Two Georgias: enough already

  The “infinite monkey theorem” holds that, given an infinite amount of time, a chimpanzee hitting random keys at a keyboard will almost surely produce a literary text.  Think Shakespeare’s sonnets or “King Lear,” for example. While the Georgia Legislature doesn’t have an infinite timeline, it only has a constitutionally prescribed 40 days to work its magic. And it has adeptly juggled some rather random legislation. They’ve debated and passed legislation making it a crime to film a nonconsenting person’s private parts; taxed internet sales, ride sharing (such as Uber and Lyft), and fantasy sports websites; and raised taxes on used car sales. At least what’s between the taxpayers’ pockets is safe even while the government picks them. And then there’s the Senate bill that makes it easier for those with prior mental health or substance abuse problems to buy a gun.  Another bill would allow this person, properly permitted, of course, to carry that concealed weapon on public college campuses. That these campuses are comprised of hundreds if not thousands of students obviously addresses the security concerns.  You know, “safety in numbers” and all that jazz. That’s not to imply that the General Assembly hasn’t had any literary moments thus far.  Indeed it has. Legislators are seriously debating a flat tax rate on income taxes, cracking down on “sanctuary campuses”, and ending “surprise billing’ at hospitals, to name a few.  These and other important pending measurers will benefit all Georgians and represent good, solid thinking and hard work. An idea emanating from the House to address the persistent and chronic emaciation of Georgia’s non-metro counties, a Georgia Rural...

Georgia Republicans Set to Enact Soros-Funded Marijuana Expansion

  Georgia’s Republican Legislature is posed to vote on one of greatest deceptions ever put before it: a proposal to expand the use of medical marijuana in this state – a front for a nationwide effort to eventually legalize dope in all 50 states. Senate Bill 16 would almost double the number of medical conditions eligible for treatment with the strongest dosage of cannabis oil allowed in Georgia. Those conditions expand to include Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome. It would also allow usage for patients in hospice. While all that sounds “compassionate,” marijuana use in all forms is illegal under federal law. In addition, medical science has enabled a host of pain management therapies and advances in pain management have been remarkable. For example, innovations have been made allowing nerve blocks to alleviate pain in some dying patients. But instead, the Legislature is being duped by efforts funded by three progressive billionaires intent on legalizing “weed.” Among them are hedge fund billionaire George Soros, the man who financed grassroots operations against the election of President Trump, who funded mass protests against him and is now financing to impede his Presidency. Along with Soros, Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance and John Sperling of the University of Phoenix – three ultra-wealthy liberals – are funding nationwide efforts to convince state lawmakers to expand the use of medical marijuana and eventually for recreational use. National Families in Action released a study last week showing that from 1996 to 2016, the three billionaires flooded $71 million into state ballot initiatives for marijuana for recreational or “medical” use....

March Madness on Campus and in the Courts; Remembering When We Defeated Georgia Tech

  College basketball’s March Madness officially started Thursday, but this month’s stories of campus controversies have already been lighting up the scoreboard. A renowned conservative scholar and liberal professor are shouted down and physically abused by a mob. Students are caught on camera openly admitting to double standards when it comes to religious freedom. And, a university employee is caught washing away pro-life chalkings. Sadly, this is not a string of isolated incidents but rather reflective of troubling trends in academia. And while these stories may be shocking to many, they sound all too familiar to us. As college students at Georgia Tech in the early 2000s, we endured literally years of censorship and condemnation whenever our views were not in line with the faculty and administration’s extreme Leftist political agenda. In the name of “tolerance” and “diversity,” Georgia Tech officials forced us to take down a display confronting radical feminism, pressured us to participate in “Coming Out Week,” and prevented our organizations from accessing school resources – just a few examples from our litany of run-ins with the campus tolerance tyrants. Professors, academic deans, and eventually the president of Georgia Tech told us we were “not a good fit” for the school because of our deeply held beliefs; that it was “people like you” who were responsible for the lack of civility on campus; and that we needed to “go through mediation” to change our views on matters of morality and public policy. When confronted about the administration’s hypocrisy and indoctrination, one dean brazenly admitted, “Students have been indoctrinated for the first 18 years of their lives by...

Senate leaders: Support equitable charter school funding

  Ask any elected leader and they will tell you that one of the most important things we can do for our state is improve education. Given that universal sentiment, it is very frustrating as a parent to see one of the best solutions we have for improvement– charter schools– receive far fewer dollars per student than traditional public schools. Not only does this put stress on individual schools as they strive to educate their students, but it also discourages the creation of new charter schools in districts where existing schools are underperforming. Charter schools are making a difference for the families and communities they serve. They are helping our state meet its goal of providing a high-quality education and giving students the chance they deserve for a successful future. Yet, the unequal way the state funds charter schools impedes their ability to maximize their potential. Despite the fact they serve the same mission and draw from the same universe of students, charter schools in Georgia are forced to operate with as much as 50 percent less funding than traditional public schools. In addition, locally-approved charter schools receive no state funding for facilities as other public schools do, forcing them to spend their operating funds – money that should be spent in the classroom — on facility costs. Fortunately, our elected leaders have begun to recognize this disparity. Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Lawrenceville) introduced a bill last month that addresses fairness for charter schools and the students they serve. The proposal was consistent with the recommendations of the Governor’s Education Reform Commission and would have made a significant impact on...

Budget drives policy— and vice versa

  As the legislative session winds to a close, many have focused on what did not pass this year, including two of the most controversial pieces of legislation: casino gambling and Certificate of Need reform. Both will likely return for legislative consideration next year, and both have been, rightly or wrongly, linked to the most important bill of every year, the budget. Every year, Georgia legislators pass two budgets or appropriations acts: the “big budget” for the next fiscal year and the “little budget,” which consists of the appropriations for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30. It is often repeated that passing a budget is the General Assembly’s only constitutional obligation. In many ways, it is also its most important for several reasons. First, unlike the federal government and states that are near bankruptcy like Illinois and California, Georgia is one of many states that has a balanced budget amendment. This means that Georgia cannot run a deficit, and should revenues fall short of what was anticipated in the Governor’s revenue estimate, the Governor is empowered to withold however much of each appropriation necessary to be sure that the state does not fall into the red. During the economic downturn of 2008-2010, this practice was frequently utilized, as the State spent anywhere from 4% to 6% less than the General Assembly appropriated in some of the years. Second, depending on one’s perspective, the budget to drive policy or policy decisions can drive the budget. This is particularly true when budgets are down, but it is also true when revenues are up and there...

A Georgian Reflects on Millennials

  Millennials, at least the ones I know, are a complex and evolving generation. They have grown up in a diverse and global environment. They don’t watch TV as much as previous generations, and most have never owned a vinyl record or a CD. Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump are the presidents they know. Gay activism is their civil rights experience. Racial equality is more of a given; they focus less on skin surface, and are less concerned with defining identity with labels and norms. They use words like gender-fluid and love urban catch phrases. Coming of age in the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, they are the first generation in awhile to have more tools but less money. Millennials don’t tend to look back. They know nothing of post World War II America or its Silent Generation. JFK and MLK are their Washington and Lincoln. Millennials innovate in an age where they stay tethered together for life through the internet and social media. They have developed mechanisms for building emotional relationships with people they have never met face to face. Hand shakes and all that they signify are so 20th century to them. Non-Millennials can no more understand Millennials than they can put the Star Wars franchise into the correct movie order. Spoiler alert: Luke Skywalker meeting Obi-Wan Kanobi is chapter four not one. If you do not know this, you are so 2000 and late. Nobody told them that a college education might lead to flipping burgers or making coffee. It upsets them that life isn’t fair. Millennials get a bad rap but most of...

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