Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● Finally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledges reality. Says she of our president: “There are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail.” At issue was whether negotiations over the final health care legislation would be opened to C-SPAN cameras, something the president embraced as a candidate. They won’t.
● Republican gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel says the men running against her can’t clean up a culture of “sex, lies and lobbyists” under the Gold Dome because they “created the mess.” Men, as the lady knows, are not monolithic. That’s the view of liberals. The men running against her were not born when the culture of “sex, lies and lobbyists” took root under the Gold Dome. Their sin is that they and the women, too, perpetuated it.
● Economists gathered in Atlanta debate why so few of them saw this economic meltdown coming. Why? Because they were of follow-the-pack consensus, just as many climate scientists are now on global warming. It’s worth noting that predicting the meltdown is far easier for those who study economic data than for those who study climate. Brrrrrrrr.
● Residents of DeKalb and Fulton object to a possible 1-cent sales tax increase in 10 metro Atlanta counties for transportation, including MARTA. They want the 1-cent MARTA sales tax to constitute their share. Fact is, they made the choice to spend a cent for MARTA while other counties spent a cent for roads. Residents in the eight other counties should oppose any proposal that shifts the MARTA burden to those who aren’t served by it.
● Every government policy — absolutely all — should be to encourage marriage. Why? People problems can’t be fixed until the family is. A just-released report finds that the South has become the first region in the country where more than half of public school students are poor and minorities. Almost three-quarters of black children and half of Hispanic are born to single women. Instant poverty. Bizarre, then, that the new Democratic health care bill would make it more costly for a married couple to buy health insurance than for unmarrieds living together.
● Kudos to Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Vance Smith for declining to let opposition to a proposed underground roadway through Atlanta by new Mayor Kasim Reed kill the worthy idea. At some point, the state has to get serious about fixing bottlenecks and relieving traffic congestion. The answer from Atlanta will always be “no.” It long ago demonstrated that neighborhood parochialism dominates the political process. With high-density development already approved, Atlanta is a future traffic nightmare. The underground roadway is for all Georgia.
● Senior U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Alaimo, who died last week, was the kind of judge all jurists should aspire to be. His work on a 25-year-old lawsuit over conditions at Georgia State Prison in Reidsville struck the balance between judicial activism and the appropriate sternness in pushing Georgia to improve conditions. The maximum-security prison should have been closed years before the 1972 suit was filed. Its isolation made for a “prison culture” with generation after generation of families working there. Medical care was inadequate. Most inmates came from the Atlanta area and it was exceedingly difficult for families to visit. At one point, he visited Reidsville, saw the problem guards and administrators faced with a group of destructive inmates and told the commissioner, “Just do the best you can.” Great judge. And a great loss.