Opinion | Arming teachers is a terrible idea

February 23, 2018

By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

The email from the dean of UAB’s College of Arts and Sciences arrived in my in-box while I was drinking coffee and reading my Kindle between my two composition classes this past Wednesday morning.

In a way, some part of me was expecting it. Dreading it. Accepting it.

The college has scheduled two sessions for “Active Shooter Response Training” for faculty and staff. I’ll be attending one of those sessions in early March.

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Opinion | Willful American stupidity: How Russia rigged the U.S. election

February 22, 2018

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

This is how Russia manipulated a U.S. presidential election.

On Tuesday, my Facebook feed began filling up with posts about the Florida high school students who are leading the gun reform charge following the deadly shooting on their campus last week. Most of those posts were people in awe of the stature and bravery of the kids.

But other posts were disgusting.

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Opinion | Inside the State House: Elections

February 21, 2018

By Steve Flowers
Inside the State House

The 2018 legislative session will be short and sweet. It is an election year. Historically, during the last year of a quadrennium, the legislature convenes early and passes the budgets, then goes home and campaigns for reelection to another four year term.

Our forefathers, who wrote our 1901 Constitution must have been thinking the same thing because they designed for the fourth year of the quadrennium legislative session to start and end early. It is set by law to begin in early January, whereas it begins in February in most years. This year’s session began January 9 and can run through April 23. The consensus is that they will adjourn sine die earlier than the April deadline. Most observers believe that they will pass the budgets and be out of Montgomery by the end of March and home campaigning by April Fools’ Day.

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Opinion | Alabama’s civil forfeiture laws aren’t just unfair, they’re un-American

February 20, 2018

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Last week, Barry Matson, the executive director of the Alabama District Attorneys Association, stood before a Senate committee and said flatly that “rumors” of improper civil asset forfeitures in this state were just not true.

He should try telling that line of bull to Jamey Vibbert.

If you’re unfamiliar with the civil asset forfeiture laws of Alabama — and around the country — or if you merely think everything is probably OK because Jeff Sessions, one of the worst people on earth, says they are, let me explain.

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Opinion | Your pro-gun arguments are stupid

February 16, 2018

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Here we are again.

Another school shooting. Another AR-15. Another domestic terrorist.

And more of the same BS answers from conservatives and gun nuts about a problem that is, quite obviously, directly linked to the weapon of choice used in these awful attacks — a gun.

For some reason, large swaths of Americans, and particularly Alabamians, are incredibly protective of guns — more so, it seems, than of school children. And as such, after every mass shooting, the same old rhetoric gets spewed again and again.

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Opinion | Shots fired. We do not care

February 15, 2018

By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

Well, it’s happened again. And soon, we’ll be saying: “Well, it’s happened again.”

And not long after that: “Well, it’s happened again.”

We do not learn. We do not act. We do not care enough to do something constructive about the gun culture in this cruel nation.

Multiple deaths and injuries from the Valentine’s Day massacre at a high school in Broward County, Florida.

It’s not something we haven’t seen before. Indeed, it’s something we see too often. Just this year alone, about once every few days. School shootings are not a rarity anymore. They are the new normal. They are common.

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Opinion | Inside the State House: The Capitol Press Corps

February 14, 2018

By Steve Flowers
Inside the State House

I have written about the legendary capitol reporters who use to cover Goat Hill. There was Bob Ingram of the Montgomery Advertiser, Al Fox of the Birmingham News, Hugh Sparrow of the Birmingham News, Rex Thomas of the Associated Press, Don Martin of UPI and Clarke Stallworth of the Birmingham Post Herald. A young cub reporter named Jim Bennett joined the Post Herald in 1961 and later had a distinguished career in Public Service. None of these legends is any longer with us.

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The sketchiness of “economic development”

February 13, 2018

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Let’s be honest, governing well is hard.

So hard, in fact, that sometime in the past, most Alabama politicians quit trying. And so, our people found an easier way to make taxpayers at least believe that they’re doing some good.

Economic development.

Essentially, the idea is this: We pay companies to locate here through a complex series of straight cash, training programs, land gifts, tax abatements and tax deferments. These companies accept these ludicrous gifts and in exchange dole out … jobs to people so the company can continue (hopefully) turning a profit.

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Opinion | It’s the greed that hurts Alabama most

February 9, 2018

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

It’s the greed that bothers me most about the Alabama Legislature.

I know that it sometimes seems tough to narrow down the most troubling aspect of our state lawmakers — to boil down the systemic failures and overwhelming corruption to a single topic.

But it’s not for me.

It’s greed.

Because every bad decision made in that house, every stupid bill, every head-scratching statement, all of the oh-my-God embarrassing moments can almost always be traced back to one motivating factor: self-enrichment.

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Opinion | Once again, we dare defend our wrongs

February 8, 2018

By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

How many times is Alabama going to go down this well-traveled road? We’re like a Twilight Zone episode. Or many of them.

Our state is beautiful; the people generally are wonderful. We smile and say hi as we pass each other on the street.

Alabama is a great place to live, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

But we’ve got a mean streak. Our state motto – “We Dare Defend Our Rights” – should, more accurately be: “We Dare Defend Our Wrongs.”

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