- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:

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Dec. 1

Montgomery Advertiser on leaders like the Marion 9:

Thomas Lee didn’t need to the ability to read or write to change the lives of thousands of African-Americans. He just needed guts.

With our present day riled in muck and mire, political bickering, sexual assault allegations against U.S. Senate candidates and not a single major Alabama office free of controversy in the past couple years, look no further than the Marion 9 for inspiration.

Lee and eight other freed slaves took one of the biggest risks imaginable 150 years ago. In the Deep South when the wounds of the Civil War were still gaping wide and when blacks were lynched and abused for their skin color, the Marion 9 created the college that today is known as Alabama State University.

Think about the strength that took. Think about how vulnerable they were to abuse for opening an opportunity for black men and women to receive an education.

Lee signed with a simple X because he couldn’t write, opening the college known then as the Lincoln Normal School.

With his signature, generation after generation of African-Americans were improved.

So what did you do with your life today?

The university recently saluted the Marion 9 and their descendants, honoring their legacy that built the modern campus.

“People look around today and see the nice buildings and fail to realize someone had to sacrifice something to reach the level of excellence it’s at today,” historian Robert Bailey said.

While we struggle to find real leaders in the 21st century, the Marion 9 should remind us all that anyone can change the world.

There are days where it seems like we are losing, and America isn’t that great, and its leaders really aren’t making a difference they claim they are.

Then we just think about the Marion 9, a small group with a mighty pen signing the college incorporation papers.

Real difference makers? It’s the simple, humble men and women taking huge risks who are the heroes.

We suspect the ASU campus has other difference makers learning there right now. We look forward to their leadership because we need it.

Online: http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/

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Nov. 30

The Gadsden Times on making it illegal for anyone to use tobacco products inside a vehicle with a passenger who is a minor:

We addressed Alabama’s membership in what an anti-smoking advocacy group has dubbed “Tobacco Nation.”

That’s a group of 12 states stretching from the Upper Midwest to the Deep South, where smoking among adults and youth is more prevalent than in the rest of the United States. In fact, if those states were treated as a separate country, it would rank in the top five worldwide in smoking by both older and younger people.

So, we’ve established that Alabamians - to their detriment both physically and financially; that’s not subject to discussion at this point - like their smokes.

It doesn’t take Holmes- or Poirot-level deductive skills to go from there to the likelihood that those smokers are at home or in their vehicles - it’s become pretty much verboten in public airspaces - exposing others to the noxious end result of their habit.

An Alabama legislator wants to change that where children are concerned. Her rationale is enough to prompt those uncomfortable with the notion of a nanny state - count us in that group - to at least do some thinking.

Rep. Rolanda Hollis, D-Birmingham, has pre-filed a bill that would make it illegal for anyone to use tobacco products - cigarettes, cigars, pipes, whatever - inside a vehicle with a passenger who’s a minor. Violators could be fined up to $100.

Alabama wouldn’t be an outlier with such a law. Smoking in vehicles where young people are present already is banned in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Utah, Vermont and Virginia, and by some cities.

The age ranges for a violation run from 6 to 18; the penalties from $25 to $250. Such bills have been introduced by and drawn support from people across the political spectrum, liberals and conservatives.

There’s no point rehashing what tobacco use does to smokers. You’ve heard it and we’ve heard it for more than a half-century.

This is relevant, however: Health and environmental officials say secondhand smoke can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and asthma, lung damage and other ailments in children.

People will argue that this is another example of intrusive government trying to tell people how to live their lives and raise their kids.

Our counter: Those who know and willingly assume the risks still have the right to purchase and use what is likely to remain a legal product - we know smoking will never be completely outlawed; too many “hogs” are feeding at that monetary trough - but kids stuck in cars don’t have a choice in the matter. Protecting their health and safety is a legitimate function of government.

We wouldn’t expect law enforcement to put this at the top of their priority list. We also don’t want roadblocks set up to nail parents who are puffing away, equipped with dogs trained to smell tobacco smoke. We just think this bill deserves consideration and passage - and kids deserve clean air.

Online: http://www.gadsdentimes.com/

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Dec. 3

Decatur Daily on Roy Moore ‘hiding’:

Roy Moore, a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, has a carefully developed persona. He is a man of courage, a “man’s man,” as a fan recently hollered at a rally. He wears a cowboy hat and packs a pistol. He stares down liberals and immigrants, gays and Muslims, Democrats and the devil himself. They’re all going to hell, and he’s the man who isn’t afraid to say it.

That’s the persona. The reality, it turns out, is quite different. The man of iron is hiding.

Moore is hiding behind religion.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel railed on the candidate recently, focusing on allegations from numerous women that Moore preyed on them when he was an assistant district attorney in his 30s and they were teens, one as young as 14. Rather than dealing with the actual claims, rather than call out Kimmel for any inaccuracies, Moore hid behind the cross.

“If you want to mock our Christian values, come down here to Alabama and do it man to man,” Moore responded from the safety of Twitter.

But as Moore well understood, Kimmel wasn’t mocking Christian values. He was mocking Moore’s departure from those values. As the comedian quickly responded, “Sounds great Roy - let me know when you get some Christian values and I’ll be there!”

Moore, fearful that Alabamians won’t rally around him, pretended Kimmel - a Christian not accused of molesting teens - was attacking the Bible.

Moore is hiding from the press.

He steadfastly avoids one-on-one interviews. He holds rallies in small-town churches, using the venues as an excuse to avoid questions directed at either him or his supporters. In announcing one held Thursday night, he explained, “The pastor has graciously allowed reporters and still photographers inside the gym and has asked that they do not approach members of his congregation with questions or interview requests.”

Moore is hiding from his opponent, Doug Jones.

Jones has agreed to a debate with Moore in any format. Moore has steadfastly rejected any debate, and has done so with a laughable excuse: “We’ve refused to debate them because of their very liberal stance on transgenderism and transgenderism in the military and in bathrooms,” Moore said.

Moore is hiding behind the president.

President Donald Trump endorsed interim Sen. Luther Strange in the GOP primary. He has thus far declined to campaign for Moore; the closest Trump has come to an endorsement has been to emphasize that he needs a GOP senator, any GOP senator. Trump’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, was blunt when discussing the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled at Moore: “There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children. I’ve yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts.”

Trump is holding his nose and saying, “Vote for him anyways.”

With no visible shame, Moore is embracing a president who limits his “endorsement” to attacks on Jones, rather than praise of the GOP candidate. He avidly retweets Trump. He slams unpopular Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for supporting Strange in the primary, but gives Trump a pass for doing the same. He parrots Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, sidestepping the fact that Trump clearly saw no role for Moore in implementing the coming greatness.

Moore is hiding from the press and his opponent. He is hiding behind his religion and the president. He is accused of preying on those too young to defend themselves. The candidate has carefully presented himself as a man of courage and strength, but the reality demonstrated during his Senate campaign falls woefully short of the facade.

Online: http://www.decaturdaily.com/


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