A roundup of Sunday editorials from Alabama’s leading newspapers

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Newspaper editorials

A roundup of Sunday editorials from Alabama’s leading newspapers:

Anniston StarAn Alabama court that can’t stop itself

The events Friday at the Alabama Supreme Court illustrate the twists and turns that legal opponents of same-sex marriage too often make.

First, though, a reminder: This is the court that stopped same-sex marriages in Alabama last year. And the court led by Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has urged county probate judges to defy a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

So Friday, the state Supreme Court ruled appropriately by dismissing motions and petitions in a lawsuit that would stop gay marriage in Alabama. Given the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of last summer, it was the Alabama court’s smart and obvious play.

But our state Supreme Court is overwhelmingly conservative, Republican and anti-gay marriage. So, instead of issuing its ruling Friday with an appropriate response, the court filed 170 pages of opinion that said (a.) the motions and petitions were denied and (b.) the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which removed bans on same-sex unions throughout the United States, remained a blight on our nation.

Birmingham News – Our national security depends on energy independence

After decades of effort, American energy independence is finally within our reach. But President Obama is doing everything he can to make sure we remain dependent on foreign oil and gas.

Thanks to an increase in domestic production, especially here in Alabama, foreign energy imports have declined dramatically in recent years. This reduction has helped increase U.S. energy security for three straight years, according to a new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Yet the Obama administration just imposed rules limiting domestic energy development on federal lands. And in February, the president called for a new tax on oil. Already, the oil and natural gas industry faces an uphill battle to maintain these security gains in a market awash with cheap energy. The White House’s plans jeopardize America’s progress towards energy independence — and hurt Alabama’s economy in the process.

The Chamber’s report evaluates energy security by assessing 37 different metrics. These range from oil price volatility to energy efficiency to the amount of money spent on energy-related research and development. After pooling all this data, the Chamber comes up with a figure called the “Energy Security Risk Index.” The lower the number, the safer the United States.

Decatur Daily – Americans now must show wisdom

The establishment is a hated and feared entity in America. While different people define it in different ways, most Americans conceive of “the establishment” as a political structure that deprives the people of their ability to control their own government.

Their fear is not irrational. Corporate interests, both acknowledged and anonymous, pour billions of dollars into the U.S. political system each election cycle. They have immense control over the actions of successful candidates. Maybe more pernicious is the control they exert through the parties in limiting the choice of candidates.

The result has been a deep cynicism among the American people. Those who are most in need of a candidate who can effect change are also those who are convinced that their voice no longer matters.

Like a boxer who punches a brick wall to test his strength, Americans simultaneously are demonstrating their influence and damaging themselves.

The news from Super Tuesday was both good and bad. Good because the people proved corporate interests have not completely corrupted the system. The establishment did not win Tuesday.

Dothan Eagle – Ballot mystery muddies DA’s race

When voters in the Republican primary in Henry and Houston counties looked to their ballots to select a new district attorney on Tuesday, they found four names from which to choose: Patrick Jones, Gary Maxwell, Will Matthews, and Arthur Medley. However, only Jones, Maxwell, and Medley were candidates; Matthews qualified to run on Nov. 5, but soon changed his mind; on Nov. 23, he announced he was dropping out of the race, more than three months before the March 1 primary.

Before the primary, election officials suggested the presence of Matthews’ name on the ballot was irrelevant, that any votes he drew in the election wouldn’t count.

As the dust settles, it seems that’s not exactly true. It’s likely that the 1,061 voters who cast a ballot for Matthews would have voted for one of the other three had his name not appeared. And that could have altered the outcome of the contest.

There was no clear winner in Tuesday’s race. Jones led opponents by a long shot, but even with 8,233 votes – 37.4 percent — didn’t cross the threshold of victory. Even if he had pulled all the votes that went to Matthews, Jones would still face one of the others in a runoff, and that’s where the “what ifs” really begin.

Enterprise Ledger – Train ride to Elba, now that was cool

We were discussing “cool” a week ago but didn’t even mention what prompted the topic: a half-full bottle of English Leather aftershave lotion.

Since “cool” descended on the House of Adams circa 1962, there’s been a bottle of English Leather in stock; the first bottle held cologne, not aftershave. Both varieties came from the store in wooden boxes from, we sorta believed, well, England.

Long before aftershave replaced cologne, other Britishcoolities had come our way.

Chief among them was James Bond, Ian Fleming’s creation, who brought to our attention how cool a dude could be wearing a trench coat, carrying a black umbrella and, presumably, leaving a trail of English Leather or British Sterling smell-goods as he moved hither and yon.

It quickly came to our attention the fact any double-naught spy caught wearing any glorified raincoat not carrying the London Fog label was anything but cool.

TimesDaily – Voters has shown their power, now it’s time to show wisdom

The establishment is a hated and feared entity in America. While different people define it in different ways, most Americans conceive of “the establishment” as a political structure that deprives the people of their ability to control their own government.

Their fear is not irrational. Corporate interests, both acknowledged and anonymous, pour billions of dollars into the U.S. political system each election cycle. They have immense control over the actions of successful candidates. Maybe more pernicious is the control they exert through the parties in limiting the choice of candidates.

The result has been a deep cynicism among the American people. Those who are most in need of a candidate who can effect change are also those who are convinced that their voice no longer matters.

Like a boxer who punches a brick wall to test his strength, Americans simultaneously are demonstrating their influence and damaging themselves.

The news from Super Tuesday was both good and bad. Good because the people proved corporate interests have not completely corrupted the system. The establishment did not win Tuesday.

Gadsden Times – Bice’s tenure eventful, successful

Tommy Bice caught folks by surprise this week when he announced that he’s retiring as Alabama’s Superintendent of Education, effective at the end of the month.

Bice has held the post for a little more than four years, since Jan. 1, 2012, after serving as deputy superintendent under his predecessor, Joe Morton.

It’s been an eventful tenure, and a successful one that he and the state’s public school system can take pride in.

We noted in January that from 2012 through 2015, Alabama’s high school graduation rate increased by 17 percent, to nearly 89 percent. That’s massive progress in a short period of time, and has the state within smelling distance of its goal — a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020.

Huntsville Times – Conversation of the Day: How can we solve the digital divide?            

Roslyn M. Brock, chairwoman of the National Board of Directors for the NAACP, recently submitted an op-ed to AL.com about the importance of providing high-speed Internet to low-income Alabamians.

“The Obama administration recently launched ConnectHome, a new pilot program aimed at boosting broadband access among low income Americans….”

“83% of low-income households report that their kids’ schools expect them to have access to the Internet at home, but less than half of households below the poverty line actually have such a connection….”

“For the administration’s ConnectHome initiative to succeed and scale, it’s important that HUD and its partners truly understand and address the multiple barriers that are keeping many of these households offline.”

Press-Register –Trump: An ugly, accurate reflection of American voters

While this primary season has been the most popular primary season of all-time in terms of voter turnout and television viewership, it has also been the most hypocritical.  Unlike what we would guess, the biggest volume of hypocrisy isn’t coming from the presidential candidates.  It’s coming from us, the American people.

For purposes of discussion about our hypocrisy, let’s compare ourselves to this year’s most visible candidate, Donald Trump.  Right now, there is a constant uproar that he should not become president because he is a vile, disingenuous, and disgusting human being.  All of those adjectives may be true, but they are also true — maybe more true — of the American public.  Below we will find three examples of just how much we, the people, are as bad as or worse than Trump.

Disingenuous Christian Values

As funny and uncomfortable as it was to watch Trump’s horrid delivery of scripture at Liberty University recently, he represents most Americans in terms of shallow commitment to Jesus Christ.  For instance, even though approximately 70 percent of Americans currently self-describe as Christian, much smaller numbers of Americans actually live Christianity out in a practical manner.  The following numbers show that discrepancy pretty clearly:

Montgomery Advertiser – Greatness in the eye of the beholder

Everyone has internal guideposts. They include faith, family, parenthood, race, gender, education, economic status and nationality, among other factors. Each person’s guideposts combine to create his or her perspective. In many ways, perspective is also a reflection of the five senses, for it is through perspective that one sees, hears, tastes, smells and touches the world.

Thus, when the more than 13.5 million African-Americans repeatedly hear the latest iteration of their fellow citizens’ yearning for the old days, their perspective becomes a big, red, octagonal stop sign. For years, proliferating bumper stickers have proclaimed the driver’s desire that we “take our country back.” One presidential candidate’s pronouncement that he intends to “make America great again” is a mere restatement of those bumper stickers. Just as the take-our-country-back mantra begs the question “from whom?,” the make-America-great-again mantra begs several questions:

When was the last time America was great?

What made America great?

When did America stop being great?

Opelika-Auburn News –For Paws Rescue hopes you’ll do spring cleaning with it in mind

There are people in the world who want to walk in your shoes.

That literally is the message from the local For Paws Rescue animal shelter, which is seeking donations of unwanted shoes to raise money for its valuable work.

Instead of tossing away those old shoes, please consider them as a donation to help the organization.

For Paws Rescue, located in Auburn at 1027 Opelika Road, is considered a low-kill shelter that tries its best to find homes for animals without one. It euthanizes only those with serious medical conditions.

The donated shoes will be exchanged for money with another entity, Funds2Orgs, which helps impoverished people start, maintain and grow businesses in Central American and African countries.

Once the shoes arrive in one of those countries, someone looking to earn a living will clean and sell them in their community, earning money to support their family.

Tuscaloosa News –Forced wage hike won’t cure poverty

The minimum wage remains $7.25 across Alabama after the Legislature sledgehammered (blocked is too mild) an effort by Birmingham to raise it there.

Birmingham’s City Council last year approved a plan to raise the minimum wage from the federally mandated amount to $8.50 and then to $10.10 by 2017. More than 30 other cities and counties across the U.S. have approved similar ordinances.

Republican legislators quickly signaled their intentions to stop the hike. Birmingham tried an end run on the inevitable, passing an ordinance Feb. 23 to immediately raise the minimum wage to $10.10. Two days later, however, the Senate approved a bill that had passed the House Feb. 16, blocking local governments from setting minimum wages. We imagine the ink was still tacky when Gov. Robert Bentley signed it into law, within an hour.

The vote, and debate, was along party lines. Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, said business owners told him they feared going under should they be required to pay higher wages for entry-level jobs, and that the focus should be on creating a consistent and positive environment to entice businesses to expand their operations and hiring.

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