- Cullman, Alabama


January 1, 2013

COMMENTARY: Excess-Profits Tax on Defense Contractors During Wartime Is Long Overdue



Inevitably, as fighting in Afghanistan winds down, there are going to be calls for more defense spending reductions. Contracting out services should go down. A military compensation and retirement modernization commission has to be established, a new effort to raise Tricare fees needs to be made, the $200 million-plus earmark for congressionally mandated research on cancer and other non-military generated illnesses should be ended, and, I hope, some reductions in the $388 million spent on military bands.

Larger amounts could be saved by buying fewer than the now-planned 2,440 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and reducing the future strategic nuclear force by cutting the number of new $4.9 billion strategic submarines, new heavy bombers and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles.

No one is more qualified than Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to shepherd the fiscal 2014 defense budget through its introduction to the new Congress. Therefore, I hope Panetta stays on through at least April to handle what is bound to be a difficult transition for his successor.

Former senator Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., who became co-chairman of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board after being considered for top positions in the first Obama administration, met with the president to discuss him replacing Panetta in the second. No rush needed, but if Hagel is Obama's choice, the president should get on with it and not be deterred by a handful of objectors.

Another nomination that should not be delayed is for CIA director. In this case, Acting Director Michael Morell, a veteran agency intelligence officer, should be named. After going through four non-agency directors in the eight years since 2004 when George Tenet resigned, the agency needs one of its own to provide some leadership stability.

Looking at today's world, it's difficult to welcome 2013 with a "happy new year." How about toasting "a better new year" as we look to the future?

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  • COMMENTARY: A break from the campaign rhetoric

    The collective sigh of relief felt throughout Cullman Wednesday morning signaled the end of another primary political season the previous night. As Wednesday’s Times headline told us, it was a clean sweep.

    July 21, 2014

  • Harris Coleman COMMENTARY: Billy Coleman, a true statesman

    King Solomon said, “Pride will ruin people, but those who are humble will be honored.” He also said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Billy Coleman, the past elected superintendent of Cullman County Schools, is the living example of these wise statements of truth.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • COMMENTARY: Twisty road back to Cullman

    The young journalist who was somewhat listening to the elder newspaperman on the other side of the desk didn’t have a clue.

    July 19, 2014

  • Commentary: Why your Facebook friends are so gullible

    These stories aren't real. They're the work of the New Yorker's not-particularly-funny online satirist Andy Borowitz, but many people, not just your gullible Facebook friends, invariably believe them. Sometimes the official state news agencies of global superpowers believe them.

    March 19, 2014

  • OPINION: Who belongs in the delivery room?

    Should a father be allowed in the delivery room for the birth of his child, over the mother's objections? A New Jersey judge said no last November, in a ruling that was released in writing earlier this week.

    March 13, 2014

  • SLATE COMMENTARY: Should Detroit be allowed to issue its own visas to immigrants?

    Under the plan, immigrants coming to the U.S. under visas aimed at those with "advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in science, business or the arts" would be "required to live and work in Detroit, a city that has fallen to 700,000 residents from 1.8 million in the 1950s."

    January 29, 2014

  • COMMENTARY: Rules for babies in restaurants

    "Maybe Don't Bring Your Baby to a 3-Star Restaurant," Jezebel suggests, in response to a kerfuffle over a Chicago couple bringing their 8-month-old to the ultraexclusive restaurant Alinea because their babysitter canceled.

    January 17, 2014

  • WORKOUT-WEAR2.jpg COMMENTARY: Workout Wear Friday? No sweat, boss!

    People in fitness gear are more likely to exercise — or at least to think about it. So let's get everyone in comfortable, moisture-wicking outfits once a week to demonstrate our commitment to physical activity.

    January 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • The Undead and the Unborn

    In this season of ghosts and ghouls, we seem to respect the undead more than the unborn. How unfortunate. Witness the popularity of television programs featuring blood sucking vampires and walking corpses, while in Texas, a new provision making it difficult for women to get an abortion is immensely unpopular. How unbelievable.

    November 28, 2013

  • Google Is Google wrecking our memory?

    Is the Internet ruining our ability to remember facts? If you've ever lunged for your smartphone during a bar argument, then you've no doubt felt the nagging fear that your in-brain memory is slowly draining away.

    September 27, 2013 1 Photo