Month: May 2015

From Tuskegee, conservatives should study Booker T. rather than complain about Michelle O.

First lady Michelle Obama gives a thumbs up after walking out on stage just before deliveringthe commencement address at Tuskegee University, Saturday, May 9, 2015, in Tuskegee, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)J. Pepper Bryars First Lady Michelle Obama delivered what many view as a controversial commencement address to graduates earlier this month at historic Tuskegee University in Macon County. Her speech wasn't widely discussed for the standard bits of wisdom that are normally offered on such occasions, but because some heard in her words an unnecessary and unkind criticism of our national character that shouldn't be coming from our First Family. "The road ahead is not going to be easy. It never is, especially for folks like you and me. Because while we've come so far, the truth is that those age-old problems are stubborn and they haven't fully gone away," Mrs. Obama said. AL.com Opinion About the writer J. Pepper Bryars grew up in Mobile and is now a writer living in Huntsville. Contact him at jpepperbryars@gmail.com and jpepperbryars.com. More opinion on AL.com She continued by telling graduates that the "little indignities" she has felt in her life were "nothing compared to what folks across the country are dealing with every single day -- those nagging worries that you're going to get stopped or pulled over for absolutely no reason; the fear that your job application will be overlooked because of the way your name sounds; the agony of sending your kids to schools that may no longer be separate, but are far…

Bring professional baseball back to the Rocket City

The Southern League's boys of summer have returned to Alabama, and the sound of Double A baseball can be heard all the way from the Gulf Coast to the Tennessee Valley. Down in Mobile, the BayBears have come out of hibernation. They're sopping up their Biscuits in Montgomery. The Barons are ruling over their new stadium in Birmingham, and baseball fans in Huntsville are reaching for the Stars ... Shuckers? AL.com Opinion About the writer J. Pepper Bryars grew up in Mobile and is now a writer living in Huntsville. Contact him at jpepperbryars@gmail.com and jpepperbryars.com. More opinion on AL.com That's right. I recently had to explain to my Little Leaguer that even though the nearest oyster bed is hundreds of miles away, we were going to watch the Biloxi Shuckers play baseball as the home team in Huntsville. "What's a Biloxi?" he asked. Good question. I told him that it's the town whose leaders lured the Stars away with promises of a new stadium, larger crowds and, of course, more money. Before the club moves out completely, though, they'll play a few final games at their former home, Joe W. Davis Stadium in Huntsville. A baseball team relocating isn't new, of course. The Boston Braves became the Milwaukee Braves before finally settling down to become the Atlanta Braves, and the Oakland Athletics were once the Kansas City Athletics, who were once the Philadelphia Athletics. What's important to note, however, is that all of those jilted cities landed another club. Huntsville shouldn't…

Conservatives should support homeschool sports bill

Alabama's conservative lawmakers have made remarkable progress in the arena of education reform since they took control of the State Legislature more than four-years ago. Still, a small yet deserving community of students continues to be unfairly treated by our government. School vouchers for the poor? Check. Straight away, the new Republican majority gave low-income families access to scholarship dollars to fund private school tuition for children trapped in under-performing public schools. Charter schools for the underserved? Check. Alabamians will soon be able to experiment with this type of government-funded yet bureaucratically-free school that has long been permitted in even the most liberal states. Access to public school sports for home-schoolers? Sorry. Even though it's a simple service that would only be fair and would make a huge difference for homeschooled students, it's outlawed in -- of all places -- conservative-dominated Alabama. The Republican majority has repeatedly failed to change the law, but thankfully a conservative legislator is trying yet again to correct the disparity. AL.com Opinion About the writer J. Pepper Bryars grew up in Mobile and is now a writer living in Huntsville. Contact him at jpepperbryars@gmail.com and jpepperbryars.com. More opinion on AL.com State Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison) has introduced legislation to allow homeschooled students to play on public school athletic teams, so long as they live in that school's district, remain academically eligible, and pay whatever fees are required. "My primary concern is that all children have as many opportunities as possible," Ball said in a recent interview about…