Wednesday, August 03, 2011

3 AUG 11: Debt Men Walking

Some of you read this blog first thing in the morning - so did you sleep better Tuesday night? Our national leaders reached a deal at the last minute. The U.S. government did NOT default on its debts. And the people predicting hyperinflation still can't make a quick fortune selling wheelbarrows.

Three out of four area Senators voted Tuesday against the compromise to increase the debt ceiling. The one vote in favor came from Georgia's Johnny Isakson, who explained future increases in the national debt will require equal amounts of spending cuts. If my math is right, this means someday the government will spend nothing and the debt REALLY will be sky-high.

Georgia's other U.S. Senator explained his opposition to the debt ceiling compromise on WDAK's "Viewpoint." Saxby Chambliss said the agreement does NOT cut spending, but instead "slows the growth" of spending. If you hit the brakes a little on the cliff, you're still likely to drive over the edge.

(Chambliss said based on his experience with federal spending, "caps get busted." And in certain parts of Columbus, wearing a cap the wrong way could get you busted as a suspected criminal.)

Saxby Chambliss was one of a group of Senators which attempted to broker a debt ceiling compromise. Journalists dubbed them the "Gang of Six," but Chambliss said Tuesday he doesn't like being labeled as part of a "gang." There, you see? Some Republicans DO want politically correct speech.

(Chambliss added the "gang" title belongs on people "doing bad things," in places such as Atlanta. Hasn't anyone told him the Georgia legislature has a Republican majority now?)

Sen. Saxby Chambliss expressed doubt the upcoming "super-Congress" will accomplish anything in the way of deficit reduction. He noted the committee will be evenly split, with six Democrats and six Republicans. In other words, it's Phenix City Mayor Sonny Coulter's wildest dream come true.

The mood is "too partisan" in Washington right now, Sen. Saxby Chambliss said. He says Congress needs the upcoming August recess to cool its emotions. Some of us thought lawmakers left Washington because they're lazy or going on junkets. But no - they're reducing their risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks.

A debt problem of a different sort was discussed Tuesday night in Talbotton. An attorney told the Talbot County School Board the district has a $400,000 deficit in part because some employees are receiving illegal salaries. And then people wonder why their CRCT math scores are so bad....

Talbot County school attorney Roger Montgomery says he told the District Attorney's office late last year about employees possibly "stealing" federal grant money to pad their paychecks. So far Julia Slater seems to have done nothing - which may mean she sits on "evidence packets" regardless of race, gender or county of origin.

The Talbot County School Board plans to vote next week on a seven-percent property tax increase. The big district deficit is the reason for it, but the report about possible illegal salaries can't make homeowners there happy. Some of them might have to rent out the living rooms of their mobile homes....

The property tax debate and attorney's report may have Nancy Johnson wondering why she retired to Talbot County in the first place. WRBL called her a "former educator" Tuesday night, yet Johnson still appears on the Wynnton Arts Academy website as principal. The Talbot County School Board must have expected Johnson to smuggle out a lot of red ink.

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BLOG CORRECTION: Arrrgh -- I'm wrong again. Tuesday's Ledger-Enquirer reported the Charter Review Commission actually voted NOT to increase the number of at-large Council districts. I'm simply not flipping around the TV dial during the 11:00 p.m. newscasts fast enough.

The Charter Review Commission also supported a "stronger mayor" proposal, giving her/him the power to fire top executives subject to a Columbus Council veto. This led commission member and former Muscogee County School Board President Mary Sue Polleys to ask: "How is the current system broken?" Has she somehow missed all the recent stories mentioning the city auditor?

I tried to read and listen more carefully Tuesday - and here are the conclusions I reached:

+ The high temperature in Columbus was 98 degrees F. Columbus Water Works officials admitted the tap water is at 92 degrees, four degrees above normal - so I don't want to hear anyone complaining about cold showers in the morning.

+ The Phenix City Council voted to buy the old Boys and Girls Club and surrounding land on South Fifth Street, to turn it into a recreation complex. City Manager Wallace Hunter says it will include a soccer field, a basketball court -- but NO boxing ring for Jimmy Wetzel to take on all comers.

+ Phenix City School Superintendent Larry DiChiara told WRBL the Adequate Yearly Progress benchmark is "unrealistic," because one subgroup in one school can cause the entire district to fail. Yet seven of the ten schools in his district made A.Y.P. this year - so did someone make the test scores unrealistic, too?

+ Washington whipped Atlanta 9-3 in National League baseball, as Rick Ankiel hit his third home run in two days. This time Ankiel hit a grand slam - which could make up for the years when he was slammed by journalists about his wild pitches.

+ Instant Message to Rad Delaroderie: I wish you well on the cross-country ride you're starting today for PAWS Humane. But when you get home, a piece of your donations should go to Scott Ressmeyer - because he thought of that motorcycle stunt first.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

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