The point is that editorial writers seeking to uncover dysfunctional government and advocate for its reform will discover the mother lode in Montgomery.
The most recent example is found in the winners of the 2009 Carmage Walls Commentary Prize.
For the category of large newspapers, Mobile's Press-Register won for a series on the state's highly regressive grocery tax.
In the category for newspapers with circulation under 50,000, the Star's editorial page won for a series on the state's shamefully lax laws governing predatory lending.
We salute Mac Thrower, the Press-Register editorial writer whose series noted, "Alabama is a low-tax state that imposes some of the highest taxes in the nation on the poor.
"State lawmakers are content to live with this morally indefensible dichotomy. It's either that or they're too cowardly to risk any political capital trying to overhaul the state's wildly unbalanced and wholly unreliable tax system."
Also, we are humbled to have received recognition for our predatory lending series at this week's Southern Newspaper Publishers Association conference in Naples, Fla. We are proud to have a Carmage Walls contest judge write, "The devastating effects of the state's almost worthless usury law comes alive as the writers put human faces on this financial tragedy."
In spite of the accolades, we are confident that like this editorial board, most editorial writers and advocates for progressive reform in Alabama would rather have less cumbersome problems to write about. No state government is perfect, but this state seems determined to stay near the back of the line.
It's worth remembering that Casey and his fellow Birmingham News editorial writers' series on Alabama's unfair and inadequate tax system won the 1991 Pulitzer. We also recall the writings of Bailey Thomson, whose editorials on Alabama's broken Constitution made him a Pulitzer finalist in 1995.
Over the past two decades, improvements made in these areas — unjust taxes, broken government, consumer protection — are rare, if not nonexistent. Seems a majority of Alabama's elected leaders — and, yes, a majority of its residents — have not found the political will to correct old ills.
So Alabama — a state blessed with so many assets, in its resources and its people — hobbles along, held down by an unworkable government that punishes its weakest residents in myriad ways. Until this changes, writing about fixing the state's systemic injustices will remain a cottage industry for editorial writers.