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 school board member Eugene Walker, discussing race-based contracting and a subsequent decision to pay an extra $1 million to get a firm headed by a black female. DeKalb’s $5.79 million in legal expenses is higher than the combined total of school systems in Cobb, Gwinnett and Fulton counties.
● In the DeKalb school board’s race-based law firm decision, one voice deserves commendation. It is that of board member Pamela Speaks, a black female, who refused to be bullied when other board members pushed her to vote race. “We attempted to save the taxpayers $1 million,” she said. “We have those on the board suggest we ignore that fact just so we can have an African-American attorney. I would like them to defend that to taxpayers.” That opportunity comes in November. Walker and others who voted agenda over pocketbooks — Jay Cunningham, Jim Redovian, Zepora Roberts and Sarah Copelin-Wood — are all on the ballot.
● When my band of right-wingers takes over, we’ll require neutral parties — retired judges, for example, or business executives — to assemble lists of firms competent to perform the work to be purchased. After that, the sole basis for contracting will be lowest bid. And we’ll make it a criminal offense for politicians and bureaucrats to write contract proposals to favor a preferred provider.
● On public corruption, our worst fear is that we let it go until we become the Illinois of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich — though he’ll probably beat the federal rap. On public excess, our worst fear is that we become California and, worse still, its city of Bell near Los Angeles, where the chief administrative officer is paid $787,637 per year, entitling him to a public pension of as much as $30 million. The police chief makes $457,000 and part-time councilmen almost $100,000. Residents are outraged.
● President Barack Obama signs a financial reform bill that’ll create lots of new jobs for bureaucrats and regulators. It is the solution for the financial meltdown that the $862 billion stimulus bill was for economic recovery and the health care cram-down was for the cost of medical care.
● Most distressing consequence of this year’s political races in Georgia is that we’ll lurch in some new direction in public education. We are on the right course as the “State falls further behind” headline this week suggested. We “fall further behind” in the sense that curriculum is being standardized and student performance standards are being gradually edged up. Yes, 67 percent of high schools didn’t make annual yearly progress this year, compared with 53 percent last, but that’s to be expected any year standards are raised. As long as politicians think that in fixing public education they’re smarter than their predecessors, we’re sunk. There’s no magic fix. And money is not the problem.