I am not sure what I expected our country to look like in 2021, but I certainly did not expect it to be so fractured and so bogged down in hate. My oldest son was a year old on September 11, 2001. The wave of patriotism following that day gave me hope for the America my kids would inherit.
Across most of the country, states are struggling to quell a worsening opiate epidemic. While this is happening, one problem continues to rage on in states across the country.
NBC News reported on meth with some shocking results. Meth - also known as ice, crank, speed, chalk or gak - is a highly addictive and damaging drug that is still a huge problem throughout the U.S According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2015, meth offenders made up the highest proportion of federal drug offenders in 27 states.
Alcohol was on the minds of many Alabama lawmakers this year as the legislature considered an abnormally high number of alcohol-related bills. Several of the bills passed. Most notable was legislation that made it possible for Alabama businesses to deliver beer, wine and liquor to customers’ homes and separate legislation that allows state residents to order wine directly from wineries, even if those producers are out of state.
Suppose an intelligent machine deems you guilty of a crime. Suppose the police were to treat the machine’s judgment as evidence of your guilt. Would it matter that you are actually innocent?
This hypothetical was once a plot device of dystopian novels and films. As law enforcement agencies increasingly rely on traffic cameras, cell phone data and other information technologies, we should take care that fiction does not become reality.
As a politician, I could blame the mountain of unfinished business before the Alabama Legislature in 2021 on the COVID pandemic. There’s some truth to it, but well-crafted propaganda combines a grain of truth with a convenient scapegoat. If money is the mother’s milk of politics, then propaganda is the baby itself.
The pandemic is not the primary reason we fail to make progress on difficult and complex issues year after year. The main culprit remains the same as always - pure politics and its never-ending struggle for power over one another.
Americans care about assisting the less fortunate, and over 100 government programs carry out this task. A closer examination, however, reveals that much of this funding goes to other purposes. This raises questions about how best to assist Americans needing help.
I will focus on two programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid. Other programs experience similar diversions. For instance, subsidized college loans often help students from well-to-do families attend elite schools.
Once upon a time, having a job at a newspaper meant working in one of the most imposing buildings in town, inhaling the acrid aroma of fresh ink and the dusty breath of cheap newsprint and feeling mini-earthquakes under our feet every time the presses started to roll. For those of us old enough to remember those days, National Newspaper Week 2019 could be one big, fat elegiac nostalgia trip.