Archive for December, 2009

West Point was wrong venue for Obama’s message

Just last month, I had the honor of speaking to three classrooms of cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point – the same venue (although for me, much smaller audiences) from which President Barack Obama delivered his Afghanistan policy speech last week.  In my opinion, the president erred in choosing this spot from which to give this speech.

My father attended and graduated from “the Point” and, although I visited this storied campus only a couple of times as a child, for me any mention of “West Point” invariably conjured up images of “The Long Gray Line” of cadets marching in disciplined unison across the parade grounds (known as “the Plains”).  As recently as my most recent visit last month, I was awed to stand among the cadets at this unique institution, so steeped in the history of the magnificent military leaders it has produced – from Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, to George S. Patton and Dwight Eisenhower.  But none, perhaps, …

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In education, ignorance is not bliss

Several years ago, William Simon, then serving as US Treasury Secretary, noted that in Washington, “people use statistics like drunks use lampposts – for support rather than illumination.”  Recent efforts by officials in Georgia to pat themselves on the back for leading an “improvement” in the Peach State’s education performance prove Simon’s observation once again true.  While Georgia’s high school graduation rate may have improved slightly – to 79% — this means a disappointing 21% of our state’s high schoolers drop out before receiving their diploma.  One in five Georgia high school students fail to stick around long enough to gain the advantage of greater opportunity and increased earnings potential that comes with a high school degree.

Moreover, when Georgia’s dropout rate is compared to other states and countries, there is far less to crow about.  In Canada, for example, one of Georgia’s top trading partners, more than 90% of its student stay …

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Chicago gun ban challenge – the right thing to do

Americans by a significant majority support the individual right to keep and bear arms —- as definitively recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Heller decision last summer, which held that the Washington, D.C. gun ban was unconstitutional. Predictably, many anti-gun advocates in the nation’s capitol and elsewhere are refusing to recognize the high Court’s ruling, and continue to thwart efforts by law-abiding citizens to defend themselves by possessing a firearm. 

This is one reason the pending court challenge to Chicago’s gun ban – very similar in scope to the one stuck down in Washington, DC this year — is so important; and why so many smart state attorneys general have signed on in support of the challenge led by the National Rifle Association (NRA). Georgia’s Attorney General Thurbert Baker, currently a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor, has joined the NRA’s challenge.

Baker, and virtually every other candidate in next …

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