Monday, August 31, 2009
News from Alabama: Artur Davis leading all republican candidates in a potential general election matchups.
Former Judge Roy Moore (R) is the closest, down six, while State Treasurer Kay Ivey (R) is the furthest behind, down twelve.
Meanwhile, Davis leads his primary opponent, Ron Sparks, by 30 points in the poll.
In a brief news release issued from his office, Thurmond graciously declined what apparently had been an offer of an appointment in the U.S. Department of Labor.
"I appreciate the opportunity afforded by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Assistant Secretary Jane Oates to serve in the Obama administration. However, after much thought and prayer, I have decided to continue focusing my energy and efforts on helping nearly half-a-million jobless Georgians get back to work," the announcement read, in its entirety.Thurmond's announcement fueled speculation that he might make a run at the lieutenant governor's office, possibly in some sort of coordinated campaign with leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes.But, as has come to be expected from the ever-cautious Thurmond, he's given himself an "out." In his brief announcement on turning down a Washington appointment, he takes care to note he wants to focus on his current work.
Certainly, continuing economic adversities in Georgia and elsewhere in the nation and the world give Thurmond a handy - and, in fairness, an all too real - reason for backing away from the lieutenant governor's race, if that is his eventual decision.
And it's a delicate decision for Thurmond to face.
On the positive side, Thurmond's service as labor commissioner - he's nearing the end of his third four-year term - has shown that he's capable of running and winning a statewide race.
Part of the reason for his electoral success is his very real engagement with the work of the labor commissioner's office. It's rare when a plant closing or similar economic calamity doesn't bring Thurmond into the affected community to meet with local leaders and announce plans for addressing the issue, such as retraining laid-off workers. There's no telling how much political capital that sort of thing has built up over the years.On the other hand, though, Thurmond must be asking himself whether a run at the lieutenant governor's office would be worth it. Like the old joke about what the dog running after the car will do if he catches it, it's worth wondering what Thurmond might be able to do as a Democratic lieutenant governor in a statehouse that certainly will be dominated by Republican officeholders, many of whom Thurmond would be working with in the lieutenant governor's role as the presiding officer of the state Senate.
It's difficult to see where the balance might fall for Thurmond in his consideration - if there is, indeed, any consideration - of a run for the lieutenant governor's office.
He could do it. He could run, and he could win, and the post could serve as a springboard to even higher office.
Whether he will, though, likely depends on how much he thinks he could do in and with the office. And the answer to that conundrum is likely to be "not much," given the GOP's continuing domination of state politics.
But there's another factor complicating things for Thurmond. As anyone who even casually follows state politics knows, every time an election rolls around, Thurmond's name always is mentioned as a possible contender for nearly any available top-tier statewide office. Thus far, Thurmond has kept his ambitions confined to the labor commissioner's office, and as already noted here, he's doing an excellent job there.However, Thurmond may be fast approaching the point at which he's going to have to make a move to signal his readiness for a bigger challenge, or risk having his name not automatically moving to the top of the heap in virtually every election cycle.
Put simply, if Thurmond doesn't run for lieutenant governor in 2010 - regardless of whether it makes absolutely perfect sense or doesn't - he well indeed might finish his political career in the labor commissioner's office.
America’s largest organization of combat veterans has elected a Vietnam War veteran to head the 1.5 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
Thomas Tradewell, a resident of Sussex, Wis., was elected VFW National Commander on August 20, 2009, during the VFW’s National Convention, held August 15-20 in Phoenix, Ariz.
During his acceptance speech Tradewell, who served in the Army from 1966-1968, introduced his theme Honoring Our Military Heroes, stating, “to honor our military heroes is to ensure that our military and our veterans are honored, recognized and cared for … which is the focus of every program we conduct at every level of this great organization.”
He also reminded the mostly Vietnam-era audience that to remain a vibrant organization, the VFW must seek out and educate Iraq and Afghanistan veterans on the history and importance of the organization.
But I’ve met several democratic atheists and each time I do, I find myself pondering how that particular ideology will affect the Democratic Party over time. That’s because the growth of atheism among democrats presents the party with a potentially serious dilemma: at least three distinct groups upon which the party depends for much of its voting strength – blacks, Catholics, and senior citizens – are traditionally very religious.
So what is the Democratic Party to do? You got me. At least for now, democratic atheism doesn’t seem to be that much of a problem, and as long as the party continues to market itself as the financial savior of its followers, it may never become one. But what happens if the democratic leadership fails to deliver on its promises? Will members of these groups become disenchanted with the party and its growing atheist ranks? Again, you got me? But it’ll be interesting to watch.
Atheist liberal elites, affiliating en mass with the Democratic Party, take great pleasure in poking fun at people of all religions, most especially Christians. How could any reasonable person they ask, believe in a religion that recounts the story of a man being swallowed by a whale and living to tell the tale? I admit that, as a man of science, I acknowledge they do have a good argument on that one. But whether a person believes the story of Jonah and the whale is a literal truth or mere figurative prose is beside the point. The point at hand is how long will the faithful among the Democratic Party tolerate such sacrilege?
In particular, blacks in America have deep roots in the Christian tradition stemming, some historians suggest, from the sufferings of their slave ancestors toiling under the yoke of human bondage. With little more than their religious beliefs to sustain them, these early Americans developed a deep abiding faith in the notion of Christian deliverance, both worldly and in an after life. Similarly, according to historians, blacks relied on their faith to sustain them through the struggles of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and today, many blacks continue to rely on faith as they work to improve their economic circumstances.
So how does the Democratic Party reconcile the strong religious faith of its black constituents with the derisive comments made by its atheist constituents toward people of religion, particularly Christians? Again, I haven’t a clue, but I would suppose that some damage control will eventually be necessary. Democrats in Hollywood love to poke fun at Christians, Southerners, and members of the military – a classic example is the movie “A Few Good Men‚“ starring Tom Cruise and Kiefer Sutherland. Aaron Sorkin, the film’s screenwriter, must have considered himself rather clever in having combined all three groups into one character – Lieutenant Jonathan James Kendrick (Sutherland) who played a uniform- wearing, bible-thumping racist with a southern accent. Sorkin managed to get away with the Kendrick portrayal by having him victimize a black lance corporal named Harold W. Dawson. Sutherland’s performance was exquisite and left viewers wanting his character punished for his role in tormenting Dawson. Imagine, however, Hollywood portraying a black in the role of an ignorant, bible-toting, proselytizing bigot out to do in the innocent. Trust me, it isn’t going to happen.
It’s obvious, therefore, that the left has a certain sensitivity when it comes to making fun of people of religion, especially Christians, if that person happens to be a member of an important constituent group, i.e., blacks, Catholics, or senior citizens. I’m just curious how long it will take these groups to catch on to the growing tide of atheism within their party. The handwriting is on the wall regarding America’s liberal elites’ attitude toward people of religion – it’s ok to make fun of them if they are Christian, conservative, Caucasian, and less than 60 years old.
However, the time may come when those members of the Democratic Party that are deeply religious finally reject the growingly overt attitude of atheist liberal elites regarding people of religion by placing their faith above government promises. When that happens, liberal democrats will face a dilemma of Biblical proportions. Amen, Brother, Amen
For the last several weeks Thrift and Mayor Lester Hadden have been visiting some of the city’s industries, who shoulder some of its biggest tax bills, to prepare them for this inevitability.
“Unfortunately, we’re going to have to raise taxes,” Thrift said, “and it’s going to be a substantial raise. I am expecting taxes to at least double. We have a difficult situation on our hands now and it isn’t pleasant. In the future, it could get worse. I hope not. Losing a major industry like Mestek doesn’t make anything easier.” Thrift said the raise in taxes will hit area businesses the hardest.
In 2008, one Wrens-based industry paid more than $40,000 in taxes.
The city’s millage rate, which is currently around 11 mills, Thrift said Monday, could go as high 21 mills by this fall.
The city has already begun taking steps to reduce its expenses, but without raising taxes, Thrift said, a balanced budget is impossible, and the city’s $8 million-plus in debts will continue to grow.
For more go to www.thenewsandfarmer.com
No matter how the budgeting process ends, one thing is for sure, Putnam County taxpayers will have to pick up the shortfall left in next year’s board of education budget by the state.
Preliminary budget figures for 2009-10, released by Putnam County Schools last week at a Board of Education meeting, show a pending increase in the millage rate and a reduction in salary for all school system employees.
Increased property taxes and job cuts are necessary if PCS is to end the 2009-10 school year with any type of a fund balance, say administrators. The only employees exempt from the proposed 3.5 percent pay reduction will be those making less than $30,000 a year.
“We’ve been cutting salaries for a while, the only difference is that in the past we’ve cut salaries by cutting positions,” said PCS superintendent Jim Willis.
Last school year, the board offered retirement bonuses to eligible teachers if they agreed to retire at the end of the school year. Nine teachers accepted the incentive and retired.
Decisions on what percentage to cut and who should be effected by the cut took up the majority of the board meeting Thursday night.
The reduction will not be from the employee’s overall salary, but from the local supplement that is added to their state-required salary.
Therefore, a first-year teacher with no experience is paid $36,424 prior to the proposed 3.5 percent reduction. If the reduction passes the board, the teacher will make $1,275 less. A teacher with five years of experience plus a master’s degree earns $48,692. With the reduction, the salary would be $46,987, a reduction of $1,705. And a teacher with 20 years of experience with a master’s degree is paid $63,025.
The reduction in salary would be $2,206.
A teacher who asked not to be identified expressed disappointment in the superintendent’s recommendation to cut salaries. “It’s not fair,” she said. “Teachers don’t make a lot.”
The closing of local Pilgrim’s Pride facilities last month also caused the shutdown of a plant in Alma. American Proteins, Inc. (API) closed on May 17, leaving almost 20 people out of a job in Bacon County.
According to Stan Gudenkauf, the company processed poultry by-products, the majority of which were supplied by Pilgrim’s Pride, at the Alma plant. Gudenkauf said there was “no way” to keep the plant open after the Pilgrim’s Pride shutdown.
“We made a specialty product at the Alma plant,” said Gudenkauf. “We used edible parts of the chicken to make chicken mill for pet food, a better grade product than what we make here at our Cuthbert plant.”
The Pilgrim’s Pride closing has affected the Cuthbert plant as well. “Other parts of the chicken from the Douglas plant were brought here and processed so it affected us too.”
Gudenkauf said that API would like to open their Alma plant again. “We need someone to buy the Pilgrim’s Pride plant to provide us with those by-products. Hauling them from Douglas to Alma was freight-efficient for our company.”
JoAnne Lewis, Executive Director of the Douglas-Coffee County Economic Development Authority, said that the closing of Pilgrim’s Pride would create a domino effect.
Lewis stated that a recent study conducted by Georgia Southern University estimated that the closing of Pilgrim’s Pride would affect around 3,800 jobs in this region of south Georgia.
Study Shows State’s Men Hit Harder By Recession Than Women
Coffee County’s unemployment rate increased from 12.8% in May to 16.5% in June. Coffee now ranks fifth in unemployment rate in the state behind Jenkins County (20.7%), Hancock County (19.5%), Warren County (18.6%) and Spalding County (16.6%).
However, Coffee’s labor force and number employed increased also in June. The labor force went up from 16,855 in May to 18,032 in June. The number employed in Coffee County in May was 14,691 and increased to 15,053 in June.
The number unemployed in May in Coffee County was 2,164 and increased to 2,979 in June, no doubt affected by the closing of Pilgrim’s Pride.The state of Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also rose from 9.6% in May to 10.0% in June, the highest rate ever recorded in Georgia, according to a press release from the Georgia Department of Labor.
“Georgia is in the midst of a deepening economic crisis,” said State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “Georgia leaders should develop a bi-partisan recovery plan that focuses on three critical elements: protecting vulnerable citizens, including children, the elderly, and the sick; preserving our health, safety, and educational institutions; and encouraging economic development investments that promote job creation and future prosperity.”
Recently Commissioner Thurmond said that a Georgia Department of Labor study of the impact of the recession in Georgia reveals that working men have been hit harder by the economic downturn than working women.
Thurmond refers to the present recession as a “he-cession” or “man-cession” in a white paper entitled “Georgia Men Hit Hardest by Recession, December 2007-May 2009.”
“Our research reveals that Georgia now has historically high levels of unemployment among male workers,” said Thurmond. “Men tend to dominate employment in construction and manufacturing, two of the industries that have been hardest hit by layoffs in our state.”
According to a press release from the Department of Labor, the number of Georgia’s men drawing unemployment insurance benefits between December of 2007 and May of 2009 rose 160%, from 34,136 to 88,612.
Throughout the nation, almost 80 percent of the more than 6.5 million Americans who have lost jobs since the beginning of the recession have been men.
“Immediate steps must be taken to encourage unemployed men to pursue careers in non-traditional female-dominated sectors, such as nursing and allied health,” said Thurmond. “I encourage federal, state and local policy makers to recognize that the socio-economic pathologies associated with high levels of male unemployment will have broad policy implications for Georgia’s 21st century workforce.”
Two men were arrested in Arlington last week within an hour after they allegedly robbed the Arlington post office on Pioneer Road and fled on a stolen four-wheeler.
The two men, one armed with a handgun, jumped over the post office counter about 3 p.m. Wednesday, grabbed the cash from the cash drawer and fled, jumping on the four-wheeler. Only one postal clerk was on duty at the time of the robbery.
The pair wrecked the fourwheeler on Azalea Street about a half mile from the post office and fled through the woods on foot before getting into a vehicle.
Anthony Williams and Jemychal Salter, both 19, were arrested a short time after a Georgia State Trooper stopped the vehicle on Highway 62. A third man, Marcus Hayes, 22, was arrested by sheriff's deputies Thursday afternoon. Authorities recovered approximately $600 which had been buried following the robbery. They also found the .380 semiautomatic handgun used in the robbery at the site of the fourwheeler crash. The suspects have been charged with robbery. Additional charges, including federal charges, and theft ao the four-wheeler were expected.
Crime is an issue that needs to be addressed. Now you have post offices getting robbed. People just don't feel safe anymore.
Since the 1930s the highway had provided a lifeline of tourists and commerce to communities along its route from Miami to Michigan, including Blakely and Early County.
That all began to change in the late 1950s with the construction of I-75 which eventually siphoned off the north-south traffic and lured industry with its connectivity to major highways stretching across the country.
Following years of promises from state officials, it was 20 years later, in 1989, that it finally appeared the four-laning of U.S. 27 might become a reality as a part of GRIP, the Governor's Road Improvement Program.
GRIP originally consisted of 12 corridors with 2,845 miles of roadway. Several additional routes were added to GRIP in 2001 and 2005 extending the GRIP corridors to 3,309 miles.
GRIP was designed to provide opportunities for growth for rural communities by connecting Georgia cities to the interstate system. The additional four-lane roads were also needed to provide safer, more efficient transportation
Construction has been completed on five of the 12 original corridors. The fourlaning of U.S. 27 is 86 percent complete with 304 of 352 miles completed and open to traffic. The current estimated cost to complete construction of the U.S. 27 corridor is $775.9 million.
With the exception of a bypass at Summerville, a new bypass around Rome and a new connector just north of LaGrange, the northern leg of the U.S. 27 fourlaning is complete.
The final leg of the four-laning below Columbus consists of the 24.6 mile stretch of highway between Blakely and Cuthbert.
Right of way acquisition is 80 percent complete for the 7.8 mile stretch between the Cuthbert bypass and the Carnegie- Vilulah Road in Randolph County. Construction of this project has been approved for 2010. However, lack of funds is likely to delay this project possibly to 2014.
Right of way acquisition is 85 percent complete for the 6.8 miles between the Carnegie-Vilulah Road and the Bluffton bypass in Clay County, which has already been completed. The proposed construction date for this project is also 2010. Lack of funding, however, may push this project back as far as 2016.
Right-of-way acquisition has been completed for the 10-mile stretch between the Bluffton bypass and the Blakely bypass. However, according to a U.S. 27 fact sheet updated by the GDOT in July, the estimated $18.5 million construction funding has not been identified for this project.
In fact, the final 10- mile leg of the U.S. 27 project between Blakely and Bluffton has been delayed and designated as a long range project.
"Not in our lifetime" was the feeling everyone had about the fourlaning of U.S. 27 until construction began about a decade ago.
That feeling has recently resurfaced as a result of the GDOT funding shortfalls that have been identified over the past year and with the inevitable decline in federal funding as result of the economic recession.
"Requests have been made by GDOT for stimulus monies for the projects," GDOT communications officer Craig Soloman told the
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Freshman Rep. Parker Griffith (D-Ala.) who has bucked Dem leadership on the stimulus and climate change — told a town hall back in north Alabama that he doesn't plan to back Nancy Pelosi as speaker again, saying she's too divisive.
"I would not vote for her. Someone that divisive and that polarizing cannot bring us together," he said, according to the Huntsville (Ala.) Times.
"If she doesn't like it, I've got a gift certificate to the mental health center," he added.
I hope our other Bluedog democrats here in Georgia, John Barrow, Jim Marshall, Sanford Bishop, David Scott follow suit.
The embattled and defeated District Attorney Denise Fachini lost another court case in Unadilla, Ga. Fachini is the DA for the Crisp District. She was defeated by Attorney Chevene B. King, Jr., Albany, GA., who represented Unadilla City Councilman, Dexter Whitaker, one of the four members of the Unadilla city council who were indicted last year by Fachini.
A Dooly County Jury failed to reach a verdict in the trial of Whitaker. The hung jury, comprised of eight Blacks and four Whites, took about five hours to deliberate late July 30 before determining that the deadlock could not be broken and that a guilty verdict was not possible.Dexter Whitaker was supported by several NAACP branches that represented fourteen counties. There was an initial complaint filed against DA Fachini by the band of NAACP Full Story
I like this.While the health care industry as a whole is suffering from a shortage of family practice and primary care doctors, rural communities face an even greater challenge in attracting qualified doctors. Only about 10 percent of doctors practice in rural America although around 25 percent of the nation’s population lives in a rural area, according to the federal Office of Rural Health Policy.
Now, Agnes Scott College and Mercer University are partnering to combat this trend.
Students admitted to the Post-Bac Pre-Med Program who meet the requirements of the linkage agreement will be assured early acceptance into Mercer University School of Medicine.
To qualify for the Mercer linkage program, students must enter Agnes Scott’s Post-Bac Pre-Med program in June, be residents of the State of Georgia and be willing to practice primary care in rural or underserved Georgia.
The program’s main advantage for Agnes Scott Post-Bac Pre-Med students is that it allows them to enroll in medical school immediately after successfully completing the program, said Nancy Devino, director of Agnes Scott’s Science Center for Women and director of the Post-Bac Pre-Med Program. The traditional medical school application process can take up to a year, she added.
“There’s a clear need for qualified physicians in rural communities,” said Dr. Maurice Clifton, associate dean of admissions and student affairs at the Mercer University School of Medicine. “Our partnership with Agnes Scott helps identify outstanding students with a non-traditional background who, after rigorous science preparation, will be ready for the medical school curriculum and who will go on to practice in rural and underserved communities of Georgia.”
Jim Marshall, D-Ga., announced Tuesday that the hospital will receive $9.9 million in federal funds to build a new home for some of the veterans who stay there. About 9,000 square feet of property will be renovated and 25,000 square feet of new space will be built, Marshall said. All the construction will occur on the hospital’s property at 1826 Veterans Blvd. in Dublin.
For more read the Macon Telegraph article by Eric Newcomer.
One of the rumors was that the Obama administration is considering Baker to fill the open judgeship on the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a prestigious nomination.So that should put to rest about Baker possibly leaving the race for governor. But he needs to start getting out there more & build his grassroots organization if he wants to be the next governor.
He challenged James E. Carter, better knwn as Jimmy Carter for the democratic nomination back in 1980, losing to carter in the primary. He will be missed.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
It's as simple as this: Just as semi-rural Georgia politics of the mid-1970s couldn't be imposed on the Washington establishment, Chicago-style, brute-force politics doesn't work, either. Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress started digging a hole when they decided to force-feed massive health care reform on the American people in the middle of an unprecedented financial crisis. And with every town hall meeting, press conference and leak of a new strategy, they just keep digging that hole deeper.
In early February, I suggested that the new president might become the Jimmy Carter of this generation. To date, I have little doubt that he's well on his way. In fact, Obama is the "super-sized" version of Carter -- the style and gimmicks that he uses to try to get his way have gone way over the top. The result is that his polling numbers are dropping like granite.
Carter's early years as president included cute moves like amnesty for Vietnam War draft dodgers, a bailout of Chrysler (sound familiar?) and the creation of an energy department that was heralded by the installation of solar panels at the White House. They never really worked.
Carter's staff felt that their man had been elected on a mandate of "change." They got that notion from the nation's anti-Washington, post-Watergate mood. The Carter crew viewed Congress as a necessary impediment that was expected to yield to the new ways of the White House.
But the Carter team had nothing on Obama. For example, Carter began his term with no official chief of staff. But quickly enough, that role fell to a brilliant man by the name of Hamilton Jordan. While many in Washington saw Jordan as arrogant and a playboy, he was never feared like current White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is.
Carter's press secretary was the genial and soft-spoken Jody Powell. It's hard to imagine Powell getting into the type of ruckus recently ignited by current White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.
With the Obama team, everything has to be a bigger and brasher brand of Carter-style politics. Carter merely had his pearly white teeth to flash to the media. President Obama has his endless wit and charm, and the ability to sink a half-court basketball shot on a moment's notice.
But just like Carter's toothy grin grew weary on the general public, Obama's stylish forays and endless press conferences, while perhaps still the apple of the eye of the D.C. press corps, are quickly growing old with Americans. They're not entertained or charmed because they're too busy being terrified over their economic future and confused by a barrage of government programs that the new administration is proposing.
Like Carter, one gets the sense that the Obama administration is not as keen on the strength of our military as perhaps a president should be. Nor is he willing, at least in the early going, to stare down potentially dangerous foreign adversaries. In essence, both men came into office believing they had been given a mandate from heaven to change the lives of Americans. It's just that Carter thought so in comparatively modest ways, while Obama came from Chicago with the idea that his big city machine should move mountains at a snap of the fingers.
Like Carter, Obama is running into a buzz saw with Congress. He has quickly learned that a strong-willed liberal House speaker and a not-so-friendly Senate can mangle legislation into something unrecognizable. Now the health care effort has become a political football, and like Carter, Obama believes the public still loves him and his rhetoric.
Here's a message, Mr. President: They don't. Barack Obama is overwrought, overexposed and under-prepared with policy details.
Because of his administration's haste to solve all of the world's problems in six months, ideas such as the "cash for clunkers" auto program have yielded plenty of car sales, but also have proved how inept the government is at administering such initiatives. Car dealers can't get their cash for the clunkers they accepted in exchange for new car purchases. It sure does provide encouragement about the ability of government to pay for health care, huh?
In short, as a writer once put it, "Jimmy Carter's biggest problem was that he believed his own 'BS.'" That goes super-sized for President Obama, at least for now.
From The Macon Telegraph
About 50 people — some for and some against health-care measures occupying the House and Senate — were, among other things, urging Marshall to choose sides.
Kimberlyn Carter, a member of Organizing for America, said she was appreciative to Marshall for having the town hall meetings so all sides could be heard. Her group also took the time to educate people on H.R. 3200, which is in line with the Obama administration’s goal of reducing health-care costs, giving choices and guaranteeing affordable health-care options for all Americans.
More than 1,000 people packed the Homer J. Walker Jr. Civic Center on Monday evening for Marshall’s second town hall meeting in as many weeks. Marshall said at the meeting he still did not know on which side of the argument his opinion would fall, but insisted all ideas and views needed to be brought to the table.
Marshall hasn’t specifically come out for H.R. 3200. But, he said, he’s strongly against anything that continues with current trends.
“The current track we’re on ... guarantees bankruptcy for the USA in a very short period of time,” he said. “Health-care reform needs to fix the fiscal course we’re on. And if it doesn’t do that, it doesn’t deserve the name reform.
Former Gov. Roy Barnes spoke before a friendly audience in Morrow on Monday, during a regular meeting of the Clayton County Democratic Party.
During the meeting, Barnes shared his reasons for seeking a return to the Governor's Mansion and outlined his platform of focusing on water conservation, education and transportation.
He said that, since losing the governor's office to Sonny Perdue in 2002, he has desired to take the state in a different direction. "I am living proof that there is life after political defeat, and it is very pleasant," Barnes said. However, "I have beliefs that are diametrically opposed to the people running this state. I believe we have a duty to the least of these."
During his speech, Barnes drew comparisons between Georgia and North Carolina, which, in the last ten years, has invested heavily in commuter rail systems and education. He said if Georgia doesn't begin to invest more in transportation solutions, and in rewarding excellent teachers, the state stands to lose the prosperity it has enjoyed since the 1960s.
"How long are we going to talk about [transportation] before we do something about it," he said. "We are losing the ability to attract and maintain business. We need intra-state, high-speed rail. We need light rail. We have to do everything necessary to attract and keep businesses.
"You can't cut $2 billion over seven years [from education] and expect something sufficient," he said. "We need smaller classrooms. We need to increase our ability to teach math and science. We must reward those great teachers who change lives. Where there is no vision, the people perish."
Barnes said that 12 percent of the teachers in North Carolina are "national board certified" and that he would like to create monetary incentives to encourage more Georgia teachers to get certified.
In addition to education and transportation, he spoke about water conservation. He said the state needs to build more reservoirs and proactively use state funds to repair water infrastructure.
"There are great cities all over the world that have less water than we do," he said. "We need to take up and conserve better. Not all problems can be fixed with money, but we can use money to fix leaky pipes."
In the past few weeks, the Clayton Democratic Party has hosted other Democratic candidates for governor, including David Poythress and DuBose Porter. While the party did not openly endorse any candidate, there was language to suggest Barnes is highly favored in the race for governor.
"We hope they didn't move any pictures off the wall [of the Governor's Mansion], because he will be moving back in shortly," said State Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Ellenwood), during his introduction of Barnes on Monday.
Party Chairman Mike Thomas said the purpose of hosting Barnes, as with other Democratic candidates, is to make sure Clayton voters are as educated about the governor's race as possible. "This race is so important, and it is important that people know where he [Barnes] stands on the issues," Thomas said. "We have an opportunity to turn this state blue. In doing that, it's important that we get the information straight from the horse's mouth."
Glanton, chairman of the Clayton County Legislative Delegation, said Barnes' visit to the county is indicative that Clayton County will play a key role in the next election. "I'm excited about all the candidates considering Clayton County to be important enough in the next election cycle to take the time to come down here," he said. "I think President Obama's administration set the course, and if we continue on that course, we will more than likely have good results in the state of Georgia."
Monday, August 24, 2009
1* In thinking about the 2010 Democratic Primary for Governor of Georgia, suppose you had a choice between Thurbert Baker, Roy Barnes, Carl Camon, Dubose Porter and David Poythress. If the election were held today for whom would you vote?
9% Thurbert Baker
42% Roy Barnes 2% David Poythress 10% Some other candidate 30% Not sure First….Thurbert Baker 14% Very favorable 36% Somewhat favorable 11% Somewhat unfavorable 2% Very unfavorable 37% Not sure 3* Next….David Poythress 2% Very favorable 30% Somewhat favorable 7% Somewhat unfavorable 7% Very unfavorable 54% Not sure 4* Okay….Dubose Porter 9% Very favorable 19% Somewhat favorable 7% Somewhat unfavorable 6% Very unfavorable 59% Not sure 5* Next…Roy Barnes 33% Very favorable 34% Somewhat favorable 10% Somewhat unfavorable 6% Very unfavorable 17% Not sure 6* last one…Carl Camon 3% Very favorable 17% Somewhat favorable 14% Somewhat unfavorable 5% Very unfavorable 62% Not sure The Problem Poythress, Porter, Baker, Camon all have is that their name I.D. is not string enough yet for voters to have an opinion of them. I just can't believe with all of the campaigning & coverage that Poythress & Porter has gotten that they are in the single digits. Come back to be around April 2010 & it will be a whole new ballgame. Folks are writing off Carl Camon because he is a virtual unkonwn, but he has kept his head down & campaign across south & north georgia. I have always said he is the dems answer for a candidate to Casey Cagle for Lt. Governor. Barnes is leading because of yes name I.D., but dems have to ask them selves can he win in the general election? The primaries don't count. He maybe the darling of the liberals up in North Georgia, but it's going to be moderates, conservative democrats & moderate republicans that live here in rural georgia for democrats to have a chance at the governor's mansion. The cities, surburbs are not enough for democrats to win statewide. The small towns here in georgia, the farmers, truck drivers, small business owners, veterans, the factory workers here in rural georgia are the ones that's going to determine whether or not democrats win in 2010. And as of right now, David Poythress, DuBose Porter are making the strongest case of putting rural georgia back in play for the democrats.
1% Carl Camon
7% Dubose Porter
42% Roy Barnes
2% David Poythress
10% Some other candidate
30% Not sure
14% Very favorable
36% Somewhat favorable
11% Somewhat unfavorable
2% Very unfavorable
37% Not sure
3* Next….David Poythress
2% Very favorable
30% Somewhat favorable
7% Somewhat unfavorable
7% Very unfavorable
54% Not sure
4* Okay….Dubose Porter
9% Very favorable
19% Somewhat favorable
7% Somewhat unfavorable
6% Very unfavorable
59% Not sure
5* Next…Roy Barnes
33% Very favorable
34% Somewhat favorable
10% Somewhat unfavorable
6% Very unfavorable
17% Not sure
6* last one…Carl Camon
3% Very favorable
17% Somewhat favorable
14% Somewhat unfavorable
5% Very unfavorable
62% Not sure
The Problem Poythress, Porter, Baker, Camon all have is that their name I.D. is not string enough yet for voters to have an opinion of them. I just can't believe with all of the campaigning & coverage that Poythress & Porter has gotten that they are in the single digits. Come back to be around April 2010 & it will be a whole new ballgame. Folks are writing off Carl Camon because he is a virtual unkonwn, but he has kept his head down & campaign across south & north georgia. I have always said he is the dems answer for a candidate to Casey Cagle for Lt. Governor. Barnes is leading because of yes name I.D., but dems have to ask them selves can he win in the general election? The primaries don't count. He maybe the darling of the liberals up in North Georgia, but it's going to be moderates, conservative democrats & moderate republicans that live here in rural georgia for democrats to have a chance at the governor's mansion. The cities, surburbs are not enough for democrats to win statewide. The small towns here in georgia, the farmers, truck drivers, small business owners, veterans, the factory workers here in rural georgia are the ones that's going to determine whether or not democrats win in 2010. And as of right now, David Poythress, DuBose Porter are making the strongest case of putting rural georgia back in play for the democrats.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Rep. Sanford Bishop's health care town hall draws 530 in Columbus & advocates fiscally responsible reform over in Peach County
U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop told more than 530 people at a town hall meeting he had not made up his mind on how he would vote on health care reform legislation.
“My vote doesn’t belong to Nancy Pelosi and it doesn’t belong to Barack Obama,” the eight-term Georgia Democrat said during sharp questioning from many people with concerns about sweeping reform under consideration in Congress that would overhaul the nation’s health care delivery system. “It belongs to the people in the second district of Georgia.”
Wednesday morning amid heavy security, it was Bishop’s turn to face voters as the national debate on health care reform intensifies.
Bishop, closely aligned with President Obama as his Georgia campaign co-chairman a year ago, tried to avoid the shouting matches that were made-for-television scenes at other town hall meetings across the country.
In a calm, measured voice and almost without interruption, the congressman addressed his constituents for about 45 minutes. His practiced speech touched upon many of the features outlined in the bill to include coverage and choice, affordability, shared responsibility, controlling costs, work force investments and prevention and wellness.
There were about 40 law enforcement and security personnel at the meeting from the Columbus Police Department, Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office, Muscogee County Marshal’s Office and museum security staff.then over in Fort Valley, at Ft. Valley St. University,
the congressman cautioned, however, that such reform must be done in a fiscally responsible way. Bishop said that a massive overhaul of health care in the United States should not be done hastily, and legislators need to do so without adding to the federal deficit.
Bishop said that, currently, citizens are paying dearly for health care across the board — from individuals with pre-existing conditions being denied insurance, to small business owners forced to reduce staff sizes because of increasing coverage costs.
About 68,000 people in the Second Congressional District, which Bishop represents, are uninsured, according to information distributed by his office.
After Bishop addressed the crowd, he took questions about the proposed changes ranging from concerns about funding to how private and public options will compete against each other.
Roy Barnes, the former governor of Georgia and a 2010 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, will speak this Monday in Morrow before the Clayton County Democratic Party.
Barnes will speak during the party's general monthly meeting, which will start at 7 p.m., at the Morrow Municipal Complex, located at 1500 Morrow Road.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The U.S. Atomic Safety and Licensing Board has issued a decision that clears the way for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to approve an early site permit for the new reactors. A review by the board found that safety and environmental issues are sufficient to issue the permit.
It's a crucial development in the process, one of the most significant decisions on the reactors so far. The NRC may decide on the permit in about two weeks, according to a spokesman with that agency.
The permit, which basically deems the site suitable for construction, would be among the first issued for new nuclear reactors in the U.S. in decades. A limited work authorization may also be granted soon, allowing employees to do some preliminary work at the site.
The board is still reviewing Plant Vogtle's application for a combined construction and operating license, which would allow for full construction to begin.
Plant Vogtle is also at the center of a controversial rate increase approved by the Georgia legislature for Georgia Power ratepayers, which will help pay for construction of the reactors. Georgia Power is a majority owner of the plant.
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, an environmental group that has opposed the reactors, plans to appeal the decision.
Friday, August 31, ( the 31 hasn't come yet, an error on the reporter's part) gubernatorial candidate, Carl Camon, came to Colquitt, and spoke on the Miller County Courthouse about his race for governor.
Camon was the first African American mayor of Ray City, Georgia, and served five terms there. He has also served on various committees at the state level.
Friday, he told the spectators why he should be Georgia's next governor.
In Colquitt, the candidate talked to supporters about his platform which includes including fixing the state's budget woes, giving law enforcers more tools to fight crime, supporting a statewide high-speed rail system and helping build strong families.
"You're going to have a voice with Carl Camon as the next governor of Georgia; we're going to make sure that southwest Georgia and all of Georgia have a strong voice at the highest level of state gov- ernment, for so long citizens have been ignored," said Carl Camon, (D) gubernatorial candidate.
In Colquitt, the candidate talked to supporters about his platform which includes including fixing the state's budget woes, giving law enforcers more tools to fight crime, supporting a statewide high-speed rail system and helping build strong families.
"Also, I'm going to be focusing this election on education issues. As governor, we're going to fully fund education. We're going to find a way to do it. Education is the basis of everything else," said Carl Camon.
U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall told Tift Regional Medical Center managers and medical staff members Tuesday during a health care reform update that he doesn’t support any legislation that will put the country into deeper financial debt.
The Democrat is in his fourth term as representative for Georgia’s eighth congressional district. He said that Capitol police had advised members of Congress not to hold town hall meetings because of heated members of the public and protesters and the possibility of danger.
“To hell with that,” Marshall said. “I’m going to have a couple of town hall meetings.”
Marshall said he had a town hall meeting scheduled for tonight in Forsysth and another Monday in Warner Robins. Several members of the Tiftarea Tea Patriots lined 20th Street and other pathways to the hospital Tuesday and held signs in protest of Obama’s health reform plans and other issues.
Marshall, who said that he wasn’t an expert in health care issues and knew more about finances, said that he didn’t support any of the three bills currently being considered in the House of Representatives or the two being considered in the Senate. He said that in the current economic crises, if the national debt keeps increasing at the same rate it is now, it would be $50 trillion in two or three decades and $40 trillion of that debt would be associated with healthcare. “If we don’t take care of the long-term fiscal mess we are in, I’m not for it,” Marshall said.
Marshall said that he believed there would be some version of health care reform, but it would be a scaled down version and would have to be acceptable to conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans to be passed.
Marshall said that calls to his office had increased from approximately 2,000 per month to 4,000 per month since Barack Obama took office and that he had instructed his staff to respond to callers asking about how he felt about the president’s bill as simply that he won’t support legislation that is fiscally irresponsible and that he wants to keep things that are working and fix the things that aren’t.
In response to the issue of government-backed end-of-life counseling being heatedly debated, Marshall said he believed that everyone should have living wills, medical directives and powers of attorney set so that their end-of-life wishes would be known by all.
Marshall then travel south to Colquitt Co. & told a group of Moultrie physicians Tuesday that he likely would not vote for any significant health reform plan that does not rein in future costs.
Under current projections, said Marshall, D-Macon, the country would be in debt to the tune of $50 trillion in 30 years, with $40 trillion of that attributable to medical payments.
“We need to fix the fiscal mess, not just health care,” said Marshall, who met Tuesday afternoon with a group of physicians and medical officials at Colquitt Regional Medical Center. “If we don’t take that opportunity to fix the really bad fiscal course we’re on, we can’t call it reform. If we’re going to do something grand that’s not going to address the fiscal (issues) I’m probably not going to vote for it.”
Jim Lowry, president and CEO at CRMC, presented a health care reform model to Marshall that included a federal single-payment system that includes payroll deductions, Medicare for retirees, and Medicaid and tax subsidies for the indigent and working poor. Optional federal and state sales taxes could subsidize costs related to those who require a disproportionate amount of care such as those who engage in high-risk and unhealthy behaviors.
The plan presented would create state health care authorities that would control cost as well as assure quality and access. Responsibilities would include establishing a “core public healthcare insurance plan,” contracting and funding managed-care companies, establishing a network of providers, monitoring and supervision, and tort reform, among other things.
In an interview following the meeting, Marshall, asked whether Veterans Administration care for veterans, described by many as socialistic, is effective, said that attaching labels is not helpful.
“(In) patient satisfaction surveys the Veterans Administration beats everybody, and that is government-provided health care” said Marshall, a Vietnam veteran. “This is a regulated, free-market economy. That’s not going to change. It’s been shown time and time again to be the best way to get results.”
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
A high ranking official within the Democratic Party of Georgia started this Draft movement.
The Morgan County Citizen:
After 16 years as Madison’s mayor and another 15 years as a city council member, Bruce Gilbert said Tuesday he was going to qualify for another mayoral term.
Gilbert’s announcement comes on the heels of a Madison City Council ordinance change, enacted at Monday's meeting, that allows for elected officials with more than 20 years of service under their belts to get re-elected to a city government position without losing pension benefits. However, there must be a two-year lapse in service, and the stipend that comes with that elected position will not be granted to a returning elected official.
Gilbert said that, with the ordinance change, he would serve without a stipend. He also said that an earlier announcement by Madison Mayor Tom DuPree, indicating that he would not seek a second term in office, influenced his decision. “I wasn’t going to run against him. When he decided not to run again, I felt it left a vacuum.”
Gilbert, 63, has been a life-long resident of Madison and a fixture in the local political scene. After a failed run for a Georgia Senate seat several years ago against Johnny Grant (R) Milledgeville, Gilbert has focused on running both Madison Hardware and his family.
But, he said Monday, he’s ready and committed to return to public service. “I enjoyed it. I really did.
“I care about Madison. I think I bring experience to the position when it needs some. All I bring is common sense and experience.”
Gilbert said he intends to qualify for the post on Monday, August 31.
Gilbert said his decision was also influenced by the urgings of Madison citizens to seek the post. “It’s certainly gratifying when so many ask that you run.”
Gilbert first became mayor in 1989 after serving 15 years on the city council. During his 31 years as an elected official, he said the next four years may be some of the most challenging the city and city council have ever faced. A sluggish economy has and will continue to affect city government and the quality of life in Madison, he said.
“The economy and how it affects taxation and more importantly how it affects people will be challenging.”
Gilbert said, if elected, he would meet with the Madison City Manager David Nunn daily for updates on city projects and finances and would place an emphasis on creating employment opportunities in Madison and Morgan County.
From the Americus Sumter Observer, an Independent Newspaper:
AMERICUS - The local NAACP is questioning how some members of the Sumter County Board of Education can be concerned about declining enrollment, but sends their children to schools out of the system.
School board member Doug Gooden, a Sumter County employee, sends his children to schools in Ellaville, GA while fellow member Mark Waddell of Sumter Bank and Trust in Americus, enrolled his children in Southland Academy; a school founded in order to segregate White children from Blacks in the school system, according to the president of the NAACP.
"This seems to be showing that they don't have confidence in the system they are suppose to be running," said Matt Wright, president of the Americus-Sumter County NAACP. The local civil rights organization [NAACP] raised the issue after the school board announced during a finance meeting earlier this year that Sumter County Schools were losing funding because of decreased enrollment. Enrollment at Sumter County Schools dropped about 300 students from last school year - which resulted in $1.7 million of lost federal dollars Full Story
This went largely unnotices until Sunday.
Twenty-two year old Cordalero L. Collier of Montezuma, accused of stabbing 19-year-old Shanika Walker to death last August during an domestic incident, and allegedly stabbing her sister, Sharrinda Ogburn, 23, (who I knew from high school) reported to have been seven months pregnat at the time, is on the run from the Macon County Jail.
According to reports from the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, Collier is around 5-foot-10 and is 148 pounds. He was charged with murder, felony murder and aggravated assault.
In a statement issued by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations the search for the escaped Macon County jail inmate has been broadened. Assistant agent in Charge, Trebor Randle, GBI, Americus, stated in an interview with WMAZ 13-TV that “the agency isn’t focusing their search on a specific area and they’re still following leads.”
As of press time on Sunday, there was no sign of how or when that Collier escaped, according to Randle.
Saturday visits for inmates and their families at the Macon County jail were not allowed, though families were allowed to leave money and other goods for their inmates.
Collier, as of last year after the incident occurred, was charged then, according to Eric R. Finch, Montezuma Police Chief, with malice murder, felony murder, and two counts of aggravated assault. He surrendered himself to authorities from a hide out in Marshallville at that time. Also charged at that time in the investigation was Edward Rashad Harris, 21, with hindering the apprehension of a criminal and making a false statement.
As for Collier’s escape, no arrests have been made, though the investigation and search are continuing.My question is how on earth did he managed to escape? This had to be an inside job. In a small town like this, you would have think someone would have noticed, especially with a bright-orange jump suit on. This will not look good for Sherriff Charles Cannon, who I know personally. He is a very nice guy, having been sherriff since 1977.
ColorOfChange, an African-American online political organization that’s targeted Beck’s advertisers since his calling Obama a “racist,” says in a release that eight companies confirmed today they’re pulling ads from the top-rated Fox News show. The list of 20 companies now includes Wal-Mart, CVS, and Best Buy.
James Rucker, executive director of ColorOfChange, told POLITICO it’s significant that major corporations are no longer “willing to attach their brand to the show." Rucker added that the organization's problems with Beck run deeper than just his “racist” comments. Beck, in his opinion, is regularly stoking the “fears of white America” and “pushing fiction as if it's news analysis.”
Still, even with major companies leaving the show, it doesn't necessarily mean Fox will lose advertising revenue overall.
GPB has learned New Jersey-based LS Power may also be looking for another company to buy the plant outright.
The past several years, LS Power has tried to lure utility customers, including the city of Tallahassee, but has yet to secure a single contract. That's according to Michael Vogt. The Longleaf spokesman says the company may end up selling the project if key permits are renewed by state officials.
"Sometimes facilities like this are sold to other folks to build and own operate it. We could potentially sell it too."
Vogt says the company could also build and operate the plant. Those remarks were made to GPB during a public hearing in Blakely, as the company sought to renew an air quality permit.
State officials say they will not consider who is - or isn't - buying the electricity generated by the plant, or whether it could change ownership, when deciding whether to renew the permits.
Former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young has endorsed Ken Hodges in the 2010 Democratic primary campaign for attorney general.
Young’s endorsement of the former Albany prosecutor is significant, because Young remains one of Georgia’s most influential Democrats, and because African-Americans could make up half of the electorate in July’s Democratic primary between Hodges and Rep. Rob Teilhet (D-Smyrna).
“It’s very important to me,” Hodges said Monday. “I’m very well known in southwest Georgia, but I’ve got to get my word out to 8 million people, several million voters and I need help doing that.”
Young’s stature will help.
“People trust him and hopefully trust his judgment,” he said.
In a statement, Young praised Hodges for “his commitment to equal rights and the fair application of justice during his years of service in Albany.”
Hodges, Young said, “developed successful diversionary programs that still today keep our at-risk young people in school and out of prison.”
Young’s endorsement is particularly key for Hodges as some still blame him for the failure to prosecute a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black motorist in Columbus. Hodges was appointed as a special prosecutor in the case of Kenneth Walker’s 2003 death. Walker, 39, was killed after the SUV he was riding in was pulled over. Walker was pulled out of the car and was shot.
The officer in the shooting, Deputy David Glisson, never faced trial after a grand jury refused to indict him.
But Hodges said Teilhet is generating criticism of him over the Walker case.
“My opponent, he can’t attack me on experience,” Hodges said. “So, he’s got to misrepresent and misconstrue other information in an effort to try and get people to look elsewhere.”
Teilhet declined to respond.
Walker, Hodges said, “should not have died that night. Of that, there is no question.”
“Ambassador Young’s endorsement of me and my candidacy is endorsing me collectively of everything I have done, including that,” Hodges said. “If he thought I did something wrong in that or anything else, he wouldn’t have endorsed me.”Young was a top Lieutenant & close friend of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference from 1968-1970, former congressman & former Atlanta Mayor
Monday, August 17, 2009
Republican Carlisle to moderateMonroe County residents will have a chance next week to tell their congressman what they think of the sweeping $1 trillion health care bill now in Congress. But the date and venue were changed on Tuesday night, after this week's Reporter went to press.
Congressman Jim Marshall (D-Macon) announced Tuesday that he was moving his town hall meeting to 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at the Monroe County Board of Education auditorium on Brooklyn Avenue. On Monday, Marshall's office announced the town hall meeting would be Tuesday, Aug. 18 at the American Legion Post 34 at 350 W. Main Street. The Reporter informed Marshall spokesman Doug Moore by e-mail on Monday night that the Legion hall doesn't have air conditioning. Then on Tuesday Marshall's office announced the move, noting the lack of air conditioning.
Marshall had asked former county commission chairman Harold Carlisle, a Republican, to moderate. Carlisle said on Wednesday that he hadn't heard about the change from Marshall's office but that he did read it in the Macon Telegraph.
The controversial health care reform bill has sparked some heated debate at town hall meetings of members of Congress across the U.S. during the current August recess. The 1,000-page bill would set up a government insurance option to compete against private insurance plans, restrict any changes in private insurance plans and raise taxes to fund the plan. Critics have said it would force citizens into government-controlled healthcare.
Marshall has said he does not support the current health care legislation in Congress. A press release from Marshall's office said constituents will have a chance to speak with Marshall about the economy, health care, energy prices and protecting American jobs, ask questions, and discuss these issues.
Posey said the reason he’s running for council is simple and straightforward: “I love Perry. I think it’s a great place, I feel fortunate to live here. I have the time now and I’d just like to be a part of the decision-making process.”
He stresses he has no agenda, and adds, “I’m not running against anyone because I think they’re not doing a good job.”
He cited as a key issue for Perry’s city government “preparing for growth, now and in the future.” He also said he would “like to be involved with helping revitalize Downtown Perry.”
Posey ran for council 29 years ago, but was not elected, and says he’s often thought about running again, now that he has the time to devote to the job.
He noted that he’s just finished a two-year bout with cancer “and that gives you a new perspective on life and makes you want to do something.”
A former teacher at Russell and Lindsey Elementary Schools and at Warner Robins Middle School, Posey has also worked in education as director of counseling and testing at Macon State College and as a consultant with Middle Georgia RESA (Regional Educational Service Agency).
He earned a bachelor’s degree at Georgia Southern University after attending Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and has a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Fort Valley State, along with graduate studies in career development at the University of Georgia.
A member of Perry United Methodist Church, he teaches the Pathfinders adult Sunday School class. He is a past chairman of the Westfield Schools board of Trustees and past president of the Perry Country Club board of directors and the club’s Men’s Golf Association.
He and Judy, his wife of 36 years, have two daughters and three grandchildren.
He lists as hobbies golf, gardening and model railroading.
Weaver's mother, Patsy Rabuck, addressed the crowd of about 100 on hand at Weaver's church, Lilla Baptist. Rabuck told stories of her late son's youth.
Patriot Guard riders were on hand to take part in the ceremony as were a military honor guard and the local law enforcement honor guard consisting of Barnesville police officers and Lamar sheriff's deputies.
One member of the military honor guard succumbed to the heat, was assisted by those in attendance and treated by EMTS. He was well on his way to recovery by the time the ceremonies ended.
Other speakers included county commissioners Nancy Thrash and Bennie Horton, county commission chairman Jay Matthews, county administrator Wayne Patterson and Sen. Ronnie Chance, who spearheaded the memorial in the legislature.
Ricky Shepherd, music director at Rock Springs Church, sang the National Anthem and Amazing Grace.
From Atlanta Unfiltered:
Several Georgia lawmakers have gotten deeper into tax trouble this year, even as legislative ethics panels investigate some members’ failure to pay income taxes, property records show.
Ethics Committees in the House and Senate are reportedly investigating at least three unnamed legislators for filing to file a Georgia income tax return. A new law mandated the inquiries after revenue officials disclosed that as many as 22 legislators had failed to file a return in 2007. (Former Rep. Jeanette Jamieson of Toccoa was indicted last month for income tax evasion.)
Failure to pay other types of taxes also has tripped up legislators who face new liens against their property, records show. The biggest unpaid bill belongs to Rep. Willie Talton of Warner Robins, who owes $39,197 for 2008 city and county property taxes on dozens of parcels in Houston County.
The city of Warner Robins filed more than $9,000 in liens against Talton on March 4. Houston County followed suit May 15 with nearly $30,000 in claims against him. The largest was for $1,516.
Others facing recent liens for unpaid taxes include:
– Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam of Riverdale, $14,684 for six years of unpaid state income taxes
– Rep. Randal Mangham of Decatur, $11,337 for three years of property taxes on two homes in southwest Atlanta. (The unpaid 2008 bills are in the names of Culwest Trust LLC and Holwest VI LLC; Mangham acknowledges owning the homes on his latest financial dislcosure.)
– Rep. Jill Chambers of DeKalb County, $6,646 for Georgia income tax (Chambers, as can be seen in the comment below, says the state goofed up and tried to ding her for seven quarters of income rather than just one. She says the revenooers backed off and she settled the debt for $133.)
– Sen. Vincent Fort of Atlanta, $3,469 for state income taxes (he says he has now paid this debt)
In 2002, voters amended the Georgia Constitution to say candidates who haven’t paid their taxes may not hold elective office. But, as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last year, the law can’t be enforced unless a civil court has ruled on the debt. That almost never happens.
As previously reported, several legislators also paid overdue tax bills in March after Atlanta Unfiltered asked about them. Reps. Sharon Cooper and Sen. Tommie Williams said they were unaware of the debts, while Rep. Bobby Reese said he had been disputing his bill.
His name is Michael Mills. He was selected to Georgia Trend's 40 under 40. He was press secretary for Mark Taylor's successful run for Lt. Governor back in 1998. His website http://www.michaelmills2010.com/
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Are the wheels coming off the Democratic plan to revolutionize American health care? We can only hope so. But as Republicans resist the new controls, new taxes, and new government expansion proposed by Democrats, they need to be very careful to avoid the opposite mistake: defending an indefensible status quo.
The American health-care system is a costly and inefficient quagmire. It spends dramatically more than any other health-care system on the planet, while producing (at best) only marginally better results. Wages are stagnating for middle-income Americans because of the surge in health -are costs. Fear of losing insurance deters many from switching jobs or striking out on their own. The uninsured get sicker, and the inadequately insured worry that illness will lead to financial ruin.
Many of these problems bear especially heavily on groups Republicans are generally expected to champion: small businesses and the self-employed. At the beginning of the summer, I was talking to a small-business owner and lifelong Republican who said: "If Barack Obama will take my health-care costs off my books, he can charge me whatever he wants in personal income tax—it'll be worth it."
What is the competing offer from Republicans?
Though you wouldn't know it from the current debate, Republicans actually have an inventory of useful ideas to offer Americans concerned about the rising cost of health coverage. Republicans have proposed allowing the sale of insurance products across state lines, enabling people in expensive states like New Jersey to benefit from the less expensive regulatory regime in, say, Kentucky. Republicans have proposed creating health-care exchanges—like the one fashioned by former Gov. Mitt Romney in Massachusetts—to enable the self-employed to buy insurance with untaxed dollars, just as larger businesses can. The first President Bush proposed an audacious series of subsidies for the uninsured, to be paid for by taxing the benefits of the most generous employer-provided health plans.
Unlike President Obama's grand schemes, these measures represented incremental changes to the status quo; they could have been implemented gradually, allowing everyone time to assess their effect while giving the system time to adjust. That's the way to make big changes to something as vital and complex as American health care.
Despite these good ideas, the GOP failed to make health-care reform a priority when it held power. As a result, we Republicans forfeited our credibility on the issue. Strikingly, the Republican with the biggest health -are story to tell—Mitt Romney—declined to trumpet his achievements in the 2008 Republican primary contests, having accurately gauged that they would do him little good. (The Romney plan had trespassed conservative orthodoxy by including, among other offenses, a mandate that imposed a tax on individuals who failed to buy one of the new health policies created by the plan.)
Republicans are in danger of forgetting one of the primary rules of politics: Voters do not care what you know until they know that you care. On health care, we do not look like we care.
So as the Hydra-headed Obamacare lurches through the halls of Congress, we can be confident in our opposition; the president is overreaching horribly. He seeks to herd millions of Americans into a government-operated plan. His promises of cost control are pure assertion, fantasies based on hope and guesswork. He will pile new taxes on small business and crushing new regulations on America's most innovative industries. He has a bad plan, deserving of intense opposition.
But if Republicans prevail, as I hope we do, then what? Can we provide a vision larger than merely inflicting defeat on a Democratic president and Congress? Can we offer a better alternative? And will we do the hard work to make health care a priority after Obamacare is beaten back, assuming it is? If Republicans can play a constructive role on the toughest of issues, we'll have taken our first important step on the road to political recovery. If not, a victory over an ambitious president may prove an empty one, both for Republicans and for the country.
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- Bush appointee to run for State Attorney General
- Teilhet earns critical endorsement by Black Caucus...
- Right-Wing antics.
- Mary Squires Announces Early Endorsements
- Obama Administration has me worried.
- My thoughts as we enter August & toward the fall.
- Incumbent Democrat Don Wix of Cobb County to face ...
- Great article by Dick Pettys of The Insider Advant...
- Gubernatorial candidate Carl Camon focuses on educ...
- ▼ August (84)