Archive for October, 2009

Oh, rats, it’s the weekend update

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

● Bob Knoller of CBS News kept a tab on how much time Barack Obama and George W. Bush spent on the golf course. Obama’s played more than Bush did in more than two years. No criticism’s heard. But then Obama doesn’t fit the stereotype liberals assign to Republicans.

● One day it’s a national emergency. The next it’s “the swine flu monster seems to be retreating from Georgia.” This emergency appears to be one part flu, one part an effort to pass ObamaCare, and one part a desire to show what this government could have done had it managed the Katrina problem.

● Headline: “Health care bill includes public option.” Notice that whenever the Democratic Party leaders in Congress find their center, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada attempted in reducing several versions into a single bill, it’s always to the left. When you scare off Olympia Snowe, as Reid did with the public option, you’re far out there. Snowe, a Maine …

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Atlanta’s small-town vision

Atlanta since World War II has had two visions. The first was that it would become the Business Capital of the South. A foundational principle that evolved later from that vision was that it would be The City Too Busy to Hate.

The latter was the genius of marketing, but the phrase helped the city’s exceptional leadership catch the attention of entrepreneurs, pioneers and others who wanted to become a part of that dream. The myth became aspirational and, in many quarters, the myth became reality.
As it did, Atlanta prospered.

Atlanta’s second vision was that it would become a city of strong, independent neighborhoods, like Virginia-Highlands or West End and that development would be managed to serve neighborhood interests. The successful efforts to block the proposed Stone Mountain Freeway, for example, served existing neighborhoods, but cut downtown Atlanta from easy access to the growth areas of DeKalb and Gwinnett.

Decades later, Atlantans pretty much have the city they …

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State lacks the skill to run MARTA

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

● It’s obscene that President Barack Obama’s “special master on compensation” is ordering pay cuts averaging 50 percent for the 25 most highly paid executives at seven firms taking bailouts. Next they’ll order said executives to stay put. And then to order talented executives to work for them. Government goes where it’s destined to do no good. This is pandering to the cheap seats.

● The last Depression brought us the Hoover Hog. This one will bring us the Obama Dollar — currency made worthless by deficits and printing-press spending.

● Headline: “Georgia often sneers as Atlanta struggles.” I’ve never known other state officials to be less inclined to sneer. Except for the local politics of an isolated burg — and I can’t identify one — there’s no political gain in bashing Atlanta. Most Georgians are too consumed with their own troubles. Besides, metro Atlanta’s where most of their children have gone. What they hate about …

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Phipps has a free-market Santa

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

  • Rodney King more deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. Who among us doesn’t remember where he was when we first heard King’s stirring plea for world peace: “Can’t we all just get along?” The Prize is trivialized.
  • Headline: “Should Atlanta City Council be smaller?” than its present 15 members. Certainly. Seven’s plenty. While at it, halve the 56-member State Senate and the 180-member House of Representatives, too. Single-commissioner county governance got a bad rap, but there’s something to be said for having an honest and decisive visionary in a fast-growing county.
  • Going forward, when my band of right-wingers takes over, use of the phrase “going forward” will be banned. Me fears, however, that politicians, bureaucrats and business executives attempting to appear visionary will be rendered speechless.
  • Just curious: Has anybody seen Jane Fonda lately? This week, I mean. Have the King children quit squabbling or found real jobs? …

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DOT misfired on requiring signs

By Jim Wooten

It’s a small victory for common sense, but a victory nonetheless.  The Georgia Department of Transportation, reacting to public dismay that borrowed money is being wasted on signs promoting stimulus spending, has reversed course.

No longer will road contractors and others working on projects funded through the larded-up $787 billion “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” be required to post political advertisements.  That is what those signs were.  “Putting America to work,” they declared.  “Project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”  Signs and installation cost an average of $1,300.

In a sense, it’s hard to argue that if any sign-painters had, in fact, been called back to work, or if any new companies had been created to paint highway signs, the first statement would have been true. But there’s no indication jobs have been saved or created.  And, while politicians routinely assign names that are either misleading, optimistic or downright …

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Defined-benefit pension must go

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

● State legislators have signaled an unwillingness to continue subsidizing halls of fame in cities around Georgia. County commissioners in Macon respond by increasing the hotel-motel tax by a penny to 7 percent, which would raise about $400,000 for the sports and music halls of fame and for the Douglass Theatre. When something’s important to locals, they tax themselves. When it’s not, they tax the unrepresented. It ought to be illegal to tax those who cannot object, including future hotel guests and drivers of rental cars. But don’t want to go too far. Otherwise deficit-spending politicians who tax the unborn for current use could find their scams threatened.

● U.S. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) has got to go. He allegedly found a lobbying job for the husband of his staffer mistress, was lobbied by him, and took actions to help the clients. Bye. Not 2012, when Ensign’s term expires. Now.

● Headline: “Bond ruling raises worry.” …

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Letterman, Polanski and us

I’ll admit that America’s Entertainment industry often strike me as an alien world.  Two recent examples are Hollywood’s reaction to the arrest of Roman Polanski and the reaction to late-night television host David Letterman’s affairs with subordinates. 

The first reaction to Letterman is ho-hum. He revealed the sexual relationships with staffers while relating an account of an effort to blackmail him.  It was presented in a way that evoked laughter from the audience.   On Monday night, he apologized again to staffers and to his wife who, he said, “has been horribly hurt by my behavior.”

While other entertainers have taken a few comic pot-shots at Letterman, the reaction in general has been that it’s no big deal.  There is,  however, one element that makes it a big deal — and that is the unequal power relationship that exists in their workplace. 

In the public sector, any politician who exploited subordinates would — or should — be driven from office.  Any law enforcement …

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Vast right-wing conspiracy is back!

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

● Frivolous lawsuits, Part 1: It’s not enough to be rich and famous. Dan Rather insists on being a martyr, too. Alas, ’tis tough when the alleged villain — his CBS employer — continued to honor the terms of his $6 million-per-year contract. The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court tossed his $70 million lawsuit for taking him off the air after the bogus story on George W. Bush’s military service.

● Frivolous lawsuits, Part 2: You gotta love those DeKalb County jurors who found that, indeed, police had violated the Fourth Amendment rights of two vegans out protesting at the HoneyBaked Ham store. But the “harm” done them was insignificant. They were each awarded $1 in actual damages and $1 in punitive damages that, if pooled, would be insufficient to buy a HoneyBaked ham sandwich. The vegans’ attorneys want DeKalb to pay their fees for four years of litigation. A dollar a year per attorney would be about right.

● …

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