Tragedy in Norway: Last Friday, July 22, Norway experienced one of the worst terrorist attacks in recent memory. At around 3:30 in the afternoon, a car bomb exploded outside of the office of the Norwegian prime minister in Oslo, killing eight people and wounding many others.
Only a few hours later, a man disguised as a police officer opened fire in a youth camp on Utøya, a small island near Oslo, and killed at least 80 people. Police arrested Anders Behring Breivik, a
right-wing extremist, in association with both attacks. Interestingly,
before it came out that the shooter was a white, Christian male, he was
called a terrorist. Afterwards, Breivik became a “madman.”
That bit of verbal juggling isn’t the salient issue here, of course. But it’s important to be honest when we discuss these things. No matter what their stripes, someone who kills innocent people with political motivation is a terrorist. Simple as that.
Walmart does good! The
phrases “Walmart” and “social responsibility” don’t often appear in the
same sentence. Most of us have come to expect one simple thing from the
big box behemoth: that it will open a store in an area and, like an
enormous blue tick, suck all the life out of local businesses. But Walmart isn’t always an evil embodiment of big business. According to The Huffington Post, The Walton Family Foundation recently announced a nearly $50 million grant to Teach for America, an organization that sends recent college graduates to teach in under-served schools for 2-year periods. The grant is the largest private donation in the organization’s history and will allow it to double its corps over the next 3 years.
Well done, Walmart! For once.
Scrap wars: According to a recent article in Mobile’s Press Register, scrap recyclers aren’t happy with a new proposed city ordinance. The new ordinance, which is designed to curb scrap peddlers who steal copper piping and wiring, would require scrap buyers to send payment in the form of a money order or check. Recyclers say that, since most peddlers often bring in only a few dollars’ worth of scrap at any one time, requiring checks and mailing would cut into profits. Scrap selling is already heavily regulated. Buyers must photograph sellers, record the details of the sail and keep those records on file for 2 years. Police say that those regulations are not working and that further measures are needed to prevent thieves from ripping pipes out of walls. “Ten dollars is a lot of money to someone hooked on crack,” said Deputy Chief James Barber.
The immigration throwdown: There has been plenty of opposition to the new immigration reform recently passed by Alabama’s state legislature. Hundreds marched in downtown Birmingham in June to echo the marches held in the 1960s against state-sponsored segregation. The law has already been challenged in federal court as overstepping the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution. Now, according to The Huntsville Times, the act is being challenged with state law as well. Article I, Section 30 of the state constitution reads “That immigration shall be encouraged; emigration shall not be prohibited, and no citizen shall be exiled.” When confronted with the suit, Representative Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, who co-sponsored the law, said that the constitution could be changed if necessary. Changed to what? “Immigration shall be fought whenever possible,” I would assume.