Jackson County Opinions...

MARCH 17, 2004



Column
By Mark Beardsley
The Commerce News
March 17, 2004

Outsourcing Brings Better Quality Writing
Good day to readers of The Commerce News - allow me to introduce myself. I am Benjali Simoluah. I live in the village of Kampuanlooah in the district of Pershwan and I have been retained by MainStreet Newspapers to provide low-cost material for your edification.
This is the new American way, and you can thank me as ad rates and prescription costs stay low. I and my colleagues (my wife and children) will provide quality reading at the favorable rate of 125 rupees per column (about $2.76 American), a savings of more than 45 percent. In addition, I am much more educated than Mr. Beardsley, I spell much better and I do not drink on the job.
I am keenly aware of current events in Jackson District, thanks to the MainStreet Newspapers’ excellent web site containing courthouse news and well-thought-out opinions.
Those commissioners are rascals, are they not? Shame, shame on them. (See, I can be very critical when the need arises.)
Not convinced that we understand local customs?
Pursue, you furry futbal hounds!
You may not be aware of it, but my company, americanjobsdonecheaper.com, already has many contracts in Jackson District. This should make for more comfortable reception.
Starting April 1, we take over clerical duties in your district administrative building. We will not make $19 million boo-boo on your tax digest nor lose the monthly updates left by your water and sewerage committee. My wife Vhiaha will see to it that the information packages are emailed in a timely fashion. Right now she is condensing your Comprehensive Plan into a 500-word document that can be understood by Georgia’s more advanced residents who read at a fifth-grade level.
My cousin Nasfir has been retained to take over the district’s web page. He will make it much more interesting. For example, he is working on an essay on similarities between your new courthouse and India’s beloved Taj Mahal.
On June 1, my brother-in-law Haju will assume management of the water and sewerage authority. He will make sure waste matters flow quickly into your rivers for rapid and economic disposal you can count on to outsource its labor to my company.
Americanjobsdonecheaper.com is a diversified company with holdings in convenience stores and motels throughout California, Haiti and South Dakota. Our outsourcing division provides information technology, marketing and customer service for three of America’s five biggest banks, Best Buy, all of the major insurance companies and answers all of the “How’s my driving?” telephone responses.
As this trend continues, we expect to eventually take over other Mainstreet News functions, including reporting and customer service. Our five-year plan projects the transfer of 14 million expensive U.S. positions to our efficient, friendly and inexpensive operations. Low-cost operations will increase profits so corporations can afford to hire more people to be later outsourced. A win-win situation, is it not?
If you have suggestions or jobs to be exported, contact me at benjali@americanjobsdonecheaper.com. Enjoy your local newspaper.


Editorial
The Commerce News
March 17, 2004

BOC Will Do Whatever It Can To Get Control
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners continue to attempt to justify its plan to take over the county water and sewerage authority in July. Their hiring of a consultant to “analyze” the authority is more of a smoke screen than a search for information or understanding.
The fact is, the commissioners have been after the authority ever since Jerry Waddell was named its general manager. Any justification will do, but taxpayers familiar with the situation and the personalities will note that the two of the commissioners have real estate interests that could easily be served if the board of commissioners could control the authority. Other motives are purely political.
That is not to say that the authority’s operations and Waddell’s management are above approach. The point is that the “analysis” is designed to provide cover for the commissioners to get what they’ve been after.
The commissioners have complained repeatedly that the water and sewerage authority will not provide information. Yet for months, the authority hand-delivered documents to the county administrative office only to have the commissioners deny ever seeing the information.
The commissioners do not seek information. They seek control. Any excuse will do.

In Spite Of Differences,The Enemy Is The Same
All of Europe got an awakening when terrorists – allegedly al Qaeda – set off bombs in rail cars, killing more than 200 people and injuring 1,500. Although Osama bin Laden, architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, is on the run, the organization remains capable of doing great harm and will still be capable even when he is captured.
Just days later, the Socialist opposition party ousted the Spanish government in the Spanish national elections. Opinions are divided over whether the al Qaeda attack changed votes or whether the Socialists’ opposition to Spain’s participation in the war with Iraq would have given them the victory even without the attacks. Either way, a supportive government has fallen.
There is a growing sense that Europe needs to unite to provide a counterbalance to American foreign policy. Leaders in Spain, Germany, France and other countries have expressed a desire to develop a united front to better represent European interests when they are in conflict with American interests as they were when America invaded Iraq.
That is not necessarily a bad thing. First, in the wake of terrorist attacks, it may well foster greater cooperation in pursuing those who commit acts of terror. Secondly, a strong European political union would force the U.S. to build a consensus before undertaking a preemptive war. No nation has the right to stop us from defending ourselves when we are attacked, but we’re seeing in Iraq how much more difficult the process is when we act largely unilaterally.
For sure, the world will continue to evolve to deal with groups like al Qaeda. There’s nothing like common loss to bring nations together. The Bush (or Kerry) Administration should do everything within its power to maintain strong, cordial relationships with European nations for security purposes, even as it recognizes that they may oppose us on important international issues. There is no room for a “you’re either with us or you’re against us” attitude. The Islamic fundamentalism that drives groups like al Qaeda sees all Western nations as enemies. Whatever our differences, America and Europe must be united to oppose terrorism regardless of differences that exist in other areas.

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Column
By Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
March 17, 2004

Nothing wrong with thinking
I owe debts of gratitude to many, many people: parents, teachers, preachers, politicians, editors, friends, enemies, et al. Even folks I’ve never met and don’t know.
The greatest debt I can pay any of them is a great big “Thank you for making me think.” And not necessarily like they do. I’m not thanking the few who try to cram their thoughts into my head, heart, mind, body and soul.
Yes, there are people like that in the world. They know all the answers. And they want you to know what they know, think what they think, and act like they act. In other words, be like them. Even vote like they vote.
Remember, people who know everything know a lot of things that just ain’t so. And the only person to be wary of is the person who has all the answers. He’s not trying to get you to think: he’s thinking for you.
As the late, great politician and editor of The Augusta Courier, Roy Harris, advised: “Be not content with the appearance of things, but look beneath the surface to discover their true meaning.” It is OK to think. It is OK to ask questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
Don’t count on definitive answers. There are unanswerable questions — as of now. Someday we may know. In the meantime, think. Search. Keep the faith. That’s one of the blessings of not knowing everything.
Things are not always as they seem. Not cut and dried. Not either or. Not black or white. There are shades of gray, and to discern them you’ve got to think.
Now, let me tell you what got me started on this thoughtful diatribe.
My dictionary says “diatribe” is “a bitter and violent denunciation of a person or thing.” I think that’s a bit strong. I prefer to be this kind of diatribist: “The writer of a critical dissertation.” One of the greatest books in the world to get you to thinking is the dictionary.)
Let me break in here. You may think you know what I think about the issue I am about to discuss. I think you may be wrong. All I’m doing is thinking out loud (on paper) and inviting you to join me. Think, y’all.
Anyway, what got me started on this dissertation is religion and politics. I hesitate to mention them in the same breath, but if you think about it, there ain’t a nickel’s worth of difference in ‘em.
Some folks won’t understand what I am about to say, while others will know exactly what I mean: I’ve had politics and religion up to here. As far as I’m concerned, politics and religion can’t hold a light to Faith.
I understand the U.S. Constitution says something about the separation of church and state. It apparently doesn’t say anything about the separation of religion and politics. If it does, the U.S. Congress, the Georgia General Assembly, and some elements of the religious community aren’t paying attention.
The world is going to hell in a hand basket, yet some of our lawmakers and religious leaders are worried about homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
I can hear ‘em now. “And that’s the very reason the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Furthermore, there goes the sanctity of marriage.”
The last time we checked, Shirley’s and my marriage hadn’t lost any of its sanctity. I hope yours hasn’t either. If it has, the two of you may need to sit down together and think some things through.
As you know, I am a great fan of The Vent, which appears daily in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Venters are among those folks I’ve never met and don’t know, but who, nevertheless, make me think. Thanks, Venters.
Here are some that weigh in on today’s topic.
“We need a constitutional amendment banning divorce. Divorce does more damage to families and children than gay marriage.”
“If gay marriage becomes legal, who gets the children in a divorce?”
This one doesn’t exactly fit the subject, but I like it. “My boss, who is married, asked me what he should give up for Lent. I suggested his girlfriend. He was not amused.”
There is also a daily feature in the AJC that has a name and face. It is the column by Cynthia Tucker, editorial page editor. I read her everyday. I also read Jim Wooten, associate editorial page editor, who is just as conservative as Tucker is liberal.
Looking both to the left and to the right helps one to see straight. It is unfortunate that so many people read only the stuff and listen only to the folks they already agree with. You don’t grow or learn anything new that way. Think for yourself, y’all.
Tucker gives me something to think about in her March 3rd column. She said she is proud of the 30 black members of the Georgia House who voted against a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. She added that many of them “are hearing from narrow-minded black deacons and ministers, who regularly denounce homosexuality as an ‘abomination.’
“Apparently, many black preachers have forgotten that the Bible was also used to defend slavery. (Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ. Ephesians: 6:5).”
Ms. Tucker was not through making me think, and for that I owe her a debt of gratitude. Not that I agree with her, mind you, but that she showed me shades of gray.
“The selective use of Scripture to castigate gays and lesbians is outright hypocrisy. Leviticus calls homosexuality an ‘abomination,’ but it also demands the death penalty of adulterers. Yet, I haven’t heard any black preachers taking up that cause. Could it be because too many pews — and pulpits — would be emptied?
“And how about the many, many biblical passages that condemn fornication and divorce? If black ministers had spent half the time blasting fornication that they do lambasting homosexuality, perhaps the rate of illegitimate births in black America would not have reached 70 percent. But – oops! — you’d empty out entire megachurches if you preach against fornication and divorce.”
I guess Ms. Tucker, who is black, can get away with that. But am I the only one who thinks what she said about black folks might also apply to us white folks?
Think, y’all. There’s nothing wrong with it.
* * *
(Note from Virgil: I don’t get a lot of response to these weekly epistles. But I get some. One that I value very much came from a man who lives on Kings Bridge Road in Athens. He said I made him think. He said I even inspired him to look up “stuff” in the dictionary. That’s the best compliment you could pay me, John McDuffie. Thank you!)
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.


Editorials
The Jackson Herald
March 17, 2004

Time to look at smokefree air ordinance
Smokefree air ordinances have been approved by 11 Georgia governments, including nearby Gwinnett County. An additional 22 cities and counties are developing smokefree air ordinances. At least one town, Douglasville, held an election with 81 percent of the voters favoring a smokefree workplace ordinance.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners was approached about this issue by a citizen during a recent meeting. It’s time the board took a serious look at this. Offering a smoke-free section of a restaurant doesn’t always ensure that non-smokers will have a smoke-free environment. This is especially important because of the concerns about the dangers of second-hand smoke, especially to young children.
Twenty years ago, the concerns about smoking were not the concern that they are today. The county high school even had a “smoking area” for students to use. This is certainly not the case today. Smoking has been banned in hospitals, airports and many other public places. It’s time that it is also banned in restaurants and other public places.


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