Spenders will always find a cause

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

● Brace yourself. We’re about to be swamped with “studies” purporting to show that without the extra 1-cent tax for regional transportation, civilization as we know it will end. Just this week two groups advocating for “sustainable development” — one of those trendy buzzword labels that message-manipulators found to replace the disfavored “high density development” — reported a remarkable new “study” that uncovered a sad phenomenon about to befall metro Atlanta — that being “stranded seniors.” Within four years, 95 percent of the old folks here will live in neighborhoods with poor or nonexistent access to mass transit, we’re told by those who want more spending.

● Would that we all had been as curious about the unknown Barack Obama as we are about the emails of Sarah Palin. The media might have done him the favor done her. Headline: “Nothing juicy turns up in Palin email releases.”

● Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter would well serve taxpayers by convening a special grand jury to review the school system’s “sale-leaseback” of a central office facility that will require homeowners and businesses to pay $34.1 million more in property taxes than they would have had the system built the facility straight up. The transaction appeared to have been a ploy to avoid raising the ire of taxpayers who might have thought schools were a higher priority. The total cost now will be $73.5 million, reports the AJC’s Tim Eberly. Had the system built without the private-sector leaseback partners, the cost would have been $39.4 million.

● One other lesson from the Rep. Anthony Weiner creepiness: We should be really careful about electing people to public office who desperately need the job, either because they have no other job skills or because holding a public office makes them more important than they’ll ever otherwise be.

● The primary reason Weiner had to go was expressed Sunday by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on “Meet the Press”: “It’s very bad for Democrats.”

● I’m sorry that if you were born too late or arrived too late in the South to have known the world of front-porch and pea-shellings conversations that gave us the remarkable storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham of Selma, Ala. She died at home last weekend at the age of 93. Her stories were relaxed and natural, meant to be told to family and neighbors gathered in straight-back chairs listening and relating while busy hands did their own thinking.

● OK, the 4-3 Georgia Supreme Court majority that declared the state’s 2007 Charter Schools Commission unconstitutional declined, as expected, to reconsider its decision. But the ruling is based, as dissenters pointed out, on a misreading of the state’s public education history. Locals weren’t given “exclusive authority” over public schools in the 1877 state constitution, as asserted by the majority. County boards were first mentioned in the 1945 Constitution; their authority was not exclusive; and, “for much of our history, local boards of education were horribly unresponsive to a large portion of students and taxpaying parents,” wrote Justice David E. Nahmias for the minority.

● When Florida Gov. Ray Scott attempted to return $2.4 billion in unwanted mass transit funding to the federal treasury, the administration simply sent it to New York and elsewhere. The nation, meanwhile, is sinking under the weight of housing stock that had been built in excess of market demand, including “affordable” housing, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announces Tuesday that it is spending $52 million in Georgia to build affordable housing for the homeless and those living with HIV or AIDS. Once authorized, it’s money out the door.

55 comments Add your comment

Lawrence

June 16th, 2011
8:33 pm

Based on their last few rulings, Georgia’s Supreme Court is a joke.They have no clue concerning proper constitutional law.

Hurst

June 16th, 2011
8:57 pm

“Spenders will always find a cause?” Well, bitter old men will always try to moralize their selfishness.

Cutty

June 16th, 2011
9:55 pm

Same $hit. Different day.

Do you live in metro Atlanta anymore?

Wooten ignores the fact that Plain had a separate yahoo email account where she also discusses public business. I could hear his cries now is Obama did the same thing.

Glenn

June 16th, 2011
10:28 pm

Yet it’s true that spenders often scramble for cause to spend. Old habits die hard, and too remany politicians remain from the 1930s school of sheer vote-buying. They morally corrupt young staffers by demanding ever new, ever more vague justifications for public expenditure. In the political clubhouses the elected of that stripe peg one another privately according to which can command the most in revenues to spend. It’s a reptilian vestige of the antediluvian genus

Lovely tribute to Kathryn Tucker Wndham, RIP. These days a cultural historian has to take fairly extraordinary measures to find American oral heritage in the form of storytellers–or “god old liars”, as the male storytellers sometimes were called honorifically. Over the past 30 years or so, most of those folk have gone. Some of the remaining ones have turned a bit commercial. Some of their stories live in the lyrics of serious Country musicians of my generation, and sometimes the old yarns can be found through friendship with the Primitive Baptist Church. Clearly, however, the purest forms are, as always, handed down through descendants who have a gift for that sort of loving faithfulness. It’d be nice for a major Southern or Midwestern newspaper to maintain a cultural cell of reporters willing and able to go out and collect these vanishing stories, the cadences and expressions and vivid references that bring Life to life. Just one of these storries per week, duly transcribed, or else transposed and recorded by dint of the new multimedia publishing, would be a welcome gift for regular subscribers and other readers.

Hey! The Braves just got last season’s late-inning game back, in this present contest with the Mets! Great game!

Madison

June 16th, 2011
10:37 pm

Hey Cutty, I bet Palin knows how many states are in the union and your home boy you elected president didn’t.

Glenn

June 16th, 2011
10:40 pm

Won on a balky bluff in the 10th! WOW! 9-8 Braves!

Cutty

June 16th, 2011
10:47 pm

Hey Madison, after 6 years, at three colleges I would hope she does. Even if she doesn’t have a clue about American history. The Americans are coming!

Richard

June 16th, 2011
10:48 pm

Jim,

I know you’re getting old, but you do work for a newspaper. Get your facts straight. I have no tolerance for “journalists” that call a Governor by the wrong name.

Pete

June 17th, 2011
12:00 am

The regional transportation tax is DOA courtesy of Sonny – when the 400 toll was extended it demonstrated that GA politicians do not have the ability to keep their word. I agree we will be swamped with every politician saying the best years of Atlanta are behind her without another tax – I don’t believe that.

sane jane

June 17th, 2011
12:19 am

When you criticize “the media” for not investigating the “unknown” Barack Obama, do you look in the mirror when you type it? Only one of us here has column space in a daily metro paper, and it’s not me.

And what are you curious about re: this “unknown” Obama? With Palin we’re talking about a cache of (heavily redacted & wholly sanitized by her own legal team prior to release, including the very shady multiple yahoo accounts) communications from a sitting governor. It’s (supposed to be) public record. Obama’s emails as a US Senator are equally fair game; are you referring to that? It’s unclear. Because you don’t say. Vague, unspecified comparisons are the domain of the intellectually dishonest.

Glenn

June 17th, 2011
12:37 am

And by which wrong name do they call this governor? (Softball pitch…)?

Glenn

June 17th, 2011
12:39 am

sane jane

June 17th, 2011
1:16 am

Glenn, it’s Governor Rick Scott, not Ray Scott, of Florida.

Glenn

June 17th, 2011
3:03 am

Well, I already sent you my response to this silly presumptuous oversimplification, sane [sic] jane. Evidently you had the power to erase that response. Wasn’t referring to either party nor to any level of government, much less to a particular governor. I get your joke, and like it, but don’t pull it at the expense of a larger point, please.

Glenn

June 17th, 2011
3:29 am

The question is, why have we called any of our governors “Governor”, in any of the 50 states? Show me the politician that the preponderance of state’s voters are proud to call by his or her title, and that person I’ll really want to run for higher office. Why have we taken as a nation to calling former speakers, senators, governors, presidents by their titles as though they all were Harlan Sanders, a self-styled, store-bought Bourbon colonel-for-life? I can understand the honorific as it applies to earned military rank, honorably retired, but even in office Jefferson was content with the title of “mister”, or “sir”. He’d have flashed angrily at anyone who called him “President” once he’d left that office of equals. Where’d we get lost? Even Dwight Eisenhower, as recent and generally popular as he was, asked that during his retirement people address him as “General Eisenhower”, and no longer as President. Washington expected and received the same thing.

Glenn

June 17th, 2011
3:37 am

Should I run into Jimmy in Plains or up here at his Library would I be wrong to address him as “Captain Carter”, or as “Mr. Carter”? If I should meet Bill Clinton or George Bush in Harlem or Houston or at one of their respective libraries, would a simple “mister” do for them as it did for Jefferson, or have we as a people degenerated that much as to require that they require me to bow?

Buzz G

June 17th, 2011
8:03 am

“U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announces Tuesday that it is spending $52 million in Georgia to build affordable housing for the homeless and those living with HIV or AIDS.”

There are already 15,000 houses sitting vacant in Georgia. Why would you build more? Washington has become the monster that eats all our productive capacity. Obama and the Democrats are the biggest enemy the American people have had in the last 100 years.

Churchill's MOM

June 17th, 2011
8:04 am

Our RINO Senator Saxby voted for the ETHANOL subsidies to continue. Guess the ETHANOL industry knew what they were doing when they hired Saxby’s Son, Bo to be their LOBBYIST..

carlosgvv

June 17th, 2011
8:08 am

It’s true we should be careful about electing people to public office who desperately need the job because they have no other job skills or because public office will make them more imporant than they ever would be otherwise. Unfortunately, one or both of the above fit virtually every candidate on every ballot we cast.

saywhat?

June 17th, 2011
8:31 am

HA, ha! Glenn had to write three consecutive posts trying to hide the fact that he didn’t know the name of Florida’s governor. Too funny.

As for Jim’s 3rd bullet point, I thought you right wing yahoos were always screaming that the private sector was more efficient than the government. Here’s a big surprise, you were wrong. Who could have seen that coming? Who else is looking forward to privatizing government functions, to receive half the benefits at twice the cost?

jconservative

June 17th, 2011
8:36 am

“One other lesson from the Rep. Anthony Weiner creepiness: We should be really careful about electing people to public office who desperately need the job, either because they have no other job skills or because holding a public office makes them more important than they’ll ever otherwise be.”

Jim, wonderful description of the Nathan Deal candidacy. Good job!

light on policy

June 17th, 2011
8:55 am

@ Buzz G…

“There are already 15,000 houses sitting vacant in Georgia. Why would you build more? Washington has become the monster that eats all our productive capacity. Obama and the Democrats are the biggest enemy the American people have had in the last 100 years.”

Are those elementary tea party responses automatic or do you have to rehearse them. One would expect that you would be able to think critically outside of the shortsighted comments given by Mr. Wooten..Let’s examine Mr. Wooten’s statement a bit more closely shall we

1)Even though 15k homes sit vacant, we don’t know the value ranges for these homes. Some may be near your trailer park and some may be in golf course communities as the foreclosure bug has hit all demographics and neighborhoods. Do you really think homeless people will be shuttled to buckhead to live in $750k homes without the supportive services to help them get back on their feet? In essence, necessarily having supply may not completely meet the demand as the funds are allocated for GEORGIA and you only pointed out what’s vacant in Atlanta

2)Should the government now engage 100% in private enterprise and buy these homes from private sellers or use their authority of imminent domain? I’m sure you will have an issue with either scenario as most people would

3) Do some quick research, wiki and google. The affordable housing model as we know it was initiated under President Ronald Reagan in 1986. I know it’s always so much more simple to blame Obama and Democrats.

UIC

June 17th, 2011
9:07 am

“We’re about to be swamped with “studies” purporting to show that without the extra 1-cent tax for regional transportation, civilization as we know it will end.” Jim, you’re too sharp to be fooled by that hyperbole. I wonder if you would have been as sharp if they would have said, “without the extra 1-cent tax for regional transportation, there will be a MUSHROOM CLOUD.”
You know Jim, maybe Sarah wouldn’t get so much attention if she didn’t have her 17 year old daughter’s pregnancy played out in front of the media, if she didn’t have a reality show if she didn’t ride around in a bus wrapped in the words of the Constitution. People like that tend to attract attention.

The primary reason Weiner had to go was expressed Sunday by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on “Meet the Press”: “It’s very bad for Democrats.” Thanks for pointing that out, since this is a first in politics. I won’t take the time to look, but I trust you made the same point when it happened to those you agree with politically.

“…….the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announces Tuesday that it is spending $52 million in Georgia to build affordable housing for the homeless and those living with HIV or AIDS. Once authorized, it’s money out the door.” Jim, as hard as this will be for you to believe, some have the same thoughts about the spending on unneeded weapons spending. Tell me, would you rather spend money on people in America or on killing people in the Middle East. I know, I know, people who live in caves threaten the security of America.

tar and feathers party

June 17th, 2011
9:13 am

Schools, both public and private, are becoming increasingly irrelevant in today’s internet dominated world. The best math instruction available is on the internet at the Khan Academy, look at khanacademy dot org, you will be pleasantly surprised. I bet even Jim can learn the basics of Geometry inside six weeks from this site! Mr Khan breaks math down into approximately 12 minute videos that contain only an electronic blackboard and his voice, followed by lots of exercises that teach you how to solve the problems. Geometry is not the only subject covered, he starts with basic math and goes through differential equations, and has courses on organic chemistry, physics, and even history.

BW

June 17th, 2011
9:29 am

So regarding the Gwinnett County school system….are you actually saying that government would have do this better than the private sector? Wooten…you better watch it…that’s heresy.

Pizzaman

June 17th, 2011
10:49 am

Jim ref your last para about the 2.4 mill. You have no idea how the Federal Government works. Money is allocated by a bill passed by both the Senate and Congress. It’s called a law.
All monies covered by that law have to be spent on that “cause”. It would take another law to pass congress to return any money to the treasury or use it for another cause. If you don’t believe it just try to , let’s say, get excess Peace Corps money transferred to the Border Patrol.

sane jane

June 17th, 2011
11:48 am

“Obama and the Democrats are the biggest enemy the American people have had in the last 100 years.”

Accusing your countrymen of treason is a tactic employed by fascists. (especially when the criticism stems from… excess housing?)

DebbieDoRight

June 17th, 2011
12:59 pm

One other lesson from the Rep. Anthony Weiner creepiness: We should be really careful about electing hiring people to public office work at national newspapers who desperately need the job, either because they have no other job skills or because holding a public office becoming a psuedo journalist, makes them more important than they’ll ever otherwise be.

There!! Fixed your paragraph for ya!

DebbieDoRight

June 17th, 2011
1:01 pm

Also, Happy Father’s Day Wooten!!! I even want to dedicate a song for you on Father’s Day; however I couldn’t find “Ode to Wooten” on youtube. Sorry. :cry:

The Beat

June 17th, 2011
1:41 pm

There’s no fixin’ that sentence Deb, but nice try. Wooten abandoned reporting years ago to become what he is now. You know, he’s just being himself.

U.S.MALE

June 17th, 2011
2:41 pm

Jim, Good Blog as usual! Sure wish we had you back every day instead of the ULTRA LIBERAL
Bookman and Tucker. The young man that replaced you still don’t have the experience to tell things
like they really are. He is trying, but still wet behind the ears. Guess this daily rag will eventually
go out of business when the sisters get tired of losing money due to the LIBERAL slant that is given
everything. Too bad all the young people who read this mess are so brain washed that they don’t
recognize reality. They are all that is keeping the paper alive.

The Beat

June 17th, 2011
4:03 pm

Hey, US Male! Go tweet your twinkie.

bwa

StingerSplash

June 17th, 2011
4:54 pm

The one cent tax will allow us in the hinterlands to build roads needed, roads that just might foster economic development by making it easier for manufacturers to move their people and freight around, and shut up all the displaced Yankees in Atlanta who whine about all their damn tax money going to us folks here. Tell you what — we’ll take the one cent sales tax, you can keep your damn tax money and your mouth shut. And you can keep your hands off what you really want: Our water.

Glenn

June 17th, 2011
6:57 pm

Buzz G@8:03a.m.:

Doesn’t surprise me. Good point! The last thing a governmental functionary wants to hear is that an expensive “problem” in fact doesn’t exist.

@saywhat, I don’t care who the new governor of Florida is. Whenever I should happen to care I’ll be happy to share his dossier with you the morning after it hits my desk. But I hope you enjoyed my running musings about how the new media screw up our old civics regarding honorific titles for former public servants. Perhaps you recall that First Lady Nancy Reagan’s chief of protocol curtsied to Queen Elizabeth during Her Majesty’s White House visit. The protocol chief was fired within a few days, so unclear was she on such basic democratic concepts. Meanwhile if you see a reason why we should care now who he is, then please tell me. His prospective ex officio role in reapportionment and in next year’s Electoral count, frankly makes me yawn; and for that modicum of topical interest he may provide I refuse still to learn even how to spell the present incumbent’s name. As I said six months ago, 2012 will be a banner year for guv’s, but not for that one.

@tar and feathers party, I see that both Atlanta and the State operate virtual education programs both of which lead to degree, both of which show heartening levels of student involvement and persistence-to-degree, both of which are growing apace. I find that wonderful, although technology itself isn’t a replacement, nor even a worthy metaphor, for schools, teachers nor even texts, but rather is something else. The more forms of service delivery we can invent, the better. Whatever works. Mix ‘n’ match, even, is cool by me. Why should the proverbial Yankee have a lock on ingenuity?

Glenn

June 17th, 2011
7:03 pm

Admittedly, “Go tweet your twinkie” is about the best bit of Weineriana I’ve seen these past three weeks.

Glenn

June 17th, 2011
7:33 pm

light on policy,

Yours is a good riposte, but reactive. What role eminent domain? What lessons from Katrina? When is a dwelling not a dwelling consistent with the public health and safety? What of funding the rehabilitation of existing low-income public housing by and for its present and prospective residents? What of the wisdom of recycling and creative reuse of our existing built environment? What can be done to blow past the obvious politico-economic cronyism that ignores every merely semi-lucrative design for extremely efficient, low-cost residential structures? I’d want us to ask all these questions, irrespective of ideology. If you’ll unpack these questions you’ll find conservative, liberal and Not Applicable ideas imbedded willy-nilly, since the human values remain the constant. We need a brutal nutcutting Pragmatist in charge. You either can blow public money, keeping the usual suspects content, or save public money relative to present expenditures. Guess which one invites greater creativity and human care?

Lynn

June 18th, 2011
1:31 am

Jim, did you think the Governor would order a study aimed at showing how much farmer’s are hurting from the passage of HB 87? It happened so fast, it spun heads across the the state, heck even around the world. Mexico wants to know when those US dollars will be coming across the border, again; so much so, they even filed a lawsuit to block HB 87. The Governor’s study will help Mexico, no doubt, in very short order. We have to save those farmer’s who depended on all that illegal help, through the last decade.

I personally would like to see other studies done, like are what the impacts of Georgia’s failure to fix the broken “free market” system for health care insurance, in terms of human suffering and loss of life. What is the Governor doing about the problem today (not 2014). Apparently these types of life and death decisions are not a priority to this State, nor this Governor. Or, how about, how well will the test scores improve next school year, given our schools will have less illegal aliens enrolled in the fall? How much will we save in taxes?

The perverted New World Order integratinist crowd and their devilish black minions

June 18th, 2011
8:42 am

As I sit swatting flies on my front porch overlooking the majestic South River, I recall days of yore listening to Milo Hamilton call of Hank Aaron’s 715th home run at old Atlanta Stadium. Some say Milo was racist, having had numerous altercations with Hank.
To those I say ‘too bad’ , for I am racist also.
Get over it . You haven’t seen anything yet.

Amen?

The perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

June 18th, 2011
9:32 am

Today marks one week from my absolute marvelous dinner with the Muslim Brotherhood, enjoying collard greens, cornbread and black eyed peas.
The meeting went briskly, moving from topic to topic. The New World Order is changing daily, as one can imagine. Look closely at the spiral effect of gas prices, food prices etc.
This is just an example.

Amen?

Glenn

June 18th, 2011
6:09 pm

Lynn et al,

Thanks for bringing up HB 87. It’s been much on my mind. The media aside, the governmental and legal sites analyze it contradictorily. Reckon I’ll have to read the whole damn thing, and its legislative history, for myself. I hate to do that, though, as I prefer to remain retired from such fey exercises in law, as distinguished from politics. Truly I hope that no lawmaker forsook his or her constitutional oath in driving any provision of this new law, or the law entire. However, let the chips fall.

The perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

June 19th, 2011
11:08 am

Well folks, I along with my better half once again spent last night at a secluded gathering with the Muslim Brotherhood’s weekly covered dish gala at Fort Gillam.
Minutes were read, our prayer to Alla said, and we had a marvelous time in unity.
As I said previously, contents cannot be revealed or disclosed. The New World Order is a secretive association. I wish you could have attended. Very, very interesting.

Amen?

@@

June 19th, 2011
1:28 pm

I’m sorry that if you were born too late or arrived too late in the South to have known the world of front-porch and pea-shellings conversations

A yearly visit from the West Coast to the Gulf Coast entitles me to speak, if only, as a tender shoot on the Southern vine.

Hot summer days in a front-porch swing, shelling peas while my Grandmother told the funniest stories about her days in a brothel.

I took to shelling peas…still do, just not while in motion. To be in or witness to motion reminds me of the goo that collected under my fingernails during those hot summer days. A combination of the “the heat, the pop, the zip, the goo, and the motion.” Then there was the smell of dirt in the goo.

I’ll keep my “Nanny’s” stories and everythin’ ‘cept the motion, lest it make me hurl.

Even better than her “brothel tails” was that of “The Holy Toast”. I still make it to this day…three pats of butter, strategically placed to form a triangle. Under the broiler, it goes. Eat around the strategic parts and enjoy them (last)…as the “just desserts”. Only things missing are the milkmaid stool and some sort of heated box…a thingamajig, I calls it.

The perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

June 19th, 2011
3:10 pm

@@ —- ??

Amen?

@@

June 19th, 2011
3:24 pm

NWO:

Amens, plural.

It WAS, after all, a brothel.

schnirt

The perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

June 19th, 2011
6:43 pm

@@_-_-

schnirt?

Amen?

@@

June 19th, 2011
8:32 pm

NWO:

What’s with the endless ?????s?

My Great Grandmother was the live-in housekeeper in a brothel. My Grandmother, her daughter, grew up in a brothel. I’ve never had reason to question their character. Didn’t know my Great G, but her daughter, MY GRANDMOTHER?

None better in my opinion. Lived into her 90s. Physically and mentally sound throughout. It was complications from a simple cold that took her.

@

June 20th, 2011
9:08 am

Enter your comments here

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

June 20th, 2011
10:38 am

But the people of God Almighty give thanks to Bishop Eddie Long for preaching that homosexuality is a sin before God Almighty, Jesus Christ, and his people.

But on the other hand, we are disappointed and upset with Bishop Eddie Long for committing homosexual sins against boys under his control.

Hallelujah to God Almighty!

The Beat

June 20th, 2011
1:32 pm

“Just this week two groups advocating for “sustainable development” — one of those trendy buzzword labels that message-manipulators found to replace the disfavored “high density development” — reported a remarkable new “study” that uncovered a sad phenomenon about to befall metro Atlanta — that being “stranded seniors.”

Did the right honorable Mr Wooten learn to write on an Etch-A-Sketch? Three (3) hyphens in one sentence!

A new record.

tar and feathers party

June 20th, 2011
3:50 pm

I see the new head of Atlanta Public Schools, University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll Davis, meets the minimum qualification for the job, being a jungle person and all.