Congress, country must face choices, consequences
May 05, 2015 08:09 PM | 41 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
David Perdue
David Perdue
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New U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) made his first speech on the Senate floor last week since taking office in January, and it was full of cogent points. “I am outraged by Washington’s dysfunction, its fiscal irresponsibility, its lack of leadership in foreign policy, its intrusiveness and overreach, and its negative impact on hardworking Americans,” he began, and then went on to zero in on three areas: the abuse of executive power by President Obama, the “significant deterioration” of our foreign policy and our out-of-control debt. “What we are witnessing today is one of the greatest challenges to our constitutional system in the history of this country,” said Perdue — who actually was quoting liberal George Washington University constitutional law professor, Dr. Jonathan Turley, who by his own admission voted twice for Obama. Continued Perdue, in his own words, “Unbridled use of executive orders and regulatory mandates has basically allowed this President to run the country without Congress for the past six years. According to Professor Turley, this sets dangerous precedents for future courts and future presidents.” Turning to foreign policy, Perdue noted — as have many Obama critics, including fellow U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia — that the current administration has maneuvered us to a point where our longtime allies no longer trust us and our enemies no longer fear us. “Leading from behind has failed as a foreign policy,” Perdue said. “A nuclear Iran whose leaders are committed to the death of Israel and America would spark an unprecedented wave of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Under no circumstances, can we allow Iran to become a nuclear weapons state not now, not in 10 years, not ever.” The Obama administration (with the support of Congress, including some Republicans, we regret to say), has reduced military spending to the point that our Army, Navy and Air forces are on the verge of being at pre-World War II levels. “This is simply unacceptable,” Perdue declared, correctly. “To address this global security crisis and create a new beginning, we must have a consistent and strong foreign policy. However, to have a strong foreign policy we must have a strong defense. … To have a strong defense, though, we must have a strong economy — as we proved in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Our own fiscal irresponsibility jeopardizes our ability to fund a strong military. Admiral Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, once said that the greatest threat to our national security is our own federal debt.” “This debt crisis threatens our ability to defend our country, stand for freedom, and maintain our very way of life. It is a primary reason why we need to create a new beginning,” Perdue said. The federal government borrowed $8 trillion of the $21.5 trillion it has spent in the past six year, and the federal debt is now more than $18 trillion, the senator said. In addition, we’re facing more than $100 trillion in future unfunded liabilities to pay for things such as Social Security and Medicare. “The progressive policies of the past 100 years, and particularly the egregious policies of this current administration, have failed the very people they were intended to help: the working middle class,” Perdue said — again, correctly. The senator advocates reducing the corporate tax rate, eliminating corporate welfare and making the tax system fairer and simpler. Good ideas, but the devil is always in the details. The senator concluded with a call for “making hard choices” and “having the courage to solve these problems, independent of how it might affect our re-election chances.” These problems and their solutions will indeed call for such choices and such courage and such possible consequences. And we, and other Georgians, will be watching to see who is in fact making such choices, displaying such courage and risking such consequences.
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Centennial celebrations prompt a trip down memory lane
by Dick Yarbrough
May 05, 2015 08:06 PM | 25 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dick Yarbrough
Dick Yarbrough
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You are going to have to give me a little scat room today. I am having an attack of the nostalgias. Going down someone else’s Memory Lane can be as boring as a lecture on the life cycle of guppies but this has been a reflective few weeks for me. My beloved Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia and the campus chapter of my college fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, both celebrated their 100th anniversaries this past month in Athens. There were so many tuxedos spotted in town during these two singular events that rumors were rife Clarke County had been invaded by a horde of penguins. Regrettably, I had to miss the Grady centennial but I was there in spirit. I am always there in spirit as well as at the university on whose hallowed ground Grady College is located. I am lucky I ever saw the inside of the place. A transfer student from Georgia State University, I had several close calls academically. In one of the many divine interventions that have occurred in my life, I found myself in an English Literature class at Georgia State with a tough-love professor named Dr. Raymond Cook, who got me back on track. Without Dr. Cook, 94 years young and still grading my columns from his home in Valdosta, we likely would not be having this conversation. Grady College has given me more than I can repay. To remember the anxiety I felt the first day I walked into the school (and I remember it vividly) and to walk into the current facility today and see the portrait of an old but grateful graduate in a room named for him is as good as it gets. There are a lot more students — and much smarter ones — than there were in my time and the technologies are light years beyond anything we could have imagined in the days of typewriters and Speed Graphic cameras but there is a spirit within the place that has endured. Being a “Grady Graduate” is a badge of honor. I wear it proudly. While at UGA, I became a member of the Nu Zeta chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, with the encouragement of a high school acquaintance, Paschal Glenn “Pat” Boggs. I was not a distinguished member of the fraternity but I hung around with a couple of brothers who turned out pretty well. Joe Frank Harris, of Cartersville, served as Georgia’s governor from 1983 to 1991. Ray Elrod, our chapter president, was a longtime mayor of Dalton. After graduation, I lost contact with Pat. On a visit to a newspaper office in Henry County in 1967, I happened to glance at the current week’s edition and saw that area resident Maj. Paschal Boggs, a Marine Corps fighter pilot, had been shot down over North Vietnam and was missing in action. His remains were never recovered. In one of the most unforgettable moments of my life, I was jogging in Washington in the early ’80s just after the Vietnam Memorial Wall had been dedicated. I stopped to take a look at this magnificent tribute to a group of great Americans who deserved better. The very first name I saw among the more than 50,000 listed was my Lambda Chi Alpha big brother, Pat Boggs. It is difficult even today to describe the emotions of that experience. Some would call it a coincidence. Not me. I have experienced a few coincidences in my long life. That was more than a coincidence. Pat Boggs was speaking to me. I had the privilege of serving as Master of Ceremonies at the Nu Zeta chapter’s Centennial Celebration a couple of weeks ago at the Classic Center in Athens. I’m not sure why I was chosen except I work cheap and own a tuxedo. More than 800 alumni and current members were in attendance, making it one of the largest gatherings — if not the largest — in Lambda Chi Alpha’s history. I talked to a lot of people that evening who read this column around the state. Many were surprised to learn I was a Lambda Chi. I didn’t tell them but I am surprised Lambda Chi would have me. For that, I thank Pat Boggs. It has been an emotional month. Thank you for allowing me to share my trip down Memory Lane with you. As I look back on it, I wouldn’t change one step of the journey. Not one. You can reach Dick Yarbrough at yarb2400@bellsouth.net; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139; online at dickyarbrough.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb
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Unruly Britannia
by Cal Thomas
May 05, 2015 08:05 PM | 37 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cal Thomas
Cal Thomas
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LONDON — They called it “Question Time,” borrowing the term from the prime minister’s weekly appearance in the House of Commons, but this was surprisingly and refreshingly different. On Thursday, the three main candidates for prime minister — David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg — one by one appeared before an audience of voters at the Leeds Town Hall where for a half-hour voters asked them informed, pointed and detailed questions. The host, the BBC’s David Dimbleby, called for questions and occasionally followed up, but mostly voters drove the program. Two of the candidates were called liars right to their faces. In the U.S., we may think our candidates liars, but we rarely have a chance to call them on it. The British complain that they are tired of this long campaign, which has lasted just five months. They should consider what Americans have to put up with — year-around election cycles that never seem to end. Betfair, the wagering website that has a good track record of correctly predicting election results in the UK and the United States, forecasts a 90 percent chance of a hung Parliament, meaning no party will gain enough seats to form a government. If that happens, it will spark a round of high-stakes horse-trading, as the disparate parties try to cobble together a ruling coalition. Because the UK does not have a written constitution, something called The Cabinet Manual directs what is to happen in such an eventuality: “If no single party has an overall majority, there are three main options for the sort of government that could be formed. A formal coalition, made up of two or more parties which usually includes ministers from more than one party; an informal agreement, in which smaller parties would support a government on major votes in return for some concessions; or a single-party minority government, where the biggest party goes it alone and tries to survive vote-by-vote supported by a series of ad hoc arrangements.” The latest coalition government is the current one. In the final days before the May 7 election, the major parties are seeking to out-promise each other on what they will do if elected. These promises range from improving the National Health Service (Cameron), cutting taxes (Cameron), reversing tax cuts for “the rich” (Miliband) to promising no coalition government that includes the Scottish National Party (Miliband). Last year the SNP lost a referendum to secede from the UK, but it is expected to win every contested parliamentary seat in Scotland come election day. The fear factor is also coming into play with Home Secretary Theresa May saying a voter deadlock would expose Britain to terror attacks because Parliament would be unable to pass needed revisions in its anti-terrorist laws, revisions the SNP opposes. As in U.S. elections, turnout, not so much the credibility of politicians, will be key. If the BBC event is any indication, a lot of voters here have become hardened skeptics when it comes to promises from their politicians. Again, not much different from how Americans view their political leaders. The U.S. could benefit from the British system of shorter campaigns, which would decrease costs and might enhance voter interest. The British could borrow from America and do away with multiple parties, which may well contribute to a hung Parliament and uncertainty about whose policies will prevail. As to which election process is the most efficient and gets the most out of its candidates, it’s difficult to say. Politicians are politicians whichever side of the Big Pond they’re on. What is clear is that voters in the UK have a greater opportunity to hold their politicians’ feet to the fire. American voters would have a field day with a shot like that. Cal Thomas is the country’s most widely syndicated columnist.
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Raymond Gravley
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May 05, 2015
So sorry to hear of Benny's passing. I, like many others, remember his warm casual manner. In high school, we ran around together a little. He and his dad were always working on a Model A Ford. He was a smart guy and will be sorely missed. I send my love and prayers to the Goss and Adams families.
Tom Lindsay
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May 05, 2015
"Police say there were three adult witnesses . . . ." Yet none of them tried to stop her? Perhaps there should be more arrests.
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