Saturday, February 28, 2015
This was a busy and somewhat goofy week in our State Capitol and our U. S. Capitol.
The most important story is the funding budget of the Department of Homeland Security. The Senate passed what’s called a “clean” funding Bill but the House’s Homeland security Bill adds language that would gut President Obama’s plan for immigration reform.
Ironically, the threat of shutting down Homeland Security has developed into a genuine Mexican standoff. A Mexican standoff consists of three armed opponents. Obviously, you don’t want to be the first to shoot and lose your tactical advantage. Since it is the second opponent to shoot that has the advantage, everyone just stands there not wanting to go first.
There were many tense moments in the standoff. Minutes before the deadline, it was agreed that the final showdown would take place in seven days. In the meantime, the standoff will continue behind closed doors, instead of openly on the House floor.
The standoff is between the Democrats (and some Republicans) standing with the President of the United States; and the plain ole conservative House Republicans. The third opponent is the super conservative house Republicans representing the Tea Party faction. The Tea Party faction has insisted that they will jeopardize the safety of America and shut down the Department of Homeland Security. The Senate, by passing a clean funding Bill has sent a message to the House, “We’ve done our job, now we’re going home, adios!” So now the conservatives and ultra-conservatives in the House are in the standoff with each other and the Democrats. At the time of this writing, it is unknown who will win this Mexican standoff. However. I know that the loser will ultimately be our country.
The next story I’d like to discuss is not particularly important, but it is a fine example of our dysfunctional government. Every year, a Bill is introduced by a Georgia Legislator that makes you scratch your head and wonder, “How did this man get elected?” This week, Tom Kirby, (Republican, Loganville) introduced such a Bill. This Bill makes it unlawful to create a human animal hybrid. We can’t make mermaids who are half fish, half woman.. We can’t make Centaurs that are half man, half horse. No birdmen, and most disappointing to me, we cannot create were-wolves. I bet this man checks under his bed at night for the bogeyman.
Finally, I have good news! The Medical Marijuana Bill is half way to being a law. It is now in the hands of the State Senate. I have no way of knowing what encouraged Representative Allen Peake, (Republican-Macon.) to get back into the game after the Governor threatened veto. However, I have reason to believe that Representative Peake caught so much grief from his constituents, he decided to buck Governor Deal. Please give Representative Peake a pat on the back if you see him.
I read the entire Bill that passed the Georgia House. These are the most important things you should know. House Bill No. 1, called Haleigh’s Hope Act, makes it lawful to possess up to 20 ounces of low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) oil from marijuana. The oil must not exceed 5% THC. You must have a registration card issued by the Department of Public Health and the oil must be in a properly labeled pharmaceutical container. To get your registration card, your doctor must certify to the Department of Health that you have at least one of the following conditions: cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, Chrohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s Disease, and sickle cell.
Remember, this legislation still has to pass the Senate and get by Governor Deal’s veto pen. Your voice and opinions can make the difference.
If this Bill survives intact, the Department of Public Health will start issuing registration cards as early as September 1, 2015. I suppose it is a necessary evil, but yet another government agency will have to be created called the Georgia Commission on Medical Cannabis. This commission will consist of 16 members, plus all necessary staff. I think this chapter was placed in the Bill to provide incentive to the Governor to sign the Bill. After all, the chance to appoint 16 patronage positions is a gold mine for your political party.
I am delighted that some progress is being made towards legalizing marijuana for it’s healing qualities. I have one suggestion, though. I think the Bill should be amended to provide anyone over the age of sixty-five (65) medical marijuana; no questions asked. We all have ailments and if there is a medicine that will give us relief, we deserve it! Besides, it would cure “grumpy old men syndrome.” We could call it, “Medicare Marijuana.”
As for the “dress”, it is white and gold.
Friday, February 20, 2015
Governor Deal is at it again! First, it was war on bus drivers and lunchroom workers. Now he is waging war on teachers and making a power grab for our education system. He represents the party whose mantra is “smaller government” and “more local control.” Yet this week Governor Deal announced he would be creating a new government agency. This education agency would have NO local control. After all the po-mouthin about the state budget, the Governor must have found the money to pay for more bureaucrats.
This week Governor Deal announced his intentions to “take over” certain schools in Georgia labeled as “failing.” These certain schools happen to consist of poor and mostly minority students. He offered little detail other than he was creating a new Agency with a School Superintendent appointed by the Governor. Deal calls it “The Opportunity School District Plan.” These schools will be autonomous from local school board control. He would have the power to hire and fire teachers and principals at these schools. Teachers will no longer have a strong voice or the protections of teacher unity organizations. The Governor and his handpicked Superintendent will have the power to convert these schools to Charter Schools, and I have no doubt the end-game is vouchers for private schools for the not so poor and the not so minority.
After twelve years of Republican reign in Georgia, the education budget has been cut eight billion dollars. There are nine thousand fewer teachers today than twelve years ago. Think of all the new schools that you have seen built in the past twelve years. Nine thousand fewer teachers? Does it make any sense to a reasonable minded person that spending and personnel went down in the last twelve years? We experience daily the effects of the soaring cost of living, from the cost of a loaf of bread, a gallon of gasoline, and the cost of heating and cooling our homes. It is obvious! Our students and teachers are NOT failing….our State government is failing THEM! And this lame-brained, poor thought-out scheme is not the answer.
By the way, the ideas put forth this week by Democrats in the Legislature were not much brighter. We are not in the business of providing for all the needs of the children in the school children.
It is fortunate that these radical prescribed changes to our education system by Governor Deal have to be approved by WE THE PEOPLE by voting on an Amendment to our State Constitution in 2016. That gives us time to come up with an alternate plan, one that doesn’t seem like punishment to our students and teachers. This is not just a change in the way students are taught. The Governor’s plan involves altering the entire structure of our education system. The system we have now is working for Monroe County Schools. Why would we want our forward progress halted by a “new” way of doing everything?
To stop this irrational act, we have to move quickly. Shortly, the Koch Brothers will be flooding our State with propaganda in support of the Governor’s takeover of education in Georgia. After all, anti-public education is the centerpiece of the Koch Brothers’ agenda.
You’re familiar with good ole Charlie and David Koch, aka The Koch Brothers; the John Birchers operating under new names; the beyond-billionaire brothers who have already pledged a day’s pay to the 2016 Republican Presidential candidate of their choice. For these brothers, a day’s pay is nine hundred million dollars! There’s no limit to how much the Koch Brothers will spend to uphold their interests. They do not want students to be taught the science of climate change. They want students to be taught from history books that have been re-written to fit their lily-white narrative.
Governor Deal is following in the path of other states on a backward spiral, like Wisconsin, North Carolina, Kansas and Louisiana. He is following the path dictated by the Koch Brothers and their many affiliated organizations. So, too, are most all Georgia Legislators. Follow the money.
At the risk of sounding like one of those wing-nut jobs that I complain about all the time, follow the money and you will see that Governor Nathan Deal is handing the minds of our children over to the Koch Brothers on a silver platter!
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Reader: I wrote this nearly ten years ago. Memories are wonderful, especially when you have written details of the event. I have often wondered if the tow truck driver remembers his close encounter with killer sausages. --Marilyn
Killer Hot Sausage!
While shopping in my local grocery store, I spied a package of home-made link sausages. Emblazoned on the wrapper was a big red sticker bearing the words HOT! Ever in search of home-made sausage like my Daddy used to make with just the right amount of hot pepper seasoning, I threw them in the cart. I was very skeptical, however, because most sausages I had purchased in the past bearing a “Hot” label would turn out to be so mild a baby could eat them.
Having stayed awake Friday night until long after midnight, I awoke Saturday morning with a rumble in my stomach. I quickly decided sausage biscuits would cure that. I placed the sausage links in my cast iron skillet, poured in a little water, placed a lid on it, and went off to my bedroom to get dressed for the day. A while later, I heard George choking and coughing uncontrollably. This was no ordinary cough; it sounded pretty serious. Thinking that he was coming down with some terrible influenza, I hurriedly dressed. Emerging from the bedroom fresh and ready to face the day, I took one breath and began choking and coughing. My lungs were searing. There was no visible smoke, just a feeling I was inhaling a gas that was going to kill me.......a pepper gas! George was busy opening windows and doors even though there was a torrential rain storm going on and yelled at me, “You went off and left me with those sausages to kill me!”
We both ran to the back door to get fresh air and there was a loud knock on the front door, which was standing wide open. It was a rather young, but big and burly tow truck driver sent by AAA to pick up our van to take it to the shop. Both George and I were still choking and coughing uncontrollably. The tow trucker driver had a perplexed look on his face. George said to him, “Come in out of the rain.” Just as he stepped one foot inside the door, it appeared that his lungs exploded and his cough shook the house. I yelled and made a mad dash across the room holding up both hands shouting, “No! Don’t come in here! The sausages will kill you!” To make matters worse, our hound dog ran in through the back door straight for the front door, charging at the man with a bark that would wake the dead. He backed up on the porch and said, “The rain doesn’t bother me; I just need the key M'am.”
By the time he got the van loaded on his truck and returned with the receipt book, the crisis was almost over except for an occasional choking spasm. George and I were happily eating our sausage biscuits with tears streaming down our face from the heat of the pepper. In keeping with southern hospitality, I offered one to the tow truck driver. “No thank you M’am.”
Friday, February 13, 2015
The most ironic thing happened! It’s been less than two months since the Republican dream came true and they took control of the House and Senate. After four years of doing nothing but obstructing and voting NO, NO, NO on everything, House Speaker John Boehner had the audacity on Thursday to say that the Senate Democrats “need to be told to get off their ass and do something besides vote NO”. You can’t imagine how many times in the past four years I yelled those very same words to the Republicans in Congress.
Boehner then arrogantly proceeded to say the Democrats should purchase a little booklet from the Capitol gift shop on “How a bill is made law.” Obviously, Speaker Boehner and his minions didn’t read the little booklet before spending four years of our tax dollars without putting forth meaningful legislation. Their biggest success was shutting down the entire Federal Government two years ago. They are persistent, though. They have voted over fifty times to repeal Obama Care.
I tried. I tried to keep an open mind and be positive about the change of power in Washington. But the day I learned that Speaker Boehner had committed a subversive act against our sitting President, I knew I had great cause to be concerned, and so do you.
You see, John Boehner, the orange man, drunk on power (and scotch whiskey), invited a foreigner, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress. This was an attempt to one-up President Obama by derailing Obama’s peaceful negotiations with Iran over nuclear weapons and force the U.S. into a war with Iran for the sake of Israel. Bear in mind also, that Netanyahu was a staunch supporter and contributor to Mitt Romney, aligning clearly with the Republicans against President Obama. It just so happens that Netanyahu’s re-elections will be held in Israel just two weeks after Natanyahu’s speech to OUR congress. A tad political, dontcha think?
It has been protocol all the years of our country’s existence that we don’t interfere or show favoritism to foreign politicians in countries where democratic elections are held. With just two weeks before the Israeli election, John Boehner has set a dangerous precedent and degrades our American Presidency by not consulting our ELECTED (twice) President.
Putting all the political reasons aside, John Boehner should have bought a little booklet called the Constitution of the United States and a copy of 18 U.S.C.§953. The Constitution states that “all ability to conduct foreign policy is vested in the President.” NOT the Speaker of the House! More serious, is the violation committed by Boehner of the U. S. Code called The Logan Act. This Act is 212 years old and what Boehner did was unprecedented. This law prohibits “Any citizen from directly or indirectly commencing or carrying on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence or defeat the measures of the United States.” This Act was created to protect our Democracy against people like John Boehner. It’s been interesting to hear most talking heads blaming it on Netanyahu. Who could blame Netanyahu for getting all this attention at his election time?
It is my opinion that we should not allow John Boehner to get by with this treasonous act. As Obama continues to outsmart him, his vitriol will only escalate. At the very least, he should be removed from his position and at the very most, arrested for treason. However, considering that Boehner’s brain has been baked by all those hours in the tanning bed, he would avoid prosecution by pleading guilty by reason of In-tan-ity.”
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
WELCOME TO MY NEW & IMPROVED BLOG
Updated on 2/13/15
I'm back with the Monroe County Reporter but will continue this Blog.
I'm back with the Monroe County Reporter but will continue this Blog.
“There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” This saying is so old, nobody knows for sure who first uttered it. Why one would want to skin a cat, I cannot imagine, but we all know that it means there’s more than one way to accomplish something.
Some of you know that I recently had a short-lived stint as an opinion columnist for the Monroe County Reporter presenting the liberal prospective on events. I embarked on this venture with trepidation knowing the political make-up of the publisher and the community. However, much to my surprise, I learned there were more people than I could imagine who were hungry to read something with substance and facts.
So, after parting ways with the MCR, this blog is my attempt to accomplish something in a different way. In all fairness to the Editor of the Monroe County Reporter, he did not censor my columns, unless you call just not publishing them a form of censorship. Regardless of his reasons, my columns were written about current events and lost their meaningfulness if not printed in a timely manner.
Now I am self-published. I set my own deadlines. I am unfiltered. But, with this new found freedom comes a challenge. I need READERS!
So that my voice may be heard, I need your help. Please share my blog postings with your friends via Facebook, E-mail, or Twitter. Oh, and don’t forget “word of mouth.” My blog address is easy to remember, www.marilynlangford.com.
I would also like to hear from you about issues you feel need to be addressed.
I don’t expect you to always agree with me but please fight for my right to express what I believe. You may be surprised at how many people agree with this left leaning Grandma.
Sunday, February 1, 2015
All the good things accomplished by our County Commission
Unfair and Unbalanced
BY MARILYN LANGFORD
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 8:57 PM CST
Now let me tell you what has me riled up this week.
The tomfoolery under the gold dome has surpassed my expectations. Even I was surprised that House Bill #1, regarding medical marijuana, the one I commended Rep. Peake of Macon in my column a couple of weeks ago, was dead on arrival. This medicine is the only hope for treating children who have debilitating seizure disorders. Last year, when it failed to pass, the parents of these desperate children were told, “We will pass it next year.” The hype during the campaign season last summer was so positive, that some of those parents who moved to Colorado were packing to come home. However, despite Representative Peake’s good intentions, Governor Deal called Representative Peake into his office and told him, “If it passes, I will veto it.” At that point, Rep. Allen Peake followed the advice of singer Kenny Rogers, “You got to know when to hold ‘em: and know when to fold ‘em.”
I was not surprised that the very controversial “Religious Freedom Preservation Act “ will dominate the session, unless a more discriminatory bill is introduced that brings even more professional homophobes to the Capitol. It is worthy to note that this Bill has yet to be introduced, but the Capitol halls have been packed with religious proponents showing support for this potentially harmful legislation. One of the sponsors of this Bill says this Bill is only meant to protect people from interference of government in their faith. Kudos to Macon Circuit District Attorney David Cooke, who points out that this bill would give permission for parents to abuse their children by saying it was their “religious faith.” Using the same logic, it could allow a husband to beat his wife and then claim it was his religious belief. Who knows what other atrocities could be committed and this law used as a defense. Stay tuned.
We aren’t going to have any bus drivers in 2016! All you parents need to start figuring out how you’re going to go to work and get your children to and from school. Gov. Deal has released his 2015 State budget and buried on page 137 is his intention to eliminate insurance coverage for 11,500 bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and other school positions that are part-time. My guess is the number is larger than that. This goes beyond tomfoolery. Somebody please tell the Governor that bus drivers and other targeted victims mainly work for the state insurance benefit! They certainly don’t work for the high wages or the thrill of being responsible for the lives of so many children every day.
I don’t know why Gov. Deal keeps insisting on taking away healthcare from the working poor. I hope you never forget that he turned down Medicaid Expansion for 600,000 Georgians by refusing $9 million a day of our OWN tax dollars. Now that money is being sent to other states, mostly blue states, because they have Governors who put their citizens’ welfare before politics.
The most unusual thing happened this week. Deal disappeared! I’m not kidding! It happened. The Governor went missing over the weekend and was conspicuously missing from certain MLK Day observances on Monday, highly unusual for a Georgia Governor. It was so strange, social media was rife with rumors that Deal had fled the country to avoid extradition after his upcoming indictment. I, of course, knew it was just a rumor because “if it’s too good to be true, it is.” Upon his return today, his office only said he was in the United Kingdom on a secret mission. I didn’t know he was such a European Man of Mystery!
Reminder: The deadline to enroll in Affordable HealthCare is Feb. 15. If you need help completing paperwork, visit the Monroe County Workforce Development Center, 89 Washington Drive in Forsyth, Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.