Thursday, October 30, 2014

Robert G. Wilkerson: Vote “no” on Amendment One

  Amendment Number One on the November 4th ballot prohibits Alabama Courts from considering foreign, international or religious law, which in turn could interfere with the freedom of many religious groups. Alabamians who believe in religious freedom should vote against it because:

·It would make it against the law for some religious leaders to perform marriages according to their own religious traditions.

·It poses potential threats to international adoptions, marriages performed overseas, and could cause nightmares over questions of property rights.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jacob G. Hornberger: WMD blowback in Iraq

  According to a New York Times article last week, the Islamic State has employed WMDs against Iraqi police officers. The specific WMD used is chlorine gas. According to reports, ISIS forces set off an explosion that released the gas, causing injuries to 11 Iraqi police officers.

  Alistair Baskey, a spokesman for the National Security Council, observed:

     The use of chlorine as a chemical weapon is an abhorrent act. These recent allegations underscore the importance of our work to eliminate chemical weapons in this violate region.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Countdown to Election Day

  The 2014 General Election is Tuesday. It is set to be uneventful. I predicted over a year ago that this election year was going to be dull and, folks, my prognostication has come to fruition. This year has been a yawner from the get go.

  Even the GOP and Democratic Primaries in June were void of any drama. As the results trickled in from the summer primaries, there were absolutely no surprises or upsets. Even in the face of historic low voter turnout, every favorite or incumbent prevailed and usually by the margin suggested by polling.

Monday, October 27, 2014

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, October 25, 2014

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1428: The trial of the Faithful Seven

  It was a great moment. It was a great day. It was a great victory. It was a great time. The moment, day, time and victory sprung from acts of faith commenced on August 28, the 51st Anniversary of the Great 1963 March on Washington. The beginning was grand but the ending was momentous. This Sketches is really about the ending, but we have to go back to the beginning to truly understand.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sam Fulwood III: U.S. Ebola hysteria is the wrong response to the epidemic

  The African continent’s Ebola epidemic is producing crazed hysteria across the United States.

  In scenes reminiscent of the fear mongering and scapegoating experienced by gay men during the early years of the 1980s AIDS epidemic, Americans today are overreacting with irrational fear and public ostracism of Africans. Examples abound:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Renee Goodrich : Fifty fun Halloween facts

1. Halloween is held on October 31st which is the last day of the Celtic calender.

2. The Halloween custom has evolved from the ancient Celts belief that the border between this world and "the Otherworld" becomes thin on All-Hallows-Eve. People wore costumes to disguise themselves and avoid harm.

3. The day after Halloween is called All Saints Day. Christians dedicate this day to all those saints who don't have a special day of their own.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Robert G. Wilkerson: Political attack ads and eight reasons to reject them

  It’s the political season again, and we are being bombarded by attack ads, many of which are so gross they insult our intelligence. Whether they insult us or not, there are eight reasons we should reject attack ads.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: The mid-term crystal ball

  We are not indicative of or really even a part of the national political equation. The Heart of Dixie is an integral part of the heart and soul of the Republican Party. We and our fellow Deep South sister states are such reliably Republican red states that we are essentially ignored in national elections.

  It is a foregone conclusion that our delegation in Washington will remain six Republicans and one lone Democrat. Our two Senators are also Republican. One of our Senators, Jeff Sessions, is waltzing to his fourth six-year term unopposed. In fact, Sessions did not even have a GOP primary opponent. However, even though we are a GOP ritualistic hinterland, this does not mean that the rest of the country is not embroiled in a pivotal midterm election.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Michela Zonta: The unequal mortgage market is no coincidence

  Persistent racial and ethnic inequality in the mortgage market is not a coincidence. Nearly 50 years after the adoption of the Fair Housing Act, newly released federal data indicate that people of color continued to lose ground in the home ownership market in 2013. In particular, black and Hispanic households continued to represent a shrinking fraction of the mortgage market and received higher-cost loans compared with white borrowers. Tragically, many prospective black and Hispanic homeowners never reach the loan-decision stage of the home buying process. People of color are still being treated unequally in the home mortgage market, even when they demonstrate an ability to repay their loans.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Richard Cohen: Secret Service failures are cause for concern after numerous extremist plots

  With its recent bumbling, the long-respected U.S. Secret Service is beginning to look like the Keystone Kops. But there’s nothing funny about the agency’s security lapses, particularly for the nation’s first black president, a man who is the target of enormous rage on America’s radical right.

  For those of us who monitor racist and anti-government extremists, it’s not surprising that, as The Washington Post reported, President Obama has faced three times as many threats as his predecessors.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Katherine Green Robertson: Property tax implications of Lynch v. Alabama

  On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in the case of Lynch v. Alabama, which simply means the Court refused to overturn the decision of the federal judge in Birmingham and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Filed in 2011 by plaintiffs representing public schoolchildren in Lawrence and Sumter counties, the lawsuit sought to nullify provisions of Alabama’s Constitution related to property taxes.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Jacob G. Hornberger: Military base dependency

  One of the most disastrous effects of America’s post-World War II embrace of a permanent warfare-state apparatus has been the extreme dependency on domestic military bases that dot towns and cities across America. The situation is akin to a drug addict who lies permanently in bed hooked up to an IV that is feeding heroin into his veins. The people in areas where military bases are located live in a constant state of deep fear that U.S. officials could, at any time, decide to close their base, which, in the minds of the local populace, would spell economic doom to the area.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1426: The Significance of dreams

  I had a terrible dream. It is still affecting me. It is probably too personal to share, but I am going to share it anyway. Come with me as I share this dream.

  I used to not dream or at least not know I dreamed. For some years, I have dreamed often. There are concrete patterns to my dreams. One pattern is being lost and unable to find my way or unable to find something such as my parked car. I call these my lost dream series.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Eric Cantor's exit

  This year’s state primary elections have brought very little drama or surprises. However, there have been the inevitable novel surprises nationwide.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Robert G. Wilkerson: Immigration: A Christian perspective

  Immigrants are people created in the image of God, and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. They are members of the human race and are people for which Christ died.

·The Bible tells us that immigrants should be treated as natives; they should not be wronged, and we should love them as we love ourselves (Leviticus 19:33-34).

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Michael Josephson: Be what you want to be

  “What will you be when you grow up?”

  It’s a serious question. As kids, we knew we were going to be something and that to be something was to be someone. Even as our ambitions changed, we knew what we were going to be was important and our choice.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Richard Cohen: A tent too large: the Republican Party and anti-LGBT bigotry

  Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus this week said something predictable and something startling in response to the Supreme Court’s refusal to overturn court decisions clearing the way for same-sex marriage.

  The predictable was his continued defense of the Republican Party’s position that marriage should be limited to a man and a woman.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Jacob G. Hornberger: The Virtues of free trade

  I find it absolutely amazing that there are still people around who look with disfavor on free trade. A recent example occurred in the New York Times just last Sunday in an op-ed entitled “Our Misplaced Faith in Free Trade” by Jeff Madrick. According to Madrick, “free trade creates winners and losers — and American workers have been among the losers. Free trade has been a major (but not the only) factor behind the erosion in wages and job security among American workers. It has created amazing prosperity — but mostly for those at the top.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sally Steenland: So-called ‘cultural war’ issues are really about justice

  What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, the so-called “culture war” issues—especially abortion and same-sex marriage—were a boon to conservatives in terms of fundraising and energizing their base to go to the polls. Liberals and progressives, on the other hand, saw these issues as toxic and tried to avoid talking about them if at all possible.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Life after the White House

  This week our 39th President, Jimmy Carter, turns 90 years old. In my lifetime, he is the most ethical, moral and Christ-like president to occupy the Oval Office.

  Most, if not all of our presidents, have claimed to be Christians. However, Jimmy Carter truly walked the walk. There is no spectre of hypocrisy surrounding his life. Everything he did while in the White House was above reproach and his life after his presidential tenure has been an example of living your life humbly and being a true Christian servant.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Robert G. Wilkerson: Seven reasons prayer should not be in schools

-It would violate the Constitution. That document clearly calls for the separation of church and state. Those who wrote it knew history. They knew how horrible and oppressive life could be when the two were not separated. All attempts to circumvent this provision have been struck down by the courts and will continue to be.

-It would not be fair or just. Most of those advocating prayer in schools are advocating Christian prayer. If Christian prayer were to be allowed, then prayers of other religions (Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, etc.) would have to be allowed as well. They are citizens and pay taxes that build, operate, and maintain schools; therefore, they have equal rights.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Michael Josephson: “You’re only cheating yourself”

  It’s in the news all the time – kids are cheating in school in new ways and at unprecedented rates.

  One of the reasons is the way schools and parents deal with or ignore the underlying issues of integrity and character. For instance, to discourage kids from cheating, adults commonly say, “You’re only cheating yourself.”

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sam Fulwood III: Numbers put the lie to our national narrative

  While notions of impermeable social and economic stratification flaunt America’s egalitarian self-identity, our nation’s populace is becoming increasingly locked into rigid classes that frame life options from cradle to grave. As much as we are loath to admit it, the best predicate for a child’s eventual success is something that child has no ability to control: their parents.

  Such an unsettling conclusion follows from a series of recent studies that suggest that a child born into a family with parents who have the ability to comfortably house, educate and provide for them have an advantage they rarely lose for the rest of their lives.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1425: Fighting for voting rights

  We were fighting for voting rights as we sat around the conference table. On one end sat the Alabama Secretary of State, Jim Bennett, and three others from his office. On the other end sat the six of us: Deuel Ross of the Legal Defense Fund; Jeffrey Jones of Mobile; Rev. Hugh Morris and Albert Bell of Talladega; Brandon Fountain of Greater Birmingham Ministries; and me, Hank Sanders. Most of us were members of SOS (Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy). We were fighting for voting rights, the very heart of democracy, but we were just nibbling around the edges.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Laurence M. Vance: Dogs and diners

  Americans are dog lovers. In fact, many people love their dogs so much that they take them wherever they can. Some people would even take their dogs out to eat with them if they could.

  If they live in California — now they can.