Category: Uncategorized

California businessman: ‘Why can’t we be more like Alabama?’

    A businessman in California recently published an op-ed in that state’s Orange County Register telling his fellow residents, “Why California should be more like Alabama — seriously.” Tom Manzo, president of Timely Industries in Pacoima, Calif., and founder of the California Business and Industrial Alliance, was inspired to write the piece after Toyota-Mazda announced their $1.6 billion plant in Huntsville last month. “Alabama beats California,” Manzo wrote. “And no, I’m not talking about college football.” He noted how many in the Golden State would “bristle” at the notion of becoming more like Alabama, but that we’re doing things right in the Heart of Dixie. Key graphs: “Fifteen states were competing for the Toyota-Mazda joint venture; California was not even on the bench. Perhaps Toyota remembers its experience ... in Fremont, Calif., where the United Auto Workers union helped shut down the plant in 2010.” “Today, California is home to just one automaker, Tesla — and yet some of the state’s representatives seem more interested in ... union organizing ... at the plant rather than encouraging the company’s continued success.” “California no longer has a monopoly on ‘cool,’ either ... talented young professionals can find great culture and a great food scene in Birmingham just as well as Berkeley.” “They can also afford to live there: The median home price in Alabama is $126,500, while California it’s just shy of a half-million dollars.” “Alabama has the third most technical workforce in the United States with about 17 percent of…

Is it better to #DoNothing on gun control than #DoSomething that weakens our rights?

[caption id="attachment_19385" align="aligncenter" width="840"] (Mr.TinDC/Flicker)[/caption]   (Opinion) It was a difficult scene to watch. The mother of a student killed in Wednesday’s school shooting in Florida pleaded on television for the president to “please do something” about gun violence. Her anger, her grief, and her heart-felt pleas moved me to tears. Others felt the same, and the #DoSomething hashtag went viral on Twitter, echoing her call for action. But, as persuasive as that mother was, we must remember exactly what the larger anti-gun lobby is trying to “do something” about. It’s not crime. It’s not mental health. It’s the Second Amendment. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Why are gun rights advocates like me so concerned with protecting those 27 brilliantly arranged words? It’s been said that democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch, while liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. That’s the essence of what the amendment means to us.   It’s not hunting, which is so acceptable that our founders never dreamed of having to enshrine its legality in our constitution. It’s not personal protection, which is already a natural right that should be recognized everywhere, and certainly in the “land of the free.” And it’s not the shooting sports, which even subjects in authoritarian states can enjoy. The amendment is about the preservation of our liberty, by and for individual Americans,…

Liberals didn’t write Alabama’s civil asset forfeiture reform bill

  I keep hearing that the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote the bill to reform Alabama’s civil asset forfeiture law. But that’s not accurate. The bill was introduced in the current session of the State Legislature by staunch conservatives State Senator Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, and State Representative Arnold Mooney, R-Birmingham. Civil asset forfeiture is a controversial practice that allows law enforcement officers to seize property from people they suspect were involved in illegal activity, but without actually charging them with a crime. One may argue the merits of changing the law, but Orr and Mooney are far from liberal, and further from friendly with the SPLC. The bill was actually drafted with support from these well-known conservative groups: -- Alabama Policy Institute -- Heritage Foundation -- Institute for Justice -- Heartland Institute -- American Conservative Union Foundation -- Freedom Works -- American Legislative Exchange Council -- Charles Koch Institute The SPLC may support the bill because of their civil rights mission, and they published a report condemning civil asset forfeiture last month, but support doesn’t equate to authorship. For more information on the bill, Yellowhammer News has published essays in support of civil asset forfeiture and from those opposed to the practice. But the best I’ve seen on the issue comes from John Oliver (a liberal ... but his bit is pretty darn funny): https://youtu.be/3kEpZWGgJks (Should we reform civil asset forfeiture? Take this article to Facebook and tell your friends why.)

Hey you reckless Libertarians, stop pretending drug use is a victimless crime

[caption id="attachment_62222" align="aligncenter" width="800"] (Pixabay)[/caption]     (Opinion) Oh to be a Libertarian, always taking the easy position of unconstrained freedom without ever having to think about, much less deal with, the ugly consequences of such recklessness. Drug use, and even prostitution, are victimless crimes, they say, and should therefore be legal. Their arguments are consistent and logical, and they paint a sanitized world of consenting adults freely engaging in harmless activities. But it’s never as clean as they imagine, far from victimless, even further from harmless. And consenting adults? Not as often as they pretend. Scratch the surface of their rhetoric and just below their paper-thin words you’ll find a dark world of addiction, brokenness and unspeakable abuse. Care to face an example? Read this news release issued last week by the U.S. Department of Justice about the recent conviction of Michael Graham Lowe, 25, of Prattville, Alabama. He was so addicted to drugs that he pimped out a young girl for money. “According to evidence presented at trial, in or about May 2016, Lowe and co-defendant Joshua Rose conspired to sex traffic a minor victim at the Stay Lodge motel in Montgomery, Alabama.” “Rose advertised the underage victim on Backpage, and with the assistance of Lowe, arranged meetings for the victim to engage in commercial sex acts, and stood outside of the motel room while the victim engaged in commercial sex acts.” “Lowe also transported the minor victim to another location to engage in commercial sex acts.” “Lowe and Rose…

Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District conservatives should be cautious about Bobby Bright’s candidacy

[caption id="attachment_7147" align="aligncenter" width="644"] Former Congressman Bobby Bright[/caption] (Opinion) Conservatives should always welcome former Democrats into the ranks of the Republican Party. But note the phrase ... into the ranks. Leadership is a different matter. Former Montgomery mayor Bobby Bright apparently joined the Republican Party just last week, and now he’s seeking the GOP nomination to represent Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District in Washington. That’s like being dunked in the baptismal pool and then walking, still wet, to the pulpit and leading the congregation. Welcome to the movement, Mr. Bright. But have a seat in the pews with the rest of us for a little while. We argue with liberals for reason — to persuade them that our ideas are better. And we organize into a political party for a purpose — to gain the power necessary to implement those ideas. So our big tent has room for converts of all perspectives. We need them, and we should take their conversion at face value. We must never have any sort of test. We’ve welcomed many former Democrats into the party — lawmakers, too — and we hope to continue doing so. But...before we can trust them with leadership positions, and the power that comes with such offices, they must first invest the time and effort to demonstrate they’ve made a true and lasting change. In short, we need evidence. And that’s something Bobby Bright is short on. Here’s what we know: — Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District includes most of the Montgomery metropolitan area…

To good men who don’t want to mentor women in #MeToo wake

[caption id="attachment_61903" align="aligncenter" width="800"] (Pixabay)[/caption]   (Opinion) I think we saw this coming. A sharp increase in male managers say they are uncomfortable mentoring women in the wake of the sexual harassment and #MeToo movement, according to a recent study by women’s empowerment nonprofit Leanin.org and online survey tool SurveyMonkey. Here are some of the survey’s key findings, according to LeanIn.org’s summary: “Almost half of male managers are uncomfortable participating in a common work activity with a woman, such as mentoring, working alone, or socializing together.” “Almost 30% of male managers are uncomfortable working alone with a woman—more than twice as many as before.” “The number of male managers who are uncomfortable mentoring women has more than tripled from 5% to 16%. This means that 1 in 6 male managers may now hesitate to mentor a woman.” “Senior men are 3.5 times more likely to hesitate to have a work dinner with a junior-level woman than with a junior-level man—and 5 times more likely to hesitate to travel for work with a junior-level woman.” I cannot blame them. #MeToo is an important movement and I support the brave women who have come forward, but this column isn't about the awful behavior of bad men. It's about the potential fallout for everyone else. I hope good men will consciously resist an accidental backlash that would mean fewer opportunities for women. I'm glad Sheryl Sandberg is calling on men to #MentorHer despite the heightened awareness – and natural fears – surrounding #MeToo. But I do disagree with the criticism of men who…

No difference in boys and girls? OK, so who made these Pinewood Derby cars?

[caption id="attachment_61580" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Pinewood Derby cars created by the author's children (Yellowhammer News/Bryars)[/caption]   Our oldest son competed in his final Pinewood Derby last weekend before he bridges up from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts this spring. After five years of trial and error, he finally built a fast car. But the interesting part of this year’s race was the entrance of his siblings into the pack’s “outlaw” competition held so that other kids could join the fun. And our experience added yet another piece of evidence to what has been obvious for millennia but has suddenly become politically incorrect — boys and girls are different. A couple of weeks before the race I gathered our youngest four of five kids — two boys, two girls — and laid out the blocks of wood, the wheels, weights and paints before them. “You can make your car into whatever you want,” I said. “It’s all up to your imagination.” The oldest boy, who is the scout, quickly decided upon a red human skull upon a black car. Oh, and the car had to be on fire, of course. His little brother, 4, ran into his room and returned with a little plastic velociraptor. “Dino car,” he screamed. “Roar!” His chosen color? “Red, for the blood,” he explained, as if that was a silly question. Our eight-year-old girl chose to adorn her green car with a pink My Little Pony doll accented by a large golden star. “Her cutie mark, Papa,”…

Alabama’s conservatives should support bills limiting special elections

[caption id="attachment_8822" align="aligncenter" width="724"] (Flickr)[/caption]   (Opinion) Recent efforts by Alabama’s lawmakers to do away with special elections to fill vacant U.S. Senate seats may have a little to do with that fiasco to replace Jeff Sessions. I mean, come on. The result of that unexpected and brief race was the nomination of an unpopular Republican candidate and the election of a radically pro-choice Democrat. And their efforts may have something to do with the cost. The bill’s sponsor in the State House, Ozark Republican Steve Clouse, said last year's special election cost the state $11 million. Dropping millions of dollars unnecessarily isn’t exactly the most fiscally conservative of notions. Besides, if our state has that much money to burn then give it back to the people. But their efforts have everything to do with, or at least they should have everything to do with, the gathering principle of conservative political philosophy – order. Healthy individuals and families are built upon order, and healthy governments are no different. The predictable, routine and well-regulated nature of our election process, established in our federal and state constitutions, is an essential ingredient to self-government, economic growth and individual liberty. In America, unlike those parliamentary governments scattered elsewhere, we don’t have random votes of “no confidence” in our executive officers or legislative branches or the snap elections that follow, often sending policies, markets and rights into disarray. Our framers didn’t envision such a chaotic system, for chaos is a ladder for corruption and, more…

Human trafficking bill passes Alabama State Senate

[caption id="attachment_60435" align="aligncenter" width="800"] (Unsplash)[/caption]   Human Trafficking Awareness month may officially end Wednesday, but advocates and lawmakers in Alabama are pushing legislative efforts on behalf of victims that will be felt long after January. The Alabama State Senate passed a bill Tuesday that establishes much stronger penalties for anyone found guilty of obstructing an investigation into human trafficking. “Because you want to make it such a hard deterrent for anyone engaged with or associated with this crime, we want to move from a Class C to a Class A felony for those who are involved in obstructing justice in these cases,” said Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster), who sponsored the bill and chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. Under current law, someone convicted of a Class C felony for obstructing a human trafficking investigation may only serve one year in prison. A Class A felony has a minimum jail sentence of ten years. Ward told Yellowhammer News that the proposed legislation would prevent people who know about human trafficking activity from looking the other way so that legally, they “can claim a reason not to be charged in anything involving the crime.” Ward said the new law would help with situations like one that he said occurred in Birmingham. “What happened was, you had a couple folks who weren’t necessarily trafficking children, but they knew about [a child sex trafficking ring],” Ward said. “They were involved on the fringes, but when the time came to try and find out exactly how…

Human trafficking in Alabama — How victims are lured in and what state lawmakers are doing about it

An at-risk teenager or vulnerable woman begins dating someone who showers her with gifts, takes her on dates, and woos her into loving and depending on him for care and protection – and, often, drugs. She feels that he is her “boyfriend” even though, eventually, he tells her that she needs to perform sex acts with other men to pay the rent or pay for drugs or to keep his love and protection. She complies. Is she a victim of sexual abuse or human trafficking or is she a prostitute? It’s the difficult-to-define-and-prosecute problem that often festers in the shadows, eluding law enforcement, social workers and lawmakers, said Pat McCay, secretary of the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force. “The problem with some of these cases is they are not recognized as human trafficking,” McCay said in an interview with Yellowhammer News. “It can look like sexual abuse or sexual assault. Women and girls will come in with bruises or emotional scars and even with the most well-trained people, if you don’t understand what human trafficking is or that it is going on in your community, it’s just not on your radar.” LAWS AND LOOPHOLES A growing army of advocates and legislators wants to cut through the confusion -- by pushing human trafficking into public awareness, and by enacting stronger laws to strong-arm it out of Alabama. State Rep. Jack Williams (R-Vestavia Hills) has been fighting human trafficking in Alabama since 2009 and last week introduced a bill in the state…