This blog is on the move.
As almost all the other AJC blogs have already done, my blog is relocating to a different piece of online real estate. I’m not moving far, and if the only way you read my blog is by clicking a link from the home page, you won’t notice any difference until you arrive.
But if you have my blog bookmarked or new posts delivered through an RSS feed — and I highly recommend doing one or both, for the sake of your convenience and my page views — you will need to adjust your settings. Starting Thursday, April 4, the new coordinates will be:
Don’t bother clicking those links before Thursday morning. There won’t be any there there.
Once there is, and you arrive to see it, you will find a new registration requirement before you can comment. If you are active on the sports blogs, or entertainment blogs, or Political Insider, or just about any ajc.com blog
Forget about banks being Too Big to Fail — or, per Attorney General Eric Holder, Too Big to Jail. As the Obama administration tries to restart some of the same bad decision-making that created the last housing crisis, any banks coerced into re-inflating a housing bubble may be able to say the system was Too Rigged for Them to Fail/Be Jailed. From the Washington Post:
The Obama administration is engaged in a broad push to make more home loans available to people with weaker credit, an effort that officials say will help power the economic recovery but that skeptics say could open the door to the risky lending that caused the housing crash in the first place.
President Obama’s economic advisers and outside experts say the nation’s much-celebrated housing rebound is leaving too many people behind, including young people looking to buy their first homes and individuals with credit records weakened by the recession.
In response, administration officials say they are working to
Americans have heard dramatic, bellicose pronouncements from North Korea so many times before that, if you’re like me, you tend to dismiss them as part our natural background noise. It’d almost be more noteworthy not to hear them.
That said, the recent saber-rattling by Kim Jong Un, the young ruler who assumed the throne from his late father about 15 months ago, is even more shrill than usual. While the war between North K0rea and South Korea has technically continued for the past 60 years, as hostilities were only halted by an armistice rather than ended by a peace treaty, North Korea’s state-run media late last week carried this warning:
Any issues regarding North and South will be treated in accordance to the state of war. … The condition, which was neither war nor peace, has ended.
Is it time to worry this time is different?
I’ve read of no analysts who believe North Korea has the wherewithal — yet — to carry out its threats against U.S. soil, whether that means Guam,
As Georgia prepares to battle for our rightful access to more water, it seems Tennessee is preparing to defend itself. Apparently, the state’s leaders have even enlisted Andrew Exum, a veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and native Tennessean who blogs about “small wars and insurgencies” at Abu Muqawama, to design its strategy.
Exum begins by outlining what he believes to be our natural line of attack, and his plan for defending against it:
The first course of action in the face of Georgian aggression is a static defense. The main avenue of approach for any Georgian invasion force would be I-75. About a mile past the state line, the highway splits into I-24 heading west into Chattanooga and I-75 northbound heading toward Knoxville.
There’s a bend in the highway where all northbound cars must slow down as they turn west toward Chattanooga. It’s a natural place to construct an L-shaped ambush. I’d place .50-caliber machine guns on the north side of the split, in the
The cheating scandal at Atlanta Public Schools led Friday to the place many of us believed it would and should: indictments for 35 administrators and teachers implicated in the scandal. If this seems too harsh a step, take some time to re-familiarize yourself with the details of the case. The answer-changing parties at which teachers made sure their students made the grade; the spy-novel-worthy actions certain APS employees took to make sure they evaded test-security measures; administrators’ ignoring and covering up complaints about potential cheating — the story is astoundingly shameful.
But don’t forget that a similar pattern of cheating was found hundreds of miles away in Dougherty County, while incompetent school boards in Clayton and DeKalb counties have brought their systems to the brink of losing accreditation. (Atlanta’s own board nearly did the same in the wake of the cheating scandal.) Meanwhile, across the state, many schools and school systems commit the more
Shortly before the 2013 legislative session ended, the House and Senate passed an ethics bill by a combined vote of 225-0. Such overwhelming, bipartisan actions often are hailed. Should this one be?
Before I answer, let me offer an analogy to kicking a field goal. No, not the one involving Charlie Brown and Lucy.
I mean the one Sen. Josh McKoon made just before HB 142 passed in his chamber. The Columbus Republican has been an early and tireless champion of ethics reform. After enumerating the final bill’s problems, including the way it came into being, McKoon explained why he’d vote for it anyway:
“It’s not everything we need to do, but it’s definitely putting points on the board,” McKoon said. “Tonight, let’s put this one through the uprights, but let’s be prepared to come back next year to score a touchdown on ethics reform.”
I sympathize with the position McKoon found himself in. I also think his analogy should go further.
The way football fans think
There’s a lot of talk about how Republicans need to re-brand themselves on social issues. I’m not convinced that’s more important for the GOP than shedding its image of being too closely aligned with Big Business.
There are three key ways in which Republicans lost credibility since 2000. One, as Peggy Noonan argued recently, was the 2003 Iraq invasion. Another was the increase in federal spending that took place during George W. Bush’s presidency; spending accelerated toward the end, when Democrats were in control of Congress, but it was rising too swiftly well before Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the House.
The third was the 2008 bailout of Wall Street. The party that supposedly champions free enterprise went along with using hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to save financial institutions that acted recklessly. Some Republicans argued then, and still argue now, that the alternative would have been worse. But the larger point is that the nexus of Big Business,
It appears we have an ethics bill.
Speaker David Ralston just confirmed from the House side what the AJC had heard from senators earlier today. Namely, that the two sides, urged along by Gov. Nathan Deal, agreed in the wee hours of Thursday to a compromise between the two main* ethics bills they each passed earlier in the session.
The text of the bill has not yet been made available publicly, but the compromise appears to have been chiefly along two grounds:
First, the House agreed to drop its insistence on a ban on one-on-one lobbyist gifts to legislators and accept the Senate’s preference for a cap — albeit a cap of $75 rather than $100. In exchange, the House won more carve-outs it included in its original version of the bill, HB 142. Those exceptions include gifts (think meals) provided by lobbyists to entire caucuses, the nature of which is subject to approval by each chamber’s ethics committee, as well as allowances for spouses and staff members to accompany legislators
The final day of the legislative session is upon us, with a variety of high-profile bills from guns to ethics to education yet to be decided. But legislators already have taken what could become one of their most consequential actions this year.
And it’s not even a law.
HR 4 is a resolution calling for the settlement of something that, at least until recently, you probably believed was settled long ago: the Georgia-Tennessee border.
Turns out, HR 4 is the 10th such resolution our General Assembly has passed since 1887 seeking to correct a surveyor’s error in marking the border two centuries ago. This time, however, the Legislature explicitly threatens legal action if Tennessee will not resolve the dispute with us by the end of next year’s legislative session.
You can practically hear the guffaws ringing through national news stories about HR 4. To read some of them, you’d think even a meth-addled Don Quixote would know better than to accept this quest.
Phil Gingrey today joined fellow congressman Paul Broun in the race to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate. No surprise there, nor will there be when Jack Kingston makes it a trio of House members trying to move to the other end of the Capitol.
But the field is highly unlikely to remain at three — and it’s anyone’s guess who will be the fourth person to enter the race.
Who do you want to join the 2014 Georgia Senate race next?
Total Voters: 167
Congressman Tom Price was once thought to be a lock to enter the race, but now I’d put the odds of his running at less than 50 percent. He won’t make an announcement until mid-May and is said to be truly undecided, but the thinking is that he would be risking a great deal of upward