In February, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will recognize the best in movies with the 88th Annual Oscars. Rather than the usual focus of who is wearing what, this year's ceremony will continue to be overshadowed by #OscarsStillSoWhite. For the second consecutive year, the Academy failed to nominate a single non-White actor or actress.
The main focus has been on the omission of African-American nominees. Michael B. Jordan ("Creed"); Idris Elba, who is actually black British ("Beats of No Nation"), and Will Smith ("Concussion") were all believed to have serious shots at Oscar nominations. "Straight Outta Compton," produced by three African-Americans, was also favored to be nominated for Best Picture, but that did not happen, either. Most disappointingly, the two films directed by and starring an African-American in the lead role were both nominated, but the nominees were White (Sylvester Stallone for "Creed," and the two writers of "Straight Outta Compton" for Best Original Screenplay).
#OscarsStillSoWhite got more ammunition when the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards recently announced its winners. SAG is considered to be the foremost authority on recognizing excellence in acting because the awards are voted upon by actors. Four of the SAG awards went to blacks, including Idris Elba, who won the equivalent of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. The Academy's president, who is black, has expressed her disappointment and vowed to make significant changes to the Academy's voting membership. Chris Rock is hosting this year's Oscars ceremony, and is sure to have some biting commentary about the lack of diversity. As an avid movie lover, I watch the Oscars every year, and have done so for well over a decade. I won't be watching this year, though. Instead, I'll watch "The Walking Dead." Zombies value dark meat and white meat equally.
Historically, to poison a well is a horrible war crime. Our current sources of potable drinking water in many areas of our country are being contaminated by unknown toxins.
These chemicals help in the fracting process by making it easier to break up the sub-strata. Nobody knows where they go when they are ejected under pressure into the earth. Many areas of our country are having our drinking water put at risk.
The oil companies and the fractional drillers should not be able to hide the nature of these poisonous chemicals.
The federal government, the Environmental Protection Agency and the government of those states where underground water is being contaminated must act immediately to make oil companies and drillers disclose the toxins they use. Anything less is to show no concern for generations to come!
Thanks for including Jack Bernard's excellent history lesson on how we got where we are with Medicaid expansion, and the historical and cultural issues that led to the Republican "Southern Strategy." The fact that Bernard is a Republican with a career in health planning gives his piece authenticity and a gravitas that we should heed. Medicaid expansion would help insure many of the working poor in Georgia, and would help prevent the closings of any more of our all-too-few rural hospitals. It would create jobs, not destroy them. Bernard has succinctly explained how the current political atmosphere developed from a strategy to create power based on the tragedy of racial politics in South and how it affects our state and its citizens.
I appreciate his courage and his thoughtful reminder that we can do much better than this. Knowing how we arrived at this place should make us determined to find another way. Governor Deal is not doing his state any favors by refusing to expand Medicaid, and several of our legislators are coming to this conclusion. I hope they will have the courage to bring this issue forward in order to support our citizens.
Mary S. Walker
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to see the opening of the film "13 Hours." I was appalled at the lack of action(s) on our leadership at all levels in Washington -- levels that included the President and Secretary of State (Mrs. Hillary Clinton). There in Benghazi, three men died and Hillary lied and continues to lie because she is a "congenital liar" both privately (Clinton Foundation -- donations from foreign countries) and in government (private unsecured server).
Her server is currently under investigation by the FBI and the server was found to have high level information - information that went beyond the government's top secret classification. This information falls under SAP (Special Access Programs) to which only a handful of people have access. Information so secretive that members of Congress who sit on intelligence oversight committees are briefed on it CANNOT take notes. When that level of information was found on her server, the Inspector General of the Intel community had to get special security clearances just to continue the investigation.
This is clearly "mishandling classified material." The Pentagon acknowledges that they get attacked about 100,000 times a day. Remember the punishment handed down to General Petraeus (2 years probation and $100,000 fine)? Where will Hillary find herself?
The then-Secretary of State is now a presidential candidate. She refused to come to the aid of three Americans in Benghazi. Her office had the responsibility. Now she wants to be Commander in Chief of our entire military. Not by the standards of this proud veteran. I can still hear the cries for help over and over and the response passed down to the field was "stand down." I close with the words of President Reagan -- "Peace through strength." We must strengthen our military!
Show them we care
Thanks to law enforcement. Take time to thank those in law enforcement for a prompt and thorough investigation into the senseless, heinous recent triple homicides that gripped the community and had many of us afraid to close our eyes at night.
Their work is far from over. They live up to the motto of "to serve and protect." So make their day and offer a kind word of thanks and appreciation.
There is so much discussion and bitter argument as to what to do with 12 million illegal immigrants in this country. Why not try a little common sense? It is recognized that we can't send them back to whence they came. We can't put them in jail for breaking the law.
Why can't we admit that we made a mistake in letting them in the first place? We slipped up for whatever reason. but they are here. They are human beings who have been living here for years, working here, paying taxes, rearing families, getting educated and participating in government. Why can't we declare a statute of limitation?
Start afresh. Make those who have already been here a certain number of years become citizens and look to the future rather than harping on past indiscretions . Concentrate on tightening our borders. Rubio thinks this could affect legal immigration in the future, but if we maintain strong immigration laws in this country this should not happen.
This has become such a controversial issue, and a gigantic one at that, taking up so much political and social time in public discourse that it is time to settle it as simply as possible. It can start with a proper screening process. For most it is too late to start being so vindictive. Let it pass and let's build for the future and forget the past and help those involved become better American citizens.
Seeds of success
Learning how to show respect begins at home and parents should start teaching respect at an early age. There was never a doubt in my mind that the teacher ruled the classroom.
The teacher has the right to impose any rules and regulations he/she deems necessary to promote and maintain a quiet, calm and productive learning environment. If you can't respect your teachers how are you going to make it in the working world?
In my day students were suspended for causing chaos; now teachers are being suspended for trying to avoid chaos.