Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● After playing President Undecider through the turmoil in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere, President Barack Obama did his best George W. imitation, practically stealing his words, while teaming up with the Europeans to launch cruise missiles and drop bombs under U.N. direction on a nation that has no strategic importance to the United States, thus advantaging a group whose commitment to democracy is unknown. Though American lives were put on the line, the war that is being led by us, the French — or some committee of nations — did not rise to the importance that would warrant the interruption of Obama’s tour of South America.
● Since my first days in metro Atlanta decades ago, commissioners and legislators have been fighting about how to structure county government. Legislation introduced by state Rep. Kathy Ashe of Atlanta would make the Fulton County chairman full time with authority to hire and fire the county manager and department heads. The proposal, writes the AJC’s Johnny Edwards, “is the latest attempt to reform a government criticized as dysfunctional and fiscally bloated.”
● Look, we can’t propose legislation to change every local government that’s considered “dysfunctional and fiscally bloated.” While I have no dog in this fight, my belief in general is that school accrediting authorities and state legislators should steer clear of squabbling school boards and other local governments and allow voters to fix the troubles they created. Fulton County Commissioner Emma Darnell comes up with a pretty good rule of thumb for messing with the locals. Says she: “We’re not broke and nobody’s been indicted.”
● Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed wants the Legislature to give him authority to appoint members of the Atlanta school board. Never. Yes, the board has its divisions. But many of us recall that not so long ago the school board was the anchor of sanity while the Atlanta City Council had the franchise on dysfunctionality.
● The archaic practice of penalizing students because their schools lose accreditation should be ended. If students can gain college admission on their own merit, they should get in, regardless of the failure of adults in the local school system to be responsible.
● A judge appointed by former Gov. Roy Barnes tosses out a 31-count indictment against the locally influential former Cobb County EMC president Dwight Brown, a client of Barnes’ law firm, because the indictment proceeding had been moved to a courtroom “inaccessible” to the public. Here’s a reform the new Republican majority under the Gold Dome ought to consider: Prohibit a judge from hearing cases where the client is represented by a lawyer who, as governor, appointed him to the bench. The prohibition should apply to the governor’s firm, as well.
● One of the greatest shockers of the whole HOPE scholarship debate has been the revelation that special legislation was required to guarantee that the top two graduates of every high school in Georgia — the valedictorian and the salutatorian — would qualify for the full HOPE ride regardless of whether they finished with a high B average. These are not schools. They’re instructional holding facilities.
● When an adult proposes to take a human life, a 24-hour waiting period, as Georgia requires for abortions, or a 36-hour period, as South Dakota just required, is a whiff of time. One of these days “children’s rights” will amount to something other than a liberal advocacy group’s wordsmithing for more government social spending. At conception, children have a right to life. At birth, they have a right to a mother and father nurturing them to adulthood.