Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● The day after Thanksgiving is probably not the best time to bring this up, but the Centers for Disease Control finds that the nation’s obesity problem is highest in Appalachia (about 80 percent of the counties) and in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina (about 75 percent of counties.) Highest obesity rates are in 5 small, rural counties in Mississippi and Alabama – about 43 percent of the population, compared to 26 percent for the nation as a whole.
● Urbanists are determined to link the despised suburbs to obesity. As one of the planners for next year’s Atlanta meeting of the Congress for New Urbanism notes, there’s concern among some “that suburban lifestyles that require a lot of time driving and a lot of time sitting” leave the poor suburbanite with little time to exercise. See Item One. Moral of this story: The lifestyle police can always find a noble health-related reason to justify their desire for control over the way other people live. Those who live beyond I-285 have never been forgiven for “fleeing” high-density living, thus causing “sprawl.” We ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait until ObamaCare gives them a license to busy-body your life.
● The Alabama Supreme Court, having taken full momentary possession of Thinking Right’s common-sense conservatism, rules against a woman who claimed a $41.8 million “jackpot” from an obviously malfunctioning bingo machine at Victoryland. The actual payout should have been about $2. Frivolous lawsuits prompted by typographical errors in advertisements or malfunctioning machines should be tossed. But a lower court gave the bingo player $10 million.
● A new lawyer hired by Georgia to argue its appeal of a federal judge’s ruling limiting Georgia’s water withdrawal from Lake Lanier charges $855 per hour. I’m firm on this: If we lose, that’s an outrageous sum.
● AJC Reporter Bill Rankin did a beautiful story Tuesday on Georgia Supreme Court Justice George Carley, a superb jurist who, as Rankin notes, is sometimes the court’s lone dissenter. The explanation is that the other six probably got it wrong.
● The Georgia State Patrol has the same conflict with motorcycle policing that cities have with red-light cameras. On tickets issued inside I-285, fines go to the State Patrol. Proceeds should go into the state’s general fund or be handed over to local governments. No law enforcement agency should have a financial incentive to enforce the law.
● If Georgia’s football program has any pride, it’ll decline to participate in a bowl. Though any team that can pull a crowd is bowl-caliber, Georgia should have its own standards. And this year they just don’t measure up. That’s fine. It lost a lot of talent. Maybe next year…
● TV does have its slime programs and moments, but the caliber of daytime television will drop sharply when Oprah Winfrey ends her show in 2011. Much of the rest of daytime TV makes you fear for the country’s future – assuming its viewers vote.
● We’ll have another clue about whether this administration represents all America or its own agenda when it decides whether to appeal U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval’s decision that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for Katrina’s massive flooding in New Orleans. Each of seven plaintiffs was awarded $720,000. If this decision stands, the cost to taxpayers could be in the trillions of dollars. The judge is a Bill Clinton appointee.
● Data shows that two-thirds of children under the age of 18 in seven Georgia counties were living in poverty in 2008. Hint: Check the marriage rate. A household created by the birth of a child to an unmarried low-income woman is instant poverty.
● Georgia Public Service Commissioner Lauren W. McDonald Jr. wants Georgia Power Co. to consider adding a “solar-only” option for customers. It and other utilities have a “green” option already, but few people put their money where their mouth is. Only 4,300 of Georgia Power’s 2.3 million choose to pay extra for “green” power. Most of the green crowd wants to dictate the agenda, but not to have to pay extra.