Federal minimum wage: $7.25 or $10.10?

Jon Krause/NewsArt

Jon Krause/NewsArt

Moderated by Rick Badie

Whether to raise the minimum wage remains a divisive political issue. President Barack Obama wants the federal hourly rate raised from $7.25 to $10.10. Today, a small-business proponent says a wage increase would hurt employers, while the founder of a liberal advocacy group offers an opposing view. Meanwhile, the head of a nonprofit wants the federal government to do more contract work with small businesses.

Support pro-growth policies

By Kyle Jackson

The debate over raising the minimum wage isn’t about policy. It’s about politics and playing to people’s emotions rather than good economic sense.

The argument in favor of raising the minimum wage comes down to this: You can’t raise a family on $7.25 an hour. If you were a politician, it would be awfully tempting to try to win votes by telling voters you think they deserve a 39-percent pay raise.

The truth, though, is that raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour …

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Pro/Con: Paulding airport service

Planes on the tarmac at Silver Comet Field in Paulding County. Bob Andres/BAndres@ajc.com

Planes on the tarmac at Silver Comet Field in Paulding County. Bob Andres/BAndres@ajc.com

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The businessmen and local officials supporting commercial air service at Paulding County’s small airport continue to make their case for limited flights that will benefit local travelers, especially those who live on the north side. Their nemesis is Delta Air Lines which, they say, refuses to allow any competition whatsoever to Hartsfield-Jackson. Today we hear from tthe chairman of the company trying to establish service at Silver Comet Field, along with a Delta pilot who cites the advantages of keeping Hartsfield-Jackson as the only commercial Atlanta airport.

Commenting is open.

Atlanta needs what other major cities have

By Robert J. Aaronson

Recently, there has been a war of words – not to mention lawsuits, letters, grass roots campaigning, etc. – regarding the proposed commercialization of Silver Comet Field in Paulding County. To borrow a headline from …

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Common Core: Our students’ perspective

Jon Krause/NewsArt

Jon Krause/NewsArt

The great majority of the fracas over the Common Core State Standards for public school curricula has involved adults.

By and large, Georgia’s children were not heard on the matter. Rather, it was activists and lawmakers who tussled over whether to abandon the so-called “Obamacore” standards that, in truth, arose from a Republican-led group of state governors. Those who should know better either forgot or deliberately ignored that one of Common Core’s leading champions was Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Like students who hadn’t studied much for final exams, such facts didn’t seem to matter to anti-Common Core legislators who fought to give Georgia the freedom to not be beholden to national education standards that most other states had embraced. In the end, the revocation effort thankfully ground to a legislative halt.

Now that the General Assembly’s election-year hijinks are done for this season, we’ve found ourselves thinking about …

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Breakthrough for online registration

John Spink/jspink@ajc.com

John Spink/jspink@ajc.com

Georgia voting – there’s an app for it

By Brian Kemp

One of my main goals as Georgia’s Secretary of State has been to increase efficiencies and decrease costs by using technology.

Of all of the innovations that the office has made over the years, I could not be more proud of the state’s ability to offer online voter registration and the My Voter Page (MVP) mobile app. These tools truly accomplish both goals.

Recently, I had the opportunity to share this with citizens all over Georgia. I was most struck by one particular encounter.

At the Savannah Armory, I visited with members of our National Guard and talked to them about Georgia’s new online voter registration system and MVP app for mobile devices. It was one of the most positive experiences I have had since I began serving as Georgia’s Secretary of State in 2010. We had a great dialogue about the challenges of military voting. One young man told me that he always wonders whether his vote …

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Governor Deal and ethics

Former state ethics commission director Stacey Kalberman, center, hugs friend Terri Cohen after giving testimony April 3 claiming she was dismissed for trying to investigate Gov. Nathan Deal's 2010 campaign. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Former state ethics commission director Stacey Kalberman, center, hugs friend Terri Cohen after giving testimony April 3 claiming she was dismissed for trying to investigate Gov. Nathan Deal's 2010 campaign. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Last week, a Fulton County jury sided with the former director of the state ethics commission when it ruled she was forced from her job for investigating Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign, throwing the troubled commission into deeper turmoil. State officials had argued that Stacey Kalberman’s departure had nothing to do with her wanting to issue subpoenas for records pertaining to Deal’s 2010 campaign. In the wake of that decision, the governor today writes about his plan for overhauling the commission, while Democrats detail their push for a more independent watchdog.

Commenting is open.

New commission will ensure fairness

By Nathan Deal

Throughout its troubled history – dating back long before I took this office …

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Is religious liberty threatened in Georgia?

JOHN OVERMYER/NEWSART

JOHN OVERMYER/NEWSART

Moderated by Rick Badie

A bill that supporters say would have expanded protections under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was denied a floor vote during the 2014 General Assembly. That decision, notes a conservative activist, has given proponents of the so-called religious liberty bill more resolve to explain its purpose to the public. Our other guest writer calls the idea for such a law discriminatory and unnecessary because religious liberty isn’t under attack in Georgia.

No threat to religious liberty

By James Graham

When Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act 20 years ago, supporters intended the bill to be a shield for religion, not a sword to harm others. But today, people are using it to take away protections, rights and benefits of others.

If we are going to pass a religious freedom bill in Georgia, we must make sure it is not used to trump non-discrimination laws or deny women basic medical services, such as access to …

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Ga. aerospace firms soar

Moderated by Rick Badie

Aircraft and aerospace parts and productsAnsulNewsArt97k are one reason Georgia’s export sales are soaring. Today, the head of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Aerospace writes about exports, job growth and the state’s international standing in the industry. Elsewhere, a financial executive notes the importance of educating young people about the economy, enterprise and free market.

Ga. aerospace firms thrive

By R. Steve Justice

Last month, Gov. Nathan Deal announced Georgia’s record year in international trade for the fourth time, both in exports and imports. The state exported $37.6 billion in goods, the highest annual total in its history. And for the second year in a row, aerospace-related products led the way as Georgia’s largest international export.

Aircraft, aircraft parts and aircraft engine exports grew to $7.85 billion in 2013, up from $6.71 billion in 2012. Georgia now ranks third in the U.S. for aircraft engines and parts, exporting $1.29 …

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Pedestrian dangers

A dangerous stretch of Pleasantdale Road.

A dangerous stretch of Pleasantdale Road.

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Pedestrian deaths in metro Atlanta are rising, with nearly half the fatalities occurring near transit stops. Today, a local activist lists some reasons for the alarming fact that 29 people on foot have died already in 2014. On the flip side of this trend, we’ve seen a steady decrease in highway fatalities in Georgia. A state official attributes that success to several developments, but adds that motorists need a greater share-the-road mentality regarding bicycles and pedestrians.

Commenting is open.

Alarming death rate

By Sally Flocks

Think about it. Transit is the middle leg of two walking trips. Pedestrians who travel regionally use transit for much of their cross-town travel. Rather than walk between activity centers, people walk to transit, take trains or buses and walk to destinations. In 2010 a regional survey showed that some three-fourths of transit trips begin and end with walking.

Yet many …

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The Editorial Board’s opinion: A necessary investment

Dean Rohrer/NewsArt

Dean Rohrer/NewsArt

The problems of troubled young males are well known to society. New, and existing, initiatives hope to make a difference in problems that affect us all. Some say the solutions are, in some cases, well within our grasp.

In February, President Barack Obama announced a new White House initiative called “My Brother’s Keeper.” Its purpose: To improve the lives of black and Hispanic males, and help them overcome challenges and reach their full potential. It’s a noble objective to help these at-risk young men of color, an effort numerous businesses, individuals and organizations undertake in our region.

One example: The Community Council of Metropolitan Atlanta Inc., founded and overseen by Norma Joy Barnes. The six-year-old nonprofit hosts workshops, mentoring programs and other events in an attempt to combat what she says are almost insurmountable odds — a vulnerable gap between youth and manhood experienced by many males, but disturbingly so for …

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The lingering hurt of colorism

By Naeemah Clark

Every woman of color knows she has to dig through the department store shelf in hopes of finding hosiery that matches her skin tone. Nude pantyhose aren’t made for her. This form of colorism happens all the time, so I should be used to it. But I’m not. Instead, it’s death by a thousand cuts.

The pain of colorism is magnified when we look at media representations of African-American women.

I was reminded of the hurt colorism can cause when one of my students cried when she saw a magazine cover featuring Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o. Nyong’o, like my student, is fabulous with her rich chocolate-brown skin and her short natural hair.

For her, Nyong’o’s appearance was a reminder of how rare it is to see a dark-skinned actress as a beauty on the big screen.

Hollywood has long considered lighter-skinned women, from Lena Horne to Halle Berry, to be acceptable images of African-American beauty. Nyong’o recently admitted that as a child, she wished that …

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