country during this election, it seems far too likely than it should that Alabama voters will re-elect conservative judicial activism embodied in the Republican candidate for attorney general Luther Strange. Running on Troy King's six-year record of incompetence, corruption, and scandal, Strange is calling for much of the same; and as the people rejected King himself in favor of Strange in the Republican primary, the people of Alabama must reject Strange in favor of James Anderson, the Democratic candidate.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

James Turner: How I survived bullying

  Due to the recent suicides all over the country related to gay bullying, I have decided to share my story. I have never told it before. But my bullied past is what prompted me to form Color It Pride. These recent events have struck a fire under most of us to make a change. For me these have all struck home.

  I was mentally and physically bullied every day of my school career. At first I was bullied for being a geeky kid, I liked school and loved to learn. The kids who bullied me made it very hard for me to do that. They made me feel worthless, which led to me eating all the time and locking myself away in my room. This led to a major weight gain. I went from 100 lbs. in 4th grade to 200 lbs. in 5th grade and that weight gain just continued to escalate until I reached over 300 lbs. by junior high school.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gary Palmer: Elections or indictments... Putting an end to corruption

  In testimony before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, former Senator Paul Simon (D-IL) stated that gambling “… has more of a history of corruption than any other industry.”

  The October 4th indictments of eleven individuals, including four Alabama state senators, on charges of public corruption related to gambling legislation is an example of what the late Senator Simon meant. When you look back at the relationships between politicians and gambling interests, what you find is a long and sordid history of public corruption.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Steve Flowers: Inside The Statehouse: Stacking the courts

  Alabama’s high courts are about as Republican as any elected tribunals in the country. We have six criminal appeals court judges and all six are Republican. We have six civil appeals court judges and all six are Republican. We have nine Supreme Court judges and eight of the nine are Republican. That makes our appellate courts 20 out of 21 Republican.

  This year three seats on the Alabama Supreme Court are up for election. A Republican will win all three. The two incumbents are predicted to win and Republican Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Kelli Wise is expected to move into the open Supreme Court seat vacated by Patti Smith.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Our Stand: Cook the better choice for Place 1 on Public Service Commission

  An election year that has become known for the phrase “anti-incumbent” may not bode well for Jan Cook, who serves on Place 1 of the Public Service Commission, but comparing résumés of the two candidates, voters would be better served by reelecting Cook.

  Cook has served the public for decades, first on the Dozier City Council, then as State Auditor, and for the last 20 years, on the Public Service Commission.

  Her opponent, Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, has served the Republican Party.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Our Stand: House District 73 deserves a new vision

  Sometimes it’s true: Eight is enough.

  For the past eight years, Alabama House District 73 had been represented by David Grimes. After occupying the seat for nearly a decade, however, Representative Grimes’  tenure has been marked by little in the way of achievement.

  And change for the sake of change is pointless unless a challenger offers a forward-looking, ambitious, practical plan for moving a district, and the state as a whole, forward.

  Joe Hubbard - touting a three-part, feasible plan which address three of Alabama‘s most pressing issues - is offering more to District 73 than the incumbent.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Gary Palmer: Closing argument to an Alabama jury

  I invite you to imagine yourself as a member of a jury seated for a major corruption case. This week's column will be presented as the criminal prosecutor's closing argument:

  "Normally, defendants are individuals whose decisions and subsequent actions are prosecutable offenses under the law. However, the defendant in this case is not a person; it is a system that allowed a form of corruption that that has been used to buy influence with elected officials at every level of government in Alabama.

  "The system I am referring to is the system created to carry out multiple transfers of campaign contributions through a labyrinth of Political Action Committees, or PACs. Over the years, this system has become a sophisticated campaign money laundering operation employed to influence legislation and elections. It is the abuse of this system that is now at the center of the recently announced FBI indictments of four state senators, three high profile lobbyists and two very high profile gambling facility operators.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: How the legislative majority may change

  Without a doubt the governor’s race is always the marquee political show every four years. This year is no exception. However, there is another interesting plot developing. Many Goat Hill insiders are more intrigued with this year’s legislative elections. The battle for control of the Alabama House and Senate will not only play out this year but will carryover into the January organizational session.

  The Republicans believe that they can capture a majority in the senate and maybe also in the house. Whether they win this year remains to be seen. However most astute observers believe the GOP takeover is inevitable in 2014. The trends are there and once the new census figures are digested it will be hard to avoid the fact that most of the population growth in the state is in the fast growing Republican suburbs.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Charles C. Haynes: Why religious literacy matters

  Twenty-first century America is the most religiously diverse society on earth and — among developed countries — one of the most religious.

  But how much do inhabitants of our faith-saturated land actually know about religion? Not very much, according to a new survey released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

  Fewer than half of Americans know that Martin Luther inspired the Reformation, the Dalai Lama is Buddhist, the Jewish Sabbath begins on Friday and other basic facts about the world’s major faiths.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Senator Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches # 1217

  “Why is this election so important?” It’s a fair question, so I want to provide a fair answer. Of course, this is my personal perspective, so take it for what it is worth.

  Alabama is the only Deep South State to maintain Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature. This feat has been accomplished in spite of the fact that only one Democratic governor has been elected since 1982 and the Alabama Supreme Court has been majority Republican since 1996. Moreover, eight of nine Justices are Republican. It was nine of nine before 2006. The chain of Republican attorneys general has been unbroken since 1994.

  In addition, five of the seven current statewide Constitutional offices are Republican (governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, and state auditor) with only two being Democrat (lieutenant governor and commissioner of agriculture). In short, the Republican Party has been dominant in Alabama for the last two decades. However, the Alabama Legislature has remained Democratic in spite of this dominance.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Eric Alterman: Just what exactly is Fox News?

  Fox News Channel is often described as a cable news station. On occasion, the words “conservative” or “biased” are attached to that description. But few dispute the journalistic orientation of the overall enterprise.

  This is a mistake. Fox is something new—something for which we do not yet have a word. It provides almost no actual journalism. Instead it gives ideological guidance to the Republican Party and millions of its supporters, attacking its opponents and keeping its supporters in line. And it does so at a hefty profit, thereby turning itself into the political equivalent of a perpetual motion machine.

  Recall that last spring, David Frum lost his appointment at the conservative American Enterprise Institute before observing, “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox.” This is literally true in the case of at least four likely Republican candidates for president in 2012: Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum. In fact, as two Politico writers observe, “With the exception of Mitt Romney, Fox now has deals with every major potential Republican presidential candidate not currently in elected office.”

Friday, October 8, 2010

Gary Palmer: Obamacare: A Six month checkup

  It has now been just over six months since Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. This is the bill that most members of Congress admitted they did not read. This was also the bill that led Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to famously declare “… we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

  So, where are we now that we’ve had six months to find out what is in it? We now know that the Democrat majority in Congress sold us a budget-busting, deficit-expanding bottle of snake oil labeled ‘health care reform.’

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Joseph O. Patton: Theatre Review: ASF‘s “Nacirema Society” should be Broadway-bound

  “Remember that rumor? It just came knocking on my front door.” -Grace Dubose Dunbar

  For nearly 20 years a proud tradition of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival has been its bold mission to foster and showcase the work of southern storytellers through its Southern Writers Project. The latest offering born of the Project is yet another gem, further heightening the program’s profile and deservedly earning national acclaim.

  Pearl Cleage’s “The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years” is a witty, intriguing comedy decisively worthy of an international tour.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Steve Flowers: Inside The Statehouse: Ticking down to a Republican majority

  In 1876 when the southern states wrestled free of the shackles of Reconstruction, one thing was certain. The South would not vote for any Republican. The harsh retribution bestowed on the southerners by the radical Republican Reconstruction dominance and occupation of the former confederate states was so severe that a fierce hatred was ingrained into the southern psyche that would eventually take generations to dissipate.

  Alabama and her sister Deep South states became one-party Democratic states as a result of Reconstruction. This total Democratic dominance lasted for close to a century. It was 88 years, from 1876 to 1964, before a Republican carried Alabama in a presidential contest. It was 100 years before we had a Republican U.S. senator and 106 years before we elected our first Republican governor in 1986. The last barrier to be broken is the Alabama Legislature. It has now been 136 years since Reconstruction and we have had a Democratic legislature the entire time. Both chambers, the House and Senate, have Democratic majorities as we enter the 2010 fall election.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Michael Ciamarra: Planning, strategy and vision help you make all the right moves

  Recently, a cable news pundit mentioned in context of the economy that bad policies lead to bad outcomes. "But," he continued, "the reverse is true as well. If we have the right policies in place, ones that expand our free market system, we can create better outcomes than we can imagine. It's like chess, you make good moves and good things happen. If you make bad moves, then ..." and the talking heads were at it again. 

  This got my attention for reasons which will become apparent.

  I coach young chess talent to nurture them to their full potential. In the mid-eighties, Alabama looked a lot like the young chess talent of the business world - filled with undeveloped and undefined potential. Due to the same persistent coaching and strategic vision, Alabama's current economic strength and status is undeniable. In the last decade, Alabama has clearly and convincingly attained the profile of a grandmaster.