By Sam Burnham
I've been listening to the rattling of the tinkers trying to sell Georgia on casino gambling just about as long as I can stand it. I've gotta to say a few things.
So here it is. I know that Ralph Reed amd others are going to try to oppose this measure on moral grounds but I'm not even going down in that road. I'm going for the apples to apples route.
I spoke on this matter during an appearance on America's Web Radio show Greg's List Live with Greg Williams. And many of these are ideas I shared then. But they are worth another mention.
Several years ago Atlantic City New Jersey decided that casino gambling might just be the thing that would revitalize their boardwalk. So they opened the door. And the story went well at first. Several casinos were built and there were hopes the plan was going to work. The biggest problem is that the casinos have their own parking decks, no windows, no clocks, nothing that would ever tempt anyone to leave that building for anything. People sleep inside them, eat inside them, play inside them, enjoy shows and concerts inside them, everything is inside that casino. There's no time for local shops, restaurants, or bars. There's no need for hotels or entertainment venues. So people rarely step foot outside the casino.
In that model, the only economic impact is going to be the relatively low paying jobs the casino provides. Waitstaff, maids, front desk help, etc. The majority of the high paying jobs will be executives that are charged with making a lot of money to send back to the home office to give to the bigwigs. So the casino is likely to funnel more money out of the economy than it brings in.
On top of that, while the casino is doing little to boost the local economy it is increasing traffic, and visiting population as well as adding new facilities that require additional police, fire, and medical protection. This costs money - money that we've already shown that the casino isn't bringing in, especially if they get a tax easement to encourage them to come in.
It's just a downright terrible idea. I guess if Atlanta and Savannah, who already have the infrastructure to deal with such things, are interested, it is an idea they should take up. But it's only another bill our small towns can't afford. Oppose casino gambling at all costs. We just can't afford them.
By Sam Burnham
So it is over and done now. Donald Trump took the oath of office at noon today. And then he stood and gave a speech. I don't want to talk bad about the guy because public speaking is hard. But let's face it, he's no Aleck Stephens. The guy just doesn't do well with planned speeches. That's ok. We've had a lot of good presidents that didn't give great speeches and plenty of good speakers who should have just been lawyers. I get it.
But there were a few moments that grabbed me as particularly intriguing.
Early on, he said "we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People." As much as the Twittershpere has ran with this as the new president plagiarizing Bain from the Batman movie, it is one of the strongest points in the entire speech. If he does this, I'll be elated. It will be like Christmas, my birthday, and my anniversary all rolled into one...except even better!
He went on to say "The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer", an was an obvious allusion to the people who supported his candidacy - former industrial workers as well as those of us who live in "flyover country". I think that's a great idea. We need to be creating more opportunities in America's rural areas and small towns.
But...(there's always a but, isn't there?)...he went on.
"At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other." A what? A total allegiance to the United States of America. This is one of those things that sounds so right to a casual listener - "Wooo! U-S-A, U-S-A, U.S.A!!!" But when you really dig in here, the transfer of power from Washington back to the people, especially those marginalized ones in the sticks will be a a total allegiance to the United States. meaning that the entities so often mentioned by the Founders, "The people" and the "several states" must now bow to the authority of the Union. You can't have it both ways.
In order for us to place power back into the hands of the people, we have to get the majority of the power a lot closer to the people. The people live in the several states. The several states must increase and Washington must decrease. The federal government has to get smaller. We must begin to handle more of the business of governing at the state and local level, and the greatness of the people and the states will rise and carry this nation with it. You cannot "make America great again" by putting all of your faith in Washington. We've been doing that for 70 years. It's not working. It's time to return to the original model, the one laid out by the Founders in the Constitution.
It's time to redistribute the power.
Yes, love this nation. Yes, be a patriot. But for all your hopes and dreams, you only have one friend in Washington. It's behind protective glass at the National Archives and it starts out "We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union..."
Innauguration Day is tomorrow. As Americans head to Washington to witness the peaceful transfer of power, a hallmark of our republic, there are a lot of familiar faces around this transition.
Greg Bluestein of the AJC just tweeted a photo of the world's most famous peanut farmer, former President Jimmy Carter boarding a commercial flight in Atlanta en route to Washington from Plains. The photo came from a passenger who said President Carter shook hands with everyone as he made his way to his seat, which doesn't appear to be in first class. He's just a Georgian on an airplane going to do what he thinks is the right thing - exactly what we've come to expect from him.
It has also been announced that Justice Clarence Thomas, born outside Savannah, will administer the oath of office to Mike Pence. Justice Thomas will become the first African-American to give the oath to a Vice President.
And let's not forget our former governor, Perry's Sonny Perdue, who has just (appropriately) been appointed to head the Department of Agriculture. There's also Tom Price, who ain't really from around here but lives here now and has represented the sixth district in Congress. Price has been nominated to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
So there's a lot of Georgia folks in the news. Whatever side of the aisle you're on, tomorrow is an important day in the history of this nation. Let's pray it's a good one.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire