A man holds a form filled with charges.

The high price of Alabama’s low taxes

BY: - September 18, 2023

Say this about Alabama’s attitude toward guns: It reveals lawmakers’ priorities. For instance: when faced last year with a choice between gun access and funding law enforcement, Republican legislators chose gun access.  This came from a bill that made concealed carry permits optional. There was no mass demand for this. But the National Rifle Association […]

A black and white photo of former Alabama Gov. George Wallace speaking into a microphone from behind a podium. Lt. Gov. James Allen and House Speaker Albert Brewer sit behind him.

That redistricting argument sounds familiar

BY: - September 11, 2023

Three federal judges order the Alabama Legislature to draw fair districts for Black voters.  Lawmakers drag their feet. They submit a plan. Judges reject it for limiting the ability of Black Alabamians to choose their leaders.  September 2023?  Nope. September 1965.  That redistricting fight 58 years ago isn’t a one-for-one match to what we see […]

Top view of people holding hands together while standing in an office.

Suicide prevention is a priority for me now

BY: - September 8, 2023

Editor’s note: This commentary discusses grief, loss and suicide. I live in an old Denver building with six units, one of which was occupied, until recently, by a mathematician. I met this neighbor several years ago when I asked permission to enter her apartment, because I was looking for the building’s main water shut-off valve, […]

A hand holds a cell door with a white sign saying "Please secure gate."

Alabama’s experiment with death

BY: - September 4, 2023

Alabama will soon attempt to suffocate a death row inmate.  It could be several months away. Maybe longer. And it’s never been done to a human being before. But despite that — and despite Alabama’s record of incompetence in carrying out executions — it’s almost certain the state will get to try the new execution […]

A group of people in a committee room, nearly all women, holding signs saying "1 child (is greater than) all the guns" and "Make Our Schools Safe Again." Women from Moms Demand Action are also present.

The white patriarchy in Tennessee

BY: - September 1, 2023

This week, the Tennessee General Assembly gave me a lesson on the white patriarchy. I had not understood the term in a meaningful way until this week, until I could feel it viscerally in the silencing of our dissent, in the ignoring of our presence, and our silent and present plea for gun safety — […]

A small transgender flag, with blue, pink and white stripes, laying on the grass.

Throwing Alabama’s children and physicians to the wolves

BY: - August 28, 2023

Three federal judges exposed Alabama physicians to felony charges last week. But U.S. Circuit Judge Barbara Lagoa wanted everyone to know it was complicated. “This case revolves around an issue that is surely of the utmost importance to all of the parties involved: the safety and wellbeing of the children of Alabama,” Lagoa wrote in […]

Two people standing outside an office. One is in a shirt identifying him as a member of the sheriff's office. People inside the office are hunched over a table.

Kansas newspaper raid draws plenty of attention, but journalists defy threats across U.S.

BY: - August 22, 2023

After Kansas Reflector reported on the ignominious and unconstitutional raid of the Marion County Record on Aug. 11, news outlets and commentators from across Kansas and the nation followed suit throughout the weekend. The voices of those who value a free press and free expression were overwhelming in their force and intensity. Eight days later, […]

Front of Hugo L Black Courthouse

Alabama’s redistricting strategy: Everyone embarrass themselves

BY: - August 21, 2023

Alabama’s legal defense of its new congressional map doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Instead of addressing a court’s order in Allen v. Milligan to draw a second majority-Black district “or something quite close to it,” the Alabama attorney general’s office wants the judges overseeing the case to give the state a do-over, under rules […]

The Harriott II, a riverboat, is docked in a river next to a long wooden pier. The river stretches to a small forest opposite.

Beyond the brawl: Montgomery’s Black community has always fought back

BY: - August 14, 2023

I’ve consumed much of the media spun off from the Montgomery Brawl.  The poolside re-enactment. The video setting the fight to the “Good Times” theme song, with associated credits. (“Created by Consequences and Repercussions.” Perfect.)  The national reaction to the battle in the city’s Riverfront Park has been remarkable. Even for a state that rivals Florida for footage of […]

Man in blue tielooking to his left

Why Steve Marshall can’t focus on pressing Alabama problems

BY: - August 7, 2023

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall got sued last week over some comments he made a year ago about the state’s near-total abortion ban.  Marshall went on a radio show last year to suggest that assisting an Alabama woman’s efforts to get an abortion out of state was “potentially criminally actionable.” Physicians and clinicians say that […]

The chamber of the Alabama House of Representatives

How a good intention made the Alabama Legislature less democratic

BY: - July 31, 2023

Alabama government has many features aimed at thwarting popular will.  There’s gerrymandering. And the centralized nature of state government. With most state power concentrated around Goat Hill, it’s much easier for entrenched interests to influence policy.  But few of these features are so on-the-nose with their anti-democratic nature as a unique part of the Alabama […]

Two men at opposite podiums speak to each other.

The Alabama Legislature dances back into federal court

BY: - July 24, 2023

A few weeks ago, my wife and I learned to dance the foxtrot.  That’s a century-old step that (as taught to us) is pretty basic. Take your partner’s hand and put your other hand on your partner’s waist.  If you’re the lead, take two steps forward. If you’re not, take two steps back. Step to […]