Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● Absolutely Republicans in the U.S. Senate should filibuster against a hard-left ideologue to replace Justice John Paul Stevens. That is not, however, Leah Ward Sears. I’d confirm her.
● Diversity on the U.S. Supreme Court? I don’t have a candidate in mind, but for diversity’s sake, how about a Southern Baptist who’s served in the military and didn’t law-up at Harvard, Yale or Columbia? The retiring John Paul Stevens is a World War II vet, a Protestant and a graduate of Northwestern law school.
● Woe is me. Having acquired a taste for sardines in the military, I now discover that we are entirely dependent on foreign sources for the delicacies. The last U.S. packing house in Maine and in the U.S., this one owned by Bumble Bee, closed Thursday. In 1900 Maine had 75 canneries. Now I’m at the mercy of a cannery in Poland.
● Changing times, changing tastes, part 2: The University of Georgia, with 34,000 students, has sold fewer than 500 copies of its yearbook, the student-produced Pandora. Therefore the print edition is dead after this year.
● And Aubrey Morris is dead. If you don’t remember Aubrey Morris on WSB Radio, I’m guessing that Peachtree Street means no more to you than Jimmy Carter Boulevard and that Davison’s and Rich’s won’t ring a bell either. They were all Atlanta institutions.
● You can do that? A 7-year-old adopted from Russia by a Tennessee woman was put on a one-way flight back. I’d once argued unsuccessfully that my brother should have been returned. He was not working as far as his younger sibling was concerned.
● The left’s addiction to Sarah Palin is a continuing fascination. Barack Obama unbusied himself from the old campus peacenik task creating a nuclear-free world to opine that she is “not much of an expert” on nuclear issues. He, on the other hand, became same while community organizing on the South Side of Chicago. The only weapons he can get rid of are ours. Meanwhile, Iran proceeds full-speed ahead. And our chief worry is that “terrorists” might get them.
● It’s inconceivable that Georgia would not fund a state agency to promote arts in the community. We can debate whether it’s government’s responsibility to fund individual artists or performances, there’s no question here that it’s in the public interest to offer seed grants that encourage individuals to come together to invest their time and money in something that enriches community life. The Georgia Council for the Arts could become a casualty of state cutbacks.
● As encouragement to the elderly to relocate here, Georgia legislators agree to eliminate the state income tax on retirement income by 2016. The exemption now applies to income below $70,000 for couples. Two points: As part of a longer-term strategy such as the elimination of the state income tax for everybody, the retiree exclusion makes sense. Otherwise, no. We don’t turn poor at 65. Shorter term, if the goal is to encourage those who don’t need jobs to come to Georgia, the exemption should have been targeted to poor rural counties that are bleeding jobs.
● One superb tax-elimination decision by these legislators is to stop imposing a quarter-mill levy on local property taxpayers. It should have been repealed decades ago — but wasn’t because that’s the hook that politically powerful county tax commissioners employed to get themselves and their employees covered by the state employees retirement system back when most counties didn’t have an employee pension system.
● Reviving Freaknik is a mistake. It becomes uncontrollable, which is why Atlanta stopped welcoming it in 1999.