Able leaders police and protect

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

● The 12-page booklet of fulsome praise for former Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall distributed just before the final cheating scandal report was released is a reminder of why we should not name public buildings, roads, bridges, parks or other facilities for the living — especially living politicians.

● One strange twist of the scandal’s fallout is the assertion that consequential testing is to blame for the corruption that seeped through Atlanta Public Schools on Hall’s watch. That’s a cop-out and an effort to shift responsibility for the absence of ethics among the college-educated middle class, from molders of children’s minds and character, to “the system.” Testing made us do it. And what, in another institution’s scandal, made priests do it?

● If I read Beverly Hall’s “sincere apology” correctly, she’s a victim. If, unbeknownst to her, the system corrupted during her fine stewardship, she’s sorry. Every corporation and institution — including, as Britain’s News of the World newspaper scandal reveals, the media — has individuals who lack integrity. Competent leaders police and protect, lest the lack of integrity spreads and, ultimately, destroys public trust in the institution or brand.

● There are three possible explanations, none attractive, for Hall’s professed ignorance of cheating: 1) Every leader has the option of entering into a fool’s bargain with one or more subordinates to exchange “in my name” power and influence for no-questions-asked enforcement. “Don’t tell me things I shouldn’t know, just get it done.” 2) She was a glad-hander who allowed the system in key areas to run itself. 3) The final possibility is that she did know.

● This deficit-reduction, debt-ceiling stand-off in Washington is a crucial test for Republicans. President Barack Obama knows that George H.W. Bush lost the presidency because he violated the trust of fiscal conservatives by breaking the “read my lips” pledge. Obama’s best hope for re-election is to recreate that split among Republicans, the tea party and independents. Both Bush 41 and Ronald Reagan discovered that you can’t trade taxes now for promises of future cuts in spending increases. The taxes are real. The promises aren’t. In this administration, yesterday’s words are shooting stars.

● Bad news, bad news. The value of your home in DeKalb County falls. To ensure that government is not affected, four members of the County Commission raised property taxes 26 percent — a $50 million per year transfer of wealth. Warning to politicians: People are not nailed down.

● Georgia Republicans, it is said, might consider moving the transportation sales tax referendum from the July 31 primaries to the General Election, when more Democrats are likely to turn out. Any Republican who votes to stack that deck in any such manner should be among those that voters turn out. This notion of scheduling elections to produce desired outcomes is manipulative and offensive. It’s evidence that those in power don’t trust voters. Republicans should not travel that road.

● It’s no secret that physicians practice defensive medicine, fearing litigation and juries of the sort that make trial lawyers rich. But now this desire to find somebody with deep pockets responsible for every bad thing that happens to us or for every bad habit we have, especially that of overeating, prompts the National Restaurant Association to launch a national campaign with menu offerings to fight childhood obesity. It may simply be smart marketing, but you can’t help but think it’s defensive — an effort to prevent frivolous lawsuits filed by adults seeking money or the imposition of their values on an industry.

56 comments Add your comment


July 14th, 2011
8:59 pm

I must have the only house in the nation that has not seen a reduction in value the last couple of years, well at least according to DeKalb County. So my taxes are going up 46%, not the 26% others in DeKalb are getting. But, homes in my neighborhood are taking a year or two to sale, when it use to take about 3-4 weeks. Hum, hard to imagine that doesn’t translate to a reduction in value?!!! What gives?


July 14th, 2011
9:38 pm

Beverly Hall is a unqualified affirmative action corrupt thug. Beverly Hall and Mayor Reed should be brought up on charges for frauld aganist the taxpayers.

Slick Willie

July 14th, 2011
11:09 pm

When the going gets tough, the tough get going… and the weak, simple-minded, incompetent dolts raise taxes.


July 15th, 2011
5:56 am

tax assessors job is to help tax commissioner….it seems that since so many foreclosures happening in minority neighborhoods the assessors have to hold the value line on other neighborhoods….even though your neighorhood has gone down in value you have to fight the assessors who apparently take the approach of if you don’t fight them they will take what they can….

I'm Shocked

July 15th, 2011
6:31 am

Seems there is a trend here, Why, oh why, when the trouble hits and the corruption is at hand , are there so many BLACK faces defending themselves and all thier cronies. Just look @ the cities in deep trouble, ALL managed by Black Politicians. Atlanta, Detroit, LA, Oakland, Philly, Cleveland,Wash,DC –on and on. Just thinking here, Iknow u will call me a rascist and a bigot–BUT look @ the FACTS. DUH !!


July 15th, 2011
6:52 am

A couple of comments on your ramblings. First of all it is the Republican Agenda to prevent President Obama from being reelected at all costs. The economy was out of recession,according to any economic measure, and was well into an expansion. Meanwhile the slate of Republican presidential candidates has become more and more comical with Bachmann heading the list of pathetic losers/ideologues with social agendas that they want to ram down our throats. The only hope they have is to destroy the economy in the hopes we see the replay of George H.W. Bush’s defeat. The sad thing is that they are willing to destroy the economy to do it. We will remember them in 2012. The second comment is about the DeKalb real estate tax hike…it’s not easy to move from DeKalb County. Who in their right mind would buy a home in such a corrupt cesspool?


July 15th, 2011
7:09 am

It is cetainly true that Beverly Hall and all of the teachers and administrators that supported–even passively — the cheating have to accept the responsibilty for their actions or inaction. But I have seen exactly the same kind of cheating in Philadelphia, North Carolina, England and now in Atlanta. In addtion, even the teachers who don’t cheat, change their teaching toward passing the test not true pursuit of knowledge. We can rant about whose at fault for the cheating but we have to accept the results of our actions.Testing that leads to penalties to teachers or schools have adverse consequences–always


July 15th, 2011
8:24 am

Most of the Democratic controlled cities in the US are in decline/decay. In Atlanta we first had the courthouse murders due to the inept handling of prisoners. Now we has a system wide cheating scandal in a system controlled by the Democratic Party!!


July 15th, 2011
9:02 am

On the deficit-reduction, debt-ceiling stand-off in Washington:

So far Republicans have turned down a $3 trillion spending cut because of $1 trillion in tax loophole closings that would take effect in 2013. It now appears there will be no spending cuts and the debt ceiling raised anyway. Congress has decided to address the deficit/debt after the 2012 election.

Unfunded Social Security Liability – $15 trillion – easily manageable number. Fixed by raising eligibility age.

Unfunded Prescription Drug Liability – $20 trillion – (and the bill was only signed into law in 2003)
I prefer to cancel this program but Republicans say no because it is a Republican program and Democrats say no because it is a liberal program. Can be fixed by raising eligibility age.

Unfunded Medicare Liability – $79 trillion. Will take more than just adjusting eligibility age, maybe also more revenue and systematic cuts in benefits. This is the biggee on spending cuts.

But Congress has just decided to wait until after the 2012 election to tackle these “problems”. Congress has the Constitutional duty to control spending and revenue but will do nothing for the time being.

That sound you hear is the can being kicked down the road, once again.

Booger Fling

July 15th, 2011
9:03 am

Look people.

Everything about our society is corrupt. Don’t act so supprised that some corrupt teacher passed Johnny to make themselves look better. Don’t be supprised that our future as a Nation is on the brink because of corrupt politicians.

This is the America YOU made folks.


July 15th, 2011
9:04 am

It is true that large numbers of frivolous lawsuits are becoming more and more numerous in our country. It’s also true that they are completely ruining the American Justice System. Why do the Courts continue to agree to hear these kind of lawsuits?


July 15th, 2011
9:29 am

The fact is that childhood obesity is the number one public health problem in this country. We are raising the first generation of children in american history who are not expected to live longer than their parents. There is nothing “frivolous” or “defensive” about addressing that problem. Obesity is just as serious as cancer or diabetes and just as costly to the health care system.


July 15th, 2011
9:50 am

Jim- what do you care what a restaurant has on their menu?

Tychus Findlay

July 15th, 2011
10:15 am

Spot on Carlos;

Frivolous lawsuits are also the primary cause for healthcare costs spiraling out of control. Insurance premiums for doctors/physicians/specialists are astronomically high due to litigation, god forbid a human make an error, or a drug company not foresee a long term side effect (10+ years). Doctors and drug companies in turn pass those higher costs to the consumer and insurance companies.

Watch an hour of daytime tv and count the number of malpractice legal ads you see- case and point. Nobody wants to earn it anymore, it’s easier to sue it from somebody else.


July 15th, 2011
10:29 am

I’m Shocked @ 6:31- You left out those liberal bastions of Cobb and Gwinnett counties right here in metro Atlanta with financial problems. And there is no correlation between race and corruption. If there were, by far saltine crackers have the market cornered with that. Duh!


July 15th, 2011
11:02 am

Jim, I love your “comments.” It really brings out the bigots in troves!! Read a poll, no matter what happens in the debt ceiling fight that the ReTHUGlicans CHOSE to fight (when they did it 7 times under Dubya), the American Citizenry (you know US, and we ain’t just blacks, hispanics, and tree hugging white people, Jim, Our Lord, TruthBe, and the legions of others who express the same sentiment), DON’T BUY what the ReTHUGlicans are selling. It’s going to be a long time before your party EVER gains control of anything again (with the exception of Georgia, of course). That’s why my family and I got the hello out of there. It’s amazing that the rest of the country sees the state as a laughing stock and even more telling is the number of people who have lived there and got out of there due to the rampant bigotry and inability to distance itself from such silliness.

Keep writing Jim, and you others who support STOOPID keep blogging. You don’t even realize the entertainment you’re providing.


July 15th, 2011
11:04 am

Glad you left TRUTH, one less vote for Obama.

Paddy O

July 15th, 2011
11:18 am

Mr. Wooten: regarding your 2nd paragraph: This is standard tenet of current, modern (since the LBJ “Great Society” BS) liberalism: Asinine (previously radical) idealism: You place the blame for the ills OF society on the aggregate, which is that society. In some folks’ mind the NCLB placed unreasonable, unattainable (accurate, but irrelevent to this debacle) standards on those in the education establishment, so immoral, unethical behavior was sure to follow as the members of that establishment – all well educated and supremely compensated – struggled to meet this most irrationale of standards. But, why would you demand morality from the group, but not expect/demand the same from the individuals comprising that group? In liberalism, it is usually “society” disenfranchising and exploiting the impoverished – and THAT is the key to the cause of persistent poverty (which of course can be solved by government intervention). However, the truth is, most folks are impoverished due to chronic, consistent BAD decisions – which can be compounded by a lack of character.

Paddy O

July 15th, 2011
11:19 am

TRUTH – tell us where, in your supreme wisdom, you went to.

Paddy O

July 15th, 2011
11:21 am

deborah in liberal and impoverished athens: as a obama acolyte, you must know a thing about shoving something down the electorates throat, no? And how about Bill Clinton & Monica?

Paddy O

July 15th, 2011
11:22 am

jcconcser: did not the house pass Paul Ryans tax plan?

Paddy O

July 15th, 2011
11:25 am

our lord – i have no idea what you are talking about, but no, NO amen.

BS Aplenty

July 15th, 2011
11:38 am

Thirty-eight principals in the Atlanta Public School system were implicated in cheating on CRCT tests. A further 178 APS educators were also implicated in the cheating, including the principals. This level of participation not only suggests, but confirms at minimum, the tacit approval of the Ms. Hall. To suggest otherwise would require suspension of the most basic common sense and would instantly qualify you as a juror on the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony juries.

My Wife is on the list

July 15th, 2011
12:01 pm

My wife is on the list as “probable cheating” however her kids didn’t pass the test nor is there any evidence that she cheated….why is there a witch hunt? How do you suggest that 178 educators including administrators in a system with over 3,000 teachers is systematic. What is systematic is that those cheating knew their job was on the line if the kids diddn’t get better grades.

Hillbilly D

July 15th, 2011
12:05 pm

The final possibility is that she did know.

Tell him what he wins, Don Pardo.

This notion of scheduling elections to produce desired outcomes is manipulative and offensive.

Virtually every SPLOST vote I can remember, in my area, has been held in mid-summer when half the people are on vacation. Get rid of these special elections and vote on everything in November. At least you save the cost of putting on the special election.

Judges could throw out more of these frivolous law suits but if they throw out too many, they’ll be out of a job.

My Wife is on the list

July 15th, 2011
12:11 pm

My wife is on the list as “probable cheating” however her kids didn’t pass the test nor is there any evidence that she cheated….why is there a witch hunt? How do you suggest that 178 educators including administrators in a system with over 3,000 teachers is systematic. What is systematic is that those cheating knew their job was on the line if the kids diddn’t get better grades.

BS Aplenty

July 15th, 2011
2:53 pm

My Wife is on…

Georgia law, as amended by the A+ Education Reform Act of 2000, requires that all students in grades one through eight take the CRCT in the content areas of reading, English/language arts, and mathematics.

There are, at my last count, 59 elementary and 16 middle schools in the APS. That translates into 38/75 = 51% of the associated principlals administering the CRCT tests having been implicated in cheating. Sounds systemic.


July 15th, 2011
3:49 pm

Beverly Hall and all her “executive” cronies should be indicted on racketeering charges (criminal enterprise), criminal investigations fun on all those implicated by the recent report, and the Blue Ribbon commission should be indicted for obstructing justice. This was clearly about all of these people collectively indulging in group think, and ending up with the lowest common denominator both in intelligence, ethics and morality. This is a classic example of the ends justifying the means. NCLB was a typical Fed Govt (under a Rep. President please note) attempt to intervene in all the local educational systems. The road to Hell . . .
No one and no group of people stepped back and looked at the big picture soon enough. That is the Stupidity.
The same thing is going on in Congress. In this case Pride Goeth before the Fall. The problem is that these do-called “leaders” will take millions of people down the tubes with them. I can only guess who will still get their paychecks, health premiums and other benefits after August 2.

Logical Dude

July 15th, 2011
4:07 pm

quoting: This notion of scheduling elections to produce desired outcomes is manipulative and offensive.

You’re exactly right. They shouldn’t schedule it during a primary when it’s much better to have it during the general election, when everyone is able to vote on it.

Rob Woodall Has Never Held a Job in the Private Sector

July 15th, 2011
4:39 pm


I can’t help but think it is defensive for the National Restaurant Association to launch a national campaign with menu offerings to fight childhood obesity?

Why wasn’t I thinking that then?

I was thinking the NRA might be looking to tap into a potential growing interest in healthy eating and people not wanting to be fat pigs.

You are a paranoid old man there Mr. Righty.


July 15th, 2011
10:29 pm

It’s amazing that not one comment has been made about the following:
“Georgia Republicans, it is said, might consider moving the transportation sales tax referendum from the July 31 primaries to the General Election, when more Democrats are likely to turn out. Any Republican who votes to stack that deck in any such manner should be among those that voters turn out. This notion of scheduling elections to produce desired outcomes is manipulative and offensive. It’s evidence that those in power don’t trust voters. Republicans should not travel that road.”
Absolutely amazing that he says “stacking the deck” where more voters will participate is bad and will have negative consequences for Republicans.” But isn’t holding the election on July 31 in order to reduce the number of voters “stacking the deck” for Republicans? Sounds like reverse hypocrisy to me… Or is it OK in Georgia for the Republicans to “Stack the Deck”?


July 15th, 2011
10:31 pm


Surely you’re right in suggesting that the tax assessors are working some serious hoodoo in property valuations in an obvious effort to trump up revenues in hard times. Sorry that you’ve fallen victim to the mischief. Economics largely escapes me, but I reckon I’ve still got hold of at least a leg and won’t turn it loose. The kind of actuarial casuistry you describe can only hurt the economy. It smacks of the redistribution, and is a reminder of how governance itself–in both its inadequate but more often in its bloated forms–is playing a role in this terrible recession, is sapping our wealth and our capacity.

@Mr. Wooten,

Another fine column. As to the budgeteering in Washington, as a former teacher of such matters I never thought I would want my generation to amend the U.S. Constitution, but now I find myself in full support of the balanced budget amendment as presently proposed. It’s not a solution, of course, but as a preventive measure its time has come. i can’t see how Congress could muster the requisite super-majority, but should the thing be submitted to the states it would stimulate wonderful Jeffersonian deliberations concerning the role and the limits of government, and I suspect that in the in the end it would pass.

On blaming testing. I must insist that testing is indeed to blame. The cheaters, from Dr. Hall on down to the lowliest seat warmer, also are to blame, but so is thoughtless testing culpable. Let me explain. America maintains a huge and costly consortium devoted to the study of student evaluation. That consortium is supported by federal, state, and nonprofit investments and comprises many of the nation’s elite public and private universities, including your alma mater. I used to work directly for the consortium’s chief, a brilliant woman unlikely to give a Beverly Hall the time of day. The reliance on norm-referenced, standardized pencil tests is bane. It is counterproductive of learning. it’s an artifact.

What we want is continuous, multiform and multidimensional assessment of each child’s progress. That is so wonderfully happening now, but not in APS except in the District’s estimable virtual learning programs. In bucking the pencil tests we are not shirking “accountability” (though that, you must admit, is a purely political concept). Instead, let’s have pupil evaluation that is truly continuous, is both positivistically grounded and also as subjective as it needs to be (given the tender and complex nature of the crop whose yield we hope to increase), and that is itself intrinsically educative.

We all want the very best for Atlanta’s schoolchildren. Even Nathan Deal does, best I can tell. The tests don’t cut it, though, and they won’t get us there. As our friend likes to say, ’nuff said.


July 15th, 2011
10:37 pm


Interesting. What motive (strategic, not tactical) do you see? What’s driving this, really?


July 15th, 2011
10:47 pm


Well I’m not sure what “reverse hypocrisy” is, but it sure seems to fit this case. It looks like any strategy that helps Republicans is ok but if that same strategy is helps Democrats is bad. Personally it really strikes me as un-American whenever ANYONE tries to gerrymander voting districts and manipulate election dates for self-serving purposes. To me, that’s what has gotten us into this “us versus them” mode and away from the “lets all pull together” mode.


July 15th, 2011
11:08 pm

So it would seem that we’re pondering a simple blunder on the GOP’s part (bearing in mind that many of them were Democrats to begin with), but somehow I smell a skunk from the “Third House”, the lobbying dept. Jim must know something unfavorable to his faction that he’s not telling us, except to put us on the scent. Surely you’re right that the legislators should act at all times solely in the interests of Georgia, but then were that their aim they could not breathe the rarified air beneath the golden dome.

“Reverse hypocrisy”. Amusing triple negative. I don’t know either. As I point out here from time to time, the Greek meaning of “hypocrisy” is to lessen the crisis. It’s what judges and surgeons do: to make a matter worse so as to attenuate it. Journalists, as a rule, abhor hypocrisy, but that’s because they’re unfamiliar with its nicer aspects. So I suppose that when next some politician commits “reverse hypocrisy” she will be worsening a crisis, by mistake or else by design.


July 16th, 2011
12:00 am


On our respective but also shared views of student evaluation, I return once again to this peculiar observation from William Blake: “If a bilght kill not a tree but it still bear fruit, let none say that the fruit was in consequence of the blight”. Blake was crazy brilliant.


July 16th, 2011
11:13 am

Glenn is an idiot. He also uses monikers like “Our Lord and Savior, Dr. Stan-TBO, You Know Who- TBO, and now Glenn. He rambles and also cannot spell worth a damn.
bilght? What the hell?


July 16th, 2011
4:26 pm

Why do you keep accusing this? I’m innured to it now, for my part, yet it still bugs me that you insult at least one other writer as though he or she were nothing other than me. While I reckonize your own skillfulness in literary impersonation, that device is great fun but it’s not one of my devices. so, Bottom Line, if you want to discredit some other correspondent (even one of your own alter egos), count me out. It’s high humor, yes, but please don’t deconstruct Journalism. Too easy to pile on. And what happens should I agree with another of Jim’s correspondents? A: You charge that we are one and the same. You remind me of a jealous schoolgirl in the swing intoning, “So-and-So and This-and-That, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!”


July 16th, 2011
4:34 pm

I like you better when you speak your mind and lay off the games, which admittedly also are brilliant. What do you think is really going on with the legislative moves on transportation planning? You are sophisticated in this area, and joshing aside I’d really appreciate your take on this. What’s going on?


July 16th, 2011
5:51 pm


e to their initial motives. Eventually the corporations, politicians and administrators will construct a machine perfectly exclusive of your teaching spirit. A lock box. A perpetual house arrest of the disorderly, smelly, noisy, messy, hilariously creative bidness of remanding other people’s children to state appointees who care, and get the joke. When some measure of mutual trust develops, mutually and genuinely from all parties, then no, I don’t think that’s an appropriate time for officials to drop the hammer on teachers and their educands. The Powers That Be naturally want to learn where their money goes. Fine. It goes into a wonderfully messy enterprise that can’t be measured by convenient calipers susceptible of imposition by the General Assembly. Assuming that we all want Georgia’s teenagers to outsmart Singapore in Math, English and Science, then let’s get a clue. Singapore did.


July 16th, 2011
8:50 pm

Why don’t we all please turn a better corner? It’s so past time to do so, yet so still within our grasp. In lieu of the accusations, Left and Right, instead of mocking Washington’s incapacity, why not start here, and show them how?


July 16th, 2011
10:09 pm

OK. I guess that sentiment was a Rodney King moment warranting the cyber attacks I’ve been getting. Daryl Gates was an inexcusable bigot and a disgrace to his decorated brother, their family at large, and the LAPD. But then LAPD was a disgrace through all those decades when its public face was television concocted so as to show those “professionals” pristine. Decades of hollywooden lies leading to ugliness after ugliness after ugliness. How damn surprising.


July 17th, 2011
12:14 am

Dodge Ball.. I get it. How inventive! And how cheap.


July 17th, 2011
12:20 am

If you really want to spur up for some hoe-down, fine. I’ll take you on if it’s fair. But I don’t see the point in sparring as, best I can tell, we mostly agree, though we go about it differently.


July 17th, 2011
12:23 am

it would be nice were you to stop deleting my interogatories. You must admit that that’s cheating.


July 17th, 2011
12:55 am

himey is correct

Glenn/You Know Who-TBO/Dr.Stan-TBO/Our Lord and Saviour

July 17th, 2011
10:33 am

Well, it is time to confess …. Yes you minions of New World Order and integration governing minds should know the truth.
Monikers of many I am, something I am not the proudest of my sincere apology to all this Sunday , July 17, 2011.
I will reappear soon with a heavy heart, although many will recognize my writings and think they know my true identity. You know I speak in true tongue and cheek language, some of you believe I speak the gospel truth. You must decide, am I real or a smoke screen to realism.



July 17th, 2011
11:42 am

Yes I am correct………………….

See 10:33am.

J.B. Stoner-(the white one)

July 17th, 2011
7:11 pm

I told you when white America lived in DeKalb Co. it could survive as long as ‘whitey’ stay there.
When the blacks took over, everything started going down, way down.
Propert values went down, money dried up. Now, look whats happening. A 26 % tax increase?

Who’s got the money for it? The black folk will move out, start forclosing on the remaining properties….



July 18th, 2011
5:30 pm

Biggest PR problem of APS? ………

no whitey to blame it on!!!!!