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.”

● …

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Economic slump? Just ask 2 cities

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

● Cobb County has hired the school superintendent who just months ago re-promised his love to the Dallas Independent School District. The Cobb board would have done well to listen to the wise philosopher Reba McEntire: “No matter how much I adore you, I’ve got to stand behind the promise that I made.” Hinojosa “came along one promise too late.”

● A bit of information that reveals the shocking impact of this economic slump. The new cities of Johns Creek and Sandy Springs expect a 911 financing deficit this year that will cost both a million dollars each. Reason? The service is funded with a $1.50 per month fee on phone service. The shocker is that since 2007 Johns Creek has lost almost 500 businesses and Sandy Springs about 330.

● Polls R Us: Only 24 percent of us say we share the ideology of President Barack Obama and of members of Congress, Republican or Democrat, according to Rasmussen Reports. Even more …

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What do you know, HB 87 works

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

● The smartest of those on the Left are beginning to recognize that race-based redistricting to protect black incumbents may not be such a swell idea. Why? It tends to drive politicians leftward — and therefore unappealing to the mainstream. That can be a real obstacle to those who run statewide. The 25-year extension of some provisions of the Voting Rights Act pretty much guaranteed another quarter century of racial polarization in covered states, including Georgia. One way to avoid partisan wrangling over “packing” districts would be for the Legislative Black Caucus or the Democratic Party to fix a percentage of minority voters they want in legislative and congressional districts. “Reformers” think the solution is to have “nonpartisans” draw district lines. For the next 25 years, though, that won’t be practical. The reason? Black incumbents, a majority of them Dems, are effectively protected by the …

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Lotto salesmen on the loose again

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

● Always looking for an opening to expand ways to take the milk-and-egg money of the poor and the pipe-dreamers, promoters are quick to grasp the down economy and over-promised HOPE scholarship to call for video gambling. If you ever lived in a poor neighborhood you know: There’s always somebody knocking on misery’s door promising salvation or riches — and asking for just a little of your money.

● Those who have paid attention over the past quarter century to the sleazing of daytime TV have to acknowledge the extraordinary feat of Oprah Winfrey. As the competing offerings descended into non-stop trash-talk, she remained plugged-in to the concerns, interests and values of mainstream America and, in the process, elevated book-reading to a family priority. She is one of the remarkable figures of our time.

● In an age of deep partisanship, it’s rare to find any policy or any public figure that pulls them together …

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Verbal gaffe will cost Gingrich

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

● Assuming Gov. Nathan Deal gets to appoint — or voters elect — one more Supreme Court justice in the mold of the two former Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed, Georgia will have a majority whose interpretation of law is more pleasing to conservatives — and decisions like this week’s 4-3 ruling on charter schools will go the other way. While that one was not strictly left-right, the majority bought the arguments of the old-line education establishment that has bitterly resisted parental choice — and effectively gutted charter school competition. For those who favor choice, the task now is to fight for vouchers and for the principle that public money follows the child to the education provider parents deem most suitable.

● The dissenters in the charter school decision were Presiding Justice George H. Carley, a 1993 Zell Miller appointee, and Justices Harold Melton and David E. Nahmias, both Perdue appointees. You …

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Be wary of costs shifting to states

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 …

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The rule of law is not negotiable

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

● One terrorist down. One to go. And then one more until all of those who actively conspire to kill us are defanged or dead. It ain’t over yet.

● The White House says the terrorist was unarmed. Not so on 9 /11 when America consummated the contract with Osama bin Laden that was done on 5 /1.

● Sometimes, now being one of them, sports metaphors are inappropriate. “We don’t need to spike the football,” said President Barack Obama in explaining the decision not to release the bin Laden death photos.

● With every ounce of energy Gov. Nathan Deal and legislative leaders can muster, they should work to eliminate the practice of public officials pocketing fees paid to them personally for performing public duties. Not even the tiniest burgh in Georgia should allow individuals operating under the color of law to do it. The AJC reports that Fulton County Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand pocketed $342,000 last …

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DeKalb deal was way too sweet

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 …

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Guest-worker program is needed

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

● Georgia should create a guest-worker program to establish that immigrants available for hire are here legally. A study of the feasibility of such an effort is part of legislation just passed by the General Assembly. Some businesses and farmers, fearful of the consequence of hiring laborers who turn out to be illegal, despite their good-faith verification efforts, opposed legislative efforts to crack down. The solution is for Georgia to certify a pool of eligibles, at least until the feds get serious about perfecting E-Verify.

● The charges hospitals levy and the pennies-on-the-dollar reimbursement they expect and get from government are wildly at odds. As Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter M.B. Pell reveals, markups at some Atlanta-area hospitals exceed 500 percent and on the low side are more than 200 percent. Grady’s is 265 percent. That’s a problem for the self-insured and others who choose not to buy …

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No harm done on tax deal’s end

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

● President Barack Obama’s speech on deficit reduction calls to mind an expression routinely employed by troops in Vietnam to quickly dismiss the unimportant: “It don’t mean nuthin’.” Indeed, it doesn’t. The Observer in Chief stacks words that have no particular relevance to yesterday or tomorrow. In serious times, he’s an unserious man.

● Time’s run out on tax revision for this legislative session. No harm’s done. Republicans, in fact, should be cheered that House Speaker David Ralston pulled the effort to rush through something consequential that, as with the Obamacare debacle, legislators and the public hadn’t absorbed.

● During the tax code rewrite State House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire, the driving force behind tax revision, touched on something that conservatives will encounter time and again as they rock the status quo. O’Neal told the AJC that doubt existed as to whether …

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