Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● Shameful that Atlanta’s King & Spalding law firm has dropped the client in the Defense of Marriage Act — the client being U.S. House Republicans, on behalf of the American people, in the absence of willingness by President Barack Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, to fulfill his obligation to defend a legitimate act of Congress. This may be the darkest day in King & Spalding’s history. Having taken the case, King & Spalding had an obligation to finish it, as asserted by former partner and Attorney General Griffin Bell in a 2009 Mercer law school address. The honorable Paul Clement, President George W. Bush’s U.S. solicitor general, who was handling the case for King & Spalding, quit the firm. One guy, at least, got it right. (And does this mean that all these years lawyers have been joshing us when they draw distinctions between their own political views and the clients they take?)
● President Obama, en route to Chicago for an appearance on Oprah before heading to New York for a fundraiser, declaring “we have no time for this silliness,” finally releases his long-form birth certificate. Release of a birth certificate, like school records, is a reasonable expectation of one who wishes to be president of the United States. This silliness might have been arrested 900 days ago had he simply produced them when running.
● A former candidate for DeKalb County school superintendent, Lillie Cox, superintendent in Hickory, N.C., asked for a $275,000 salary, a three-year contract that adds another year for every year she serves, five weeks of vacation, 15 months’ severance pay, a due process hearing before she could be fired and assorted other perks. Actually, nobody in k-12 public education should be given such a contract. Just hire competence and pay a salary competitive with the governor’s, or about $140,000, with a decent bonus for staying on the job five years. There are no saviors out there. Metro Atlanta’s had its share of “change agents” who come in, fire and hire, and then move on.
● How do 121,000 people “disappear” in Atlanta — the difference between population estimates and the actual census? Easy. They disappeared the way they were created. Thin air.
● Not to pick on state Rep. Rahn Mayo, D-Decatur, since he’s a second-termer without influence, but his observations about how unconsciously he slid into the role of a lobbyist-spending favorite (18th in lobbyist spending at $2,281) is telling about how political newcomers get sucked into the system. Explained Mayo, who is on the Insurance Committee, which attracts lobbyists: “My memory recalls going to six or seven Hawks games and maybe a handful of dinners that are pretty customary for legislators during the session. It’s an age-old practice in the state Legislature for lobbyists to pick up the dinner tab or miscellaneous expenses and spend money on gifts and give campaign contributions to legislators. … It didn’t start with me.” I’m not one who believes that politicians are bought for a dinner tab. Furthermore, as long as everything’s fully disclosed, I have no problem with most lobbyists spending, with the understanding that it plants a red flag on the voting record of every beneficiary.
● Lamest excuse, perhaps ever, for taking freebies — in this case an all-expense-paid trip to the Masters — comes from state Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford. She took the trip valued at $990 because, as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported it, “it gave her access to an arena from which women traditionally are excluded.” Okey-dokey.