WE BEGIN WITH some excerpts from an interview late last week with U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) of Roswell, who has been mentioned recently both as a candidate for House Speaker against incumbent John Boehner (R-Ohio) and as a candidate against incumbent U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.):
MDJ: What do the people of District 6 think about Speaker Boehner’s leadership?
Price: The citizens in the 6th District I hear from every day, and they are extremely frustrated with all of Washington.
They don’t understand why their elected officials as a group can’t come together and solve the remarkable challenges that we have.
They are incredibly frustrated with the fact that our economy continues to be in the doldrums despite the positive solutions being put on the table, so I hear from them and they’re wonderfully supportive of the efforts to attempt to get our federal government to focus on things that will actually solve the problem.
They understand that we’ve got real challenges and real problems, but what they don’t understand is Washington appears to be more interested in political battles as opposed to policy solutions.
MDJ: Would you entertain a run for speaker?
Price: The problem right now is spending in Washington and I’m putting all of my energy into decreasing spending in Washington, getting our fiscal house in order so we can increase the economic vitality of this country and get jobs created.
MDJ: It would be nice for Cobb County to have a second Speaker of the House though, wouldn’t it?
MDJ: Are you thinking about challenging Saxby Chambliss?
Price: These kinds of discussions are just way too premature with the challenges that we have before us. The challenges that we face are structural and positive reforms could be embraced that are founded upon the principles that made us a great nation, and that’s where my focus is right now, and wherever I can be of service to try to help and facilitate those kinds of positive solutions then that’s where I will try to serve.
MDJ: When should we ask you this question next?
MDJ: Is it not something you are interested in doing?
Price: Well, it’s not a conversation I’m interested in having at this point.
MDJ: Anything you’d like to add?
Price: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year.
THE MARIETTA WELCOME CENTER, as usual, has a new locally themed Christmas ornament for sale this season. This year’s offering is porcelain and stamp-shaped and depicts the fountain in Glover Park in Marietta Square. It joins other gift items such as Historic Marietta China (in blue, red & black), Marietta Pilgrimage platters and the Big Chicken Birdhouse, reports director Theresa Jenkins of the Marietta Visitors Bureau. For more info, call (770) 429-1115.
NEW Cobb Juvenile Judge Jeff Hamby will be sworn in at 3 p.m. today in the ceremonial courtroom at the new courthouse by Chief Superior Court Judge Robert Flournoy III. Meanwhile, a retirement ceremony for departing Magistrate Court Judge Joan Bloom will be under way from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Jury Assembly Room.
FIVE MEMBERS of the state Judicial Nominating Commission (including state Attorney General Sam Olens of east Cobb) are interviewing 17 applicants this morning for the vacant seat on the Cobb Traffic Court bench created when Gov. Nathan Deal elevated Judge Rob Leonard to Superior Court. Today’s interviews are slated to last 10 minutes each.
MOVING UP A CLASSIFICATION doesn’t seem to faze the Buford Wolves. In its first year as a Class AAA program, Buford beat St. Pius X 10-3 on Friday to claim its fifth state championship since 2005 under the leadership of Marietta High School graduate Jess Simpson.
The Wolves went 12-3 on the year and Simpson ran his record as Buford coach to 108-8 in eight seasons. The three losses is a career high for Simpson at Buford only because the Wolves were forced to forfeit two games early in the seasons — both were originally lopsided victories — because they accidentally used an ineligible player.
Simpson played for Dexter Wood at Marietta and played at Auburn University from 1989-91 for Pat Dye.
After winning the 2008 state championship, Simpson was chosen for the Touchdown Club of Atlanta’s annual Wright Bazemore Award, symbolic of the state’s top high school coach. Simpson is married to another Marietta native, the former Tricia Collins, and the couple has four children, three boys and a girl. His parents are Howard and Carol Simpson of Marietta.
We conclude today’s column by turning it over to the Rev. Dr. Sam R. Matthews, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Marietta, for some heart-felt reflections about Friday’s horrendous events in Connecticut. …
The tragic shootings in Connecticut have brought untold grief to our nation. As President Obama said, “We have faced this too many times,” and now we face the hurt, pain, and rage of such an event at Christmas, hopefully the most joyous season of the year.
I heard that the little town of Newton, where the shootings occurred, has taken down its Christmas decorations. For sure, most of us will experience Christmas differently. But there is a larger question looming this year. With the world around us, we ask, can we celebrate Christmas at all this year? Is there any place for our gatherings and our singing? Is it possible to celebrate in the throes of such pain?
The Christian community has a strong and fervent answer to that question: YES! Emphatically, YES!
The Church responds that we celebrate Christmas now more than ever. To be sure, the celebration changes. A great deal of the peripheral touches of Christmas disappear and perhaps need to. Perhaps we will rethink the place of some of the lights and presents. Perhaps we will realize that the tinsel and trimmings have, in fact, very little to say against the evil that we have experienced in recent days.
But the church is different. The church realizes that it is precisely to and against this kind of evil that the Christ Child comes. We know in the faith community that Christ does not come because of peace on earth and joy in the world. Instead, scripture teaches us that the Child came to bring peace on earth and joy to the world. The angel instructed Mary that the Child was to be called Immanuel, which, he said, means “… is God with us.” God with us in our sorrow and our loss, our tears and our despair. In the church, we know that the heart of God was the first heart to break at the senseless tragedy in Connecticut. God with us.
The American Civil War brought great grief to our nation a century and a half ago.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lost his wife in a fire during the war and his son was tragically wounded in fighting. Against that war where brother fought against brother and father fought against son, Longfellow expressed the nation’s despair in his great poem that became “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”
And in despair I bowed my head.
There is no peace on earth, I said.
For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men.
But the bells of Christmas told a different story to Longfellow and to the nation: Then pealed the bells More loud and deep God is not dead, nor does he sleep.
The wrong will fail, the right prevail, With peace on earth, good will to men.
Can we still celebrate Christmas? Yes, yes, we still celebrate. We celebrate its truth and its message. And while some might choose to remove the decorations of the season, I pray that they will leave the bells.
The bells have a message for us.