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October 1, 2014

Insight

Hardy Jackson: And a legislator shall lead them

Over in Birmingham, some of my favorite columnists have been wondering how it can be that Gov. Robert Bentley is setting such a dismal record on his signature issue, job creation, and yet polled Alabama voters give the governor a 28-point lead over his Democratic challenger.

More stories

Sunday 09/14/2014
Insight: Small size, serious pride in Winterboro
Posted: September 14, 2014

Amidst the whooping and hollering in the Winterboro Bulldogs’ locker room after their 33-6 win over Coosa Christian on Aug. 28, Alan Beckett couldn’t help but think back just 12 months to the first game of 2013. There was no laughter that night. Just the long faces a loss brings.

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Sunday 09/07/2014
Insight: Alcohol use in Alabama
Posted: September 07, 2014

Earlier this year, a Washington Post article hailed Alabama along with Alaska as “national leaders” when it comes to taxing alcoholic beverages. “They are the only states that claim a spot among the top five with the highest excise taxes each for beer, wine and spirits, according to the free market-oriented Tax Foundation,” the newspaper reported.

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Sunday 08/31/2014
Insight: Alabama's quest for equality
Posted: August 31, 2014

In a government of the people and for the people, a number of groups have done quite well in getting the majority to accept that they are indeed people worthy of participating in the political process.

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Sunday 08/10/2014
Insight: Plutocracy trumping democracy
Posted: August 10, 2014

A disquieting paradox is increasingly apparent. Americans hope for the self-respect and happiness that arise from a hearty sense of earned merit. Yet, we simultaneously desire greater wealth and advantages than deserved by any prudent measure of social responsibility. We reckon ourselves upstanding because of petty morality, while seeking to exploit lawful loopholes that aid wealth acquisition. Our strange sense of deservedness is rooted in strategic play and name recognition, not the true value of our contributions.

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Sunday 07/20/2014
Hardy Jackson: Alabama's Bentley blues
Posted: July 20, 2014

With the re-election of Gov. Robert Bentley a foregone conclusion — or, at least, as foregone as a conclusion can get in Alabama politics — it might be well to consider what past governors have done with their second terms.

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Sunday 07/06/2014
Op-ed: Street killer on the loose
Posted: July 06, 2014

Saturday would have been my son’s 32nd birthday. Instead of celebrating with him and his younger brother, I planned to visit his grave.

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Sunday 06/29/2014
Insight: Voting in the South: 50 years after the Freedom Summer
Posted: June 29, 2014

Freedom Summer was launched as an assault on segregation and inequality on many fronts. Activists set up 30 Freedom Schools as an alternative to the state’s underfunded and segregated education system. The Medical Committee for Human Rights offered free health clinics.

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Letter from Peru: Teaching, and learning, in a tiny village
Posted: June 29, 2014

We came to teach, not realizing until later that we were the students. In the simplicity of this tiny Peruvian village, we found the lessons of the grace of God.

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Sunday 06/08/2014
Insight: Gunshots in America
Posted: June 08, 2014

How many Americans have been shot over the past 10 years? No one really knows. We don't even know if the number of people shot annually has gone up or down over that time. The government's own numbers seem to conflict.

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Sunday 05/18/2014
Judging a president’s qualifications
Updated: May 19, 2014 - 1:21 pm

Marco Rubio is a freshman Republican senator from Florida, a virtual unknown outside political circles but already a possible presidential candidate. The other day he won headlines by pronouncing himself ready to be chief executive of the greatest power on Earth.

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Anniston’s story: Embrace it
Updated: June 24, 2014 - 3:34 pm

Today’s story of Anniston is conveniently told in terms of time: 53 years since the Freedom Riders bus burning, 15 years since Fort McClellan closed, 11 years since the landmark PCBs legal settlement, three years since the incineration of the last chemical weapon stored at Anniston Army Depot.

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Saturday 05/03/2014
A return to the Great Society
Posted: May 03, 2014

Growing up in the 1960s in a small town in Mississippi, I vividly remember the animosity and anger directed toward President John Kennedy.  The general consensus was that the wealthy New Englander had no understanding of the “Southern way of life.”

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Saturday 04/05/2014
Insight: Let loose The Purse strings – Supreme Court decision puts U.S. politics into a tailspin
Posted: April 05, 2014

With its members holding lifetime tenure and sheltered from elections and polls, the Supreme Court has the capacity to structure the politics of the other two branches. It did so in 2000, when it settled the electoral standoff between Al Gore Jr. and George W. Bush. It did so in 2010, when it permitted corporations and nonprofit organizations to make unlimited “independent expenditures.” And it did so again last week.

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Sunday 03/23/2014
Insight: Misdirected complaints — In Alabama, the local level is where decisions about schools should be made
Posted: March 23, 2014

Public discourse is important and necessary for good government, and lately there has been no shortage of it surrounding Alabama’s College and Career Ready Standards, known often as Common Core. Critics of the standards demanded that the state Legislature overrule the State Board of Education’s 2010 adoption of the standards. But, while these critics are to be admired for their passion, their ire is misdirected.

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Saturday 03/15/2014
Insight: We need more Reubin Askews in our world
Posted: March 15, 2014

The South lost a good and decent man this week. Reubin O’Donovan Askew, Florida governor from 1971 to 1979 and perhaps the South’s most respected politician, died surrounded by his family. He was 85.

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Sunday 02/23/2014
Insight: What’s fair for Alabama students — Legislature must give state’s schools proper funding
Posted: February 23, 2014

What makes K-12 public education unique is that we accept all students regardless of their gifts or challenges. I find it interesting that I often hear the statement, “If they would just run it like a business it would improve.”

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Sunday 02/16/2014
Insight: In education, money matters
Posted: February 16, 2014

Next to physicians, I most admire teachers. Although I value all of them, my favorites are public school teachers.

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Sunday 02/09/2014
Insight: Alabama’s failed job strategy
Posted: February 09, 2014

After the “Conservative Democratic Party” “redeemed” Alabama from “black Reconstruction” in 1875, the state followed a straight-line strategy of economic development for nearly 150 years. Keep taxes low. Keep labor unions out. Don’t regulate business. Control labor. If necessary to provide adequate cheap labor, impress citizens into the horrific convict lease system. Don’t worry about educating the masses. Recruit low-wage, low-skill industry that will move plants to the lowest-cost production site. After 1900, sweeten the pot with tax incentives, rebates and job training.

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Sunday 02/02/2014
Insight: Health care, Alabama style — A miserable history, a future worth saving
Posted: February 02, 2014

Gov. Robert Bentley described the State of the State. President Obama discussed the State of the Union. As a political independent who voted for both of them (is it possible to rescind both votes?), I have earned the right to an ordinary folk’s version of both subjects. Since Americans trust used-car salesmen more than politicians, I figure I can’t lose.

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Sunday 01/26/2014
Harvey H. Jackson: Our ‘complex place’ — A word about Wilcox County
Posted: January 26, 2014

I am not from Wilcox County. I grew up one county to the south. However, I have visited Wilcox County many times, dropped in on kin folks, done research, given talks, and met with local citizens. I count many of those citizens as friends.

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