Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ian M. MacIsaac: Santorum KO’d in MichiZona, death knell sounds for Republicans' "anyone but Romney" fantasy

  Rick Santorum's primary bid to unseat Mitt Romney in Michigan, the state where he was born and raised, failed Tuesday night as Romney pulled out a 41-38% victory over the insurgent former senator.

  Romney's victory erases any realistic possibility of a Santorum presidential nomination, setting to rest three weeks of hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing over Santorum’s emerging status as a frontrunner and Romney’s accompanying slide into the political danger zone.

  Also voting on February 28 was Arizona, where a Romney win was never in question. The west has been traditionally strong for Romney given his Mormon roots, and Arizona gave the former Massachusetts governor a twenty-point victory over Santorum, 47-27%. Gingrich managed only 16%, but nonetheless made a better showing than he did in Michigan, where the former Speaker of the House managed to scrape together a mere 6.5% of the vote, behind even Ron Paul.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mike Walker: Republican war against women – The Sleeping tiger is waking up!

  No one likes to talk about abortions. There is NO good side to come down on, no matter what your gender or your political affiliation may be. Abortion is always a time for sadness and a time for tears. It is a terrible decision to have to make and it rips women deeply through the heart and the soul to make such a decision.

  And so, we tend to avoid the subject in polite conversation unless we’re certain everyone in the group agrees with your point of view. Questions about abortion and the morality of abortion abound. “When does life begin?” “When does the soul enter the body?” “When is a fetus viable?” “How do you define viability?” “What about rape/incest?” “What about the health of the mother?” “What is the moral thing to do if a fetus is physically or mentally impaired?” “What if a pregnant woman is too immature or financially unable to raise a child?” LOTS of questions and NO clear definitive answers.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tom Baxter: Alabama’s immigration disaster

  In June 2011 Alabama passed the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, H.B. 56. The law, which took effect in late September, lives up to its billing as the nation’s toughest immigration bill and goes well beyond the Arizona law (S.B. 1070) on which it was based.

  H.B. 56 requires schools to check and report the immigration status of their students and bars undocumented students from postsecondary education. It instructs police to demand proof of immigration status from anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally, even on a routine traffic stop or roadblock. It also invalidates any contract knowingly entered into with an illegal alien, including routine agreements such as a rent contract, and makes it a felony for an unauthorized immigrant to enter into a contract with a government entity. Finally, it goes beyond any previous legislation by effectively making it a crime to be undocumented in the state.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Charles C. Haynes: In New York City, does church-school separation go too far?

  Few church-state battles in American history have had as many byzantine twists and turns as Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York.

  For 17 long years, Bronx Household of Faith — a small evangelical church that meets in a New York City public school on Sundays — has fought to overturn New York City’s policy barring worship services in public schools. Throughout the legal battle, courts have allowed churches to continue meeting in schools.

  After a roller-coaster ride of wins and losses for both sides, the end appeared near last June after the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the school district’s policy. According to the appeals court, New York City’s policy is constitutionally permissible – but not constitutionally required.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Steve Flowers: Inside The Statehouse: Lawmakers and taxpayer abuse

  Our legislative branch of government is the recipient of many slings and arrows. They, along with members of Congress, are generally at the bottom of public opinion polls. They are the object of ridicule and are generally castigated as crooks. It is a shame because most of these men and women are outstanding people who are striving to serve their state. Many are stellar business people and professionals who are giving their retirement years to public service. However, as soon as they put their names on the ballot and are elected they are then relegated to the term “politician,” which has a dubious perception.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sam Fulwood III: What Linsanity reveals about our nation

  Linsanity has overtaken almost everyone I’ve spoken with during the past week.

  In the incredible case you’ve escaped it, Linsanity refers to the global obsession–or craze–with Jeremy Lin, the professional basketball player whose play for the erstwhile forlorn New York Knicks has set everyone atwitter with his out-of-nowhere story. He was the star of his state-champion high school team in Palo Alto, California, but wasn’t highly recruited to play college ball. Instead of accepting a walk-on role, he enrolled at Harvard, a school better known for brains than brawn. He excelled in the classroom and on the court, but after graduation was overlooked by NBA scouts.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sheldon Richman: No one should be forced to act against his conscience

  A question arises from the recent controversy between President Obama and the Catholic Church that aches for an answer: If Catholic institutions have a right to abstain from paying for what morally offends them, why don’t the rest of us?

  The initial Obamacare rule held that all employers, in fulfilling their new legal requirement to provide health insurance to their employees, must include contraception (and other “preventive” health services) in the coverage at no cost. The Catholic Church teaches that contraception is sinful. The Department of Health and Human Services was willing to exempt churches but not church-operated institutions that pursue a broader mission than religious teaching, such as colleges, hospitals, and charities. This brought protests from Catholic officials, who claim that their religious freedom would be infringed upon by a mandate that they buy services that they teach are morally abhorrent.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Gene Policinski: Criminal libel: A bad idea in a free society

  Saying something untrue about a person may cost you later in court — but in about two dozen states it can land you in jail, too.

  Libel lawsuits today in the U.S. almost always involve a civil case brought by one person against another, seeking compensation for damages suffered for an alleged false claim or statement. Truth almost always provides legal protection to the speaker or writer, and without proof of malicious intent or reckless disregard for the truth, few claims prevail.

  But the continued existence in a number of states of “criminal libel” statutes raises the centuries-old specter of fines or even a prison term for writers or speakers found liable for damaging remarks.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Eric Alterman: Is America getting more conservative?

  Richard Florida, director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and a senior editor at The Atlantic, wants to explain “Why America Keeps Getting More Conservative.” He notes, as does everyone who writes about the topic, that “Americans at this political moment are significantly more likely to identify as conservative than as liberal: conservatives outnumber liberals by nearly two to one. Forty percent identify as conservative, 36 percent as moderate, and 21 percent liberal.”

  That’s hardly news. What Florida thinks is worth paying attention to, however, is the map he draws of “The Conservative States of America,” which he uses to illustrate his point that America is becoming more conservative. He originally wrote about it in March 2011 and now updates his analysis with Gallup’s year-end data.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gary Palmer: Reagan: America is too great for small dreams

  February 6th would have been Ronald Reagan’s 101st birthday. Considering the current condition of America and the world, I tried to imagine what he would say if he were still with us. Here are some of my thoughts.

  First of all, I believe Reagan would challenge us directly and not with the impersonal language of a national collective. Our problems are really ‘our problems’ and the only way we will solve them is when we engage as individuals.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Steve Flowers: Inside The Statehouse: Scott Beason and the ghost of Big Jim Folsom

  Most political observers were shocked and somewhat in awe when State Senator Scott Beason chose to challenge veteran congressman Spencer Bachus in a Republican primary. Beason’s Don Quixote mission is a pragmatic approach to move up the political ladder in a normal setting. Beason is in the middle of a four-year term and has a free shot at the 20 year veteran congressman.

  However, this scenario is so surprising because Beason has written the book on how to get bad publicity, especially in that particular Jefferson/Shelby County suburban district. It is almost comical that someone would seek higher office after being stripped of a powerful senate committee by his fellow Republicans because of embarrassing escapades. Then he was castigated as a racist and opportunist by a federal judge. He single handedly and arrogantly refused to allow Jefferson County to avoid bankruptcy. He also sponsored the immigration bill that made the state look racist and intolerant. I guess Beason’s theory in his quest is that any publicity is good publicity.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ian M. MacIsaac: An Intense week in the Republican race comes to an anticlimactic end... with Romney on top

  It looks like last week wasn't an unmitigated disaster for Mitt Romney after all. He managed to scrape together a three-point win over Ron Paul in Maine when results were announced Saturday night, just hours after this year's CPAC poll declared him the winner over Rick Santorum, 38% to 31%.

  It was a last-minute save for Romney, who has had one of the worst weeks since he began his campaign last year. Santorum seemed to be on the precipice of actually challenging Governor Romney for the coveted media coronation-title of "frontrunner" for a few days, following the former Pennsylvania senator's triple victory in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri February 7.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Joseph O. Patton: Taking a bite out of animal education

  Read Montgomery Humane Society: The Bark, the bite and everything in between, the Capital City Free Press' comprehensive behind the scenes tour of the shelter.

  The Montgomery Humane's Society's efforts to find forever homes for homeless animals and care for and nurture them until that time only represent a portion of the MHS's goals and duties.

  The MHS' newest program empowers young people to learn about and assist shelter workers in caring for animals. Launched in the summer of 2010, the Junior Volunteer Program is open to ages 8 - 15 and includes parental involvement. Those volunteers meet monthly to learn about and develop new pet care skills. The young volunteers become shelter "helpers," assisting MHS workers with walking and bathing animals as well as various off-site activities.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Catherine Woodiwiss, Sally Steenland: 10 Things you should know about religion in the 2012 elections

  Religion is a dynamic force in America, so it’s no surprise that every four years religious language jumps to the forefront of presidential campaigns. From the Mormon faith of Mitt Romney to the voting clout of evangelicals and Catholics, religion is debated by candidates and seized on by the press.

  Although the economy and jobs rank first in voters’ concerns, “God talk” is widespread and often loud this primary season, and culture-war issues like abortion and same-sex marriage get top billing in many candidates’ speeches. Hearing it all, voters can be excused for wondering: Is there anything more to say about God and politics?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Steve Flowers: Inside The Statehouse: Previewing the 2012 legislative session

  The 2012 Regular Session of the Legislature begins this week. The Republican majority House and Senate produced a prolific amount of conservative legislation in their inaugural session of the quadrennium last year. Included in their initial year was a controversial immigration law, a voter identification law, anti abortion legislation and tort reform legislation just to name a few. They also dealt with congressional reapportionment. It was an extremely productive session. It will be interesting to see what they do for an encore.

  One of the foremost issues will be to deal with their own legislative district lines. They will have to redraw all 105 House districts and 35 State Senate districts to correspond with population changes occurring from the 2010 census. This project could be controversial. However, they may be able to handle it as easily as they did congressional redistricting.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ian M. MacIsaac: Romney, feistier than ever, solidifies frontrunner status with Nevada caucus win

  While Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have had their share of ups and downs in popularity over the weeks and months, neither have bounced about like Newt Gingrich. The former Speaker of the House has gone from potential frontrunner, to running a zombie campaign with zero staff and money, back to frontrunner again, and now back down to the doldrums.

  On January 21st, Newt Gingrich won South Carolina and just about took frontrunner status away from Mitt Romney. Two weeks later, the Nevada caucuses on the night of February 4th told an altogether different story.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Montgomery Humane Society: The Bark, the bite and everything in between

  To view the photo album from our visit to the Montgomery Humane Society, visit the CCFP on Facebook:

I shouldn't gossip but the welcoming committee has puppy breath....

  It was not the usual hum of computer keyboard-clacking and the ringing of a phone I encountered upon entering the administrative building but a litany of skeptical barks followed by the patter of apprehensive, retreating paws.

  The Springer Spaniel - Jade - and the Sheltie mix - Ben - both strays rescued by the Montgomery Humane Society, are about 7 months old, each with a unique set of challenges... and hopes. And I would meet them again....

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Michael Linden: What caused this year’s deficit? Hint: It wasn’t an Obama 'spending binge'

  The federal budget deficit will again exceed $1 trillion this fiscal year, the Congressional Budget Office reported today. That news is sure to trigger another round of condemnations from politicians and pundits who have a political or ideological interest in pinning these deficits on the domestic spending policies of President Barack Obama.

  Unfortunately for them, today’s report—along with dozens of other similar CBO reports in recent years—actually proves the opposite—that the current deficit is overwhelmingly the result of two factors: events that occurred before President Obama took office and tax cuts.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gary Palmer: Time-honored standard of conduct: "Women and Children First"

  With the shipwreck of the luxury cruise ship the Costa Concordia, one of the most honored codes of seamanship, indeed of Western manhood, was violated … the code of “women and children first.”

  Most of the coverage has focused on the cowardice of the captain who cravenly abandoned his ship, his crew and his passengers. However, it has been widely reported that male passengers and crew literally pushed women and children aside in their efforts to save themselves. In doing so, they shamed themselves by not abiding by a standard that was set 160 years ago. In fact, February 26th marks the 160th anniversary of the sinking of the HMS Birkenhead, the event that historically defined manly courage and responsibility in the face of maritime disaster.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ian M. MacIsaac: Mitt's negative display nets him a win in Florida

  Going dirty has paid off. Mitt Romney has destroyed Newt Gingrich in the Florida primary, by 15 percentage points at that--trouncing him even more thoroughly than Mitt himself was by Newt in South Carolina earlier in the month.

  The former Massachusetts governor won the primary through a calculated turn: away from an overall positive and proposal-driven message with Barack Obama as a primary target, to a fully negative message with Newt Gingrich instead as the singular focus of all speeches, statements, and advertisements.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Steve Flowers: Inside The Statehouse: Growing crowd seeks to oust Bachus

  Believe it or not the 2012 election season is upon us. The legislature, in a cost savings measure last year, moved our primaries up to March 13. Our presidential preference primary and our regular primary will be on the same day, which is less than six weeks away.

  Most of the contests this year will be for judicial posts. Five of our nine Supreme Court seats are up for election, along with several appellate court positions. One of the three public service commission offices, the presidency, is also on the ballot.

  All seven members of our congressional delegation have to run every two years. Therefore, they are always running. Our delegation to Washington is made up of six Republicans and one Democrat. We have two females and five males. All seven are seeking reelection to Congress.