Saturday, January 31, 2015

SPLC files ethics complaint against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

  The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a judicial ethics complaint Wednesday against Alabama
Roy Moore
Chief Justice Roy Moore over his public statements urging the governor and Alabama judges to defy federal law and enforce Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages.

  The complaint was filed with the Judicial Inquiry Commission of Alabama, which could recommend that Moore face ethics charges in the Alabama Court of the Judiciary. That court removed Moore from the office of chief justice 12 years ago after he refused to comply with a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Michael Josephson: Cheating in the NFL – to care or not to care, that is the question

  So, are you worked up about the boiling controversy over under-inflated footballs? Do you care that there seems to be cheating in the NFL. Big deal or trivial? It’s all is a matter of perspective.

  For example, several months ago ago, it was confirmed that the U.S., in the pursuit of terrorist information, has and probably still does engage in what most people regard as torture (though its disguised by the euphemism “enhanced interrogation.”). What’s more, the majority of Americans support this. This, it would seem is a momentous moral issue yet almost all the discussion focused not on whether this sort of behavior is right and whether it is consistent with our national self-image as the good guys, but the pragmatic question: did it work?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Charles C. Haynes: Duke, Muslims and the politics of intimidation

  What began as a gesture of interfaith hospitality ended badly last week when Duke University suddenly cancelled plans to begin broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer from the bell tower of Duke Chapel every Friday afternoon.

  The first “call to prayer” was scheduled for January 16 – which, as it happens, was also Religious Freedom Day in America.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Joseph O. Patton: Give 'em hell, Patricia Todd!

  “I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell." -Harry S. Truman

  This week Alabama Representative Patricia Todd (District 54) threw down a gauntlet the size of the Statehouse. Fed up with the hypocrisy, the bullying and the outright lack of humanity from her colleagues, she threatened to out state officials who are engaging in or have engaged in extramarital affairs.

  Todd's righteous anger bubbled over as a result of the venomous, bigoted outcry from top Alabama politicians in response to U.S. District Judge Callie Granade's ruling which struck down Alabama's despicably discriminatory Marriage Protection Act and its related Alabama Constitutional Amendment.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Caught in a perpetual budget crunch

  The most pressing problem facing the governor and legislature as they enter this new quadrennium is the financial shortfall in the General Fund Budget.

  Last year the governor floated a trial balloon to see if there was any traction to combine the two state budgets in order to give more wiggle room in the budgeting of limited state dollars. It was quickly shot down.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Joseph O. Patton: Montgomery should pass on Artur Davis

  Just when I foolishly believed I had washed the foul political aftertaste of Artur Davis out of my mouth, he's uncorking another bottle of his trademark bitterness, shameless opportunism and ego-tripping.

  Last week he announced he's running for mayor of Montgomery, challenging incumbent Todd Strange who announced his reelection bid the same day. But which version of Artur Davis this happens to be would be anyone's guess, though....

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Decision overturning Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban a victory for families, children of same-sex couples

  A federal judge’s ruling striking down Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional will provide greater stability to the lives of same-sex couples and their children, but more work remains to eliminate anti-LGBT discrimination in the state, the Southern Poverty Law Center announced yesterday.

  The judge in Mobile, Alabama, issued the ruling Friday in a case brought by two women seeking to have their marriage from California recognized. Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand needed the recognition so that both women could be recognized as legal parents of the child they conceived with the help of a sperm donor.

Friday, January 23, 2015

James Phillips: ISIS vs. Al Qaeda: The good news and the bad news

  The Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), has become a bitter rival of Al Qaeda, its parent organization. Its leaders represent a new generation of Islamist militants who have broken with Al Qaeda in a power struggle over Syria and the future of the global Islamist revolution.

  Both groups share the same ultimate goal: the establishment of a global caliphate, to be ruled under a harsh brand of sharia (Islamic law). But they clash over what strategy and tactics are best, as well as who should lead the global jihad (holy war) to build the caliphate.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1441: Praying that the Promised Land is still ahead

  “I just want to do God’s will. He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” These are the prophetic words from the last speech Dr. Martin Luther King uttered in Memphis on April 3, 1968. He was shot down the very next day.

  There is no doubt in my mind Dr. King knew that death was very imminent; that he knew he was going to die in the next few days. It was in his words. It was in his spirit. We can feel it when we listen to that last speech. We can see it in his face and body language.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Charles C. Haynes: For religious freedom and LGBT rights, a year of decision

  The New Year begins much like the old year ended with bitter, emotional clashes between proponents of LGBT rights and religious objectors to same-sex marriage.

  When same-sex weddings commenced in Florida on January 6, several county clerks immediately announced that although required by law to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, they will no longer perform marriages for anyone – gay or straight – to avoid participating in same-sex ceremonies.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Looking ahead to 2018

  Dr. Robert Bentley was inaugurated Monday as our governor for the second time. He and his lovely wife Diane are good people. When you get to be my age, four years goes by in a hurry. It seems like only yesterday that Governor Bentley was enjoying his first inauguration.

  I recall walking down Dexter Avenue toward my perch as a commentator for one of the Montgomery television stations when I stopped and visited briefly with Governor Bentley and Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, then ran into a host of Shelby County folks.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Morris Dees: MLK’s words just as relevant today

  This Martin Luther King Day is a special one. We're on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March, perhaps King's most triumphant moment, and the film Selma has brought him vividly to life.

  Dr. King's speech at the conclusion of the march is remembered for its soaring rhetoric, for King's declaration that segregation was on its deathbed and for his unshakable belief that the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Don Terry: White genocide billboard comes down in Alabama town

  The small city of Springville, Ala., got an early Martin Luther King Jr. Day present this week.

  On Wednesday, an anti-diversity billboard, apparently paid for by a group of anonymous segregationists calling themselves the White Genocide Project, was removed just five days after it went went up along I-59.

  Before it was taken down and rolled up, the sign declared, “Diversity Means Chasing Down the Last White Person” with “#white genocide” on the bottom.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Gene Policinski: A tough question: Just how ‘Je Suis Charlie’ to be?

  After one week, a tough question already is being asked: Just how “JeSuisCharlie” (I am Charlie) should we be?

  At the outset, First Amendment advocates need to recognize the many layers of such a question — which originates not in reconsideration of recognition of those killed Jan. 7, but in the subsequent worldwide examination of the content of Charlie Hebdo magazine and other publications like it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Michael Josephson: Leading by inspiration

  Why are negative management practices so prevalent?

  They include yelling, cursing, insults (sometimes masked in sarcasm or masquerading as jokes), criticizing subordinates in front of others, threatening demotion or termination, and talking to adults as if they were children.

  Why are so many managers oblivious to the demoralizing effect of focusing on weaknesses and shortcomings without properly acknowledging successes and accomplishments?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Legislature should consider repeal of Personnel Board structure

  It’s been said before that for every bill that’s introduced in the legislature, two laws should be repealed. With hundreds of bills considered every year and with thousands of laws already on the books, it can be a daunting exercise to pinpoint those laws that have outlived their usefulness. One such law, passed in 1945, significantly restricts the authority of Alabama’s largest local governments over employment-related matters.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Tuscaloosa and Wilcox Counties experience a surge in political clout

  Throughout Alabama political history, certain cities, counties and enclaves have had a proclivity for having an inordinate number of their citizenry serve in Alabama politics. The most dominant example is the unbelievable number of governors produced by Barbour County. It is referred to as the Home of Governors.

  However, currently we have a remarkable occurrence that will probably never happen again in Alabama politics. Tuscaloosa County’s prominence and representation on the Alabama political stage in the year 2015 is unparalleled.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Adam Hersh: Why wages are not returning as job growth increases

  It is safe to say that the U.S. labor market is now out of jobless-recovery territory and into the territory of wageless recovery.

  Employers added 252,000 jobs in December 2014, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. Since the start of the labor-market expansion in February 2010, private employers have added 11.2 million new jobs.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Gene Policinski: #JeSuisCharlie – another way to say ‘Freedom’


  There’s no other word for the armed gunmen who killed 12 people in the attack Wednesday on the Parisian offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

  Once again, terrorists ignore the lessons of history: individuals may be silenced by violence from time to time, but ideas live on and ultimately will find their way to the world.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Sheldon Richman: The ominous Republican hold on Congress

  As we face the new year, the biggest concern for peace lovers is Republican control of the U.S. Senate. While Republican votes don’t reach the key number 60, members of the GOP will still be in a strong position to push their belligerent global agenda.

  I don’t mean to overstate the danger. After all, the Democrats were hardly better. But those who abhor war will awaken each day knowing that hawkish Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, and their ilk are in control.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1439: When we know our history

  When we know our history! When we know our history! When we know our history! This thought exploded over and over in my mind, impacting my emotions and spirits as I participated in the 152nd Annual Emancipation Proclamation Program in Selma on New Year’s Day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Michael Josephson: One way to change your life – change your expectations

  Einstein said it’s a form of insanity to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result. So, if you want something different, do something different, or change your expectations, or both.

  In my own life, I’ve found that adjusting my expectations has made a big difference in my ability to enjoy my life.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Bentley has been politically bullet-proof

  During the 2010 Alabama governor’s race, I continuously made the statement that whomever won the race would be a one-term governor. My prophecy was based on the fact that the state was flat broke and it would take a lot of tough decisions and probably tax increases to fix the mess.

  Former Gov. Bob Riley was not helping his successor any either in a concerted mission to spend every cent in an already barren cupboard. There was nothing in the state rainy day fund and all the federal stimulus money from Washington was gone. Unlike the federal government that can just print money, the state constitutionally has to live within its means.

Monday, January 5, 2015

David L. Hudson, Jr.: First Amendment potection for religious signage to be tested

  A legal spat over temporary signs informing people of upcoming religious services may not seem important to free-speech jurisprudence, but the upcoming case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert is significant and cuts to the heart of First Amendment doctrine.

  The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the case on Jan. 12.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1438: Young people are powerful

  We forget that young people are powerful in so many ways. They change things culturally. They change things socially. They change things economically. They change things educationally. They change things technologically. We forget that young people are powerful in changing things.

  The many ways young people change things are far too numerous to explore in this Sketches. Therefore, I want to review just one front on which young people profoundly changed things. I know that Dr. King is given the credit for changes wrought during the American Civil Rights Movement. And he deserves great credit but not all or most of the credit. We forget that it was young people who were truly on the front lines in changing things.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Mark Potok: Rep. Scalise’s denials are not believable

  Faced with an exploding crisis sparked by the revelation that the No. 3 Republican in the House gave a speech to a well-known group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis a dozen years ago, the GOP in Rep. Steve Scalise’s home state of Louisiana is doubling down, calling the entire episode a mere “manufactured blogger story.”

  Really? A manufactured blogger story?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Michael Josephson: Making resolutions of principle

  The tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions reflects one the very best qualities of human nature – the ability to reflect on and assess our lives in terms of the goals we set for ourselves and the principles we believe in.

  It’s still not too late to formulate a self-improvement plan to make our outer lives and inner selves better by adopting more positive attitudes, living up to our highest values, and strengthening our relationships.