Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Hacking of Sony by North Korea

May Santa bring Obama more drones

Marilyn Langford

Unfair and Unbalanced

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 8:05 PM CST
This week I wanted to write something light-hearted, and perhaps inspiring for this holiday season. I had no intention of scaring the bejeezus out of you. But that was before I got all riled up over rinky-dink North Korea hacking Sony Studios and Sony canceling the Christmas Day opening of a movie that I really wanted to see.

ALL JOKING aside, this is a very serious matter. Calling it a “hacking” attack undermines the severity of this event. It should be called what it is….a terrorist attack! So now we are in a war—a different kind of war—a “Cyber War.”

AS IF we didn’t have enough to worry about, now we have to be concerned about “Cyber-Terrorism.” Cyber terrorism at its worst could destroy the infrastructure of our entire nation. Now that a country like North Korea has learned that they can bring a large American company, like Sony, to their knees and to have Sony capitulate to the threats, do you think they will stop there? I don’t.

SO WHAT can we, as ordinary Americans do about it? We can stop bashing and criticizing the National Security Agency (NSA), our government agency tasked with Cyber Security for our country. NSA is our first line of defense in this Cyber War. We can stop glorifying Edward Snowden by calling him an NSA “whistle blower.” Call him what he is, a treasonous, traitor snake who should rot in Russia.

DURING WORLD War II it became obvious that someone had to be responsible for code-breaking and signals intelligence. There were several military units that were forerunners to the NSA. But, the NSA as we know it, was created by President Truman in 1952, in a memorandum. Not even an Executive Order! A simple Memorandum. (Imagine that happening today!) The memo was classified and not known to the public at the time. Even though NSA has received much unwanted attention of late, it is still the most secretive agency in America. And that’s the way it should be. That’s the way it has to be to protect our country and our freedom. There comes a time when you must let some people do their jobs and get out of the way. This is one of those times.

NSA IS our most essential intelligence agency. I know of what I speak! I worked for NSA for 12 years, from 1980-1992. Let me make it clear that I don’t know any secrets! NSA strictly adhered to “Need to Know” and all I knew was enough to do my job as a recruitment assistant. For detailed information on the mission of NSA and to see lots and lots of acronyms, go to There you will learn all you “Need to Know.”

THIS IS strictly a guess as to what is going on at NSA in response to the terrorist attack on Sony. Long before now, these NSA computer masterminds have already determined down to the longitude and latitude of the exact location of where the hacking took place. This information has been provided to the President and others with a need to know. It is not the job of the NSA to act on the information, only to obtain it.

ALL JOKING aside again. Dear Santa: Please bring President Obama lots of drones.

HAVE A very Merry Christmas and I hope you make a memory.

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Response: This is a p-a-r-o-d-y

Response: This is a p-a-r-o-d-y

Marilyn Langford

Unfair and Unbalanced

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 6:05 PM CST
It’s Christmas time and for me, that means an evening spent watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. Seems I’ve watched this movie all my life.  Hey, wait a minute!  I have watched it all my life because it’s a movie made 68 years ago (1946).  You remember it, right?  It stars Jimmy Stewart who plays a gentle, kind-hearted fella named George Bailey who spent his life helping the people of his town while sacrificing his own dreams.  But, the greediest in town did not appreciate George looking out for those in need and set out to ruin poor George.

GEORGE BAILEY became deeply troubled and wished he’d never been born. Many prayed for George and when the prayers went up to heaven, an angel-in-training trying to earn his wings was sent to save him. Just as George was about to jump off a bridge, the angel showed George what the lives of people in town would be like if George had never been born. The angel showed George that he was loved and appreciated for all the good that he had done. George did not jump, and returned home to an outpouring of love and support from the townspeople. A bell tinkled signaling that the angel got his wings.

SINCE THIS is such an old movie, perhaps it should be updated. What would our country be like if President Barack Obama was never born?

Fade to Black & White

A VERY gray haired President Obama is standing on the George Washington Bridge on Christmas Eve. He is suffering from despair to the point he is suicidal. He said he wished he’d never been born. Suddenly his guardian angel appears; an angel trying to earn his wings. He bears a strong resemblance to Robin Williams.

PRESIDENT OBAMA explains to the angel that he had great hope for this country and he tried his best. No matter how hard he tried, he could not deliver on the promises he made to the American people. “I was young and naive and thought if I were President, I could actually change things in this country for the better.” The angel replied, “Take a walk with me Barack.”

THE FIRST glimpse into what it would have been like if Obama had never been born was a stop on Wall Street. It was dilapidated, abandoned buildings. The angel pointed out that at the end of President Bush’s Presidency our country was losing jobs at 800,000 jobs a month and the bleeding was not stopped. The Congress failed to pass a rescue plan. This led to a stock market crash. “You see, Barack, there was never an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Obama looked around at the streets puzzled and asked, “Why is everyone driving a Hyundai or riding a bike?” “You see, Barack, there was never a bailout of the American auto industry. Then the price of gasoline rose so high, people had to abandon their cars.”

THE NEXT stop was to gaze into a window at a family having Christmas dinner. The large family looked sad and teary-eyed. The angel explained that the father had Type I diabetes and he was very sick. He could not afford insulin and the supplies necessary to control this disease. He could not get insurance because his diabetes was considered a pre-existing condition.  “Obama said, “But what about the Affordable Care Act?” The angel replied, “There was no Obama Care because you were never born.”

AS THEY walked by a school, Obama asked the angel, “Why are all these children obese and sitting down, instead of running and playing?” The angel looked sad and said, “That’s because you were never born and Michelle Obama was never First Lady to create the Let’s Move program which addressed childhood obesity and fitness.

PRESIDENT OBAMA climbed down off the bridge. He said to the angel, “Thank you for showing me that my life has made a difference to millions of people in our country.  I’m sure now I will be treated with respect and admiration. The angel looked at Obama like he had four eyes and said, “Nope!  They still hate you!”

A LITTLE bell tinkled and that meant the angel got his wings.

Note: To the gentleman who said last week that my truthful column on Benghazi was a parody, I say, “No! This column is a parody.” (Or is it?)

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Response to My Benghazi Column

Langford column: Truth or parody?

Guest Column

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 6:05 PM CST
Marilyn Langford’s column last week was about a Republican congressional committee which found President Obama and his staff “guiltless” in the Benghazi incident. I considered the column to be intriguing. Perhaps, because I have spent my adult life dealing with literary analysis, I saw in it all the characteristics of a specific genre. It was a parody, a kind of writing that pokes fun at what, on the surface, it seems to support.

A PARODY uses unnecessary repetition to achieve an undeserved emphasis. Langford begins her column by repeating the word “Benghazi” three consecutive times. She makes each repetition so emphatic that the single word is a sentence in itself. This emphasis is exaggeration, another trait of a parody. For an intelligent reader, one Benghazi would have been sufficient to relay Langford’s message. Three Benghazis, each as a sentence, was over-kill. It was like killing an ant with a hydrogen bomb. Why did she emphasize her point so thunderously? A psychological principle indicates that the more uncertain one is of his view, the louder he screams it.

LANGFORD DELVED into farce when she concluded readers were sick of hearing about Benghazi. Then, she plowed forward with a whole column on the very subject she said was making readers sick. Why would she want to make county readers sick? She talked about conspiracies being rift in the country. Was this a conspiracy? I couldn’t tell.

THERE WAS something classic about the way Langford presented readers the findings of the congressional committee. The committee determined President Obama and his staff were “guiltless” in the Benghazi tragedy. Langford seemed to believe that being guiltless was a major victory for truth and integrity. All it showed is that the president and administration had not to have perpetrated actionable crimes.

THE PRESIDENT maintained unawareness and lack of involvement in the events of that night in Libya. Isn’t that a crime in itself? It was Democratic President Harry Truman who kept the sign on his White House desk: “The buck stops here.” In short, the president is ultimately responsible. Claiming ignorance or denying involvement does not absolve responsibility. With President Obama, the buck never gets to his desk. It goes to some remote, shadowy desk, to an unknown and without the president’s knowledge. In the Benghazi situation, the buck is said to have landed on the desk of a group of nameless intelligence analysts. The president is unaware, a stranger to personnel, isolated, uninformed and so politically inactive, I feel sorry for him. No wonder he spends time on the golf course. He doesn’t have anything else to do.

CONSIDER THE multitude of scandals that define his presidency: The veterans’ care scandal, the IRS scandal, the Affordable Care scandal, the domestic and foreign spying scandal, Benghazi, etc. The president was ignorant of every aspect of these troubling situations. Not only was he uninvolved, he didn’t know what had happened or who had done what. If the president Is telling the truth, why didn’t he know? Why wasn’t he involved? One must wonder who our leader is, who is running the Ship of State and who is in charge. For the record, using a small reason to justify something when there is a larger reason that invalidates the small reason is another kind of fallacy.

MY FAVORITE part of Langford’s “parody” was her comment about people who watch Fox News. Triumphantly, she proclaimed that people who watch Fox News are less informed than others and there are studies to prove it. “Less informed” is the politically correct way of saying “more ignorant”. Langford must have spent considerable time working on that part of the column because never have so many fallacies of reason occupied so small a space.  When I was a young boy, my daddy made me understand that one must not clump a whole group into one mold. In short, it is inherently wrong to assume that all Fox viewers are alike. Some Fox fans may be members of MENSA while others may be ignorant, but the group will be as diverse as any other large group. There are numerous studies which prove it. I would like to know the origins of the studies Langford cited. Are they harboring a bias, an agenda? What were their qualifications?  Surely Langford knows one can find studies which support every bias and agenda under the sun. By the way, I watch MSNBC and Fox. I wonder what that makes me.

LANGFORD’S DICTION demonstrated an unmistakable disdain for all republicans and for FOX. She used loaded terms such as “downright lies” and “demonized” in her reference to them. I admit I don’t know the difference between a lie and a downright lie, so I don’t know which one the president is guilty of. I do know there is a substantial number of videos which show the president’s penchant for telling untruths. Once one is caught lying, all his statements become suspect. The president took no chance of being misunderstood. He lied all along.

IT MADE me proud that Langford did depart from the usual democrat response to every criticism of the president. She did not introduce the “race card”. She understands that one can disapprove of a policy, an action or a plan for reasons other than that the president is half African-American.

I know Ms. Langford’s column was no parody. She wasn’t making fun of her own views. She was serious. She was expressing what she believed, and I admire any one’s courage to do that. There were many accusations, and they were stated in strong terms. One party seems to wish the other party would vanish from the earth, and the other party is guilty of the same feelings. Does anyone think of peaceful co-existence anymore?

I GREW up in an avidly political family. One of my father’s joys was to be a part of a fierce political debate. One might think he and his opponent were about to fight to the death, but they didn’t. When the debate was over, they shook hands and left still the best of friends. What has happened to us that we no longer observe even simple rules of courtesy where people with opposing views are concerned? Have we become such egomaniacs that we think there is only one way and that is our way? Until we become respectful of others and their opinions, we are less than the great republic our ancestors created, regardless of whether we are Democrats or Republicans.

YES! THIS column is a parody…of sorts.

Wendell Ramage of Forsyth is the former editor of the Reporter and is a retired English teacher.


Only faith can bring races together

Marilyn Langford

Unfair and Unbalanced

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 6:05 PM CST
The night the Ferguson Grand Jury decision was announced, I knew I was watching an historic event. But what will history say we learned from this event?  I think we learned that Civil Rights laws alone are not enough to remedy discrimination, prejudice, and racial profiling that are innate with not all, but by a large number of White people. Racism cannot be legislated away. After all, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law in 1964 (50 years ago).

BLACK PEOPLE  have always known this. I witnessed racial profiling up close several years ago. My husband and I were waiting to be seated at Planet Hollywood in downtown Atlanta. The iconic Civil Rights leader, Congressman John Lewis was in line ahead of us. We were chatting with him. A 20’s something male approached Congressman Lewis and said, “Excuse me. I need a table for two.” Of course, Congressman Lewis was very gracious. I was mortified. Congressman Lewis was not. He was used to being profiled because of his skin color.

IT HAS been said that the good that will come out of the Ferguson event will be that a conversation will be started. I don’t think that’s gonna happen! I learned that in my own family gathering on Thanksgiving. Even though we all basically agreed, opinions were so passionately expressed that it took my wisecracking, nine-year-old grandson to break it up. “Who needs television news when you have this!”

THE SUBJECT of Ferguson is so explosive that I approach it here with trepidation. I have spent my life loathing racism and showing my color-blindness in the way I live my life. Yes, young Black men are the victims of profiling and sometimes wrongfully killed. However, I truly believe that this was not the case in the Michael Brown shooting. On the other hand, I believe the chokehold case in New York was murder. Plain and simple. Each case should be judged on its own merits.

A PERSON'S opinions are colored by their life experiences. I am a former police officer from a metropolitan area. I feel I can see both sides of the issue. You never want to use your gun and you fear the day it may happen. When I accepted the job as a police officer, I accepted the premise that if the threat was “you or him”, then you must “shoot to kill.” This was our training. If a suspect hit me on my face and grabbed my gun and tried to turn it on me, I would have shot, too.

NOT ALL police officers should be judged by the actions of a few. I witnessed first hand police officers that were known to be racially biased. I witnessed officers with anger problems. These officers should be culled from the ranks. There should be more in-depth psychological testing for police officers before they are hired. Perhaps the “shoot to kill” doctrine should be revised.

AS WITH police officers, peaceful protesters should not be judged by the actions of the few looters and arsonists. The looting and burning that took place that night did nothing to advance the cause of abolishing racism. Their actions were so despicable that some white people will carry those images with them and use it to justify their racism. To nullify some of the negative effects of this behavior, the Black community in Ferguson should insist that the looters and arsonists be identified and prosecuted. It’s a sad shame it happened.

THE MOST important thing we learned from Ferguson was the positive influence that the spiritual leaders had on the troubled community. To truly abolish racism, people’s hearts and minds have to be changed. Who better to do that than religious leaders? People of faith, all kinds. Black and White, joining together across this country, teaching love and tolerance of all races. How great would that be?

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Benghazi Truth

Report: Obama blameless on Benghazi

Marilyn Langford

Unfair and Unbalanced

Thursday, December 4, 2014 6:07 AM CST
Benghazi. Benghazi. Benghazi.  If you stopped reading now I wouldn’t blame you because I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it.  For two years we have heard all the conspiracy theories and downright lies about what happened on September 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. For two years, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and the CIA have been demonized by the right-wing media and any Republican with a microphone in their face. How many times have you heard the statement, “Four Americans died and the President lied?”  I only bring up this “beat-to-death” subject for one reason…..

AND THAT is to make sure that the die-hard Fox viewers out there hear the results of the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee’s (a Grand Jury of sorts) exhaustive investigation regarding Benghazi. After all, chances are you didn’t hear the story on Fox News.

THIS LONG anticipated report was released Friday evening, Nov. 21, in what is called a “news dump.”  That’s a time when no one is paying attention and by Monday, it’s old news.  The Republicans and Fox News demanded this investigation.   With so much time spent debating what happened in Benghazi, one would think that it would be big news, worthy of “Breaking News!”  One would think that Fox News would have assembled a panel of their most ardent Benghazi conspiracy theorists to provide analysis of the report. On the contrary, the story was barely mentioned by Fox News that Friday night and what they did report did not reflect the meat and bones of the story.

CAN WE blame them for not reporting this important story?  Yes!  It lends further truth to the many studies that show that people who get most of their news from Fox News are the most uninformed Americans.  And, before you scream at me for an inflammatory remark, research it.

AS REPORTED by the Associated Press (AP) and picked up by most all other news outlets, the entire Benghazi conspiracy theory was debunked.  The report concluded there was no wrong doing by anyone in the Obama administration!  There was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence CIA was overtly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.  Further, the committee report did not indicate that Susan Rice or anyone (including President Obama,)  acted in bad faith or deliberately sought to mislead the American People.  It was a failure of intelligence analysts, not political appointees.  In defense of political analysts, we all learned in the aftermath of the announcement of the Ferguson Grand Jury decision, that it’s sometimes hard to differentiate between protesting and a terrorist attack.

I WAS not surprised with the findings of the House Committee, After all, the House Armed Services Committee, the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the State Department had reached similar conclusions in their investigations.  Finally!  No more BENGHAZI!  No such luck!  Speaker Boehner announced that he wasn’t pleased with the findings of his own Committee and would form a new committee in January to investigate it again.

I HAVE one question for Speaker Boehner.  Since tens of millions of tax dollars have been spent on all of these investigations already, what budget cuts will you make that further hurt the working class to fund yet another political investigation?  My head hurts.

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Memorable Thanksgiving

A chicken, ax and mama’s love

Marilyn Langford

Unfair and Unbalanced

Thursday, November 27, 2014 1:26 AM CST
I’m supposed to provide you the liberal perspective of issues here. I don’t know about you, but I’m jaded from the past months of political overload and I need a break from it. At Thanksgiving time, I feel it would be irreverent to discuss the things that divide us. That’s why I’m deviating from my crusade to turn Monroe “blue” to talk about my most memorable Thanksgiving.

I WAS the caboose of nine children. During my childhood years, my siblings grew up and left home. Our Thanksgivings were typical for a very large family, lots of good food and good visiting. Even now, I associate the smell of burning leaves with Thanksgiving because it was tradition to rake and clean the yard for the big day. It was an exciting time, especially on Black Friday. Of course there was no such thing as Black Friday back then, but it was “Black Friday” for our hogs that my daddy and my brothers butchered so we could eat all winter.

BUT MY most memorable Thanksgiving was quite different from all those before it. My Daddy had been unemployed for a long time. He finally got a job out-of-town and Mama and I were alone for Thanksgiving. No money and no car. For various reasons, no other family members were coming that day. In keeping with tradition, we still raked, cleaned, and burned leaves. When Mama got tired, she went in to take her nap, as she did every day. Unless the house was on fire, you never bothered Mama when she was taking her nap. That’s a fine tradition I passed down to my children.

I LAY down with her but sleep would not come. I thought of something fun to do that would ease my boredom—I would feed the chickens a snack!  I eased out of bed being careful not to disturb Mama.

RETURNING TO the backyard, I took an ear of corn from the corncrib, got an ax without a handle, and chopped one kernel off at a time. It was a great game to see which chicken was the fastest at pecking up the corn, to see them stepping on each other’s heads, and even pecking each other. I was laughing and having a great time until…. one little pullet got over anxious just as I made a swipe down the corn with the ax. It cut her beak off even with her face (if a chicken has a face). She immediately started flipping and flopping. I was horrified! I had never hurt an animal in my life and I was fully aware of how important these chickens were for the sustenance of our family. I knew instantly I was in deep, deep trouble. I didn’t fear Mama would kill me, but I was sure she’d make me cut my own switch. And, if I woke her up from her nap, I would get a double whooping! So, I eased into the bed beside her. Her breathing never changed. I eased back up and went to check on the chicken. She was still flipping and flopping, still suffering. I eased back into the bed. After easing in and out about three times, she yelled at me, “Either stay up or down!” I started crying and said, “I cut the chicken’s pecker off!”

SHE DIDN’T answer for a minute, and I prepared to accept my punishment. She then said, “I was just lying here thinking that I needed to go kill a chicken for our Thanksgiving dinner.” She got up and did just that.

SOME MAY say I got away with murder. I like to think I learned a great lesson in love and parenting.

Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you make a memory.

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pray for President Obama

Obama ready to tell GOP ‘kiss my grits’

Unfair and Unbalanced

Thursday, November 20, 2014 4:23 AM CST
With due respect to Mr. Davis’ opinion in his “On the Porch” column last week, it is not the Democrats, especially Mr. Ham, Mr. Vaughn, and myself that are destroying this country that we all love.  Let’s just say that Mr. Davis and I view things from a parallel universe.

WE NEED to pray for President Obama!  Never in my lifetime have I seen the level of hatred and loathing directed at an American President by Americans.  The hatred even extends to his wife and his children.  

I DON’T expect everyone to agree with our President.  However, I do expect people to show respect and proper homage to the elected leader of our country.  That’s what my mother and father taught me, and that’s what your parents taught you.  How will all this hate speech and lack of civility impact our kids?  We were all taught civility, but that went out the window when Joe Wilson, U. S. Representative from South Carolina, shouted at the President during the State of the Union Address, “You lie!”  Joe Wilson has been forgotten, but the adverse affect his words had on our society have not.

THERE’S TALK about America losing respect in the world.  How do you expect the likes of Vladimir Putin to respect President Obama when people in this country say he is an illegitimate President, hates America, and is a Muslim (and that’s the nice stuff)?  Everyday on Facebook and e-mail there is a new eRumor so absurd, yet written so convincingly, that it receives two hundred thousand “Likes” and as many “Comments.”   I can’t fathom how so many  people could believe posts such as “Jesus named the Anti-Christ and it’s Barack Obama.”  Do us all a favor.  Before you share these ridiculous and inflammatory posts, go to and verify its validity.

PRESIDENT OBAMA has been the repeated victim of digital manipulation of photos. These photos are NOT real, people!  An example is the viral photo of President Obama and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez in a lip-lock.  Really?

WHAT HAS President Obama done to deserve such utter hatred and why are people so willing to believe the absolute worst about him?  Why are so many people hoping for him to fail?   The near total collapse of the economy did not happen on his watch, yet he pulled us out of it.  The economy is doing pretty darn good.  He promised healthcare to millions of Americans if he was elected.  He delivered on that promise. He promised to find and kill Bin Laden.  He did.  He has had to fight obstruction to get the smallest victories.  He’s endured untold ridicule and given no recognition for all the good that he has done.

  I have a feeling we “ain’t seen nothing yet!”  Our President is about to deliver on another promise.  At the time of this writing, it is reported that President Obama will soon sign an Executive Order halting deportation of immigrants who meet certain criteria. The Republicans are foaming at the mouth with outrage.  Anything can happen. If a cross is burned on the White House lawn, I would not be surprised.

AFTER SIX years of exhibiting incredible patience, I think President Obama is finally saying to all the Republicans who have made his life so miserable, “Kiss my grits!”  That’s why we need to pray for President Obama.

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Post-Mid Term Election Results Monroe County

Now the Republicans must govern

Unfair and Unbalanced

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 7:43 PM CST
Everyone is wondering, “What in the world happened last Tuesday in the election?” Democrats were disappointed and Republicans were surprised.  To find the answer to this question, let’s look at the election results in our own Monroe County.

2014 Mid-Term Election

Nathan Deal       Jason Carter

67.81%               30.24%  

David Perdue     Michelle Nunn

68.43%               30.00%     

Now look at this:

2012 Presidential Election

Mitt Romney        Barack Obama

68%                     30.7%

Nothing happened! That’s what! It’s as clear as black and white.

Wise up Georgia Democrats! The statewide results are similar percentages as Monroe.  This reminds me that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The Democrats had high-quality candidates but ran away from the message that defines Democrats.

My biggest disappointment election night was Michelle Nunn losing to David Perdue. I have always said that women are a woman’s worst enemy.  Women comprise 52 percent or more of the registered voters in Georgia; yet, Michelle got very little support from white women.  We had a chance to elect a smart, educated, down-to-earth woman who has spent her life consensus building. Someone more like us, the average person.  Michelle was someone who would have voted for our middle-class interests.  Instead, we elected a man who lives in a gated community within another gated community on Sea Island. This man has no idea what it’s like to be us.  Do you think this man, who is proud of outsourcing our jobs and paying women less than men, gives a rip about passing laws to help people like us?

I truly hope that the Republicans are now satisfied and can set about governing.  It’s a relief to me that the onus is now on the Republicans to fix all the problems they were so quick to tell us about in their campaign commercials.

They say some good comes from something bad.  It’s good that Fox News may actually have to report the news now, even if unfavorable to Republicans. It’s good that the Republicans and Fox News don’t have Harry Reid to kick around any more.  It’s good I can sleep without having nightmares brought on by those scary black and white ads accompanied by menacing music warning me of terrorists, Isis, and Ebola.

But the best good thing is that Mr. Davis and Mr. Daniel finally found out what name Michelle Nunn will use after the election.

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Shady Deal

Why I oppose Gov. ‘Shady’ Deal

Unfair and Unbalanced

Thursday, October 30, 2014 5:41 AM CDT
In an effort not to offend readers of this paper, as well as the Publisher, I will put this as delicately as I can: Gov. Nathan Deal is the biggest political crook in the modern history of Georgia!

I only recall two other elected officials who Deal may be in competition with for that title. In 1979, U. S. Sen. Herman Talmadge was censured by the U. S. Senate for improper financial conduct. In 1980, he lost his re-election campaign. In 1984, Georgia Commissioner of Labor, Sam Caldwell was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the State by using state employees to perform personal tasks. He was forced to resign.

Since Deal has not been convicted or charged with anything (yet), you will need to use an old adage as your guideline, “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck”.

In 2010, Congressman Nathan Deal was under investigation by Congress as to whether he strong armed an exclusive State contract for his junkyard in Gainesville. He resigned Congress, which ended the investigation. He returned to Georgia and ran for, and was elected, Governor. He was practically penniless and on the verge of bankruptcy. His junkyard was $2 million in debt and his outdoor store was already bankrupt. He sold the outdoor store (which he denied even owning) to an individual that specializes in sex stores. Now he desperately needed to sell his junkyard.

Newly elected Gov. Deal appointed a new Revenue Commissioner who audited the biggest competitor of Deal’s junkyard, Copart, Inc. The audit revealed Copart owed the State of Georgia $74 million in unpaid taxes. Jackpot! Shortly, Copart bought Deal’s indebted junkyard and paid Nathan Deal $2 million up front, plus $10,000 a month for 10 years. The $74 million in taxes owed to the citizens of Georgia are still unpaid. However, recent records show Copart, Inc. contributed $100,000 to the Republican Governor’s Association ostensibly for Deal’s campaign. Quack!

Shortly after Deal’s election in 2010, an ethics complaint was filed against him for illegally paying his personal legal fees from his campaign funds and accepting contributions over the legal limit. Deal’s staffers then pressured the Ethics Chief, Stacey Kalberman, to drop the charges against Deal. When she refused, she was fired. Ms. Kalberman filed a lawsuit against Deal, and a Fulton County Jury awarded her $1.5 million for wrongful termination. Due to this essentially “guilty” finding, the State of Georgia settled with three other employees who were forced out for an additional $2.5 million. Our tax dollars! Quack!

Meanwhile, Deal handpicked a neophyte, Holly LaBerge, to be the next Ethics Chief. When she did not move fast enough to make the charges against Deal go away, staffers threatened Ms. LaBerge. The ethics charges against Deal were dismissed and he agreed to pay $3,350 for technical defects in his campaign report. Throughout all the litigation, Deal claimed neither he nor his staff were involved and, lacking any proof of his involvement, a Fulton County Superior Court Judge ruled that Deal did not have to testify at the Stacey Kalberman trial. This removed the possibility of perjury charges for the Governor. However, the proof surfaced just recently in the form of a memorandum prepared by Holly LaBerge that memorialized the threats and pressure she received from Deal’s staffers to make the charges go away. This memo had been deep-sixed by the State Attorney General, Sam Olens. A Fulton County Superior Court Judge sanctioned the Attorney General for fraud against the Court and fined him $10,000. Our tax dollars! Quack!

You can see the feathers with this one. On Aug. 12, 2014, State Sen. Tim Golden gave Deal the maximum contribution allowed by law, $6,300. The very next day, Aug. 13, 2014, Deal appointed Tim Golden’s wife to a Superior Court Judgeship in Lowndes County. Quack! Quack!

Georgia taxpayers cannot afford another four years of Nathan Deal getting rich at our expense. I do not understand why the polls are showing that the upcoming election for Governor is a dead heat between Jason Carter and that Duck.

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

War on Women

Ga. women going backwards


Unfair and Unbalanced

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 7:42 PM CDT
There’s a lot of talk about the “War on Women” but that may be a mischaracterization. “War” suggests that two factions are fighting against each other. I see no evidence that women are fighting back. Women have surrendered. Women have quit fighting. Therefore there is no war.

REMEMBER THE saying, “You’ve come a long way baby?” Women were united in the 60’s and 70’s against social injustice. Much was accomplished for female equality.  The bawdy saying was, “Women went from the bedroom to the Board Room.” After all the years of being seen and not heard, women found their voice. Now in 2014, women have no voice and we are still fighting the same battles.

THE GENDER wage gap still exists with women making 81 percent of what their male counterpart makes for performing the same job. Come on! The Equal Pay Act was enacted fifty years ago! Raising the minimum wage would benefit women the most. However, the idea of raising the minimum wage is spurned by lawmakers. What gender represents the majority of the elected body on the national level? Men!

IN GEORGIA, women are going backwards for sure. White men are telling women what they can do with their bodies. Yes, I said white men! Further they are mostly old white men who are Republicans. If they have their way in Georgia (and they may), women will not have access to insurance covered contraception. This battle should have ended when the Supreme Court upheld Roe v. Wade some 42 years ago. Yet, here it is 2014, and women face most of the same obstacles as then.

NOW BEFORE you accuse me of unfairness in singling out white men, show me one female Constitutional Officer in Georgia. You can’t. In the State Senate only 20% are women. In the State House, only 22% are women. We have two white male U. S. Senators and not a single Congresswoman from Georgia. Of Governor Deal’s 51 appointments to the top three most powerful State Boards, 43 of them are white men. Further, I think it’s important to note that those 43 white men have contributed more than 1.3 million dollars to Gov. Deal’s campaign. He claims, “but they are all qualified!” That’s just great! Not only do you have to be a white man to get appointed to these high decision-making positions, you also have to be rich.

IN FAIRNESS to women, they didn’t intentionally lay down the fight. I shake my head in disbelief at how my daughter-in-law juggles her demanding full-time job, her long commute to work, the car-pooling of three school-age children to various sports and activities, and running the household. She never seems to have a discretionary moment. So it is completely understandable that women are exhausted, distracted, and somewhat oblivious to what is going on in our State.

LADIES, FIND your voice again! You have the power on Election Day, Nov. 4! Women registered voters represent from 51 percent to 57 percent in all counties in Georgia. You are going to be very popular. Your phone will ring off the hook. White male Republicans will be courting your vote to maintain their status quo. Just remember, when they are courting you, they will tell you anything they think you want to hear to get what they want. Don’t be an easy mark. Study the candidates and decide which one will do the right thing for you and your family. If all things are equal, then vote for a woman!

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ga. politics are uglier than ever

Marilyn Langford

Unfair and Unbalanced

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 6:05 PM CDT
Dear Reader:

I’m not used to this column writing stuff. My meager writing experience consists of writing as part of my job description, or writing for the entertainment of my family and friends. After sitting at the computer for two hours last night, I had written only one paragraph. To say I was frustrated would be an understatement. But when I awoke this morning, something amazing happened. As usual, my husband and my best friend for 45 years, made me see things in a new light. He said, “You are writing an opinion column. You have plenty of those! Write what you know and write from your heart!” With his help, I saw things from a different perspective. I hope to become your best friend and help you see things you may have overlooked due to your own frustrations about an issue.

- Marilyn

I’ve never seen so much hate in politics as now. Name-calling and lies have become the norm. When you turn on the television and watch a news story, you think you understand what was said, what is happening, and what is going to happen. After all, you’re an intelligent person, right? Then the political pundits and twenty-five year old blonde analysts tell you something totally different than what you thought you heard. I long for the by-gone days of Walter Cronkite when he would simply tell us the news and we made up our own minds how we felt about an issue.

LABOR DAY has come and gone and political season is in full swing. My excitement about this time of year has been tempered by dread of the disgusting and disrespectful comments permeating the airwaves and print media. I am not opposed to negative campaigning. Regardless of our disdain for it, it works! I have a problem with degrading a candidate by personal attacks that have nothing to do with qualifications, experience or past record.

I WILL give you an example. Michelle Nunn, Democratic candidate for the U. S. Senate is a class act. However, last week, the State Insurance Commissioner, Ralph Hudgens, spoke at a public gathering of high level Republicans in Cherokee County. His comments about Michelle Nunn were videoed. He said, “All Michelle does is talk about consensus building and working together. She makes me puke!”  Mr. Hudgens, you are not a class act!  His comment lacked clarity, though.  I could not tell if Michelle personally makes him puke or if it was the fact that she wants to stop the gridlock in Washington. Surely he meant the latter.

THEN THERE are the people who can’t find anything bad to say about Michelle, so they resort to pettiness regarding her name. In an attempt to disrespect her, they cleverly call her Michelle Martin, or Michelle Nunn Martin. I’ve even heard people accuse her of not being married, or being ashamed of her husband. Come on people! This is 2014! To set the record straight, her legal name is Michelle Nunn. Her professional career was established by the time she and Ron married. She chose to keep her maiden name. This is common practice among professional women. She’s also accused of capitalizing on her father’s name. So what? She has every right to be proud of her father’s name. After all, Sam Nunn is the most prominent Senator from Georgia since Richard Russell.

I EXPECT the personal attacks will become more vicious the closer we get to Nov. 4. That’s the new normal in Georgia politics. Sad.

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Medicaid Expansion--NOT!

Gov. rejected quite a ‘deal’ for Medicaid

Marilyn Langford

Unfair and Unbalanced

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 6:05 PM CDT
Imagine for a moment someone says to you, “I’ll give you $9 million a day for three years. Free. You will continue to receive this amount in subsequent years, but each year you will have to put a small percent, (but not more than 10 percent) into the pot.” Nobody in his right mind would turn down a great deal like that. Right?

UNFORTUNATELY, GOV. Deal turned the deal down by refusing to expand Medicaid. In doing so, he deprived healthcare to 600,000 of the working poor in Georgia and axed the 70,000 jobs that would have been created. Smaller and rural hospitals will be forced to close their doors or become nothing more than a “first aid” station without Medicaid expansion. Even our own Monroe County Hospital would have benefited from this deal.

WHAT REALLY chaps my lips is the fact that the 9 million a day is OUR money. It’s our hard-earned tax dollars being sent to other states, primarily blue states, because they have Governors who put their citizens’ welfare before politics.

YOU MAY be thinking, “Gov. Deal must have a good reason?” The reason he stated was that the State may not be able to afford the 10 percent by the year 2020. He went on to say that he didn’t know what that amount would be. The Governor held no public hearings or performed studies before he turned down $39 billion. He just said, “No!”  We all know the real reason. The Republican Playbook. Don’t do anything that may help Obama look good. A dead give-away was Georgia’s Republican Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens’ statement about Obama Care. He said, “We will do everything in our power to be an obstructionist!”

AND THAT they did! After Gov. Deal delivered an initial crippling blow to Medicaid expansion, he did something highly unusual for a Governor. He abdicated his future decision-making authority in this matter to the Republican controlled State Legislature, thus delivering a deathblow to expansion. Or did he? Maybe he wasn’t so clever after all. It’s an election year and there are ways a NEW Governor can correct this injustice.

THE SAYING is that “all politics are local.” I know of people in my own community that work hard but do not make enough money to qualify for ACA insurance, and make too much to qualify for Medicaid. They fall into the gap that the Affordable Care Act meant to be filled by Medicaid expansion. I have relatives that fall into this gap. I have personally known people who died because they could not afford healthcare.  It is estimated that 10 people a day die in Georgia because of lack of health care. All this makes Medicaid expansion pretty darn local to me! How about you?

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Robin Williams and the other guy

Unfair and Unbalanced

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 6:05 PM CDT
The Reporter this week introduces a new local columnist, Marilyn Langford of High Falls. Langford offers an alternative view to the Reporter’s conservative editorial page. Langford said she’s such a committed Democrat that she’d vote for a yellow dog if it had a “D” by its name. While we may not agree on much, we welcome Marilyn as she gives our left-leaning readers representation on these pages.

I felt kinship to Robin Williams since I learned over twenty years ago that he was dyslexic.  I used Robin as an example to my son that dyslexia was not a disability and that he, too, could use the other gifts that God gave him to be successful.

ALWAYS A fan, in February 2013, my husband and I traveled to Savannah to finally see Robin Williams live in concert.  It was called a “Sit Down with Robin Williams.”  He sat in a stuffed chair (occasionally) and had a conversation with the audience about his life, career, successes, trials and tribulations. He exuded kindness, honesty, understanding and wisdom, qualities we see less of these days.  You can’t fake that stuff.

I'M NOT one to be in awe of a celebrity but I admit Robin Williams was an exception. Previously, if I learned that a celebrity died, I would say, “Hey, did you hear? What’s on TV tonight?”  When I learned Robin Williams died, I felt a great sense of loss.  I realized that I was grieving as if he were a close friend.  That’s a feeling Robin Williams evoked in people.

That other guy referred to in the title is Rush Limbaugh. I say it that way because I could not bear to put Robin Williams and that other guy’s name in the same sentence.  Both of these guys are entertainers, but one used his gifts to make people feel love and joy, while the other uses his gifts to make people feel fear and divisiveness.

When I heard what Limbaugh said about this man who was an integral part of our culture for forty years, I felt deep sadness.  Not only was I grieving for our loss, but I was grieving for our country.   You see Limbaugh connected Robin’s death to liberalism.  "They're always angry about something," Limbaugh said. "No matter what they get, they're always angry."  He said a lot of other things that were too disrespectful and downright mean to repeat.  He was right about one thing, though.  I was angry!  But I wasn’t angry because of “liberalism.”  I was angry because I was taught that no matter how we felt about a person, we never speak ill of the dead and show proper respect to the grieving family and friends.

Limbaugh is nefarious for espousing hate and lies for shock value. We allow him to keep raising the bar by not deploring his behavior. Where does it end?  Turn him off!

Marilyn Langford and her husband, George, are retired and live on the Towaliga River in High Falls.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

In Support of Michelle Nunn

Opposing views on Nunn column



Wednesday, August 6, 2014 2:40 PM CDT
To the editor:

Mr. Davis, your editorial last week, “Dem candidate is Nunn of the Above”, is a perfect specimen of Republican, right-wing talking points. Let’s first vilify all Democrats. Check. Then, toss in the words Jews and gays. Check. Then mention that black preachers are instrumental in getting out the vote, which affords you the opportunity to use the word “racist.” Check. Every chance you get, degrade a smart and successful woman that does not share your views. If you can’t do it fairly, then attack the way she talks and looks. Check. Invoke class warfare by disparaging a segment of the population (High Falls). Check. And no right-wing checklist would be complete without mentioning the liberal media. Check!

The subject of your article was Michelle’s leaked campaign strategy memo prepared by a campaign consultant. The items you chose to identify were predictable. You see, I read the entire 144 pages and you cherry-picked well. That’s fine, that’s fair political game. What’s not fair political game was your personal attack of Michelle. You observed that she wore dark suits, and talked with no southern accent. Women don’t stand a chance! If she talked with a southern accent, you would say she was dumb. And, what would you have her wear? A pink satin dress with little bows on it?

Clearly, you crossed the line when you stated she appears “sort of androgynous”.  You have been so busy thinking of all the ways you’re different from Michelle Nunn, you overlooked how you two are similar. You have a lovely picture of you, your spouse, son and daughter posted on line. Michelle also has a spouse, son and daughter approximately the same age as yours. How would you feel if someone described your children’s mother using that distasteful word?

If you read the entire 144 pages, as I did, you would have learned that her Plan is a winnable one because it is a “people” powered plan.  It may surprise you that even some common folk here in High Falls are supporting her for U. S. Senator in November. As Elmer Fudd said when he was “wabbit huntin,” “Republicans should be afraid…very very afraid.”

Marilyn Langford

High Falls