We're usually sticklers at Pundit Central about commenting only on local issues. Everybody else yammers about the latest politician caught tapping his foot in a bathroom, or the most recent celebrity arrested for driving drunk (Jack Bauer! Say it ain't so!). But here we're more concerned with what restaurant will be built next to Home Depot.
(Cracker Barrel, and maybe Chili's, too.)
But sometimes, when everybody else is spouting off about the national news, after a while you just have to toss in your two cents' worth. So here goes.
--On the fast-fading phenomenon called the "Jena Six":
Not since the celebrity fawning over the cop-killing Mumia Abu-Jamal has there been such misguided, race-based hero worship.
None of the racist bilge in Jena, La. - the nooses, the "white tree," the gun-brandishing at a convenience store, the fight at a party - in any way excuses the six young men who struck another young man in the back of the head, knocked him unconscious, and then proceeded to beat, kick and stomp him.
Yet busloads of college students, presumably some of the brightest among us, rode all the way from Augusta and elsewhere to Louisiana to protest the arrests of the six - some even calling for all charges against them to be dropped.
Sorry, folks. But if I learned anything in kindergarten - and I didn't, because we didn't have kindergarten for Winfield kids when I was growing up - it's that two wrongs don't make a right. And six wrongs certainly don't.
-- On Richmond County School Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden sending his sixth-grade daughter to private school:
Good for him! It's still a free country, mostly. He can send his kids to school anywhere he can afford, especially now that the state of Georgia has stuck the camel's nose under the voucher tent with its "special needs" scholarships.
But. As the man in charge of Richmond County's public school system, putting his child in private school sends the unmistakable message to other parents - especially those who don't have the means to send their children to a different school - that he lacks confidence in the system he's running.
He wants those parents to entrust their children to the Richmond County school system - but he won't trust that system with his. (Actually, his son is in public school, so he has it both ways.)
Bedden has every right to all the educational mobility his money can buy. And citizens who supply that money have an equal right to criticize how he spends it.
One aside: As a supporter of public schools, I often wonder how the voucher-pushers would react if a few people decided they didn't like the sheriff's office, and sought to keep their share of the tax money to instead pay for private security guards. Yeah, that would work, wouldn't it?
-- On Iranian President Mahmoud Ahcantspellhisname speaking at Columbia University:
I'm impressed they had the nerve to invite him. Still, I think the university's president was out of line to cover his fanny by verbally attacking Ahmadinejad when he introduced him.
Why? Well, I'm a Southerner. We don't invite people into our house and insult them. You also don't usually invite people over whom you can't stand. Except maybe for in-laws. Even then you bite your tongue, mind your manners, and only talk bad about them after they leave.
The fact is that we don't get to pick the leaders of most countries. And we foolishly outlawed assassination as a diplomatic tool, so we can't just double-tap Ahmadinejad in the forehead with a .308.
So until we get enough collective guts to eject the United Nations from our shores, we have to put up with people we don't like being invited to our house.
There. I'm done.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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