Letters to the Editor

The 'birther' bull butts back

When Cruz overtook Trump in the Iowa Caucus lead, "The Donald" attacked. Trump resurrected the "birther" smear he used against Obama, a fire the Texas senator helped stoke. At question is Cruz's eligibility to run for president since he was born in Canada. For once, I agree with Trump. By Cruz's own originalist (strict constitutional) philosophy, he can't be president.

Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states any presidential candidate must be a "natural born citizen." Since the framers didn't define what constituted a "natural born citizen," later courts held a natural-born citizen was a child born of one or more U.S. citizens, regardless of location. On this, however, those "liberal revisionist judges" were wrong.

The term "natural-born(e)" comes from British common law. The Founding Fathers used the things they agreed with and threw out what they didn't. "Natural-born(e)" stayed. As used at the time of the Constitution's framing it was defined by English jurist Sir William Blackstone as "born(e) within the dominions of the Crown" -- not king, but location.

The political thought at the time was that you owed loyalty to where you were born. During the era of the Articles of Confederation (1781-1788), "American" meant Georgian, Carolinian, etc. "Natural-born(e)" had morphed into "states' rights." This thinking readily explains why historical figures such as Robert E. Lee, et al, said they chose to "fight for Virginia" (or South Carolina, or Georgia, etc.) during the Civil War and still remains an untenable concept today.

So according to a strict interpretation of the Constitution (1788), Cruz is an American citizen, but is not eligible to be president. Of course, this is a historical perspective. Should the Roberts Court hear the constitutional arguments, all bets are off. Like Cruz, the conservative members support originalism only when it advances their own conservative agenda.

James H. Centric

Phenix City

Future leaders

American Legion Morton-Richardson Post 128, Richland, would like to invite the public to attend our annual High School Oratorical Contest Saturday, January 23, 2016. Each contestant will speak on our Constitution, and its meaning to today's citizens. The best orators (1st through 3rd Place), will receive cash scholarship awards, and the overall winner will advance to the District Three. Judging will be done by a cross-section of distinguished professionals, including a member of Rep. Sanford Bishop's staff, a constitutional law professor, and a representative from Fort Benning's Staff Judge Advocate Office (JAG).

School board members, teachers, government officials, law enforcement, and members of fraternal or service organizations are encouraged to attend so these young people will be able to see the support they have earned through their hard work.

This invitation is by no means limited to any single county. Past contestants have come from Stewart, Webster, Marion, Schley, Terrell, and Dougherty counties, and this year may see an entry from Tift County. Help us show our appreciation for the patriotism and enthusiasm our speakers have, and - perhaps - even learn a little themselves.

The event begins at 11 a.m. and will last until approximately 1 p.m.at Post 128 Legion Hall on Legion Lane in the Richland City Park (Wall Street, opposite NAPA Auto parts). In addition, everyone is welcome to return for the District-level contest, to be held in the same location on February 13. The District competition will see winners from as far north as Troup and Harris counties, and including Columbus.

Mark your calendar and make a real statement of support for our youth. You might see some of these outstanding teens running for office in the future, and you would be able to say, "I saw his/her first public speech back in 2016, in Richland, Georgia."

Jim Boling

Oratorical Contest Chairman

American Legion Post 128


Getting clean

In the State of the Union address, President Obama acknowledged that the future is clean energy. In an attempt to call to the nation's attention the benefits of solar power, he stated, "Seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history. Here are the results On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and employs more Americans than coal--in jobs that pay better than average."

Indeed, the Solar Jobs Census Report that was just released by the Solar Foundation reveals that as of November 2015, nearly 209,000 workers were employed by the solar industry. This is 20 percent higher than the previous year, and is expected to grow another 14.7 percent next year.

In Georgia, the number of solar jobs hovers around 3,000. Imagine if we were to get 15 (just 15!) percent of our energy from solar instead of one percent -- that would be 45,000 jobs in Georgia's solar industry alone.

Atlanta stepped up as a solar leader in November, when the mayor announced the plan of putting solar panels on 28 municipal buildings. It's time for the rest of the state to follow suit and become the solar leader of the southeast. Then maybe Georgia would be mentioned in the 2017 State of the Union address.

Yamini Kumawat

Student, Emory University

Colleen McLoughlin

Environment Georgia