BFP Volume 9
Here at the Birmingham Free Press, we think it's important to keep up with certain issues, but we also understand a thing called news fatigue. When you see articles over and over about the same topic, especially when the news is depressing, you tend to start ignoring them. The result is that after a while, you don't really know what's going on in the world because you are ignoring all the news. To combat this, we've compiled this update on all the perennial bad news in short digestible bites, so you can get the information you need, and hopefully it won't be too painful.
National News: The War(s)
The United States withdrew all combat troops from Iraq on December 18, last year. Since then, there has been an increase in violence among insurgent groups and fears of a civil war. The future of Iraq remains uncertain. The U.S. maintains an embassy in Iraq that is reportedly the size of Vatican City.
The war in Afghanistan rages on, one of the longest lasting wars in U.S. history. In case you missed it, we killed Osama bin Laden about a year ago. The Taliban has been severely weakened, but they still maintain a presence in Afghanistan and rural Pakistan. The democratic government in Afghanistan has recently come to agreements with the United States that could allow troops to begin withdrawing as early as this year, with the final U.S. troops coming home in 2014.
The 2012 Elections
Unfortunately, neither of Alabama's current useless U.S. Senators is up for re-election this year. Democrats are expected to hold onto a majority in the Senate, but it will be close.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, all seven incumbents (six of whom are Republicans) are up for re-election. We will delve more into these races, as well as state and local elections, as November draws nearer.
The Shepard Bend Mine
The Northern Beltline
Even as construction for the project is underway, funding for it is in danger. Fuel tax revenues earmarked to pay for the project have not kept pace with the road's $4.7 billion price tag. The beltway is expected to be completed in 2048. Yes, you read that correctly: 2048. Expect many more problems between now and then.
A committee in the Alabama House of Representatives voted recently on some modifications and clarifications to the law. However, the Southern Poverty Law Center and other opponents claim that these proposed modifications do not even come close to addressing the problems with the law.
Air Pollution in Birmingham
by M. David Hornbuckle
© 2012 The Birmingham Free Press