A round-up of Sunday editorials from Alabama’s leading newspapers:
The Birmingham News – Martha Roby: Clinton offers evasive explanation to revealing email
As you know, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday appeared the Select Committee on Benghazi to answer questions about what happened before, during and after the September 11, 2012 attack on a diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya. It was a long hearing with hours of back-and-forth testimony, and I wanted to share a few quick takeaways from one of my own exchanges with Mrs. Clinton.
In my first question, I asked Clinton about an email between State Department employees regarding Clinton’s awareness of the American presence and security situation in Benghazi, Libya months before attack.
In an email dated February 9, 2012, Alyce N. Abdalla said the following to State Department colleague Evyenia Sidereas:
“Also, the Secretary asked last week if we still have a presence in Benghazi – I think she would be upset to hear that yes we do but because we don’t have enough security they are on lockdown.”
The Decatur Daily – Elect a president who is presidential
Oh for a Republican presidential candidate who acts like an actual conservative.
Still five months ahead of presidential primaries, it’s difficult to see through the fog of Kardashian-esque absurdity dressed like reality. As in reality TV.
Donald Trump is still leading the polls, carrying around a Bible — one of the few management books he cannot quote — and unleashing a scorched-earth strategy that lights ablaze all in his path — Democrat or Republican, gay or straight, white, black or brown.
Fast on his tail is Ben Carson, who has read a book by a paranoid conspiracist and wants to explain to us how America has become the modern Third Reich.
This isn’t real. This isn’t an actual American presidential race. It can’t be.
True conservative values embrace passionate speech but do not include turning up the rhetoric to WWE cuss-off level.
Trump and Carson, according to Fox News polls, currently have 45 percent of the Republican base cornered between them. At first blush, they are very different. Trump is a blueblood business magnate who owns a chunk of New York City, thumps his chest and shouts down any perceived affront like a 1950s ball coach. He’s a white man who’s angry — about exactly what is hard to pin down, as he claims to have $10 billion and needs for nothing. He promises to build a wall to keep out immigrants, notwithstanding the fact that his current wife, his third, is an immigrant, as was his mother.
Carson brings a face the Republicans seriously need: one that isn’t white. He’s African American, and he’s a pediatric neurosurgeon, which means he has achieved brilliance in his field and is capable of presenting himself with a demeanor worthy of that standing.
Dothan Eagle – Teenager’s help shows community strength
It’s probably safe to say that most high school kids don’t look for opportunities to interact with law enforcement officials – unless it involves some sort of mechanical failure that strands them on the side of the road. When a vehicle fails, any help is welcome.
But it’s usually an officer coming to the aid of a civilian, not the other way around.
That’s what impressed Houston County Sheriff Sgt. Robert Reichert after he had a flat tire on the way to a burglary call on Oct. 13. Nathan Harper, a 17-year-old Ashford High School student, stopped on his way home from the hospital, where he’d spent the day with his grandfather after heart surgery.
Harper approached the vehicle and told Sgt. Reichert, “I got you,” and helped him change the tire.
Law enforcement officers across the nation have had a tough time recently. Isolated incidents in other parts of the country began to loom large under the harsh glare of television and social media.
But the power of social media has no agenda, as Sgt. Reichert proved by posting to Facebook a video of Harper helping him change the tire on his marked vehicle. The video clip quickly accumulated more than 26,000 views.
The Enterprise Ledger – Strange, yet true, once again from around our world
Cleaning up some odds and more odds:
A 100-year-old woman in Buffalo, New York, is said to work 11 hours a day at a laundromat. She got her first job during the Great Depression and has not stopped. She works from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, six days per week. Her advice: “Get out and do some work.”
A high school football coach in Washington State has been threatened with dismissal because he refuses to not pray at midfield after each game. Yep, that’s where we are today, folks. So sad.
I’m not sure if this is more sad or strange, but a Puerto Rican family had a big party for a family member recently. All the guy did was sit at a table and look as if he was playing dominoes. He never actually played a tile, but family members, including his mother, would pose with him for photos. The reason the man never moved? He was dead. They propped him up for their wake. The man had been shot and killed at a bar just a few days shy of his 23rd birthday, but the family gave him one last party, even leaving a drink beside him. He was dressed in a jumpsuit holding domino tiles in his fingers. Just weird, right?
From the “In Case You Missed It” department, did you see where identical twins also in Washington state could be born more than three months apart? Without going into the medical details, one boy was born on Sept. 29, and the other is expected to be delivered as much as 15 weeks later. It’s a rare complication, but doctors are hoping for a January delivery date of the second twin.
TimesDaily – Alabama editorial roundup
The Montgomery Advertiser on Justice Parker recognizing the law:
Judges in Alabama swear to support the U.S. Constitution when they take office, but some choose to ignore that oath, claiming they need not recognize federal laws that don’t fit with their personal prejudices.
Take Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker, who spoke in an Oct. 6 radio interview about his erroneous belief the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down same-sex marriage bans doesn’t apply nationwide. And so not in Alabama.
That’s nonsense, but Parker is a right-wing ideologue straight out of the camp of state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, so the legal sophistry comes as no surprise.
Parker also appears to have no compunctions about breaching ethics laws that prohibit judges, who are supposed to maintain at least the veneer of impartiality, from making public comment on pending cases.
A case brought by conservative Alabama groups that oppose the June federal same-sex marriage ruling is pending before the state’s high court.
The groups have every right to seek legal review, however futilely. But Parker’s actions have sullied Alabama’s justice system and landed him where he belongs: in legal hot water along with Moore.
The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a complaint against Parker with the Judicial Inquiry Commission last week, citing both his lack of restraint in airing his views and his purported defiance of established federal law.
The SPLC filed a similar complaint against Moore in January over public remarks he made opposing same-sex marriage and propping up state officials — such as probate judges who issue marriage licenses — who don’t want to comply with their sworn duties.
As those complaints work their way through the judicial commission, let’s remember some history.
In his first term as chief justice, Moore brought disgrace on Alabama by refusing to obey federal court orders to remove a granite monument of the Ten Commandments he’d had installed in the state Judicial Building.
The Huntsville Times – Republicans are addicted to Hillary and Benghazi: A love story
Whoa, you like to think that you’re immune to the stuff, oh yeah
It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough
You know you’re gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to love
— Robert Palmer
Republicans can not get enough of Hillary Clinton and Benghazi.
It’s like they have a mad crush. An obsession. They’re addicted to love.
They keep bringing Hillary back to testify, over and over again. The more she testifies the stronger she gets. And the weaker they become. She’s like crack. They can’t help themselves. And the taxpayers are paying for their habit.
So far, House Republicans have built a $4.5 million Benghazi bridge to the White House for Hillary.
So far, House Republicans have built a $4.5 million Benghazi bridge to the White House for Hillary.
Maybe that’s what they want.
Press-Register – Momofseven comes to the defense of Millennials
Millennials get a bad rap. And, yeah, sometimes we deserve it.
But some of the most intelligent, creative and driven people I know are children of the 1980s and ’90s. The stereotype of the lazy, entitled Millennial just doesn’t have weight next to the young change-makers who are pushing Alabama forward.
That’s the funny thing about stereotypes — they rarely hold up outside of limited imaginations.
My colleague John Archibald’s most recent column featured a brilliant defense of Millennials, written by a gifted Millennial.
John’s piece generated lots of discussion across generations but Momofseven’s poignant comment rang loudest. Some of Millennials’ biggest critics were urged to look at themselves before pointing fingers:
“The only thing I can add when I hear people complain about millennials is this:
“Who raised them?!!
“They did not appear in the late 90’s with their ideas fully formed.
“They did not appear with a sense of entitlement.
“They did not appear with a “worse” work ethic.
“They were taught these things…by SOME parents.
Montgomery Advertiser – No going back once socialist journey starts
It wasn’t that long ago that socialism was something to be scorned and defeated. Today, Democratic presidential candidates, to varying degrees, are running on a socialist platform.
Bernie Sanders makes no bones about it; he says he is a socialist, but in reality he is a closet communist. Hillary Clinton says that she is a progressive Democrat when in fact her platform is nothing less than socialist. The other Democratic candidates have no idea what the hell they are.
In essence, the Democratic Party is now the Socialist Party of America. Bernie Sanders, of course, insists on making the distinction that he is running as a Democrat-Socialist of the same ilk as the socialists in Denmark.
Denmark is a nice country, I like people from Denmark, but we are Americans. Why does the left consistently seek another national identity?
In any event, the real point is that once we sojourn down the socialist highway, there is no turning back. The fact is there is no such thing as a “good” kind of socialism. There is only socialism, more socialism and, ultimately, implosion.
Once socialism is established there is never enough “other people’s money” to satisfy the people’s lust for free stuff. For instance, Hillary’s “going-in position” of paying for universal health care, free college and college loan forgiveness will costs no less than $14 trillion. Who will pay for these entitlements?
Stick it to the man, tax the rich. If the left took all the money from the richest people in America, it would still fall short of carrying such a heavy welfare burden. Eventually, there would be no rich, only a massive underclass controlled by their political-socialist masters.
Opelika-Auburn News –Stuck at Square 1 with electronic bingo
The electronic bingo casino at Macon County’s VictoryLand has been closed almost two years since a raid by state law enforcement agents who seized more than 1,600 gambling machines and about $260,000. But the facility could soon be back in business; Montgomery County Circuit Judge William Shashy, appointed by the state Supreme Court to hear the gambling case after local judges recused themselves, recently gave the state 45 days to return the machines and cash, calling the raid “selective prosecution” since other similar operations are still in business in Alabama.
Years after electronic bingo controversy first erupted, the central question remains unanswered. Are electronic bingo machines to be classified as bingo? Or are they slot machines with a bingo theme? Alabama’s constitution forbids gambling, but several of more than 800 amendments to the guiding document allow bingo in about a quarter of Alabama’s 67 counties. Slot machines, however, are illegal everywhere.
The State of Alabama takes the position that electronic bingo devices are slot machines, and while there have been a few raids around the state – including Dothan’s former Country Crossing – there’ve been no arrests in any of the cases. State prosecutors have tried unsuccessfully to shut down electronic bingo in tribal casinos in Alabama on the legal point that tribal facilities cannot have any gambling beyond a class that’s already legal in the state. However, federal officials view electronic bingo as bingo, not slots.
Meanwhile, the semantics of the matter have been extraordinarily expensive to average Alabamians. The state has spent millions of dollars in a war on electronic bingo. Operators have lost millions, which means thousands of jobs have evaporated. In Macon County, home of VictoryLand, county operations have suffered without the revenue from its second largest employer.
The Tuscaloosa News – Plan may emerge with compromise
After spending 18 months and almost $400,000 developing a strategic plan, the vote on the plan by Tuscaloosa City Board of Education members ended in a draw, effectively killing the plan for now.
Superintendent Paul McKendrick admitted he didn’t exactly know how the school system would move forward now.
While seeming disappointed that the plan — covering a myriad of topics from school zones and construction to staffing and curriculum — didn’t pass, McKendrick noted that the system will find a path forward. His problem is that he currently lacks guidance from the board on how to proceed.
The board obviously was divided on the plan’s priorities. Board Chairman Lee Garrison admitted that he gave the plan no more than an even chance of passing.
A tie in this case is a loss since it takes a majority of the board to enact the plan.
So, does the board simply dust off its hands and walk away, starting over again from scratch? Not necessarily. Opponents of the plan are able to articulate what they don’t like about it.
“I voted the way I voted because I still have a lot of uncertainty in how the plan will improve student achievement, especially for those children who are not doing well in school,” board member Earnestine Tucker said. “What this vote does is it forces us to sit down and dissect this whole plan so that we can come up with a plan that’s not going to just focus on construction but improving student achievement throughout the system.”
What Tucker described is basic to the political system. Put in a nutshell, board members are going to have to hash out points on which they disagree and create compromises that can be incorporated into a plan. That’s politics 101.