Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● Tuesday’s wrong-way-driver crash on I-285 caused an eight-hour shutdown of a section of the interstate that handles 200,000 vehicles per day. The wreck at Dunwoody demonstrates how vulnerable metro Atlanta is to gridlock — and how the terms employed in our transportation policy debate can lead to the wrong remedies. Commuters took to off-interstate roadways, the arterials. Those are, in fact, the “alternatives” that can serve a majority of the region’s drivers. Yet when the term “alternatives” is bandied about in transportation planning, it invariably is code for a costly mass transit network that’s an “alternative” for the few who happen to be near fixed stations. Spend where we get the most congestion relief for the dollar.
● Georgia’s children are more caring than we’ve realized. Last year a high number of students in about 10 percent of the state’s schools changed answers from wrong-to-right on the state’s standardized tests. The result was a lot of nasty publicity. So this year the little fellas decided that their carelessness had reflected badly on some of their teachers and administrators. So they quit with the erasures. This year’s analysis showed that number down to 3.5 percent. Congratulations, boys and girls.
● Said the pot to the kettle: “It is my advice to you,” said State Sen. Robert Brown, D-Macon, to his GOP colleagues, “that you don’t overreach in this [redistricting] process. You might win in the short end, but you are going to lose in the long run.” It was precisely that overreaching after the 2000 census that triggered the implosion of the Democratic power structure under the Gold Dome.
● If states don’t require employers to use the federal E-Verify system, it’ll be like border security — something that the feds never get around to. States should push the feds on its failure to perform its assigned role while attempting to turn states into its administrative units on others, like Obamacare.
● Even out of office, former Vice President Dick Cheney is a comforting reminder of the value of having seasoned, experienced and wise adults in charge of American foreign policy. “Hosni Mubarak has been a good friend and ally of the United States, do not forget,” said Cheney at a celebration of the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan. “The time comes one day or the other he must hang up and move on” and “it’s a decision only the Egyptians are able to take.”
● In my next life, I’m signing to play baseball with Wake Forest — and specifically coach Tom Walter. In surgeries performed at Emory University Hospital, the married father of two, in a stunning act of selflessness, gave a kidney to one of his players, Kevin Jordan, who needed a transplant and could not find another donor. A reason never to get cynical in life: There really are people like coach Walker.
● The greatest hypocrisy among politicians, evident in the debate about Sunday liquor sales, is that they’re not actually favoring the action they’re taking. Instead they’re giving “the people” the “right” to have their voices heard. State legislators don’t argue that “the people” have a right to be heard about ethics or whether to set caps on spending. I don’t feel all that strongly about the issue. Instead it’s the taxes-as-fees hypocrisy and the pass-the-buck phoniness on hot-button issues. And that whether Democrats or Republicans are in power, it’s still special interests that set the agenda.
● Look, if lobbyists or interest groups that feed at the public trough weren’t hiring the kinfolks of elected officials before Republicans came to power, and if they’re not now hiring the kinfolks of powerless, dead-end Democrats, the hirings are wrongful attempts to influence public policy. Voters know that. Before Republicans came to power they did, too.