Friday, March 13, 2009

Bobcast: Mad about Sunshine Week

Latest Bobcast is up. Listen here or read below.

College basketball fans recognize this as the time when teams are selected for the NCAA tournament.

The event is a buffet of catch-phrases. Selection Sunday comes before the Play-In which builds upon March Madness. By next weekend we’ll have a Sweet Sixteen, then eventually the Final Four on the way to a champion.

Another spectacular starting this Sunday has its own name. I’m thinking of Sunshine Week. Its sponsor, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, calls it “a national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.”

Credit for the name goes to a famed quote by former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. "Sunshine is the best disinfectant" for closed and unaccountable gov-ernment, he said.

Alabama could use a little more of these healing rays. That’s why a group of reformers in Montgomery is hoping to improve the way we keep our eyes on state politicians. Currents rules allow for plenty of shadow when it comes to who is giving what to legislators.

History and statehouse insiders tell us the reformers’ odds are as long as the lowest of March Madness underdog. But the reason we watch the games is because sometimes David beats Goliath and maybe, just maybe, Alabama’s governmental forecast can turn a little sunnier.