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What the Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision Might Mean for Georgia and Similar States with State Constitutions Banning Same-Sex Marriage

(FILES)US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts poses for the Supreme Court class photo 03 March 2006 at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. The US Supreme Court ruled 25 June, 2007 in favor of a school that suspended a student for brandishing a banner proclaiming "Bong Hits 4 Jesus," in one of the more bizarre recent free-speech cases. The high-school pupil, Joseph Frederick, had argued that the school principal had infringed his constitutional right to free speech by suspending him in January 2002 over his apparently pro-cannabis message. But in a five-three decision, the Supreme Court concluded that the school officials in this case did not violate the First Amendment by confiscating the pro-drug banner and suspending the student responsible for it," the ruling written by chief justice John Roberts said.       AFP PHOTO/Paul J. RICHARDS/FILES (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: PJR07

 

By Dave Oedel

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this past Tuesday, April 28, 2015, on two interrelated questions involving the federal constitutionality of state-based same-sex marriages bans in states like Georgia. The Court’s decision, expected by late June, is likely to have an impact on Georgia’s law and those of similarly-situated states. But what impact?

A couple of probable swing voters in the case, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, early on in the oral argument Tuesday signaled that they were doubtful about using the courts to redefine the definition of marriage itself, something that they suggested has been assumed for millennia.

But that didn’t stop the Chief from posing this hypothetical, … Continue Reading

President Barack Obama’s Speech at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, March 7, 2015, Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of “Bloody Sunday”

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President Barack Obama, Selma, Alabama, March 7, 2015


You can watch President Obama’s 32-minute speech here. Below is the text as transcribed by the White House.

 

It is a rare honor in this life to follow one of your heroes. And John Lewis is one of my heroes.

Now, I have to imagine that when a younger John Lewis woke up that morning 50 years ago and made his way to Brown Chapel, heroics were not on his mind. A day like this was not on his mind. Young folks with bedrolls and backpacks were … Continue Reading

Thoughts on Meeting the Legally Mandated Cuts in Macon-Bibb: Why There’s No Way to Avoid the Tough Conversation About Personnel Cuts, and What Can Practically Be Done to Achieve Them

budget cuts

By Alan Wood, March 8, 2015

Editor of Georgia Watchdog

Macon-Bibb County has around 2,200 local governmental employees, not counting  jobs related to the school system. The salaries of these government employees make up the lion’s share of the consolidated budget. In fact, around 80% of the entire budget outlay goes towards salaries. When consolidation was still in discussion, there was a mandate that the newly merged entity must cut costs by 20% by FY2019. That provision is a major reason consolidation was finally approved after so many failed attempts in the past. People looked forward to the tax cuts that a consolidated government had promised to deliver.

Based on the 2014 budget, a 20% cost reduction would be approximately $33 million. Some progress toward that goal of about four percent annually was already achieved in that 2014 budget, though, so the good news is that somewhat less, probably “only” about $27 million more, is additionally required to meet the promised and legislatively required goal of cost reduction.  Still, the easiest cuts have been made, and it’s important that the Macon-Bibb government continue in earnest this year to look even harder at cost savings.  In this article, I’d like to offer my assessment, and a few suggestions to reach that goal. … Continue Reading

Is Macon Really on the Move?

By Alan Wood

Editor of Georgia Watchdog

When I chose the title for this article, I thought I’d give my opinion, support it with some facts, and that’d be the end of it. But once I started thinking more deeply about the subject, I realized this is quite a complex topic, with lots of facets and nuances. You’d need to look at employment, population growth, shopping, attractions, education, culture, tourism, entertainment, crime, and dozens of other issues to really be able to fully delve into trying to answer this question.

So instead, this article will serve more as an introduction to the question of whether Macon is “on the move” or not. In this first edition of the series, I plan to talk first about some personal memories of Macon some decades ago, and a bit later about something called urban scaling — as well as what Macon can learn from some real historical antecedents, ancient cities.

… Continue Reading

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