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Sunday, May 29, 2005
PoliColumn: The Pryor Nomination
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:32 am

From today’s Birmingham News:

Pryor not out of the mainstream
Sunday, May 29, 2005
STEVEN L. TAYLOR

Would it shock you to learn that when President Clinton was in office that he nominated individuals to the federal bench who reflected his own philosophies and views on topics such as abortion? Would it be a surprise to learn that historically the norm has been for presidents of both parties to seek out candidates for the bench who share their basic ideological perspectives?

This is what we should expect from any president. A President Kerry would have appointed judges of a substantially different ideological tilt from those of President Bush.

The whole thing is here.

Filed under: US Politics, My Columns, Courts/the Judiciary | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Politics In Alabama linked with Why is Pryor Not Being Liked?
Sunday, May 22, 2005
PoliColumn: Alabama Budget Politics
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:10 pm

From the this morning’s Mobile Register:

Legislature’s song remains the same; just a different verse
Sunday, May 22, 2005
By STEVEN L. TAYLOR
Special to the Register

One of my favorite things to point out regarding legislatures — whether in class, in casual conversation or in forums such as this — is that the heart of legislative activity is budget making. Budgets are plans for the future and statements of priority.

The entire piece is here.

Note: an e-mail from a reader of the Dead Tree version of the Register thanked me for another “ninth grade civics lesson”-which I took as sarcasm. To which I say: if they are out there actually teaching the students of the state about budget and legislative politics in ninth grade, they ain’t doing a very good job of it.

Filed under: US Politics, My Columns, Alabama Politics | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Monday, April 4, 2005
PoliColumn: Budgeting in Alabama
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:53 am

From yesterday’s Mobile Register (it wasn’t online when I checked yesterday morning:

(BTW, I hate the title, but I didn’t write it (never do-well, I do, but they always ignore it))

Legislative procedure is no way to run a railroad or a state budget
Sunday, April 03, 2005
By STEVEN L. TAYLOR
Special to the Register

On one level, budgeting sounds like perhaps the most boring aspect of government, being as it is about complex documents and accounting issues. Further, many people seem to think that it is a wholly administrative function.

Nevertheless, setting the budget is the heart of governing, just as it is in business. Organizations rely upon income to fund what they do, and the state’s budgets are the political alchemy that converts tax dollars into public policy.

The entire piece is here.

Filed under: US Politics, My Columns, Alabama Politics | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Sunday, March 27, 2005
PoliColumn: Alabama Property Taxes
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:55 am

From today’s Birmingham News:

State taxes, our children and politics
Sunday, March 27, 2005
STEPHEN L. TAYLOR [oops.-Ed.]

There is a lengthy list of phobias suffered by the body politic in Alabama. We tend to fear the actions of the federal government and aren’t too keen on federal judges (or, for that matter, judges in general). Both give us a rash. At the top of our list of such fears is tax-o-phobia, especially property taxes. Where taxes are concerned, forget the rash; taxes give us boils.

The entire column is here

Filed under: My Columns, Alabama Politics | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Correction
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:21 pm

In my Mobile Register column today I wrote that Pryor had been given a temporary appointment to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. That is an error; he was appointed to the 11th.

Filed under: My Columns | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
PoliColumn: Byrd and Filibusters
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:33 am

From today’s Mobile Register:

Democrats’ history on filibusters belies their current stance
Sunday, March 13, 2005
By STEVEN L. TAYLOR
Special to the Register

The re-election of President Bush has set the stage for “Confirmation Wars II: Return of the Nominees.”

As we may recall, the Democrats in the last Senate were actively engaged in a conflict with President Bush, wherein they were using the Senate’s filibuster rule (i.e., the right to unlimited debate) to block 10 of President Bush’s nominations to the U.S. Courts of Appeal. Among that group was Alabama’s former attorney general, Bill Pryor, who received a temporary appoint to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal that expired at the end of President Bush’s first term.

The entire piece is here.

Filed under: US Politics, My Columns | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

bennellibrothers.com linked with More on the filibuster
Hennessy's View linked with You Must Read This
Monday, February 14, 2005
Letters, We Get Letters….
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:53 am

As expected, my Roy Moore column in yesterday’s Mobile Register has generated more e-mail than usual. Now, I have only gotten a handful, but it is a bigger handful than normal (indeed, any given column usually generates no mail, although I will often get a few). The surprise in this case is, with the execption of the one I posted yesterday, all the letters have been supportive ones.

Filed under: My Columns, Alabama Politics | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Mail Bag
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:04 pm

I expected to get some response to my column this morning on Mr. Moore. In truth, I have thus far have received far less e-mails than expected. However, you have to love this kind of response:

Dear Dr. Taylor,
You claim to be a “Taylor”, a Southern Baptist,and from the Montgomery area, yet your thought’s are as alien as that of someone from Massa-too-shits. I fear your Yankee education has caused you not to be able to see the forest for the trees.
The Taylor’s came to Alabama in 1818 along with my family and several others from Georgia and the Carolinas. They were very Christian like people. Suh, yo attack on the good name of judge Roy Moore is an embarrassment to all real Alabamians. Why you should be ashamed of yoself.
If it were 1850, I most surely would challange you to a duel at sunrise.
Iah am,
Xxxxxx Xxxx, descendant of Carolina pioneers, cotton farmers and slave traders.
( I have no excuses fo my Alabama english. Why I am proud of it.)

One could try and response to such a missive, but what would be the point?

Filed under: US Politics, My Columns, Alabama Politics | Comments (7) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
PoliColumn: Roy Moore
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:33 am

From today’s Mobile Register:

Alabama would suffer under Gov. Roy Moore
Sunday, February 13, 2005
By STEVEN L. TAYLOR
Special to the Register

Last month a University of South Alabama/Mobile Register poll of Alabama Republicans indicated that as of right now, ex-Chief Justice Roy Moore would beat Gov. Bob Riley in the Republican primary next year.

The poll further noted that Moore has a 72 percent approval rating among Alabama Republicans.

The entire piece is here.

Filed under: US Politics, My Columns, Alabama Politics | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Sunday, January 23, 2005
PoliColumn: Moore for Governor?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:45 am

From today’s Birmingham News:

Early poll indicative of Moore’s strength

Sunday, January 23, 2005
STEVEN L. TAYLOR

A Mobile Register/University of South Alabama poll released last week showed former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore leading Gov. Bob Riley by eight points among likely Republican voters in a potential primary matchup. Further, the poll found that Moore has a 72 percent favorable rating in the state among likely Republican voters.

The whole piece is here.

Filed under: My Columns, Alabama Politics | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Sunday, January 16, 2005
PoliColumn: The 55th Inauguration
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:13 am

From today’s Mobile Register:

Transfer of power is a signature achievement of our democracy

Sunday, January 16, 2005

By STEVEN L. TAYLOR
Special to the Register

This week, a miracle of history will be on display, although most of us won’t be looking at it that way. Most of us will greet the event with yawns; after all, what’s the big deal, given that we do it every four years?

The entire piece is here.

Filed under: US Politics, My Columns | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Thursday, December 23, 2004
PoliColumn: Alabama Christmas List
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:16 am

This is from today’s Mobile Register, but didn’t make it online, so here’s the pre-published version:

An Alabama Christmas List

Steven L. Taylor

There is a Christmas song of relatively recent vintage entitled “My Grown-up Christmas List.�? That song contains, as one might expect, if one is unfamiliar with the tune, wishes for such things as wars that never start and love that never ends. While I certainly won’t argue with those sentiments, I have a far humbler set of requests as I contemplate a grown-up Christmas list for our state, and it is one that is full of things that are certainly difficult to obtain, but are imminently possible.

Now, if we are going for pie in the sky the obvious things to include would be ending poverty, crime, and disease. However, the goal of a Christmas list isn’t to ask for the impossible. Rather, I look out over the political landscape of Alabama and it is clear-crystal clear, in fact-that any realistic wish list for improving our state has to start with the 1901 Constitution.

We should, by now, know the basics: out state constitution is a copious, confusing, overly detailed document that was written to empower the elite of the day (i.e., landowners, especially owners of large amounts of land) and to disenfranchise the non-elite (i.e., everybody else, but especially poor whites and blacks). Further, the document refuses localities the ability at serious self-government and concentrates the power of the state government in Montgomery. Then, to make sure that very little actual governing is done, the constitution limits what the state government can do as well. Evidence of the latter point can be found in the detailed, often silly, amendments we have to pass every two years to get basic governing done in the state.

As such, I would state without any hesitation, that our state’s constitution creates a dysfunctional, arguably broken, state government and that it needs to be replaced. Along those lines let me detail a few of my Christmas wishes vis-à-vis our constitution. Given that I could write several columns (if not a book) on this subject, these are just some selected highlights from a long, long list.

My first wish is the broadest and the on that needs to be granted first so that the others might stand a chance. That wish is that the citizens of Alabama would come to grips with the reality of the 1901 Constitution. Despite the arguments that many groups in the state have made, and that are subscribed to by many well-meaning citizens, the fact of the matter is that the origins of our constitution are not noble. The 1901 Constitution was not written to strengthen democracy, does not uphold worthy traditions nor, despite the preamble, was its main goal religious in any way. The goal was, as noted, to empower a minority at the expense of the majority—by definition, therefore, it was written with anti-democratic intentions. These facts undercut the myth that the document is worth preserving. My wish is that that myth would dissipate. I guarantee that any serious examination of the fact concerning the origins or content of the document will certainly help such dissipation. Knowledge is, after all, power.

A second wish is linked to the first: that the citizens of Alabama would recognize that government is necessary, and worthy of being fixed. As James Madison noted in Federalist #51: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary�? and since none of us are angels, there is no denying the need for government. So, since it is not going away, we Alabamians ought to insist on the best government possible, not the dysfunctional mess we are currently saddled with.

A third wish is (theoretically) pretty easy: I would like to see the current constitution recompiled so that it will be topically consistent and so that all of the deadwood (i.e., the portions that have been declared unconstitutional) is removed. Such an action would take out the odious segregationist language that still abides in the document after the failed attempt to remove it last November. This idea has been proposed by Governor Riley, but thus far has not been successful. Such a move would not solve our governance problems, but would at least make the document more understandable.

A fourth is increased home rule for localities. It is ridiculous that basic local governance often requires making requests to the legislature for local bills when the power to decide how to govern cities, school districts and such should be held by the people closest to the problems at hand.

A fifth wish would be that we could have a state constitution that would promote economic activity in our state, rather than trying to stand in its way (see Section 93).

A sixth wish would be that the practice of earmarking would end, and instead that budgets would be constructed based on democratic principles of representation (not the entrenched power of a handful of groups). This is another proposal suggested by Governor Riley, but that has gone nowhere.

My wish-list could easily go on, and much more could be said about each wish, but space dictates that I stop here.

Now, if all these Christmas wishes were granted would Alabama become paradise? Certainly not. Would government always do the right thing? No, because it would still be a government by men over men. However, would there be better governance and enhanced democracy in our state? Absolutely.

Certainly all of these would make worthy Christmas gifts for our state. If one is inclined to disagree with me on these ideas, all I would ask is that seriously thought be given to why—and if the argument is that things are fine in the state I would simply point to the state’s rankings in areas of education, poverty and economic development and ask if “fine�? is the appropriate description of the state of our state.

Regardless of one’s views, let me end by wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Filed under: My Columns, Alabama Politics | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Sunday, December 19, 2004
PoliColumn: Suburban Homeland Security
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:57 am

From today’s Birmingham News:


What in the world is homeland security?
Sunday, December 19, 2004
STEVEN L. TAYLOR

There is no doubt the events of Sept. 11, 2001, alerted American to the vulnerability of the homeland. And as a result, Congress authorized the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in December 2002.

It would seem that homeland security mania has now swept southward, as the Birmingham suburb of Hoover (population 63,000) has become the first municipality in the state to form its own Department of Homeland Security and Immigration.

The whole thing is here.

Filed under: My Columns | Comments (4) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Signifying Nothing linked with Homeland Insecurity
PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Defending the Homeland from Images of Nekkid People linked with [...] it seems that the Homeland Security craze is getting a bit out of hand (something I noted in a column in the Birmingham News a while back. Some evidence to that effect from the story: In the post-9/1 [...]
PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science » Homeland Security Pork linked with [...] Sunday, January 9, 2005 Homeland Security Pork By Steven Taylor @ 2:05 pm As I have noted in the past, homeland security has become the newest source of pork for the states. [...]
Monday, December 13, 2004
PoliColumn: Medical Marijuana
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:25 pm

From yesterday’s Mobile Register (although it didn’t make it to the web until today:

To toke or not to toke?
Monday, December 13, 2004
By STEVEN L. TAYLOR
Special to the Register

On Nov. 29, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Ashcroft vs. Raich, over the issue of whether California’s medical marijuana law could co-exist with federal laws that ban the production, sale or use of the substance.

Among the documents submitted to the court regarding the case was a brief supporting California’s position filed by the state of Alabama (in conjunction with the states of Mississippi and Louisiana).

The whole thing is here.

Filed under: My Columns, Courts/the Judiciary | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Sunday, November 21, 2004
PoliColumn II: On the Defeat of Amendment 2 in Alabama
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:46 am

From today’s Birmingham News:

Amendment 2 defeat speaks volumes
Sunday, November 21, 2004
STEVEN L. TAYLOR

That Amendment 2 was defeated in the recent election is unfortunate and says much about the politics of our state.

The whole thing is here.

Filed under: My Columns | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science » My MLK Day Post linked with [...] that it is simply a symbol of “heritage�? is to ignore what heritage one is claiming. The Amendment 2 vote in Alabama last year also underscores the kind of thing I am talking about. Lib [...]
PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science » When Colemans Attack! linked with [...] prejudice. (Coleman appears to have a thing for Alabama. And, for what it’s worth, I supported Amendment 2). Of course, as numerous folks have pointed out (the best being the fisking [...]
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