Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Alabama politicians: Wii dont knead know edjewkashun

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Time and time again, the politicians in Alabama continue to prove the truth of that February 1, 1993, story Washington Post news story authored by reporter Michael Weisskopf which stated that followers of the Christian Right are “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

By the time Governor Bentley and his GOP henchmen get through with Alabama, the only thing the citizens will need is a kiss.

The reason why, is that they’ll already have been screwed.

Alabama is great for business, unless you’re in the business of being a kid

Published: Monday, October 22, 2012, 10:25 AM     Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012, 1:04 PM

AL schools You know that old Whitney Houston song? What was it, The Greatest Love of All?

It’s happening to … us.

Only here in Alabama we sing it, like we sing most of our tunes, in our own peculiar way.

We believe that corporations are our future.

Seed them well and let them have their way.

As for the children? Well, to hell with them. They’re too little to make us any real cash, anyway. What good are they if they can’t produce jobs, jobs, jobs?

You see the reports and statistics all the time, rankings that paint Alabama as gloriously business friendly, with cheap labor costs, low corporate taxes and a government so eager to lure jobs it’s willing to toss in the barn when it gives away the family farm.

A development magazine this month ranked Alabama as the fourth-best state for business. And of course Alabamians cheered.

They believe it translates into more jobs, and it does. It will bring more out-of-state companies looking to pay low wages until it is no longer profitable, to workers who will carry a higher share of the tax burden.

In Alabama you also — time after time after time — see reports and statistics and rankings detailing just how badly we treat our children.

This year Alabama ranked 45th in child well-being in the annual Kids Count ranking by the Annie E Casey Foundation.

People cheered that, too. Because 45th — that’s fifth from the worst, by the way — is the best Alabama has ever done in that survey. The state actually made progress in some educational areas, or we’d still be down at the bottom, thanking God for Mississippi.

We still are in some ways. The Children’s Defense Fund this year still ranks Alabama 49th in infant mortality and 48th for low birth-weight babies. It says some 80 percent of Alabama 8th graders – that’s eight of every ten eighth graders, for those who went to school here – cannot do math on grade level. Almost three of every four cannot read on a level expected for their grade.

We are among the best in caring for businesses.

And still among the worst in caring for our children.

It’s a bad business model.

It’s like advertising a deal at your furniture store, and forgetting to buy the furniture. It’s like investing in the vapor of the dot coms. It’s like building your house, your business, your empire in the sand.

If investment in Alabama is ever to be investment for Alabama, it must be more than this.

It must be more than slashing tax rates for out-of-state bosses looking for cheap labor. If business in this state ever has a chance to be organic and healthy and real, it must come from an investment in us.

In our children.

In all the children of Alabama, so they can go out and start the next Google or Facebook or whatever it is we cannot yet fathom.

Learning to invest in yourself, Alabama, really is the Greatest Investment of All.

John Archibald’s column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the Birmingham News, and all the time at http://blog.al.com/archiblog/index.html. Email him at jarchibald@al.com


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