THUMBS UP: To the Valdosta City Council for putting the matter of Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants before voters on a referendum. The referendum, approved 5-2 Thursday night, will appear on the November General Election ballot. As Councilman Sonny Vickers said, citizens are short-changed when they are not allowed to decide the matter for themselves.



THUMBS UP: To Scales Express Inc. for breaking ground Tuesday on its new terminal in the Azalea West Industrial Park. The company, recruited by the Industrial Authority, is expected to bring in $7 million in total investment and 75 employees, including drivers and administrative staff. Construction on the new facility is scheduled to begin this week.



THUMBS DOWN: To the federal government for allowing 11 foreign students to “disappear” last month. The Egyptians, all males between the ages of 18-22, were among a large group bound for Montana State University. Law enforcement in Minnesota and New Jersey arrested several of the students this week. Investigations indicate these individuals pose no terrorist threat, but it is worth noting that several of the terrorists responsible for Sept. 11 came here on student visas. With the fifth anniversary of the attacks coming up, there are still gaping holes in our domestic security.



THUMBS DOWN: To the U.S. government’s inability or unwillingness to craft an energy policy. This became even more obvious when BP announced it is temporarily closing the largest oilfield in the United States for pipeline repairs that will take up to three years. This reduces overall oil output by 400,000 barrels daily — or almost 8 percent of total U.S. oil production. With no contingency plan other than tapping the strategic oil reserves, American consumers can expect to pay even more at the pump at a time when Big Oil’s profits are soaring.

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