On a personal note:
Thank you for continuing to use your checkbooks and your prayers for the benefit of those recovering from Hurricane Irma and its aftermath.
Also, thanks to emergency responders and utility workers putting their lives on the line to restore Georgia.
Finally, we’re grateful that Georgia Congressman Barry Loudermilk and his wife, Desiree, who were home to help with the Irma response, are safe after they were involved in a terrifying wreck in Tennessee as they returned to Washington, D.C. His chief of staff, Rob Adkerson, told us Thursday they are “resting and recovering well. They are both very thankful for many miracles during and after the accident, and they are exceedingly humbled by, and thankful for, the overwhelming outpouring of support and prayers they have received.”
October 13: As many Georgians focus on recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Irma, the Foundation is extending Early Bird Registration until Monday, September 25 for the 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum. The daylong event takes place Friday, October 13 at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel. The theme is “Wisdom, Justice, Transformation,” with a focus on health care and education. We’re pleased to announce our lunch keynote speaker is Dr. Tim Huelskamp, former Congressman and the new president of The Heartland Institute! Early Bird Registration is $100; register here. Details here.
Quotes of note
“Climate fluctuates, and humans don’t have too much to say about it. Maybe someday humans will be gone. The storms will continue. But at least there’ll be less hot air.” – John Stossel
“It’s unreasonable of us to expect any politician to sabotage his career by living up to his oath of office to uphold and defend our Constitution. That means that if we are to save our nation from the economic and social chaos that awaits us, we the people must have a moral reawakening and eschew what is no less than legalized theft, the taking from one American for the benefit of another.” – Walter Williams
Energy and environment
Hurricane forecast: Precision still lacks in weather forecasts, despite better advance warnings. Modeling the path of Hurricane Irma caused real and hazardous consequences for millions of people in Georgia and Florida. As Douglas MacKinnon writes for FEE, “First, they had it going to the east coast of Florida. Then just off the east coast. Then more to the middle of the state. Then the exact middle of Florida. Then more to the west. Then directly over the west coast of Florida. Are you kidding me? Just admit you don’t know what you are talking about and be done with it.”
Irma aftermath: Thanks to improved forecasts, roads, construction and equipment, Hurricane Irma did much damage but took remarkably few lives across the Southeast – far fewer than it would have in the past. As The Washington Post reports, many deaths take place in a hurricane’s aftermath – from causes such as carbon monoxide poisoning from generators and health-related deaths such as heart attacks and strokes.
Hurricane assistance: Faith-based groups have outdone FEMA and provided the vast majority of the relief aid to victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. They are responsible for providing nearly 80 percent of the aid delivered thus far to communities devastated by the recent hurricanes, according to USA Today.
Fired up about coal: Nations around the world are building coal-fired power plants at a faster rate than those being decommissioned, The Australian newspaper reports. The plants under construction reflect a 10 percent increase in global coal-fired generation. New electricity generated by coal-fired plants will outstrip what was retired in 2015 and 2016 by a factor of five. The United States has not added coal-fired plants in the past two years.
Policy reforms: Florida’s state-owned (taxpayer-backed) Citizens Property Insurance Corp., once “a fiscal disaster awaiting the next hurricane,” can cover Irma claims, thanks to good luck and some important reforms. Citizens has a $7.4 billion fiscal surplus after a 12-year lull in major hurricanes, purchasing reinsurance, building surpluses and aggressively shrinking its footprint in the state. In 2011 Citizens insured 1.5 million policyholders; today it insures 452,000. Private insurers took up the slack. Had Irma struck in 2011, it would have cost the insurer $24.5 billion and required an $11.6 billion taxpayer assessment. Source: Wall Street Journal
Opioid abuse population: Opioid prescription drugs aren’t widely overused by the general population, as often presumed, according to a new analysis in the latest issue of the Annals of Internal. It found more than three-quarters of opioid prescriptions are written for just 10 percent of patients. Source: Mercury News
Civic education: September 18 is Constitution Day. Only 26 percent of Americans polled can name the three branches of government, according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center, and 37 percent are unable to name a First Amendment right.
Dignity of work: Westside Works has helped 450 people learn and earn jobs. Culinary academy trainer Julie Peters explains: “[M]ore than half of what we do has to do with developing the person, not the food. You don’t have to be the most talented chef but if you have the right attitude, show up on time and have the drive to learn more, can identify equipment, and most importantly know how.” Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
This month in the archives: In September five years ago the Foundation published, “‘Plan T:’ For Georgia Traffic and So Much More.” It noted, “Atlanta has an opportunity to replace its reputation as one of the ‘most congested cities’ and become known as the ‘go to’ place for business. To get there, leaders, employers and workers must all embrace the distributed workplace – which will impact not only how we work, but also where work. And the clean air and reduced congestion come free.”
Foundation in the news: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution interviewed Kelly McCutchen on the future of health care; subscribers can watch it online here. Read his interview here on our website. The Clayton Tribune published Kelly’s commentary on Certificate of Need regulations. The Heartland Institute quoted Benita Dodd in an article on work requirements for welfare recipients. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Benita on MARTA’s future and WSB-TV’s Richard Belcher interviewed her on the MARTA CEO’s salary. The Marietta Daily Journal and Neighbor Newspapers published the coalition letter seeking congressional tax reform. The Waycross Journal-Herald published Eric Wearne’s commentary on campus free speech.
Have a safe weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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As an employer, and a parent and a graduate of Georgia public schools, I am pleased that the Foundation has undertaken this project. (The report card) provides an excellent tool for parents and educators to objectively evaluate our public high schools. It will further serve a useful purpose as a benchmark for the future to measure our schools’ progress.