Wednesday, September 30, 2009

GOP going after red-state Dems. Will they go after Marshall, Barrow & Bishop?

THE Politico: Republicans are seriously targeting a handful of veteran House Democrats from conservative-minded districts who haven’t drawn serious challengers in years.

The senior Democrats — Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton of Missouri, Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon of Tennessee and Reps. John Tanner of Tennessee and Vic Snyder of Arkansas — all represent districts that John McCain comfortably carried in 2008, in states that also voted for the GOP presidential nominee over Barack Obama.

Obituary: Donald Walker

The Houston Home-Journal. Warner Robins – Mayor Donald S. Walker

Mayor Walker, a life-long member of Warner Robins First Baptist Church, entered into rest on Monday, September 28, 2009. He was born at Macon Hospital on April 3, 1949. Following a successful commercial and real estate career, Walker entered Warner Robins city politics as a “late arrival” in 1992 in an unsuccessful bid for the office of mayor. He was elected to the office of mayor two years later, in 1994, and served until his death earlier this week. He was involved in another campaign for the office of mayor at the time of his death.

Walker lived most of his life in Warner Robins, venturing from home only while he attended Georgia College in Milledgeville and while he served on active duty with the United States Army at Fort Knox, Ky. and Fort Dix, NJ. He attended Houston County public schools and graduated from Northside High School in Warner Robins as a self-proclaimed “Proud Eagle” in 1967. Mr. Walker was an active and supporting member of dozens of church, civic and fraternal organizations in the city, state and at the national level. His parents, Homer J. Walker Jr. and Marian Walker, preceded him in death.

His memory will forever be treasured by his loving wife of 39 years, Patricia Sammons Walker; daughter D. Stephanie Walker; grandchildren, Joshua and Amanda Rainey, Warner Robins; brothers, Jay (Mary) Walker, Warner Robins; Tommy (Penny) Walker, Fort Valley; nephew, C.J. Walker, Warner Robins; niece, Sarah Walker, Warner Robins.

Mayor Walker will lie in state Thursday, October 1, 2009, from 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. at McCullough Funeral Home; then the family will receive friends Thursday evening from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at McCullough Funeral Home. Friday, October 2, 2009, Mayor Walker will lie in state from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m., then funeral services will begin 2:00 p.m. at the Homer J. Walker Jr. Civic Center Auditorium, Reverend Willie Reed, Bishop Jeff Poole and former State Representative Larry Walker officiating. Interment will follow in Magnolia Park Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Masonic Children’s Home 1417 Nottingham Dr. Macon GA 31211 or the Shiners Children Hospital Children’s P.O. Box 31356 Tampa Florida 33631-3365

Go to to sign the Online Registry for the family. McCullough Funeral Home has charge of arrangements.

Georgia School Board Association Warns of More Cuts to Come.

The Georgia School Boards Association warned local school officials of more state budget cuts .

According to the GSBA, there will be a larger cut in state funding than originally predicted, and school boards need to be ready to make tough budgeting decisions.

In addition to holding back funds, the governor is also changing the method of disbursement in monthly allotments to school boards. According to the GSBA, the governor will disburse $367 million less than originally anticipated, resulting in some difficult choices.

To reduce the cost of travel to various meetings, the GSBA presented an informational Webinar via conference call and PowerPoint to school boards throughout the state of Georgia. More than one hundred people participated.

The 2009 GSBA information session addressed budget issues, legislative initiatives and outstanding tax bills.

Though Gov. Sonny Perdue recently withheld funds by executive order, the process of working out a budget remains very much alive, as the budget is ultimately set by the General Assembly. Additional cuts in funding are expected, Wayne County’s Board of Education and school superintendent were told.

The GSBA encouraged school boards to modify their work and student calendars and salary supplements in addition to considering a reduction in force.

As the school boards had already signed contracts with teachers prior to the governor’s decision, the teachers cannot be forced to take furloughs, but the work calendar can be modified.

The GSBA encouraged the school boards to honor the contracts, using the language already in the existing contracts, in addition to clearly communicating with staff, parents and the community about the necessary alterations.

New legislation anticipated for 2010 includes responses to bullying, CRCT (Criterion Referenced Competency Tests) cheating and abuse in educational settings. The GSBA supports the laws already in force, fearing that more legislation will only complicate matters.

The GSBA also opposed the proposed legislation of HB 480 and HB 483, the car tax and the state homestead exemption, which have already passed the House and are waiting to be voted on in the Senate.

The proposed car tax would replace the ad valorem tax with a one-time 7 percent tax at the time of purchase. The GSBA feels this is problematic, as it would be difficult to determine the value of resale vehicles.

The state homestead exemption is proposed in addition to the already-existing local exemption, which would increase each year.

A representative of the GSBA said, “These outstanding tax bills put a hole in the revenue stream of some school districts that some millage rates might not make up.”

Legislation supported by the GSBA includes SB 206, an in-house appropriations-tax expenditure report; SB 167, exempting school buses from the motor vehicle tax; SB 453, comprehensive tax reform; and HR 442, a study committee for capital-outlay extension.

State Senator Regina Thomas thinking rematch against John Barrow. For What?

Former State Senator Regina Thomas is "considering" a rematch against John Barrow for the 12th Congressional District. Thomas ran against fellow Savannah Democrat Barrow in last year's primary but received only 24 percent of the vote.

Thomas said Tuesday that, on a scale of one to 10, the likelihood she'll run again is "about eight."

She said she is "talking to a lot of people," getting "a lot of encouragement" and will make up her mind "in maybe a month."

Thomas said she wants to give Democrats in the 12th Congressional District - which takes in most of Savannah - a choice.

She is wasting her time. Barrow is popular with his constituents & will crush her in a primary & will win comfortably in the general election.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

With Republicans calling President Obama a "Socialist", that his Politics are Socialism or Marxist, etc. I wanted to know what do they mean?

Socialism refers to various theories of economic organisation advocating public or direct worker ownership and administration of the means of production and allocation of resources, and a society characterised by equal access to resources for all individuals with an egalitarian method of compensation.

Most socialists share the view that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and derives its wealth through exploitation, creates an unequal society, does not provide equal opportunities for everyone to maximise their potentialities and does not utilise technology and resources to their maximum potential nor in the interests of the public.

Therefore socialists advocate the creation of a society that allows for the widespread application of modern technology to rationalise economic activity by eliminating the anarchy in production of capitalism, allowing for wealth and power to be distributed based on the amount of work expended in production, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how and to what extent this could be achieved, and whether increased production should be the main goal of socialists. The connotation of socialism varies among different groups, and can simply be a way of mediating decision-making within a society. Thus the degree of centralism in creating socialism, just as in capitalism or neoliberalism, is a feature of debate.

Socialism is not a concrete philosophy of fixed doctrine and programme; its branches advocate a degree of social interventionism and economic rationalisation (usually in the form of economic planning), sometimes opposing each other. Another dividing feature of the socialist movement is the split between reformists and revolutionaries on how a socialist economy should be established. Some socialists advocate complete nationalisation of the means of production, distribution, and exchange; others advocate state control of capital within the framework of a market economy. Socialists inspired by the Soviet model of economic development have advocated the creation of centrally planned economies directed by a state that owns all the means of production. Others, including Yugoslavian, Hungarian, German and Chinese Communists in the 1970s and 1980s, instituted various forms of market socialism, combining co-operative and state ownership models with the free market exchange and free price system (but not free prices for the means of production). Social democrats propose selective nationalisation of key national industries in mixed economies, while maintaining private ownership of capital and private business enterprise. Social democrats also promote tax-funded welfare programs and regulation of markets. Many social democrats, particularly in European welfare states, refer to themselves as socialists, introducing a degree of ambiguity to the understanding of what the term means. Libertarian socialism (including social anarchism and libertarian Marxism) rejects state control and ownership of the economy altogether and advocates direct collective ownership of the means of production via co-operative workers' councils and workplace democracy. For any person looking to change the world in a socialist direction the ideas of Marxism are a vital, even indispensable, tool and weapon to assist the working class in its struggle to change society.

Most people who describe themselves as socialists will have at one stage or another looked at Marxist ideas and, unfortunately, some have chosen to ignore the rich experience and understanding that Marxist ideas add to an understanding of the capitalist world and how to change it.

Fascism, comprises a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology and a corporatist economic ideology. Fascists believe that nations and/or races are in perpetual conflict whereby only the strong can survive by being healthy, vital, and by asserting themselves in conflict against the weak.

Fascists advocate the creation of a single-party state. Fascist governments forbid and suppress openness and opposition to the government and the fascist movement. Fascism opposes class conflict, blames capitalist liberal democracies for its creation and communists for exploiting the concept.

So what Obama's critics, mainly Republicans are implying that President Obama wants the government to take over our lives. It already has taken over the Banks, the Auto Industry & now the perception is that he wants government to take over the Healthcare. So does the Socialist Tag really applies to the president? How about the Fascist label?

Ex-Dodge County sheriff charged with buying votes with cash, liquor & drugs

Cash, alcohol and — gasp! — drugs were used to buy votes on behalf of former Dodge County Sheriff Lawton Douglas in 2004, a federal indictment alleges.

Douglas and two others are accused in a six-count indictment unsealed Sept. 15. He is charged with giving co-defendants Olin Norman “Bobo” Gibson and Thedy Deneen McLeod, along with other co-conspirators, money to buy votes for him in the July 2004 Democratic primary and a runoff the following month.

Douglas won the 2004 election and served until his defeat in 2008 by Republican Jeff Hinson.

All three defendants are accused of a conspiracy to buy votes with cash, alcohol and drugs. Gibson allegedly took voters to the polls and went into the voting booth with them to make sure they voted as agreed.
Gibson and others also purchased absentee ballots and delivered them to Douglas, who then cast the ballots for himself and turned them in, the indictment alleges.

Two voters, identified in the indictment only by their initials, were among those whose votes were bought.

A federal grand jury handed down the indictment under seal July 9. The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in federal court in Dublin.

More on the Shocking Death of Warner Robins Mayor Donald Walker: Autopsy today could shed light on death of WR Mayor Walker

Mayor Donald Walker, who in 15 years helped the city stabilize its finances, double in size and get past a scandal that saw its previous mayor imprisoned, died Monday afternoon from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Walker died from a single gunshot wound to the head, Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said.

Walker, 60, had been in failing health for some time, having battled heart problems and pain in his left foot from an injury more than 10 years ago. But, friends say, he had surgery on his foot last year, quit smoking and seemed in good spirits in recent weeks.

The mayor’s sudden death — and the circumstances surrounding it — have left many people wondering if there was something they didn’t catch that could have been wrong.

The official cause of death won’t be determined until after an autopsy, scheduled for 10 a.m. today in Warner Robins. The mayor’s body was taken Monday afternoon, with a police escort, to the Houston Medical Center for the autopsy by Houston County’s medical examiner, Dr. James Quincy Whitaker.

Walker ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1992, but then won a 1994 special election held because the city’s mayor, Ed Martin, resigned after his involvement in a blackmail scandal involving other local political figures came to light.

Friends and longtime political followers say he enjoyed the part of being mayor that allowed him to get into the city and talk with ordinary citizens, business owners and schoolchildren.

In 1997, Walker won re-election handily with 85 percent of the vote. Then in 2001, state Rep. Pam Bohannon, with whom Walker already had a tense relationship, challenged him. Walker took 64 percent of the vote. He ran unopposed in 2005.

R.J. Hadley Enters Senate Race

`The Rockdale County Citizen.

Actions speak louder than words, said RJ Hadley as he formally announced his run for U.S. Senate before a crowd of about 30 Saturday at the Johnson Park Community Center. And he had the room on their feet, clapping and cheering, by the end of it.

His roughly 15-minute speech at the regular meeting of the Rockdale County Democratic Party centered on a common disparity he wants to work to change.

Hadley called it a gap between the haves and the have nots and he hopes to bridge that gap between "those who already got the American dream and those who you wonder if you ever have a chance to even think about the American dream."

"I'm calling for everybody - left, right, middle - to come together and let's build a bridge over this gap because the gap is getting wider," Hadley said. "What I want to set in place is just a vision. A vision for a bridge ... a bridge forward for Georgia, a bridge forward for this country."

The Democratic candidate will be up against Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson.

"I'm asking for your support, here in Rockdale County, here in Georgia and here in this country to help me build this bridge, this bridge forward," Hadley said. "Will you support me? ... Can I count on you to be there for me?"

Among those cheering supporters was Dean Johnson.

"You're going to win because you're the first politician that has ever put his finger on the problem," Johnson stood up to say following the speech. "We have to face the fact that wealth belongs to all of us."

If he is successful in securing the nomination during the primaries July 20 and winning the general election next November, Hadley would become Georgia's first black U.S. senator. Former U.S Rep. Denise Majette was the first black to earn a U.S. Senate nomination in 2004, but she lost the election to Isakson.

In an interview after the meeting, Hadley outlined a few driving issues for his run - affordable health care, education and small business.

"Those are going to be my three domestic priorities," Hadley said.

In the main effort to "represent the regular guy, the common man, in D.C.," Hadley said he will continue to travel around the state, "listening to the stories and the hopes and ideas of Georgians all over."

His campaign is going to be a little different from what many may be used to seeing, Hadley said, referencing the big-name endorsements and contribution numbers he may not get.

"But just as we've done before, Rockdale, let's not worry about that," Hadley said. "Let's do what we've always done - put our heads down and we quietly go to work."

Hadley referenced highlights of his time as a delegate, communications chair for the Democratic party and campaign manager for Rockdale County Chairman Richard Oden's successful run for county commission.

But the petition for support didn't come without a disclaimer. Things may get "nasty," Hadley said, referencing mudslinging and "the politics of old."

"All I ask, folks, is we don't just stand down on it. Back me up ... you guys know me. You know what I'm about," Hadley said. "Don't let it stand for one second."

Hadley said he will be there to represent the people, "not special-interest, not corporations. I'm going to be there for the people," Hadley said. "That's what I believe this government is about."

Hadley said he is not interested in "grabbing power for power's sake."

"This is a government of the people, and I'm stepping forward to be a public servant," Hadley said. "That means I work for all Georgians, not just a select few," Hadley said. "That means when you put me there, I'm going to work for you, not the other way around."

Aside from the flash and glamour, Hadley asked for the crowd to just spread the word and "let's just slowly grind this process through."

"And what's going to happen at the end is they're going to be like 'How did that happen?'" Hadley said.

Oden, who was on hand during the meeting to offer support to Hadley, encouraged Hadley to stay the course.

"All it takes is one person to tell another person ... and you'd be amazed at the results," Oden said.

"It really makes me feel good that it's here in Rockdale County," said Democratic Party Chairman Stan Williams. "Rockdale County will be the model for the nation in putting quality folk out there."

Addressing those who may think he is moving too fast, Hadley said "Nothing is impossible if you have belief that it is possible."

Republican Activist to Challenge John Barrow

Savannah Morning News: Savannah Republican activist Jeanne Seaver has launched a bid for the GOP nomination next year in the 12th Congressional District.

Seaver is the third Republican to seek the seat, held by third-term Savannah Democratic Rep. John Barrow.

Thunderbolt Fire Chief Carl Smith and Wayne Mosley, a Vidalia doctor, have already said they're running.

Long active in the local party, Seaver recently has taken a high profile in opposing Democrats on health care, taxes and energy.

"What has pushed me to run more than anything else is our Congress' deaf ear," Seaver said. "We, the people, can't speak much louder than we have over the past several months.

She said Barrow is "out of touch with his constituents" because he didn't hold a Savannah town hall forum on health care during a recent congressional recess.

The Seaver file Age: 52 Education: Graduated from Lake Worth (Fla.) High School Occupation: Businesswoman Political experience: Active in local Republican campaigns, Chatham County GOP Volunteer of the Year in 2008; leader in the local anti-tax Tea Party movement; co-founder of the National Right of Communities Association, which opposes the major Democratic health care proposals. Top issues: Solutions to health care and energy problems that emphasize individual choice, more competition and free enterprise approaches; supports the Fair Tax, which would replace the income and most other federal taxes with a national sales tax.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Guess all of the off the wall Hitler, Marxist, Extreme Right-Wing Rhetoric is paying off for yours truly Paul Broun.

Paul Broun has raised nearly $605,000 in campaign funds this year, more than any other Georgia congressman, new financial disclosures show.To do that, he has spent heavily on fund-raising, including $72,652 paid to three companies affiliated with Paul Kilgore, his campaign treasurer.

Campaign records show Broun’s campaign in 2009 has paid:

– $42,766 to Capitol Hill Lists, LLC,

– $20,117 to Professional Data Services Inc., and

– $9,758 to Win Right Data Company, LLC.

State records list Kilgore as CEO of Professional Data Services and as the registered agent in Georgia of the other two companies. Win Right is based in Richmond, Va., and the other two in Athens.

Kilgore has played much the same role in the last several years for Bob Barr’s political action committee. Kilgore’s companies sold mailing lists and data services to the Bob Barr Leadership Fund while he served as the fund’s treasurer. The PAC raised more than $4 million after Barr left office in 2002, but has remained relatively dormant since the former congressman ran for president as a Libertarian last year.

Latest congressional campaign disclosures show Georgia Republicans, led by Broun, were generally much more prolific fund-raisers through June 30, with these totals:

$604,953 Broun (R)
$486,288 Tom Price (R)
$433,941 John Barrow (D)
$320,702 Phil Gingrey (R)
$203,324 Jack Kingston (R)
$178,796 John Lewis (D)
$158,447 David Scott (D)
$117,201 Lynn Westmoreland (R)
$109,288 Sanford Bishop (D)
$96,699 Jim Marshall (D)
$84,671 Hank Johnson (D)
$64,236 Nathan Deal (R, now running for governor)
$20,958 John Linder (R)

Gingrey’s sitting on nearly $1 million, while Kingston and Linder are each holding more than a half-million dollars. Democrats David Scott and Hank Johnson, on the other hand, were sitting on campaign accounts of only about $24,000 and $14,000, respectively. Scott who has a challenger & Johnson, who has a republican challenger, may well have a democratic challenger when it's all sadi done with better pickup the pace.

House Speaker Glen Richardson & Senate Rules Chairman Don Balfoir Milks Cash from Lobbyist & Special Interest Groups.

House Speaker Glenn Richardson has 54,000 constituents in his legislative district in eastern Paulding County. Just two of them donated money to the speaker’s 2007-08 election fund.

Three businesses in the 19th District also gave to the speaker’s campaign, as did the Paulding Chamber of Commerce. Together, the six donations — totaling $5,840 – added up to less than 1 percent of the $953,000 that Richardson raised in that period.

The rest of Richardson’s financial supporters, as they say, ain’t from around those parts. One in four aren’t even from Georgia.

Georgia lobbyists, and the special-interest groups that employ them, made up half of all contributions to Richardson’s campaign treasury and to the MMV Alliance Fund, a separate political action committee that benefits him, according to an analysis of campaign records by AtlantaUnfiltered.

$488,250 — Georgia lobbyists and groups that hired them

$229,291 — Out-of-state donors

$86,940 — Other Georgia businesses

$142,750 — Other Georgia individuals

$5,840 — Constituents in Richardson’s 19th district

Final analysis of Richardson’s 2007-08 only became possible last week, when the MMV Fund filed its last disclosure report for 2008. The report was not filed with the State Ethics Commission until AtlantaUnfiltered called to ask about it.

Richardson collected nearly $1 million without even having a campaign to run. He ran without opposition in 2008, and he hails from solidly Republican turf. John McCain won 69 percent of the Paulding County vote in November.

The biggest givers to Richardson’s funds were health care, development and financial interests, particularly title pawn and other small loan businesses.

Don Balfour, The Snellville Republican (right) has collected nearly $85,000 in campaign donations since Jan. 1, according to his latest campaign disclosure. Several donors seemingly forgot that it’s illegal to donate money during the legislative session; Balfour reported receiving four donations totaling $2,050 on March 22.

The top donors? Aflac, the billboard industry, state Sen. Eric Johnson, United Health Services (a Toccoa-based nursing home and pharmacy chain), and Coca-Cola. The full list includes many of the most active special-interest political funds in Georgia.

No one’s even run against Balfour since 2004, when he coasted to re-election with about 75 percent of the vote, knocking off Democratic opponent Enock Vixamar.

Since then, with no opposition, state records show Balfour’s campaign fund has still managed to raise $683,000. The bulk of contributions are from Insurance & Pharmacy Companies.

How’s he spend it? In 2009, his campaign paid:

$4,404 to himself, primarily for travel and miscellaneous expenses, plus $1,000 to American Express for travel expense. The report provides little other detail. State law requires more specific disclosure than Balfour reported. The law is intended to inform the public about the nature of political expenses and the end recipients of the money.
$4,300 to Johnson for Georgians, the committee for state Sen. Eric Johnson’s campaign for lieutenant governor, on June 25. (Johnson for Georgians gave Balfour $4,366 three days later.)
$5,900 to the Committee to Elect Eric Johnson in January. (It’s unclear which of Johnson’s three campaign funds that was, since none have filed disclosures yet for 2009.)
$26,228 to Landmark Consulting of Duluth for campaign work.
$9,000 for “house rental”
$9,170 for “house rental” deposit, utilities and cleaning fees.

DuBose Porter, candidate for governor of Georgia 2010, welcomes visitors the

Kudzu Live BlogTalk Radio 9/27

If Roy Barnes is fed up with Democrats, then he should pack his bags & head back to Marietta (in other words, drop out of the democratic primary)

I'm fed up with both the Democrats and the Republicans. I'd be a Bull Moose or a Whig if they still had a party. Those were the comments made by former Governor Roy Barnes. Now, I understand being fed up with the republicans, who have had a hold on the governor's mansion for 7, going on 8 years, & the State Senate since 2002 & the State House since 2005. Their inability to solve some of the state's biggest & most pressing needs would have anyone fed up with them. party
But What I don't understand is why go after your own party? The last time I checked, it was under the leadership of Roy Barnes that the dems lost control of the governor's post, the State Senate & three years later the State House. It was under his leadership that democrats fell into the minority status that it endures today. Now various other circumstances hurt dems back in 2002 like the 9/11 attacks, the abrupt change of the old state flag, among other things. But don't say that you are fed up with the democrats, who have put forwward an agenda to fully fund our public schools, to increase pay for teachers, to create jobs, to keep taxes low for middle class families, to help & protect our farmers, etc only to be slapped down by the Ultra-Conservative Republican Majority, eho only care about giving tax breaks to corporations, proposing idiotic legislation to cater to their hardline base & milking every dollar & cents from lobbyist & special interest groups at the State Capitol.
If you are fed up with the democrats here in Georgia, then you should drop out of the race & let someone who wants to represent the democratic party in 2010 like David Poythress, DuBose Porter, Carl Camon, Thurbert Baker, you know folks who are not ashamed of being called a "DEMOCRAT". This looks like a case of Double-Speak, say one thing when you are up in the Metro Atlanta area & say another when you come to the "Other" Georgia. Voters are going to see right past that & will not be bamboozled by the slick double-speak coming out of your mouth. I wonder how much democratic support he will lose just by making those comments among hardcore democrats? Only time will tell.

One Month of Raising $100,000 within Mike Keown's Reach

At the beginning of September, Keown set a one-month goal of collecting $100,000 for his campaign for Georgia’s Second Congressional District seat. Late Wednesday, Keown figured he was about three-fourths of the way there.

Keown, a Coolidge pastor, is the lone announced Republican candidate for the seat currently held by longtime Democrat incumbent Sanford Bishop. Lee Ferrell of Albany recently pulled out of the GOP race.

Ferrell received no financial support from the state or national GOP while opposing Bishop in 2008. He garnered 31.1 percent of the vote after spending $10,800.

Keown has spent the last three weeks working to boost his name recognition in the district, which includes 30 counties.

Fundraisers for Keown have been held in Cordele, Unadilla and Bainbridge. One is set in Thomasville next week.

“One of the encouraging things is that I have gotten a pile of $100 checks,” Keown said. “There have been a few larger checks, but the number of $100 checks proves how much people want to get involved in the process.”

Keown is set to speak at Citizens Meeting No. 6 at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium.

Keown announced his intention to seek Bishop’s seat in early August. At the time, he said: “I'm running for Congress to bring common-sense Georgia values to Washington. Sadly, those values are sorely lacking in our nation's capitol. The stimulus package has created little more than massive deficits and rising unemployment. Cap and trade will impose a National Energy Tax on any American who flips on a light switch and a government-run takeover of health care threatens to raise costs and take choice away from patients.

Those comments should tell you that Keown will try to nationalize the 2nd congressional district race

Smyre honored at Washington event

State Rep. Calvin Smyre of Columbus was honored Saturday night as president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.

Smyre received the 2009 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Chair’s “Phoenix Award” at the foundation’s 39th annual awards dinner in Washington. The award is presented to those who have made significant contributions to society through their efforts and accomplishments.

Smyre was elected to the House of Representatives in 1974 as the youngest member at age 26.

As a 35-year veteran, he is one of the “Deans” of the delegation. He serves on the Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for dividing the $20 billion state budget. Smyre is chairman of the House Minority Caucus.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mike Thurmond addresses the employment landscape in Georgia on The Martha Zoller Show.

VA To Open Veterans Rural Health Extension Clinic In Waycross

Congressman Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) announced on Sept. 10 that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will establish a Rural Health Extension Clinic in Waycross. The facility, which is one of the first in the nation, will bring health care to area veterans and develop technologies to be implemented nationwide.

The North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, which will operate the clinic in Waycross, has been a leader in developing ways to improve the accessibility and quality of health care for Veterans in rural areas. Serving more than 87,000 veterans, it has been selected as the Veterans Rural Health Resource Center, Eastern Region, and has received $6 million to expand rural health care in its region. That funding will provide for the Waycross clinic among other initiatives being planned.

Multi-disciplinary teams of VA medical staff are working to develop innovative methods to utilize in the rural facilities such as tele-health technology; home based comprehensive care such as rehabilitation services, and improved transportation services to increase access for veterans.

Some rural health initiatives already underway at the Lake City VA Medical Center include the Visual Impairment Center to Optimize Remaining Sight (VICTORS) program, which provides low vision rehabilitation to help veterans maximize their functional vision and increase their independence. There is also a comprehensive care clinic for veterans with multiple sclerosis (MS) or spinal cord injury (SCI).

Georgia Farms Will Need More Water In The Future

Brad Haire
University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences News Editor

A recent University of Georgia report shows that Georgia farmers will need 20 percent more water to grow their crops in the next four decades. They’ll need it to meet increased food demand and to compete globally.

“Without irrigation, in many places, there is no farming,” said Jim Hook, a professor with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “And for many regions of the state, agriculture is still the best economic bet for growth.”

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division commissioned the report, which was produced by a team of UGA crop and weather experts. Its purpose is to provide information to the state’s regional water councils meeting throughout the state this month, said Hook, who is the team’s leader.

The councils will consider the report as they develop water plans for their regions, which will then be added to the overall state water plan. The state plan will also include forecasts for population and economy, energy use, land use and water and wastewater demands.

The forecast predicts the water farmers will need to irrigate pecans and major row crops like cotton, peanuts, corn and soybeans, which account for 85 percent of the current irrigation needs. Vegetables, orchards, blueberries, sod farms and nurseries were also included. It specifies whether the water will come from groundwater (underground water) or surface water (water from ponds, rivers or streams).

It includes how much water farmers will need in a dry, average or wet year. In Georgia, Mother Nature can be a bit mischievous in when and where rainfall hits.

“In Western states, it’s easier to know how much water you have each year. It’s either collected in reservoirs or stored as mountain icecaps,” Hook said. “That’s not the case in Georgia, where recharge is less predictable.”

For example, if 2011 is a dry year from spring through fall, farmers will need 800 million gallons of water per day from underground sources and 300 million gallons per day from surface sources, according to the forecast. If 2050 is a dry year, they will need 1 billion gallons per day from underground sources and 400 million gallons per day from surface water.

“Georgia’s agriculture sector will continue to be a major water user in the state,” he said.

The forecast is broken down by water planning regions, counties, river basins and sub-basins. The county data includes monthly water demands, crop projections and current irrigated fields.

Existing computer models were used to make the forecast, he said, which took 9 months to complete.

Economic models from the U.S. Department of Agriculture were used to predict farmers’ crop choices over the next decade, focusing particularly on farmers in the Southeast. Crop models developed by CAES researchers were used to foretell crop water needs and climate data.

Geographical Information System, or GIS, images were used to locate the 23,000 fields in Georgia that have irrigation systems, including more than 15,000 center pivots, or large systems that rotate in a field.

Future irrigation use will happen in places where the practice is already established, particularly in southwest Georgia, the state’s row-crop and vegetable production hub. The area’s water needs are fueled by one of the largest water supplies in the country: the Floridan aquifer. It starts near the state’s fall line and runs east into extreme southern South Carolina and south through Florida.

“The Floridan is a massive water supply,” Hook said.

The aquifer is recharged by water that falls in south Georgia, he said. Its levels are not connected to any rainfall or use in north Georgia, where water comes from surface water supplies that don’t make it into the aquifer.

Irrigation use exploded in 1970s and ‘80s in Georgia, when irrigated acres jumped from 200,000 acres to 1 million acres, he said. Since then, it has been a steady increase to the 1.5 million irrigated acres today.

It is estimated that farmers have invested almost $3 billion in today’s dollars in irrigation equipment and infrastructure in the state over the past four decades, he said, an investment that is responsible for much of the $3 billion to $4 billion in annual crop sales in Georgia

810th Engineer Company Deploys

Sunday morning, 116 members of the 810th Engineer Company of the Georgia National Guard deployed from the Armory in Swainsboro. Led by Captain Kenneth R. Jones, the 810th is making their third trip overseas for Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit went to Iraq in 2003 and 2005. They are currently completing training at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin before departing for Afghanistan in service to our country. The unit’s only deployment before Operation Enduring Freedom was in 1950 when the unit was mobilized during the Korean Conflict. The unit stayed in the United States during that deployment.

Darrell Black, a Democrat Qualifies for HD 141

Travis Fain at the Macon Telegraph reports that Business Owner Darryl Black has qualified to run for House District 141, which was vacated by Bobby Parham (D-Milledgeville) who resigned to join the board at the Georgia Department of Transportation. Black is the only announced Democrat to run for that seat, although the race is non-partisan. Here are a few tidbits:

Black, 56, owns Flooring America of Milledgeville, according to paperwork filed with the Georgia Secretary of State's Office. He's lived in Baldwin County four years and lists himself as a Democrat, though technically the Nov. 3 special election to replace Parham, D-Milledgeville, will be nonpartisan.

Black is the only candidate in the race listed as a Democrat, and he said his party "will be mentioned in all my ads and speeches."
Others running are Rusty Kidd, son of the late Culver Kidd, who served as a state senator, 46 yr old Angela Gheesling-McCommon, executive diector of the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Develpoment Authority & 22 yr old Casey Tucker, who is a recent graduate of Georgia College & State University.
. Since HD 141 is a democratic seat, expect that seat to remain in democratic hands, but special elections are unpredictable. Both Tucker & Gheesling-McCommon are listed as republicans, while Kidd as a independent.
So expect Democrats like State Senator Robert Brown, State Rep. James "Bubber" Epps (D-Dry Branch), Mack Jackson (D-Sandersville), & possiblr DuBose Porter, who is democratic house leader in the General Assembly to throw their full support behind Mr. Black, who will be holding a fundraiser up in Atlanta Today at Manuel's Tavern from 5:30 to 7:30.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hometown Rally for DuBose Porter.

Thursday September 24, there will be a Hometown Rally for DuBose Porter as he gears up for a run for Georgia's Governor. It will take place at The Market on Madison Street in downtown Dublin. It will begin at 6:30 p.m & end at 8:00 p.m

From the Hill: Pelosi backs away from deal with Blue Dogs

Speaker Pelosi is backing away from a deal she cut with centrists to advance health reform, said a source familiar with talks.

Pelosi is planning to include a government-run public option in the House version of the healthcare bill. She wants to model it on Medicare, with providers getting reimbursed on a scale pegged to Medicare rates.Pelosi’s decision to move away from the agreement that was made with a group of Blue Dogs to get the bill out of committee would steer the healthcare legislation back to the left as she prepares for a floor vote.

Blue Dog Democrats, many of whom represent rural districts where Medicare reimbursement rates are low, vehemently oppose tying the public option to Medicare.

Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and a group of fellow Blue Dogs had negotiated a deal with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in July that would remove the link to Medicare. Under that plan, officials with the government-run plan would negotiate individually with providers.

That move, which drew howls of protest from liberal members, prevented the bill from getting stuck in committee. But Ross returned from the August break saying he couldn't support a public option under any circumstances, essentially withdrawing his support for the deal.

Pelosi is now effectively withdrawing her support. In leadership meetings last week, she said the public option in the House bill should be linked to Medicare.

Other Blue Dogs involved in the deal have said they realized the public option they negotiated was likely to change before it went to the floor.

Pelosi has also told her fellow leaders she still wants an income surtax on the wealthy, rather than a tax on "Cadillac" health plans, as a means to help pay the $1 trillion cost of the bill. The rest is to be made up with savings in Medicare by eliminating wasteful spending.

That will worry many members who led the charge against the surtax when it was rolled out.

Pelosi wants decisions on the public option and tax this week. She wants to produce a bill that will be a starting point for negotiations among the disparate and, at times, warring factions of the Democratic Caucus.

"The Speaker is committed to having a strong public option in the House bill because it is the best way to promote competition, control cost and keep the insurance companies honest," said Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami. "The caucus continues to meet to discuss the legislation and its provisions."

Democrats are to discuss the public option at a caucus meeting Thursday. That discussion will include replacing the public option with nonprofit "cooperatives" that would compete with private insurers but would not be run by the government. A Senate Finance Committee bill has a similar provision.

The Blue Dogs chose the member who will present the co-op proposal.

Both the public option and cooperatives are intended to compete with private insurers in an attempt to drive down costs. Blue Dogs have also supported making the government-run plan a fallback option if other reforms in the bill don't lower healthcare costs.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Youtube Clip of the day: Lyndon Johnson talks to Richard B. Russell of Georgia on the day the Warren Commission was created.

Republican Challengers to Bishop, Barrow, Johnson, & Scott could help democrats running statewide in 2010.

Republican Challengers to Sanford Bishop, John Barrow, Hank Johnson, could help
democrats win statewide offices in 2010. Here's why I think that. For years, Sanford Bishop, for instance has had very, very, very little opposition for his seat. Therefore supporters of Bishop's were likely to sit home & not go vote because he wasn't in dander of loosing his seat. But with a credible republican challenger in State Rep. Mike Keown on the horizon, those voters who have stayed home over the
years are much likely to turn out for bishop in 2010. I was too young to remember, but back in 1992, 1994, 1996, Bishop had one of the best grassroots organizations ever seen by a politician here in Macon County according to folks who worked for his campaign back then & probably elsewhere in the 2nd district. Although, the district has been changed due to gerrymandering, he still has the ability to mobilize his grassroots organization to turn out his supporters on election day. I call it the coattail affect: those voters who will turn out & vote for Bishop & other democrats being challenged by right-wing republican candidates, will very likely vote for the democratic nominee on the state level as well. There are rumors out there (one from Erick Erickson of RedState.Com) there that Jim Marshall won't get a challenge in 2010 out of fears that voters (even some level-headed republicans) would would turn out
to vote for Marshall, would then vote for democratic nominee as well. I agree with that notion. But if Marshall does go unopposed or even get a fringe candidate, he will be able to influence the democratic race if it goes to a runoff (which is very likely). Up in Metro Atlanta, Hank Johnson (who may get a challenge from DeKalb Co. Commissioner Lee May in the primary) has got a challenge from Larry Gause, a republican. The 4th district is the most democratic district in the state. And with a right-wing reoublican running up there in the blue-sea (4th district) in november, you will see higher that usual turnout for the democrats in the mid-term, which again will benefit the democrats. Even David Scott, (who I think needs to be challenged in the primary because he voted against cutting off funds for Acorn) has
got a challenge from a Independent candidate David Frisbee. Now this guy is running as a independent, but in my opinion, he is really a republican in sheep's clothing, advocating for the FairTax, & the disassembly of the IRS. But with Scott being in the center of the healthcare debate with a swastika painted on one of his signs, & with criticism from right-wingers, expect his supporters in his district to rally behind him, therefore benefitting the democrats running statewide in 2010.
What I'm trying to say is with republicans challenging our democratic incumbents in democratic leaning or safe democratic districts, expect higher that usual voter turnout for democrats in 2010, which will offset the republican turnout & benefit state democrats as they try to regain the governor's mansion & other post as well. These republican challenges may turnout to benefit democrats here in 2010. Dems who normally sit home during mid terms will most definitely go back to the polls in 2010 & therefore making 2010 as one of the most exciting political seasons seen here in Georgia in a long, long time.

Political Scientist Charles Bullock thinks Bluedogs like Barrow could pay a price in 2010. I don't think so!

Next year, conservative Blue Dog Democrats like U.S. Rep. John Barrow, a former Athens-Clarke commissioner who now lives in Savannah, "could pay a price, like Don Johnson did," UGA political science professor Charles Bullock said.
Challenging Barrow are Carl Smith, a firefighter from Thunderbolt & Wayne Moseley, Iraq War Veteran & Surgeon, who says he will spend $500,000 of his own money to take on Barrow in 2010. Here in the Second District, Mike Keown is going to challenge Sanford Bishop for his seat in 2010 as well. These candidates are banking on the issues of Healthcare, Government Bailouts & Tea Parties to get them to congress in 2010. Like Bishop said half of his district wants it, the other half does not want it. Bishop needs to extra careful how he goes about this. If he votes for a bill that includes the public option, or adds to the deficit, or raises taxes, the republicans will beat him over the head with it. The large support he has with moderate to conservative white voters could go to Keown if he slips up on this healthcare insurance reform. Now I still say he will win re-election, but you never know.
John Barrow will win against either challenger. His consttuent services are top-notch. He holds these "Barrow on the Corner" meetings in every county & he has solidified his hold on that seat. What republicans are banking on is (1) a low voter turnout by black voters & (2) white, conservative voters leaving Barrow in droves & going to the republican challenger. I see neither happening because of statewide races here in 2010 (I'll get to that later). Now Do-nothing politicians like John Linder thinks the opposite: Linder predicted that Blue Dogs from conservative districts will listen to their constituents and bail out on health care reform. And they'll lose anyway. Linder & others are dreaming of a replay like 1994, but time are different. This country is more diverse, young people are much more involved in the political process this time, there are alot more independent voters, & with the first african-american president in the Oval Office, african-americans will be more engaged this time around than they were back in 1994.

Marshall to Hold another Townhall meeting: This time up in Newton County

Jim Marshall to hold another Townhall meeting up in Covington, Ga this saturday at Alcovy High School. It starts at 10a.m. & ends at Noon.U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga. 8th District) will hold a town hall meeting from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Alcovy High School.

Constituents will have a chance to speak with Marshall about the economy, health care, energy prices and protecting American jobs.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I agree with the former governor 100% on that.

Controversial ad showcasing the endorsement of Barry Goldwater by the Ku Klux Klan. Ad was made by the campaign of Lyndon Johnson, but was never aired

Former Georgia Governor and U.S. Senator Herman Talmadge pontificates on the problems that Democratic presidential candidates faced

I have been saying that to my self for a long time. The American Electorate is geared more toward the center or tilt to the right. A very small percentage of the electorate is liberal. That is the mistake I think the Obama Administration & democratic leaders in the house & senate have made. These Tea Party protest is a result of that. People think the country is veering too far to the left & government is too involved right now. And I hope democrats here in Georgia, mainly the liberals see that a liberal candidate cannot win here. Jim Martin tried & almost won, but he rode Obama's coattails all the way to the runoff.

Former Georgia Governor and U.S. Senator Herman Talmadge describes the Georgia "Three Governors Controversy" of 1947 in this televised 1987 interview.

A message from Gary Horlacher (D-Peachtree City) candidate for Georgia Secretary of State 2010

So what do you think?

Baker: Ga. Taxpayers To Get $21M From Fraudulent Drug Giant

Georgia taxpayers will receive $21 million from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer following a federal criminal investigation into the company's sales activities, Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced today.

Baker said that the settlement money could provide health coverage for almost 9,000 uninsured Georgia children. The funds could also cover all the treatment costs for the Georgians between 18 and 44 who suffer from cancer.

"This agreement is critical to preserving the integrity of the Medicaid program," Baker said. "Kickback schemes and off-label marketing campaigns drive up improper or unnecessary prescriptions, resulting in increased payments by Medicaid and a corresponding hit for Georgia taxpayers footing the bill.”

The $21 million payout is part of a larger $2.3 billion settlement between Pfizer and United States Justice Department. The settlement -- the largest ever in a federal health care fraud case -- followed an extensive investigation into Pfizer's prescription drug promotion programs.

To read more about the Justice Department's investigation, click here.

Amid raucous health care debate, life’s not easy for black Blue Dogs

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer: For Reps. Sanford Bishop and David Scott, it hasn’t been easy lately being the nation’s only black Blue Dogs.

With the emotional political debate raging over revamping the nation’s health care system, Bishop of Albany and Scott of Atlanta — both members of the moderate Blue Dog Democrats as well as the liberal Congressional Black Caucus — have gotten earfuls from constituents of their politically mixed, racially diverse, urban-rural districts.

The more conservative, mostly white, residents of their district complain about the price tag of President Barack Obama’s health care proposals — an estimated $900 billion over 10 years — while the more liberal, mostly black residents argue that health care can’t be fixed without a strong public option.

“I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t,” Bishop said. “Half my district wants it, half doesn’t.”

Both men said they’re comfortable balancing the fiscal conservatism and strong support for the military that the Blue Dog caucus advocates with the black caucus’s socially progressive platform, which includes pushing for a strong public health option. However, the health care debate has made it tough for Bishop and Scott to walk the moderate fine line that’s defined much of their tenure in the House of Representatives.

Scott learned that last month, when he found a swastika spray painted on a sign outside his Smyrna district office after a contentious town hall meeting on health care reform. One letter sent to his office used a slur before his name.

“The folks are not going to stand for socialized medicine even though negro’s (sic) refuse to stand on their own two feet,” another letter, sent from a Michigan address, reads.

Merle Black, a political science professor at Emory University and co-author of “Divided America: The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics,” said a final vote on health care will be a defining moment for Bishop if he backs a plan with Obama’s criteria in it.

“He may lose some of his white supporters,” Black said. “He’ll basically be seen as an Obama liberal in that district. This could be the most crucial vote he casts.”

Bishop represents Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District, which is nestled along the state’s southwestern border with Alabama. The area is a patchwork of small rural towns, peanut farms and Fort Benning, a sprawling military installation that sees large numbers of its troops deployed in heavy rotations during the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Roughly 50 percent of the district’s active registered voters are white and 47 percent are African-American. Though some counties in the district voted for Republican Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, Bishop handily defeated his Republican challenger with roughly 69 percent of the vote, according to September figures from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

News from the Weekend

State Senator Ed Tarver was nominated for the U.S. Attoenry post for the Southern Distict of Georgia by Presedent Obama & Former State Senator Michael Moore of Warner Robins was nominated for the U.S. Attorney Post for the Middle District. Both will have to be confirmed by the senate.
Members of the, a premier gun rights advocacy group in the state which fights for individuals rights to bear arms, were joined by John Monds, the Libertarian candidate for Governor of Georgia.

Starting out their morning at the Lil’ Red Barn in Ellaville, where they had breakfast. They journeyed out to their newly adopted mile on U.S. Highway 19 South in Ellaville, where they spent the morning cleaning up the area.
The group then made the journey to Ryan’s where they enjoyed lunch and heard from Monds, and Fundraising Chairman of Georgia Carry, Chuck Turney.

Monds came at the groups invitation to the event, where he gave the group a short talk about why he was running for Governor, and what he stood for. Monds then opened the floor for a question and answer session on his stances on issues facing not only gun owners, but state citizens. The group thanked Monds for coming, to which he responded, “I love coming to places like these, and talking to people about Freedom.”

TIFTON — U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall told the 60 or so people in attendance at a town hall meeting Saturday at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center that health care reform is crucial but “a gradual transition” is the course to take.

Marshall said that if the current health care system continues, $40 trillion of the estimated $50 trillion in debt the nation will have in 20 years will be for health care. In a written letter Marshall’s staff handed those who attended the meeting, Marshall wrote “I believe we need to gradually transition to a health care system that gives individual Americans greater control and responsibility for their health. Our current system is fundamentally broken. It is well intended but grossly wasteful.”

Marshall said that Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and military retirements are mandatory expenses the government will pay over years and that the future budget will probably have enough funding to pay those, but nothing else.

Marshall said there are five proposed health care reform bills “floating around” and that each of them changes daily, making it difficult for the public and for those in office to keep up and understand the complex documents. He said that he didn’t believe that any of the proposed bills change Medicare.

Marshall said he would not vote for the House bill as it stands now or any of the other bills currently proposed.

Discussing tax reform, Marshall said he didn’t believe the “fair tax,” the proposed national sales tax, would work. He said it would unfairly tax the middle-income class.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dollars are nice, but Rural needs more

As I've travelled around the rural parts of Georgia, I've confirmed in my mind that these areas are in desparate need of federal resources. The resources are not just in dollars, but also in technical assistance. Urban areas suffer as well, but they have better access to legal, engineering, and professional resources that are so vital in accessing federal funding.

So many times I've listen to officials in rurul governments talk about various problems they face. When I mention possible federal programs that may help, they either don't know about them or even worse... they know about the programs but don't have the technical support to apply for the monies. I'm also finding there needs to be more support of rural partnering and regional approaches to specific challenges like transportation, water resources, and education. I think part of the solution lies in less talk about rural issues and politicians taking a more hands on approach to help their rural constituents. rj

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Georgia unemployment at 10.2% in August

Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped 0.1 point to 10.2 percent from July to August, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The August jobless rate was up 3.8 percentage points from 6.4 percent in August 2008. Georgia’s unemployment rate also stayed above the national rate of 9.7 percent for the 22nd consecutive month.

“Tens of thousands of jobless Georgians are facing an increasingly difficult job market,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “The slight decline in the August unemployment rate appears to be a bit of positive news, however, a closer examination reveals that the reduction was primarily due to work force shrinkage.”

A comparison of the state’s job market at the beginning of the recession in December 2007 details the extent of the economic deterioration. Georgia’s labor force has shrunk by 79,039, from 4,823,467 to 4,744,428; the number of unemployed workers has nearly doubled from 244,962 to 481,588, and the number of jobs has declined by 314,100 from 4,181,100 to 3,867,000.

The number of payroll jobs in August decreased 238,200, or 5.8 percent, from August 2008. The over-the-year losses came in trade, transportation and warehousing, manufacturing, professional and business services, including temporary employment agencies, and construction. On a positive note, health care and private educational services showed a combined increase of 13,400 jobs.

Kingston's town hall meeting packs in historical crowd

Camden County- During Rep. Jack Kingston's health care town hall meeting that packed the county recreation center with a crowd of 500 on Monday, the congressman assured residents that Congress is listening to the public's outcry on proposed health care reform.

By the time Kingston took the stage at 10 a.m., there were few seats remaining in the Camden Community Recreation Center's auditorium. After scanning the audience, Kingston began his address with a lighthearted joke, saying he hoped the attendance level wasn't violating the facility's fire code.

The crowd set town hall meeting attendance history in Camden just as it did in Valdosta, Kingston said. On Monday morning, some came with questions, others brought prepared statements, many came just as they were with no expectations and a few with small children in tow came brandishing homemade pro-life banners.

Although the crowd was politically passionate, the audience was orderly and respectful. The crowd's questions and comments varied from the concerns of small business mandates to provide health insurance to others rooted in states' rights.

Former Rep. Ann Purcell to announce candidacy for state House seat

There are reports out of Savannah that former state Rep. Ann Purcell (D-Rincon) is expected to announce her plans to run for the Georgia House of Representatives District 159 seat being vacated by Rep. Buddy Carter.

Purcell will officially announce her candidacy at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Savannah Technical College Effingham Campus in Rincon.

Carter, R-Pooler, who defeated Purcell in her bid to retain the same House seat in 2004, announced today he would resign his seat in order run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Eric Johnson, R-Savannah.

Gubernatorial candidate Barnes visits Bartow Business Association

Gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes visited Cartersville Wednesday, speaking at the Bartow Business Association's September luncheon. The event, hosted by Barbecue Street, was sponsored by the city of Euharlee and gave Barnes the opportunity to speak to local business leaders concerning the economic development of Georgia and the critical challenges facing that development.

Barnes took the opportunity to present issues that he will concentrate on during his bid for the Democratic nomination. He previously served as the state's governor from 1999 to 2003.

Barnes focused on three issues he believes to be the crisis of the state contained within an acronym.

"It can be summed up in three letters: W.E.T.; water, education and transportation," Barnes said. "Concentrate on those three elements and you will return the economic development and the creation of jobs that we are so desperate for right now."

Barnes said he would focus on bringing jobs and business to the state by emphasizing these three elements in an effort to attract corporate investment and relocation.

Regarding water Barnes said, "First, we've got to stop all the leaks, or at least most of the leaks, that come from the city and county municipal systems, and the state has to be a part of that. Through the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority it is estimated we lose between 17 percent and a third of all water that goes into the systems.

"The main thing is stop evaporation and stop leaks; that's the greatest amount of the water," he said. "The second thing is we should seriously consider the underground storage of water in the limestone caverns that are all up through here, up through Northwest Georgia.

"Only when the other states see that we are serious about addressing those problems will we be able to negotiate," said Barnes, regarding the attraction of businesses to the state.

On the issue of education, Barnes said that spending must be prioritized and direct instruction must be protected. "The last thing that we should be doing is furloughing teachers. It is like eating our seed corn that we need to plant for the next generation of bright minds," he said.

"We should integrate with our technical college system and our high schools. Not everyone needs a college education, but everybody needs at least two years of post-secondary education that is skills-based rather than just seat-based, how many hours you sit in a chair in a classroom.

"Thirdly, transportation, the day of big road projects is gone," he said. "You have to integrate a mass transit system into this overall transportation system."

Barnes proposes that MARTA be taken over by the state and operated by the Georgia Department of Transportation. He also discussed options for the use of high-speed light-rail lines. One line in particular was mentioned due to the concentration of jobs on the northern side of 285 between interstates 75 and 85 -- Barnes asked those in attendance, "Doesn't it make sense to elevate over 75 and 85 ... a high-speed light-rail system that does not have to stop at great crossings to deliver folks back and forth to work?"

Last on the topic of transportation was gas prices to which he said, "A few months ago gasoline was $4 a gallon and it will be again. It is a finite resource ... and we have to plan for it."

In an interview following the luncheon, Barnes discussed his reasons for seeking re-election.

"I want to be governor not because I need another line on my resume or not that I need another job. It's just that I am so very concerned with what is going on and I want to make sure that my grandchildren have the same opportunity I did in the future. And I'm very concerned about the state," he said. "I think there's got to be some tough decisions."

Barnes had referred earlier to these decisions saying, "We have for too many years ... not made tough calls. We've not made anything that made us uncomfortable." Barnes left the audience with words from Proverbs saying, "The people perish when there is no vision."

Before serving as governor, Barnes served eight terms in the Georgia Senate and six years in the Georgia House of Representatives. He received his undergraduate and law degree from the University of Georgia before serving as a prosecutor in the Cobb County District Attorney's office.

Since his time in the governor's mansion, Barnes has continued to practice law through the establishment of The Barnes Law Group in Marietta. "Georgia has been a bountiful place for us to live and particularly this Atlanta region," said Barnes in his introduction to the BBA. "This Atlanta region has been a generator of jobs and a creator of a better way of life."

Eighteen other people have thrown their hats into the ring, filing declarations of intent to accept campaign contributions for the 2010 Georgia governor's race, according to the State Ethics Commission. They are Daniel Emanuel Alvin, Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker, Elbert Bartell, current Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Carl Leon Camon, Jeff Chapman, U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, Secretary of State Karen Handel, Robert Francis Ingram, Matthew Jamison, State Sen. Eric Johnson, Thomas R. McBerry Jr., John H. Monds, State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, Berry LaSalle Perkins, State Rep. DuBose Porter, David Poythress and State Rep. James Austin Scott.

Editor's note -- The Daily Tribune News will cover first visits of gubernatorial candidates to Bartow County when notified in advance. Interviews will be conducted on site or at our offices.

I you wonder why Racism is such a sensitive topic for us Americans to Discuss.

I knew when former president Jimmy Carter made those comments about racism it would set off a firestorm. All he said was there are "fringe elements" out there who are either racist or use racism in their opposition to President Barack Obama. At these Tea Party rallies, the majority of people are their to voice their concern about the direction of the country like ther rising deficit, record debt, our financial system, our way of life, etc. Now those are legitimate concerns, but when you see some of the signs & comments made by some at these rallies, there not talking about these core issues, they are expressing their disdain for the president. There are some folks who don't think that the president is not a U.S. Citizen, of that he was born in Kenya, or he is a secret muslim, things that absolutely does not make any sense. Now I have thought that some of these folks at these rallies use the concerns like deficits, or the growth of big government as a smoke screen to hide why their true feelings about the president. What President Carter was saying that their are fringe elements out there & at these Tea Party Rallies that are hostile toward our president because of his ethnicity. He wasn't saying all of the opposition toward the president was racism, he was saying there are "fringe elements" that don't like the president because of the color of his skin. And you hear & see people holding signs like "I want my Country Back" I mean what does that suppose to mean anyway? All of the protestors are not racist, but there are a small contigent at these rallies across america who do not hide it. From Nazi signs, to being labled a socialist, compared to the worst of all human beings Adolf Hitler, to being called a "Indonesian welfare Thug like the Tea Party Organizer Mark Williams called the president on CNN the other night, I mean this is ridiculous. As long as you have folks out there like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, other other radical hard-line republican hacks on television & Talk Radio driving this crap, this will go on until the day he leaves office & another thing that has me concerned. The way some people are talking openly about killing the president. They don't have a care in the world. When you have people out there talking about killing the president, then this is the type of stuff you better be very, very worried about. Like the pastor in Arizona who prays for Obama's death:
My question is how far will this type of stuff go & for how long?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Democratic Party that's serious about ending the Republican lock on rural votes will get serious about the healthcare crisis and they will pass reform that will proper cost controls and low-income premium support because Health Insurance is elusive in Rural America.

Rural Americans are disproportionately unable to afford health insurance coverage and often resort to none, Many rural residents are self-employed or work for small businesses and farms so spreading the risk is not possible, and individuals are left with increasing deductibles.

Doctor shortages, increased small businesses, the risks associated with farming and ranching, and a rural population that tends to be older and sicker severely limits coverage. "The two biggest determinants of un-insurance in this country are the owner of a small business or employee of a small business. And that's more common in rural areas."

Health insurance may be even more necessary in rural areas because lack of coverage and lack of access means preventive care is neglected. Rural residents then only seek medical care when a small health problem becomes severe. Health insurance is killing rural America … We can put people on the moon. We can go up and fix this Hubble satellite that we have up there. And we can't have health care for all these people. It's ridiculous." Ranchers, Farmers And Individual Insurance

Also common in rural areas are farmers and ranchers, who disproportionately depend on individual insurance plans. I would have to guess that one-third of farmers and ranchers depend on individual insurance. That's four times the rate for everyone else.

But the places where they depend on getting their insurance are becoming rarer and rarer, which means they'll have to depend on the individual market, which costs more and provides less coverage."

Some farmers and ranchers have off-farm jobs that provide insurance. But those jobs are harder to come by in this economy. So, many are forced to buy coverage with high premiums or high deductibles or both.

Here are some fast facts On Rural Health Insurance from the National Rural Health Association
Percentage of noncorporate farmers and ranchers with health insurance: 95

Percentage of all Americans with health insurance: 84.7

The likely rate of underinsurance in rural areas compared with cities and suburbs: double

Percentage of the rural poor covered by Medicaid: 45

Percentage of the urban poor covered by Medicaid: 49

Percentage of all Americans dependent on individual health insurance policies with reduced benefits and high deductibles: 8

Percentage of farmers and ranchers dependent on individual health insurance policies: 33

Percentage of farmers and ranchers carrying medical debt: 20

Percentage of all Americans carrying medical debt: 28

Percentage of rural workers who have jobs with small businesses: 50

Percentage of urban workers who have jobs with small business: 37

The likely rate of having no insurance for small-business workers compared with all workers: double

Percentage of non-elderly urban workers insured at work: 72
Percentage of non-elderly rural workers insured at work: 61

Percentage of U.S. physicians working in rural America: 10

Percentage of U.S. population defined as rural: 25

Number of dentists practicing in urban areas per 100,000 people: 60

Number of dentists practicing in rural areas per 100,000 people: 40
Rural America presents a unique set of challenges for health care reform. Rural people have less access to health networks and health care providers, greater rates of disability and chronic diseases and higher use rates of all public health care programs. And largely as a result of higher rates of self-employment and small business employment, rural Americans have lower rates of employer-provided benefits and are more likely to be underinsured or uninsured for longer periods of time. The 50 million people in rural America are most in need of health care system reform and have much to contribute to any reform debate.

Health care is also a major barrier to rural economic development that creates genuine opportunity and reduces poverty. Microenterprise and small business development is the most effective path in many communities for low and moderate income rural people to pull themselves out of poverty. But if small entrepreneurs cannot gain affordable access to health care for themselves or their employees, that path out of poverty is blocked. Any hope of building genuine economic opportunity for struggling rural Americans through entrepreneurship must be accompanied by reforming the health care system in a way that benefits both small business owners and their employees.

The demographics and socio-economic conditions of rural America are also fundamental challenges to health care issues. Consider this right here:

Rural Americans are older and have lower incomes compared to the rest of the nation. The median age of rural Americans is 40 compared to 36 for urban residents. Median household income of rural residents is only 77 percent of non-rural households. This demonstrates greater need in rural communities, and confirms why rural residents – particularly those in remote rural areas – are more dependent on public forms of health insurance and health care.
Rural children are the Americans most need in need of health care system reform. For the most recent year for which data is available, 32 percent of rural children are covered by State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), compared to 26 percent of non-rural children. Nearly half of children in rural areas live in low-income families (again, a higher rate than non-rural children), and 44 of the 50 counties with the highest percentage of uninsured children are rural counties.
For example, a 2007 study by the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center showed that nationally rural children aged 10 to 17 have obesity rates nearly 15 percent higher than urban children (like here in Macon County), and that nearly a third of rural children aged 10 to 17 are overweight or obese (again, a higher rate than urban children).
National studies have also found that adult obesity is more prevalent in rural adults and that rural adults are less physically active than urban adults.
The 2007 South Carolina study also found that nationally rural children are at higher risk or comparable risk to urban children in weight-related health behaviors found to be statistically significant determinants of being overweight and obese, namely electronic entertainment media usage (higher rates than urban children), after school activity participation and inactive mothers (with rural and urban children having nearly equal rates in the final two).
Some parts of rural America are characterized by “bookend” generations. In our research of the socio-economic conditions of the Midwest and Great Plains, we found that rural areas have higher percentages of their population in two age cohorts when compared to non-rural areas – children under 18 and adults over 65. These age cohorts are, in general, most in need of health care and more likely to be recipients of public health insurance and health care services.
The population sub-groups most at risk of being uninsured – thus, most at risk of bad health outcomes – are those most likely to live in rural areas. According to recent Nebraska-based research by the Nebraska Center for Rural Health Research, which I think is on the money when it comes to Rural Health Insurance the population sub-groups most at risk of being uninsured are Hispanics, low-income individuals and families, small business employers and employees and the self-employed. Each comprises a significant (and in the case of Hispanics, a growing) segment of the rural population.
Health care in rural communities has many aspects – access to physicians, dentists, nurses, and mental health services; the financial circumstances of rural hospitals; federal rules concerning Medicare reimbursement rates and the impact on rural hospitals and healthcare professionals; and the consequences of all of these on the health of rural people. Here are some principles that ought to be included in a Healthcare Reform Bill:
Affordable to individuals and families – the primary reason given by businesses, employers, and people for lacking health insurance benefits is cost; the affordability challenge is even greater for low- and moderate-income individuals and families.

Affordable and sustainable for society – any reform proposal must be cost-effective and efficient, both to the society as a whole and to individuals and families.
Enhance health and well-being – coverage should include those services that provide for long-term health.
Continuous – gaps or interruptions in coverage lead to inadequate care and worse health outcomes. This is particularly important for rural people since rural residents lack health insurance for longer periods; any solution must have a long-term focus to assist rural people.
Universal – because of the long-term health and societal consequences of being uninsured and underinsured, health care coverage should be available to everyone.
If you are living in some of the poorest counties here in the state of Georgia like Randolph, Macon, Hancock, Baker, Quitman, Glascock counties for example, Healthcare Insurance Reform is essential. I know here in Macon County, there are high number of folks that do not have health insurance, especially among young people.

What will Health Insurance reform mean for you & me?

Good question! Here's what the current proposals include:

1. Affordable coverage – New rules will limit health insurance premium increases, and tax credits will make premiums affordable for middle-class families and the self-employed. Credits will be refundable – so you get a check if the credit exceeds your taxes – and provided on a sliding scale up to $88,000 in income for a family of four. Small employers will also receive credits to offset the cost of coverage for their employees.

2. Peace of mind – New rules will prohibit health insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, age or gender and from canceling your health insurance if you get sick.

3. Secure coverage – New rules will cap out-of-pocket costs, the leading cause of medical debt and individual bankruptcies, and annual and lifetime insurance limits will be prohibited.

4. Access to care in your community – New programs such as college loan forgiveness will provide incentives to increase the number of medical providers in rural communities.

5. Choice & competition – Reform will allow you to keep the insurance you have, if you like it, or provide you the option of buying insurance from a different provider in a new health insurance marketplace. This will allow you to compare plans, foster competition and make buying health insurance more like buying any other product.

6. Better Care – Health insurance companies will be required to spend a greater amount of premiums on medical care. There will be incentives for insurers to promote prevention of health problems, coordinate care, and reduce medical errors – all things that reduce costs.

Health reform will strengthen and protect the best of rural America – family farms and ranches, small businesses and prosperous communities. A fair health insurance system will protect genuine opportunity to earn a living, raise a family and prosper in a small town. Reform that guarantees affordable care will foster a system of family farms, ranches and small businesses.

A balance between self-interest and the common good means we cannot allow people to be driven out of business simply because they cannot afford the ever-rising cost of health insurance. And it is not good enough to have people die from waiting too long to go to a doctor because they are uninsured. Please take action today!

Rural Americans are hit hardest by lack or no Health Insurance. Who has it & who don't & where the uninsured rates are growing.

My buddies over at Blog for Rural America has this interesting bit of information I would like to share with you:
With our current focus on health care reform and with the debate in Congress heating up, two recently released reports on health insurance and the uninsured caught our attention.

The first is from the U.S. Census Bureau and provides a glimpse of insurance coverage by county. Though the data is a bit old (2006) and does not include the effect of the recession on health insurance coverage, it is the most recent data available at a less than state level.

According to an article in Daily Yonder, rural counties have slightly lower uninsured rates than do urban counties (17.4 percent and 18 percent respectively), but the aggregate national figures are misleading. The large uninsured rates in four states – Texas, Florida, Arizona and California – tipped the national data.

In eight out of ten states (37 out of 48 states with rural populations; New Jersey and Rhode Island have no counties classified as rural), rural residents were LESS likely to have health insurance than their urban neighbors in 2006.

In all but nine states, the percentage of uninsured was HIGHER in rural areas than the state average.

(The eleven states where rural rates of uninsured were lower than urban rates in 2006 were Arizona, Illinois, California, Nevada, Connecticut, Texas, South Carolina, Iowa, West Virginia, Indiana and Louisiana.)

This data clearly shows that in most of the nation rural people are less likely to have health insurance.

The second report that caught our attention is from Gallup, the national public opinion and polling organization. In a survey conducted from January to June 2009, it was found that Texas had the highest rate of uninsured adults in the nation (with nearly 27 percent of adults without health insurance), while Massachusetts had the lowest rate (with 5.5 percent of adults uninsured). Massachusetts, of course, is the only state in the nation where all residents are required to have health insurance or face a tax penalty. While not quite universal, 5.5 percent is significantly lower than the national uninsurance rate of 17.8 percent found in the Census Bureau report.

What really caught our eye in the Gallup report was the comparison between 2008 state rates of uninsured and the first half of 2009 rates. Likely as a result of the recession, the percentage of uninsured adults in every state either increased or remained unchanged from 2008 to 2009 (so far), but the state that witnessed the greatest increase? Our home state of Nebraska, where 40 percent more people are uninsured in 2009 than in 2008 (12.6 percent in 2008 compared to 17.7 percent in January-June 2009).

Carter Says Outburst toward Obama maybe motivated by Racism

Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst to President Barack Obama during a speech to Congress last week was an act "based on racism" and rooted in fears of a black president.

"I think it's based on racism," Carter said at a town hall held at his presidential center in Atlanta. "There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president."

The Georgia Democrat said the outburst was a part of a disturbing trend directed at the president that has included demonstrators equating Obama to Nazi leaders.

"Those kind of things are not just casual outcomes of a sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on health care," he said. "It's deeper than that."

Elephant in the room: Race also present in rebuke of Wilson
WASHINGTON — In their effort to admonish Rep. Joe Wilson, both white and black lawmakers in the House of Representatives voiced deep concern over a string of what they think are racially motivated attacks on the nation's first black president.

"There's no question that if you look at some of the actions and comments being made, there's a fringe element that has staked out a racial position towards African-Americans that never has been open for public display" until now, said Rep. Henry Johnson, D-Ga., a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Wilson "didn't help the cause of diversity and balance with his remarks."

The 240 to 179 vote Tuesday, largely along party lines, formally reprimanded Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, for shouting "You lie!" to President Barack Obama during his address last week to a joint session of Congress.

However, some Black Caucus members said that Wilson's outburst is but the latest in a long string of ugly events rooted in racism, such as last week's flap over Obama addressing the nation's schoolchildren, protesters showing up outside Obama events carrying licensed firearms, and "birthers" questioning Obama's citizenship. Black Caucus members say such incidents are designed to disrespect the office of the president now that a black man holds it.

The push, experts said, reflects growing anger in the black community over how Obama is being attacked with venomous and false charges that he's a socialist, born in Kenya, a Muslim, and somehow un-American.

"It feels very O.J-ish," said Kathryn Russell-Brown, the director of the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations at the University of Florida, referring to the racial divide in public opinion over the guilt or innocence of former football star O.J. Simpson for the 1994 murder of his white wife. Surveys found that white majorities thought Simpson guilty was and blacks didn't. Simpson was acquitted in 1995. "It's deja vu all over again. People have staked out their ground: 'It's about race; no it's not about race.'"

Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., also black, said that the racial undercurrent against Obama has been the least discussed aspect of his presidency.

Scott said he experienced some of the racial vitriol aimed at Obama when someone painted a swastika on his Smyrna, Ga., office following a contentious town hall meeting on health care last month.

"The folks are not going to stand for socialized medicine even though negro's (sic) refuse to stand on their own two feet," another letter read.

Georgia's Johnson said that Wilson's outburst, and the House Republican leadership's response to it, gives a wink and a nod to racist behavior and that Tuesday's resolution was needed to restore civility.

"The other party has been stoking the flames of disrespect among the people," Johnson said, adding: "I guess we'll have people putting on white hoods and uniforms."

Not every Democrat, however, was anxious to punish Wilson or viewed his outburst through the prism of race. Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., said Wilson's shout at Obama reflected the passion of the current political debate that's going on in the country.

"Part of this is a fundamental debate about the role of government, and their people are really loud," said Edwards, a Black Caucus member who added that Wilson needed to be disciplined nonetheless. "This is about how we go forward as a republic and as an institution. This (behavior) cannot be allowed without any sanction."

Democrats voting no: Mike Arcuri (NY), Bill Delahunt (Mass.), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), Maurice Hinchey (NY), Paul Hodes (NH), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Daniel Maffei (NY), Eric Massa (NY), Jim McDermott (Wash.), Gwen Moore (Wisc.), Gene Taylor (Miss.), Harry Teague (NM).Democrats voting present: Eliot Engel (NY), Bill Foster (Ill.), Barney Frank (Mass.), Carol Shea-Porter (NH), Ike Skelton (Mo.)

Republicans voting yes: Joseph Cao (La.), Jo Ann Emerson (Mo.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Bob Inglis (SC), Walter Jones (NC), Thomas Petri (Wisc.), Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.).

GOP South Carolina lawmaker: Wilson should apologize again
Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina on Tuesday became the first Republican lawmaker to make a public appeal to Rep. Joe Wilson to apologize to his colleagues in the House of Representatives for yelling "You lie!" at President Barack Obama last week as he addressed Congress.

Inglis, who represents the conservative Upstate section of South Carolina, said Wilson's apology to Obama immediately after his speech wasn't enough.

"Joe also broke House rules," Inglis said. "That problem could easily be fixed by an apology to the House. In the absence of an apology, the House could choose to police itself through a resolution of disapproval."

Inglis took his hard stand shortly before the House was scheduled to take up a "resolution of disapproval" reprimanding Wilson, who's also a South Carolina Republican, under rules governing conduct of the chamber's 435 members.

Inglis spoke before the session with Wilson, who reiterated that he won't apologize to his colleagues as House Democrats have demanded, Inglis said.

After Inglis explained his position to his colleagues, Boehner returned to the podium and again urged a unified Republican vote against the resolution of disapproval.

"I have to go home to five kids who are always told to do the right thing," Inglis told McClatchy. "It's a matter of redeeming the rule of law. There are rules of the House; they must be followed, and when they're broken, there are consequences."

Inglis said several Republican lawmakers came up to him after the meeting and said they agreed with him but wouldn't be able to vote for the resolution. Inglis predicted that he'd be among only a handful of Republican members who'd vote for it.

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday that Wilson would get more campaign contributions than any House candidate ever if he were sanctioned.
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