Friday, November 30, 2012

Gary Palmer: Governor Bentley makes right choice for Alabama

  Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has made the right decision not to set up the health exchanges created by The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Contrary to what some state Democrats and other supporters of big government say, Bentley’s decision is legally and fiscally on solid ground.

  Given the Supreme Court opinion upholding PPACA and the re-election of President Obama, the assumption that PPACA, his single major accomplishment from his first term, would face little resistance to its full-implementation was wrong from the beginning.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Charles C. Haynes: In Christmas wars, it’s all or nothing

  In the angry eyes of Christians in Santa Monica, Calif., Damon Vix is the atheist who stole Christmas.

  Vix is blamed for the city’s decision to ban all private displays in Palisades Park, ending a tradition of 14 Nativity scenes erected by church groups in the park every December for the last 60 years.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sally Steenland: Are we finally nearing the tipping point on climate change?

  If you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will shriek and frantically try to escape. Drop that same frog into a pot of warm water, however, and gradually turn up the heat, and it will drift off to sleep and die.

  Some version of that second scenario is happening to us right now. I’m not saying we’re on the brink of perishing, but on a range of issues—from climate change to gun violence to women’s reproductive health—incremental changes have lulled us into complacency, relaxing our sense of danger and weakening our response reflexes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Macon County fights back

  It would appear that being a state legislator is an exciting and challenging experience. Some of you might think that a legislator’s average day is spent molding public policy and debating important measures that could have dramatic effects on the lives of their constituents. However, let me tell you from experience that much of a legislator’s day in Alabama is spent voting on mundane local bills that only apply to individual counties.

  Our state constitution is antiquated and restricts the power of county commissioners. Therefore, legislators spend an inordinate amount of time voting on local bills like whether Fayette County can buy a tractor. Unfortunately, these local issues have to appear on a statewide ballot for your final approval. This year was no different. There were three local amendments. However, there were some constitutional amendments on this year’s ballot that actually will have ramifications and significance.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Larry M. Elkin: The Electoral College isn’t the problem

  You don't hear many people defending the Electoral College these days. But is it the undemocratic relic that its critics claim, or is it a constitutional bastion of federalism, a place where states can still flex their muscle over the most powerful office in Washington, D.C.?

  It turns out that where you stand on the Electoral College depends largely upon where you sit.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gene Policinski: Petraeus affair reminds us how little is private

  National attention to the Petraeus affair is driven by everything from morbid curiosity to concern for national security. But for most of us, issues of privacy and the First Amendment also should take center stage.

  As shown by the FBI’s relatively quick trip through the online missives of Gen. David Petraeus’ trysts, not much — if any — of our electronic communication is genuinely “private,” not even for the director of the world’s largest spy agency.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Elizabeth Robinson: Business owners denied First Amendment protections

  On November 19th, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton ruled that Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts chain, and other for-profit companies must pay for the coverage of contraceptives such as birth control, the “morning-after pill” and the “week-after pill,” regardless of the religious convictions of the owners. In his ruling denying an injunction on certain provisions of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Judge Heaton said “…the court has not found [that]… for-profit companies such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.”

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Josh Carples: Warning: The War on Christmas is in full effect

  It’s getting closer and closer to December, which means keeping track of Jews and Muslims fighting in Gaza is pointless because there’s a bigger war that’s been raging for years: the War on Christmas.

  Yes, each year, this seasonal war seems to get bloodier and louder. Chants of “It’s Merry F*****g Christmas, you atheist f*****s!” can be heard from the Shoppes at Eastchase to the Capitol dome.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Alabama by the numbers

  In surveying the results from the election returns from two weeks ago, you realize that the country is deeply divided. It is as though we live in two Americas.

  Voters nationwide are definitely in two different camps, especially on social issues. Democrats are fervently in favor of same-sex marriage, legalized abortion and social welfare programs. The Republicans are totally opposite on these issues just as adamantly, if not more so.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Michael Josephson: We are what we think

  In the early 1900s, a little-known philosopher named James Allen wrote a powerful essay called “As a Man Thinketh” in which he argued that we are what we think, that a person’s character is the sum of his thoughts. He declared that the power to control our thoughts (whether we use that power or not) is the ability to mold our character and shape our destiny.

  This is a profound insight, making us personally responsible not only for our conduct but for our circumstances.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ken Paulson: Anonymous speech at risk in Memphis case

  The Shelby County (Tenn.) Commission continues to press for a court order requiring the Memphis Commercial Appeal to reveal the identity of readers who posted more than 9,000 comments on its website. It’s an enormously broad request that raises serious questions about First Amendment protections and the privacy rights of those who posted to the site anonymously.

  The commission wants the information for a lawsuit contending that the lifting in suburban Shelby County of a statewide ban on new municipal school districts was at least partly racially motivated. The commission believes it can help make that case by securing the names of everyone who commented anonymously on 45 Commercial Appeal articles appearing in its newspaper and website between Nov. 19, 2010, and July 12, 2012.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Jane Farrell: Myth vs. Fact: Paid sick days

  Critics of paid sick days argue that additional benefits for employees mean greater overhead for businesses and, consequently, fewer jobs. But these claims are both oversimplified and off-base. Below are the most common misconceptions about paid sick leave—a vital policy that more than 40 million American workers still lack.

Myth: Paid sick days hurt businesses.

Fact: Businesses would be the greatest beneficiaries of paid sick days.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sheldon Richman: Republican reconsideration of immigration

“Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others.” — Groucho Marx

  Apparently Groucho has been elected chairman of the Republican National Committee.

  Mitt Romney’s loss to Barack Obama has so shocked the Republican Party that it now is willing to question long-held positions. If defeat prompts Republicans to abandon anti-freedom convictions, that’s all to the good — even if the abandonment is motivated by cynicism.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ask Dr. Bumdinkle: Hoping to secede!

Disclaimer: Don't be a jackass. "Ask Dr. Bumdinkle" is for entertainment purposes only.
Dr. Bumdingleberry or whatever:

  As a proud American who believes in the Floundering Fathers’ belief that Jesus should run our government and black folks should not be allowed to be black folks, I’m joining the movement to petition the President to consider a request from my home state Alabama – Roll Tide! – to secede from the Union.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Savoring the status quo in Alabama

  The 2012 presidential election year is now history and nothing has changed. There is absolute status quo in Washington. You have the same president, the same Democratic majority in the Senate and the same Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. That, my fellow Alabamians, is a recipe for continued gridlock.

  Our federal government has to find a way to get along and end deficit spending. We have to come to grips with our spending more money than we bring in or we will continue to exacerbate our vulnerability and decline as a nation.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ian M. MacIsaac: Sudden resignation of CIA director David Petraeus leaves unanswered questions and ruined careers

  The revelation of David Petraeus's extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell has dominated post-election Washington and news media, and brought President Obama's reelection honeymoon to an abrupt end.

  Many have exhibited shock at the sudden downfall of one of America's most decorated and celebrated generals and national security leaders. Even more have questioned why a full-on FBI probe was necessary to uncover something that had more to do with the CIA director's personal life than any issue of national security.

Michael Josephson: Ask what can you do for your country

  In 1961, President John F. Kennedy, invoked my generation to “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

  We are fortunate to live in a free and democratic society where millions of civilians and soldiers serve their fellow citizens. Today is Veteran’s Day and the weekend provided the nation a special opportunity to honor and express gratitude to the millions of living military veterans and thousands of active duty men and women who have or are serving our country.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gene Policinski: True effect of big campaign spending unclear

WASHINGTON — There’s one result from the election that we likely won’t know for months or even years: the full meaning of this year’s massive run-up in campaign spending.

  The U.S. Supreme Court, in its Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in 2010, freed corporations, unions and others to spend as much on elections as they wish — setting up the circumstances for the financial version of Superstorm Sandy in this year’s races.

  The Court voted 5-4 that limits on corporate spending violated First Amendment political free-speech rights. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said there was “no basis for the proposition that, in the context of political speech, the Government may impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers.”

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cameron Smith: A Conservative hoping for change

  As pundits across the country sift through the electoral debris, President Obama’s re-election affords an opportunity for Republican introspection. The recent election demonstrates that American political ideologies, cultural demographics, and even the level of political engagement are transitioning in a way not seen in generations. Conservatives face the challenge of determining how the principles of limited government, individual responsibility, strong families, and free markets can regain a foothold during the change.

  Republicans need to be frank about the election results. Their electorate ran a “moderate” candidate against a President whose largest policy accomplishments have been poorly received during a period of lackluster economic performance. Instead of a Reaganesque sweep, Republicans failed to gain any meaningful traction. In fact they actually lost ground. Arguing that the President did not win as many electoral votes as he did in 2008 is about as useful as finding a silver lining in being beaten by two touchdowns instead of three.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ian M. MacIsaac: Romney's whitewater runs dry

  Mitt Romney lost on Tuesday for a lot of reasons. He was a flip-flopper and a serial liar; he was a wooden campaigner and repeatedly proved himself incapable of connecting with average people; he was a caricature of all the worst aspects of the "one percent."

  But Romney did not lose last night purely through personal failings. In retrospect, any Republican candidate would have likely lost last night. The problem? There simply were not enough white people.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gadi Dechter: Why President Obama’s victory is a victory for the middle class

“Middle-out” economics defeated supply-side economics

  Politicians have always paid lip service to the middle class, but voters in this election were offered a clear choice between a vision of economic growth that magically trickles down from the top and one driven by a strong middle class.

  President Barack Obama’s campaign presented a sharp alternative to the supply-side dogma that has dominated Washington, D.C., since the late 1970s—and continues to hold conservatives in thrall. Supply-side thinking, embraced by 2012 Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, holds that cutting taxes on the rich will unleash a torrent of investments that will spur economic growth.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Our Stand: Our courts, our state and our very sense of justice require Bob Vance

  The contrast in candidates seeking Alabama’s top judicial post could not be more obvious. We have a choice between public service versus ego inflation; competence versus recklessness; fairness versus an individual’s selfish personal agenda.

  Roy Moore’s contributions to Alabama’s legal landscape are nonexistent. His entire career has been littered by a self-serving need for attention and to use Alabama taxpayers’ dollars as a means to promote himself and his agenda. Regardless of one’s religious convictions or political philosophy, this should not be the role of any individual in a position to dispense justice. If Moore wants to spend his days seeking celebrity status, we suggest he accept a role on a reality TV program. Alabamians deserve better. Our court system deserves better.

Our Stand: Alabama voters have plenty of amending to consider

  Since having the longest and most amended constitution in the world just isn’t good enough, Alabama voters will get to delve into the mire again Tuesday, as 11 statewide amendments will appear on the ballot. Here we offer our take on each:

Amendment 1: Yes. The benefits of the Forever Wild Fund are something most Alabamians should agree upon. Voting ‘yes” would extend the program for another 20 years. This land preservation program utilizes a sliver of interest earned from oil and gas leases to acquire and protect land for public use. First approved in 1992, it’s a wildly popular program and benefits hunters, fishers, and taxpayers in general who simply want to preserve our lands, protect them and enjoy them.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Gene Policinski: Free speech or threat? A tough call sometimes

  A white supremacist faces sentencing for soliciting violence against a juror after a federal appeals court in Chicago decided that even though he never openly asked for anyone to kill or harm the person, his online posts were clear enough.

  The decision is another reminder that although the government cannot successfully prosecute a person, or a court send them to jail, because of mere ideas, the time, place and manner in which a person speaks — or even their intended audience — makes a difference.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Gary Palmer: Billy Graham speaks to voters

  In every election voters focus on where the candidates stand on issues and that is certainly important. But have you ever seriously considered where you stand on the issues? Do your views on the issues or your preferences for candidates truly reflect your values and what you truly believe?

  Rev. Billy Graham has challenged people to carefully consider their spiritual values before casting their votes. In an ad that first appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Rev. Graham is encouraging Americans to base their choices on biblical principles and urges people ”… to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.”