A roundup of Sunday editorials from Alabama’s leading newspapers:
Anniston Star – Don’t mess with football, governor
And we thought we had it bad in Alabama.
In 2015, Montgomery lawmakers spent months dealing with an expected General Fund budget shortfall of at least $250 million. State parks closed or reduced hours and state services were trimmed. It took three legislative sessions to produce a budget Gov. Robert Bentley would sign. And still more shortfalls are expected this year.
Well, down in Louisiana, that state is facing a $943 million budget deficit and has a June 30 deadline to solve it. Thursday night, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ budget chief said the state was stopping payments into TOPS, Louisiana’s college scholarship program that assists 47,000 students, and that virtually all parts of the state’s public colleges and universities would be affected by the drastic cutbacks.
That includes LSU football, some feared.
Birmingham News – Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and you still need ideas.
Yes, it’s that time of year. We’ve literally created a national calendar reminder to express our love for our spouses and significant others. If you’re reading this while standing in line at a drugstore, I feel compelled to again remind you that our national day of love and romance traces its origins to Lupercalia. The ancient Roman festival began with men sacrificing goats and a dog, the hides of which they would use to whip nearby women in an effort to promote fertility. How romantic…
Yes, deer season just ended, but striking women with dead animal skins is widely frowned upon these days regardless of your intentions.
Last year, I suggested a few gifts that aren’t as great as you think they are. That still stands. Red roses, assorted chocolates, perfume and signed cards lack inspiration. For the husbands out there just realizing Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, here are five gift ideas that might ring the bell with your lady luck:
Decatur Daily – State lawmakers not acting like conservatives
A fundamental principle of conservatism is that power should flow to that government which is closest to the people.
Under this theory, the federal government, being most remote from the people, should wield the least power. Indeed, many of our precious state tax dollars pay for litigation defending this principle. Our conservative lawmakers are determined that state government, being closer to the people, should trump federal government.
True conservatives, of course, do not limit this principle to differentiating between state and federal government. Local governmental entities are closer to the people than is state government.
While this is true geographically — Decatur residents are closer to City Hall than they are to Montgomery — it also is true politically. Conservatives focus on the accountability of officials to the citizens they serve. State government is more directly accountable than federal government, and local government is more accountable than state government.
Dothan Eagle – Low turnout insults candidates
Congratulations, Commissioner Crutchfield
Congratulations are in order for David Crutchfield, who was elected Tuesday to the Dothan City Commission to fill the unexpired term of former District 6 Commissioner Hamp Baxley. We also thank Steve McCarroll, former president of BBVA Compass Bank, who has served as interim commissioner for several weeks following the resignation of Baxley, who stepped down in November after having moved to a new residence outside District 6.
Crutchfield has a steep learning curve ahead, with the city facing challenges related to sewerage debt and a controversial landfill expansion, which has generated an EPA complaint from neighboring residents.
These are issues that both Crutchfield and his opponent for the vacant seat, Gary Roney, were fully aware of when they chose to seek the position. Both men deserve commendation for their willingness to step into the daunting role, and we commend each for running clean, vigorous campaigns.
However, the turnout for the election signals perhaps a lack of appreciation on the part of the District 6 constituency. Only 1,023 of the district’s 8,140 registered voters turned out to cast a ballot on Tuesday. That’s dismal, slightly more than 12 percent.
Enterprise Ledger – Super Sunday turned out to be a super dud
Well, nothing could have topped the Arizona-Green Bay overtime game in the first round of the NFL playoffs, but what a pathetic Super Bowl. Even the commercials are getting next to no response, which is not a good thing for those businesses that spent the millions during the breaks.
Peyton Manning, one of the best to ever lace them up, proved it is high time he take off the helmet for good. I don’t know if Manning could rattle a set of tea glasses from 15 yards. To say his body has seen its better days is like saying Joe Namath isn’t quite the athlete he was during his days at Alabama.
That said, I still believe that 50 years from now Manning will be among those mentioned in the first sentence when discussing the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. What we saw Sunday was not his prime, but during it no one could put a ball on the perfect spot for a receiver better. NO ONE.
The best player on the field, certainly this day, was Von Miller. I can’t remember a more deserving Super Bowl MVP. It was also nice to see DeMarcus Ware, the former high school wide receiver from Auburn turned defensive monster at Troy, play so well.
TimesDaily – Bill focusing on temps and incentives has merits
At least one Alabama lawmaker believes companies that benefit for state-granted tax breaks should not be relying so heavily on temporary workers to fill out the workforce.
Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, filed a bill that would remove the tax breaks and incentives for three years from companies whose workforces are more than 5 percent temporary workers.
It’s not clear the extent of companies’ use of temporary workers, but the subject is worth exploring.
Singleton said recently he has been told the state’s automobile manufacturers in some cases have high numbers of temporary workers who make significantly less money than other employees.
He said the state is not tracking these numbers, and that is true. The Alabama Department of Commerce does not keep track of the number of temporary workers hired by companies.
Gadsden Times – Hard work pays off for Litchfield Middle
Superintendent Ed Miller planned to invoke Nick Saban’s famous “24-hour rule” — celebrate victory (or mourn defeat) for a day, then get back to business — over some welcome news this week for Gadsden City Schools.
We hope Miller, other system officials and, especially, the staff at Litchfield Middle School didn’t completely follow the notoriously uptight University of Alabama football coach’s lead. Twenty-four hours simply isn’t enough shouting time after three years of troubles.
That’s how long Litchfield was designated a failing school by the state Department of Education, making its students eligible under the Alabama Accountability Act to transfer to other public schools or qualify for tax credits or scholarships to attend private schools.
No more. Litchfield isn’t on the list for 2015-16 — in fact, no school from Northeast Alabama is.
Huntsville Times – Alabama is anti-establishment but are Trump and Cruz really outsiders?
One of Alabama’s very first leaders, William Weatherford, said it best: “Angry people want you to see how powerful they are…loving people want you to see how powerful youare.” It is as if the chieftain, known as the “Truth Teller,” was foreshadowing our current political environment–an environment compassionate conservatives like Ronald Reagan would be ashamed of.
This election cycle is the breaking point of a broken political system. Whether it is the political pundit class, the overpaid consultants, the bewildered pollsters, or even the opposing candidates themselves, no one wants to admit the truth. The reality is voters from both parties have been used and abused by career politicians, and these voters intend to make their voices heard.
While working in D.C. for the past five years, most recently as National Press Secretary for Rand Paul’s presidential campaign, I often needed to search outside of the beltway for any semblance of truth. My running motto was: “If you want to know what the everyday Republican voter is thinking, call one of Eleanor’s relatives.”
These relatives, of course, are hardworking, well-educated Alabamians whose televisions switch from the SEC Network, to Fox News, and back to the SEC Network again. They are the backbone of our party and, for the first time in recent history, their votes will matter in the Republican Presidential Primary.
Press-Register –Who knew Bernie Sanders was such a chick magnet?
Much to the chagrin of Hillary Clinton, young women voters are feeling the Bern and flocking to Bernie Sanders like he was the last cupcake at a Valentines Day party.
Who’da thunk it?
As Bernie is feeling the love of millennials, Hillary is scratching her head and wondering what went wrong.
How is ol’ Bernie scoring with the babes?
Maybe the young folks can’t curb their enthusiasm for Sanders because of his cool Larry David shtick. Or maybe they’re just in love with the idea of free stuff. Either way, The Bern has got it going on.
Montgomery Advertiser – Rights, manners and civility
Stop the presses, the impossible has happened. Josh Moon and I finally agree on something: the ill-conceived plan to erect a flag pole across from Alabama State University (ASU) with the intent of flying the stars has nothing to do with history, heritage or hometown pride, this is a pernicious act of provocation meant to harm and intimidate.
Do the folks from Tallassee have the right to construct a tall flagpole on private property to fly a Confederate Flag? Yes, absolutely. If citizens who burn our nation’s flag have protection under our Constitution’s First Amendment, then the Tallassee groups have the same protections. What is legal is not always right. The laws of segregation were legal and morally wrong. Intent matters a lot in situations like this. I am a conservative, one who is against tearing down statues of Confederate Generals, or removing Confederate Flags from actual war monuments and battlefields. Our history is our history; one does not have to agree with the politics of more than 150 years ago to admire the courage on both sides of the line, or learn from past mistakes so as not repeat them. No battle, however, took place on the land across from ASU, at least not yet. This is not an endeavor to remind us of our history, this entire effort is predicated on stirring-up ill feelings and possibly violence between white and black Americans.
Opelika-Auburn News –Alabama travelers have an interest in cruise ship’s stormy voyage
Alabama as a state has an interest in the cruise ship business because of its eyes on tourism in Mobile, and Alabamians in general have an interest because many enjoy cruises that depart from ports around the Gulf Coast region.
That’s why there likely are a few raised eyebrows from veteran and hopeful travelers alike who heard with concern the news this week about a cruise ship intentionally sailing into waters known to be angry in a storm.
It’s also why Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida is right to be calling for a federal investigation.
Nelson has called for the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the voyage of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that ran into high winds and rough seas in the Atlantic Ocean over the weekend.
The storm’s rough seas frightened passengers into their cabins overnight Sunday as their belongings flew about, waves rose as high as 30 feet, and winds howled outside, according to news reports.
Tuscaloosa News –Election a long way from Iowa
Donald Trump is a loser. And a sore one at that.
After Texas Sen. Ted Cruz upset the short-fingered vulgarian in the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday night, Trump gave a surprisingly gracious concession speech in which he seemed to accept defeat.
After having slept on it, however, Trump reverted to form with a barrage of tweets saying Cruz had stolen the election by spreading the unfounded rumor that Ben Carson was dropping out, and whining that the results should thus be nullified,
Cruz was indeed playing dirty on election night in Iowa, but those results are going to stand and Trump did nothing to burnish his bully image by complaining that he got robbed.
Actually, Trump finished fourth in Iowa, if you factor in the simultaneous Democratic caucus, where Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders split the 170,000-plus votes cast. That would give them about 85,000 each, easily besting the 45,000 votes Trump got as well as the 51,000 Cruz garnered.