Author: Jeff Poor

Alabama Republicans, be ready for a conservative revolt

Doug Jones’ win last December has given national Democrats something to look forward to in the upcoming 2018 midterms. If a Dem can win in Alabama, think what that might mean for the rest of the country! That Democratic optimism overlooks some key factors. Consider in November 2016, there were many Republicans in Alabama who preferred another option on the ballot besides Donald Trump. Nonetheless, when they went to vote, they held their noses and cast ballots for Trump. They would have preferred Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or Ben Carson. But given the choices were Trump or Hillary Clinton,...

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How Global Economics Changed Small-Town Alabama

A hundred miles up the Alabama River from Mobile Bay, where the Black Belt meets the Coastal Plains, is uniquely situated Monroe County, a place most Alabamians overlook. Aside from its literary exploits and being geographically situated far from the major thoroughfares, Monroeville, the county seat of Monroe County, clings to a historically forgotten status. Indeed, unless you have a reason to go to Monroeville, it is unlikely you would ever, by happenstance, pop by. Late last month, I had a reason to go to Monroeville. Like most small towns after 6 p.m. on a weekday, the town square...

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At least “crumbs” are a step in right direction

Earlier this month, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) took some heat for highlighting on his social media a passage from an Associated Press story about some people beginning to see an increase in their paychecks from the tax bill recently signed into law by President Donald Trump. Ryan wrote, “A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week … she said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year.” You might have thought Ryan showed up at a grocery store and was amazed...

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Abortion no magic-bullet issue for ALGOP

Last week, Alabama’s new U.S. Sen. Doug Jones voted against a bill called the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” The legislation, if passed and signed into law, would have banned abortions at 20 weeks. The 20-week threshold marks the point in gestation at which fetuses supposedly can feel pain. Jones’ loyal Alabama opposition decried his anti-life vote. “After today’s vote, we now see Sen. Doug Jones’ true colors,” Alabama Republican Party chairwoman Terry Lathan proclaimed after his “no” vote. “We will not forget his vote to block this bill banning late-term abortions. It is disgraceful that Sen. Jones, who...

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No to a blind-faith gas tax increase

Remember this? “When I see the crumbling roads and bridges, or the dilapidated airports or the factories moving overseas to Mexico, or to other countries for that matter, I know these problems can all be fixed, but not by Hillary Clinton — only by me.” That was one of the pledges Donald Trump made during the 2016 presidential campaign, promising to fix the nation’s infrastructure. In his first 100 days, Trump planned to somehow achieve this with bipartisan support. As has been the case for most of his agenda, Trump likely did not foresee this level of congressional resistance,...

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A textbook case of higher education governed by cynicism

A strange thing happened at the University of Alabama last week. One of its now-former female students, in a showing of horrific judgment, thought it would be appropriate to post a video online of herself offering commentary on society mixed with the repeated use of a racial slur. To make matters even worse, after considerable backlash and apparently some reflection, she told herself to “hold my beer” and made another video proclaiming to be justified using the racial slur. That part of this story is awful, but it wasn’t the strange part. Immediately the University of Alabama issued a...

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The curious case of Tuskegee’s Confederate soldier

Situated on the far eastern edge of Alabama’s Black Belt is the exhausted town of Tuskegee. Despite its dwindling population, the county seat of Macon County is well known but also forgotten — like many places bypassed by the interstate system beginning in the 1970s. Unless you are actually going to Tuskegee, there is not much of a reason to pass through, unless you are taking the old U.S. Highway 80-U.S. Highway 29 route headed out of Montgomery and east to Georgia, as I did last week. Once you pass the hollowed-out, deteriorating strip malls along the main four-lane...

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What’s with Sessions’ marijuana obsession?

If there’s one consistent theme of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ nearly 40 years in public life, it’s that he has been an opponent of marijuana, be it in a law enforcement capacity or a policymaking one. Last week, the Sessions Justice Department announced it was ending the Obama-era policy that directed prosecutors not to interfere with state governments allowing legalization of the drug, which is in direct conflict with federal statutes. That gave prosecutors the go-ahead to enforce federal drug law in the seven states like Colorado and Washington, where it has been legalized for recreational use and...

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