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City of Newnan in defense mode for a neo-Nazi rally

Torpy at Large: Feds target Kasim Reed, but is that all there is?

One must remember that the DeKalb County corruption scandal a few years ago started with a grease trap. In 2011, a fats, oil and grease inspector fessed up to taking kickbacks from restaurant owners. Prosecutors suspected there was more to it and investigated. They ended up convicting CEO Burrell Ellis on unrelated charges that resulted from an investigation that pivoted and looked into election fundraising...
One must remember that the DeKalb County corruption scandal a few years ago started with a grease trap. In 2011, a fats, oil and grease inspector fessed up to taking kickbacks from restaurant owners....


Opinion: Enabling next-gen transportation fixes

In an age when histrionics — and not action — too-often hog the public spotlight, it’s most encouraging that the Georgia General Assembly has recently made significant headway toward improving the state’s transportation systems. That is a great victory for pragmatism and politics as the art of the possible at a time, nationally, when discordant sound seems to triumph too often...

Opinion: Metro Atlanta making great strides in improving mobility

The recent passage of legislation creating a regional transit authority in metro Atlanta is one of the most significant steps ever taken to improve transportation in our region. As a result, we’ll be able to better connect communities and employment centers, improve quality of life, and ensure our long-term economic competitiveness. As we mark this historic moment, it’s important to understand...

Opinion: Moving forward on regional transit in metro Atlanta

A few weeks ago, the Georgia General Assembly passed landmark legislation creating a regional transit authority in metro Atlanta. Skeptics believed it couldn’t be done, saying the issue was too complicated, our state and region too divided. But I had faith that these obstacles could be overcome. Indeed, through the many months spent shepherding this bill through the state Legislature, I was...

Opinion: Reed’s legacy as mayor in real doubt

Kasim Reed was, in many ways, a good mayor for Atlanta. Maybe not great — certainly not Beyoncé-at-Coachella great, as he himself might see it — but nonetheless good. During Reed’s two terms in office, the city has prospered. The crime rate fell, transformative projects such as the Beltline moved forward, corporate America bought into the Atlanta story and thanks in part to...

Opinion: Unwise to unleash dogs of war

As sabers rattle ever louder across fields, plains, oceans and deserts, President Trump’s words from earlier this year haunt the stable mind: “I would love to be able to bring back our country into a great form of unity,” he said. “Without a major event where people pull together, that’s hard to do. But I would like to do it without that major event because usually that...
Torpy at Large: Hey, Gov. Deal, don’t allow cities to cannibalize

Torpy at Large: Hey, Gov. Deal, don’t allow cities to cannibalize

Gov. Nathan Deal has not been afraid to use his veto when the Legislature, in all its wisdom, passes a bill that needs to be strangled and quickly buried. Two years ago, he shot down a “religious liberty” bill to avoid a business-sapping controversy. He also stopped the campus carry gun law (although a year later he allowed a watered-down version to become law). Both were big-time...
Opinion: Israel’s 70th anniversary worth world’s reflection

Opinion: Israel’s 70th anniversary worth world’s reflection

My mother’s first glimpse of Israel was on an early spring day in 1950 as the ship that took her from Italy got closer to the Promised Land. Her eyes teared as she viewed for the first time Mount Carmel and the port city of Haifa below, with an Israeli Star Of David flag wavering in the light breeze. Years later, she relived that moment as she held my father’s hand and said in Hungarian...
Opinion: 2018 is a big political year. Count on us to guide you through it.

Opinion: 2018 is a big political year. Count on us to guide you through it.

If you follow politics, then you know that 2018 is a pivotal, potentially historic election cycle in Georgia. Consider the stakes. We will elect a new governor to replace the term-limited Nathan Deal, along with seven other statewide executive offices. Every seat in the Georgia General Assembly is on the ballot. That means 56 state Senate seats and 180 seats in the Georgia House will be up for grabs...

Opinion: The fatal vanity of James Comey

James Comey loves the spotlight. The spotlight does not love him back. In the harsh glare of the spotlight, you begin to see that it has never been enough for Comey to strive to be honest and ethical. You begin to see that his Achilles heel, his Kryptonite, is that he needs to see that image of himself reflected back to him by others, that he needs to be recognized by others to be honest and ethical...
Opinion: 100 days of progress, and some challenges

Opinion: 100 days of progress, and some challenges

As the 60th Mayor of Atlanta, I am committed to enhancing our international status as a global city whose diversity is its biggest asset. In my first 100 days in office, my administration has moved with urgency to fulfill campaign pledges around critical issues that matter the most to our residents: affordability, education, equity, public safety, mobility and transparency. We agreed to transfer 51...
Torpy at Large: Tex McIver is unlikable and dangerous. But a murderer?

Torpy at Large: Tex McIver is unlikable and dangerous. But a murderer?

Tex McIver is one flawed, hot mess of a human being. Of that there’s little doubt. The 2016 killing of Tex’s wife shined a light on the life of a man — and on a thought process — that was odious to at least half of Atlanta. Probably even a much bigger fraction. Insular, entitled, suspicious, connected, rich, careless and clueless. Tex is all of those. Testimony from this long-running...
Micro schools bring new approach to educational needs

Micro schools bring new approach to educational needs

Like many parents today, I have mixed feelings about the future and how my children will adapt to the continuous changes. Technology is certainly leading the way, and high-tech companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google are considering bringing thousands of jobs to metro Atlanta. A traditional education, however, may not necessarily prepare our children for new careers in today’s society. My...

Opinion: GOP speakers have short lifespan

“You all know that I did not seek this job,” House Speaker Paul Ryan reminded the country in announcing his retirement. “I took it reluctantly.” Three years ago, Ryan had indeed been adamant, refusing to drink from the poisoned chalice of becoming a GOP speaker. He relented, but only after being begged to do so by fellow Republicans, who told him that party loyalty and patriotism...
Opinion: Religious freedom law would be good for Amazon and Ga.

Opinion: Religious freedom law would be good for Amazon and Ga.

As Amazon continues to deliberate on its new HQ2 location, it’s worth reflecting on the disingenuous argument coming from many on the left that a state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is bad for business. While making their claim, critics fail to mention that Bill Clinton signed the federal RFRA into law in 1993. They also ignore the success of dozens of other RFRA states - including...
Torpy at Large: Rat-infested corruption and Atlanta’s reputation reboot

Torpy at Large: Rat-infested corruption and Atlanta’s reputation reboot

On Monday morning, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms asked more than two dozen top officials at City Hall to hand in their resignations. Bottoms kept in place the existing brain trust when she came to office in January, saying she’d keep the crew she inherited for three months, which would give her time to figure out what was what. That time is up and such a move is vital because...

Opinion: Does Ga. want a Ten Commandments governor?

In 2001, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore arranged for a 5,500-pound Ten Commandments monument to be installed in the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court building. The monument – on state land, in a state building – sent a clear message to anyone entering the building that having the right kind of religion might affect justice. It also sent a message to many people that they were not welcome...
Torpy at Large: Mayor Big Spender vs small-minded response to scrutiny

Torpy at Large: Mayor Big Spender vs small-minded response to scrutiny

In June of 2015, former Mayor Kasim Reed was in New York for an event with Hillary Clinton, who was announcing her presidential run. Hizzoner rented a limo (or at least a fancy chauffeured vehicle) from Carey Executive Transportation. The rental was $1,087 and he put it on his city-issued credit card. He repaid it later with money he had lying around from his old campaign fund (which is legal). But...

Opinion: The Founding Fathers v. Donald J. Trump

“It’s an attack on our country, in a true sense,” President Trump said Monday, sitting in the White House Cabinet room surrounded by generals and admirals. “It’s an attack on what we all stand for.” The president was not describing the well-documented attempt by Russia to interfere with our 2016 elections — he has never used words anywhere near that strong...
Torpy at Large: Seeing red over Buckhead Pink Palace plan? That’s rich

Torpy at Large: Seeing red over Buckhead Pink Palace plan? That’s rich

For months, a battle has loomed over the fate of Atlanta’s Pink Palace. No, it’s not a raucous nudie bar on Cheshire Bridge Road. It’s a sedate 12,000-square-foot Italian Baroque-style villa on West Paces Ferry Road, a grandiose classic with a long-approach driveway and an expansive front lawn. And that’s the problem — someone could build a gargantuan McMansion out front...
Opinion: Recalling an Atlantan who changed the world

Opinion: Recalling an Atlantan who changed the world

The scene was extraordinary. A crush of people, as far as the eye could see, gathered along the streets between Ebenezer Baptist Church and Morehouse College. Most were dressed in their Sunday best. The crowd was quiet, respectful and solemn. Some had climbed trees or street poles for a better view. Along the street progressed a mule-drawn wagon, transporting a man who had fought for the dignity and...

Opinion: Finding lessons from a life well-lived

A man who changed the world was our own. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a son of the South in general, and Atlanta in particular. Much of the nation and world observed, and even mourns still, his passing from this earth 50 years ago last week. Murdered by an assassin’s bullet, King’s death — and life — are well worth the solemn remembrance accorded the sad occasion in recent...

Opinion: MLK, ideals should not remain ‘safely dead’

On April 9th, we will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the funeral of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., famed co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church and the greatest civil rights leader of the 2oth century. That day, throngs of people from across the country and around the world packed into the small sanctuary of Ebenezer church and into the streets, as the 39-year-old preacher, who transformed the whole...

Opinion: King’s last days still have lesson for us all

The shot that echoed in the Memphis dusk 50 years ago still reverberates through our national life, yet there is so much about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. we find hard to absorb. In our long effort to moderate King, to make him safe, we have forgotten how unpopular he had become by 1968. In his last years, King was harassed, dismissed and often saddened. These years after Selma are often dealt...

Opinion: Assessing past predictions made here

A week has passed since April Fool’s Day, so this is no joke: This is my last column for the AJC. It was not quite nine years ago I began, a Georgia native returning home. It was a great adventure, one that alternately exhilarated and humbled me. On Monday I’ll start a new adventure, as head of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a think tank dedicated to free markets and limited government...

Opinion: MLK’s legacy of changed hearts, minds

People know you are a major historical figure when you are identified with just the letters representing your name. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of those historical personalities known simply as MLK. MLK is a benchmark in our history because he led a movement that changed hearts and minds about the promise of our Founders. Namely, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are...
Opinion: Repeat after me: Charter schools are public schools

Opinion: Repeat after me: Charter schools are public schools

Charter schools are public schools. Charter schools are public schools. Charter schools are public schools. Forgive the repetition, but for a lot of people this simple fact doesn’t seem to be sinking in. The legislative session that ended last week saw a number of policy fights, but the most surprising, and disappointing, might have been the one waged over a bill to bring state charter schools...

Opinion: Our current populist movement’s about more than the economy

In his latest book, “Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy,” William Galston of the Brookings Institution wrote: “When I began writing about the travails of liberal democracy a few years ago, I believed economics represented the heart of the matter.” Everyone bought into the democratic system so long as prosperity was increasingly and widely shared. However...
Remembering the dream

Remembering the dream

On April 4, 1968, Celestine Sibley, a columnist with The Atlanta Constitution, was driving along a Mississippi road when she heard the terrible news: The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. – “a kind man, an eloquent man,” Sibley recalled – was gone. That night, rain beat against the windshield of Sibley’s car. Lightning flashed wildly across the sky. One of the greatest civil...
Essay: King paved the way for my daughter and millions of others

Essay: King paved the way for my daughter and millions of others

A few years ago, I took my young daughter to the High Museum of Art to see an exhibition of photographs entitled “Gordon Parks: Segregation Story.” I wanted Carly, 5 at the time, to begin to understand that central pillar of the history of her country. » The AJC’s MLK50 page Alongside works by the legendary Parks, the High featured some black-and-white images by documentary...
Opinion: Stormy Daniels proving equal match for Trump’s bombast

Opinion: Stormy Daniels proving equal match for Trump’s bombast

Those who say the Stormy Daniels interview March 25 on “60 Minutes” contained nothing new missed the historical importance of what they were viewing: How Daniels has become President Donald Trump’s kryptonite. Throughout his political rise we have seen former reality TV star Trump use every available form of threat, insult, lawsuit and bombast to silence his opponents and frighten...

Opinion: These kids could tutor world leaders

NDONGA, Central African Republic — This remote village doesn’t have an official school, and there’s no functioning government to build one. So the villagers, desperate to improve their children’s lives, used branches and leaves to construct their own dirt-floor schoolhouse. It has no electricity, windows or desks, and it doesn’t keep out rain or beetles, but it does imbue...
Revisiting a journalism giant

Revisiting a journalism giant

I just couldn’t pass up the offer. A friend mentioned that the widow of Ralph McGill, the famous editor of The Atlanta Constitution, was a member of his church. Would I like to meet her, he asked. I jumped at the chance — thrilled by the opportunity to talk with someone who had a direct connection to one of Atlanta’s and journalism’s historic figures. McGill, who won the Pulitzer...
Torpy at Large: Timber! Tree canopy disappears one huge home at a time

Torpy at Large: Timber! Tree canopy disappears one huge home at a time

Last June, I wrote about Atlanta’s ongoing Chainsaw Massacre, when builders in a residential Buckhead neighborhood whacked more than 800 trees to plop a couple of developments across from each other. Weeks later, the city announced a six-month moratorium on removal of more than 10 trees on parcels zoned residential and bigger than 5 acres. The move provided a slight speed hump for...
Opinion: Treating pain while discouraging addiction

Opinion: Treating pain while discouraging addiction

The nation, and Georgia, continue to struggle with a crisis of abuse of the class of painkillers known as opioids. It’s a sign of the severity of the problem that “opioids” is now a household name, even though many who’re aware of the moniker likely know little about them. Awareness, sadly, is likely increasing as more families and people come to be afflicted by this public...
Opinion: Public records belong to public

Opinion: Public records belong to public

A couple of weeks ago, two agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation showed up at the AJC’s offices. It was the next step in an important investigation. They came to interview a pair of our reporters. But those reporters hadn’t done anything wrong — in fact, I’d argue they’d done some things that you’d see as honorable and important. Let me explain. Investigative...
Opinion: Growth, patience pay off for conservative governance

Opinion: Growth, patience pay off for conservative governance

Legislators passed scores of bills this year, as usual. But the 2018 session, which ended just after midnight Thursday, will be remembered best for three seemingly contradictory fiscal measures. The state’s reserves remained on track to hit $2.5 billion by year’s end. K-12 public schools were fully funded for — depending on who you ask — either the first time since 2002 or...
Opinion: Georgia will miss Gov. Deal

Opinion: Georgia will miss Gov. Deal

On the whole, Nathan Deal has been a good governor. Admittedly, those are words that I did not think I’d write seven and a half years ago, in large part because of the ethical baggage that Deal brought to Atlanta from his time in Congress. Those concerns were real — indeed, the biggest black mark of Deal’s tenure as governor remains his decision to push out employees of the state...
Torpy at Large: Murder trials and Facebook don’t mix in Cobb County

Torpy at Large: Murder trials and Facebook don’t mix in Cobb County

These days, the public is souring on Facebook because of the company’s oily manner when it comes to processing our information. Now, Cobb County prosecutors are jumping on the anti-Facebook wave to blame the online giant — and a couple of defense lawyers — for short-circuiting an old double-murder case that recently came up for trial. What probably got the district attorney&rsquo...
Opinion: On Zell Miller as a model for Georgia

Opinion: On Zell Miller as a model for Georgia

An outpouring of sympathy and respect from those he fought with and against, and from many others who never even met him. A visitation by a trio of former presidents, only one of whom was from his state and only two of whom belonged to his political party. An occasion for reflection on Georgia, and Georgians’ lives, both before and after he made his imprint on it, and them. This is what the...

Opinion: Treating those in pain while fighting opioid abuse

The opioid (narcotic) epidemic is a topic of national conversation and concern. While it is a conversation we as a country need to have, it is also important to focus on treating addiction and abuse in a way that still allows for the treatment of patients with legitimate chronic pain. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 25.3 million adults suffer from chronic...

Opinion: Fight against opioids can start with teens taking stand

The Bubonic Plague. The influenza pandemic. The HIV/AIDS epidemic. When I’ve learned in school about these diseases that affected millions of people, I’ve also learned about the incredible responses societies had: communities banded to educate their members about risks and provide resources and support in an effort to wipe out diseases that were killing people. Now we have another epidemic...
Kempner: Ignore call from boss? Georgia shifts on distracted driving

Kempner: Ignore call from boss? Georgia shifts on distracted driving

Georgia’s new distracted driving rules are confusing and watered down, but they give Georgians a legal excuse not to work in their cars and to ignore calls from bosses and customers. Some workaholics won’t take the hint. Not when they spend all that time brewing in Atlanta’s traffic. Not when plenty of employees and business owners have learned that the virtual office is everywhere...
Kempner: Will the Amazon-Trump spat cost you? Beware, online shoppers

Kempner: Will the Amazon-Trump spat cost you? Beware, online shoppers

President Trump pointedly accused Amazon of not paying enough in taxes. That’s an interesting call for our president, who apparently didn’t pay federal income taxes for years and boasted about “brilliantly” working tax laws as a private citizen. If the president is trying to highlight unfairness in our tax systems, he’s right. He’s just off on the target. The...
50 years after his death, it’s time to talk about King

50 years after his death, it’s time to talk about King

Dear subscribers, I’m the furthest thing from a salesman. But I know this: Thursday night was a powerful argument in favor of subscribing to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Why? Well, if you were among the AJC subscribers gathered at the Atlanta History Center you got a treat. The AJC, along with our reporting partners Channel 2 Action News and WSB Radio, hosted an intimate, poignant discussion...
Torpy at Large: APD turns its back on shoplifting in Buckhead 

Torpy at Large: APD turns its back on shoplifting in Buckhead 

The Atlanta Police Department’s announcement last week that cops would largely stop responding to shoplifting cases in Buckhead was a head-turner. It’s like the fire department saying it will no longer respond to smoldering garbage cans or fetch cats from trees. The once-popular “Broken Windows” strategy of policing even the small stuff seems to be, well, out the window...
John Bolton will put ‘America first,’ the right says

John Bolton will put ‘America first,’ the right says

President Donald Trump announced Thursday his hire of former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, who will replace H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser.  The right believes Bolton is the best man for the job. A roundup of opinions explores the issue: 1. John Bolton will put America first after years of failed Obama policy From The Hill: “MAGA has a real chance to...
Opinion: Senate shouldn’t sunset valuable education program

Opinion: Senate shouldn’t sunset valuable education program

It’s that time of year, when we see what new excuse legislators will conjure to stymie one of the state’s most popular educational programs. Georgia’s tax-credit scholarship program helps more than 13,000 students each year attend the private school of their choice. Donors to scholarship organizations get a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit, and the credits, limited to $58 million...
Torpy at Large: The stench of Atlanta City Hall’s ‘POO’ strategy

Torpy at Large: The stench of Atlanta City Hall’s ‘POO’ strategy

You can call them smoking guns. Or steaming communications. But the text messages from former Mayor Kasim Reed’s press secretary Jenna Garland to a city watershed official sure look damning. And now the GBI is investigating the matter to see how badly Garland (or perhaps others at City Hall) thumbed her or their noses at state open records laws. Last March, Channel 2 Action News was sniffing...
Opinion: Ga. lawmakers shouldn’t let hospitals seize state tax refunds

Opinion: Ga. lawmakers shouldn’t let hospitals seize state tax refunds

When President Obama and Congress rammed through the Affordable Care Act eight years ago this month, it was adopted on the premise of bringing down health insurance costs for all Americans. But in reality, the plan transferred much of the skyrocketing cost of healthcare from providers and insurers to patients. It seems some in the Georgia Legislature want to follow in Obama’s footsteps as the...
Opinion: For voters, GOP tax cut means nada

Opinion: For voters, GOP tax cut means nada

Even though they control every lever of the federal government, Republicans can so far claim only one solitary accomplishment of any significance, the passage of a massive tax cut. This week, in the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, they gave that singular accomplishment a test drive as a campaign issue, and it didn’t just fall flat, it backfired. It backfired...
Opinion: Fixes that can’t be delayed in DeKalb

Opinion: Fixes that can’t be delayed in DeKalb

There’s nothing like a spectacular water main break in the middle of an arterial roadway to drag widespread attention back to the ongoing mess that clings stubbornly to water and sewer operations in DeKalb County. The March 7 failure of a four-foot-diameter water main under Buford Highway provided dramatic visuals for news cameras and washed serious, widespread lifestyle and business disruptions...
Torpy at Large: More racial drama at KSU, and it’s staged

Torpy at Large: More racial drama at KSU, and it’s staged

There was a call to “Stop!” during the rehearsal of the Shakespeare play in the making at Kennesaw State University. In the darkened corner of the stage, an old white guy and a black college student huddled together and started gesturing and laughing in a prolonged conversation, seemingly sharing a few private jokes. It was clear they were buds. For the past couple of months, the elderly...
Opinion: For two (or more) Georgias, two (or more) approaches needed

Opinion: For two (or more) Georgias, two (or more) approaches needed

To be two Georgias, or not to be. For going on 35 years, that has been the question. It was in the early 1980s that we first heard the notion that our state was really two, variously described as metro Atlanta vs. South Georgia or metro Atlanta vs. everywhere else. There’s an argument to be made that there are more than two. The temptation under the Gold Dome has been to govern as if this weren&rsquo...
Torpy at Large: Swords to plowshares, AR-15 to flowers

Torpy at Large: Swords to plowshares, AR-15 to flowers

Maybe he simply outgrew the weapon. Or his politics shifted. Perhaps it was “things gotta change and it must start with me.” Whatever the case, an Atlanta man and war veteran named Chris Purdy went on his neighborhood Nextdoor site recently to say he was disposing of his AR-15 and wanted to make a statement doing it. There was something captivating about the guy on Facebook, he said, the...
Kempner: Why gun shop owners need to turn away more customers

Kempner: Why gun shop owners need to turn away more customers

Ken Baye sells guns, including assault-style rifles. But sometimes when a customer comes in Stoddard’s Range and Guns to buy a firearm or shoot at targets, Baye and his team go beyond what gun control laws require and turn down the sale if they think the person seems off. If a patron acts distraught, smells like weed or booze, or mentions something like wanting a gun because they just had...
Opinion: Trump and his ‘bad trade’ accusation

Opinion: Trump and his ‘bad trade’ accusation

If you believe President Trump — a dangerous act in its own right — the United States has long allowed itself to be played for a fool in bad trade deals negotiated by tougher, smarter competitors. “People have to understand, our country, on trade, has been ripped off by virtually every country in the world, whether it’s friend or enemy, everybody,” he told reporters this...
Opinion: Term limits won’t solve the real problem

Opinion: Term limits won’t solve the real problem

There’s a newcomer under the Gold Dome this year. He’s a polite fellow with a rather quixotic pursuit: Persuading state legislators to endorse a Constitutional Convention to create term limits. Now, the idea isn’t to limit their own terms, but those for members of Congress. So, he’s having a bit of success. But while term limits are a popular idea, I’ve come to believe...
Opinion: License to block people from getting work

Opinion: License to block people from getting work

Here is something that shouldn’t be controversial: People who want a job so they can improve their lives should be encouraged, not blocked by obstacles created by government. Welcome to the hell, for many people, that is occupational licensing. Some of the jobs to which lower-income Georgians might gravitate turn out to be some of the hardest to break into, requiring hundreds and hundreds of...
Torpy at Large: Cobb’s ATM helps make Braves a cash machine

Torpy at Large: Cobb’s ATM helps make Braves a cash machine

The first-year results are in for Cobb County’s publicly subsidized professional baseball team. And the outcome is “astounding,” according to Liberty Media, the Colorado company that owns the Atlanta Braves. Revenue is up 47 percent, from $262 million in 2016, the last year at Turner Field in Atlanta, to $386 million, the first year at SunTrust Park in Cobb. The new arrangement includes...
Trump’s top Georgia ally urging him to change course on tariffs

Trump’s top Georgia ally urging him to change course on tariffs

Some of Georgia’s top Republican lawmakers are pushing back against Donald Trump’s proposal to impose steep tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum, including one of the president’s most prominent backers in the state.  U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., said he met privately with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Tuesday morning to urge the administration to adopt &ldquo...
Cancer surgery hasn’t deterred Sandra Deal from her literacy mission

Cancer surgery hasn’t deterred Sandra Deal from her literacy mission

Weeks removed from successful breast cancer surgery, Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal has resumed her favorite pastime: Traveling the state to read to young children.  She and her husband, Gov. Nathan Deal, kicked off Read Across Georgia Month at the state Capitol as part of initiative that aims to have all Georgia third-graders reading at grade-level or better by the time they finish the third...

Opinion: Remembering the Dark Side

Somebody on Twitter today recommended a new piece at Rolling Stone titled “Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’: 10 Things You  Didn’t Know.” I have a special fondness for that album -- my first rock concert was the Dark Side tour in 1973, in Munich, so naturally I got sucked into reading it. Unlike most such Internet come-ons, this one kept...
Opinion: How to fuel economic trouble

Opinion: How to fuel economic trouble

Once upon a time, Georgia had politicians who were generally wise enough to not let election-season antics act against economic development. They understood that “wisdom” and “moderation” comprise two of three words in the state motto. That season of common sense is gone, it seems. Nothing proves this moreso than the recent boneheaded and corrosive actions to punish Delta Air...
Opinion: Cagle answers attacks on conservatives, re: Delta Air Lines

Opinion: Cagle answers attacks on conservatives, re: Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines represents part of the bedrock of our state’s economy. Delta has made Atlanta America’s front door to the world, and we owe the company and its employees our appreciation for the role they play in our economic success. It’s important that I say this first because we can’t let it get lost in the discussion about how conservatives in Georgia have responded to...
Torpy at Large: DeKalb commissioners’ chutzpah exceeds their 60% raise

Torpy at Large: DeKalb commissioners’ chutzpah exceeds their 60% raise

Let’s start out by saying lots of public officials are underpaid. State legislators, for instance, barely make $17,000, which is chump change. You get what you pay for. If remuneration is pathetic, then you limit the number of working stiffs willing to step up, so you end up with the retired, the rich, some thoughtful do-gooders and perhaps some looking to walk off with anything that’s...
Georgia governor will reluctantly sign bill that strips Delta tax break  

Georgia governor will reluctantly sign bill that strips Delta tax break  

Gov. Nathan Deal said he would reluctantly support a measure that stripped a lucrative tax break for Delta Air Lines but also includes broader cuts to the state’s income tax rate. The Republican was a vocal supporter of the $50 million tax break, which would have eliminated the state’s tax on jet fuels. But Senate Republicans voted Wednesday to strip it out of the measure after Lt. Gov...
Kempner: Delta, NRA and Cagle’s political litmus test for taxpayers

Kempner: Delta, NRA and Cagle’s political litmus test for taxpayers

Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is being bad for business. Which means he’s being bad for jobs in Georgia. That’s a problem for a guy running to be governor. Cagle’s economic sin isn’t that he’s critical of Delta Air Lines — the state’s largest private employer — for ending a travel discount it offered to NRA members. No, Cagle’s mistake is...
Torpy at Large: In Ga. fight, Delta’s muscle no match for NRA’s big guns

Torpy at Large: In Ga. fight, Delta’s muscle no match for NRA’s big guns

Lt. Gov. Crazy Eyes (aka Casey Cagle) was stuck. Delta Air Lines, his friend and benefactor, whom he had dutifully supported through the years, had gone and done something that left him in a pickle: The airline dissed the NRA. In the wake of the latest school slaughter, Delta was getting pressured to end its marketing arrangement with the National Rifle Association, one that afforded members...
Torpy at Large: A driver-cellphone crackdown shouldn't be a tough call

Torpy at Large: A driver-cellphone crackdown shouldn't be a tough call

This cellphone legislation may hit a lot of us hard. Many days after work, I return calls during my half-hour drive home. I grab my iPhone, tell it to “Call Mom!” (or whomever), tap the speaker button, put the phone on my lap and yack. It’s a good way fill what one might consider to be dead time. Now, a bill sponsored by state Rep. John Carson will make that illegal. Basically...
Opinion: ‘Austerity cuts’ are no reason to reject school-choice bills

Opinion: ‘Austerity cuts’ are no reason to reject school-choice bills

This is shaping up as a pretty decent legislative session on a number of fronts. There’s even a chance we’ll see the first full steps forward on school choice in a few years. The House on Thursday approved higher funding for public charter schools approved by the state, which has languished well below the state average for years. I’m told the House and Senate are also nearing a compromise...
Feds eye new food stamp changes

Feds eye new food stamp changes

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, led by former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, is signaling it’s open to making changes to how it handles aspects of its food stamp program.  The department will announce Friday that it’s soliciting public input for how it administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to able-bodied people without children, a proposition that is...
Kempner: Big Delta squeezes Georgia and metro Atlanta’s poorest county

Kempner: Big Delta squeezes Georgia and metro Atlanta’s poorest county

Here’s what we should never forget about Delta: it is fabulously good for Georgia’s economy, and it never tires of squeezing fellow Georgians for more profits. Picture more than 500 local high school students showing up at the headquarters of mighty Delta Air Lines to protest. They were there — at the urging of Clayton County school officials — to fight the company&rsquo...
Opinion: Gun politics need less shouting, more persuasion

Opinion: Gun politics need less shouting, more persuasion

On one of our trips to Atlanta while living overseas, my wife and I were waiting to re-check our bags after clearing customs. The line was held up by a older man of Asian descent who clearly didn’t speak or read English, and didn’t understand he was supposed to remove his laptop computer from its bag before placing it on the belt to go through the metal detector. A security officer was...
Federal lawsuit targets ‘gerrymandered’ Georgia House districts

Federal lawsuit targets ‘gerrymandered’ Georgia House districts

A Washington-based advocacy group asked a federal judge Wednesday to toss out a 2015 map that was designed to protect two vulnerable lawmakers, contending in a motion that records show minority voters were moved out of the districts to protect incumbents.  The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law claims the districts of Reps. Joyce Chandler, R-Grayson, and Brian Strickland...
Opinion: ‘testament to the sick immaturity of our gov’t’

Opinion: ‘testament to the sick immaturity of our gov’t’

In recent days, Donald Trump Jr. has twice “liked” tweets posted by right-wing extremists suggesting that young David Hogg, one of the leaders in the Parkland student movement, is an FBI plant “running cover for his dad who works as an FBI agent at the Miami office,” which mishandled a tip about the shooter who took 17 lives. Not coincidentally, that theory dovetails with...
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