Chevys, Fords and clodhoppers
Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
- Billionaire Warren Buffett advises Congress to stop using the economic downturn as an excuse to push through other policy changes. The nation’s engaged in economic war, he said. “What is required is a commander in chief that’s looked at like a commander in chief in a time of war.” But where would we find one?
- President Obama is the front man radicals have long needed. In putting the nation on the slippery slope, where life is created for the purpose of destroying it, he declares that reversing the existing constraints on the use of taxpayer money for embryonic stem cell research is essential. “It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda — and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.” Unless, of course, it’s the ideology of global warming.
- A tax that has grocery shoppers saving their sales slips for tax-rebate purposes is far too labor-intensive ever to be passed into law. This was the proposal by State Rep. Chuck Sims (R-Ambrose) to restore the tax on groceries. Clue me in: Toting this now-pulled grocery-tax bill was a gang-initiation rite for Sims, a Democrat-turned-Republican, right? Or did he draw the short straw to wear the clod-hoppers and big-foot a path across Georgia’s anti-tax minefield?
- Stop the presses. The California Supreme Court is said to be “wary of overriding voters’ decision” to ban same-sex marriage. Associate Justice Joyce Kennard noted that a citizen’s right to change their Constitution is “very, very broad [and] well-established.” Imagine that. Sit down, Betsy, and brace yourself. The killer quote’s coming. Chief Justice Ron George, hearing arguments challenging the ban, declared openly and boldly: “Maybe the solution has to be a political one.” A decision is due within 90 days.
- Seriously, I love a place where people like Virgil Hazel of Adel are so passionate about Fords and Chevrolets that they worry what they’d do if one of the brands went away. Hundreds of hours of my early life were spent listening to Ford-Chevy arguments. Hazel, a Chevy loyalist, drove one Ford in his life, a 1983 model. “Had to walk home,” he told the AJC’s Drew Jubera at Sunday’s NASCAR’s Kobalt Tools 500. “Traded it in for a ‘77 Chevrolet.”
- You cut back. Does Congress? No. It ups its upkeep by 10 percent to $4.4 billion in the $410 billion spending bill. Georgia agencies are cut. The feds’ get raised. Congress lives in a different world.
- Without drama, Cobb County commissioners reduce the budget by $5.3 million following a $19.5 million reduction in December. Such deeds explain the county’s triple-A bond rating. Across the river, Atlanta’s rating has been downgraded two notches by Standards & Poor’s, from “AA-” to “A,” “based on a trend of operating deficits and declining revenues during a period of strong economic growth, which leaves the city with diminished financial reserves and flexibility as it enters the current economic downturn.” Contributing, too: “Longer-term pressures associated with the city’s underfunded pensions, police overtime, and subsidies to the sanitation and E911 funds.” The time to be responsible is when you have money.
- A bill like the one proposed by State Rep. Clay Cox (R-Lilburn) to reduce the power of the state council that watches over 37 private probation companies, including his, is the kind that destroys privatization. Government should turn every possible service over to the private sector, but with transparency, accountability and a strong ethics policy that establishes a firewall between companies performing the work and current and former legislators and bureaucrats who could influence their profitability.
- Most haunting quote of the week, from Geneva County, Ala., Deputy Sheriff Josh Myers, whose wife and daughter were among those killed in a shooting rampage a day earlier: “I cried so much yesterday, I don’t have a tear left in me.”