Author: J. Pepper Bryars

Author. Columnist.

Modest Proposal: A lottery in Alabama will finally make the poor pay their ‘fair share’

We often hear that the rich should be made to pay their "fair share," but the top 20 percent of earners are already paying about 84 percent of our nation's income taxes. Some say that's a reasonable apportionment from each according to their ability, but here's a modest proposal for consideration: maybe it's time for the poor to actually start paying their fair share in taxes. Outrageous? No more than feeding our unwanted children to the rich. But still, how can we tax the poor without seeming like a monstrous mix of Ebenezer Scrooge and Montgomery Burns? Politicians in Alabama -- both Democrats and an unfortunate number of Republicans -- have finally found the secret answer: a lottery. (more…)

Why conservatives need a (partially) viable Democratic Party in Alabama

Liberals seeking a future in Alabama politics don't have many options nowadays, but that's not all good news for conservatives. If the state's Republican Party is the only game in town (and it is), then it's bound to attract all sorts of players, from liberal candidates to liberal special interests and everything in between. Take the recent GOP primary ballot. It was full of former Democrats and, probably worse, many of the longtime Republicans on the ballot accepted thousands of dollars from Democrat-aligned special interests (more than $600,000 from the teachers union alone). Why this matters: Marketing professionals know the value of a brand, of building its awareness and protecting the feeling it evokes. Make changes to a successful product, they warn, and you're bound to lose customers. And in the GOP’s case, lose voters, as Democrats-posing-as-Republicans dilute the brand. (more…)

Princeton professor writes beautifully honest, hopeful article about Alabama in Harper’s Magazine

Ivy League professors don't normally write nice things about Alabama, especially when the topic veers into discussions of race and past (and current) injustices. But not all Ivy League professors come from here. Thankfully Imani Perry does, and in next month's print edition of Harper's Magazine the Birmingham-native and current professor at Princeton University pens a beautifully honest and hopeful article about Alabama. Do yourself a favor and read Perry's entire article, titled "As Goes the South, so Goes the Nation," but here are some of my favorite excerpts: (more…)

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox says he’s pro-life, but his language is chock-full of pro-choice phraseology

Earlier this month the Democrat Party's nominee for governor, Walt Maddox, responded to a questionnaire about his views on many issues facing Alabamians, but his answers about abortion proved to be the most revealing, although probably unintentionally. The Tuscaloosa mayor began by writing that he was "personally opposed to abortion," a slippery term if there ever was one, before proceeding to use similar phrases that we normally hear from the pro-choice crowd. It's as if Maddox was sampling lines from an abortion apologist's Greatest Hits album. Why this matters: Alabama already has one pro-choice politician in high office with Sen. Doug "20 Weeks" Jones, who infamously voted against banning aborting unborn children when they're 20-weeks old and capable of feeling pain. We cannot afford to have another one. (more…)

Do conservatives face a double standard? Yes, and we should

Conservatives have spent a great deal of time recently decrying the double standard we face over the appropriateness of our behavior. The debate surrounding Roseanne Barr can be read elsewhere, but the basic complaint is this: Conservatives, and even those who half-heartedly support conservatives, are held accountable for things that progressives routinely get away with or are even encouraged to say or do. But is there really a double standard? Yes, and there should be. Here’s why: (more…)

What’s next for Tommy Battle? Hopefully more of the same

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle proved three things during his failed campaign for governor: First, that he’s the best mayor in the state of Alabama by nearly every measurable indicator. Second, the people of North Alabama believe he’s doing a great job — they gave him plenty of votes. Third, business and industry interests in North Alabama think he’s doing a great job, too — they gave him plenty of campaign contributions. So what’s next for this successful executive and still promising candidate? Some observers think he’ll run for Senate in 2020. But I hope my mayor stays right where he is, and here’s why: (more…)

America’s war heroes are born, not made

Near the end of the Korean War novel “The Bridges of Toko-Ri,” an American military commander is mourning the death of some of his best men, but also remembering their strength, their courage, and the devotion they shared for one another. Staring alone out at the morning sea, he reflects on how fortunate our nation is to have had such heroes, and then asks, “… where did we get such men?” On this Memorial Day, I find myself reflecting back to when I asked that same question while researching and writing the book, “American Warfighter: Brotherhood, Survival, and Uncommon Valor in Iraq, 2003-2011.” I wrote about the experiences of 10 men who, for their actions in combat, were awarded two Distinguished Service Crosses, two Navy Crosses, five Silver Stars, and three other prestigious awards for valor. After each interview I found myself asking ... where did we get such men? (more…)

SHAME! State Rep. Patricia Todd, Alabama’s first openly gay lawmaker, tries to ‘out’ Gov. Kay Ivey in hateful nighttime Tweet

With just 34 words twisted together in cruel and bitter intent, Alabama State Rep. Patricia Todd – our first openly gay lawmaker and a professional human rights activist – has shown us everything that’s wrong with politics, journalism and the awful thing called Twitter. Here’s what Todd tweeted Tuesday night: https://twitter.com/reptodd/status/996549238665379841 Folks, decent people just don’t do this.  (more…)

Bear Bryant ‘Have you called your mama today?’ (VIDEO)

On a day like today, many sons and daughters across Alabama can appreciate Coach Bear Bryant's famous television commercial for South Central Bell. "Have you called your mama today?" the Bear asked, after explaining how he encouraged his players to keep in touch with their families. "I sure wish I could call mine." Me too, coach. https://youtu.be/0Hq9wfYb13U Did you like this post? Sign-up now for our daily newsletter and never miss another article from Yellowhammer News.