Last fall, Barack Obama was deemed by all the great and good as the man to save the country from its financial crisis because of his calm. As John McCain flailed around, Obama stayed steady, and commentators ascribed to him the most extraordinary leadership qualities based merely on his equipoise.
As we end the 34th legislative day of the General Assembly on Friday, the end of the 2010 session is in sight. The highlight of the week was House passage of the 2010 budget.
As a leader in the state Senate, I often reflect on the vision of our nation's founders and, on occasion, will even go back and read The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States.
On the way home after attending a friend's wedding in Americus recently, my wife and I made a small detour through Andersonville, home of the infamous prison during the Civil War.
The Georgia General Assembly worked diligently last week on passing important pieces of legislation before midnight on the 30th legislative day (Thursday). This event represents a milestone in the legislative process as bills must "cross over" into the opposite chamber in order to have the chance to become law this year.
When President Barack Obama wanted to push an $800 billion "stimulus" or "recovery" bill through Congress, he thought an atmosphere of economic crisis helped his cause. So he repeatedly warned of "catastrophe," of "a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse."
Did I hear somebody say "change?" The word is too mild. Try "train wreck," if you are a Republican. "A new beginning" may fit your feelings better, if you voted Democratic in the last presidential election.
A narrow majority of members of the House of Representatives unfortunately took another step backward when it comes to education in Georgia on Thursday by eliminating the year-long, rigorous program of National Board Certification for public school teachers and the 10 percent salary increase incentive that goes along with it.
My wife and I recently had the opportunity to travel to the southwestern corner of the state to attend a wedding.
It is difficult to reconcile the fact that one of the premier families of 19th century American science and exploration were slaveholders. One can only hope that, 150 years from now, we won't be judged too harshly for our own policies and practices.
George H.W. Bush made a "read my lips," no-new-taxes pledge in his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention in August 1988, and broke it two years later. That seemed a fast turnaround, but President Barack Obama has outpaced him by making, and then signaling his intention to break, a no-new-taxes pledge all in the same address.
Thursday, the Senate exercised leadership in making much needed reforms to Georgia's transportation governance. With the passage of SB 200, the Senate voted for a clear funding process to enable transportation dollars to be spent more efficiently, effectively and strategically.
In 1932, the federal courts affirmed gangster Al Capone's 11-year prison sentence and heavy fine for income tax evasion. He was sent to Alcatraz and then the Atlanta pen before he was given his freedom to die of advanced syphilis.
It's hard to be vision impaired. People who aren't just don't have a clue how difficult it makes life in so many ways.
These are extraordinary political and economic times, and even from a distance you can sense the animation on Capitol Hill as Congress watches President Obama distribute the stimulus package, weighs his executive-branch appointments and responds to his various initiatives.
Editor, Thanks a lot for printing most of my letters over the years and withholding the ones that would have gotten me arrested. I am preparing to move north to New York City and will sorely miss all the reasons I chose to write those letters while I lived here. I'm not sure the New York Times is going to print my thoughts, but I'll still send them my ramblings when I feel it is needed.
Liberty County is our home. Just as we take care of the homes we live in with our families, we need to take care of our community. Keep Liberty Beautiful sincerely appreciates the nearly 4,000 volunteers each year who help to make our county cleaner and more attractive through neighborhood projects and area litter cleanups, but those who are interested in going to the next level should consider "adopting" Liberty.
It happened a few months back. My father-in-law celebrated, to our great joy, his 88th birthday. There was no pomp or circumstance involved. He abhors that. Because he is among the most beautifully well-mannered people I have ever encountered, he politely took all the calls though he really wished we would just treat it as another day and leave him alone to watch the news channel.
The state of Georgia's Juvenile Justice System is going to the dogs. And that's a good thing.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, chairman of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee, and a member of the House's Ways and Means Committee, last week was a busy one for me. We gathered for four days of hearings at Gov. Nathan Deal's office, where the budget was presented. We also listened as state agencies offered input about budget needs and then asked questions regarding which programs worked well or were under- or over-funded.
In politics, you must take advantage of windows of opportunity. Sometimes good ideas are sidetracked by unfortunate events, a bad economy or even personality conflicts among political leaders. Given the risk of delaying decisions, Georgia needs to address its transportation shortfall quickly and practically.
My fellow Georgians: In order to keep my national certification as a modest and much-beloved columnist, it is required that I submit to you at the first of every year my State of the Column message. (Yay! Clap! Clap! Clap!) I do that gladly today. For one thing, this will be a lot shorter and less boring than the State of the Union address (Boooo!) and, also, we don't have to endure a bunch of fawning politicians trying to be seen on national television. (Yay! Ha! Ha! Ha!)
Ready to start this new year right?
Editor, Since Georgia's own Sen. Johnny Isakson voted for discriminating against pre-9/11 veterans and later against ending this discrimination, I've penned and sent the following to then-Senate Veterans' Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-VT, who introduced the Caregivers Expansion and Improvement Act of 2013:
It happened the other day. It's funny how things so simple can remind us of things so meaningful, of those sweets that are tucked inside our hearts and unknowingly treasured.
Two weeks ago, my husband, daughter and I struggled to come up with a fun way to pass a Sunday afternoon. My mother-in-law had just been staying with us, and she left that morning to head back to Florida. Since I'd given our house a good, thorough "pre-mother-in-law-visit" cleaning before she arrived, I was completely caught up on chores and housework.
Editor, In an attempt to somewhat clarify and somewhat respond to the recent letters to the editor, the online opinion poll question in the Coastal Courier and subsequent results of said poll, I want to say that the protests (locally and nationally) are not anti-police, as some have and continue to misinterpret them to be.
Editor, In recent weeks, more than 20 police officers have been killed or wounded by fanatics and/or terrorists on this planet. This would be a great time for Rep. Al Williams, Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier, Commissioner Gary Gilliard, Councilwoman Luciria Luckey Lovette, et al., to make a statement of recognition and support for police officers - wherever they serve. This exercise of their rights would go a long way to heal the wound of what was interpreted by many to be anti-police sentiment last month.
With major policy decisions on transportation, education, health care and tax reform on the legislative agenda, Georgia should think beyond the traditional approach of spending more money as the solution for every problem. Focusing on ways to enhance economic opportunity and empower individuals beats doubling down on the status quo.
Editor, I read Mr. Bruce McCartney's letter to the editor regarding the Wounded Warrior Project. He is totally correct. The project is top-heavy with a greedy group of executives. The top 10 officers have a compensation package from $150,000 to $333,000 a year. The remaining funds are disbursed to over 40 distribution organizations with similar management configurations.