Archive for June, 2012

Health care law: Court ruled, now state should act

Georgians need health care fixes. Thus, Gov. Deal’s decision to do nothing toward that goal in hopes Obama’s law will be repealed is bad medicine. Read what the AJC Editorial Board, Dr. John P. Maupin, and other leaders have to say. Then comment below.

By the AJC Editorial Board

The longer Georgia waits, the more we could lose.

That’s a very real possible outcome of our leaders’ stubbornly steadfast pattern of delaying implementation of health care reform.

If the state continues to whistle and wait in the hopes that relief from Obamacare will somehow, some way, appear, the risks are real and the downside is significant if the reforms survive future challenges. Standing still may play well politically, but it does nothing to help Georgia’s businesses and consumers pragmatically plan their future health care decisions.

In sticking with inaction as a strategy, Georgia lost a major, first-round decision Thursday when the U.S. Supreme Court largely let stand the landmark health …

Continue reading Health care law: Court ruled, now state should act »

Both sides of aisle comment on Court decision

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Georgia congressmen on both sides of the aisle today comment on the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday to uphold President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, including its controversial linchpin — the individual mandate to buy insurance. Read what they have to say and comment below.

Health care ruling not a victory for America

By Tom Graves and Phil Gingrey

We all now know that the Supreme Court has ruled to uphold Obamacare. The majority of justices reasoned that Congress does have the power to impose the individual mandate because it has the power to tax, thereby upholding the law. But when President Barack Obama came to the American people to justify his health care agenda, his explanation was the exact opposite. He publicly stated many times that the individual mandate in his law would not be a tax.

As Justices Alito, Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas stated in their dissenting opinion, “…to say that the Individual Mandate merely imposes a tax is not to …

Continue reading Both sides of aisle comment on Court decision »

Who was victor in immigration decision?

Moderated by Rick Badie

Who can claim victory from the U.S. Supreme Court’s split decision regarding Arizona’s immigration law? Supporters of state immigration laws or their opponents? Today, Sen. Barry Loudermilk writes the court recognized that the lack of federal enforcement has forced states to fill the gap and therefore upheld the “show-me-your-papers” provision; and Atlanta immigration attorney Charles Kuck says that provision would raise constitutional concerns and won’t pass muster in any state.

Victory? It’s a blow for HB 87

By Charles Kuck

The Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. United States is a resounding defeat for state anti-immigration movements, particularly in Georgia. The court’s decision puts an end to state efforts to enforce federal immigration law and create mini-state immigration systems.

As Justice Anthony Kennedy noted in his opinion: “[T]he States are precluded from regulating conduct in a field that Congress, acting within its proper authority, …

Continue reading Who was victor in immigration decision? »

Obesity costs us all

Moderated by Rick Badie

Our adults and youth are some of the heaviest in the U.S. While we understand the health ramifications of obesity, the harm done to our region’s economic diet can be equally damaging. Today, Phillip L. Williams, dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia, writes that obesity costs employers thousands of dollars in health care and the state more than $2 billion yearly. Brenda Fitzgerald, head of Georgia’s Department of Public Health, suggests ways employers can promote healthy habits. Enter your comments below the essays.

The fiscal fallout of obesity

By Phillip L. Williams

The numbers are stark and the situation is nothing short of dire. In Georgia, obesity costs us more than $2.4 billion in medical bills per year. We are ranked second nationally for childhood obesity, and roughly two-thirds of our adult population is overweight or obese. If preventive efforts are not taken, we can expect that number to grow to $11 billion by …

Continue reading Obesity costs us all »

Atlanta’s second airport

Briscoe ruling good for Gwinnett, bad for Atlanta?

Earlier this month, the Gwinnett County Commission unanimously rejected a proposal from a New York company to turn Lawrenceville’s Briscoe Field into the metro area’s second commercial airport. That decision, one writer says, will cost local travelers in our one-airport town the benefits of competition. But a Gwinnett activist responds that Briscoe is not the right location for such an operation, and taxpayers are better off, given the sketchy financial information in the proposal.

Tom Sabulis is today’s moderator. Commenting is open following Jim Regan’s column.

By Robert Poole

In Houston, Southwest Airlines is getting ready to spend $100 million improving city-owned Hobby Airport. Southwest is building five new international gates and a customs facility so that it can add service to Mexico and the Caribbean from Hobby, the smaller of Houston’s two airports.

In approving Southwest’s plan a few weeks ago, the Houston City …

Continue reading Atlanta’s second airport »

School accountability: Charting a new course here

Two recent controversies highlight the need for the General Assembly to reconsider the fiscal checks and balances in place as it expands school choice options for Georgia families. Read the three commentaries and then comment below:

By the AJC Editorial Board

The popularity of magnet schools and the surge in charter schools attest to the fact that many Georgia families want more options than the public school down the road.

But in their haste to expand choice, lawmakers failed to shore up a critical element: Accountability.

In its efforts to provide parents with more choices, the General Assembly created a state commission to approve charter schools over the objections of local boards of education. That effort was derailed by a 2011 state Supreme Court ruling. Voters will be asked to reinstate the commission in November.

Lawmakers also approved a private school tax credit designed to help poor kids in underperforming schools attend private schools.

Using the 2008 Qualified …

Continue reading School accountability: Charting a new course here »

Drones too risky?

Domestic drones coming to your ‘hood

Drones, those unmanned aerial vehicles used by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere, are being expedited for domestic deployment, opening up a frontier of speculation about privacy, the legality of invasive imagery and the militarization of police. Today, Georgia congressman Austin Scott writes about his proposed legislation to restrict drones. We also offer varied opinions about the promise and peril of government and private drones patrolling our borders and, perhaps, your backyard.

Today’s moderator is Tom Sabulis. Commenting is open below our collection of views on drones.

By Austin Scott

For the past few years, unmanned aerial vehicles, or “drones” as they are often called, have become a common tool used by our military overseas. Drone technology has been an invaluable resource to our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We’ve also used drone surveillance along our southern border to prevent illegal immigration and combat drug …

Continue reading Drones too risky? »

Is there a way to stop senseless shootings and killings?

Moderated by Rick Badie

Gunfire erupted June 7 on the grounds of Victory for the World Church, immediately after a funeral for a teen homicide victim. Two gunmen killed each other during that parking lot fight. A metrowide summit on youth violence was held Wednesday at Victory. Today, the senior pastor writes about a chasm that exists between community values and the mentality of young black males who don’t respect them. And the son of a late AJC sportswriter calls for stronger father figures.

In addition to the two commentaries below, read related essays by Iman Plemon T. El-Amin, a member of Higher Ground; and Edward Jennings Jr. on reconnecting families with fathers.

Awakened by eight bullets

By Kenneth L. Samuel

I’d felt a certain uneasiness with the mother’s response to my repeated question:

Kenneth L. Samuel

Kenneth L. Samuel

“Why was your son killed?”

Her only refrain was that he had gotten into a fight and been shot.

In light of her grief, I repressed the urge to press for more …

Continue reading Is there a way to stop senseless shootings and killings? »

What can we do to end the insanity?

By Plemon T. El-Amin

What sense can any of us make of the double murder and mayhem that followed the funeral services of a homicide victimas mourners exited a local church?

Imam Plemon T. El-Amin

Iman Plemon T. El-Amin

All the victims were young, black and supposedly streetwise, but what sense does it make?

Certainly, there are social, economic, historical, psychological and a myriad of other factors that undergird the insanity, but still:

What sense does it make? Is there no limit? Is there any place or time or situation that is off-limits to the violence of guns, tempers, grudges, hates, hurts and stupidity? For some obviously not.

And why not?

One aspect, I’m certain, is that street life, for too many of our young boys and men, has imposed upon them a prideful acceptance of an early death. Ask any young person who is enthralled and occupied by the terrains and codes of crews, boys or posses: “How long do you expect to live?”

Most will respond without hesitation or regret: “I’ll be dead before …

Continue reading What can we do to end the insanity? »

Reconnecting families with fathers

By Edward Jennings, Jr.

Edward Jennings Jr.

Edward Jennings Jr.

The nation’s Father’s Day celebrations over this past weekend provided many of us a special opportunity to reunite and recognize the bonds of remembrance, love and respect for our fathers. While the actual initial origin of Father’s Day may not be clear, the benefits that celebrating and recognizing the contributions of fathers cannot be forgotten.

As a recent father, for the very first time, I appreciate the role and responsibilities that fatherhood has in the lives of raising children who are our nation’s future.

Last year HUD asked the nation’s public housing authorities to sponsor a one-day Father’s Day event in mid-June and more than 200 public housing authorities participated. An estimated 22,000 fathers, children, mothers and many others participated in events last year.

This year more than 300 local housing authorities across the U.S. held Father’s Day 2012 events. In the Southeast region alone more than 135 public …

Continue reading Reconnecting families with fathers »