Monday, August 31, 2015

New overtime rule could raise wages for 4.7 million Millennial workers

  This summer, the U.S. Department of Labor proposed a new rule that will give 13.5 million workers, including 4.7 million Millennials, a raise if it becomes a regulation. The new rule, which determines who is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, more than doubles the annual salary threshold for guaranteed overtime pay from $23,660 to $50,440. This change would guarantee that workers with salaries below this level earn overtime pay—the equivalent of 1.5 times their hourly wage—whenever they work more than 40 hours per week. The fate of the rule will be decided by the Department of Labor after a comment period ends on September. 4, 2015.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Craig Ford: State leaders say life matters, but they need to prove it

  Last week, Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey wrote an article entitled “Life Matters” in response to the recent Planned Parenthood videos. Like Lt. Gov. Ivey, I am 100 percent pro-life, and was shocked by the videos that came out. Life does matter, and should be treated with dignity and respect at every stage, including before birth.

  But Lt. Gov. Ivey’s article–specifically the title–also raised another point: the difference between being “pro-life” and “pro-birth.” The title of the lieutenant governor’s article was “Life Matters,” but she didn’t write about life after birth.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1472: Reaping the Whirlwind

  They sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind. That principle is embedded in the Biblical Book of Hosea. It is rooted in the sowing and reaping of farming and other areas of life. We plant one grain and reap many grains. We see that as good. We sow one trouble and we reap many troubles. We see that as bad. This principle applies beyond agriculture and wind, revealing itself in every area of life including politics. We sow the wind and we reap the whirlwind.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Darrio Melton: Budgets show our priorities: Where are Alabama’s?

  When families sit down each year to make our household budgets, it's a negotiating process. It's an exercise in give-and-take. It's a time to sit down and evaluate where we are and prioritize our plans for the upcoming year.

  Yet as we are still in the process of creating our state's operating budget, we have to wonder if we see the same level of prioritizing and planning that we would expect of our own families.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Are lawmakers doing what their constituents want them to?

  Many would argue, and indeed numerous surveys indicate, that Alabama is one of, if not the most, conservative states in America. I would argue that if that is true then our Alabama Legislature is reflective of its constituents.

  A good many of the online and remaining large city daily newspapers castigate our super majority Republican legislature as ultra right wing, uncaring crazies that pass ludicrous social issue fanatical bills that are blatantly unconstitutional. They also say that they have taken an ostrich approach to facing the state’s financial crisis in favor of sticking to their no tax pledges. I would argue, however, that they are representing their constituents’ beliefs and concerns. These left-leaning modern day journalists have never run for, nor could they get elected, to any public office in Alabama.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Charles C. Haynes: Despite settled law, schools still struggle to get religion right

  Although I can’t cite a scientific survey to prove it, I have detected a recent upswing in conflicts over religion in public schools. Just as I was beginning to believe that most schools were finally getting religion right, it appears that the trend is in the other direction.

  Two examples from the past school year — one from each end of the spectrum — will suffice to illustrate the wider problem.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Our Stand: Montgomery deserves stability and progress

  In an election season that has been marked by an unsavory level of negativity and questionable claims, one thing has remained constant - incumbent Mayor Todd Strange is clearly the most logical choice to provide stability and continue a streak of progress in Montgomery, Alabama.

  From a rapidly expanding, thriving downtown that is making the most of its historical value while embracing new opportunities, to cracking down on residential and commercial decay and neglect, Mayor Strange has led a movement to balance growth with revitalization. The renovation and expansion of Cramton Bowl even earned the City of Montgomery a college football bowl game.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1470: Alabama's bad tooth syndrome

  “Son, most people have the bad tooth syndrome. I hope you never have the bad tooth syndrome.” These words were spoken by my dear mother who passed 18 years ago. She had a 7th grade education but was one of the wisest persons I've ever known.

  My mother was Ola Mae Sanders who gave birth to 13 children. She was not only wise but really had a way with words. The following is how she explained the bad tooth syndrome.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Craig Ford: A new school year is starting, but it should be starting later

  Remember when school didn’t start until after Labor Day? Over the last few weeks, students across Alabama have started a new school year – right in the middle of August. Some have even been back for two or three weeks.

  Instead of spending the last few weeks of August working summer jobs or on family vacations, teachers and students are preparing to head back to school. Why?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gene Policinski: Julian Bond — A voice of reason, a call for change

  In a nation beset for more than 50 years by racism, divided by war, and brimming with confrontation, anger and violence — there was the voice of Julian Bond: soft spoken and serious, reasoned but no less passionate, and always, always, challenging.

  Bond, 75, was a renowned civil rights activist, vocal anti-Vietnam War protester, a former board chairman of the NAACP and a former Georgia legislator and university professor. He died Aug. 15 after a brief illness.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Alabama-grown business powerhouses

  Last week we discussed the legendary story of Aflac. Three more remarkable business success stories are just as magnificent. Again, all three of these companies are Alabama born and raised fairytale ventures.

  Alfa is Alabama’s largest property and casualty insurance company. Today, Alfa employs more than 2300 people and has almost 450 agents in Alabama. It has 229 offices in Alabama, with an office in every county.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Thomas R. Eddlem: Conservatives deceived me on immigration

  I grew up in the conservative movement at the end of the Cold War, but eventually realized I had been misled on the issue of immigration. When I finally took the trouble to research the issue after receiving a private offer to write a series of anti-immigration tracts (a contract which I declined), I found that most proponents of smaller government throughout American history had opposed immigration controls. This included especially the great classical liberal congressman William “Bourke” Cockran, who was himself an immigrant who spoke out eloquently against the Emergency Quota Act of 1921.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Darrio Melton: Bentley endorses Kasich’s campaign but not his policies

  Governor Bentley has just announced that he is endorsing Ohio Governor John Kasich for President of the United States. Governor Kasich has been faulted by many Republicans for stepping up and expanding Medicaid in Ohio, although he has doubled-down on his decision several times.

  Governor Kasich has been quoted as defending his decision from his religious perspective, saying, "Now, when you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small. But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor. You better have a good answer."

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Michael Josephson: Planned abandonment

  Management guru Peter Drucker advocated a practice he called planned abandonment. He stressed how important it is that managers develop the wisdom and courage to regularly review what their organization is doing and determine whether it’s worth doing. He urged executives to note and resist the systemic and emotional forces that make it difficult to abandon activities that drain resources, detract from central goals, or otherwise impede progress.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Charles C. Haynes: Olympic fiasco: Awarding Beijing rewards persecution

  Last month, the International Olympic Committee awarded Beijing the 2022 Winter Games, demonstrating yet again that selection of a host city has everything to do with politics, money and power — and nothing whatsoever to do with human rights.

  While Chinese government officials were celebrating the “Olympic spirit” in Beijing, it was religious persecution as usual in the rest of the country.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Craig Ford: A path forward

  They call us "tax-and-spend liberals" and then they want us to do what most of them won't do: vote to raise taxes. This week, I wrote about what just happened in Montgomery and how we can move forward to get out of this crisis.

  It isn’t often that legislators in Montgomery are universally in agreement on anything. But this week it happened... twice.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Aflac's Alabama roots

  There is a very iconic company founded in Alabama that has made state, southern, national and international history. It is an insurance corporation known as Aflac.

  Aflac is one of the greatest success stories in American business lore. Although it is headquartered on Alabama’s border in Columbus, Georgia, we in Alabama claim it as our own because its origins are in Coffee County, Alabama. Indeed, Alabama has always had the highest number of policyholders per capita within the tremendous Aflac clientele base.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Michael Josephson: Accountability in the workplace

  Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time consulting with large companies concerned with strengthening their ethical culture.

  Although I’m sure the leaders I work with care about ethics and virtue for their own sake, I know the driving force to seek outside assistance is self-interest. The risk of reputation-damaging and resource-draining charges resulting from improper conduct is so high that it’s a matter of prudence and responsible stewardship to stress ethical values and moral principles.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Jamal Hagler: It is time to update the Voting Rights Act

  The right to vote is one of the hallmarks of American democracy, as well as one of the most sacred rights granted to U.S. citizens. The power of the ballot box is one of great importance, allowing citizens to choose their leaders and preventing those leaders from forgetting the people that they represent.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Jacob G. Hornberger: Dealing with the cops

  Everyone has to do some serious soul-searching when it comes to dealing with the cops. This is especially true for African-Americans, given that police departments seem to have attracted a disproportionate share of racial bigots to that line of work. But it’s also true for everyone else, given that the police have effectively been given a license to kill citizens with impunity.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Craig Ford: GOP legislators need to stop blaming Democrats and start leading

  Republicans legislators are actually blaming Democrats for voting AGAINST tax increases! Folks, the wheels have come off the bus in Montgomery.

  Republican legislators need to stop blaming Democrats and start leading.

  The wheels have come off the bus in Montgomery. That’s the only way to describe what’s happening in our state legislature. Now more than ever is the time for legislators to reach across the aisle and work together to solve this budget crisis. But instead, Republican legislators are attempting to blame Democrats because they can’t pass their own tax package.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1469: Special session questions

  What shall we do? That is the question every Alabama legislator is asking. What will they do? That is the question many Alabama citizens are asking about Alabama legislators. The central question is: What? What? What?

  Legislators returned to a special session of the Alabama Legislature Monday. Governor Robert Bentley hastily called this special session for July 13. The legislature came into session on the day specified and hastily adjourned to August 3. What impelled Alabama’s governor to quickly call a special session of the Alabama Legislature without consulting legislative leaders? I can’t answer that “what.” What impelled the Alabama Legislature to hastily adjourn to August 3? I can’t really answer that “what” either. It’s just: What? What? What?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: An Alabama government success story

  The junior college corruption scandal, which occurred around 2006, was one of the worst white collar crimes in Alabama’s history. This highly publicized federal probe of the state’s two-year college system sent a lot of people to jail.

  Roy Johnson, who was serving as director of the system, orchestrated one of the most sensational, brazen, flagrant and pervasive robberies imaginable. Johnson justly was sentenced to ten years in prison and was ordered by the court to pay back $1.4 million in restitution to the state.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Darrio Melton: Our kids know iPads and iPhones, but do Alabama schools prepare them for the iFuture?

  If you've spent any amount of time around a young person lately, you've probably had a tough time prying the iPhone, iPad, iSomething, away from them. The new generation of students is growing up in a digital age--one where they can't imagine having to stop to use a pay phone, get a map for directions, or live without googling anything on their mind.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid: Providing hope for the ACA’s future

  Last week marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Amendments of 1965, which introduced Medicare and Medicaid into the American health care system. The programs currently enjoy widespread public support, with the majority of Americans indicating that Medicare and Medicaid, respectively, are “important to them and their family.” But the popularity of these programs stands in stark contrast to the political resistance they faced before their passage.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Craig Ford: Robbing our children is not the answer

  Legislators return to Montgomery next week, and one of the bills that has been introduced would combine the state's education and general fund budgets. I think that would be a disaster for our state, and here's why:

  Robbing our children is not the answer.