Change is good

Morning all.  Four months before retirement, the Thinking Right blog has the new look.  It’s a tribute to the new president.  This change is superficial; the look is different, but the core convictions (and the way we do business in Washington) aren’t changed in the least.  The radicals stay radical; the conseratives stay conservative.

The launch here of the new look prompts an update on the search for a replacement. As you may have read, about 200 people expressed interest, most of them amply qualified by education and experience.  That group was narrowed to about 60, then to about 25 and finally to 10. 

Most aren’t trained as journalists.  Before blogs, that would have concerned me — concerned me in the sense that there are some skills acquired in the process of writing news on deadline that are invaluable in writing opinion.  Writing quickly on deadline is one of those.  Learning where to go for information – reporting the story — is another.  

Reading your comments and the blog postings of those with other career backgrounds and life experiences convinced me that the broader search, first suggested by Editor Julia Wallace, offered intriguing possibilities. And it has.  Among the 10, a group that will likely be narrowed to 3-5 by the end of the week, are two experienced journalists and a writer for a weekly newspaper with less than one year in journalism.  Four have law degrees.  Three have or are approaching Ph.Ds.  One is a young Army reservist.   One has been active in politics.  All have been successful already in their lives.  (I know, the numbers add up to more than 10; the total is 10.)

Your feedback last week was enormously helpful.  Those who took the time to assess the sample columns of the 10 offered comments that were serious and constructive.  The group that will winnow the field down to 3-5 has access to and will be influenced by your observations.

I have been involved from the start and I can tell you now: If we don’t wind up with a good, solid conservative as a replacement, the fault is mine.  I obviously will not be making the hiring decision, but I’ve shared the responsibility of advancing capable conservatives to the final pool and will be involved until my replacement is hired. 

It’s been a good process and I’m excited about the pool.  Change can be good.

Meanwhile, for the day, the floor is open.  Offer commentary on the subject of your choosing.  (But, of course, you do that every day anyway.)

31 comments Add your comment


March 9th, 2009
11:51 am

Today’s Lesson Regarding Government Subsidized Private Schools.

“School vouchers save public schools money”. Really?

Let’s use Senator Johnson’s estimate of about 5% of public school parents using his government funded subsidy to enroll in a private school and let’s use a typical elementary school with about 600 students. Finally let’s use his $5,000 per child estimate of government funding moving from public to private schools.

If 5% of 600 students leave our example public school, that means around 30 students will take about $150,000 from public school funding. Oh, but you say, look at the savings the public school will reap. What savings? Thirty students represent less than one fewer student per clasroom in our example school – no reduction in teacher personnel at this school nor any reduction in costs associated with teachers.

Will these 30 students leaving reduce the operational cost of this school? I don’t think it will cost any less to heat and cool the building, do you? How about maintaining and cleaning the building? Me either.

If 60% of these 30 students are transported to and from school, will these 18 fewer students result in a reduction in the number of buses needed or the cost to operate the buses?

Exactly where will the school system savings come from to offset the loss of $150,000 funding? When I posed this question to my state representative, she said that 30 students was the equivalent of two teachers. That would ONLY be true if ALL 30 STUDENTS that chose to move to a private school somehow happened to be from the same grade level and, in the unlikely event of this happening, this would reduce the teacher allotment of our example school by only one teacher. My state representative said she had not thought of that but she supported school vouchers anyway because “that’s want the voters want”.


March 9th, 2009
11:55 am

Well, Jim, you sound very wise as usual. I cannot get excited over someone else filling in for you part of each week. This will always be YOUR blog.

But, as always, the suggestion is that CHANGE is good. I’m not so sure about that. Sometimes maybe. Sometimes not. I look at Washington and wonder. That does not put me in the mood for any more change at the moment.

Enjoy your time off, Jim, but don’t stay too long on the farm. You might turn into a real redneck and we don’t need that here. The present one is more than enough.

Congrats on the new format. Conservatives will be holding forth day and night so we will have lotsa good sense spread around. I’m for that!!


March 9th, 2009
12:14 pm

“The radicals stay radical; the conseratives stay conservative.”

Did you catch Jim subtly trying to brainwash you into believing conservatives can’t also be radicals. Nice try Jim; have a nice retirement but soon.

Buford T. Pusser

March 9th, 2009
12:19 pm

If I can hitch a ride on a C-5 to South Korea, I’ll walk north and end this little saber rattling problem.

Marti Hernandez Rojas

March 9th, 2009
12:22 pm

When your hairline recedes that much, it’s time to find a new way to comb it. Please.

Polemic Foreshadowed

March 9th, 2009
12:23 pm

Can’t wait for the first Chris Broe post. The second … well … I could wait a loooong time for that.

Ga Values

March 9th, 2009
12:28 pm

I’d like to start off your new blog with a simple question. Why don’t we cut the salary of congress and make them get their own health care insurance. They are surely not earning what we are paying them and a little dose of the real world rather than being treated like royaltiy would be good for them.

Churchill's MOM

March 9th, 2009
12:31 pm

I spent Friday at my sister’s house playing bridge with her club. The main topic of conversation was how much the Masters is off this year. The current going rate for a badge is only $1,500. If you have always wanted to go this could be the lowest cost trip in many years.

Just Nasty & Mean

March 9th, 2009
12:44 pm

G’mornin Jim, et al,

I cannot say I am happy about this change in any way, other than happy if this is what *you* want.

I cannot imagine how someone is going to pick up this mantel and be able to carry on the width and breadth of what you do. There are lots of potential writers who can research a given subject and formulate a position. What has distinguished you over the years is that conservative thought comes from your soul–from the core. I would be willing to bet that you rarely research a position, but may look up some detailed statistics. I suggest your positions on topics, both political and other–comes to you naturally and without much mental machination of what your position is. It is already— there!

How do you find that capability? How do you qualify for “it”? How do you prove you have “it”?

I hope we hear from you frequently. Enjoy fishing, golfing, or whatever it is you do when you don’t do this.

Take care.

Retire Already

March 9th, 2009
12:45 pm

Wooten, your dated and backward thinking is the biggest reason why the GOP will be in the minority for years. Now you’re the typical white haired codger who has nothing better to do than sit around and complain about everything. Your opinion is stale and irrelevant. Sure, go ahead and preach theory that died with Eisenhower, but where were you while Bush was presiding over the core of all this mess? All of the vaunted conservative jargon went out the window.


March 9th, 2009
12:49 pm


A new and improved format with the same old tired yellow journalism.

No wonder the non-partisan (LOL!), non-conservative conservatives keep getting annihilated every other November.

And all the html in the world isn’t gonna change that anytime soon…


March 9th, 2009
12:58 pm

“The radicals stay radical; the conseratives stay conservative.”

Another subtle form of brainwashing by Jim is when he juxtaposes the word “radical” next to word “conservative”. Typically liberals and conservatives are at the opposite ends of political philsophy, so he’s subtly having you belive all liberals are radicals, which is not true. “Fixed News” uses a lot of those techniques.

Big Bucks GOP

March 9th, 2009
1:10 pm

Bank of America is investigating how Merrill Lynch accounted for
wayward trades in the final, frantic months of 2008 — and why at least
one $120 million trading loss was slow to appear on Merrill’s books,
The New York Times reported.

Of particular concern are the activities of a Merrill currency trader
in London, Alexis Stenfors, whose trading has come under scrutiny by
British regulators, The Times said, citing people briefed on the
investigation. The loss Mr. Stenfors is believed to have incurred so
alarmed Bank of America, which acquired Merrill early this year, that
this week the bank examined the books of other traders who were on

In a statement Friday, Merrill said it had uncovered an “irregularity”
during a review of its trading operations and is working with
authorities to investigate further.

“Senior managers of the business are focused on the issue and believe
the risks surrounding possible losses are under control,” Merrill said.

BS Aplenty

March 9th, 2009
1:11 pm

Best wishes on the pending career transition, Jim. I hope the new conservative standard-bearer will perform as ably as you.

Ga Values

March 9th, 2009
1:13 pm

Retire Already 12:45 pm

Eisenhower was a Conservative , Jim along with his buddies Saxby & Johnny the Socialist are Republicans

Redneck Convert

March 9th, 2009
2:18 pm

Well, don’t think I didn’t catch that snide remark, Sister Dusty. It wasn’t very Christian of you.

It’s real bad news this new Conservative writter could be a lawyer. We already got one of them here. Raghead is always the first in the a.m. and his first one is longer than anything Wooten writes. If the AJC is going to hire a lawyer to do the writting, better get the thing set up to handle a book. Then you can wait till the p.m. to get any posts from the readers.

Wait–a real bad thought just come to me. The new Conservative writter could be Raghead hisself. We’ll know if his first rant is about the Capital Gains Tax and Dr. Sowell.

Anyhow, I guess I wish Wooten a happy retirement. He was never Conservative enough for me but he was about the best one out of a real sorry bunch there at the AJC. Have a good day everybody.


March 9th, 2009
2:20 pm

So let’s see here.

The faithful contend that Rush is NOT the leader and that any talk otherwise is part of the vast left-wing conspiracy to discredit the hemorrhaging GOP.

Yet…of ALL of the people listed, he is number two.

Things that make you go hmmmmmm…

More than two-thirds of all Republicans feel their party has no clear leader, according to a national survey by Rasmussen Reports. That compares to just 10 percent of Democrats who say their party is leaderless.

The survey comes in the context of Democrats’ efforts to portray talk-host Rush Limbaugh as the party’s head man.

Other results from the Rasmussen survey of 1,000 adults:

Just 5 percent think presidential candidate Sen. John McCain is the party’s leader. RNC Chairman Michael Steele also wins 5 percent. About 2 percent of Republicans say talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh is the GOP’s top dog. That compares to 7 percent of Democrats who see him in that role.

Sarah Palin shows up in the survey, but only 1 percent identify her as the party’s leader, however.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner are tied in the leadership department. For each, one half of 1 percent selected either McConnell or Boehner as the leader of the GOP.

Overall, 68 percent of Republicans say the GOP currently has no clear leader.


March 9th, 2009
2:29 pm

@Jim Wooten,

You and I are on very sides of the political equation, but, I can offer you the best of wishes with your retirement and further extend a hand to one of my fellow Viet-Nam vets. CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, let us pose the question regarding the economy and the approach the Repubs have taken. Being obstructionist has not and will not work. Even some of their own constituents are suffering dreadfully.

Have you noticed that none of the Repubs have offered an alternative to the plan currently proposed except to say that we are spending too much and spending is not stimulative.

Can someone PLEASE help those folks out with definitions and rational thought process. They say if we spend too much today, we will pay for with out childrens and grandchildrens taxes. My reply to that, if we do not have jobs to pay for food, housing and clothing, what children are they talking about?

Recreational flatuence

March 9th, 2009
2:44 pm

I am not in favor of any of these attempts at the Gold Dome to “increase revenues,” i.e. raise taxes. What those jacklegs need to do is cut spending, like all the rest of us are doing. Now, please.

Recreational flatuence

March 9th, 2009
2:46 pm

Sarah Palin leads the GOP in hot sexiness.


March 9th, 2009
3:45 pm

Dear redNeck convert,

I made no “snide” remark about you. I was perfectly honest which is the Christian way of doing things. I did not want Jim to get out in the hot sun too long while he’s at the farm. He might think HE drives a beer truck.

No undercover stuff for me like you-kno-who writes all the time. But you are good for a laugh. ‘Tis true and I say that little lie quite honestly.


March 9th, 2009
3:45 pm

Why hasn’t Monkey Boy already posted 731 times?


March 9th, 2009
5:15 pm

I really like the new format, Jim! Very legible and intuitive.

Would any of you care to speculate as to President Obama’s motive for snubbing Gordon Brown repeatedly during the British Prime Minister’s recent state visit? London is furious. Obama refused to host a state dinner for our great ally, and while the PM presented the President with a proper gift of state, a statue of Churchill, the President in turn gave the Queen’s First Minister 25 DVDs of old movies, including “The Wizard of Oz” and “Psycho”. Instead of dispatching a special envoy to London to apologize, Obama’s State Department issued a statement to the effect that Great Britain is of no greater importance to the U.S. than is any other member of the United Nations.

I’ve never heard of anything like it.


March 9th, 2009
5:32 pm

Why did Obama snub Brown? Simple–his experience as a community agitator didn’t prepare him for the job. Whether handling the niceties of hosting our most important ally or dealing with the stumbling economy, Obama is not up to the job. Obama was given a pen made from the wood of the HMS Resolute–the same ship from which Obama’s desk was built. And Obama gives PM Brown DVDs that won’t even play in the U.K. Obama really demonstrated his cultural awareness and sensitivity, didn’t he?

Didn’t Obama tell us that he would smooth things over with our friends and foes alike? That he possesses a special understanding of how to deal with people of all cultures (because he lived in Kenya for a while)? Obama has treated Syria with more respect than either Great Britain or Israel–which is not a surprise to many of us.

Americans are paying a terrible price simply to prove that we are “fair-minded” people. The Dow dropped 80 more points today. Peoples’ retirements are in jeopardy. And folks are getting rightfully angry.

Any Obama supporters sorry you voted for the man? Or do you hate Republicans more than you love freedom and capitalism?


March 9th, 2009
5:44 pm

….and open late too, Jim?



I read an article about Obama’s snubbing of the brits. Let’s see if I can remember all the excuses offered……

Inexperienced staff.

Obama’s fatigue.

Obama’s having difficulty juggling his “many” balls.

Obama’s having to make decisions too fast.

Obama’s responsibilities are interfering with his family time.

He needs a smoke.

My assessment? He’s in over his head and drowning.


March 9th, 2009
5:45 pm


……in self-pity.


March 9th, 2009
6:22 pm

“Missappearing” and reappearing posts, too.

Is this a stubborn wrinkle that the AJC just can’t iron out, Jim?

Causes me to get a little steamed, it does.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 9th, 2009
6:42 pm

Dear Glenn @ 5:15, I suspect The Empty Suit is unaware that he insulted a former ally. Change we can believe in. As to the new look on the blog, I have reservations – I perceive there are no cookies and I will have to actually learn how to spell “Ragnar Danneskjöld.”

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 9th, 2009
6:43 pm

I err, to my great relief – there is a cookie.


March 9th, 2009
7:02 pm

Retire Already – your buddy Barney is at the core of this mess, I guess you missed that somehow?


March 19th, 2009
1:10 pm

This is the most boring white boy beeotch session I’ve ever read. You guys are stale.