Month: September 2014

Conservatives won’t support another Romney campaign, but I sure would: opinion

This Nov. 2, 2012 file photo shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gesturing as he speaks at a campaign stop in West Allis, Wis. (AP) Republicans across Alabama took close looks at Mitt Romney during our 2008 and 2012 presidential primaries. We heard him. We saw him. We talked about him. Then most of us voted for another candidate. Sure, Alabama isn't a big player during the nomination, and even less so during the general election, but we're a great indicator of who the party's conservatives will support. This is why the recent speculation of another Romney run has conservatives a little worried. Last week one of Romney's financial backers predicted he would run if former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush doesn't. For his part, Romney has rejected such rumors, but he did say "circumstances can change." Perhaps one of those circumstances is favorable polling. A survey released last month showed Romney at 35-percent among Iowa Republicans, while former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was a distant second with only nine-percent. Another potential Romney run is troubling, but not because he wouldn't be a great president. I think he has what it takes to be one of the best. I'm just afraid that not enough of my fellow conservatives agree. Another weak turn-out from the party's base in 2016 would be disastrous. Some say Romney lost in 2012 because he failed to attract Hispanic voters. That's partly true. President Barack Obama won Florida by about 78,000 votes, and was supported by nearly…

Governor Bentley should lead the fight against Common Core: opinion

Supporters of proposed legislation to repeal the state's adoptions of common core curriculum standards gather outside the Alabama State House in 2013. (File) Now that the school year has begun, parents across Alabama may soon be scratching their heads in puzzlement over their children's confusing Common Core-inspired homework. Last year, even the initiative's most enthusiastic supporters had difficulty defending some of the more bizarre examples of overly complicated lessons and unworkable test questions. In one viral post, an electrical engineer wrote on his child's homework how even he was baffled by the cumbersome process the lesson required for a simple matter of subtraction. And the hits just keep coming. Last week a television station in New York posted a series of videos aimed at teaching parents some of the new ways their children will be learning, thanks to Common Core. "Our young learners might not be altogether comfortable thinking about what nine plus six is," said a fourth-grade teacher in the segment. She then took nearly an entire minute to describe what must be the most complicated process ever designed to find that simple answer. The video defies description; one must actually watch it to appreciate its difficulty. In the teacher's defense, there are certainly methods that aren't easily understood by those who aren't professional educators. There's evidence that such a concept-heavy approach is better, but there is also evidence that suggests rote memorization is essential in a child's understanding of mathematics. The point is this: there's a debate about…

Alabama’s other major cities could learn from TEDxHuntsville: opinion

Norman Rockwell's "Freedom of Speech." (File) One of my favorite images is Norman Rockwell's celebrated "Freedom of Speech" oil painting that depicts a blue-collar American man, with a brown suede jacket and hands stained dirty from hard work, standing in a town hall meeting preparing to address his fellow citizens. It's an iconic representation of one of our nation's most precious rights – the liberty of all Americans to stand-up and speak our minds. A modern day version of that painting might show someone tapping out a tweet or clicking "like" underneath an acquaintance's Facebook rant. That's all well and good, of course, but a swarm of likes and comments doesn't capture the American spirit of debate the way Norman Rockwell's image does. It's also a real problem. As much as social media can help spread the word, people first must have an idea worth sharing, and this requires someone, somewhere, to create a meaningful message and then stand up and speak their mind. A group of volunteers in north Alabama are hoping to provide a platform for such messages by hosting their annual TEDxHuntsville event next Sunday afternoon. Regular citizens -- not just the usual public speakers -- will stand before their neighbors and share their ideas. "TED Talks," as they're known, have grown in popularity in recent years. This might be because, after bits and pieces of impersonal social media, people have a real appetite for hearty messages from people willing to show their face while they communicate. TED…