Month: November 2014

‘The Talk’ should be given outside of the black community: opinion

Whatever your opinion of the grand jury's decision in Ferguson, Mo., one thing is clear: what happened on that August afternoon was a preventable tragedy. But how? Some say better police procedures. Others say better training. Perhaps, but maybe it could have been prevented if Mike Brown had followed the advice my father gave me years ago. "Don't argue with the cops, son," my father once told me during my early teens. It was street knowledge coming from a man who grew up near the hardscrabble Birdville neighborhood in Mobile. I paid close attention. "Whether you're wrong or right, the police deal with criminals all day long and don't need any lip from some kid," he said. "So if they ever say 'Get out of here,' or 'Sit on that curb and shut up,' then do it without a word of backtalk or they might crack you upside the head with that baton they carry. Then you'll spend the night in jail, and wake up missing a tooth or two." The part about the curb must be standard police academy instruction, because years later I was indeed told to "sit on that curb and shut up." To my father's credit, I did. He also said to keep my hands visible during traffic stops. "They don't know who you are, or whether you're a good kid or not," he said. "You might be reaching for a cigarette lighter, but how do they know that? They just see you reaching for something,…

Senator Jeff Sessions is now a man with a plan: opinion

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. Last week Sessions…

Alabama should prepare to defend its voter ID law: opinion

A voter enters a polling station in Mobile County Tuesday morning. (Mike Brantley/mbrantley@al.com)J. Pepper Bryars The red sign taped to the church door was crystal clear: "Your photo ID will be required." But as I waited in line at my polling precinct late Tuesday afternoon in Madison County, a woman was arguing with a poll worker over the new requirement. "She probably voted this morning," grumbled a man behind me, alluding to the voter fraud that conservatives believe is routine. The guy next to him laughed and said, "Well, we'll just have to turn-out enough so it doesn't matter." The risk of fraud is real. As noted by the Alabama Policy Institute, a Pew study from 2012 found nearly 24 million invalid voter registrations nationwide, and in North Carolina more than 35,000 voters in the last presidential election had the same names and birthdays of people who voted in other states. Fraud didn't matter this year, though. Republicans turned-out in droves and created a historic wave election that swept through statehouses, governor's mansions and best of all, the United States Senate. While the day wasn't ruined by allegations of widespread voter fraud, conservatives must prepare to defend existing voter identification laws and quickly expand them into other states. While Republicans are busy celebrating and back-slapping, you better believe the Democrats are preparing lawsuits with an eye to 2016, and Alabama's landmark law has caught their attention. Hours before polls closed on Tuesday, the Center for American Progress, a prominent liberal…

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

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…