Cullman Times. May 29, 2021.

Editorial: Stop and give thanks

Sometime, at least once, during this three-day weekend, stop a moment and give thanks.

As you hover over the barbecue, wade into the lake or just enjoy not reporting to work on a Monday, remember. Remember those who died in battle, who made the ultimate sacrifice, so you could have these simple pleasures.

Say a prayer of thanks. If you know their names, say them aloud. It is through the remembering that they remain among us. If you drive down Hwy. 31, notice the flags placed in their honor. If you have the time - and you should take the time whether you have it or not - stop and look at the names on the crosses placed in their memory by the VFW.

Say a prayer for their loved ones. Honor the sacrifice they made as well, the loss of a son, father, daughter, sister, mother, brother. Think of the many moments, big and small, they endured without that person there to celebrate with or offer consolation.

Memorial Day is about remembering and honoring those who gave their all. We are the land of the free because of the brave men and women who don those uniforms and fight for our country. Take a moment - or more - to acknowledge their sacrifice.

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Decatur Daily. May 26, 2021.

Editorial: Republicans give up on small government

The Republican Party as the “Party of Ronald Reagan” is well and truly dead, and even the Democrats have taken notice.

Reagan talked about getting government out of the way in order to unleash the power of the market and the entrepreneurial talent of small business.

For better or worse, that has meant that for most of the past 40 years the Republican Party has been, even more than the party of tax cuts, the party of deregulation. That has sometimes gone awry, especially when risky business activities have been deregulated while taxpayers have have been left on the hook for the bailouts that followed when those activities didn’t pan out.

But it has also fostered an environment of dynamism and creativity that has remade the economy for the 21st century. The proof of that is most obvious in the technology sector, which hasn’t been around in its present form long enough to accumulate a lot of regulations.

That, however, is changing. There is a drive to regulate the tech industry, and it’s coming from both ends of the spectrum: From Democrats who hate and distrust bigness in anything but government, but also from Republicans who have decided free-market dynamism must now play second fiddle to a renewed culture war.

Take Florida, for example, where Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law Monday allowing any person “deplatformed” by a tech company to sue for up to $100,000 in damages. This would be like saying a person could sue a TV station for not giving them free airtime or a newspaper for not printing their letter to the editor. It’s a complete reversal of what the First Amendment actually means.

And Florida lawmakers know the law they passed is bad, which is why they put in a huge exemption for any company that owns a theme park in Florida. This sleight of hand is a tricky way to give one of Florida’s biggest businesses, Disney, a free pass.

Alabama lawmakers are playing the game on a smaller scale, but they’re playing nonetheless.

On Monday, Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law a bill that bans so-called “vaccine passports.” That’s just a fancy way of saying no business, school, state or local facility, or private or public event can deny entry or service to someone for being unable or unwilling to show they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur sponsored the legislation, which passed the GOP-controlled Legislature with overwhelming support. Orr said the bill’s purpose is “to prevent the creation of a discriminatory society based on vaccination status.”

Yet, as Orr admitted, we already do that in some circumstances, which is why his bill has exemptions for existing school vaccinations.

Tellingly, the new law has no criminal penalties for violations, and probably few businesses want to check people’s vaccination status, anyway. Like most skirmishes in the new culture war, it’s mostly just for show. But the main thing it shows is Republicans are no longer even pretending to be a party of smaller government.

Democrats have pounced.

Rep. Merika Coleman, D-Pleasant Grove, according to The Associated Press, observed that Republicans are choosing to dictate to businesses what they can and can’t do.

After years of attacking Democrats — often with good cause — for trying to pick winners and losers in the economy, Republicans have embraced the same approach. They still favor deregulation for favored businesses, such as anything that pumps carbon dioxide into the air, but are all for regulations that punish businesses or business behavior they don’t like.

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Dothan Eagle. May 25, 2021.

Editorial: CodeRED

Alabama residents should be encouraged by the state Law Enforcement Agency’s new missing person alert system, CodeRED.

It provides another tool for law enforcement’s rapid response to missing persons by issuing alerts across a new network, which will also repeat Amber alerts and Blue alerts issued over the Wireless Emergency Alert system.

Residents can subscribe to the CodeRED system through www.alea.gov, or by texting ALalerts to 99411. Those who subscribe will receive alerts from ALEA’s Fusion Center, which can tailor alerts geographically or issue them statewide.

The new system will allow the dissemination of information quickly and efficiently, which is essential when frantic loved ones are dealing with a missing or endangered person, whether it’s a child or an adult with dementia or other health concerns.

We urge residents to take the opportunity to register for the new CodeRED system. The broader the network, the more effective it can be.

END