Tattoos, not ring; credit cost shifts
Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
- Jermaine Dupri is committed enough to Janet Jackson to tattoo her image along his lower right side from chest to waist — but they’re not committed enough to marry. Such is our culture.
- No need to waterboard Joe Biden. If he knows, you know. Real torture’s when he’s forced to remain silent. Where’s the doomsday bunker, Joe?
- Juvenile Court Judge Sammy Jones was the judge you’d want on the case whether you were the crime’s victim or the errant youth’s parents. Straight up and a top-notch guy.
- So Atlanta’s finances look good when compared to Detroit; New York; Philadelphia; Chicago; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles and Phoenix, all of which have larger deficits percentagewise? But we don’t live there. New slogan suggestion for Atlanta: “It’s not our fault.”
- Evidence that Georgia’s low-and-fair-tax approach to business creates jobs is contained in a new nationwide study. Georgia led all states in new business startups last year and has had the greatest increase over the past decade. Low taxes and fair treatment work every time.
- Holy cow! Georgia State University eliminated 300 positions — and student classes aren’t affected. Only 30 of the jobs are filled. The rest are part-timers, temps and student assistants. One concludes that it’s games or overstaffing.
- Surely this new school superintendent in Clayton County has been hired to take the system to “the next level.” Or if not, he’s got to be a “change agent.” All new hires are these days. But if we’re lucky, he’ll be just a guy who improves outcomes without lots of drama.
- What do balloons, campaign finance reform and credit card reform have in common? Squeeze in one place and air, campaign money or card fees move elsewhere. Card-holders who pay on time are likely victims of the cost-shifting.
- Atlanta Municipal Court has 11 judges. Three are considering retirement. Since 2002, caseloads have dropped 50 percent. The chief judge thinks seven can handle the work. Councilman C.T. Martin goes bonkers. Atlanta’s a jobs factory.
- An alternative exists to government-run health care. Conservative Republicans have offered it. It would redirect $300 billion in subsidies from employer-provided insurance to give families $5,700 per year to buy it and to fund health savings accounts. The poor would get a supplement of up to $5,000. I’m betting there’s a liberal who will argue that people can’t be trusted to make such important decisions.
- Want a pickup about the size of a John Deere Gator utility vehicle? Sit tight. President Barack Obama orders his car companies and others to achieve an average of 351/2 miles per gallon by 2016. That’s 39 m.p.g. for cars and 30 m.p.g. for pick-ups. An Associated Press-quoted auto consultant thinks the changes “will make pickup trucks so much more expensive that they will be used almost exclusively for work.” Vehicle prices will be up by a minimum of $1,300. And, yes, with medication you can sleep comfortably at night knowing that your child is out driving, probably too fast, in a wheeled box of tin.
- Almost half — 46 percent to be exact — of the 2,800 people who responded to the Web question, “How would you describe President Obama’s political philosophy?” posed by Richard Viguerie’s ConservativeHQ.com answered “Socialist.” Another 24 percent said Marxist, 11 percent Communist, 10 percent fascist and 5 percent liberal. I’d be in the 5 percent. Not scientific, of course, and Viguerie would draw a particular segment of conservatives, but it does reveal how polarized we’ve become.
- The state’s turning taxpayers’ van pool business over to the private sector, though we’ll continue subsidies. The old rule still applies: If you can find the service in the Yellow Pages, government shouldn’t provide it.
- Think schools don’t color young minds politically? A seventh-grader writes that the class project is to write a letter to the editor giving their view “on the destruction of ecosystems” by “construction companies building more malls for our expanding population.” How about a class-project essay on whether, environmentally, it’s better to build one 1,000-megawatt power plant fired with natural gas on 40 acres or 500 windmills spread over 30,000 acres? Or, make the plant coal-fired. Invite children to think.
- Obama’s Gitmo policy was beginning to look an awful lot like Bush and Cheney’s, to my delight and liberals’ horror, until he proposed bringing bad guys here. Congress should stop that.