The effort to remove the state sales tax from groceries is likely dead for another year. Senator Gerald Dial of Lineville got a Senate committee to approve his bill to phase out the four percent state tax, but he said it is unlikely he can pass it with only five meeting days remaining in the legislative session. State Rep. John Knight of Montgomery introduced a bill to remove the tax, but it never got brought up for a vote. Jim Carnes of the Alabama Arise organization that represents Alabama's poor says the grocery tax issue appears dead for this session of the Legislature.
Several arrests have been made in connection with the collapse of an illegally constructed garment factory in Bangladesh last week that killed at least 380 people outside the capital, Dhaka. Meanwhile, rescuers say they have given up hope of finding anyone else alive.
Last year, something surprising happened: A piece of legislation about abortion made it through both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama.
It was a law providing insurance coverage for abortion for military women in the case of rape or incest. The bipartisan support enjoyed by the military trumped politics as usual, which generally holds that Republicans and Democrats have to fight over anything involving abortion.
But will the women who volunteer for the Peace Corps inspire a similar truce on the same issue?
Iron Man 3 doesn't open in North America until this Friday (May 3), but this weekend, it's already up and whomping The Avengers at the international box office. The new adventures of Tony Stark, directed and co-written by Lethal Weapon screenwriter Shane Black, brought in $195.3 million. That beat a mere $185.1 million when The Avengers opened internationally to make it the biggest opening weekend ever in a bunch of countries, including Argentina and Indonesia.
"No man but a blockhead," Samuel Johnson famously observed, "ever wrote, except for money." This is tough news for poets, since the writing they do is often less immediately profitable than a second-grader's math homework (the kid gets a cookie or a hug; the poet gets a rejection letter from The Kenyon Review). Poetry itself is tremendously valuable, of course, but that value is often realized many years after a poem's composition, and sometimes long after the end of its author's life.