Archive for April, 2009

Only been 100 days? Seems longer

Thinking Right’s weekend free for all. Pick a topic:

  • The swine flu is a reminder that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should never be in any business other than diseases. The agency’s also being sued by an Atlanta lawyer for invasion of privacy because it moved quickly to alert the world to a highly resistant strain of TB that he was thought to have carried on an international flight. It turned out to be a milder strain. The CDC acted responsibly in that scare.
  • Simplifying the tax code, Obama style: “Report earnings and other income. Keep $295 per week (the maximum unemployed benefit in Georgia) and remit the rest for redistribution.”
  • Silly government. The U.S. Labor Department wants Atlanta to account for how it spent $11.3 million intended to help the jobless. They obviously can’t. I’ll help. “The federal money allowed a few of the well-connected to get titles and to lease big autos, while uttering nonsensical buzzwords and engaging in a flurry …

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US-UAW, Inc., Government Motors and ‘the greedy’

 

 

I’ve come to hate the word “greedy.”  It’s an epithet used almost exclusively by the Left to demonize somebody in business who is not compliant to the wishes of a politician.

An example is Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who is taking to the bully pulpit to persuade those to whom Chrysler LLC owes billions, to surrender the bulk of their claims.  “On behalf of Michigan,” she said Wednesday, “on behalf of the thousands of people who will be affected if this company is forced into bankruptcy, I am publicly asking these hedge funds to not be greedy but to do what the banks have done and what everyone else around the table has done [and] take the concessions.”

Four major banks holding 70 percent of Chrysler’s $6.9 billion in secured debt, agreed to settle for $2 billion.  The 46 hedge funds want a better deal.  Talks appear to have collapsed.  Unless agreement is reached by 11:59 p.m. tonight, a government-imposed deadline, Chrysler is headed to bankruptcy.  Lenders …

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Specter positions Democrats to overreach

The departure of U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter from the Republican ranks means most likely that Congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama will be able to find out once and for all whether the country truly wants liberalism straight-up.

With him in the Republican Party, there was the pretense that the GOP could keep Democrats from overreaching, their natural tendency.  Here and there, yes, they could.  But always we knew that on the issues truly important to the left — confirmation, for example, of far-left judges to the U.S. Supreme Court and to the circuit courts — Democrats already had a filibuster-proof Senate.  Specter made that clear in his opposition to Judge Robert Bork and in is decision to join with Democrats and two other Republican senators to pass the $787 billion spending bill that passed disguised as “economic stimulus.”

Comedian Al Franken appears likely to prevail in Minnesota.  With Specter, there’s no pretense that the opposition party represents a …

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Lottery dilutes middle-class habits

Two things up front about the Georgia Lottery.

One is that it exists as a tax on those believed to pay no taxes. It’s a consumption tax levied on the unsophisticated. It’s the rent they pay for government.

The second observation about the Georgia Lottery is that its beneficiaries are the middle class, the families that once socked away a few dollars each week to pay for the college expenses of newborn babies.

It was one generation’s investment in the next.

I’ve never been a fan for two reasons.

One is that it tempts the poor to engage in behaviors that are harmful to their families.
The second is that it tempts the middle class to engage in behaviors that are harmful to their families.

With the poor, the temptation is to take money they can’t afford to lose and put it in an investment with odds against them of 175 million to one.

A woman without a job for six months and, as the AJC’s Bill Torpy reported last month, with “a car note and mortgage nipping at her …

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Will the flu change our lifestyles?

In the family photo, she is a strikingly beautiful young mother, vibrant and healthy.

At age 24, she gives birth to my father.  Five weeks later, on June 18, 1918, she is dead, one 0f the tens of millions of victims of the 1918 influenza outbreak that raged between March, 1918 and June, 1920.

My mother-in-law, born in 1907, remembered so many people dying in Cartersville that the town ran out of caskets to bury them.  Death, disproportionately to the young, hit most every family.

Fearing another possible flu pandemic, the Obama Administration and other governments around the world declared a public health emergency this weekend as clusters of swine flu started surfacing around the globe. The U.S. declaration allows the feds to ship 12 million doses of flu-fighting medications to the states.  So far, the 20 confirmed cases in this country are mild and no extraordinary medical response is yet warranted.

 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official said Sunday …

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Governor race likely to depart from tradition

The Georgia General Assembly, the traditional way station for gubernatorial candidates en route to West Paces Ferry, is left with a single Republican and Democrat in next year’s governor’s race.

House Speaker pro tem Mark Burkhalter (R-Johns Creek) declared Thursday he’ll skip the 2010 race. He dined with four close friends to weigh the decision. “It was very positive,” he said. “If I had listened entirely to them, I would have run. They gave me some great perspective and the sense of comfort and confidence that friends give you.”

But , he said, “it really boiled down to ‘what did I think over the next 18 to 20 months that I could do to most positively affect the future of the state?’” That, he concluded, is to remain in the House and grow the conservative majority, even though opportunities like this may arise once in a career.

The next day, U.S. Rep. Lynn West­moreland (R-Grantville), former minority leader in the Georgia House, announced that …

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Roads are less sexy … and still unloved

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

  • The economy’s hit bare bottom. Another beside-the-freeway restaurant advertising “We Bare All” closes. Lack of business. This one was on I-95 at Darien. Last year, one on I-85 at Lavonia was bought and closed by city officials, who held a bonfire in the parking lot with the Cafe Risqué signs. In both cases, officials thought they were snookered into issuing business licenses. Don’t know about truckers, but the risk I want to take when dining on the highway is that I’m seeing too much fatback in the pole beans, not a bare back toting them.
  • Little did I expect that I’d live long enough to find those who use cloth diapers described as “smart, eco-responsible parents” who “make the world a better, safer place.” The Earth Day will come where we realize the real environmentalists and conservationists were those thrifty waste-not, want-not ancestors who were responsible stewards of their space because it …

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Earth Day lesson for conservatives

 Conservatives looking to build a national majority need look no further than the example offered by environmental activists.

Certainly we have to remind responsible adults that growing government and inviting greater dependency is harmful to the country.  It robs from our children and grandchildren to feed this generation’s consumption.  A recent Rasmussen poll finds that only 53 percent of adults think capitalism is better than socialism.  Shift the income-tax burden a bit more, so that the non-payers outnumber the payers, and those numbers will jump even higher. Among the under 30s, 37 percent favor capitalism, 33 percent socialism and 30 percent are undecided.

There’s work to be done.

Earth Day offers guidance.

AJC Reporter Nancy Badertscher writes today that “across metro Atlanta there are signs that the school-based environmental movement has advanced beyond newspaper recycling programs and Earth Day activities.”  She notes as examples Beaver Ridge Elementary …

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The witch hunt on ‘torture’

For Barack Obama, words are colored M&Ms sprinkled in interesting — though meaningless — array on the subjects of his choosing.  “As a general deal, I think that we should be looking forward and not backwards,”  he said.  But, on post 9/11interrogation techniques, it’ll be up to an attorney general who describes waterboarding as torture to decide whether “those who formulated those legal decisions”  should be prosecuted. Those techniques produced “high-value information” following 9/11, Obama’s National Intelligence Director, Dennis Blair, has acknowledged.

This is a President who went to CIA headquarters after declassifying for general release the list of permissible interrogation techniques to be used against terrorists posing an imminent threat to the lives of civilians as well as to America’s military personnel.  He counseled those at Langley that he knew the revelations had been tough on them, but “you need to know you’ve got my full support.”

As former Georgia …

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Put families first, one father at a time

Any doubt about how destructive the casual creation of life outside marriage is to men, women and children can be seen in the state’s desperate efforts to connect men and their children.

Once life is created by adults who have no particular committment to each other, it falls to the state to try to salvage the children. Otherwise, they follow the examples they know, examples that lead them to poor school performance and lifetimes of failure. For children of the unwed, especially among the underclass, life without a mother and father in the home is the rankest cruelty self-absorbed adults can inflict unintentionally.

Emotionally and financially, they enter life with two strikes against them.

The state, through the Georgia Fatherhood program, does its best to reconnect the absent parent, mostly men. It’s an uphill struggle. “These people face daunting obstacles to becoming parents,” said Department of Human Resources Commissioner B. J. Walker of participants in the …

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