Archive for July, 2010

The temptation of free money

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

● In the spirit of bipartisanship: For a generous contribution from the Roy Barnes campaign to my favorite charity, my band of right-wingers will hold him hostage on a farm in South Georgia until the urge passes to rush home to have an endorsement photo taken with President Obama, who comes to town next week. For a more generous contribution from either the Karen Handel or the Nathan Deal campaigns, we’ll provide him first-class limo service to the Obama photo op.

● Billy Corey is just the kind of don’t-push-me businessman that every corrupt government should run into. He and his Corey Airport Services were just awarded $17.5 million for being denied a fair opportunity to win an indoor advertising contract at Atlanta airport.

● Nobody respects federal money. Still, in the spirit of Arizona’s effort to help the feds enforce immigration laws they’d prefer to ignore, Georgia should pass a state law making it a crime to split …

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No magic fix for public education

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

● Sadly in this country when race is an element of a tale, truth is nearly impossible to know. The account most often has one or more missing elements, false links or suppositions — as was the case with USDA official Shirley Sherrod. In a political year, when some individual or group with a partisan agenda makes racially incendiary accusations or invites those suppositions, be wary. Be real wary.

● Savannah police Chief Willie Lovett’s needed everywhere. “This isn’t an art gallery, it’s a police department,” said he of tattooed officers, ordering them to hide their body-doodling under clothing, bandages or makeup. Tattoos are ways of saying “I had nothing better to do” and, “I don’t expect ever to be anywhere that it’ll matter.”

● “I am a very, very race-conscious person. I will never ever try to lead you to believe that I am race-neutral. I see color. I appreciate color. I celebrate color and I love color.” DeKalb County …

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The panicky flight of the insiders

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

● The NAACP, among the Democrats panicking about the wrath of fed-up voters, trash-talks the tea party. Once proud and with a purpose; now relegated to rhetorical Saturday Night Specials in desperate hope of finding relevancy.

● The primary qualification for Georgia’s next governor is willingness to tackle the embedded structural costs in state government — primarily payroll. The state’s best jobs program is containing the growth and cost of state government.

● Tuesday’s primary election day. Do political endorsements matter? Only if the individual or group making the endorsement shares my values and is not endorsing out of friendship, opportunism or expectation of future reward. It’s amusing, though, that former Gov. Roy Barnes, who is endorsed by the political establishment in metro Atlanta’s Democratic counties, and Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, the presumed leader in the GOP primary, both cast themselves as …

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Being honest about taxes and fees

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

● It’s obscene that court reporters on the public payroll are allowed to pocket the substantial fees paid by those who need transcripts of court proceedings, as the AJC’s Janel Davis reported. It’s quite amazing that archaic provisions of state law go unchallenged that provide sweetheart financial arrangements to individuals and groups that wield power in courthouses — laws, for example, that provide two or three public pensions, some funded with fines and add-on fees. Republicans, when they came to power, didn’t own that system. But now they do. They’ve done little or nothing to change it.

● A pleasant surprise, since much of the media tends to cheerlead for bigger government, is the front-page story Tuesday by AJC transportation reporter Ariel Hart. Headline: “Not all MARTA cuts are so bad,” followed by the smaller headline, “Halting low-ridership routes should help budget, efficiency.” This is the beginning of honest, …

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Take state out of resort business

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

● Georgia should sell taxpayer-owned Brasstown Valley Resort at Young Harris. The AJC’s Sunday story about a former state employee’s unchecked spending while managing a modest spa project, the cost of which jumped 434 percent to $2.6 million, is enough to make taxpayers’ blood boil. Example: The now-fired employee, Michele D. Bonner, while overseeing the renovation as acting director of the North Georgia Mountain Authority, dined 59 times over 15 months with a consultant, enjoying a 150-year-old liqueur purchased just for them. It costs $37 per glass. Total cost for the 59 meals: $9,892. Two points: 1) government should not tote suitcases and operate resorts and 2) regional government entities and development authorities lack public scrutiny and accountability. They’ll always be magnets for the kinds of dealings expected when the unsupervised are spending free money.

● GOP state school Superintendent Kathy Cox, who left …

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