Month: April 2014

Do we really care about what Kermit Gosnell did?

"Some people don't care about what Kermit Gosnell did. Others are horrified and heartbroken. Many more simply don't know, and don't want to know, the true impact of abortion-on-demand. Pro-life activists suspect that the national media didn't adequately cover the trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell because they either didn't think it was newsworthy or because of their own pro-choice views. An infamous photograph of empty rows of courtroom seats marked "reserved for media" proves the charge, some said. Whatever the reason, the pro-life community believes that America's worst serial killer went on trial and most of the country didn't notice. Now, a trio of conservative filmmakers are trying to change that by raising money from individual donors to finance a movie about Gosnell and the system that allowed his killing spree to last for decades. "The mainstream media or Hollywood don't think this is a story," reads the appeal for donations for the film on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo. "Even though Gosnell killed more people than Gary Ridgeway, John Wayne Gacey, the Zodiac Killer and Ted Bundy combined...and that wasn't a national story." There are many reasons the Gosnell trial didn't get the wall-to-wall treatment from national outlets that most sensational stories receive. Poor news judgment and personal bias were factors, I'm sure, but perhaps the largest reason was market driven: Most Americans simply didn't want to know. So what's worse: a biased national media or a callous nation? Some people don't care about what Gosnell did. Others are…

Prejudice is a people issue, not a partisan issue (Opinion by J. Pepper Bryars)

Hank Aaron waves to fans at an Atlanta Braves baseball game earlier this month. He recently accused Republicans of being racists in "neckties and starched white shirts." (AP photo) One of the worst things you can do is impugn a person's character in order to win an argument. It's much more than criticizing or even ridiculing their ideas -- which is fair. Character-bashing seeks to shutdown debate by attacking the moral quality of an individual. Show that your opponent's ideas come from a rotten place, the thinking goes, and the details won't matter. You can derail their arguments with a word. Those people are sexists, so their concerns about over-regulating salaries are meaningless! They're bigots, so their claims of religious freedom are ridiculous! They're racists, so their thoughts about immigration reform shouldn't be heard! They're motivated by hate, their ideology is destructive and their political movement should be anathema! Here's the problem: sexism, bigotry and racism are problems of the heart, not of a mainstream political party. Yet earlier this month conservatives were loudly accused of all three. I recently spoke to a meeting of the Republican Women of Huntsville. We had a nice discussion about potential presidential candidates and its principles like limited government and the right to life. I'm sure they were disheartened a few weeks later to hear their party described as misogynist because the Senate blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act. Never mind that the bill could harm those it clumsily seeks to help through several Obamacare-like…

Libertarianism isn’t an alternative to the Republican Party

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson visited with supporters at The Bull restaurant in downtown Mobile on Monday. Libertarianism – the political ideology of the live and let live – is enjoying a surge in popularity. Some believe its hour has finally arrived and it can truly become an alternative to the Republican Party. I understand its appeal. I like libertarians, and can read Ludwig Von Mises and listen to Murray Rothbard all day long. But it isn't an alternative. It's an electoral distraction. Diehard libertarians disagree, of course. Last week the Libertarian Party's 2012 presidential nominee, Gary Johnson, visited Alabama on a fund-raising tour. The former two-term governor of New Mexico made stops in Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham touting his party's message of civil liberties and personal responsibility. He probably met receptive audiences since more voters are identifying themselves as libertarians now than at anytime in recent memory. This trend should worry conservatives, especially since the libertarian candidate cost the GOP votes – and victory – in last year's gubernatorial election in Virginia. But how many of these new libertarians really support what the Libertarian Party stands for? Many call themselves libertarians because of a single issue – pot. When comedian, drug legalization activist and self-identified libertarian Bill Maher attended one of conservative Grover Norquist's policy discussions, he rattled off a list of things the government should be doing and how taxes should increase as well. Norquist laughed, and then asked if he represented the big government wing of the…

Alabama should watch how Medicaid expansion works elsewhere before acting

The pressure continues in Alabama for Governor Robert Bentley and the Republican-led legislature to yield to a key Affordable Care Act measure and expand the eligibility criteria for Medicaid, the taxpayer-funded medical program for the poor. The latest arm-twist comes from Bill Corr, deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In a recent interview with Alabama Public Radio, he criticized Bentley and claimed Alabama's economy and citizens would benefit from the expansion's increased government spending. "By not expanding Medicaid, the governor and the legislature in Alabama are passing up $3.9 million every single day that could go towards providing health insurance through the Medicaid program," Corr said. Bentley has said expansion isn't possible, even with partial federal assistance, because the state is having difficulty funding the program's current patient load. Those who worry about growing the program beyond its means have been accused of being vindictive towards Obamacare simply because they dislike its namesake and even of not caring about poor children. But it's not about political points. It's about sustaining our ability to care for the poorest amongst us while avoiding the unintended consequences of a badly written law. The expansion hasn't been thoroughly tested and shouldn't be adopted by every state, at least not all at once. All we have to go on are debatable forecasts and big promises, but not a record of actual experience that demonstrates how the increased eligibility would impact Alabama's poor, its medical community or the taxpayers who fund…