By: Celia Murray; Columnist
World renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The End of Poverty and Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Plane, and has twice been named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
Dr. Sachs, writing in the Financial Times recently, expressed his concerns about the nation’s double digit unemployment rate – undoubtedly a serious issue. Sachs does not hesitate to criticize the Obama administration, opining that the President’s stimulus policies are not well targeted. But, Sachs maintains, “(t)he Republican alternatives are even worse,” since “for every problem there is a single Republican answer: tax cuts.” Sachs points out that the federal government collects only enough tax revenues to pay for social security, Medicare and Medicaid, veteran’s benefits, defense spending and interest on the national debt. Everything else is paid for with borrowed money. This includes roads, rail, education, courts, homeland security, diplomacy, science and technology, and poverty relief, among other things.
By: Dick Hodgetts; Columnist
Morgan County accepted a challenge in 2007, and created a Boys & Girls Club. Several decisions made then have resulted in encouraging trends amongst our at-risk youths. First, our club is located on middle school property and became integrated with our school system. Next, we hired a talented and committed director: Kimberly Lucas. Third, the Board of Directors has had an active and diverse group who have guided the club with skill and raised money to increase the programs available. It would be an easy assessment to say that the Morgan County Boys & Girls Club has become a model for success, and you will see others follow our lead. Great!
People with talent and passion tend to attract others to their circle. That happened to our club when Bobby Mackey unexpectedly asked Kimberly Lucas if he could join as educational director. He had most recently been an officer with the Juvenile Detention System. When this occurred the Morgan County Citizen did not report it as a noteworthy event, and no one dispatched sky writers to scroll his name across our sky. But, the impact of adding Mackey to our B&GC was akin to adding a booster rocket to the already successful club.
Mackey came to us from Jackson County between Commerce and Athens. He had a short career as a musician. He was part of a group of seven who had hit a record. But, the culture of young black males is one of constant risk. Of that seven young men, two were murdered, three went to Federal prison, one achieved success as a musician, and Mackey was the seventh. Those who served in the jungles of southeast Asia during the Vietnam War did not have a statistically more risky life style.
By: Brooks Pearson: Columnist
As we gather to share another Thanksgiving repast, here are some gratitude-provoking thoughts:
I’m thankful that our cats are well-adjusted and getting along. Shuga, Spice, Blue, Shoes and Blackie are doing fine.
I’m thankful that Georgia Tech has proven again that academic excellence and gridiron success can co-exist at an institution of higher learning.
I’ll be thankful when Georgia’s griddersders quieten the Florida gators by giving them a sound thrashing.
I’m thankful that Reginald Raccoon and Paul Possum have ceased hostilities on the back porch. They are now enjoying a few meals together.
I’m thankful that the stock market is on the upswing and residential sales are increasing.
I’m thankful when I hit a good golf shot without writhing in pain.
I’m thankful for ice cream, Oreos and doughnuts.
I’m thankful when the property taxes are paid, and the utility bills are not sky high.
I’ll be thankful when the icemaker stops leaking.
I’ll be thankful when unappreciative souls start showing thanks to those who help them.
I’m thankful for a hot shower after a sun-scorching round of golf.
I’m thankful for the healing laughter of a well-timed joke.
I’ll be thankful when people stop fighting over money. It’s tacky.
I’ll be thankful when more high school graduates finish college. They will have challenging, rewarding careers and will also feel good about themselves.
I’ll be thankful when more trucks start using the by-pass.
I’m thankful for an entertaining book not filled with sex and violence.
I’m thankful when an old friend calls to catch up.
On the way to school with a few minutes to spare, there had been no illness, fighting or bloodshed. A peace sat in the car. My daughter chirped, “I have a great life!”
I knew it. The harmony, joy, happiness – it was palpable. The children felt it. All my countless prayers, sacrifices and hours spent yelling at them to be kind to each other finally paying off.
“Why is life so great?” What important revelation had my little sage experienced this morning to make her realize we are so blessed?
“Our class is getting cupcakes today as reward for raising the most Boxtops.”
Cupcakes. That’s it?
This Thanksgiving, I’m savoring the wonderful “cupcake” moments that pass into my life every day.
A sign hanging in the window of Antique Sweets read “Caramel apples today.” My son and I opened that big wooden door and bought two. Biting into a buttery, sweet softball of an apple covered in caramel defines “I have a great life” and cupcakes.
One day racing back from Athens needing gas, I stopped at the busy RaceTrac in Watkinsville. On this day, all I could see was gray and trouble and no amount of listening to Tony Robbins talking into that silly headset he wears helped. I fumbled for my card to pay and felt the stares of the people lined behind me crawling up my back. The more I fumbled the more I thought...this is what happens when I stray too far from Madison.
Looking up at the attendant, he smiled and said something with so much kindness in his smile and tone, it didn’t matter a bit what he said. I got in a car and sat in a plate full of cupcakes. Thanking God for the kindness of a stranger who reached down into my soul, gave it a good strong ~ the world is really a great place ~ hug.
By: Fred Johnson; Columnist
The economic policies coming from the White House are so bizarre that the term Obamanomics has been applied to the theory. The theory is very simple -- spend other people’s money as fast as possible in the belief that a nation can spend its way to prosperity using borrowed money. But now, organizations and news services are beginning to question and to push back at the economic claims of the Obama administration.
The AP reported that their brief investigation of the 30,000 jobs that the Obama administration claimed to have been created by the stimulus program was overstated by at least 5,000 jobs. The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none were produced. In one case, the AP found that the stimulus money given to a childcare center did not save 129 jobs as claimed but was actually used to give raises to their employees. (The real story might be how the Florida childcare center was selected to receive stimulus money in the first place.) A Boston Globe investigation of stimulus jobs found similar overstatements of jobs saved in Massachusetts and more instances of stimulus money used to give raises.
Edmunds calculated that each car sold under the Cash for Clunkers program cost tax payers $24,000. The White House car czar, who has no experience in the auto business, says that Edmunds is wrong. A White House web page said that Edmunds must have been counting cars sales on Mars.
Recently, the White House claimed 640,329 jobs were created or saved by the $159 billion in stimulus funds allocated as of Sept. 30. It did not take long for people to divide $159 billion by 640,329 jobs and get $248,310 as the taxpayer’s cost for each job created. The White House response was to call that “calculator abuse.”
Printed in the November 19, 2009 edition.