Morning Reads for Wednesday, January 25th

January 25, 2012 6:35 am

by Jason · 21 comments

Supporters of school choice will gather at 10am on the steps of the state capitol this morning to demand that the legislature take steps to expand options for parents. AFP-GA will also release the the details of a survey outlining broad support for school choice.

Also, don’t forget that AFP will host four separate screenings today of Making the Grade in Georgia, a mini-documentary that highlights the need for education reform in our state, at the Sloppy Floyd Building beginning at 2pm.

Here in Georgia…
– The charter schools amendment, a fix to last year’s errant state Supreme Court decision, was filed yesterday.
– The American Legislative Exchange Council has its school policy Report Card. Georgia is ranked 27th in the nation in performance and receives a “B” in overall policy, which is near the top.
– Joe McCutchen, a conservative activist and father of GPPF’s Kelly McCutchen, was on The Daily Show on Monday.
– Rep. Paul Broun responds to the the State of the Union address.
– State Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) has filed legislation to abolish the death penalty.
Don’t expect movement on a meaningful ethics bill this year.
– A Georgia football recruit may not be able to attend school this year because of the Board of Regents’ immigration policy.

National stories of interest…
– In case you missed it, here is text of President Obama’s State of the Union address. Don’t worry, it’s not like you haven’t heard the themes before. You can read Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ response here.
– Sen. Rand Paul, who was detained by the TSA on Monday, explains the problems with the agency.
– Despite SCOTUS rulings affirming the Second Amendment, anti-gun activists are still pushing for gun control measures.
– Filmmaker Oliver Stone says that he’d vote for Ron Paul over Obama.
– Ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that a Gingrich presidency “will never happen.”
– During his introduction of Gingrich on Monday, this pastor said that “Mormonism is a cult.” Sigh.

A few that I like…
– Apple sold an astonishing 37 million iPhones in three months.
– Google is changing its privacy policy, and users won’t be able to opt-out of it.
– Jay Greene, a school policy expert, explains that charter schools are “model of reform” for traditional public schools.

Rambler1414 January 25, 2012 at 7:04 am

Clarification:
The UGA football recruit may not be able to attend UGA because of a Georgia Board of Regents policy, not a UGA policy.

Jason January 25, 2012 at 7:57 am

Yep. You’re right. Corrected.

Max Power January 25, 2012 at 8:21 am

This morning I caught the very tail end of a report that said something to the effect that Cobb leaders would rather have reversible toll lanes than commuter rail. Can anyone verify this and confirm that my counties leaders have gone crazy?

Three Jack January 25, 2012 at 8:43 am

Confirmed…they would rather waste billions on useless toll lanes than waste the same billions on useless commuter rail. Either way, commuters lose.

Max Power January 25, 2012 at 8:50 am

Not if they do it right.

The Last Democrat in Georgia January 25, 2012 at 9:11 am

As much as I patently DESPISE toll lanes, it should be known that high-frequency commuter bus service would be operated in those lanes, which would be elevated over the I-75 right-of-way between I-285 & I-575, without having to contend with the overwhelming congestion that is often present during morning and evening rush hours in the general purpose lanes of I-75.

The I-75 HOT lanes can come online within a 3-4 year window while the proposed light rail line would have taken at least 15 years to be built and would not have addressed the worst congestion on the I-75 NW Corridor, which is outside of I-285 as the light rail line would have run completely inside of I-285, paralleling a section of I-75 in which traffic is much lighter.

Max Power January 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

If you’re willing to spend the money you can get rail online far faster than 15 years. But you need only look to the freakin propane truck on it’s side to see the real downside of hot lanes. I drive that corridor several times a week and at least once a week there’s a major accident. Just before the propane truck incident another semi found itself in a gully between chastian and barrett parkway. We won’t road our way out of our traffic problems, there has to be an alternative.

Three Jack January 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm

How about we just add regular lanes while forcing out of state traffic (especially truck/trailers) to stay in one lane during 2 hours of the heaviest commute times in the morning and afternoon. Based on my hour long commute each way along I75 everyday for the past 3 years, I’m certain the above suggestion would not only work, it would cost much less as well.

Max Power January 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Until it rained. ;)

The Last Democrat in Georgia January 25, 2012 at 1:26 pm

That could work, BUT (and this is a fairly big but) the trucking industry has a very powerful lobby under the Gold Dome so any effort to further restrict truck traffic would more than likely go nowhere.

Also, using the money to add regular lanes instead of elevated tolled carpool lanes would mean the expensive reconstruction of overpasses (at Windy Hill, Delk Rd, South Marietta Pkwy, Gresham Rd, Canton Rd Connector) and the acquisition of additional linear right-of-way to accommodate the added untolled travel lanes which would be even more expensive.

Also, adding extra regular lanes would go against the political narrative that the region and state have seemingly fallen into of not adding anymore regular traffic lanes and widening roads as little as possible in order to force people to eventually use the transit that doesn’t exist yet because no one wants to pay to build it and is too skeptical to seriously pursue it.

The Last Democrat in Georgia January 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm

In other words, it’s a total and complete mess that is on the verge of being an absolute unmitigated disaster. Oh, joy!

Three Jack January 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Good point about the transport lobby, one more reason we need ethics reform (not the kind proposed by Rep. Smith ‘restricting’ spending to $100 PER EVENT, $500 for out of town travel excluding transportation costs — what a joke and he can’t even find one more rep. to co-sponsor this weak-ass attempt).

The Last Democrat in Georgia January 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm

That’s part of the problem, no one is willing to spend the money (or display the leadership) to get rail online any faster than 15 years.

The T-SPLOST agenda was being controlled by Intowners with the Atlanta Regional Commission, the City of Atlanta and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, many of whom hold in great contempt those who live and commute from OTP, while the Georgia Department of Transportation has become so inept and dysfunctional that it can’t even keep track of its own basic finances anymore (just recently found $1 billion that they didn’t know was lost) and can hardly coordinate a simple road resurfacing, much less coordinate something as complex and as multifaceted as a multimodal transportation network and system in an increasing road-limited major population center of six million people.

Plus, on top of all of that, no one wants to raise taxes or pay the user fees needed to fund the modes of transport needed to keep a major metro area viable and way too many are still highly-skeptical of the benefits of a multimodal transportation system while still refusing to do something as basic as widening the roads after decades of crushing population growth and increasing gridlock.

At this point I’d say that we are pretty darn lucky to even be getting two new reversible lanes added to the right-of-way as we could be seeing them trying to take away existing lanes for tolls like they did with the I-85 HOT lanes.

Max Power January 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Plus, on top of all of that, no one wants to raise taxes or pay the user fees needed to fund the modes of transport needed to keep a major metro area viable and way too many are still highly-skeptical of the benefits of a multimodal transportation system while still refusing to do something as basic as widening the roads after decades of crushing population growth and increasing gridlock.

Bingo!

The Last Democrat in Georgia January 25, 2012 at 8:44 am

It’s not commuter rail that Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee and the Cobb state legislative delegation are trying to divert T-SPLOST revenues away from, but the $689 million (originally $857 million) light rail line that was proposed to run from the MARTA Arts Center Station in Midtown to the Cumberland Mall/Galleria Area.

bowersville January 25, 2012 at 8:28 am
Obi's Sister January 25, 2012 at 8:45 am

Danger! Will Robinson!

Dick Tufeld, the voice of the original Lost in Space Robot, died in Los Angeles earlier this week.

Baker January 25, 2012 at 9:25 am

Joe McCutchen bit was great. Silly for sure, but some real nuggets to be proud of in there.

Noway January 25, 2012 at 9:27 am

A couple of things/observations on the things listed above. I have worked with many Mormons in my professional life. They are, at least in my experience, some of the the most honest and trustworthy folks on this planet. Intelligence and security agencies covet them as employees because they are squeaky clean in their personal lives and make doing a security clearance investigation a literal walk in the park. The bigoted minister who called them a cult is a fool.

Obama’s ‘fairness’ is class warfare at its worst. There is a reason why envy is the worst of the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s disgusting. I believe many of the folks who participate here on this blog are of real monetary means. It is my wish that those of you who are go ahead and make plans to get the hell out of here while you can. Belize is kind of nice, so is Costa Rica. It’s time for Atlas to Begin Shrugging.

Hearing the constant attack on the successful just plain makes me tired.

Off to work!

CobbGOPer January 25, 2012 at 10:01 am

So not one GOP member of the House has yet stood up to co-sponsor Rep. Smith’s ethics bill. No Senator has stood up to support Senator McKoon’s version of the bill either. Shameful that our GOP leaders are so out of step with the base that they choose to essentially ignore the overwhelming support this legislation has among voters so they can continue to benefit from the largesse of lobbyists (and continue to drive home drunk from lobbyist events).

Once again, somewhere Karen Handel is shaking her head and saying “I told you so.”

I’ve e-mailed both of my legislators – Mr. Tippins and Mr. Erhart – and I encourage everyone else who feels strongly about this issue to do the same, and quickly. Let’s stop letting these GOP elitists in the party leadership continue to rule with no accountability to the people who’ve put them there.

saltycracker January 25, 2012 at 2:10 pm

State of the Union – The Democrats are going to the wall on raising taxes on those making over $250k and now 30% on those making over $1 million with lots of deductions removed. The Republicans are going to the wall to leave those all the way to Buffet alone.

Romney wants to cap spending at 20% of GDP, a start. As for the tax code the specifics are hard to sort out – he’ll extend the Bush cuts, lower rates and several other items but nothing about a sweeping change to the entire code. Unacceptable.
https://mninews.deutsche-boerse.com/content/us-romneys-budget-plan-offers-big-ideas-vague-bottom-line

Newt wants to extend the Bush cuts and work to a 15% flat tax with deductions of $12,000 plus home mortgage DEBT and charitable giving and perhaps whatever else is lobbyed. Unacceptable.
http://newtgingrich360.com/jobs-and-economy

The situation on tax advantages and subsidies for the connected is a lousy hill to die on for the Republicans.

If Republicans can’t get a grip on this with some better bullet points and solid plans to overhaul the tax system so that everyone has some skin in the game (like flat tax 10% no exceptions, no deductions) or close to it and reign in spending (20% of GDP is a broad brush) then they are in for one hard road.

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