School Real Estate
Some of us knew this was coming, but it's still a shock. It appears some of our elected officials are willing to give away very valuable real estate. The buildings and the grounds of Shelby County public schools were paid for with the taxes of every property owner in the county and shouldn't be given away, as some propose. Bartlett mayor Keith McDonald is grateful for this largesse, and I bet the other suburban mayors will be, too. The kicker is that legislation is proposed that will allow new joint school districts.
If suburban citizens believe they have paid for some of the school buildings they wish to get for free, I believe they should pay for more consultants to figure out how many or what portion of them they paid for. Then the new Memphis/Shelby County school board can sell them at a reduced cost.
That way, the rest of us will see a return on these investments. I'm sure any investment banker in the cities that want to form a new school system would agree. After all, so many want government to run like a well-oiled business. The idea that we should give real estate away sounds strange coming from those who want to drug-test anybody getting a "hand-out" from government.
Lemmings and Cliffs
It's interesting to learn that a year of record-high gas prices corresponds with record SUV sales in the U.S. I'm just not brave enough to roar around on my Vespa to save gas for fear of ending up a mascot on the grill of one of these four-wheel dinosaurs.
The rest of the world recognizes that inner-city living, decent public transport, energy conservation, and fuel-efficient vehicles are the new norm. But as a visiting Aussie, I now intend to "go America" and use my share of gas, even though there is no way I could afford to do it in the rest of the civilized world.
Newt, the Future?
Democrats, were you listening when Newt Gingrich laid into debate moderator John King for raising concerns about his fidelity? You should have been. You would have seen the future. Gingrich was not angry at the liberal media for doubting his explanation for his dalliances with the ladies but rather told the moderator that he had no right to raise the question at all. Please note that Gingrich is a standard-bearer for the party of personal morality, the party that preaches that bad behavior in the bedroom will lead to America's ruin. And yet, Gingrich somehow convinced GOP voters that it's perfectly fine to kick your wife to the curb.
This is the man who, as president, will look into the camera and tell us with heavy heart that Iranians possess weapons of mass destruction and that America is tasked with the burden of bombing them into the Stone Age. And when it turns out that Iran wasn't as missile-bound as we thought, Gingrich will indignantly throttle the Democrats, the journalists, and all the other bogeymen to the sound of mass applause and fawning commentators.
We've lived for three years under a president who has quietly chipped away against our economic problems, lowered our taxes, turned around the automotive industry, killed bin Laden, and all this with the fanfare of a man going to work in the morning. But where's the fun in that?
Under President Gingrich, the fireworks will really begin, the same fireworks we saw in 2003 under that other Republican. Gingrich will happily inform you: "We are living in the End Times." That means America must wage a final struggle against Islam, usher in the closing of the age, and thus fulfill biblical prophecy. Do you think Mitt Romney could sell us that? No, only Newt Gingrich can assume the proper somber gravity and convince us that we must once more soldier up in some faraway land of Allah and start shooting.
Gridlock did not just happen. Newt Gingrich is the single biggest factor in destroying the Washington culture where two parties had differing views but still worked together. Gingrich is the originator of the modern politics of personal destruction. He had a plan. An instruction manual was distributed during the 1990 election season by GoPac, of which Gingrich was the chairman. A cover letter entitled "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control" was signed by Gingrich. GOP candidates were advised to label their opponents "sick, pathetic, liberal, tax-spending traitors." Republicans were instructed to refer to themselves as "visionary, confident, candid, hard-working reformers." Political gridlock and Newt Gingrich are synonymous.
Which leads me to put on my Dr. Phil face and say what has to be said: It's time for Memphis and Shelby County to start seeing other people. We've tried for years to patch things up, to come to some sort of mutual understanding, but we need to admit that we have irreconcilable differences. We don't even know each other any more ...