When it comes to government intrusion, many of us nowadays throw our hands up in the air and ask, "Now what?"
There was some good news this week about Lake Lanier.
One way you can tell it's an election year is not only by the campaign ads and signs that litter the airways and roadways. Another clear indicator is when a public official launches a new policy plan clearly aimed at voters, or a specific group of them.
This may seem like heresy to many (tea partyers, cover your eyes), but there are occasions when government needs more money. Shocking yes, but true.
When The Times launched an effort to find how timely political candidates were in paying their taxes, little did we know the result would be the revelation that you really can't trust those online tax records posted by the Hall County tax commissioner's office.
Amid candidates for Congress, state and local office and a controversial transportation sales tax, you'll find a late addition to the July 31 Republican primary ballot.
Every Memorial Day for the past decade or so, we have taken stock in where our country stands as we fight enemies abroad. For quite awhile now, the day set aside in tribute to the nation's war casualties has continued to see that toll mount in deserts of the Middle East.
With high school and college students out for the summer and vacation season upon us, our already-crowded highways will be clogged with even more travelers in the weeks to come.
In the days to come, high school and college graduates of the Class of 2012 will grip their diplomas with pride and flip their tassels, leaving the life they've known behind for uncertain waters. Then they will hear speeches warning them of the hard road ahead of them.
Though there are faint, flickering hints of light at the end, the nation remains deep inside a very dark tunnel of financial distress.
In a time when local governments continue to operate under tight budgets, with little relief in sight, it's not surprising the issue of consolidation has again made its way to the front burner.
So does anyone still think we don't need to keep close tabs on ethical behavior by government officials? If so, take a look at recent scandals in the nation's capital involving members of the General Service Administration and Secret Service.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
This being an election year, we all knew the 2012 session of the General Assembly would produce its fair share of "hey, look at me" bills designed more to impress voters than to solve their problems.
Judging our yearly progress was easier at one time.
In the last two weeks, we've seen two different "state of" speeches, from leaders with widely disparate views. Both offered a list of priorities amid a recovering economy, setting goals to better the lives of those they serve. Each was greeted with applause from supporters, grim faces and still hands from foes.
The idea of free speech embedded into the U.S. Constitution 225 years ago remains an elusive goal ever under attack and in need of a diligent defense. Even as we Americans often don't fully grasp its scope and meaning, what we hold as a fundamental right isn't always acknowledged everywhere.
Second terms can be a dicey thing for executive officeholders. Though much desired - when was the last time we recall a president or governor who didn't seek one? - they often slip into the dreaded "lame duck" limbo as heads start turning toward who's next in line.
Now that the holiday leftovers in the fridge are dwindling and many have put away the decorations, we prepare for the first work week of 2015 with high expectations.
Broken families. Neglectful parents racked by poverty, addiction or poor personal decisions. Abused children denied a normal upbringing. Government agencies short on resources and personnel scrambling desperately to keep a bad situation from getting worse.
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