As harsh as it sounds, D. Ray Hill, the new superintendent of Anniston City Schools, wasn’t the Board of Education’s first choice. Board members wanted Matthew Alexander, approving him by a 4-1 vote. He wanted the job, so we thought. But then he declined to sign his contract.

Memorial Day is solemn and festive, an odd combination of remembering the nation’s military deaths and celebrating the arrival of another interminable summer. Even the holiday’s roots are complicated by their connection to the Civil War. Sectional feelings die hard.

Alabama has known shame before, deep, embedded embarrassment that lingers like a chronic disease. But nothing since the days of George Wallace and Bull Connor has shrouded Alabama with as much shame as the anti-abortion bill Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law Wednesday.

The Army closed Fort Devens, about an hour’s drive from Boston, in 1996. It closed Fort McClellan three years later. The unmistakable redevelopment differences that separate these two former military posts remain firmly in place. And the reasons are clear.

Alabama’s prisons are cesspools of violence, rape, black-market commerce, extortion, suicide and mismanagement. They’re understaffed and overwhelmed. Alabamians have heard that condemnation with alarming regularity from journalists, activists and most recently the U.S. Department of Justice.…

Alabama doesn’t need a statewide lottery. It needs better public schools and lower poverty rates and properly run prisons and improved infrastructure and a host of other things — some massive, others less so but nonetheless important. But a lottery isn’t a must-have.

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