Two-thirds of all federal spending is consumed by just three program areas: Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and National Defense. Because these programs consume most of the budget and are responsible for most of the annual spending increases, there is simply no way to regain control of federal spending without addressing these programs.
President Barack Obama surprised many at the National Prayer Breakfast when he lectured us, "Lest we get on our high horse and think this (barbarity) is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ." Obama went on to explain, "In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often (were) justified in the name of Christ." In Obama's mind, Western outrage at Islamic barbarism should be tempered by the remembrance of what Christians did a thousand years ago in the name of Christ. Plus ...
A New York Times article this past Tuesday titled, "Teenage Girl Leaves for ISIS, and Others Follow," by Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, struck close to home for me. The three young women who left London to enlist in ISIS in Syria were 16, 15 and 15.
A disturbing turn of events has occurred with the new Advanced Placement History Test. The AP has been around since 1956, offering high school students the opportunity to gain college credit by taking a very difficult class and passing a very difficult test. Unfortunately, the College Board (the same folks who write the SAT) has suddenly created a biased and left-leaning test.
Earlier this week, my sister Kathy called me, "Am I correct in thinking that Mom used to send us little kid Valentine's like the ones school children use?"
We are more than a third of the way through the legislative session, and it seems like we've passed very little legislation. Some might say that is a good thing … the less laws we pass, the less trouble we can make for the people of Georgia. In any case, we have 25 days left, with the session scheduled to end on the April 2.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has emerged as a serious contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. In response, the Washington Post researched and published a lengthy article on the "mystery" of why Walker dropped out of college.
Oxfam reports that the richest 1 percent of people in the world own 48 percent of the world's wealth. Many claim that we should be alarmed by income inequality because it hampers upward mobility. Others argue that because income is distributed so unevenly, justice and fairness require income redistribution. Let's look at fairness and justice.
The Education Committee will be the busiest it has been in 22 years. I'll take some of these bills in turn.
Recently, while responding to a question about how to get young people involved in politics, President Obama expressed fears that they see politics as a "sideshow in Washington" and should be taught that "government is not something separate from you - it is you."
In grammar school, Valentine's Day meant wrapping a shoe box with brown craft paper, cutting a slot in the top for cards to drop in and decorating the outside of the box with hearts and cupids. Store-bought Valentines were labeled the night before and carefully taken to school to be given away. When the big day came, it wasn't only if you received Valentines that counted, it was from whom, and if they gave you your card first that mattered.
This week, the House passed the 2015 supplementary budget, but still has to work on the 2016 budget. As I said before, revenues were up by $276 million, and we directed most of that increase to education, as well as Medicaid growth and mandatory compliance with Obamacare. The vote was bipartisan and unanimous.
Let's get off the backs of law enforcement, shall we? Most of us couldn't do their job or wouldn't do it if we had the chance.
President Obama's proposed federal budget for 2016 envisions never-ending growth of federal spending.
This week budget committees in the General Assembly have been working on a balanced budget. Believe it or not a balanced budget is the only Constitutional requirement of Georgia's General Assembly.
What a difference a year makes. Last September, the Obama administration and the media were cheering happenstance as victory. A quick review of last year's events: the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government on civilians, tough talk by President Barack Obama, an administration push for a congressional vote for use of force, Secretary of State John Kerry's off-the-cuff remark regarding Syria giving up chemical weapons, Russian President Vladimir Putin leveraging the remark into action, the Obama administration claiming a great solution.
Can it be? Is it September already? One of my favorite tunes, "September Song," was written by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson for a Broadway musical in 1938 called "Knickerbocker Holiday. The lyrics could apply today to the current political season in Georgia - "For it's a long, long time from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September."
America rarely does time capsules anymore, but the ones it does should include videos from February 2011 of American TV reporters exulting in the triumph of the Arab Spring. "This is the sound of a people rising," ABC's Terry Moran told us from Cairo. For Egyptians, it was a day "when a people rose and made themselves a new country, a new world, a new life."
As the character Cecily said to Miss Fairfax in a play written by Oscar Wilde entitled "The Importance of being Earnest": "When I see a spade I call it a spade."
Though racial discrimination exists, it is nowhere near the barrier it once was. The relevant question is: How much of what we see today can be explained by racial discrimination? This is an important question because if we conclude that racial discrimination is the major cause of black problems when it isn't, then effective solutions will be elusive forever. To begin to get a handle on the answer, let's pull up a few historical facts about black Americans.
The news from Ferguson, Missouri, has brought back unpleasant memories from the long-ago riots in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It was the summer of 1970, and I was a young teenager close enough to the action to be appropriately frightened.
My first paying job was cleaning the bathrooms at the First Baptist Church of Carrollton, Georgia, where I was a member. I was 14, the minimum age for "children" to work. This was neither glamorous nor exciting work, but useful and needed work. On Sundays I often over heard the "little old ladies" of the church commenting on the cleanliness of the bathroom. I remember my subsequent feeling of pride. While not a glamorous work, my actions were helpful and appreciated by those who used the facilities. For providing this useful service I earned minimum wage in 1981, ($3.35 ...
As Hannah Arendt foresaw, we are once again up against the question of evil. An American photojournalist, James Foley, was presented to the camera and methodically decapitated. The instrument was not the ax reserved for royalty or the whooshing blade prompted by that reformer Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, but an ordinary looking knife. Death would be neither swift nor painless. This, somewhere in the bleached desert, was pure evil.
It is a potential killer whose numbers rival the deadly Ebola virus and it doesn't get near the attention it should. Unlike the dreaded illness currently ravaging West Africa this is one with a quick cure.
The structure of county government is once again on the agenda of the Board of Commissioners (BOC), which has scheduled a work session for Aug. 26, 2014. As readers may recall, this has been a topic of discussion for several months and the BOC has met with experts from both the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) and the regional planning agency. Representatives of both clearly have indicated that the current "hybrid" system of having both a full time Commission needs to be changed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of county government.
The other day I found myself thinking on how long I have been a part of the newspaper industry - it turns out that this will be my 50th year, with one year of my life working with mentally challenged adults and two working with people going into their final sunset, through Hospice.
While we might like to think that voters research the issues, review the candidates, and then vote for the candidate that best reflects their views, the reality, based on political science research, is much different. A
According to College Board, average tuition and fees for the 2013-14 school year totaled $30,094 at private colleges, $8,893 for in-state residents at public colleges and $22,203 for out-of-state residents. Many schools, such as Columbia University and George Washington University, charge yearly tuition and fees close to $50,000. Faced with the increasing costs of higher education, parents and taxpayers might like to know what they're getting for their money.
Back in 1980, an Israeli diplomat met with Ronald Reagan as he was running for president. Reagan was furious over the hostages being held in the American embassy in Iran and told the diplomat he could not understand why the U.S. didn't do what Israel would have done: land troops on the embassy roof and take the Americans out. The dismayed diplomat nodded disingenuously. Yes, that's exactly what Israel would do.
Rap! Rap! Rap!