Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Good News: Private Prison to bring 300 Jobs to Baldwin Co. Bad News: GEO Group will be in Charge

And that my friends is a black eye on what was a great day up in Milledgeville yesterday as Gov. Sonny Perdue was on hand yesterday for the groundbreaking of the new 1500 bed prison slated to be open in 2012.

Officials from controversial GEO Group included the CEO Wayne Calabrese, as well as State Senator Johnny Grant, State Rep Rusty Kidd, & Angela Gheesling among others.

The prison will bring a total of 300 Jobs to Baldwin County, which has been hit extremely hard by Job losses over the past decade.

The $80 million facility will be constructed by New South Construction for The GEO Group. GEO won the bid over then competitors Corrections Corporation of America and the Cornell Company. GEO has since acquired the Cornell Company, placing it among the largest private corrections corporations in the world.

Its great that Baldwin County is getting jobs to help offset the highest unemployment in the county, but the problem here isn't the prison nor the jobs, its the GEO Group that will be operating the facility & the people of Baldwin County need to know about the history of GEO Group that consists of myriad of Lawsuits, Abuse, Torrid Conditions at its facilities. Suicides, fetid conditions in cells of inmates, mismanagement, squalid living conditions, atmosphere of intimidation,etc, etc, etc.

GEO has had problems at other facilities throughout the United States. In other states, the company has also been accused of providing inadequate healthcare and failing to protect inmates from abuse in addition to inmates’ deaths, riots and dangerous, filthy conditions.

But too bad the elected officials up in Baldwin County aren't going to inform voters what kind of people they are going to be dealing with in GEO Group.

The Race for House District 171: Powell vs Timmons

Another race that I pegged as a race to watch in Georgia is the democratic-lean seat of HD 171 in November down in South Georgia where Incumbent Jay Powell (R-Camilla) faces his first challenger since running for the seat that was vacated by longtime Democrat Richard Royal of Camilla, who switch parties in 2006, becoing a republican.

He faces James "R.C". Timmons (D-Camilla), a minister for the contested seat in november. As of yet, no one has heard a peep out of Timmons, no statements, no website, no facebook profile, no nothing! There is no mention of where he stands on issues ranging from education to job creation.

As for Powell, the day he qualified to run for the seat in which Royal didn't notify anyone but powell that he wssn't going to run for re-election, he was personally escorted by disgraced House Speaker Glen Richardson to the qualifying table to run in place of Royal, as a republican.

Previously Powell was the mayor of Camilla, where he lost in a upset to Mary Jo Norwood, who was a member of the Mitchell County BOE. That lost cost Powell his chairmanship as head of the Georgia Municipal Association.

House District 171 is 40% African American, with the City of Camilla being 68% African- American, Pelham 54% African- American, & over in Colquitt Co, Moultrie is 48% African-American, 47% White & the city of Doerun population consisting of 42% African-American.

Those percentages alone makes this seat very winnable for the democrats in November, but if Timmons doesn't get the ball rolling down there soon, it'll be a lost opportunity for democrats to re-take the democratic lean district.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

State Insurance Commissioner Candidate Mary Squires at State Democratic Convention

Darryl Hicks on Martha Zoller Radio Show

Businesswoman & Lt Governor Candidate Carol Porter at State Democratic Convention

Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond at State Democratic Convention

One of the best speeches I've ever heard

Keown gets Armey Endorsement. Does he have the big "MO" right now?

Mike Keown (R-Coolidge) who is giving Sanford Bishop the fight of his political life got the endorsement of Dick Armey,chairman of Freedomworks on Tuesday as he was in Albany signing copies of his new book. This is the highest profile endorsement Keown has gotten to date.

And it makes me wonder will any D.C. Republicans will come down to help Keown unseat Bishop? Someone like Tom Price or a Mike Pence of Indiana? And if that were to happen, it wouldn't surprise me to see Bishop bring in someone like Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack or even the president or first Lady Michelle Obama for starters. But for the first lady to come dow, he would have to be on the brink of defeat for her to come down to rally his base of Albany, Columbus, & Ft. Valley. He's tied to the president by his votes for emotionally charged bills like the Healthcare Reform, Cap & Trade (that didn;t even make it out of Congress, & other votes as well).

Keown has momentum right now, but will it be enough to knock off a entrench incumbent in a gerrymandered district which African Americans make up close to 48% of the population?

Where is the Sense of Urgency, the Energy Among Georgia Democrats?

This has not gone unnoticed not just by me but other democrats in the state that democrats here are not showing the fire in the belly & the sense of urgency needed to win in November.

It’s easy to see a lack of urgency among democrats here in Georgia, especially what the pundits are predicting in November for democrats & that is a doom & gloom scenario that the party, after being in the minority of the House of Representatives for 12 years could lose it all in just 4 short years of rule by governing in a way that middle-of-the-road voters see as a shift toward a more liberal United States or as some think "socialism" or a "European Style of Government".

They also can lose the U.S. Senate as well, but many think that they'll hold on to control of the Senate. We'll see about that.

But Democrats here can't let what's going on inside the Beltway dampened their enthusiasm for what could happen here in Georgia & that is the possibility of regaining control of the governor's mansion for the first time in 8 years, the possibility of electing the first female Lt. Governor in Carol Porter, & maybe picking up other or maintaining control of several statewide offices in the process.

In addition democrats could pickup seats in the State House of Representatives, where there are great candidates running for seats like John Tibbetts (HD 153), Jack Lance (HD 8), Mar jean Boyd (HD 172), Fenika Miller (HD 145), David Gault (HD 125) & others, as well as the State Senate where you have more good candidates in the form of Floyd Griffin (SD 25), Joseph Mann (SD 51), Tracy Bennett (SD 31), Jim Nichols (SD 17), Griffin Lotson (SD 3)running for seats in November.

Democrats are so dispirited right now that some big money democratic donors here in the state who gave in '08 are sitting on their hands this ear because they think "What's the use of me donating cash to the party if we doesn't stand a chance in hell of winning in November due to missteps & bad calculations by democrats in D.C that's causing this snow ball effect that may drive the party out of power in Washington"?

That's the problem, what's going on in Washington, should not have any bearing on what's going on here in the state where we have critical issues that need addressing like our schools, taxes, public safety, transportation, water, jobs, revenues, etc. That should be enough for democrats to be motivated in getting out & help put middle-of-the-road democrats with common sense, mainstream solutions in office to help solve these problems.

Nothing else creates a sense of urgency like the threat of the unknown. Th unknown is what type of governor Nathan Deal will be. No body knows. No body knows what his plans are in fixing the problems created under a GOP-controlled State Government will be. That alone should be enough to get democrats who are not excited about their prospects in Washington off their butts & get involved in helping the democrats win statewide offices & picking up some legislative seats.

I read a lot about highly productive people, and from what I learn, there seems to be a common trait behind them all. This trait makes the difference between the average and the superior performers. The common trait is a sense of urgency.

A sense of urgency drives people to work much harder than normal. It makes them work as if their lives depend on it. That's what is lacking among Georgia Democrats right now, that sense of urgency. Lose this election & the party as a whole in suffer in the wilderness of the next 4,8, or more years. There seemed to be a sense of comfort among Georgia Democrats when Roy Barnes looked as he would cruise to the nomination (which he did) & that may be why the sense of urgency hasn't crept in......YET!

Once someone is trapped in that comfort zone, he / she loses the sense of urgency. There is no reason for him /her to work hard and excel. He falls prey to the trap of mediocrity & that is a fear among those activist who are out there working their tails off trying to help the party in November.

One way I say to get the Democrats to have a more sense of urgency is to get them to see themselves on the losing side. This attitude is important to avoid comfort zone. If they feel that their chances of winning may have gone up by the election of Nathan Deal as the GOP nominee & the cloud of a indictment hanging over his head, then there’s a danger that they will feel comfortable and slow down. So what they ought to do is look around and find someone who is better than he/she are in an area. Then put themselves on the losing side and that creates a sense of urgency to keep the momentum going.

Another one is to be aware of potential danger of a Nathan Deal Governorship.

Like I said earlier, no body knows what kind o governor Deal will be if he were to win. No one knows what his policies will be after a weak 8 years of leadership under George "Sonny" Perdue. If Georgia Democrats can’t even feel the danger, how can they feel the urgency? So dems ought to widen their perspective and see what’s going on in this state along with its potential danger & that is a Nathan Deal Governorship.

People are motivated when they are convinced of the correctness and the urgency of goals to the extent that they are eager to act, and keep acting, to reach those goals regardless of what others do or think. Democrats may also need emotional support from others to promote action. But we cannot say Georgia Democrats are motivated in the true sense unless they carry on for their own reasons, with, or without support from others.

But the way I look at it, democratic candidates should be the ones that motivates their core supporters on their goals & that wlll trickle down to the grassroots activist on the ground to carry out that message.

Voters must understand what their goals are, and why they hold them, candidates should be able to articulate reasons for their direction. The candidate must use persuasion to convince voters using good arguments, good illustrations & a good demeanor. Emotion is also a effective tool to move the masses in your favor.

But they need to be careful not to overuse emotional and support techniques, because the voters will have to eventually do without this support in large measure.

Also the power of influence is a key. Democratic candidates & the grassroots activist should ask the average voter to spend time imagining with Roy Barnes as governor or Darryl Hicks as Labor Commissioner how he/she could enjoy a better future with him at the helm. This involves thinking about the other when we are not with them.

But to sum it all up to be successful here in GEORGIA in November, democrats need to develop a sense of urgency among themselves & hit the ground running. That's the only way I see core democratic supporters (African-Americans, Die in the Wool Liberals, Women & Young, College Aged voters to the polls). The thought of the unknown, (a Nathan Deal Administration) should be enough give enough urgency to democrats to get out in force & keep the Unknown Nathan Deal out of the governor's mansion. Will Democrats find that sense of Urgency before its too late? Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Georgia On the Brink?: Facing a Tide of Voter Anger, Ga Democrats Looks to Channel It, while Ga Republicans looks to Dodge it

Georgia is in a sour mood. The unemployment rate is rising, cuts to education continue, lack of jobs are being created and everyone SEEMS to be thoroughly disgusted with the powers that be, including congress & the GOP-led State Government. The anger toward D.C. is toxic, but here in Georgia, its not so much toxic as is is frustration with the lack of leadership on big items such as Fixing our schools, attracting jobs to the state, crowded classrooms, property taxes increases as well as other taxes (or fees) being levied on the backs of working Georgians.

It should be a dream scenario for Democrats, who have been shut out of the state legislature for about 8 years. Instead, the anger toward D.C. Democrats may hamper Georgia Democrats from making gains here in the state.


There is a sort of low-grade policy frustration, anger, or maybe even panic setting in as candidates like Roy Barnes, Carol Porter travel the backroads of Georgia to gauge the depth of the public's anger and formulate a palatable and convincing set of solutions. But the discontent is more complex than the polls can convey. Across the state, the sense that Georgia is on the edge of bad times colors daily life right now.

In Central & South Georgia, farmers who have saved and worked hard for years remain uneasy that everything they have gained could slip away at any moment. Such are the scenes of frustration among Georgia voters, further fueled by a nagging feeling that the last people who can be trusted to fix their problems are the very politicians they have elected to office. But no. The state's unemployment rate is higher than the National Average, weak revenue gains leads to more cuts to services that Georgians need like Public Safety for example.

Being outraged does help, but only as long as you channel that anger. "People don't want someone up there just shaking their fist. Barnes has chosen to be the outsider, while Carol Porter is the outsider, battering away at the State Legislature or the "other team" and blaming it for the worst of the state's ills. Some members of the legislature have helped to make it an easy target for the former governor's barbs and for general resentment as a privileged group. By abusing special checking privileges and practically institutionalizing the free lunch for themselves, legislators have called attention to the rarified level of special treatment that they enjoy.

But some in the state understand that blaming the legislature & the GOP is only the political half of what must ultimately be an economic solution. Some people have an image of voters as a group of mad dogs foaming at the mouth. That's not what this is about. People are frustrated. They want people to pay attention to them, and they want a lot of help & during the last 6 yrs of the Perdue Administration Georgians, especially Rural Georgians have felt their voices have been ignored & they maybe ready to change teams in order to have their voices heard once for all.

Look for the State GOP to bring what's going in D.C. into the governor's race as much as possible. Emotionally charged issues like the Role of Government, Health care, a deteriorating national economy to distract Georgia voters from problems that have occurred here at home under control of the GOP.

One way for democrats here running for office to channel voter anger for their own benefit is to do what national republicans are doing to national democrats & that is to exploit anger at the inept leadership of the legislature, beginning with the elimination of the Homestead Tax Exemption. Taxes are always a hot button issue that gets the attention of voters at election time, then the slow decline of our public school systems. Yes Ga won the $400 million "Race to the Top" award yesterday for education reform, but do you think voters would want the very people that have declared war on Ga's public schools handling that money? I don't think so!

Then there's the issue of ethics. We send our elected officials to Atlanta to solve & address problems the state is having, not to send them up there to party & have flings on the down-low with young female lobbyist, while at the same time having a wife & family at home waiting for you. Not bilking huge sums of cash from special interest groups to line their pockets or to help themselves get over by using the office he or she is holding for personal gain. There should be a level of integrity & trustworthiness when it comes to our elected officals. Glen Richardson's life has gone down hill after it was revealed by his ex-wife that he had a affair with a lobbyist while speaker of the Georgia House, then their is the cloud that is hanging over Casey Cagle's head concerning corruption. (When there's smoke' there's fire!)

Then you have the nominee Nathan Deal who is facing numerous ethical violations for using his office for his own personal benefit. Who knows what in the world will happen here. (Can you say October Surprise when it comes to deal & these ethics charges?)

Now democrats haven't had a great track record when it comes to ethics neither, but more of the focus is always on the party in power, just like the democrats in D.C., the focus is squarely on the GOP here in Georgia.

Nathan Deal, privatization and the ethics committee report


There’s a little moment right in the middle of the Office of Congressional Ethics report on Nathan Deal which sheds a revealing light on the way rhetoric and reality sometimes collide. It revolves around that often-cited Republican panacea, privatization.

The investigative report describes three meetings which involved -- among others -- Deal, his chief of staff Chris Riley, his business partner Ken Kronan and Georgia Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham. Things seem to have gone fairly routinely until – “out of the blue,” according to the investigator’s interview with Riley, “unprovoked,” according to the interview with Kronan – Graham brought up privatizing the state Salvage Inspection Program during the second meeting.

On the campaign trail, Republican candidates have been holding up the healing powers of privatization for years now. But when the subject came up in this meeting, one gets the impression you could have heard a pin drop.

“The witness (Riley) stated that everyone was confused by the random statement,” the report says.

What Graham was proposing was the replacement of the Salvage Inspection Program, which had grown from a pilot program about a decade before, with a new system whereby licensed private inspectors would have the job of checking salvaged vehicles before the issuance of new titles.

As one of a handful of businesses licensed as a location where state inspectors check salvaged vehicles before new titles are issued, GSD made $288,500 off its business with the state in 2008, and Deal makes a fixed return off the business of $75,000 annually. But he and Cronin say it would have actually been to their financial benefit to drop GSD’s association with the state, and that they were motivated by concerns about whether private inspectors would check rebuilt cars for safety features like air bags. Kronan even went so far as to say it was “a liability and a moral issue.”

Graham argued the program never was intended to do safety inspections, but merely to verify the VIN numbers on the vehicles before titles were issued. By the time of the third meeting, Perdue had eliminated funding for the program in his 2009 budget request, and Graham felt“hotboxed” and cross-examined by state Rep. Doug Collins and other defenders of the program.

The OCE report is concerned with whether Deal violated House ethics rules in setting up these meetings and using House staff and emails in the process, not whether the action which touched off so much concern on Deal’s part was a good idea. But the report also paints a picture of a situation in which most of those involved didn’t know what was going on, and more chaos than costs savings was generated out of the privatization effort, which was eventually nipped by the legislature anyway. Maybe privatization is the nifty idea so many think it is, but government still doesn’t seem to get the hang of it.

It’s interesting to read the OCE report on Deal in parallel with the recent OCE report on Rep. Maxine Waters, which has caused a lot more headlines nationally.

No two members could differ more on the surface, but both their cases involve the propriety of a meeting they requested involving issues affecting their own finances, in her case OneUnited, a minority-owned bank in line for federal bailout funds, for which her husband had been a board member and owned stock valued (pre-bust) at $352,000. Both involve the members’ close relationship with their chief of staff. Riley told investigators he “rarely allows Representative Deal to go anywhere without him, unless it is a family matter.” In Waters’ case, her chief of staff is family: her grandson.

The sum of money involved in the ethics infraction Waters is accused of -- some $12 million in TARP money -- is greater than what was at stake in the Deal case, which became moot after he left Congress but linger as an issue in the governor’s race. But the charges against Deal are more extensive, including not only the same offenses Waters is accused of in setting up a meeting with federal Treasury officials, but additional charges related to his reporting of his income from the salvage business.

Waters, one witness told investigators, worried about whether her husband’s connections might create a conflict of interest in requesting the meeting for a national association of minority-owned banks. In the Deal report, there’s no suggestion of him expressing any qualms.

“At all times I was acting as a public servant addressing matters of public interest in which I had some expertise,” he said in a statement submitted to the OCE.

Whether voters buy that has a lot to do with Deal’s fate this November.

All I can say is stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Race, Health Care, and the ‘Southern’ Strategy

A website called Like the Dew has a no-hold barred analysis of the Healthcare Debate that dominated the Town Hall meetings during the summer of 2009. They call the grassroot anger of Healthcare "A Hoax" & says its all about race "pure & simple". You be the judge. Read this piece from Like the Dew.

Here's what Cliff Green of Like the Dew says:

Let’s cut to the chase: This orchestrated grass-roots anger over health care reform is a flat-out hoax, and the equally phony political debate going on in Washington is just as spurious. Neither one is about how much reform will cost, personal choice, or how many government bureaucrats will come between a patient and his or her doctor.

This is about race, pure and simple.

And since nothing scares the right-wing-nuts in the Republican Party more than the prospect of racial equality in anything, health care reform has become the latest outrage for their talk-radio stooges and, in turn, their never-ending search for higher ratings.

In the absence of facts that support the health care status quo, the radio ranters have been forced to reveal the outlines of the alternate universe in which they exist, that scary place where American voters last November elected a black Muslim born in Kenya who is using reform of this nation’s perfect-as-is medical care system as a way to usher in a Marxist-Leninist state.

Those who agree—but who want to remain socially acceptable—cloak the issue in different terms. They torture arguments into discourses on socialized medicine, cutting taxes, smaller government, market-based solutions and personal liberty. This bunch would never say aloud that President Barack Obama wants to convert Americans into Godless Communists, rather they imply that he would do something worse: turn them into single-payer-loving Canadians.

Tragically, large segments of the American public have bought into this reactionary nonsense and honestly believe that health care reform is a singular issue, a one-time thing that understandably divides the political left and the political right over the question of who should control a major sector of the American economy, private enterprise or the federal government.

But the argument is much broader and markedly more insidious. The debate has nothing to do with the cost of drugs, rationing medical care, or that constantly flogged waiting list for elective surgery. Its tap root reaches deep down into a steaming pile of racial muck dropped more than 60 years ago.

After President Harry Truman desegregated the military following World War II and the Democratic Party inserted a strong civil rights plank in its 1948 platform, southern segregationists walked out of that year’s convention and formed the States’ Rights Democratic (Dixiecrat) Party. Meeting later that summer in Birmingham, Alabama, that party picked South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond to head its ticket, and the upstart organization succeeded in winning four Southern states that November. The effort was not enough to keep Truman from being re-elected, but the wound in Democratic circles festered for years.

Observing this fracture up close was a young man from St. Matthews, S.C., named Harry Shuler Dent. A devout Southern Baptist who graduated from nearby Presbyterian College, Dent went on to get a degree from George Washington University Law School in 1957, and a master’s of law from Georgetown University in 1959. By the time he graduated, Dent had long been an aide to Thurmond, who by then was a U.S. Senator.

In addition to his expertise in the law, which he used to help his boss thwart civil rights legislation in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Dent had a sensitive ear for the political stirrings of the folks back home. And they were uneasy. When the Republican Party nominated Sen. Barry Goldwater for president in 1964, Dent caught a glimpse of the future. At his urging, Strom Thurmond switched parties, which leads to the other thread of the health care reform story.

After losing the 1960 presidential election to John Kennedy and the 1962 California gubernatorial contest to Pat Brown, former Vice President Richard Nixon was dismissed as a viable political candidate by pundits on both the left and the right. ABC News commentator Howard K. Smith even hosted a 30-minute, prime time television program titled “The Political Obituary of Richard Nixon.” But while others were dismissing him as a has-been, the Dark Prince of the GOP was plotting a return.

Nixon joined a New York law firm for cover and quietly spent years traveling the back roads of America, speaking at fund raisers and kick-off rallies for obscure Republican candidates seeking the most minor of offices. Over a period of time, he appeared in countless VFW halls, addressed hundreds of small-town coffees and endured thousands of photo-ops, all the while building up a huge cache of political IOUs. More importantly, Nixon was picking up on the vibe emanating from what would soon be called The Silent Majority. He and Harry Dent were destined to get on the same page.

Meanwhile, the nation was undergoing a revolution. In response to almost constant pressure from African-Americans, President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed a Democratic-controlled congress into enacting the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which gave black folks access to public accommodations, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which guaranteed them access to the ballot box. Federal courts were ordering school systems to abide by Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka and desegregate their facilities, even if that meant bussing students from one district to another, and Stokley Carmichael, head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was talking about something new and scary called “black power:

Continue reading: Race, Health Care, and the ‘Southern’ Strategy

Georgia's Rural Black Belt Counties may hold the Key to Democratic Success in the Fall

Georgia's Black Belt Counties are counties located in Rural Georgia that consist of high unemployment rates, face acute poverty, rural exodus, inadequate education programs, low educational attainment, poor health care, substandard housing, and high levels of crime and unemployment. As of today, the Black Belt is still home to persistent poverty, poor employment, low incomes, low education, poor health, high infant mortality and dependence.

This region of Georgia also hold the key for Democrats this November if they want to win several statewide seats.

It consist of all of SW Georgia 2nd District: (except Lee County), South Central Georgia Counties of the 8th District: Tift, Worth, Turner, Irwin, Ben Hill, Wilcox, Crisp, Colquitt, Cook Counties, Middle Ga Counties of Laurens, Dodge, Telfair, Montgomery, Treutlen, Pulaski, Macon, Taylor, Peach, Twiggs. And it consist of all of the 12th District:, except Chathamm, Effingham, Bryan, Richmond, Glascock.

These are places where the black population is as low as 20% to as high as 70% of the county's population. This is where democrats in their attempt to win votes here in rural Georgia have to make a great showing if they want to be successful on Nov 2.

As democrats should know, attracting the rural white vote has been a troublesome for democrats for sometime now, but the way the Ga GOP has led the state since its complete takeover in 2005, they have left plenty of material for democrats to run with, but that is "IF" democrats don't mess it up.

The economy has hit everyone hard in Georgia, but it has hit rural black voters the hardest. Where educational is low, economic opportunities are scarce, high crimes & substandard housing conditions are the weakest & unemployment is among the highest in the state, the Black Belt Region should be a area where democrats should make their biggest gains. But the history of Black Voters is that they do not turn out for mid-term elections, which is true. Another logic is that Black voters need to have a reason to get out to vote. That is also true!

But of all the years not to get out to vote, this is the year that Black voters need to get to the polls. Just like everyone else, they are affected by the economy, education, crime, the lack of job opportunities. With Obama not on the ballot, no way they are going to get out to the polls to vote. Having black candidates running for office along is not enough for black voters to get out to the polls. Democrats have to go to some of these Black Belt Counties like Calhoun, Peach, Turner, Meriwheter, Troup, Greene, Burke, Clinch, Worth Counties & make their case that better days are ahead & that the current policies hasn't had any positive effect on them, That goes for White Voters who live in the Black Belt as well.

Despite what is going on Nationally with democrats, here in Georgia, things have gotten bad under a republican controlled state government & just like Roy Barnes is doing, if democrats running in Senate & House races, as well as other statewide offices (Labor, Lt Governor, for example) make that argument, it will be a successful 2010 for Georgia Democrats. Like I've been saying, it will come down for rural Georgia for Democrats.

Dollars & Sins: The Argument against Private Prisons

There is going to be a grounbreaking on Monday up in Baldwin County for the new 1500 bed prison being built by GEO Group who will control day to day operations of the facility. I have mentioned the troubles GEO has had managing its other prisons across the country, as well as lawsuits, inmate abuses. mismanagement practiecs, deaths among inmates, corruption, & other troubling apsects if this toxic prison corrctional firm.

Private prisons seems to offer a slight cost advantage over public prisons, but they also have fewer staff and higher rates of violence. Private prisons have not revolutionized prison-operation models in the way that proponents of privatization predicted, and continue to assert, that they would. First, government-employees’ labor unions are typically quite strong, and the prison industry is no exception. On the other hand, private prison directors have a great deal of control over their labor, especially since most private prisons operate in the South and the West, where labor unions are generally weak.

Second, private prisons are not accountable to the general public in the same way that public prisons are. In most states, when a local government plans to make a large capital expenditure (like building a new prison) this requires voter approval. Private prisons are of course free to expend capital as they wish. This means that private companies can construct a new prison much more quickly than public prisons, and one would expect therefore that private prisons would save money (because the time spent waiting for voter approval instead of building the new facilities is expensive).

Of course, if private prisons save money for essentially these two reasons alone (and the low level of savings by private prisons suggests that they might), then it seriously calls into question the value of privatizing prisons. A prison industry modeled around treating its staff poorly and superceding public opinion would be very dangerous. One would expect high levels of prisoner violence (which private prisons have) because of underpaid staff and lack of staff. One would also expect that private prisons would not be responsive to changes in public attitude towards crime, the importance of incarceration in our criminal justice, or how much money should be spent on prisons.

It is much harder for the public to hold private prisons accountable than public prisons.

Public prisons (like most institutions placed under the executive branch of government) have a linear power structure.

At the top are upper level government officials (say in the Justice Department when considering federal prisons, or in the relevant state agency when considering state prisons). Below them are prison directors, and at the bottom are the staff (such as guards and prison physicians) who have regular contact with the prisoners. This is obviously a simplified description, and there are many people who will not fit well into any of the three categories I have described. None the less, this simple model works well for this analysis.

As for Private Prisons, there is no such thing:

The power structure has a government side, this time consisting of upper level government officials with the regulators of private prisons below them, and a private side, consisting of prison directors and low-level staff. The relationship between low-level staff and prison directors are in many ways comparable between private and public prisons (with the notable exception already described above that in private prisons, labor is typically much weaker). Likewise, the relationship between upper-level government and regulators in the private system is essentially comparable to the relationship between upper-level government and prison directors in the public system. The only exception is that one might expect prison regulators to have a closer, less adversarial relationship to the government than directors of public prisons do (this expectation is actually quite off). In addition, there are many other relationships that can be compared, for example the strength of private prison lobbying versus public prison employee lobbying. But I will not treat these. Instead I will focus on the one relationship which is unique to the private model has no analogue in the public model: the relationship between regulator and prison director.

What I hope this will show that is that we must construct a view of privatization which takes into account the role of profit motives and the possibility that the current “tough on crime” penology which is so popular today may some day change. Privatizing prisons creates a strong private interest in preserving the current penology. The current penology (as I argued at the outset) is in great part responsible for the exponential rise in prison populations which led to privatization and which continues to fuel the growth of the private prison industry. Surely private prison corporations will protest if the public does someday move towards a different view of crime.

Yes, public prison employees have profited, and they would also protest. The answer to this criticism lies in my analysis of the public accountability of private prisons. Perhaps private prison lobbies are stronger than public prison lobbies, perhaps not. But what is certain is that privatizing prisons adds an extra degree of separation between the public and the prisons. Moreover, the regulator-director relationship in the private prison power structure is extremely suspect. Because there is a weak link in this power structure, it is likely that in a situation of major change in our view of crime and the criminal justice system, this power structure will break down and no longer be effective.

The privatization of jails and prisons have been growing in the United States. Not only has there been a steady growth of private, for-profit operation of federal, state and county correctional facilities, but private firms have also become more involved in other aspects of the prison industry, such as the financing and construction of new prisons and the renovation of existing ones. Moreover, many of these private companies have gone public and are trading on the stock exchanges (GEO Group). Perhaps more than with other service industries in this country, the privatization of prisons has become a growth industry.

Yet, prison privatization continues to be one of the most controversial issues in public policy. Although sold to the public as a cost-saving measure, the privatization of prisons has not only led to significant changes in policy making and the management of prisons, but has also generated widespread concern that incarceration has become a profit-making industry. That, in turn, strengthens calls for policies on mandatory-minimum sentencing that keep the prison industry growing. After all, in order to be successful business enterprises, prisons will need occupants.

So I ask: What compels state policy makers to privatize their prisons?

In my opinion, the conventional response by political and appointed policy leaders has consistently been that they wish to save costs. But the truth may be otherwise. Its time to examine the potential reasons why a state might choose to privatize its prisons, and considers financial and political aspects in depth. I think & I'm sure others will agree with me that the desire to save costs is not the primary reason for state prison privatization. Rather, the more plausible explanations revolve around political and ideological factors such as the party of the governor and the overall political and ideological culture of the state. This work sets the record straight about the decision to privatize state prisons, revealing the political bias that often drives these policy choices.

In 1999 AFSCME conducted a poll not too long ago that showed that 51% of people oppose privately run prisons, and only 28% favor them. That opposition cuts across party lines. “Democrats, Independents and Republicans all oppose privatization,”

In early 2009, two judges in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County admitted sentencing thousands of children to jail in return for kickbacks from a prison-management company. Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan received a commission for every day they sent a child to private juvenile detention centres run by Pennsylvania Child Care and a sister company. The pay-offs came to $2.6m over seven years.

Absolutely disgusting. Makes you wonder how widespread this sort of thing could be.

This along with others make me think that if it can happen at other private prisons across the country, it can definitely happen here in Georgia

Westmoreland dodging a debate with Saunders.......AGAIN!

On August 26, there will be a candidate forum at Columbus State Unviersity where candidate ranging from local to statewide will attend to debate the issues. Lynn Westmoreland, incumbent of the 3rd Congressional District had said he would appear at the debate against his challenger Frank Saunders, but decided to back out once again.

Here's a letter sent out by Frank Saunders, democrat from Midland:

Why won’t Rep. Westmoreland Debate me?

I’m Frank Saunders, Candidate for Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District. I am running against Rep. Lynn Westmoreland. Since I’ve announced my candidacy in April 2010 I’ve traveled all over the district meeting people and working to get my message out. People ask me why I’m running? I’m running because the people of this district and the people of the United States deserve to be represented by a man like me that will legislate and act on behalf of all people not just the wealthy or well connected.

For some reason, Rep. Westmoreland WILL NOT debate me. Rep. Westmoreland has been given a free pass for far too long. Rep. Westmoreland has been a part of the Washington “do nothing” establishment that has voted for the highest deficits in our nation’s history. He consistently votes against the best interest of his constituents. Rep. Westmoreland needs to be held accountable at the ballot box. I have been using my own money to run my campaign along with small donations from family and friends. I have not taken any money from special interests, unlike Rep. Westmorland. I am a teacher and coach running for congress. I come from a working class background and have worked hard to pay my way through college. I currently hold three college degrees.

There will be a candidate’s forum on August 26th at the Cunningham Center at CSU. The forum is free and open to the public. It starts at 6:30 PM. Again, Rep Westmoreland will not be there to answer to his constituents. How can you make an informed decision if he won’t come out and answer your questions? I promise I’ll always be here to answer your questions and respond to your concerns. I will be representing everyone in the 3rd Congressional District.


Frank Saunders

Democratic Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Georgia 3 CD.

Now Westmoreland has had a history of ducking debates against hos challengers & when he has he always get taken to the woodshed, but like always the media doesn't pay any attention to this & westmoreland continues to get re-elected by wide margins year after year.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Big Lie that is Gun Control & why it Doesn't Work!

I'm not going to sit here & spew anything at you about the 2nd amendment and what it was designed to protect. I'm going to appeal to you logic, to you common sense. A gun first and formost is a tool, it is a means to an end. I know that modern politics have made it an end. There are many people who don't own guns, who still fight for the right to own them. The reason why every man has a right to own a gun isn't just for self protection its for freedom of opression.

It is for the protection of a free state, the moment you allow your weapons of war to be taken from you is the moment you accept oppression. Slowly but surely we have allowed laws to be passed against guns of a certain caliber, firing speed, range or killing power. At this point I'm not even certain there is a point in battling for the few rights we have left. We could eliminate guns and take a step closer towards being a police state, as Great Britan already has. We can reap the same lower violent crime rate that they have and honestly we already at the same disadvantage as they are. We are utterly incapable of defeating our military if the need arose.

Disarming criminals is a laudable goal, but it is too mired in the lofty enterprise of disarming law-abiding citizens. Gun control, as a philosophy and as a political mechanism, is a flimsy sham. It has become a smoke screen behind which its proponents hide two simple facts: 1) they are more interested in controlling the public than reducing crime, and 2) they are incompetent when it comes to reducing crime.

Police officials and politicians who discourage citizens from fighting back should think about different employment. MacDonald’s is hiring, somewhere. Law-abiding citizens not only have a right, but perhaps a duty, to defend themselves and others. If a career criminal gets killed in the process, he called the play, not his intended victim.

As a life long democrat and conservative, I find it disconcerting that many are so adamantly against private firearm ownership in America. A lot of these posters cite wrong or inaccurate facts and studies to prove their point. Many folks don't appear to have a clear idea on many of the issues are being discussed, and get upset when gun owners call the ignorant or tell them to go formularize themselves with firearms. We say this because it is impossible to draw an accurate picture from skewed or wrong information, It takes many years to become truly familiar with firearms and their complexities and without this knowledge anyone arguing a point regarding firearms is at a disadvantage compared with someone with a healthy working knowledge of firearms.

The government has placed many gun control laws, but some of the laws were made to make the general public feel safer. For instance the government banned a handful of assault riffles when they are not even used for most gun related crimes. This country was founded on the people of the country owning guns to protect what they think is right. The constitution gives the people the right to bare arms and protect themselves. Any law against guns should be unconstitutional but the laws were made because it is what some people want.

Here's why Gun Control doesn't work:

Gun control only disarms the honest, since criminals don't obey laws in the first place. Even if it disarmed criminals too, though, they are generally stronger and tougher than most people, so Gun control leaves the honest as "easy pickin's" for the criminals. This in turn means not only that Gun control doesn't reduce crime, but worse yet, Gun control increases crime, by providing easy targets and practically eliminating the "victim administered" penalty. If gun control reduced crime, New York City and Washington DC would be the safest places on the planet. Instead, they are among the least safe!

Gun control doesn't make it harder for criminals to get guns, since they rarely get them through legal channels in the first place. Purchase restrictions only hinder the honest, who of course are not the problem (and in fact are part of the solution). Even more so, is already illegal for most criminals to have guns. The Gun Control Act of 1968 made it a federal felony for anyone previously convicted of a felony (or ajudged insane by a court of law) to so much as hold a gun, or even a single round of ammunition and most violent crime is committed by repeat offenders.

Guns do not cause crime. If they did, Switzerland would be a bloodbath -- most households there contain a genuine assault rifle (i.e., something that, as the hoplophobes say, "sprays bullets") and plenty of ammo, and most of the rest also contain at least one gun. Instead, it's one of the safest places in the world!

Only approximately 1 in every 500 guns is ever used in a crime. Even for handguns, it's only about 1 in 250. There are about 250 million guns owned by civilians in the USA. Roughly half of all American households contain at least one gun. Yet violent criminals are a tiny minority.

If robbed or assaulted, your best chance of not being killed or seriously injured is to resist with a gun. That's about a 17% chance of death or injury. If you give the perp everything he wants, your chances are still almost 50-50. If you resist with any other weapon, the results are between the two. If you resist unarmed, including passively, or yell for help or try to escape, you are very likely to be seriously injured or killed.

The so-called "assault weapon ban" (actually a manufacturing freeze) is based on nothing but cosmetics. The "banned" guns are functionally absolutely identical to perfectly ordinary hunting or target guns. They are not machine guns, which have been under very heavy federal restriction since 1934. Nor do they use unusually deadly cartridges; in fact, their ammo is usually less powerful than typical hunting ammo.

Attempts to outlaw so-called Saturday Night Specials or Junk Guns on the basis of "product safety" are a transparent sham. Such proposed laws always exempt police. Why would you want the police, of all people, to have guns of inferior quality?

The idea of so-called "cop-killer" bullets is a total fabrication. The bullets often so labelled are in fact worse at penetrating body armor than normal ones, were developed for use by police, and were never offered for sale to the public.

And so is the Gun Show Loophole. The exact same laws apply whether you buy your guns at a show, at a dealer's own store, or anywhere else.

The problem is not repeating firearms but repeating offenders. Repeating firearms are nothing new, they have been around since the 1700's. Even machine guns and semiautomatic pistols have been around since the late 1800's. They have never been a problem. What changed? Many social factors, such as Prohibition II (aka the War on Drugs, with exactly the same results as the first Prohibition), but mainly the rise of bleeding-heart liberalism. Now we coddle even the most vicious of violent criminals, and let them go after a mere slap on the wrist,often to repeat their crimes.

Most people who die by gunshot would die anyway without guns. That's because most (about 56%) of them are suicide. Study after study shows that if someone wants to kill themselves, they will find a way. A near-total gun ban doesn't stop Japan from having a much higher suicide rate than ours!

Guns save more innocent lives than they take. American civilians use guns to stop a crime approximately two and a half million times a year!

The police cannot protect you. The only two people guaranteed to be at the scene of a personal violent crime are the perp and the victim. At best, the police might arrive in time, if you can manage to contact them. Furthermore, the police are under no obligation to protect you, only society as a whole, according to multiple Supreme Court decisions.

Don't get me wrong, the police do the best they can, but they can't be everywhere. There's a name for places where they can -- a police state! That brings us to, though crime seems to be the anti-gunners' main point:

Guns are the last-ditch protector of democracy. Sure, we have votes, but only the ever-prevent possibility of armed revolt can ensure that the government obeys the vote. As the saying goes, "Five boxes protect our freedom: soap, ballot, jury, witness, and cartridge. Use in that order."

The Second Amendment is not about "sporting purposes". If you read the letters, debate notes, etc. that the Founding Fathers wrote about the right to keep and bear arms, you see over and over, almost exclusively, these reasons, in this order of importance:

The Second Amendment does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to government-run militias. The "militia clause" is grammatically a dependent clause, and thus an explanation, not a limit. "Well-regulated" does not mean "under government control", but "smoothly and efficiently functioning". Besides, almost all men, and many women also, are "the militia", to wit, the Unorganized Militia of the United States; see U.S. Code, Title 10, Section 311. (Link coming, if I ever find an online source.)
Translated into clear modern English, the Second Amendment would read:

Since smoothly functioning militias are necessary to the security of a free nation, the right of all citizens to own and carry weapons shall not be limited.
(The connection from armed populace to militia is that a militiaman is expected to supply his own weaponry, and already be proficient with it, or at least with arms in general. This, of course, is far easier if the populace is explicitly allowed (or encouraged!) to be armed, and utterly impossible if the populace is disarmed!)

The ultimate downside to gun control is not merely crime, nor even tyranny, but genocide. There have been seven major genocides in the 20th century, each preceded by disarming the victims. The disarming was frequently done by a previous, more benign government.

Sleepy House Race to keep an eye on down in SE Georgia: House District 180

In Camden County, the race for HD 180 is between Adell James & Jason Spencer, who defeated Cecily Hill in a runoff on Aug 10 for the right to represent the coastal County located dowm in the extreme SE Georgia Corner.

The campaigns could not be any different:

Spender, a Tea Party Candidate who started two coastal Georgia Tea Party Movements is running on Tort Reform, Healthcare, Term Limits. Spencer says his decision to run for the Ga State Representatives is the recent government takeover of Healthcare. If that's the reason, he should have run for congress. (Being a state rep cannot affect the outcome of Healthcare.) Here's something interesting he said: Our government at the federal, state, & local level have been taken over by one party and that's the party of Big Government. (Well the state is being run by the GOP, which has driven this state to a path that it maynot be able to come back from, the federal Gov't is run by Dems who have impelmented Big Government initiatives & as for local, GIVE ME A BREAK).

Bascially Spencer will be running on national issues instead on local, state issues that are afefcting HD 180.

Then there's James, who is running on Housing, Education Reform, Healthcare Reform & Jobs. Adell has been employed with the Camden County Board of Education for the past thirty five years. She spent nineteen yrs as an elementary and middles school teacher. Her leadership roles have been: Assistant Principal, Principal, and Alternative School Director. She will retire on June 30, 2010 as Director of Recruiting. Other accomplishments include: Camden Board of Directors, Governor’s Leadership Academy, Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL), Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals, Georgia Association of Education (GAE), National Association of Education (NAE), Albany State University Alumni, Ralph Johnson Bunche High/Camden County Training School Alumni, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (AKA), Alpha Delta Kappa Sorority (ADK), National Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Teacher of the Year (Mary Lee Clark Middle School), 1987, Georgia Association of Alternative Education.

The differences in this race are stark: a Tea Party, Constitutionalist republican candidate Jason Spencer, & a moderate, community consciousness democrat in Adell James.

Marjean Boyd: Conservative Roots & Hometown Values

Raised on a farm in Miller County, Marjean Boyd knows was instilled with the values of hard work, family, ommunity & the respect for others. As she embarks on her quest to represent the good people of House District 172, Boyd says she is ready to get to work solve the many issues the people of Decatur and Grady Counties face.

Boys is steep in experience when it comes to education: 17 years as educator and senior-level administrator at Bainbridge College and 12 years as a classroom teacher at the high-school and technical-college level. She graduated with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from (FSU) Florida State University & obtained a Master’s in Business Education from (UGA) University of Georgia.

Boyd, a conservative democrat (or what I like to call a Values Democrat) has served on numerous statewide, local boards for well over 20 years.She wants to ensure the interests that have not been served now have a voice. At the same time, she wants to serve even better the interests that have been heard.

She will fight to fully fund education, fight for water rights of Southwest Georgia 7 regulations that has been placed on water & to spur economic growth & sustain economic development.

She faces Gene Maddox (R), a retired veterinarian from Grady County in the General Election.

She will be Be a strong advocate and accessible representative & Be a leader who listens to her constituents as well. One of her biggest issues is to get rid of regulations imposed by the State Government. She says "local governments must allocate as much as 25 percent of their budgets to pay for unfunded mandates. The unfunded mandates take control out of the hands of local government and add to already heavy tax burdens. They force local taxpayers to pick up the tab & unfunded mandates not only affect citizen’s pocketbooks, they violate the principles of accountability, responsibility, and fairness. If state policies are important enough to justify a mandate, the state should find a way to fund them". I agree with that notion.

This has been a long held democratic seat until Maddox defeated the democratic challenger in 2004. This is the year that this seat is put back in the hands of a downhome, conservative democrat with hometown values that better reflects the district as a whole.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Repeal the Healthcare Law? After this, I say it maybe time to do so.

And 8th District Rep Jim Marshall was right when he called the law a "Disaster".

Politico reports that supporters of President Obama's health care plan --including the AFL-CIO, MoveOn.org and SEIU-- are now moving away from their previous assertions that the health care bill would reduce the deficit and health care costs.

The confidential presentation, available and provided to POLITICO by a source on the call, suggests that Democrats are acknowledging the failure of their predictions that the health care legislation would grow more popular after its passage, as its benefits became clear and rhetoric cooled. Instead, the presentation is designed to win over a skeptical public and to defend the legislation — in particular, the individual mandate — from a push for repeal.

The Herndon Alliance, which presented the research, is a low-profile group that coordinated liberal messaging in favor of the public option in health care. Its "partners" include health care legislation's heavyweight supporters: AARP, AFL-CIO, SEIU, Health Care for America Now, MoveOn and La Raza, among many others

Andre Walker over at Georgia Politics Unfiltered thinks the only option now is to repeal the plan altogether & even cited a Jim Marshall article in which he saye the Healthcare Law is a "DISASTER": 8th district Democratic Congressman Jim Marshall recently called health care reform "a disaster." [Stucka, Mike (2010-8-6). Marshall: Health care reform 'a disaster'. Macon Telegraph. Retrieved on 2010-8-20.]

The presentation also counsels against the kind of grand claims of change that accompanied the legislation's passage.

Now I thought that the bill wouldn't be repealed, instead parts or provisions of the legislation would neither be repaled or be thrown out. Now after hearing that this new Law won't reduce the deficit & reduce cost.

Im with Andre to say the only option now is to repeal the Damn thing, if that means people with pre-existing conditons losing their benefits. I wasn't a huge suporter of the bill, only the rural aspects of the legislation, but this bill will do more harm that good, especially when it comes to the federal deficit & debt.

Rural Voters & Carol Porter: A match made in Heaven?

She's articulate. She's Bright. She is a businesswoman. She's strong on Family Values. She wants to rid the State Capitol of Corruption & the stench of Ethically challenged Politicos. She wants to be your next Lt. Governor.

Im talking about Carol Porter, wife of minority leader DuBose Porter.

The most unlikely candidate to run for Lt. Governor, Porter know wants to be the one to clean up the State Senate & return it to a more bi-partisan, workable environment from 8 yrs of inept, Iron-Fisted leadership of Casey Cagle.

Porter, of Dublin, Ga, will do a better job of making the rural connection. She is running as a moderate/conservative, which will give Republicans who are disenchanted about the direction of the state a clear conscience to vote for a Democrat.

In small towns like Spoerton, Climax, Pearson, Twin City, Vidalia and Ocklocnee & others like Barnesville, Camilla, Hartwell, Reidsville, Hamilton, Douglas, Darien and Americus, voters in these towns need ideas and hope that a candidate can go to Atlanta and help make a difference in their lives. They want to know that their Lt. Governor knows that their town statistically trails bigger cities in Georgia in median family and household incomes, in the number of high school graduates and in the number of college graduates.

The farmers want to know that their Lt. Governor knows they are paying as much a $4.00 a gallon for the diesel fuel that runs their tractors and combines, and that the cost of fertilizer, a major expense in the production of crops, has risen dramatically.

Rural swing voters are going to be very competitive targets this year. Mark my words.

Most of the state's poorest counties are rural, and rural areas have lost thousands of manufacturing jobs. (Like 300 jobs being outsoured to Mexico from Cooper Lighting in Americus, Ga). The state economy, education and jobs give porter an opportunity to cut Republican rural strength. One of the biggest concerns for rural Georgians is Financial Security & Jobs & right now the policies of the GOP-led Legislature & Perdue has failed miserably in fixing those problems plaging rural Georgians.

When it comes to values, rural Georgians would be very attracted to Mrs. Porter. A native of Johnson County, Porter nows the value of work, community & family. Her father as a rural doctor &her mother, a school teacher and cookbook author instilled those vallues in her that remain strong today. She is a active member of First United Methodist Church in Dublin, where she currently serves on the Administrative Board, the Worship Committee and as a Sunday School Teacher for the Second Door Adult Bible Class every third Sunday.

I know for a fact from variuos emails I've gotten from people say they lean republican, but are very, very open to change & vote for a democrat like Carol Porter, due to a poor economy, the weakening of our public education, lack of economic development & ethical charges that have run thru the state capitol.

Too many Democrats too often act like rural Georgia is just someplace to fly over or drive thru between a fundraiser or big campaign event in Savannah or Athens. In small towns and rural communities, our lifestyle and all the values it represents, are being ignored, while the rest of Georgia grasp with an economic downturn, hell, recession has become a permanent way of life for most of rural Georgia.

That's why Carol Porter as Lt. Governor would put a spotlight on rural georgia in terms of creating much needed jobs, improving our rural schools, better services for our hospitals & pumping new life back into the places where I hope the Georgia Democratic Party return to its roots and to champion the forgotten Georgia, not just the metropolitan areas, but also in the small towns that lie between. That's why Georgia at this critical stage in its history needs a Carol Porter in the legislature to bring about those changes along with Roy Barnes.

GAE announces 2010 statewide general election endorsements

The 43,000-member Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) today released its list of endorsements for Georgia’s statewide November general elections. Newly-elected GAE President Calvine Rollins says her organization’s recommendations were once again based on candidate interviews and profiles that indicated their willingness to work for the betterment of Georgia’s public education system. “These are challenging times for our public schools and they will need strong and creative leadership particularly in the governor’s and superintendent’s offices,” said Rollins. “Our process of candidate interviews and questionnaires helps our leadership come to the best possible recommendation, based on our priorities, on who will be a true friend to our public schools and the children who depend on them for their education.”

In Georgia’s gubernatorial race GAE is supporting former Governor Roy Barnes. Barnes, while still facing some backlash from his previous administration, now has the benefit of hindsight in what is truly needed to help our public schools and its students. Rollins said, “Barnes is the best choice to be able to come in and hit the ground running with respect to creating and implementing plans to address concerns such as class size, making high stakes testing more diagnostic rather than punitive, fully funding and staffing our public schools, making them safe for teaching and learning, opposing destructive ideas such as vouchers that would drain critically needed funding from our public schools, and including practitioners and utilizing their front line expertise in decisions that affect our public schools.”

In the state’s superintendent’s race, GAE is putting its weight behind Joe Martin. “We feel that Martin truly is going to work for the 1.75 million children who go to Georgia’s public schools,” said Rollins.“He feels strongly that lower class sizes are critical to providing the best possible teaching and learning environment and that our state has both a moral and constitutional obligation to fully fund our public schools, which he has proven through his five year legal challenge to do so. He believes in providing whatever resources are needed to keep our schools and children safe. And we feel his support of the dedicated men and women who work on frontlines with our children is genuine."

The complete GAE statewide office endorsement list is as follows:

Governor – Roy Barnes

Lt. Governor – Carol Porter

State Superintendent of Schools – Joe Martin

Secretary of State – Georganna Sinkfield

Labor Commissioner – Darryl Hicks

Insurance Commissioner – Mary Squires

Attorney General – Ken Hodges

Insider Advantage Poll: Tight Race for Governor, Isakson Under 50%

Race for Governor:

Deal: 45%
Barnes: 41%
Monds: 5%

Race for U.S. Senate:

Isakson: 47%
Thurmond: 35%
Donovan: 7%
Undecided: 11% 9%

Analysis from M. Towery:

Amazingly, Roy Barnes remains in contention despite the fact that the head of his party nationally, Barack Obama, has reached a phenomenally low level of support in Georgia. Even a plurality of Democrats polled said they were opposed to President Obama’s position as to placing a mosque near the site of the 9-11 tragedy.

“That said, Nathan Deal is amazingly resilient, given the fact that Barnes has relentlessly attacked him on television for the last seven days, and Deal has just emerged from a bruising GOP primary.

“For Barnes to win, African Americans at a minimum must make up 21 percent of the total electorate and, in fact, he actually needs a higher African-American turnout than that. Among white voters, Barnes is losing 58 percent to 31 percent. This is not completely bad news for Barnes, given the fact that very few whites in Georgia currently identify themselves as Democrats.

“The race really boils down to independent voters. Polling data indicates that virtually as many people identify themselves as independents as they do either of the two dominant political parties. Among independents, the race is tight with Deal having 41 percent of the independent vote and Barnes receiving 38 percent.

“I am amazed at how low the percentage of undecided voters is at this time, and we could potentially see that number shift back upward once the candidates start trading various attack ads.

“Deal’s strategy must be to debunk Barnes’ assertion that he faces a potential grand jury indictment and that he has ‘ethical problems.’ Barnes’ strategy must center on the difficult dilemma of distancing himself not only from Barack Obama but from the entire Democratic Party while, at the same time, motivating African Americans who vote overwhelmingly Democrat to turn out to the polls at the level needed to win the race.

“It’s impossible to predict how this race will end because there are so many variables and we have no idea what external events might take place that might affect either candidate positively or negatively.

“Make no mistake – this will be a tight race. But for Barnes to win he must shed the country boy image he has been projecting on television and go after the independent voters who seem inclined to consider voting for him. Barnes must become the metro Atlanta candidate, and that means the real Roy Barnes, who is articulate and sophisticated, must emerge in his commercials. For Deal to win, he must convince voters that he is familiar with statewide issues and that he is not tainted by ethical problems, tax problems or other questions that would be left hanging were he to be elected governor.

“Obviously, the national political winds are blowing in the Republican Party’s direction. For Barnes to even be in this race at this point, considering President Obama’s catastrophic performance in the last month, suggests that this will be a toe-to-toe battle until the bitter end.

“I predict the Georgia governor’s race will become a point of national focus before it is concluded in November.”

Sen. Isakson is near the magic 50 percent-plus-one range before running even his first television commercial. US senators inevitably see a significant amount of their name ID disappear over a six-year period because they are in Washington, D.C., and aren’t available to be seen on local television on a regular basis. Once Isakson begins his television campaign, I expect to see a substantial consolidation of the vote, with Isakson likely to move into the mid-50s or above.

“Michael Thurmond is performing admirably. However, there are relatively few African Americans with no opinion in the race and this would, of course, be his most reliable base. [Thurmond is black.] I also expect to see the Libertarian candidate decline based on historic trends. A large portion of that likely would go to Isakson, as well.

“This poll should not be misinterpreted by the politically na├»ve. A very old rule of thumb was that incumbent candidates had to be at 50 percent or above to be considered ‘safe.’ In the last five to eight years, that rule of thumb has changed, particularly when a candidate has not even launched his first television commercial. Sen. Isakson’s numbers are more than sufficient to suggest that, absent some catastrophic occurrence involving his entire party, Isakson will be returned to the US Senate while Thurmond will likely make a name for himself and emerge as a potential leader in whatever form the Democratic Party takes after the elections.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Can Secretary of State candidate Georganna Sinkfield win Statewide?

And the reason I ask that question is because she is a African-American from a Minority-Majority District & the history of Black candidates from those districts running statewide is not great.

Sinkfield defeated Gail Buckner to win the runoff for the democratic nomination for Secretary of State to face Brian Kemp (R-Athens) in the General Election.

Sinkfield is trying to do something that is impossible for a black candidate to do: win over a statewide electorate that is more middle-of-the-road than her ultra Liberal District in Fulton County.

Can she attract a white-crossover vote? Who Knows! The support of the white electorate is even more important for statewide candidates because they must appeal to a white majority, unlike urban campaigns and black candidates running in minority-majority congressional districts or local state rep or senate districts.

She must adopt a “flexible” campaign strategy by “using a quiet, conciliatory style” that is non-threatening to white voters. This deracialization strategy represents a delicate balance between winning over reluctant whites while not alienating black voters.

The problem for her is that her district is not representative of the state as a whole because of the deliberate elimination of all those who are not traditional liberal, democratic voters. Such efforts ensure that the best-financed and most well-known black candidates will tend to project a political philosophy that resonates strongly with their district’s minority constituents; however, this excludes positions and messages capable of appealing to statewide voters as a whole.

As a Black Legislator from the State Legislature who wants to win a statewide election, she simply is going to have to moderate her positions on a host of issues. Of course, they risk losing the black vote when doing so. Take a look at the recent Alabama gubernatorial primary on the Democratic side. Rep. Arthur Davis, who represents a majority-black district in the House, moved sharply to the right in anticipation of his run and even opposed Obama’s signature initiative- healthcare reform. He also downplayed the significance of black leaders in the state (maybe took them for granted) knowing that wasn’t going to win him a general election. The end result, he lost the primary, interestingly, to a white candidate who carried most of the majority black counties in the state. It is a tough and tricky road.

Now one is probably asking why isn't Michael Thurmond is in the conversation? Well Thurmond has run statewide & has been successful in each of his runs as Labor Commissioner. He knows how to run a statewide campaign.

Darryl Hicks?

Darryl ran statewide & did well for a first timer & that experience will help him with his run for Labor Commissioner. Plus with his rural roots, he can relate to the vast majority of rural Georgians. His knowledge of economic development, & business acumen will appeal to those who are unemployed as well as small business owners.

Keith Moffett?

Keith is running his first ever statewide race (PSC Commissioner). So I can make a call on that, but he has been down state once & will surprise some people on election night. He's a bright, articulate candidate who served his country for 9 yrs in the U.S. Navy & is a part of the administration for Macon Mayor Robert Reichert & was 8th Congressional District District Director.

I think Sinkfield can win, but she has to transform herself to better appeal to a more centrist electorate.

Democrats Problem with the Elusive White Male Voter

In the winner-take-all system of politics, a candidate for office doesn't have to gain the votes of every citizen. What he has to do is to gain a majority in enough counties so that he has the majority of the total popular vote votes.

Thus much strategy in statewide elections revolves around determining which counties each party can pretty much assume they'll win ( for example Chatham County for the Democrats, Lee County for the Republicans) and which ones are less certain and which might be won if contested closely.

But the parties also tend to divide the overall vote in other ways, such as along lines of education and employment. Historically the Democrats tended to do much better among industrial workers than they did among professionals, although there were certain sub-categories in each case that were exceptional. It also turns out that there are voting patterns which tend to correlate with age.

And there are voting patterns associated with race and gender. The Democrats have long tried particularly hard to appeal to "minority groups", and in most elections will tend to get the majority of votes cast by Blacks and Hispanics.

But there's one minority where they have difficulty or never do well with: White Men. Making up just shy of 40% of the voters, it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that more white men overall will vote Republican than Democratic. Generally speaking, it's not really so much of question of whether the Democrats can get a majority of White Male votes as of how big the Republican margin will be. If the margin is sufficiently small, the Democrats have a chance of compensating for it with majorities in other demographics. If the margin among White Males is too large, however, then the Democrats will lose.

That's because as a group, White Males maybe more Jacksonian,a s well as Jeffersonian than any other race/gender demographic.

The way that when the nomination in a party is contested during the primaries, that this forces the candidates to pander to extremist elements of the party, who are far more influential within the primary process than they are during the general election. Since it seems as if the Democratic candidates are most concerned about the so-called "Democratic wing of the Democratic party", they have been delivering a particularly extreme message during their campaigning.

If you look at the candidates who ran for governor this year, neither was a liberal democrat. All were moderate to conservative democrats compared to 2006, when Mark Taylor ran to the left of then Secretary of State Cathy Cox to win the nomiantion.

Traditionally, the strategy has been to take extreme positions during the primary process, and to try to move towards the center and to deliver a more moderate message during the general election campaign. But not this year as Roy Barnes ran in the democratic primary as a centrist, at times going conservative on Key issues like the AZ Immigration Law for example.

The main reason why democrats have had problems attracting White Male voters is due to the Civil Rights Revolution. The rhetoric by extremist elements that was infiltrating the democratic party denounced white men as racist and oppressors, exacerbated these effects. Conflict within the Democratic Party sparked by the events of 1968 led to rules changes that diminished the power of labor unions, for decades centers of white male political influence and social standing.

The reason politicos like Sam Nunn was so successful in attracting support of White Male voters is (1) He was a hawk on National Defense (2) Support of Gun Rights (3) Favored School Prayer & was a cultural conservative.

The white male voter is not an endangered species for democrats. They just need the "right" democrat that'll appeal to the mostly center-right demomgraphic.

Some white male voters support Republicans to defend their upper-class interests, while middle and working class white men who vote Republican are generally voting against their economic interests, arguably more so than any other demographic group. The proportion and why of this second group are questions of huge import for the future of the Democratic Party.

Democrats can't just rely on mimorities & white liberals to carry the torch for them, they have to start appealing to the white male voter in order to win elections. That has been a problem here since 2002 & I really believe this year will be different. Michael Thurmond knows how to atrract them, Roy Barnes knows how as well, Ken Hodges, J.B. Powell also. So does Carol Porter & Darryl Hicks.

But as for the rest like Joe Martin, Georganna Sinkfield, Mary Squires, I don't know.

Candidate Spotlight: Pat Rhudy (D-Carrollton), SD 30

Up in West Georgia, Pat Rhudy is taking on Incumbent Bill Hamrick for SD 30 in november.

A little about Rhudy, which isn't much: She is a mother of four grown Children, a widow who lost her husband of 34 years in 2007 due to a car wreck, work as a substitute teacher in Carroll County high schools, and I am a field representative for the U.S Census Bureau, doing the American Community Survey in Carroll and Haralson County.

One of her big issues is Education, in which she says: my work as a substitute high school teacher allows me frequent close observation of education in progress; it allows me communication with educators at work.

Dr. Pablo Santamaria (D) vs Matt Hatchett (R) for HD 143

A race that flew under the radar was the Runoff election over in HD 143 between Mitch Warnock & Pablo Santamaria. Santamaria won the runoff over Warnock by just 120+ votes. He now faces republican Matt Hatchett in November.

So What happened?

Well for one he got Dan King's supporters to swing their votes to him, as well as Claudia Graham, in addition to paying her $2500 for consulting his campaign. And another reason was that republicans voted for Santamaria hoping to avoid facing warnock in the General Election, thinking that Warnock would have been tough to beat head to head. So in a strategic move they elected the "weakest" candidate in the runoff

So now he takes on Matt Hatchett, who served on the Dublin City Council since 1999, serving as Mayor Pro-Tem in 2006 and 2007. Matt has chaired the Dublin/Laurens County St. Patrick’s Festival, the Irish Balloon Festival, the Theatre Dublin Nutcracker, The Heart of Georgia United Way and the Boys and Girls Club of Laurens County. He is a member of the Dublin Rotary club and the board of directors of Communities in Schools and the Dublin/Laurens Arts Council. Matt currently serves as the chairman of the advisory board of the Citizens Bank of Laurens County.

Santamaria is a partner and practicing physician in Heart of Georgia Urology Associates, LLC (dba: Middle Georgia Urology Associates). I have served as president of the Georgia Urological Association and the Laurens County Medical Society. Currently I am serving as a Clinical Associate Professor with the Emory University Department of Urology. In addition he's a mem.of the Dublin Rotary Club. I have served on the boards of the Dublin Laurens County Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club of Laurens County, the Laurens County Chapter of the Southeast Division of the American Cancer Society and the Heart of Georgia United Way.

He & his family has lived in Dublin for the past 12 years.

If elected, Santamaria would be the only Physician in the House of Representatives.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gary Black is Wrong for Georgia Agriculture. Plain & Simple!

Like many Georgians I am concerned what may happen if Gary Black is elected as the next GA Ag Commissioner. Folks says Gary Black is the best qualified and most experienced candidate. BUT! He is supported by the same companies the GA Agriculture Commissioner is charged with regulating like Monsanto for example. How closely do you think he would be watching over these large agribusiness companies that back him and finance his campaign. He is strictly for large Agribusiness and food processing type companies instead of the GA farmer.

How in the hell can Gary Black be in touch with the farmers in rural Georgia while spending the bulk of his time in the state capital trying to push his lobbying organization's agenda's? Gary Black is a not for the family farmer, nor the working class bluecollar voter.

Conservative State Senator JB Powell, a rural democrat from Rural Richmond County maynot have the big backing of major dollars from Big Ag Corporations & Lobbyist like Black has but one thing for sure, he won't sell out the Farm Families of Georgia in favor of Special Interest Groups & Big Ag Corporations that'll swallow up the backbone of Georgia Agriculture & that is the family farmers as well as independent farmers as well.

JB will cut the red tape and reduce government involvement in our everyday lives. Permits and licensing will be made simple while maintaining necessary standards to safeguard our citizens. Unnecessary paperwork and government bureaucracy will not be tolerated & as a small businessman, JB understands the hard work that is necessary to survive in the world of multi-national corporations that attempt to dominate the marketplace, the people Gary Black represents.

Scott trails Marshall by 5% in a internal poll released by the Scott Campaign

A new poll out by the the Scott Campaign shows Austin Scott with 39% to Jim Marshall 44% in a internal poll conducted by the American Viewpoint,a republican oriented poll who also conducts polls for Senator Johnny Isakson as well.

I'll say this again, unless Jim Marshall does something idiotic from now until Election Day, he will will re-election. In a district that was gerrymandered to favor a republican, he continues to lead against Longtime State Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton, one of the few republicans I actually like because he doesn't comes off as some extreme right-wing hack who talks about common-sense issues.

These findings made the Cook Report move the race from a "lean" democratic seat to now a "toss-up". I still consider the seat a slight democratic lean.

But having said all of that, Marshall hasn't done anything unfavorable to give voters a reason to turn him out of office. As long as he keep the coalition he has built together, he'll win another term to the 8th District. Im still sticking with my prediction of Marshall 54% - Scott 46% unless something dramatic happens.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

JB Powell New Website in up & running.

Click on the Link at the top to view new Website

Monday, August 16, 2010

State Senate 25th District Candidate Floyd Griffin (D-Milledgeville)

GEO Background - Investigation shows GEO groups has history of prisoner abuse

If can happen there & elsewhere, it can & will happen at the new prison facility being built in Milledgeville. The same group that will be in charge of building the new 1500 bed prison in Baldwin County. Wake up Baldwin County

This is just the tip if the Iceberg. This Corporation has had trouble at each of its privately run facilities & now its has its hands on the new Prison up in Milledgeville. Johnny Grant, state senator up there as gotten campaign contributions from this corrupt organization. This will open the door of every correctional facility in the state to be privatized.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Georgians: No, Its not you, No, its not me, "Its the Government, Stupid!"

STATE GOVERNMENT, that is. Let's get away fron the Federal Government & focus on home for a minite. Georgians, its time to get serious here!

Who controls the governor's mansion? Republicans!

Lt. Governor? Republicans!

The State Senate? Republicans!

State House? Republicans!

And who controls the rest of the state government? Republicans?

Now Clearly, there ARE some good, honest folks in state government. But not the majority! We must accept our part of the blame for trusting these crooks, cranks and do-gooders, in allowing them to "run" the show (State Government). The real question is, "Is Georgians smart enough to see, that it's the government stupid", and take Georgia back from one-party rule.

As far as I know, none of us are in the State Government, we aren't the Governor, or the inept, retarded excuse known as the state government. We don't write the laws, make the rules or print money out of thin air. We don't create discrimination or prejudice to further our agenda.

The State Legislature continued its war against Public Education which has resulted on schools going to 4 day weeks, furloughing teachers & the reduction of school programs to better educate our children for the future. They pass a law that cuts taxes for wealthy seniors, but eliminate a Income Tax Cut for Georgians that make under $20,000 a year. In addition, they tried to pass backdoor legislation that they hope the people of Georgia wouldn't notice during the last day of the legislative session & pass bills they didn't read, can't pay for and don't have to live under.

Yet we keep voting these idiots back into office. The State deficit is out of control & the GOP-controlled Legislature amswer to that is to raise taxes (or Fees) on the backs of hardworking, middle-of-the-road Georgia families. Its still a TAX increase, which ever way you want to call it. The Dept of Transportation can't get its act together to fix our ailing transportation woes that is hampering our ability to attract jobs to the state. Our Law Enforcement officials are among the lowest in wages in the entire Southeast, More Jobs are leaving the state than are coming into the state. But the state can waste money on hopeless, needless things like Boat Ramps, & a College Football Hall of Fame. Don't get me wrong, I love Tax Cuts just like everyone else, but give tax cuts that will have a direct impact on people. Just doling out Tax Cuts because its politically beneficial is not the way to go.

The General Assembly passed bills to raise $438 million and improve tax collections during the recent legislative session, but it continued to pass long-term tax cuts in this recession, basically blowing off other revenue proposals, and shifted taxes increases onto middle- and low-income Georgians. The governor vetoed a bill with the most costly tax breaks, but signed one that shifts taxes onto those earning the lowest 20 percent of incomes.

Instead of rolling up their sleeves & digging deep to find solutions to the state's problems, the GOP only passed legislation to pander to special interest groups & to satify thier constituents back in their districts, while being wined & dined by lobbyist, at the same time dating them as well. To be more blunt, they legislate in a way to hold on to power more than to work & improve the lives of Georgians, but instead of us going forward, we have come to a complete stop & now headed in the direction as the state of Mississippi & South Carolina.

They are, in my view the laziest, sorriest majority I've ever seen & yet they want Georgians to keep them at the wheel of the ship, trying to guide the State to better & prosperous times? And now we have a guy running for governor in Nathan Deal, who wants to be handed the keys to the car, despite ethics violations hanging over his head that COULD result in some kind of indictment. The same Nathan Deal who is a relic of the dysfuctional political arena that is washington, who will only double down on the current policies that has put this state in a hole. Georgia can't afford that.

Democrats have had very little involvement on legislation proposed by republicans, bills proposed by the democrats only got shot down or sent back to a respective committee where it died. Like the party in power in D.C. gets the blame when things aren't going well, the party here in Georgia will get the blame because things here are not going well at all.

Is the Handwriting on the Wall for Black Conservatives in the Georgia GOP?

That's the question that needs to be asked after the defeat of Melvin Everson for Labor Commissioner, Corey Ruth for 4th Congressional District, Deborah Honeycutt for the 13th District.

All have different cases, Everson was running his first ever statewide race, Ruth his first congressional race & Honeycutt, a perennial candidate for the 13th district.

But the big one here is Melvin Everson who was seen by many as a rising star in Georgia GOP circles. Only the second Black Republican elected to the General Assembly since Reconstruction. But in the General Election he lost to a weak candidate in Mark Butler in a route despite having the majority of the GOP house caucus behind his candidacy. Everson traveled to every corner of the state getting his message out only to be turned away in favor of a candidate who raised eyebrows when he was involved in a relationship with a lobbyist, who was also his girlfriend & made threats to a University of West Georgia Official.

Honeycutt was running her third race for the 13th district, but in this case, republican voters probably grew tired of nominating someone who despite the ability to raise huge sums of cash could not get over 30% of the General Election Vote.

And last Corey Ruth was a impressive young Black Republican running in the 4th District, but he lost to favorite Liz Carter, who is a nice lady with a good looking background, but in my opinion, the hype surrounding her candidacy is way overblown. Se may surprise us all by winning in the democratic stronghold of the 4th District, but if she does, that'll be the day Eugene Talmadge rises from the dead & run for governor in 2014.

So the question needs to be asked: What should Black Republicans do? Should they remain in a party that only have at the moment one Black Republican (Willie Talton of Warner Robins), who may well lose his seat in November? Should they remain in a party where it maybe difficult for a African-American Republican to appeal to hardcore conservatives, some who may not be so open in electing a African-American Republican to a statewide office? Or should they switch parties & become conservative democrats & improve their prospects of winning down the line?

These are just some questions that need to be answered. Good men like Melvin Everson need to be in office, not on the sidelines playing the role of a cheerleader. Herman Cain, who conservative republicans are very high on could mount a run for president in 2012 is a prime example. He ran for the open senate seat in 2004. To me he was by far the better candidate than Mac Collins & Johnny Isakson (who is now the senator) in that race. But because he wasn't apart of the establishment, he was unsuccessful in winning that race. Black Republicans here need to take a long look at their standing in the Georgia GOP & ask themselves is it worth it? What is our role in the Party? Can we get elected Statewide as a Black Republican? Only time will tell.
This is a Rural Blog that provides views & insights from a Conservative Georgia Democrat

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