Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Senate scramble begins

  It is definite that our Junior Senator Jeff Sessions is going to be President-Elect Donald Trump’s Attorney General, as well as his closest advisor.

  Sessions will be confirmed by the Senate. He has been a respected member of the Senate for 20 years. He has an impeccably clean history of integrity. Even though he is and has been one of the Senate’s most ardent right wing conservatives, the Democratic senators on the left respect him. He has served on the Senate Judiciary Committee his entire tenure and he has voted to confirm liberals to the high court even though he disagreed with them philosophically.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Reports reveal alarming pattern of hate incidents and bullying across the country since election

  The Southern Poverty Law Center today released two reports documenting how President-elect Donald Trump’s own words have sparked hate incidents across the country and had a profoundly negative effect on the nation’s schools.

  Joined by human rights and education leaders at a press conference in Washington, D.C., the SPLC called on Trump to take responsibility for his actions and to repair the damage he had caused.

  “Mr. Trump claims he’s surprised his election has unleashed a barrage of hate across the country,” said SPLC President Richard Cohen. “But he shouldn’t be. It’s the predictable result of the campaign he waged. Rather than feign surprise, Mr. Trump should take responsibility for what’s occurring, forcefully reject hate and bigotry, reach out to the communities he’s injured, and follow his words with actions to heal the wounds his words have opened.”

Monday, November 28, 2016

Open questions on national security for President-Elect Donald Trump

  The Center for American Progress National Security and International Policy team is deeply committed to the democratic values that have made America great and is collectively determined to ensure that America remains secure, prosperous, and just.

  The initial steps taken by President-elect Donald Trump, including the nomination of several manifestly unsuited candidates for key national security positions, raise a series of very serious questions that the administration will need to answer in the days and weeks ahead.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1537: Calling on the spirit of Gideon for these times

  Last week I was in such a struggle that I called upon my deceased mother. She told me to tell you that we must be at our best when things get bad. You may ask, “How can we be at our best?” In response I call upon a powerful biblical example.

  First, let me briefly share how bad things are. Many of us will have the whole United States government arrayed against us rather than protecting us. You can fill in the details of all the ways that will play out. Suffice it to say that it is very bad when the whole U.S. government is against you. The question is, “How can we be at our best when things get really bad?”

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Craig Ford: Alabama needs early voting

  There’s nothing more American than going to the polls on Election Day and casting your vote. I love Election Day! But I don’t love waiting in line for hours before I get to cast my ballot.

  On November 8th, more than two million Alabamians went to the polls. And far too many of us ended up having to wait in line for two or more hours just to cast our ballots. There’s something fundamentally wrong about that!

  Voters shouldn’t be punished because they can’t go vote until they get off work. And when the weather is bad, voters shouldn’t have to wait in lines so long that they can’t even stand inside the building. Early voting would reduce the length of lines and wait times, and allow voters to vote earlier in the week if the weather is expected to be bad on Election Day.

Friday, November 25, 2016

David L. Hudson, Jr.: Federal appeals court upholds South Carolina anti-profanity law

  You better not curse within hearing distance of a church or school in South Carolina. That’s because the state has a law that specifically bans such profanity.

  Krystal Johnson challenged the constitutionality of the law after she was arrested for breaking it.   Johnson had called the police to have their assistance in obtaining car keys from a family member. When a police officer responded, Johnson was within 50 to 60 yards of a church. She allegedly said: “[t]his is some motherfucking shit.” The officer arrested her for violating the anti-profanity law.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Top 25 Thanksgiving quotations

  "It is therefore recommended ... to set apart Thursday the eighteenth day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise, that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor ..." -Samuel Adams, father of the American Revolution on November 1, 1777 (adopted by the 13 states as the first official Thanksgiving Proclamation)

  "Gratitude is the sign of noble souls." -Aesop's Fables

  "Thanksgiving is possible only for those who take time to remember; no one can give thanks who has a short memory." -Anonymous

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: How it all started for Richard Shelby

  Our Senior U.S. Senator Richard Shelby will begin his sixth six-year term in January. He is an Alabama treasure. Over the past 30 years as our Senator he has brought millions of federal dollars home to Alabama.

  Richard Shelby currently reigns as Alabama’s most prominent political figure. He is one of Alabama’s three greatest Senators in history along with Lister Hill and John Sparkman. Shelby is easily one of the most influential political figures in the nation.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sharon Shahid: Now trending: Hoaxes and fake news

  In 1835, the story that was trending in New York City involved the discovery of batlike creatures on the moon by a powerful telescope of “vast dimensions” located at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

  According to the spunky New York Sun, the groundbreaking penny paper that published the exclusive story, the four-foot-tall talking creatures had wings composed of thin membranes, with short, glossy hair the color of copper. The story, complete with an artist’s rendering of life on the moon, ran in six parts, captivating readers still mesmerized by the real-life appearance of Halley’s comet.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Republican ACA repeal bill would unravel the market even before it goes into effect

  Last year, both the Senate and House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA; the bill was subsequently vetoed by President Barack Obama. Unlike previous repeal attempts, this bill was able to reach the president’s desk thanks to the budget reconciliation process, which allowed it to bypass a Senate filibuster.

  Since a reconciliation bill does not require 60 votes in the Senate, it may represent the most likely vehicle for congressional Republicans and President-elect Donald Trump to repeal the ACA. Although it would not include a replacement for the ACA, Republicans may argue that delaying the date at which key provisions kick in would provide enough time for a smooth transition.

  This is a fallacy. Even with a delayed effective date, the reconciliation bill approach would cause massive disruption and chaos in the individual market for health insurance. The complete unraveling of the market would occur by the end of 2017.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Michael Josephson: I just have to outrun you

  During a camping trip, Sam and Tom saw a bear coming their way. Sam started to take off his backpack and told Tom he was going to run for it. When his surprised friend said, “You can’t outrun a bear,” Sam replied, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.”

  Sadly, this look-out-for-number-one mentality is common in business, politics, and sports. Everywhere, basically good people engage in — and justify — selfish, short-sighted conduct that treats coworkers, colleagues, and teammates as competitors rather than comrades.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Jeff Sessions: Champion of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant extremists

  Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, one of President-elect Donald Trump’s closest advisers during his campaign and his selection for U.S. attorney general, has longstanding and extensive ties to both anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim extremist groups.

  Sessions, who has served in the U.S. Senate since 1997, has for years been the key bridge between the anti-immigrant movement and Congress. His efforts to combat comprehensive immigration reform legislation have won him plaudits across the nativist landscape.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Craig Ford: Time for accountability

  The election is over and now the real work begins. Part of that work means holding our leaders accountable for their promises and commitments, and both sides of the aisle have plenty to be held accountable for.

  Republicans now have absolute power across all branches of our federal and state government. Republicans have not had this much power since Reconstruction after the Civil War. We have a new president who has promised sweeping changes, and there is no one to stand in his way.

  Americans were clear when they voted that they want change. If change does not come, it will be because Republicans have failed to deliver.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1536: We must be at our best when things get bad

  I desperately called on my dear mother. Across the chasm of her death nearly 20 years ago, she reminded me of what she said to me and to her many children nearly 60 ago. I felt her spirit moving within me. I was strengthened. Now, I can go on.

  I will share with you why I called upon my mother on this occasion. However, before I share the why, I want to share with you what she said so many years ago. At the time, we were nine children, a mother and a father living in a three-room house. Mind you, not a three-bedroom house, but a three-room house – a kitchen, a middle room and a front room.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: 2018 is closer than you think

  Donald J. Trump’s election to the presidency left the pollsters and pundits from every media outlet and news network with egg on their face. It also left them with their mouths ajar in shock.

  Every poll and every pundit had Hillary Clinton winning the presidency. It was assumed that the Electoral College advantage for a liberal Democrat was impregnable. Trump’s amazing surprise victory will be recorded as one of the biggest upsets in modern political history. It will be compared to and was very similar to the upset victory that Harry Truman pulled off against Thomas Dewey in 1948.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Liz Kennedy: Voter suppression laws cost Americans their voices at the polls

  The integrity of U.S. elections depends on every eligible American being able to cast a vote that is counted. Yet this year, the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act, many Americans across the country were blocked from having their voices heard in the democratic process.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sharon Shahid: News ratings trumped credibility

  After one of the nastiest and most divisive presidential campaigns in recent memory, business tycoon Donald Trump is president-elect of the United States.

  It will probably take some time for the country to scrub out the mud that stained our democracy and gargle away the bad taste left in our collective mouths. But the country is still standing, and the ideals of the First Amendment remain firmly in place.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Jake Desyllas: Immigration controls are socialist

  In the classical-liberal age of 19th-century Europe, there were no immigration controls. Here is how Gustav Stolper — a German economist, classical liberal, and an immigrant — described the world he had known:

       This economic and social system of Europe [before 1914] was predicated on a few axiomatic principles. These principles were considered safe and unshakable…. They were freedom of movement for men, for goods, and for money. Everyone could leave his country when he wanted and travel or migrate wherever he pleased without a passport. The only European country that demanded passports (not even visas!) was Russia, looked at askance for her backwardness with an almost contemptuous smile. Who wanted to travel to Russia, anyway?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Charles C. Haynes: Religious freedom in the age of Trump

  In the end, this election wasn’t decided by Russian hacking, sexual assault charges, “blood coming out of her whatever,” the FBI or any of the other extraordinary moments that defied the norms of political behavior and discourse. “We the People” decided it.

  Enough of us were so angry, alienated and frustrated that we were willing to roll the dice on a presidential candidate whom, if the exit polls are correct, a vast majority of voters consider unqualified to lead the most powerful nation in the world. Day-after message? Blow up the country and see what happens.

  The overriding issue wasn’t health care, taxes, jobs, climate change (barely mentioned) or even the ridiculous “wall.” The issue was – and is – what kind of country are we, do we want to be?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Remembering America’s veterans in 2016

  This Veterans Day—as on all Veterans Days—we at the Center for American Progress, especially those who have served, pause to honor the brave men and women who serve or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces—especially those who have given their lives or suffered physical or mental wounds in the course of defending this great nation. We also pay tribute to the families who have lost a loved one, suffered from the wounds of war, and dealt with frequent deployments away from home in order to make this service possible.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Stephen Piggott: White nationalists and the Alt-Right celebrate Trump’s victory

  The radical right is celebrating the election of Donald Trump whose campaign brought attention to their issues not seen in decades. Some even claimed that a white revolution had begun.

  Recording an ecstatic video at an Election Night party, Richard Spencer, head of the National Policy Institute, exclaimed, “The Alt-Right Just won!” In the morning, Spencer tweeted:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Michael Josephson: There are two kinds of people

  There are two kinds of people in the world: those who think there are two kinds of people in the world and those who think those who think there are two kinds of people in the world are self-righteous jerks.

  A listener called me to task concerning a story about a man who told his son there are two kinds of people: those who return their shopping carts and those who don’t.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

David L. Hudson Jr.: Federal appeals court upholds removal of college student for Facebook posts

  A public college had the authority to remove a nursing student from its program for Facebook posts without violating the First Amendment, a federal appeals court has ruled. The decision emphasizes the danger that students take when posting profane or unprofessional remarks online.

  Craig Keefe sued officials at Central Lakes College after they removed him from the Associate Degree Nursing Program for lack of professionalism. The concern arose from several of Keefe’s Facebook posts, which included the following:

Monday, November 7, 2016

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill's comments on voter registration are cynical, ignorant

  In an interview with a documentary filmmaker, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill attacked automatic voter registration as the “sorry and lazy way out” and cited the sacrifices made by civil rights leaders like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) as a reason not to make voting more accessible to more Americans.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Ganesh Sitaraman: Reforming regulation

  The debate over federal regulation has long been at the center of political contests. But surprisingly, the degree of agreement about regulation is considerable. No serious commentator denies that regulation is essential to ensuring well-functioning markets; protecting the health and safety of workers and families; and preventing fraud, corruption, and theft. Smart regulation is what makes cars safe to drive, lakes and rivers safe to swim in, and food safe to eat. At the same time, every serious commentator recognizes that poorly designed regulations can be detrimental; they can stack the deck in favor of special interests, prevent competition, and inhibit innovation.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sharon Shahid: Media soul-searching in store after election

  The history-making 2016 presidential campaign has been handicapped like a horse race, play-by-played like a boxing match, and has the international appeal of a World Cup soccer tournament. With all that running, punching and kicking, it’s no wonder the U.S. electorate is exhausted as the campaign nears the finish.

  This politics-as-sports mentality has been reflected in headlines too numerous to count, essentially turning one of democracy’s most sacred rights into a gaming event. When the postmortem on the presidential election begins Nov. 9, the media’s failure to adequately live up to their reputation as the Fourth Estate, the watchdogs of government, should take up substantial space in the pathology report.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Paid Leave 101

  Every day, millions of Americans are forced to juggle work and family responsibilities. At the same time, U.S. policies have not kept pace with the needs of modern workers. Without family-friendly workplace policies such as paid sick days and paid family and medical leave, employees often find achieving a work-life balance to be a herculean task—and in many cases, a myth. Employees deserve protections that enable them to take care of themselves and their families as they strive to do their best work for their employers.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

David L. Hudson Jr.: Federal judge: School officials justified in suspending student for cyberbullying

  What happens when cyberbullying laws and policies collide with a student’s First Amendment free-speech claims? A recent federal district court decision out of New Jersey recently struck the balance in support of cyberbullying laws.

  Bryshawn Dunkley, a senior at Cedar Creek High School during the 2013-14 school year, received a two-day suspension for a YouTube video criticizing a football teammate. A couple months later, he received an additional nine-day suspension for Twitter postings from an account he co-managed with another student. The Twitter account featured several messages referring to female students as “hoes” and also used the word “nigga.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: What this election means for the U.S. Supreme Court

  We will vote to select the 44th President of the United States Tuesday. The next president will be a New Yorker. Whoever is selected will enter the Oval office with the most unfavorable poll ratings of any president in recent memory. This election will epitomize the old adage that George Wallace once told, and that is, “more folks vote against someone than for someone.”

  There is no question that our country is drifting to the left in terms of ideology. We in Alabama are conservative - pro-life, pro-gun, Christians with a desire for a strong military and sound fiscal government. All of these philosophical tenets align with the Republican Party. The Democratic Party is on the opposite side. We have two very diverse parties in America.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Anisha Singh: This Election Day, Americans cannot afford to take a seat

  On November 8, millions of Americans will head to the polls to vote for their elected representatives at the local, state, and national levels. While the stakes are high for everyone, they are particularly high for those voters whose rights have historically been denied or scrutinized. Indeed, many communities of color remain blocked from the polls by voter suppression laws and insufficient language assistance.