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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
April 18, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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April 18, 2018

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E DIT ORIALS Declare among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not; Jeremiah 50:2 A 2016 and 2017 winner:. Editorial Page excellence 2016 wlnne~ Sports Photography excellence /2~.~'~ 2016 winner': News Photography e ce[lence PAll~il/.~l 2016 winne~ Fron, Page exce"ence ~.~t~'~lY~j 2017 winner:. Best Humor Column- C)n the Porch GUEST COLUMN by Barton Swain an unpopular opinion: There is a future in newspapers. I don't mean newspaper com- panies. I mean physical, hard-copy newspa- pers-the kind you buy on the street, the kind someone tosses onto your driveway early in the morning The kind everybody says will be a thing of the past in a few years. My conviction on this point stems from a decision I made about a year ago--to subscribe to, as we used to say, the paper. I was reluctant to do this, and for the usual reason: You can read all the newspaper's content online, either for free or for a smaller subscription price. For several years, though, I had trouble with online news reading, and I thought maybe it was time for a regressive revolt. I had begun to notice, first, that I remember almost nothing I read online. I must have read scores of online artides in 2016, say, but I can hardly remember one. Yet somehow I can recall things I read in hard-copy newspa- pers and magazines 20 or 30 years ago; in some cases I can see the words on the page. I had also begun to feel anxious that, despite all the news reading I do, I was never able to catch up. When you get your news by searching online news aggregators and perusingTwitter, you can spend an hour reading artides--two hours, three hours--and still you feel you've only read the smallest slice of relevant news. You read and read, but unread stories are still everywhere and you spend the rest of your day feeling anxiously ill-informed. Newspapers mostly rid you of that anxiety. When you read the paper in the morning, you spend 45 minutes or an hour doing one thing: reading the news. When you put the paper down, assuming you've made a decent effort to read and understand a fair sampling of items, you've read the news. At that point you can go about your day happy in the knowledge that you have some idea of what sort of things happened in the world yesterday and of what intelligent people think about them. The newspaper, and especially the serious metropolitan daffy, allows you to ingest the news on an array of topics-- and be done with it. After spending an hour reading the paper, you're as caught up on national and world affairs as any person can daim to be. You're not aware of all the profound and amazing writing "out there;' but you're suf- ficiently well-informed, and for the remainder of the day you can apply your mind to other tasks, without anxiety or guilt. The newspaper brings a kind of epistemological defini- tion to the everyday work of being literate. You can hold the day's knowledge with two ink-stained hands, and when you're done with it, you can throw it away. It won't update and demand to be read in a few hours, and it won't follow you around on your smartphone. I don't know what the future of newspapers may be. But I know there is one--because newspapers are physical and limited, and so are we. This column first appeared in the April 16 Wall Street Journal. Barton Swaim is opinion editor of the Weekly Standard. the Monr*m Co.tmty www. is published every week by The Monroe County Reporter Inc. Will Davis, President Robert M. Williams Jr Vice President Cheryl S. Williams, Secretary-Treasurer STAFF Publisher/Editor Richa rdD~it Sr Carolyn Martel Advertising Manager Trellis Grant Business Manager Diane Glidewell Community Editor Brandon Park Creative Director Official Organ of Monroe County and the City of F~rsyth 50 N. Jackson St. - Forsyth, GA 31029 Periodicals Postage Paid at Forsyth, GA 31029 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: THE MONROE COUNTY REPORTER RO. Box 795, Forsyth, GA 31029 SUBSCRIPTION RATE: In County: $35 Out of County: $48 Single Copy: $1 Deadlines noon on Friday prior to issue. Comments featured on opinion pages are the creation of the writers, the do not necessarily reflect the opinions of~e Reporter management. Publication No. USPS 997-840 PEACH STATE POLITICS by Kyle Wingfield ome of what doesn't survive is not to be regretted; some is. Rarely do lawmakers stand by effective entity fades into the sunset. But there was one such case this year. The Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform was created in 2013 -- by a law that provided for its dis- solution on June 30, 2018, unless legislators voted to keep it running. They did not. So, after five years of vetting and proposing ways to make the state's criminal justice system work smarter, the council will close less than three months from now. The original idea was to let the council serve through Gov. Nathan Deal's final legislative session, then let his successor decide whether to bring it back. It might be possible for Deal to extend the council's life on his own, perhaps by re-establishing it under an existing agency. Either wa) the next governor should seek to reauthorize it legislatively. There's more work to be done on this front, including the work of demonstrating how the new polities are performing and what would improve them. I'm a process guy -- all the person- ality-typing systems out there tell me it's in my nature -- so I'm drawn to the process this council established. Although several of the council's 15 members are elected officials, they and the other members are appoint- ed to the council. That affords them some political insulation in research- JUST THE WAY IT IS by L shaaSt week, anyone see the Fake News about a chemical attack Syria against its own people? al-Assad is accused of hunching a chemical attack against anti- government rebels in Douma, Syria that killed upwards of 40 civilians and in- jured scores more. Here's a quick review on Syri use of chemical weapons: August 2012 - Obama's famous (and stupid) "Red Line" statement when he warns Syria saying, "that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized." March 2013 - The US, France, and other countries announce they have strong evidence that Syria used gas to kill civilians and rebel fighters. The "red line" is crossed August 2013 -in response to nu- memns chemical attacks, Obama DOES NOTHING. Oh wait, he condemned Syria and angrily told Assad that he was naugh July 2014 - Secretary of State Kerr on Face the Nation, reports, "We struck a deal where we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out." (Libs and Dems actually believed Kerry) 2015 - The feckless Obama and the haughty John Kerry assured the world that all chemical weapons were removed from Syria. Therefore, any subsequent report that Syria has used chemical weapons is Fake News because Obama talked tough and assured us that Syria removed them. 2017-2018- Syria didn't remove its chemical weapons, and the Assad regime continues to use them against its own people. AS A FORMER member ofthe intelligence community, I'm well aware of our ability to collection information. Intd agendes collect information from a variety of sources. The sources are bro- ken down into broad categories known as SIGINT, IMINT, and HUMINT. SIGINT is an acronym for signals intelli- gence. SIGINT is the intelligence derived from collecting signals and emissions from devices that produce them such as military radio transmissions, cell phone calls, radar signals/emissions, and emis- sions from numerous other devices and weapons. IMINT is short for imagery intelligence. It is the intelligence derived from imagery - think satellite photos and aerial photography (the U- 2 and drones.) HUMRqT is human intd- ligence and, like it sounds, is intelligence from human sources. A prisoner ofwar ing and forming their proposals -- which, of course, must be approved by legislators and signed by the governor to take effect. That insula- tion lets them seek the best ideas for reform, with political accountability for those ideas on the back end. It's a system that works, and would continue to work. And not just for criminal justice reform. Consider, for ex- ample, how difficult health-care reform has been on the state level. (We'll set aside the mess at the federal level for today.) There are market-oriented ideas such as direct primary care, which allows pa- tients to contract with doctors for a menu of services, including visits to specialists, as a complement to high- deductible, catastrophic insurance plans. That is, it's "insur- ance" rather than just prepaid health care, the way insurance works for automobiles. But neither direct pri- mary care nor many other ideas that would put decisions in the hands of patients and doctors, instead of government or, in some cases, insur- ers, have gotten through the General Assembly. Maybe working through the obstacles and objections outside the hurried, 40-day session would help? Another thorny issue that could use this kind of process is the soar- ing taxpayer cost of teacher pen- sions. Georgia must keep its prom- ises to those teachers already on staffor retired. But the state needs a new, effective retirement plan for teachers hired in the future, since the current arrangement is becoming fiscally untenable and may not be attractive to tomorrow's work force anyway. That is, however, a debate most elected officials are loath to tackle. Perhaps they t be more will- ing to take up pension legislation if the hard work of crunching the numbers and narrow- ing the possibilities was done by one of these kinds of councils, with representation from pension experts and education professionals alike. The next governor would be wise not only to keep the Council on Criminal Justice Reform in place, but to use it as a blueprint for other reforms. Kyle Wingfield's column runs in newspapers around the state. A for- mer columnist with the Atlanta ]our- nat-Constitution, he is now president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation: Sloan Oliver 11I In e is a human source, as is a CIA agent who recruits a foreign "source" to gather information. Another information source, and often the most informative, is OPEN SOURCE (OS) information. OS is information available to everyone - examples are newspapers, maga es, and web sites. There are other aspects to intelligence collection, but the take away is that intelligence agendes gather information from a number of sources. Collected information is just one piece of the puzzle. Then, it must be analyzed. THE information only becomes "intelligence" once it has been integrated with other sources of information and has been thoroughly analyzed to produce an intelligence sunmaar The intd summaries are comparmaented and briefed to those who have a "need to kno ' Need to know [ means that the intdligence is only shared with those working that specific is- sue or area. For example, when I was in the Ann); stationed in Europe, I didn't have a "need to know" what some CIA agent had collected while on assignment in China. Chinese intd was compartmented and available only to those working issues related to that specific information. WHAT DOES all this mean? It means that when our intel agendes brief the president on an event, information has been collected from a wide variety of sources, the information has been checked for accuracy; it has been com- pared to other information, and it has been analyzed. However, intel agendes can, and often do, get things wrong. For example, intd missed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ( 1941 ), the Tet offensive in Vietnam (1968), the Iranian Revolu- tion (1979), the collapse ofthe Soviet Union (1991), the 9-11 attacks (2001), and the rise of ISIS (2011). Reason for these failures, while tens of thousands of smart people work to produce intelli- gence; our adversaries work equally hard to deceive us. DID ASSAD use chemical weapons on his people? Our intd agendes say that he did. If he did, it makes little sense, since President Trump had just announced that he was planning to pull US troops out of Syria. Ask who has the most to gain from a chemical attack- Assad or rebels fighting against him? Ifthe rebels could pull offan attack and blame it on Assad, dearly they have much to gain. Whether Assad or the rebels used chemical weapons, the big- ger question is, "Why should the United States care?" Yes, chemical weapons are horrible and using them breaks intemational law. However, shoot- ing or beheading civilians is horrible and breaks international law, as well. Regardless ofhow they're killed' 40 or 50 dead is horrible. But what's our national interest in Syria? Assad is a bad gu ; but so is Kim in North Korea, and dozens of others around the world. Should we start bombing them all? Or only when they use chemical weapons? Or only when it's in our national interest? Speak- ing of which, what are our [ nationalinterests? Hard to argue that it's Syria. LOCAL NEWS - When you think of"low- incoming housing' (LIH), what comes to mind? I think of apartments and multiple family units where there is high crime often associated with high drug usage. There is an indisputable link between low-income housing and high crime rates. Every- where there is LIH there are higher crime rates than similar populated areas that have owner-occupied' single fam- ily housing. I tell you this because the Monroe County Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Board will hold a public hearing to discuss/approve a72 unit LIH de- velopment on New Forsyth Road very dose to the Bass Pro entrance. Vantage Development, LLC has applied to build a 72 trait, multiple family development on 18+ acres in Bolingbroke. Vantage specializes in building low-income housing. Problems that I foresee include increased crime, increased traffic, and decreased property values in the sur- rounding neighborhoods. The P&Z meeting will be April 23, 5:30 pm, 3rd floor ofthe County Buildin 38 West Main Street, Forsyth. WEEKLY Quote - "Trust but veri ." Ronald Reagan Sloan Oliver is a retired Army officer He lives in Bolingbroke with his wife San- dra. Email him at sloanolivet@earthlink. net. ~ - -