Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● ObamaCare requires setting up hundreds of “accountable care organizations” across the country to regulate costs and services. A group representing almost 400 large medical providers serving about a third of the population finds the initial blueprint so complex and onerous that 90 percent of its members won’t participate voluntarily. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, making himself all the more appealing, promises that on his first day as president he’ll grant Obama-Care waivers to all states and will ask Congress for its repeal.
● Only 29.6 percent of “scholars” who qualify for the HOPE stipend as freshmen earn the grades in college to retain it until graduation. At some schools, it’s fewer than 20 percent and at the University of West Georgia it’s 8.3 percent. The retention rate confirms what Georgians have long known: Many of the B’s handed out in high school are esteem grades or charity grades given just to qualify students for HOPE.
● State Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam, D-Riverdale, owes $1,325 in fines for 20 violations of the state’s campaign finance disclosure requirements dating back to 2005. She could’ve filed, but her home was ransacked by burglars and, of course, those kinds of records are high-value on the black market. Many a tourist walking through Five Points is stopped by an unlicensed street vendor who furtively displays and offers to sell for a fraction of their value “gold” jewelry or “unfiled” campaign reports. Abdul-Salaam’s No. 2 on the politicians’ no-pay list. Tops, according to an AJC report, is state Rep. Pam Stephenson, D-Lithonia, who owed $1,575 in late fees.
● Under the Dodd-Frank financial regulation overhaul passed last year, Georgia and other states will be required next year to assume responsibility for policing money managers with up to $100 million in assets, up from the present $25 million. That’s 103 more firms, or an increase of about 20 percent, reports the AJC’s Russell Grantham. Two points here: One is that the federal deficit and out-of-control spending tempts Congress to pass administrative costs down to the states. While I welcome the state oversight in policing financial fraud, states really have to be bolder and more vigilant in resisting cost shifts as legislation is passing through Congress. The second point is that policing financial fraud is far more important than licensing hairdressers, builders, funeral homes, athletes’ agents and others that the private sector can police. Shift tax resources from the old to the new.
● Boy, would I be happy to think that Newt Gingrich and not Barack Obama would be president after 2012. I’m done with hope and change. America desperately needs a serious, competent, responsible adult in the White House.
● Civil Political Discourse on Life Support Department: A district planning commissioner in Forsyth County, Matt Murphy, apologizes for calling a Roswell activist a “Nazi” and for a heated exchange with another commissioner. In Fulton County, Commission Chairman John Eaves, accused of the no-no offense of “bullying” (which is on the scale of smoking in a public building) , retorts that Vice Commissioner Emma Darnell is the bully for “accusing me of being a thief, corrupt, and a thug” for cutting off her microphone. Methinks Darnell cannot be silenced and all dead-microphone efforts are to be both acrimonious and fruitless.
● A toll road contract provision that would prevent state and local governments from making other road improvements that would ease traffic congestion and, thus, compete with toll roads, is far too high a price to pay. Toll road contracts could extend for 50 years. Whether that clause is in contracts the state is soliciting for the I-75/- I-575 corridor is a state secret.