The Athens Banner-Herald and U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, a Republican from the same city, might often be mistaken for blood enemies.
More often than not, one can often be seen or heard hyperventilating about the other. But not this weekend.
The Banner-Herald editoriaialists decided that Broun ought to be cut some slack over his handling of a town hall meeting last week, when an elderly constituent opened proceedings by asking “Who’s going to shoot Obama?”
Broun issued a strong rebuke of the question three days letter. At the meeting, the congressman said he was stunned by the comment and simply moved on as quickly as possible.
From the newspaper:
… Broun came in for his share of criticism on this newspaper’s website and elsewhere from people who suggested he should have forcefully rejected the man’s question as inappropriate. But, inappropriate as it was, the question did not come out of Broun’s mouth, and it seems a bit unfair to, in effect, hold him fully responsible for it.
Frankly, it’s easy to understand how, in a public forum, a question as provocative as wondering who might shoot the president of the United States might catch someone – yes, even a politician, whose work includes frequent appearances like Broun’s town hall – completely off guard.
Those who were eager to criticize the congressman for the way he handled the question – again, words that he did not utter – would do well to remember that they had the luxury of reflecting on the reported circumstances before suggesting how they thought they might have reacted, and how Broun should have reacted.
Again, there have been plenty of opportunities for concern, if not outrage, regarding many of Broun’s statements. But in this instance, the congressman deserves a break.
Over the weekend, my AJC colleague Alan Judd described the clash between Jimmye Hawkins, the principal of Atlanta’s Scott Elementary School and her boss, Tamara Cotman in the aftermath of the school system’s cheating scandal:
Hawkins endured continual criticism from Cotman, she says, and was among the principals Cotman ordered to write “Go to hell” notes to state investigators. After a lawyer for the school district questioned Hawkins about the matter, Cotman removed her from Scott.
By mid-February, Hawkins had been interrogated, demoted, accused of being a whistle-blower, described in court papers as a confidential informant (“CI 11-022”) and, finally, reinstated as interim principal. What happened to her, state investigators say, is a prime example of a pattern of retaliation and retribution against employees who report wrongdoing in Atlanta’s school system.
This morning, state Rep. Ralph Long, D-Atlanta, has posted on his Facebook page a letter from Monica Hooker, a former teacher at Benjamin S. Carson Prepatory School, who said the “go to hell” sentiment from Cotman was comparatively mild. Hooker says she kept a journal:
”November 18th, was far worse than we expected. In the course of Ms. Cotman meeting with Mr. Green the day before, she insisted that he relay a message to the staff. She wanted us to know her disdain for the school and staff and sent us the message –“I wished I had some C4 to blow the school up and start all over with new people”.
“Thoughts of irritation, anger, perplexity, and distress were expressed by the staff. I decided enough was enough. I could survive the other unethical maneuvers of Ms. Cotman, but this was too much in the already tainted and toxic working environment.
“I attempted several times the rest of the school year to report Ms. Cotman’s actions to central office personnel but to no avail. I was told to leave the matter alone. Ms. Cotman was informed of my attempts and increased her retaliatory actions against me. “
At a gathering of the Tea Party Patriots in Phoenix, Ariz., Herman Cain won the in-person presidential straw poll on Saturday with 22 percent of the vote. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, were next, followed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with 10 percent.
Barack Obama won four votes, or almost .2 percent.
Cain, Pawlenty and Paul were all speakers at the weekend event. Paul won an Internet poll hosted by the Tea Party Patriots.
This morning, Politifact examines the statement by state Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, that illegal immigrant students are taking classroom seats away from legal residents in university settings:
Strictly speaking, Balfour’s initial statement is correct. If a single illegal immigrant snags a spot in a popular course that fills up, legal residents can miss out.
However, Balfour’s statement does not acknowledge the fundamental problem, which is tight resources. Given the small number of “undocumented” students, it’s safe to say that most of the time, legal residents are taking the slots away from one another.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider