Archive for April, 2013

A new home tomorrow for Bookman blog

The day has come.

Beginning tomorrow, April 4, the Bookman blog will be moving to its new headquarters and URL at http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/jay-bookman/. Please bookmark that site, and change your RSS feeds if you follow the blog through that approach (http://www.ajc.com/rss/weblog_entries/jay-bookman/).

The change also means that those wishing to comment will first have to register a user ID, complete with a working email address. Registration can be accomplished at the homepage, ajc.com — the link can be found at the upper right. I’m told that user names cannot have spaces in them, so Joe Hussein Obama, to pick an example, would have to register as JoeHusseinObama. Once you have registered a display name, you can use it on any ajc.com blog.

The change is needed to make the blog accessible to readers across a variety of modern platforms, from smart phones to I-pads to Kindles to laptops to PCs. I know that most of you have become comfortable with the way we’ve been doing …

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Will Ga. GOP dare to raise your taxes?

Note: This post includes material published here earlier, as well as fresh material discussing a similar tax plan proposed in Louisiana by Gov. Bobby Jindal. It is posted as the electronic version of today’s AJC column:

On the final day of the 2013 legislative session, a group of Republican legislators introduced “The Georgia Fair Taxation Act.” By doing so, they set the stage for what may prove to be the most important legislative battle of next year’s session, or potentially the decade.

“This bill is the beginning of the discussion to eliminate the income tax in the state of Georgia,” state Rep. Tom Kirby of Loganville said in announcing the legislation. According to Kirby, he has already conferred with and agreed to work with Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, who has proposed similar legislation on the Senate side.

To offset the billions in revenue that would be lost by eliminating both the personal and corporate income tax in Georgia, Kirby says, the state sales tax …

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Ben Carson proclaims himself a martyr

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Barack Obama has never claimed that his political opponents were motivated by racism. Others may have occasionally made that argument on his behalf, but Obama himself has never done so. However, his conservative opponents love to condemn him for it anyway.

Ben Carson, the black neurosurgeon from Baltimore who has become the latest conservative flavor of the month, clearly doesn’t hesitate to play the race card. In a radio interview Tuesday, he claimed that liberals who criticized his recent comments on gay marriage “are the most racist people there are because they put you in a little category, a box. ‘How could you dare come off the plantation?’”

“They want to shut us up completely, and that’s why the attacks against me have been so vicious,” Carson said in a talk radio interview. “I represent an existential threat to them. They need to shut me up, they need to get rid of me, they can’t find anything else to delegitimize me, so they take my words, misinterpret them, and …

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Immigration issue has always been about cheap labor

It’s fitting that the last remaining obstacle to a Senate immigration deal has been a demand by the Chamber of Commerce and the rest of corporate America, including agriculture, for a large “guest worker” program to continue to provide cheap, docile labor, and for higher immigration quotas for high-tech workers.

That has been the root of this issue from the beginning. Through the 1990s and 2000s, the same political pressures that are now demanding a continued supply of cheap labor had also prevented government from active enforcement of immigration law both at the border and in the workplace.

It was about money and power. Those who had money and power wanted more of both, and illegal immigrants were a tool for achieving it. I mean, what part of “profitable” don’t you understand?

Georgia provides a great example: The housing boom created a need for cheap construction workers, and as long as politically powerful developers and farmers needed their labor, neither the state’s …

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The bigotry that dares not speak its name

According to Sue Everhart, chair of the Georgia Republican Party, the push for marriage equality isn’t about equality at all.

It’s a massive financial scam.

164881.5936954As she told the Marietta Daily Journal:

“Say you had a great job with the government where you had this wonderful health plan. I mean, what would prohibit you from saying that you’re gay, and y’all get married and still live as separate, but you get all the benefits? I just see so much abuse in this it’s unreal. I believe a husband and a wife should be a man and a woman, the benefits should be for a man and a woman. There is no way that this is about equality. To me, it’s all about a free ride.”

That’s the kind of weirdness you get when irrational bigotry tries to rationalize itself. Rather than acknowledge to yourself that yes, you are indeed treating people as second-class citizens, you invent a reason that you find less threatening to your self-image:

“I’m not a bigot. I’m just …. concerned about fraud. Yeah, that’s the …

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And Republicans wonder why they are viewed as radical?

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In a “cri de couer” published in the Wall Street Journal last week, Liz Cheney rallied her fellow conservatives to the true cause, warning darkly that “if we don’t defend our freedoms now against the onslaught of President Obama’s policies, we won’t have to wait until our sunset years for American freedom to be a distant memory.”

Among other things, she writes:

“President Obama is the most radical man ever to occupy the Oval Office….

The president has so effectively diminished American strength abroad that there is no longer a question of whether this was his intent. He is working to pre-emptively disarm the United States. He advocates slashing our nuclear arsenal even as the North Koreans threaten us and the Iranians close in on their own nuclear weapon. He has turned his back on America’s allies around the world and ignored growing threats.”

It’s one thing to disagree with and criticize a political opponent. However, it takes a special type of paranoia-laced arrogance to …

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