Don't like the cameras? Don't run the red light

July 8, 2014 

To some, it's a common-sense deterrent to a commonplace violation -- running red lights. A driver who innocently edges forward on green without checking for one of these aggressive scofflaws runs a good chance of getting T-boned at the intersection. Yet there are those who earnestly believe traffic light camera systems are Big Brother run amok.

The bottom line is that these cameras really do deter traffic light violations, and they really do prevent accidents. At the first Phenix City intersection where a traffic signal camera was installed -- Broad and 13th Streets -- there has been a 36 percent decrease in traffic accidents, according to Police Chief Ray Smith.

As for the uber-libertarian objection that such surveillance is an ominous intrusion on our liberties, let it be remembered that there is no "right" to drive. God forbid.

Expensive savings

Another issue of crime and punishment -- this one of a different order -- was raised with the news that Alabama's perennially crowded prison system is paying its overworked employees overtime. According to online news site, almost $21 million in overtime.

This surely comes as startling news to Alabama taxpayers, who might have thought that if there was any upside to an overburdened corrections system, it's that they were saving money.

Corrections officials say prisons are stressful work environments, of which there can be no doubt. Maybe the state could mitigate both the stress and the expense by adequately funding an adequate prison work force. This cost-cutting is getting costly.

Details, please

In a recent interview with Associated Press, Georgia GOP senatorial candidates Jack Kingston and David Perdue took turns pummeling a popular conservative punching bag -- the Common Core academic standards that were developed and adopted at state level, but have somehow become synonymous in Republican political rhetoric with federal overreach.

To Kingston, Common Core is just another example of "Washington bureaucrats [telling] us how to run our schools." To Perdue (whose kinsman, as Georgia's governor, was one of those who developed Common Core), it's a "federalization of education."

Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn has indicated she supports Common Core. That's a veritable outburst of conviction from a candidate who's campaigned as if she thinks she can win a U.S. Senate seat by not committing one way or another to anything (health care, gun control, etc.).

Now that these three political combatants have staked out their positions on Common Core, it's a shame no interviewer seems to have asked any of them to describe what's in it.

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