Opinion


Opinion: Bringing clarity, history to monumental decisions

As the noisy removal of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans pushes the issue back into national headlines, the Atlanta History Center remains committed to a grassroots conversation about Confederate memorials. 


Readers Write: July 25

Voting machines need updating ASAP Georgia’s voting machines are perilously out-of-date, and provide no paper trail. Georgia is one of only five states that still use electronic voting machines with no paper trail. The AJC’s report “Security lapses end elections, KSU partnership” states that the plan for managing voting machines after “firing” the KSU election operations...

Readers Write: July 24

Laissez faire doesn’t work in health care The big lie in the ongoing health care policy debate is that if government were simply to butt out of the health care industry, the invisible hand of the free market would create the competition necessary to improve health care and bring down prices. There is no free market in health care because it’s impossible for ordinary people to make informed...

Opinion: Health care is now a right

The Founding Fathers made no mention of a right to health care in the U.S. Constitution, nor did they add it to the Bill of Rights. Those first 10 amendments guaranteed us many important things — the right to free speech and the right to worship the god of our choice, among others — but not a right to health care. Subsequent generations of Americans have added to and extended those constitutional...

World shows way forward on health care

Let’s play a game of guess “who said”: On CNN in 1999: “If you can’t take care of your sick in the country, forget it, it’s all over. … I believe in universal healthcare. About the Australian system similar to Medicare for all: “We have failing health care — I shouldn’t say this to...

Opinion: Beltline’s dedicated to increasing affordable housing units

When Atlantans came together a decade ago in a monumental grassroots movement to build the Atlanta Beltline, they had a vision to connect 45 neighborhoods and to revitalize those communities equitably and sustainably. Few could have imagined the level of transformation that has already happened. The Atlanta Beltline makes our city more desirable and competitive. The demand to live along the Atlanta...

Opinion: Living up to a lofty ideal

The Atlanta Beltline is an audacious project that’s earned acclaim as users crowd completed portions of the planned 22-mile loop. The trail network and its amenities have kindled jaw-dropping development adjacent to its path. It’s a sign of just how trendy urban living has become, even in a suburb-centric region such as metro Atlanta. The Beltline’s great circle was intended to be...

A close look at American justice

A couple of weeks ago in this column, I shared with you that I’d received a jury summons in the mail. I was told to call to see if I was required to show up on a Monday morning at the Fulton County Justice Center Tower. Well, I was. And as I headed downtown, I didn’t anticipate the remarkable week I was in for and the indelible experience I would have. Let me start at the beginning. I...

Opinion: Create an Atlanta where everyone matters

Gentrification seems scary and inevitable – a condition so complex that we are helpless in the face of it. We’re not. And in fact, what we need to do is really straightforward. Let’s back up. The threat of gentrification comes when powerful market forces of growth translate into the displacement of people who can’t afford the associated higher taxes and rents. Unless those...

Readers Write: July 23

Gingrey the same as he’s always been Recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog pieces by Jim Galloway purport to provide “an eye-opener” about “a changed Phil Gingrey” concerning the Affordable Care Act. But I haven’t changed. I embrace the same Republican principles I’ve always held. Galloway did correctly quote my recent blog in which I said my former colleagues...

Opinion: Preventing another property-tax meltdown

A burgeoning property-tax revolt in Fulton County ended with the county’s quick surrender. That doesn’t mean the issue is over, for Georgia’s largest county or the state as a whole. Fulton homeowners were outraged in May when new assessments started showing up in their mailboxes. Half of homeowners saw increases of at least 20 percent, almost a quarter of them at least 50 percent...

Readers Write: July 21

Krauthammer column full of hot air Columnist Charles Krauthammer believes a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and other members of the Trump campaign and a couple of Russian officials was “collusion” (“Bungled collusion by Trump Jr. is still collusion,” Opinion, July 15). Collusion is the “secret agreement or cooperation for a fraudulent or deceitful purpose.” according...

Forces reshaping civilization are worth pondering

We may regret the decline of bookstores and blame Amazon for it. However,I observe many at the beach forgoing books and intermittently perusing newspapers and magazines for something stimulating to daydream. For those with lazy vacation eyes, let me offer my short-form five forces that will reshape our civilization by 2030. Reworking democracy In the 20th century, free-market, democratic societies...

Readers Write: July 20

Risks of climate change inaction monumental Depending on the study, the expert scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by humans varies between 93 percent to 99.9 percent. Considering the monumental risks involved if we do not act, that certainly would seem convincing evidence to act. But what if the chance of it being real was only 50 percent, or 25 percent, or even 10 percent?...

Opinion: Liberal values bankrupting nation, its people and morals

Recently, Gallup published the results of its annual Values and Beliefs poll. The headline is: “Americans Hold Record Liberal Views on Most Moral Issues.” Gallup has been doing this poll since 2001, and the change in public opinion on the moral issues surveyed has been in one direction — more liberal. Of 19 issues surveyed in this latest poll, responses on 10 are the most liberal...

Readers Write: July 19

Georgia must address voting system issues The New York Times in its editorial, “Combating a Real Threat to Election Integrity,” addresses an important issue for Georgians. The article identifies the many and varied ways in which voting machines in many states – and Georgia is one of them – create an uncertain voting environment. It is breathtaking to think that anyone believes...

Readers Write: July 18

How will churches handle political power? Republican members of the House of Representatives have a plan to allow churches to participate in political campaigns for specific candidates without losing their tax-exempt status for non-profit organizations. As individuals and members of other groups, we already have the freedom to support political candidates. Just beware that American politics is a nasty...
UGA professor: This isn't the first U.S. opiate-addiction crisis

UGA professor: This isn't the first U.S. opiate-addiction crisis

The U.S. is in the throes of an "unprecedented opioid epidemic," the Centers for Disease Control reports. The crisis has spurred calls for action to halt the rising death toll, which has devastated many rural communities. It's true that there's an opioid epidemic, a public health disaster. It's not true that it's unprecedented. A remarkably similar epidemic beset the U.S. some 150 years...

Readers Write: July 17

Love of winning is ruining sports There is a cancer in America. It is the overemphasis on winning, especially in American sports. It used to be that Americans played by the motto of it is not whether you win or lose but how you play the game. That sportsmanship motto has been completely destroyed by the win-at-all-costs ethos of the NFL’s Vince Lombardi and Al Davis. There is no better example...
Opinion: The empty rhetoric of Georgia’s latest ‘outsider’

Opinion: The empty rhetoric of Georgia’s latest ‘outsider’

On March 3, too late for a bill to become law this year, state Sen. Michael Williams filed a constitutional amendment to mandate higher pay for local law enforcement officers. On Thursday, he blamed someone else for that bill not becoming law. Next spring he’ll ask you to overlook, or perhaps embrace, such bad political theater and make him the GOP nominee for governor. It is not too early to...

Breeze Card purchase bought ticket to a new city

Like many Atlanta residents, I once thought life without my car would be nearly impossible. I was living in Buckhead and commuting downtown daily for work, play, and everything in between. Except for the occasional trip to the airport, I rarely ever even considered MARTA as an option. I did not own a bike and the only walking I did was from the front door to the car. This is how I lived, and how my...

If this is OK, what isn’t OK?

The last time that we invited outsiders to participate in a purely American dispute, we were fighting the Civil War and the Confederacy was begging Great Britain to intervene on its behalf. Now we’re at it again, and it leaves me both flummoxed and deeply worried. In this case, the outsider is Russia. Confronted by overwhelming, documented evidence that the Trump campaign at least attempted...

Opinion: Moving into higher gear on transportation, transit fixes

Metro Atlanta’s transportation problems have long seemed to mirror traffic here at rush hour(s). Anybody on the roads knows we have issues, and possible fixes can seem even farther away than our final destinations after slow, aggravating daily commutes. It’s heartening that there are some substantial fixes now in the works and others on the planning board that should reduce congestion...

Opinion: Practical strategies can reduce Atlanta’s road congestion

The collapse of the I-85 bridge in Lindbergh and the ensuing traffic disaster showed Atlanta doesn’t have sufficient infrastructure for today, let alone the future. The Atlanta Regional Commission projects metro Atlanta’s population will reach eight million by 2040, so it’s not a matter of whether the region needs more highways or more transit — it needs both. Atlanta needs...

Readers Write: July 16

Torpy’s column suffers from bad timing Bill Torpy’s recent foray into the topic of immigration enforcement and amnesty met with some excruciatingly bad timing “Nuanced views on immigration? No way!,” News, July 9. He wrote three more-noble-than-thou tear-jerkers about a Marietta illegal immigrant church deacon and his illegal immigrant wife (both apparently with 19-year-old...

Global striving toward an Ebola vaccine

People often ask me about the most difficult assignment I’ve faced in my 29 years at CDC, starting with my arrival as a “disease detective” in 1988, through the five months I served as Acting Director of the agency. While many experiences stand out, a strong contender began in September 2014, when I was asked to organize a field trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine to help battle...

Readers Write: July 14

Atlanta deserves poor driving ranking Atlantans are fond of saying “outsiders” are the cause of the rude driving around here. Well, I grew up in the Washington D.C. metro and worked in metro New York City before moving to Atlanta 30 years ago. I thought that I had driven in some pretty bad large cities. Little did I know! While I would contend that there are discourteous drivers who moved...

Opinion: Why Republicans have soured on America’s colleges

All of a sudden, Republicans have turned against America’s colleges and universities. This shouldn’t come as a shock. The finding comes from a new poll by Pew Research Center, which asked whether “colleges and universities have a positive (or negative) effect on the way things are going in the country.” In 2015, 54 percent of Republicans said colleges’ impact was positive...

Readers Write: July 13

Americans need to move more often As a family doctor, I am worried ‘sick’ about our country. Everywhere I look, friends, politicians, community leaders, coworkers, neighbors — Americans are overweight. Seventy percent of Americans are obese or overweight. If this is not a shocking statistic, I don’t know what is. I have struggled with weight control all of my life, so I try...
The risks of polling and why we will keep doing it

The risks of polling and why we will keep doing it

Our poll of the 6th Congressional District race, conducted two weeks before the June 20 runoff, missed the mark. There’s just no getting around it. It showed Democrat Jon Ossoff with a 7-point lead among likely voters, with a margin of error of 4 percentage points. Republican Karen Handel ended up winning by 4 points. Most of the polls conducted just before the election suggested a slight lead...

Opinion: An extraordinary abdication of national influence and power

American leadership, once essential to world peace, is now mocked and ridiculed. We find ourselves increasingly isolated within institutions that we led the world in creating, such as the G-20, NATO and the United Nations, and are treated by allies and adversaries alike as an non-entity that can safely be ignored, as an obstacle to be worked around or as a dupe to be manipulated. Nobody did this to...

Apprenticeships can win out over bureaucrats, liberals

Last month, President Trump signed an executive order to boost U.S. apprenticeship programs. These training programs convey skills to individuals for specific vocations. Currently, 505,000 people have apprenticeships through 2,100 programs registered with the government. President Trump has committed to creating 5 million apprenticeships over the next five years. I get nervous whenever I hear about...

Readers Write: July 12

Handel won because voters were conservative Jim Galloway’s “Theorem of Sticky Fingers,” July 1, could certainly be applied to Democrats and Republicans who want to stay that way. But to apply it to the liberal/conservative divide, which while not saying it directly is what he was implying, is extremely shallow. Both Ossoff and Handel had negatives (His — not living in the district...

Readers Write: July 11

Electorate must support our president I love this country; the freedom, the equality, the search for truth and justice. You can say we aim for the brotherhood of humankind. Yes! But sometimes that brotherhood seems to be leaving the neighborhood while the harpies hallucinate. Aren’t our presidents, past and present, one of the brotherhood? They are. None of us are perfect. Neither are presidents...

Readers Write: July 10

No honor in Trump election win A common theme among letters to the editor by Trump supporters is that the election is over and that “libtards” and “snowflakes” should just get over it. Allow me to clear up their confusion. Most Americans are concerned about the last presidential election because it does not reflect the will of a majority of the people. For example, the majority...

Opinion: National discord — Where do we go from here?

One hope for repairing the American political fabric could be that our shrill status quo seems equally unsettling to those on either side of today’s jagged fault lines. And that may hold promise for working towardeventual rapprochement. Such national self-awareness can show just how very far we are now from the kind of healthy debate and collaboration that once got big things done. It&rsquo...

Opinion: No military option with N. Korea

First things first: No military option, no “surgical strike,” can resolve the standoff with North Korea. South Korea’s capital of Seoul, a metropolitan area of 25 million people, sits within easy range of a huge array of North Korean artillery and would sustain immense casualties during any war. North Korea also possesses a nuclear arsenal that it would likely target against both...

Opinion: Secessionist movements not far-fetched in today’s U.S.

On June 1, President Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. His action drew predictable condemnation from our allies in the developed world. Less predictable was the fierce criticism that came from cities and states in the U.S., including California, New York, Washington, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, Oregon and Hawaii...

Readers Write: July 9

Let U.S. secession take its course I want to second Leonard Pitts’s openness to the idea of secession (“Marking a fractured Fourth …” Opinion, July 2). I believe if you take a look at a map of how the states voted in the recent presidential election, it will serve as a template on how to divide up the states. That would allow the progressive states to implement every feel-good...

Past leadership traits sorely needed today

More than 70 years after Winston Churchill delivered his historic “Iron Curtain” speech on the Westminster College campus in Missouri, it appears that we have reached, to quote Churchill, another “solemn moment for the American democracy.” The Alexandria shooting last month, in which the majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives was critically injured, was yet another...

Opinion: School choice gets a boost from the courts

School choice may have just taken a turn for the freer. Much freer. Three decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court and one from Georgia’s highest court, all in late June, could expand the list of choice programs that pass constitutional muster. Those actions just might give some needed momentum to an education movement that has stalled in Georgia in recent years. Let’s take a look, starting...

Opinion: Our political parties are failing a divided America

Our government is failing America. No, the country is not falling apart at the seams, and people are not starving to death by the millions, but the citizens of the richest and most powerful country in the world could be healthier, more financially secure, better-educated, and less ideologically divided if our two major parties were not hopelessly polarized and seemingly incapable of working toward...

Opinion: Time seems right to create new political party

Emmanuel Macron, who was recently elected the President of France, had never run for office. A year ago his political party did not exist, but it recently won 350 of the 577 seats in the French legislature. A threatening question: can we learn from the French? Let’s review our recent political history. The Democrats were successful under Bill Clinton, because he was able to build bridges with...

Opinion: A sacred duty of citizenship

The official-looking notice arrived in the mail, on the day before Father’s Day. “JURY SUMMONS. PLEASE READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.” My breathing quickened. I thought of vacation and other plans I had for the summer, including plenty at work. I set the envelope aside for a couple of days. After all, I thought, I probably won’t have to serve on a jury. They send out lots...

Opinion: Jared Kushner needs to find another job

For all that we don’t know about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Russia, one thing should now be clear: Jared Kushner should not be working in the White House, and he should not have a security clearance. True, no proof has been presented that Kushner broke the law or plotted with Russia to interfere in the U.S. election. But he’s under investigation, and a series of revelations...

Opinion: We won't let Trump drag down Boy Scouts

Monday night during dinner, my phone started to blow up with texts. This never happens. They were from four different people on the same subject: Are you watching CNN? Are you watching this Jamboree speech?  The President tried to drag the Boy Scouts back down with his misappropriation of Scouting's message at the Jamboree. What people saw on television Monday night was problematic for two reasons...
Opinion: The ‘skinny’ on Senate GOP’s Obamacare repeal plan

Opinion: The ‘skinny’ on Senate GOP’s Obamacare repeal plan

“Trust me, guys, I’ve got this. No, I’m not kidding!” AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite This afternoon we may finally see the Senate take an actual step toward fulfilling Republicans’ longtime promise to repeal Obamacare . Exactly what comes next, however, is unclear. First things first. Before we know exactly what senators plan to...
Opinion: Legislators can prevent another property-tax meltdown

Opinion: Legislators can prevent another property-tax meltdown

Dozens of property owners attended a June 15 meeting at which the Fulton Board of Assessors considered whether to uphold the current property assessments. (AJC Photo / Arielle Kass) A burgeoning property-tax revolt in Fulton County ended with the county’s quick surrender. That doesn’t mean the issue is over, for Georgia’s largest county or the state as...

Opinion: Why would you want Putin as a friend?

Leaving aside the question as to whether there was actual collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 election, it is undisputed that candidate Donald Trump was eager for a friendship between our two nations. The most recent accounts of the president seeking out more one-on-one time with Putin at the G-20 dinner — using only a Russian translator — is...

COMMENTARY: Wait for Trump to sabotage your health care

Is Trumpcare finally dead? Even now, it’s hard to be sure, especially given Republican moderates’ long track record of caving in to extremists at crucial moments. But it does look as if the frontal assault on the Affordable Care Act has failed. And let’s be clear: The reason this assault failed wasn’t that Donald Trump did a poor selling job, or that Mitch McConnell mishandled...
Opinion: Time to check out

Opinion: Time to check out

Next week ought to be fascinating. Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort are scheduled to testify publicly before Congress. Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify privately. The Senate is supposed to finally have a vote on a straight repeal of Obamacare, without a replacement plan in mind or sight. The president will continue to tweet, and continue to pursue his long-distance...

Opinion: The wild blue yonder ain’t what it used to be

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The aircraft arrayed around the spacious lawn of Maxwell Air Force Base, home of the Air University, mostly represent long-retired types. The largest, however, is a glistening B-52 bomber, which represents a still-employed component of the Air Force’s aging fleet: The youngest B-52 entered service in 1962. Sons have flown the same plane their fathers and grandfathers...
Crisp: There’s a reason why Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job

Crisp: There’s a reason why Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was in the news last week, in a story that gives me a nagging, uneasy feeling about the health of our republic. Kaepernick is the professional football player who experienced considerable notoriety last season by declining to stand during the pregame rendition of the national anthem. He was protesting the history of racism in our country, as...
Krauthammer: What the parents of Charlie Gard should do for their baby

Krauthammer: What the parents of Charlie Gard should do for their baby

One cannot imagine a more wrenching moral dilemma than the case of little Charlie Gard. He is a beautiful 11-month-old boy with an incurable genetic disease. It depletes his cells’ energy-producing structures — the mitochondria — thereby progressively ravaging his organs. He cannot hear, he cannot see, he can barely open his eyes. He cannot swallow, he cannot move, he cannot breathe...

Opinion: Mainstream media and the real crimes of Russiagate

For a year, the big question of Russiagate has boiled down to this: Did Donald Trump’s campaign collude with the Russians in hacking the DNC? And until last week, the answer was “no.” As ex-CIA director Mike Morell said in March, “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians … there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all. … There’s...
Opinion: Trump talks like a man who feels the heat

Opinion: Trump talks like a man who feels the heat

(AP) “President Donald Trump impressed senators Wednesday with a cogent, engaged pitch on health care that didn’t veer wildly from the script.” That’s the opening sentence in a Politico story this morning, because apparently it’s news when our president manages to act cogent and engaged on an important topic. That’s how far ...

Opinion: A solution when a nation’s schools fail

BUCHANAN, Liberia — Imagine an elementary school where students show up, but teachers don’t. Where 100 students squeeze into a classroom but don’t get any books. Where teachers are sometimes illiterate and periodically abuse students. Where families pay under the table to get a “free” education, yet students don’t learn to read. That’s public education in...
Opinion: Health care is a right, not a luxury

Opinion: Health care is a right, not a luxury

(AP) The Founding Fathers made no mention of a right to health care in the U.S. Constitution, nor did they add it to the Bill of Rights. Those first 10 amendments guaranteed us many important things — the right to free speech and the right to worship the god of our choice, among others — but not a right to health care. Subsequent generations of Americans have added...

No perfume can hide the stink of failure

The Republican-run Senate lacks the 50 Republican votes needed to even hold a vote on repealing and replacing Obamacare, a task that as a candidate Donald Trump often described as “so easy.” Also this week, the Trump administration quietly conceded that Iran was fully abiding by the nuclear arms deal that the president has attacked as “the worst deal ever,” a deal that he promised...
Opinion: No perfume can disguise the stink of failure

Opinion: No perfume can disguise the stink of failure

As of Monday, the Republican-run Senate lacks the 50 Republican votes needed to even hold a vote on repealing and replacing Obamacare, a task that as a candidate Donald Trump often described as “so easy.” Also Monday, the Trump administration quietly conceded that Iran was fully abiding by the nuclear arms deal that the president describes as “the worst deal...
Opinion: Our compromise machine is busted

Opinion: Our compromise machine is busted

(AP) For seven years, Washington Republicans insisted over and over again that they had a plan for replacing Obamacare, and that we’d see it “soon.” It’s impossible to count how many times they offered such assurances in statements to the press and public, but collectively the number must reach well into the thousands, maybe even tens of thousands. Yet...

Opinion: Gone fishin’

I’ll be off all this week, returning on Monday, July 24. Y’all try to behave yourselves in the meantime, and I’ll be back at it next week.

Opinion: 12 things to believe if ‘witch hunt’ accusation is true

One column cannot accommodate the list of things you must believe if you trust that Donald Trump is truly the victim of a baseless witch hunt. Consider this a mere stab. 1) Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner did nothing wrong by meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. The emails requesting the meeting specifically mentioned a “Russian government...
Opinion: How the Senate health bill would make the opioid epidemic worse

Opinion: How the Senate health bill would make the opioid epidemic worse

Over the past two decades, the number of Americans dying each year from opioid overdoses has quadrupled. In the hardest-hit state, West Virginia, where the overdose death rate is about three times the national average, the crisis has resulted in an overwhelmed foster-care system and a state burial program for the poor that ran through its entire annual budget three months into the year. This epidemic...

Opinion: The right wing’s war on journalism

Somebody went after Rachel Maddow last week. You might not have heard about it. The story didn’t get much traction in a week that began with video of Failed President Trump “wrestling” CNN and ended with his embarrassing trip to the G20 summit in Germany. Still, some of us would argue that it merits at least as much attention as the latest antics of the boy president. What nearly...

Opinion: Fixing the ‘rotting carcass’ tax code

WASHINGTON — Cynics are said to be people who are prematurely disappointed about the future. Such dyspepsia is encouraged by watching Republicans struggle to move on from the dog’s breakfast they have made of health care reform to the mare’s nest of tax reform. Concerning which, House Speaker Paul Ryan, whose preternatural optimism makes Candide seem morose, says: “If we&rsquo...
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