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.
● This is what scares us about banking: Federal regulators shut down the high-flying Georgian Bank in Atlanta, a failure that’s expected to cost the FDIC $892 million. The bank’s attorney, Walt Moeling, said afterward that the bank had wealthy investors, one of the strongest boards and management around and made loans to borrowers with strong track records. That may have been intended to reassure. Makes me want to stuff cash in a mattress. If the smart guys go with the herd, I want to find a cautious country banker.
● Almost a fifth of the nation’s motorists have sent or read a text message while driving. Next to drunk drivers, those who consider an auto to be an extension of the office or chat time are the most dangerous. They drive out of sync with traffic. Truckers want federal permission to text. Never. A Virginia Tech study found that truckers who use on-board computers are 10 times more likely to crash, nearly crash or wander across lanes.
● Pentagon officials who propose to allow women to serve as submariners have obviously never heard the country song, “The girls all get prettier at closing time.” The lyrics apply to both sexes. Lifting this common-sense ban will destroy marriages. Women are barred from front-line combat; a submarine is a front-line combat vehicle.
● Emory University Hospital, taking an action that’s clearly in the best consumer interest, especially heart patients in Gwinnett County, drops its lawsuit to block Gwinnett Medical Center from creating a program that would provide open-heart surgeries. Conservatives in the General Assembly, presumably in the majority, should look at ending the certificate of need regulations that caused all this expense (built into our medical care tabs) and this years-long delay that unnecessary regulation promotes.
● Oh, Bill, get a life. The former president says the vast right-wing conspiracy that targeted him has its sights set on President Barack Obama. It’s not as vast as it was, though, “because America has changed demographically,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But it’s as virulent as it was.” They all gotta be martyrs.
● In fairness, Obama’s appointments to key federal court positions in Georgia have been far better than expected. No radicals that I see. Latest two are state Sen. Edward Tarver of Augusta as U.S. attorney based in Savannah and former state Sen. Michael Moore of Warner Robins as U.S. attorney based in Macon.
● No classier public official ever set foot under the Gold Dome than Joe Burton, the DeKalb County Republican who died this week at 86. He was a compassionate conservative original, a warm-hearted patriot who served his country in two wars, who doted on family and children, especially children with disabilities. He gave gallons of blood to serve this community, lining up every two months, just as soon as he was eligible. He served 30 years in the Georgia House and in the state Senate. I never grew cynical while covering politics. Politicians like Joe Burton were the reason why.