Month: November 2014

‘Interstellar’ shows why Alabama should keep reaching for the stars

A few decades ago, visitors driving into Huntsville were greeted by a colorful roadside billboard boldly proclaiming that they had just entered the “space capital of the universe.”That sounds like a bit of an exaggeration, doesn’t it? Sure, the city had a lot to be proud of during those early years of space exploration -- Werner Von Braun’s headquarters, Jupiter rockets, Atlas boosters and such -- but declaring universal dominance, literally, is perhaps a little audacious.  But maybe audacity is exactly what’s needed to reach the stars, and a new film from Christopher Nolan might be just what’s needed to inspire it. “Interstellar” shows how love and fear finally push mankind to undertake an unpopular, unproven and risky leap into the universe.  Matthew McConaughey plays an astronaut-turned-farmer in a future where a crop disease has decimated our food supply. Nations are struggling to feed their citizens amid a global dust bowl. Governments have cast aside extravagances like research and development in favor of necessities like food and water. But along the way mankind turned its back on the stars, science and ultimately, its own potential.  “We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars,” McConaughey’s character says from the porch of his farmhouse. “Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”The story takes off from there, taking viewers on an exploration of mind-bending theoretical astrophysics and the familiar complexities of the human heart. While it’s certainly an entertaining…

Senator Jeff Sessions is now a man with a plan

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions has long been the conservative movement’s voice in the lawless wilderness that is our nation’s immigration system. “What Jeff Sessions is doing is what the Republican Party at large should be doing,” conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh said last summer, days after saying “God bless him” for the senator’s work to secure our nation’s borders.In 2006, Sessions spoke against the Republican-backed bill that would have granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens before securing the border they so easily crossed. He then spent the next few years trying to get our federal government to enforce existing immigration laws.In 2013, Sessions spoke against the Democrat-backed bill that would have also granted amnesty before securing the border, and in the process became, as the National Journal put it, “the loudest voice in Washington opposing President Obama’s immigration policies.” The friendly yet resolute senator has been successful despite being in an era when Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., stripped the minority of their long-held procedural rights. In short, Sessions won even when he held no power. In 2015, everything will change when Republicans take control of the Senate and Sessions becomes chairman of the powerful Senate Budget Committee and a senior member of the majority controlling the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sessions will no longer be a voice in the political wilderness. He’ll be a man with a plan to stop President Barack Obama’s planned executive order granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Earlier this month Sessions appeared…

Remaining faithful to Christian teaching doesn’t make you a bigot

Last month Apple CEO Tim Cook took the occasion of his induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor to draw an analogy between the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement."As a state we took too long to take steps toward equality, and once we began, our progress was slow -- too slow on equality for African-Americans ... and still too slow for equality for the LGBT community," said Cook, a native of Robertsdale, Alabama.The comparison is popular among gay rights advocates, but is it fair? That depends. If they're making it against the state and the vile motivation of hatred, then yes. If they're making it against the church and the virtuous motivation of faithfulness, then no. Some are attacking both, of course. Author John Shore takes the civil rights analogy further and targets what many believe is the source of the bigotry Cook referenced - traditional Christianity."If you vote against gay marriage or gay rights, you are a bigot -- as surely as anyone who voted against civil rights in the 60s was a bigot," Shore wrote in the Huffington Post. "If you preach against gay rights, you are a bigot ... If you give your money or time to any Christian church or ministry that you know in any way actively works to restrict or limit gay rights, you are a bigot."Those who use the analogy are trying to appeal to a sense of logic and shame. They're essentially saying, "If you support this, then you…