Thursday, January 28, 2010

Unrest Growing up in Wilkes County

Kip Burke of the News Reporter reports that Mayor Willie Burns has taken steps to change the city's government from a "professional" council led administration to a strong mayor type in which he can veto anything that the council proposes to him.

Burns clarified, to some degree, what he was proposing. “This motion says that anything we can do under local home rule, it can be enacted. Any other changes, we’ll address at the retreat on the 29, because they’ll need to go to the legislature. But any changes we can make locally by home rule, like give the mayor veto power, which will make this a ‘strong mayor’ government, we can approve.”

Burns insists that the city had a strong-mayor type of government until he was elected, but that was contradicted by the most experienced city leaders. Councilman Pamela L.G. Eaton, who was sworn in Monday night for her fourth term, said that Burns was wrong in that assertion, and said she disagreed strongly with placing all power with one person. “In all my years on the council, we have always been the policy-making body. We’ve never had a strong-mayor system, and I have to say to my fellow councilmen that you’re voting to lose your authority and giving it to one elected official.”

Councilman Ames Barnett held up Georgia Municipal Association’s handbook for elected officials, a book that each of the councilmen should have studied. “In this book, it says that small towns should have what is called a ‘professional’ government, and that is what we have,” he said. “If you go to a single powerful man, everything becomes political because to get anything done, you only have to influence that one person.”


Click on Unrest up in Wilkes County for more.

Proposed Biomass facility in Appling County put on hold for now









Biomass facility put on hold for now



The News-Banner received word last week from Oglethorpe Power Company (OPC) that it has deferred its plans to construct a 100-megawatt biomass electric generating facility in Baxley. The company will continue to assess the site, but construction has been halted on the site for now. The property owned by OPC is located on Hundreds Road, just outside the city limits off Highway 341 East.

OPC's Director of Public Relations Greg Jones reported to The News-Banner that the economic downturn of the past months has resulted in a reduction in the rate of growth in demand for electricity by consumers of the 39 Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) served by Oglethorpe. Jones also pointed out that there is continued uncertainty over potential regulat ions that could impact renewable generation projects as an additional factor in OPC's decision to delay the project.

"As a result of these and other factors, OPC decided in consultation with its 39 Member EMCs to defer construction of the proposed 100-megawatt biomass electric generating plant in Appling County," said Jones.

As originally announced OPC had planned to build two, possibly three biomass facilities in the state. They have since scaled back and moving forward with only one of the projects, and that facility is located in Warren County.

The good news is that the company is not abandoning the project completely.

"Evaluation of the Appling County project is ongoing, but work on a biomass plant has been discontinued at that site for now," commented Jones. "The Appling County project has not been canceled, and OPC will continue to own the land and to consider it a potential site for a biomass plant in the futur e.

"This decision is based strictly on external factors and is in no way a reflection on Baxley and Appling County, which Oglethorpe Power has found to be an outstanding community. Moreover, the local development authority, city, county and other local officials have been very professional and supportive throughout this process, and OPC looks forward to a continued positive relationship with them.

"Oglethorpe Power regrets the need to defer this facility, but, as a not-for-profit cooperative, OPC must be responsive to changing conditions that impact its Member EMCs' needs for new generating facilities," Jones added.

State Consolidation Mental Health Services

Americus Times-Recorder

Adult mental health services at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville are being permanently moved to other hospitals within the state’s behavioral health system, the state agency in charge of the hospital announced.

The hospital will continue serving people with developmental disabilities, those in its nursing home, and those in its maximum security forensic facility, which serves people referred for treatment by the courts. Since November 2009, people in the areas served by Central State who needed hospitalization have received care at other state facilities instead. Based on their needs and the clinical assessment of their doctors, planning has begun to move the remaining few adult mental health consumers at Central State to other hospitals or discharge them back to their communities by March 1.

For more click on the Title Above.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Campaign Ads of the Past & Other Political NewsReels.

George Wallace 1968



Robert F. Kennedy 1968



Eugene Talmadge. Year Unknown



Lyndon Johnson 1964



Barry Goldwater 1964



Huey Long 1936



Huey Long "Share the Wealth"



Jackie Gleason for Richard Nixon



Hubert Humphery 1968



Ronald Reagan "Morning in America"



The Original "Yes We Can" Ronald Reagan



Zell Miller

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Press Release: Hodges Plans New Civil Rights Division for AG's Office

For Immediate Release
January 26, 2010
Contact: Jonathan G. Williams
Phone: (404) 863-0644
jonathan@kenhodges.com




A NEW CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION IN HODGES’ VISION FOR AG’S OFFICE
*Campaign Proposes Civil Rights Division Upon Election*



Ken Hodges’ campaign for Attorney General has announced a plan to create a
new Civil Rights Division within the Attorney General’s office upon his
election, the campaign said.

“For the first time,” Hodges said, “the Attorney General’s office will have
its own, separate legal enforcement division, with its mission trained
solely on guarding the civil rights of all Georgians.”

Hodges’ planned Civil Rights Division will tackle investigations and
litigation on a host of civil rights violations, with a focus on fair
housing, employment, disabilities, religious freedom, racial profiling, and
stopping predatory lenders.

Currently, the Attorney General’s office handles civil rights cases through
the broader General Litigation Division, and serves a defensive role
protecting state agencies.

“We’ve got to give Georgia’s Attorney General the tools to protect all
Georgians,” Hodges said. “This new office will be a great step forward in
keeping Georgia safe.”

Ken Hodges served for 12 years as Dougherty County’s District Attorney. A
proven prosecutor, Hodges earned distinctions as the Chairman of the
Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, the President of the District
Attorney’s Association of Georgia, and as the state’s District Attorney of
the Year in 2002. A board member emeritus of the Civil Rights Institute in
Albany, Hodges believes in prosecuting public corruption, cracking down on
gangs and urban crime, and supporting law enforcement in its efforts to
protect all Georgians.


For more on Hodges’ campaign, visit www.kenhodges.com.

####

Tea Party in Upson County Tonight

Just received this tip

There will be a Thomaston/Upson Tea Party tonight in Thomaston, Ga

FROM 7 p.m. TO 9 p.m.

Topics: States Rights, Constitution, Healthcare, Etc.

Speakers: Ga gubernatorial candidate Ray McBerry, Spencer Price, & others

Location: 702 N. Bethel Street at the R.E. Lee Complex

John Barrow Speaks at Legislative Lucheon in Jenkins County back on Jan 5

The Millen News

Lunch and legislative issues were served up Tuesday, Jan. 5, at the Jenkins County Agriculture Center where U.S. Representative John Barrow addressed local citizens.
The event was sponsored by Jenkins County Farm Bureau and Burke County Farm Bureau. Jenkins County Extension Service Coordinator Wade Parker served as moderator.

In his remarks, Rep. Barrow discussed his position on several issues that recently came before Congress. He began by outlining legislative works that he opposed: Tarp, the federal budget, the energy bill and the health care reform bill.

Rep. Barrow said he voted against Tarp “because it didn’t do what it said it would” and he opposed the federal budget “because the spending plan was too big. The Congressman said he felt the energy bill “was unfair to Georgia and wouldn’t work” and that the health care reform bill “had too many mandates and taxes on small businesses.”

A legislative work that he supported included the state children’s health insurance plan, which funds the Peach Care program.

During a question and answer session, Rep. Barrow addressed the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), noting that he opposed both because he felt, “we are playing on an unfair field, and they are unenforceable.”

When asked how small communities like Millen and Jenkins County could recover from lost jobs, Rep. Barrow outlined three ways that he felt life could be brought back to rural economies.

We need to stop subsidizing companies that want to move jobs out of the country,” he said, citing the closure of the local Jockey International plant as an example of the effects of CAFTA and NAFTA.

He noted that developing new sources of energy in the state and public infrastructure through federal assistance programs were good ways to put people back to work.

“Putting contractors to work to build the stuff we need is a good investment,” Rep. Barrow said.

When the issue of a federal sales tax was brought up, Rep. Barrow said that he had concerns with the “fair tax” issue.

“We would need a sales tax that is higher than anywhere in the world. We can’t raise as much money from sales tax as the existing taxes without shifting the tax burden from those who don’t spend all their income to those who do,” he commented.

“People would be paying more sales tax than they would pay in income tax. We need tax reform, but it needs to provide relief to those who bear the burden,” he added.

Several local farmers complained about a change in policy at the Farm Service Agency that required checks for federal programs to be issued from Kansas City rather than local offices as had been the custom in the past. Rep. Barrow agreed to look into the matter.

Rural Southeast Georgia Hospital Opposes Hospital Tax

Wayne Memorial Hospital CEO Joe Ierardi will be on a 15-member panel to address state legislators regarding the Gov. Sonny Perdue’s proposed hospital tax at a meeting in Atlanta Feb. 10.

In the leadoff testimony for three days of administration witnesses, the governor told a joint meeting of the House and Senate appropriations committees that a 1.6 percent tax on the net revenue of hospitals and health-insurance companies would generate more than $300 million.

“That money is needed to keep from having to cut by 16 percent the amount the state pays doctors and hospitals for treating patients covered by Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids, two state-run programs for the poor,” said Perdue.

He had proposed the same tax last year, only to have the legislature refuse to approve it.

“The governor is trying to play fear politics, and we are going to fight it,” said Ierardi.

More commonly referred to as the “sick tax,” Ierardi explained that a 1.6 percent tax on net revenue will equate to $745,000 for Wayne Memorial Hospital, with payment due in full June 30, 2010, for the 2011 state fiscal budget beginning July 1.

“Imposing a tax on hospitals will wind up putting more money into their till, at least for the biggest ones that treat large numbers of patients who receive government benefits,” Perdue told lawmakers Tuesday.

It was the first time he laid out his reasoning to legislators for his bud get proposals since releasing them during a press conference last week. During his State of the State Address Wednesday, he spoke in generalities related to the hardships of overcoming the state’s lagging tax collections.

Large hospitals such as Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and Grady Health System in Atlanta, which treat mostly poor patients, will wind up with a boost in income after the new tax, according to the governor.

“That’s because the federal government pays a portion of the cost of both insurance programs, and by imposing a tax which raises the cost that Washington pays, the state would get back $3 for every new dollar in tax,” Perdue said.

Passing the hospital tax will negatively affect rural hospitals, according to Ierardi.

“This is a game-changer; the hospital tax will alter the way health care is delivered in this state,” said Ierardi. “The Georgia Department of Community Health, by their own admission, pays only 78 percent of cost for health care provided to those receiving Medicaid. That’s cost; there is no profit. With each Medicaid patient we care for, we already lose 22 percent.”

Ierardi added that while the cost of care has continued to escalate, Medicaid has not increased health-care reimbursement since 2002.

Georgia’s Medicaid program may have a $506 million shortfall, according to a report by the Macon Telegraph.

State Health Commissioner Rhonda Medows is advocating the tax hike on hospitals and health-care plans to make up for the gap.

“I cannot find $506 million to fill that hole through cuts, program reductions, layoffs,” said Medows.

She added that the state has few options.

“To participate in Medicaid, it must provide services to the aged, blind, disabled and low-income children, and because Georgia accepted stimulus cash from Washington, it cannot cut back eligibility on optional programs such as dental coverage and prescription drugs,” Medows said.

Ierardi disagrees with this proposed method of budget balancing.

“They are looking for the most expedient way to collect the necessary money to fill the budget gap,” said Ierardi. “Rather than looking at waste in government spending, they are taking the money from health care and education without looking at the long-term consequences.”

Ierardi said he understands the need to overcome the budget shortfalls.

“We don’t mind doing our part to help with economic recovery,” said Ierardi. “But has any other industry not received an increase in reimbursement for services since 2002?”

At the Wayne County Hospital Authority meeting Thursday night, board member Ray Thornton questioned the reasoning of how the tax should be at 1.6 percent and whether governmental assessments determined that the hospitals could afford such a tax.

“I don’t know,” said Ierardi. “They haven’t asked us, and that is why we are going to have candid, direct conversation, letting our representatives know that health care is not a lottery. We take care of everyone in need of medical care.”

Ierardi said that at the meeting, the panel plans to talk with legislators, explaining the long-term repercussions of the governor’s proposed tax on rural hospitals.

While Perdue was making his presentation, the Democratic Party of Georgia issued a press release criticizing the levy that it dubbed the “sick tax.”

Jane Kidd, chairwoman of the party, said hospitals would be forced to pass the cost of the tax on to patients.

“While insurance and hospital costs will rise under Perdue’s budget, the bulk of the new revenue from the ‘sick tax’ will come directly from hospitals that raise the fees on their patients,” she said. “At a time of sickness and grief, it is fundamentally unjust to balance the state budget on the backs of Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Dodge County BOE Elects its first African-American to serve as Chairman of School Board.

Shirley Ikedionwu was elected to serve as chairman of the Dodge County School Board by a 5-2 vote at the first meeting of the school board in 2010. Board member Kim Sheffield nominated Ikedionwu and board member Rocky Stuckey nominated Dougie Martin for the position. When superintendent Dr. Darrel May called for the vote, board members Sheffield, Ikedionwu, Betsy Thomas, Neil Spradley and Chuck Parkerson voted for Ikedionwu and board members Martin and Stuckey voted for Martin.


Martin was voted in to serve as vice-chairman.
Ikedionwu has been a member of the school board for 11 years serving as vice-chairman for the past two years.

According to records, Ikedionwu is the first female and also black to serve as chairman of the school board. She commented, “It is a privilege to serve as chairman and I will do my best”.


I want to say congrats to Mrs. Ikedionwu & I wish her well.

Peanut farmers renominated for Peanut Commission Board

Three peanut farmers were recently re-nominated without opposition for three-year terms on the Georgia Peanut Commission Board of Directors.

The Georgia Farm Bureau conducted meetings to fill terms in the Georgia Peanut Commission’s Districts two, four and five, which expire May 2010.

Armond Morris of Irwin County (two), Rodney Dawson of Pulaski County (four) and Donald Chase of Macon County (five) will automatically continue their service.

The Georgia peanut production area is divided into five districts based on acreage distribution and geographical location with one board member representing each district. Each nominee must produce peanuts and live within the district for which he is nominated.

Ware County to Get 75 New Jobs

The local job market got a boost Wednesday morning after Gov. Sonny Perdue announced RWE Innogy of Germany and BMC of Sweden will build a bioenergy production plant in Waycross.

Approximately 75 jobs are expected to created with the new facility, which will produce wood pellets for fuel. Nearly $150 million will be invested into the venture.

Operating as Georgia BioMass, LLC, the new will be located on a 300-acre site donated by the Okefenokee Area Development Authority (OADA). Production is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2011.

Future job opportunities will be coordinated through the Georgia Department of Labor’s Waycross office.

Officials say Waycross was chosen due to the area’s abundance of forests necessary to sustain wood pellet production.

“Our region is attractive to companies in the renewable energy industry as a result of the area’s accessibility to shipping ports and railways, existing infrastructure, and low-cost operating levels,” said Regina Morgan, Executive Director of the Okefenokee Area Development Authority. “This community proudly welcomes Georgia BioMass, and looks forward to a fruitful relationship for years to come.”

BMC will develop the plant, expected to turn out 750,000 tons of wood products annually, while RWE will be the key investor.

“The plentiful resources in Ware County, such as its abundant forest assets and strategic railroad and highway access to Georgia’s deepwater ports, make it an ideal location for this renewable energy facility,” Perdue said. “We welcome RWE and BMC to Georgia and look forward to the positive impact the Waycross plant will have for the state’s forestry sector, this community and the surrounding region.”

RWE, a leading energy production utility in Europe, is working with BMC to develop the production facility to export wood pellets to Europe to meet growing demand for energy. RWE and BMC plan to create the world’s largest renewable energy capacity of wood pellets produced at the new facility.

“With its vast forest lands, Georgia is the ideal partner for us in respect to biomass,” said Fritz Vahrenholt, CEO of RWE Innogy. “What has convinced us in particular is the high standard of sustainability applied by the state in planting and harvesting forests.”

“We are very excited about having formed this close cooperation with RWE, to develop a world-class biomass facility to provide the power industry with a tailored pellet with ‘coal like’ characteristics for efficient conversion to electricity,” said BMC founder and managing partner Mats Lindstrand. “The location in Waycross Georgia is perfect for us and we feel very welcomed in the local community.”

Identified as one of Georgia’s strategic industries, the renewable energy sector is poised for significant growth in the state. Businesses in this industry can leverage competitive assets offered by the Georgia Center of Innovation for Energy, a vital and central resource for companies seeking an advantage in the production of renewable energy and alternative fuels in Georgia.

“Businesses in the bioenergy sector are poised for great success in Georgia,” said Jill Stuckey, director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Energy. “The state’s logistical advantages, wealth of forest resources and the innovative research being done at Georgia’s universities and prime research facilities make Georgia a strategic location for bioenergy projects.”

Bacon County Schools searching for where to cut next

Murphy says local budget is down to ‘bare bones'

Bacon County school administrators and staff are bracing for more cutbacks after Governor Sonny Perdue’s recent proposal to cut education funding for the current fiscal 2010 budget even further.

While Perdue hasn’t yet specified the percentage school systems will need to slash from their spending, he has called for three additional furlough days to be taken before June 30.

Gubernatorial Candidate Gen. Poythress Blast GOP Candidate Eric Johnson on Education

In am email sent out to supporters Gen. David Poythress blast State Senator Eric Johnson's stance on education. Says Poythress:

In this week’s GOP debate in Athens, former state senator Eric Johnson revealed his latest campaign slogan – he wants to be the “Jobs Governor.” Former Secretary of State Karen Handel took at shot at Johnson’s debate tactic yesterday on Twitter:

“It’s entertaining to hear candidates who think that if they say the word ‘jobs’ enough, people will believe they know how to create them.”

Cute tweet, but she missed the real contradiction – Johnson’s proposal for universal vouchers would be a job killer.

Johnson’s private school voucher scheme is a misguided attempt to draw money away from public schools, already struggling to make ends meet after years of state budget cuts. And he now adds to the evidence of his poor judgment by ignoring a simple fact - when a state steps away from its constitutional responsibility to educate ALL children, it will lose, not attract business opportunities.

Unlike other candidates, I fundamentally believe that we must take immediate action to dramatically transform our public school systems to make them successful. And we must reject the Republicans' artful-but-empty-promise approach which has failed to provide the necessary resources for our public schools and its teachers.

My comprehensive plan will transform our public schools into 21st century centers of learning, where our educators will be empowered to create innovative new programs to fully engage our students and be provided with cutting-edge educational technology. To move Georgia’s economy forward again we must have a world class educational system that consistently produces globally competitive graduates.

I am totally against any type of school vouchers. Vouchers would hurt Rural Georgia schools who are already hurting by the cuts to education every year by the legislature. NO VOUCHERS, NO WAY!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Press Release: Rep. Teilhet Fights Repeat Offenders with Expanded DNA Database

**

For Immediate Release
Contact: Rob Teilhet

Monday, January 25, 2010
                       404-435-7499

* *

*Rep. Teilhet Fights Repeat Offenders with Expanded DNA Database*

*Proposes Law to Collect DNA Upon Arrest, Instead of Conviction*


**

SMYRNA, GA- Today Representative Rob Teilhet announced he will sponsor the
“Johnia Berry Act,” legislation that will expand the DNA database in Georgia
and prevent repeat felony offenses.  Teilhet was joined by victims of
violent crime from Georgia and surviving family members of murder victims
supporting the bill.  Georgia residents Joan and Michael Berry were in
attendance, whose daughter Johnia was brutally murdered just before
Christmas in 2004.  Her killer’s identity was eventually confirmed through a
forensic DNA match.


Teilhet’s legislation requires anyone arrested for a felony to provide a DNA
sample at the same time that fingerprints and mug shots are taken.  Currently,
Georgia law only requires DNA to be collected upon conviction of certain
felonies.


“DNA evidence is the single best tool law enforcement has to get repeat
offenders off our streets,” said Representative Rob Teilhet.  “An expanded
DNA database would also free people who’ve been wrongly convicted.  This
bill is about making sure that the right people are locked up and prevented
them from hurting someone else.”


Teilhet pointed out that fingerprinting first appeared in the 1800’s, and
that vast advances in technology have allowed DNA evidence to become a far
superior tool for law enforcement in identifying and eliminating suspects.
If passed, the Johnia Berry Act will move Georgia law enforcement into the
21st Century by requiring the collection of DNA upon arrest for felony
crimes.


“DNA evidence is the fingerprint technology of our time,” said Teilhet.  “You
would not drive on our modern interstates in a horse and buggy, and we
cannot expect our hard working law enforcement officers to do their jobs
with a database as limited and outdated as Georgia’s.”


Twenty one states and the federal government have already passed DNA
collection-upon-arrest laws, including Georgia’s neighboring states of
Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.  Furthermore, while 47
states require DNA from all convicted felons, Georgia only collects DNA from
those convicted of certain felonies.


“I applaud Rep. Teilhet for introducing this life-saving legislation,” said
Joan Berry, mother of murder victim Johnia Berry, and Gwinnett County
resident.  “Violent crime investigations should not be hampered by outdated
DNA laws.”


Teilhet’s legislation is supported by Keep Georgia Safe, the Georgia Network
to End Sexual Assault (GNESA), the Surviving Parents Coalition and DNA
Saves.


“A simple cotton swab can be a major crime-fighting tool,” says Gary Martin
Hays, founder and chairman of Keep Georgia Safe.  “Not only could this law
bring repeat violent criminals to justice much quicker, but it works to
exonerate the innocent and protect the citizens of Georgia while helping
reduce costs in the criminal justice system.”


“We have made great strides in decreasing violence against women, but
studies show there is still so much we can do – especially when assisted by
forensic DNA,” said Jennifer Bivins of GNESA.


“If legislators want to make a real commitment to improving public safety in
Georgia, I can think of nothing more important than passing this bill,” said
Jayann Sepich, mother of a 22-year-old murder victim and founder of the
group DNA Saves.



“There is a cost for *not* passing this bill,” said Karen Foster, mother of
an 18-year-old murder victim and chair of the Surviving Parents Coalition.  “It
is a cost that will be paid with lives.”



Studies have shown there is a price for failing to collect DNA upon felony
arrest.  In a study completed by the Chicago Police Department, an
examination of the criminal activities of eight individuals identified 60
violent crimes, including 53 murders and rapes that could have been
prevented if DNA had been collected for a prior felony arrest.  In each
case, the offender had committed violent unsolved crimes that could have
been solved through a DNA match.  Similar studies have been duplicated by
the Governor’s Office of Maryland and the Denver (Colorado) District
Attorney’s Office.

POLITICO: Berry: Obama said "big difference" between '10 and '94 is "me" - Glenn Thrush - Berry: Obama said "big difference" between '10 and '94 is "me"

If this is the attitude that president Obama is taking, then there will will be more retirements from democrats. Relying on your popularity instead of legislation that your colleagues can tout back home? If this is true what Berry is saying, there will be a case of buyer's remorse on the democrat's part. Obama's State of the Union address will be one of the biggest addresses ever given by any president in a long, long time. And if they (The White House) continue to push proposals that are unpopular to moderate/conservative democrats, democrats will lose control of the house. I hope they get it before its too late.

Georgia's property tax rates vary greatly in region, are higher in rural areas | Jacksonville.com

Not Shocked at all by this. Georgia's property tax rates vary greatly in region, are higher in rural areas | Jacksonville.com

New Episode of Kudzu Vine Blogtalk Radio 1/24/10

State Insurance Commissioner Candidate Mary Squires made a stop in Macon County on Jan. 23.


Democratic candidate for State Insurance Commisisoner Mary Squires (D-Norcross) stopped by & spoke to the Flint River Democratic Women's Club, which is apart of the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women Organization headed by Democratic Activist Kristina Sims of Houston County, on saturday at Rosati's Depot in Marshallville.

Squires spoke for over 30 minutes to the group, making her case why she will be the next State Insurance Commissioner. Squires served in the Georgia General Assembly for six years. She was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1998 and the Georgia Senate in 2002. Her primary focus was on health benefits, insurance and juvenile law.

Before that, she served 10 yrs in the Ga National Guard, before being honorably discharged in 1996 with the rank of Captain. Squires addressed issues ranging from Fraud to Health Insurance & was very well received by the newly formed orgainzation led by Yvonne Sutherland. She was very engaging, has a strong grasp of the issues that are handled by the State Insurance Commissioner's office & was very charismatic. Since squires is the only democrat running for Insurance Commissioner, she has been running a general election style campaign, traveling to towns such as Vidalia, Alma, Thomasvile, Valdosta, & others in between. She is a very impressive candidate & after meeting her for the first time, she has my vote. I was sold on her candidacy. Rural Georgia will benefit from having Mary Squires as its next State Insurance Commissioner. She is the candidate for hard working, Bluecollar Georgians.

Others at the forum were Kristina Sims, president of the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women, Yvonne Sutherland, founder of the Flint River Democratic Women's Club & District 2 Director, Fenika Miller, chairwoman of the Houston County Democratic Committee & Charlotte Perkins, a journalist (Retired).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Here are a Some Thoughts about Gen. Poythress

I know when the Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday comes around every year, folks from politicos to business elite tend to visit his old church Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Gen. David Poythress visited numerous MLK Day events from Elberton to Albany. He visited more MLK Events around the state than any other democratic candidate running for governor, or statewide, from NE Georgia in Elberton to SW Georgia in Albany. Gen. Poythress is the ultimate Road Warrior. I know I do alot of traveling myself, but I have got to commend the General for his energy to travel this huge state, making numeous stops throughout this huge state.

If you follow the General on Twitter, you have to say that he keeps his followers informed on every move he makes & every event he attends. Now when some people ask where's Thurbert? (Thurbert Baker), who basically invisible on the campaign trail, or M.I.A., you cannot say the same about the General.
On Jan. 19, he was back in Thomas County attending a citizen's meeting sponsered by the Thomasville Times-Enterprise.

Do not write off Gen Poythress for the democratic nomination. He's running a strong grassroots campaign that before all said is done, will propel him into the general election. One would have to think that his deep connections throughout the state of Georgia will pay off at the end. He's been running for governor now for over a year, buliding his Name I.D. & building support at the grassroots, because believe or not, htta's what is going to take to knock off the republicans if democrats hope to regain the governor's mansion. Keep an eye on the General through out the winter months.

FOXNews.com - Fox News Poll: Voters Split On Congressional Elections

FOXNews.com - Fox News Poll: Voters Split On Congressional Elections

Attorney General Baker to speak in Morrow

This is the first time Baker has spoken to the Clayton Co. Democratic Party.Attorney General Baker to speak in Morrow

Republican Brand Still Badly Damaged

A new Public Policy Polling poll found that only 19% of voters nationally are happy with the direction of the Republican Party, compared to 56% who are unhappy with it. Even GOP voters are displeased with where the party's going: Just 38% say they are unhappy with the current direction to 35% who support it.

Analysis: "This much seems clear: if the Republicans keep winning even with a heavily damaged national brand it's an indication voters are choosing much more by what they're against right now than what they're for. I think a GOP controlled Congress for next year is still unlikely but it could be the best thing that ever happened to Barack Obama's reelection hopes."

In a related piece, Politico notes that "it is indisputable that the GOP has surged, especially in the past several months" but that it is "also indisputable that the rise has little to do with the voters' view of Republicans writ large -- and that the very concerns that got them booted from power persist today."

Educators plan rally against cuts

Educators and others concerned about public education in Georgia are bound for Atlanta on Saturday to rally against funding cuts at the state Capitol.

Jim Barrett, president of the Walker Association of Educators and an eighth-grade teacher at LaFayette Middle School, said he will join other education supporters to make sure lawmakers know they want education cuts to stop.

"We're going to have teachers from all over the state rallying at the capital, and we're going to be talking about some alternative ways to address budget shortfalls: systemically, not just short term, but long term," Mr. Barrett said.

One remedy the Georgia Association of Educators is weighing is revising corporate taxes in Georgia, he said.

Rep. Tom Dickson, R-Cohutta, said the economy is forcing lawmakers' hands.

He said he likes to hear educators' ideas, "but invariably, when somebody comes up with another idea, it involves somebody else giving up some money," he said. The object of that idea should be involved in discussions, too, he said.

GAE President Jeff Hubbard stated in a news release that lawmakers "must realize the magnitude of the effect further paring of the education budget will have."

Mr. Hubbard said the rally is an effort to stop cuts that affect the future of education in Georgia.

"Decade after decade our schools have been shortchanged for one reason after another to the detriment of our schools and children," he said.

He said between 1983 and 2002, Quality Basic Education Act funding was shortchanged by $800 million. Proposed cuts this year could bring the total shortfall between 2002 and 2010 to more than $2 billion, Mr. Hubbard said.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

James Marlow: Not our Values Youtube Video from 2007.

I never seen this Video before. Marlow was running for congress back in the 2007 Special Election up in the 10th District to replace Charlie Norwood. I wonder who produced this Video.

State ends adult mental health services at Milledgeville hospital  

State ends adult mental health services at Milledgeville hospital: Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Leadership Albany Recognizes Ken Hodges. Converstation with Leadership Albany Below:

Ken, talk about your run for the Georgia Attorney General position.
We announced our campaign earlier this summer and had a wonderful send-off at our hometown rally on the Courthouse steps in Albany. Several hundred people attended in the hot July sun and the remarks made by supporters can be seen on the web at: www.kenhodges.com.
The Attorney General is Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor and law enforcement officer and the position needs to have an attorney with the experience necessary to do the job. I have been before juries hundreds of times, supervised thousands of cases, and been before the Georgia Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Georgia. I have stood up in a courtroom on behalf of the State of Georgia. As District Attorney I protected our community and delivered justice for the innocent victims in Dougherty County and I am running for the office of Attorney General to protect all Georgians from corrupt public officials, increases in urban crime and to safe guard our children from new dangers like internet predators.
We live in a large state, which means I need help from all of my friends and neighbors in Albany to get our message out and I hope that you will join our campaign by getting involved. Locally, you can contact Lisa Dasher at lisa@kenhodges.com.
What community/volunteer programs are you associated with?
In Albany, I still serve on the Board of the Civil Rights Movement Museum as well as the King Day Celebration Committee. I also continue to serve withthe Darton Foundation. When I lived full time in Albany I was associated with the American Heart Association, Easter Seals of Southern Georgia, the Albany-Dougherty Chamber of Commerce and it’s Military and Legislative committees and I chaired its subcommittee on Education. I also was an active member of the Artesian City Sertoma Club, the Albany Rotary Club and the Southwest Georgia Chiefs’ and Sheriffs’ Association.
Tell me about your work with the Albany Civil Rights Museum?
have helped lead the King Day Celebration event for nearly 14 years whose goal is to preserve Albany’s civil rights history by raising money to support the Albany Civil Rights Movement Museum. I was an active Board member when I lived in Albany and currently serve in an Emeritus capacity. I participated in and helped lead a capital campaign before I left Albany and I continue to support the Museum in every way I can.
With all of your commitments, how do you find the time to support these Non-Profit organizations?
As with any worthwhile endeavors, you have to simply make the time to be involved in things that are important to you. The Civil Rights Museum, higher education, and the many other organizations that I was involved in while in Albany all had a positive influence on our community and it was important to me to help insure their success and Albany’s success.
Tell me about your Leadership Albany experience.
went through Leadership Albany in 1995 and it resulted in my making life long friendships and learning things about the community where I was born and raised that I had not previously been aware of. It expanded my perspective, challenged me, and certainly provided a foundation for all of the activities that I became involved in while in Albany.’s
Why would you recommend Leadership Albany to someone
Leadership Albany will provide participants the same opportunities it gave me—educating them about their community and challenging them to make it better.
What are your keys to being successful?
Largely by surrounding myself with good people and letting them do their jobs. Also by being willing to roll up my sleeves and do some of the heavy lifting myself.
What influenced your community involvement?
My Parents & their friends worked tirelessly for the betterment of Southwest Georgia, and watching them growing up inspired me to do the same. Also, I’ve never been good at sitting back and idly watching when action is required. I want to lend a hand and work alongside other concerned citizens to benefit the community we love.
Publication of this article does not constitute an endorsement of Ken Hodges for Attorney General. Leadership Albany is a non-partisan organizatiÿ

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Will President Obama Have a Challange from His Right in 2012.......From a Democrat?

I say yes. The way the president is governing right now, it a real possibility. He still has time to right the ship, but he only got the rest of this year, 2011 & 2012.
I Hvae heard alot of Lip service from the president & his team at the White House when it comes to dealing with the out of comtrol deficit & debt. He has spent almost a full year on Healthcare while the economy continues to sputter. There seems to be a disconnect by the President & his Team at the White House when it comes to Job Creation.
Let me tell you somethin' creating manufacturing & production Jobs will get the economy going again, not weatherizing homes & fixing Roads & Bridges. But the president is at serious risk of getting a strong challenge by the moderate/conservative wing of the democratic party. People out there think a moderate/conservative democrat can't win in a democratic primary dominated by the left wing, but I beg to differ. Here are some possible democrats to come from Obama's right & take him on in the 2012 primary:
Joe Machin, Governor of West Virginia

Machin is a Pro-Life Democrat & a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Despite controversies that came over him, he is a viable candidate in 2012, depending how long Senator Robert Byrd continues to serve as the Senator of West Virginia.
Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana

Schweitzer came on the national scene at the Democratic National Convention, in which he gave one of the best speeches at the convention. With an easy going & folksy persona, Schweitzer has one of th highest approval ratings for a governor across the country. He is against Gun Control & is the future of the democratic party.
Brad Henry, Governor of Oklahoma

Henry is the third governor and second Democrat in Oklahoma history to hold two consecutive terms, after Democrat George Nigh and Republican Frank Keating. As a tax-cutting governor, Henry has sought a centrist stance of moderation on most political hot button issues and seemingly has appeal across party lines.
Governor Henry has taken a fairly moderate political stance as governor. He believes that abortion is not an issue that requires government interference and has a mixed view of affirmative action, supporting it in colleges but not in hiring for the bureaucracy. Henry supports expanding public healthcare and holding HMOs accountable for poor care; however, he also is in favor of upholding the death penalty and is against gun control. The governor supports tax cuts for the lower and middle classes and believes in keeping the income tax; he also supports using the "War on Drugs" strategy to combat methanphetamine use within his state
Those are the top three to look out for if President Obama receeives a challenge in the democratic primary. There are others out there,but for now these are the top three moderate/conservative democrats to look out for. Agree or Disagree?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Labor Commissioner wants SWGA jobs summit - WALB.com News, Weather and Sports for Albany, Valdosta and Thomasville. Leading the way for South Georgia. |

Labor Commissioner wants SWGA jobs summit - WALB.com News, Weather and Sports for Albany, Valdosta and Thomasville. Leading the way for South Georgia. |

Squires to be in Macon County on Saturday

Democratic Candidate for State Insurance Commissioner Mary Squires (D-Norcross) will be the Guest Speaker for the Flint River Valley Democcratic Women's Club on Saturday in Marshallville (Macon County) at Rosati's Depot. It will be the first annual meeting of the organization & will serve the Flint River Area. It is a member of the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women, which is run by Longtime Democratic Activist Kristina Sims of Houston County.
Squires is the Third Democratic Statewide Candidate to appear in Macon, Dubose Porter & David Poythress have stopped by to visit the Rural County & my Home Turf as well. Hope more would pay us a visit as well.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Someone Notified Me to This Youtube Video "Rural Hospitals". Check it out

'Very angry' Democrat sounds alarm - John Bresnahan and Patrick O'Connor - POLITICO.com

'Very angry' Democrat sounds alarm - John Bresnahan and Patrick O'Connor - POLITICO.com

Keeping an eye on this Proposed Legislation

State Rep. Debbie Buckner (D-Junction City) has sponsered HB 895 - Comprehensive state-wide water management planning; in addition to change certain provisions relating to a policy statement for comprehensive state-wide water management planning, guiding principles, and requirements of plans; to regulate interbasin and intrabasin transfers of water; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. I'm keeping my eye on this Bill. This Bill Matters alot here in Rural Georgia.

Follow Up on State Rep Rob Teilhet Proposed Legislation that Gives Ethics Commission Jurisdiction over Complaints of Interest.

Yesterday I posted a press release from the Teilhet Campaign that State Rep. Teilhet was sponsering Legislation that would give the Ethics Commission jurisdiction over of complaint of interest aganst members of the General Assembly. Well State Rep. Teilhet was opposed to the very same peoce of legislation back in 2004 when the democrats were still in control of the State House.
Bacin in 2004: Teilhet Opposed Empowering State Ethics Commission To Investigate Alleged Conflicts Of Interest. In response to the Georgia State Legislative Election 2004 National Political Awareness Test, Teilhet declined to support an ethics reform principle that would “Empower the state Ethics Commission to investigate alleged conflicts of interest, while raising the maximum penalty to $10,000 per violation from the current $1,000.” [Georgia State Legislative Election 2004 National Political Awareness Test, via Project Vote Smart, accessed 10/13/09]


So the Question is: Why the change of heart all of a sudden? If it wasn't good enough for you to support back in 2004, why it is' good enough now?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Telfair County's Own. Two Lengendary Georgia Figures.

The Pride of Telfair County, Former Governor Eugene Talmadge (With Glasses on) & Former Governor & U.S. Senator Herman Talmadge.

Is It Possible that Georgia Could Have a African-American Running in the General Election for Governor, Lt. Governor & U.S. Senate? Its Very Possible

I'm surprised that no one have even brought this up, but what if, after the primaries are done with, that we Georgia could end up with three African-American candidates running for the top three offices in government: U.S. Senate, Governor, Lt. Governor?
It very well could happen as RJ Hadley is contending for the senate seat held by Incumbent Johnny Issakon, Thurbert Baker is running for the open seat of governor & possibly Michael Thurmond at Lt. Governor.
RJ Hadley (D-Conyers)
State Attorney General Thurbert Baker (D-Stone Mountain)
Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond (D-Athens)
Georgia have had only one African-American to run for Senate (Denise Majette in 2004), one for Governor (Andrew Young in 1990) & three for Lt. Governor (Ex-State Senator Floyd L. Griffin in 1998, Steen Miles & Griffin Lotson in 2006). What if that possibility happens for the democrats come July 2010?
Thubert Baker who was appointed by then Governor Zell Miller to State Attorney General in 1997 is a conservative democrat who has been endorsed the National Rifle Association (NRA) all three times he has ran for Attorney General, receiving a A+ rating from the organization each time. He was a floor leader to Zell Miller, he helped sponsered the "Hope Schlarship", & "the two strikes you're out law" that put the worst repeat, violent felons in prison for life without parole, in addition to focusing on initiatives to help fight crime & fraud, including stronger laws against sexual predators & advocated for the abolition of parole for persons convicted of violent crimes, etc. During his last election, he carried 122 out of 159 counties in the state, defeating his republican opponent, who was backed by then House Speaker Glen Richardson. Baker enjoys crossover appeal from moderates & conservative whites, republicans & democrats.
Michael Thurmond is the current Labor Commissioner, who succeeded David Poythress, who is running for governor as well. In 1986, he became the first African-American elected to the Georgia General Assembly from Clarke County since Reconstruction. During his time in the legislature, he was the only African-American legislator elected from a majority white district. While serving in the General Assembly, Thurmond authored major legislation that has provided more than two hundred million dollars in tax relief to the state’s senior citizens and working families.

Thurmond was called upon to direct Georgia’s historic transition from welfare to work. He created the innovative “Workfirst” program, which has helped over 90,000 welfare-dependent Georgia families move into the workforce, saving more than one hundred million tax dollars that have been reinvested in child care, training and other support services.
Under Thurmond’s leadership, the Labor Department has undergone a significant transformation in customer service and efficiency. Unemployment offices have been transformed into state-of-the-art career centers focused on getting jobless Georgians back to work as quickly as possible. The success of Thurmond’s approach is reflected in Georgia’s number one national ranking in helping the unemployed get back to work. Thurmond also enjoy great crossover appeal, like Baker & has great communication skills & can move a audience at a instance.


RJ Hadley is running as a outsider in his bid to unseat Juhnny Isakson for his Senate seat. Hadley was a Chief of Staff to the Rockdale Co. Commission & Democratic Activist before jumping into the race to take on Isakson. I had the pleasure of meeting Hadley at a democratic event over in Houston County & I can away very impressed by him. He's not your typical, run of the mill candidate who has the big bucks & he is a true outsider, not apart of the democratic establishment. His campaign speeches are terrific & this is a man who has gone to Tea Party Meetings & spoke to a crowd, you think would be hostile to a democrat, but not Mr. Hadley, just look at the vidoe below
Hadley helped change Rockdale from a republican leaning county to now a democratic leaning county, registering 10,000 new voters in a grassroots effort that helped elect their first democratic Commission chairman ever. If democrats can open up their arms & embrace RJ in his run for the Senate, I know it may seem impossible, but stranger things have happened.
All three candidates (or potential candidates) bring something different to the table. I don't know if Georgia is ready to elect three African-American statewide candidates in the same year for three high-profile offices, but I think we're close. You have Kendrick Meek running for the Senate in Florida & Artur Davis running for Governor of Alabama. If I was a betting man, I'd say Georgia will be the first state from the deep south to elect a African-American to either or all of those offices.

Labor Commissioner Mike Thurmond Still Pondering the Lt. Governor's Race

I thought this book was closed, but apparently its not. Yesterday Michael Thurmond is said to be considering entering the Lt. Governor's Racd to take on Casey Cagle (R) in this year's elections. My thought was that given the current economic crisis that is facing this state that thurmond would remain at Labor & then move up the ladder & make a run at Saxby Chambliss U.S. Senate seat in 2014, or Governor.
As Labor Commissioner, Thurmond can talk about teh No 1 issue facing Georgians today: JOBS. He would have a immediate advantage over Cagle when it comes to the issue of jos & what's needed to revive our sagging Job Market. You can say why not run for the U.S. Senate & run on reviving our Nation's economy. No one up in D.C. seems to have a clue on what to do to revive our economy which is at its worst since the 1930s. His background would put him at a huge advantage over Johnny Isakson, who's only concern is to avoid a primary challenge from another republican. But back to the Lt. Governor race, if he were to run, he would have a "legitimate" shot at defeating Cagle. Thurmond's cross appeal with white voters who are more on the conservative side would be a huge plus, especially here in Rural Georgia.

Merit System for Teachers



Photo Courtesy of John Morgan


The merit system for teachers is doomed to fail and I say this not because it is being pushed forward by Gov. Perdue (though that could be reason enough) but because it is a spin off of the No Child Left Behind act.

The No Child Left Behind Act does exactly the opposite of what it's title suggests. It not only leaves countless students left behind, it also leaves those students left out (Example Warren County). The system only works in affluent areas where children have access to new technologies and the benefits of smaller class sizes. No Child Left Behind measures how well students perform on standardized tests and how well teachers teach to the test.

This is the same approach Gov. Perdue plans to use in his merit based teacher salary proposal. But just like the No Child Left Behind plan, it isn't going to boost learning in poorer schools nor will it appropriate more funds to less affluent school systems. What it will do is continue to reward school systems that are already above average in technology and class size by making those school systems more competitive by attracting new hires from the rural communities.

Here is the bottom line: this plan will kill our rural school systems and drive the few descent teachers we have to more affluent schools looking for something more promising. We owe it to our youth, the ones without a say in this matter, to shut this plan down and actually confer with groups like the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) to propose a better system in the state of Georgia. We also owe it to our educators who work hard day in and day out to perform one of the most important tasks and look after some of the brightest minds, a job few of us could handle.

To Georgia teachers, I salute you. To Georgia legislators who back Sonny's plan, I beg you to reconsider and quit putting self-interest first and begin looking at the state as a whole.

- ProgressiveKel

Guns, Guns, Guns!


Do Having More Guns Equals Less Crime? You be the Judge.
Give a gun to each person in the United States - desiring to lawfully carry it for self defense. This person must be a law abiding citizen (no criminal record, age 21 , no mental history, you know...responsible). Make sure he/she knows how to use it for self defense (proper training). You'll see violent crime drop substantially.
Here's the obvious: If you're a criminal - do you break into a house where a little old lady will shoot you or where a helpless victim is easy prey?
If you're a criminal - do you care anything about the law? Obviously not! Isn't it naive to believe criminals will follow gun control laws?
Why have we let our government legislate us into becoming potential victims? Criminals have guns while law-abiding citizens are left helpless.
Why should criminals carry guns while law-abiding citizens are prohibited?

Why add more gun control laws when criminals clearly ignore existing gun control laws?

Any gun control that restricts law-abiding citizens is ridiculous - we're not the people who commit crimes.
More guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens will lower crime and make the world a better place. This is only my opinion.



There is a Gun Bill sponsered by State Rep. Timothy Bearden (R-Villa Rica) that would allow citizens to carry guns to public gatherings. His Bill Clarify that citizens be allowed to carry concealed weapons where the property owners allow. Nothing wrong with that!
But I'm not in favor of allowing guns to carried into churches. & I'm skeptical of us allowing guns on college campuses, (remember the Virginia Tech Tragedy) & into pre-school & Daycare centers. Now I'm a Pro-Gun Second Admendment Democrat, but why should anyone take a gun into the House of the Lord on Sundays? Or into a pre-school, daycare centers? College campuses, I'm not really sure about that. What goes through my mind is what if a situation like the one at Virginia Tech were to happen at the University of Georgia, Georgia Southern, Ft. Valley State, Georgia Tech? That's my concern if we begin to allow guns on our college campuses & as for churches: No way! Public gatherings like a sporting event or a high school graduation, Why not? Let gun owners take their guns to a public gathering. Nothing wrong with that.

Press Release from Rep. Rob Teilhet Files Bill to Overhaul Conflict of Interest Laws

SMYRNA, GA – Today State Representative and Attorney General Candidate Rob Teilhet filed legislation overhauling Georgia’s ethics and conflict of interest laws. Teilhet’s legislation would bring to a screeching halt the General Assembly’s practice of policing themselves on the issue of conflict of interest. The bill also strips the Governor and the General Assembly of the political power to appoint the State Ethics Commission.


The Georgia General Assembly has proven itself to be unable to police its own leadership on ethics,” said Representative Rob Teilhet. “Georgians would never allow accused criminals to act as their own judge and jury. My bill will no longer allow partisan politicians to control their own ethics enforcement.”




Teilhet’s legislation proposes two major changes to current law. First, the bill gives the State Ethics Commission the jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute conflict of interest cases against members of the Georgia General Assembly upon receiving a written complaint. Currently such complaints are enforced by the General Assembly through a Joint Legislative Ethics Committee. In 2007 the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee dismissed a complaint detailing the facts that led to House Speaker Richardson’s resignation last month. The Joint Legislative Ethics Committee, made up of Richardson’s peers, dismissed the complaint immediately, without any investigation.





Second, Teilhet’s legislation tasks the Georgia Supreme Court with appointing the members of the State Ethics Commission. Currently, members are appointed by the Governor, the Senate and the House of Representatives.





“This year we must address the underlying culture of corruption that has allowed self-dealing and conflicts of interest to run rampant at our Capitol. It’s imperative that we pass meaningful ethics reform this session, and get our public officials back to the business of serving constituents, rather than themselves,” said Teilhet.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Knew It Was Coming: Perdue Proposes Pay for Performance for Teachers!

The So-called pay for performance plans have been a longtime goal of conservatives and a sticking point with many teacher organizations fearful of members losing out in circumstances they can't completely control. Well that's what Gov. Sonny Perdue is proposing.

Perdue said his proposal, to be enacted over several years, would be a way for good teachers to get a major boost in pay.

New and veteran teachers would be able to choose to have their pay raises determined half by student achievement and half by observations of how they manage their classrooms. Or they could remain in the current system, which boosts salaries for each additional degree they earn, such as a master's or doctorate.

Another way to improve education, he said, is to pass legislation introduced last year to boost the ethics of school boards and allow the removal of board members who don't comply. He mentioned Warren County's loss of accreditation this week as an example of the board's behavior harming the entire system.

The Georgia Educators Association is waiting for the details before they decide to support or oppose his idea, according to President Jeff Hubbard. Hubbard suggests the achievement be measured by the student's classroom participation and work on projects rather than standardized tests.

Says Hubbard: "If they are going to base it just on a standardized test score, that is going to be a problem with us because a child is more than a standardized test score and a teacher is more than a standardized test score," Mr. Hubbard said.

I see problems on the horizon on this legislation. If Perdue gets this proposal passed, the GOP can forget the teacher's vote for Damn sure!

Why Jane Vandiver-Kidd Needs to Give the U.S. Senate Race a Second Look.


As you know we have a U.S. Senate race upon us this year as Incumbent Johnny Isakson is seeking a second term as Georgia's Junior Senator. As of now there is one candidate who announced a challenge to Isakson, RJ Hadley (D-Conyers). But what about Jane Kidd, the Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia?
Now taking on a sitting senator is a daunting task within itself. Not to say that RJ Hadley is not a strong candidate, in fact he is (I've met him once & came away impressed). But having the strongest candidate at top of the ticket is a very, very critical element in having a strong chance of winning the governorship & other downballot races.
Democrats just cannot just put all of their eggs in one basket on the governor's race & forget about the others. Democrats need as many strong candidates on the ballot this year if they have any hope of winning again & it starts this year. It's important that democrats have a unified party this year. (Its a must) In 2006, the primary between Cathy Cox, then Secretary of State & Mark Taylor, then Lt. Governor left both candidates bloodied, battered & bruised. As a result, Cathy Cox supporters went out & supported Sonny Perdue for re-election instead of throwing their energy behind Mark Taylor. With Jane Kidd at the top of the ticket, she would fill that leadership gap that is sorely lacking. Folks throw out names such as Jim Marshall & Tim Golden as possible candidates for the senate, but how about a woman running at the top of the ticket.
As the daughter of a former governor (Ernest Vandiver) & the grand-niece of one of the most famous & beloved person ever to come out of Georgia (Richard B. "Dick" Russell), the attention she would gain from a U.S. Senate run would be remarkable. To kickoff her senate run, she should start off with a rural tour, going to towns that have been decimated by the loss of manufacturing industries & businesses that have closed due to the lack of economic opportunities that are not being produced & in the process build a strong grassroots organization that would be able to assist her in her bid to unseat Isakson. Money is good to have, but its not everything. A strong grassroots is much more effective that the swollen pockets of Johnny Isakson. There are a couple of issues that Kidd can capitalize on against Isakson, (1) The State Children Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), which he voted against THREE times while in the senate, (2) Healthcare. Although I'm neutral on the healthcare reform bill that is going through congress, she can hit him hard on this issue, where here in rural Georgia, the lack of healthcare is hurting people the most.
For example, Rural Georgia presents a unique set of challenges for health care reform. Rural Georgians have less access to health networks and health care providers, greater rates of disability and chronic diseases and higher use rates of all public health care programs. And largely as a result of higher rates of self-employment and small business employment, rural Georgians have lower rates of employer-provided benefits and are more likely to be underinsured or uninsured for longer periods of time. The people here in rural Georgia are most in need of health care system reform.

Health care is also a major barrier to rural economic development that creates real opportunities and reduces poverty. Small business development is the most effective path in many communities for low and moderate income rural Georgians to pull themselves out of poverty. But if small business entrepreneurs cannot gain affordable access to health care for themselves or their employees, that path out of poverty is blocked. Any hope of building real economic opportunity for struggling rural Georgians through entrepreneurship must be accompanied by reforming the health care system in a way that benefits both small business owners and their employees & there is where Jane can hit Isakson the hardest & as a result, she would have rural Georgians eating out of the palm of her hands. But those reasons I just stated are why some type of healthcare reform is needed, so to help rural Georgians that are battling everyday just to pay the bills.

As a candidate for the Senate, Jane can appeal to women. Isakson's record on women is mixed. He voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Act & the Equal Pay Act. Republicans have made significant gains among Amen over the years & her candidacy would be a game changer to a possible historic election of Karen Handel as Georgia's first Woman governor.
She can hit Isakson & his party's lack of vision & solutions on our nations economy. Think about it, on the campaign trail or in a debate, she could & should press Isakson on his vision for our nations economy & future. Jane can become the candidate for standing up & fighting for the folks of this state & help solidify Georgia as the empire state of the south, the leading state of the south. Her candidacy would appeal to republican leaning women voters as well as uniting the democratic base.
She can win! No doubt about it. She can definitely win over moderate democratic & republican women, she can remind Georgia of the great legacy of her family with Black Voters & those democrats of the past that have strayed to the republican party. The one issue for democrats is how to turn out Black voters in a non-presidential year? In 2006, her campaign for the State Senate led to the highest Black voter turnout in Athens ever. Translate that to a statewide race, democrats will have no problem. Plus there are still areas of the state that the Vandiver name still resonates, especially among rural Georgians who are old enough to remember Ernest Vandiver. From a Rural Georgia perspective, Jane can make significant inroads in a region that was until 2002 was a bastion of conservative democrats. Those democrats have defected to the GOP since then, but can be brought back to the party with a message that appeals to them. Remember this state likes progressive leaning government, but loves conservative politics. And another thing, as a senate candidate. she would be difficult for the GOP to attack. Think about it, malicious, vicious attacks on Kidd that goes way over the line will win her unexpected support & in effect turn off more centrist leaning republicans, especially women. They would have to walk a very, very fine line with Jane in the race, than say a male candidate.
The 2010 Elections are going to center on (1) Jobs (1a) Healthcare (2a) Fiscal Matters (2) Economy. Jane Kidd at the top of the democratic ticket would solidify a strong democratic ticket that is sure to be one of the strongest tickets democrats have produced in a very long time. Democrats need a Jane Kidd at the top of the Ballot come Nov. 2010. Isakson can no, no, & no until his face turns blue, but what does that accomplish if there are no alternatives? No solutions? No Answers? Georgia needs a common-sense, independent, middle-of-the-road candidate, an outsider that can go to washington & work in a real-bi-partisan manner & who is not consumed with the TV Camera & party loyalty. Washington has lost it way. Rural Georgia needs someone who will not be bought by special interest groups, lobbyist, someone who's principles are genuine & someone who will go to "Work" for the farmer, the truck driver, the cashier, the at home moms, the factory worker, the poor, the elderly, the disadvantage, the black, the white, the hispanic, the educator, the veteran, the law enforcement official, rural, urban, surburban, exurban, etc. Not a show pony, who only goes where the wind is blowing. Georgia, especially rural Georgia is suffering & its time Georgia sends someone who has the courage to fight for working class men & women. Jane Kidd is what the state of Georgia needs at this critical juncture in our state & our country's history. This is your opportunity to bring mainstream, responsible change to our beloved state. Run, Jane, Run!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The GOP Can Still Blow Their Opportunity!

Ramesh Ponnuru: "Republicans shouldn't get carried away. There are 10 months to go before the midterm elections, and the political climate can change a lot in that time. Just ask President Obama: according to Gallup, the proportion of Americans who disapprove of his performance jumped from 26% to 42% over the past 10 months."

The economy could revive
The Republican Party is still unpopular
Republicans are disorganized
Republicans have no agenda
The tea parties are not enough

What! Warren County School System loses Accreditation


Up the road in East Central Georgia Warren County, the local school system has lost their accreditation to the Southern Association of Colleges & School Council on Accreditation School Improvement.
A SACS team visited the system in June, 2009, and a different team returned in November for a follow-up. During both visits, the special review team conducted interviews with members of the Board of Education, superintendent, district staff and community representatives, as well as reviewed supporting documentation.

Superintendent Carole Jean Carey and Board of Education Chair Clara Roberts were sent a report of the findings of the special review team. The 14-page report outlines the "standards of governance and leadership" that were investigated in June, along with the list of nine recommendations for improvement that were given to the board at that time.

The report describes sources used by the review team, as well as an analysis

"It should be noted that Warren County received SACS CASI District Accreditation in 20007. At that time, there were many outstanding achievements within the school district. ... The actions of the current Board have eroded public confidence and negated much of the positive work of the past, and the quality of education for students in Warren County Schools has been affected," the report reveals.

The investigation revealed members of the Board of Education failed to comply with their own policies, and went as far as to change their ethics policy so they wouldn't have to sign it.

The board made limited improvement on the recommendation to adopt Roberts Rules of Order for their meetings, with voting records revealing "an inordinate number of 3-2 votes" and "an inappropriate use of the right to abstain from voting."

The review team also found that the board made progress in professionalism in their public meetings, but failed to carry that over to executive sessions. The report reveals executive session discussions included comments that are illegal to consider when employing applicants, including age, race, etc.

"The community is not happy, the kids won't have the Hope Scholarship and they won't be able to get into some colleges," Mrs. Carey said. "And we can't have dual enrollment classes... The board members are the ones that have to do the action. There's nothing more anyone else can do."

WTOC 11’s Sonny Dixon to speak at Glennville Chamber Banquet


Over in Glenville, former State Rep Sonny Dixon (D-West Chatham County) will be the featured speaker at the Glenville Chamber of Commerce Banquet on Thursday Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Glenville Garden Club Center. Dixon is currently an anchor for WTOC 11 News out of Savannah.

Highway Dedicated Down in Southwest Georgia

Down in Southwest Georgia, a portion of State Route 45 in Early County from the Miller County line to the Calhoun County line was dedicated as the Joe Bryan Highway during a special ceremony back on Dec. 22 in the Joe Bryan Auditorium at Southwest Georgia Academy.

The dedication was authorized by a House Resolution introduced by Representative Gerald Greene.

The resolution cited Bryan’s distinguished public service to his community, the Boy Scouts, Southwest Georgia Academy and more than 50 years of service to the peanut industry.

He was similarly honored by a Senate Resolution. They both included a remembrance citation from St. James C.M.E. Church which reads, “Joe Bryan never refused to help any worthy cause” and the citation from Bethel Methodist Church, “Joe Bryan was a Godly man who vigorously pursued a Godly path toward a Godly cause — helping his fellow man.”

Kudos to Gerald Greene (D-Cuthbert) honoring this man.
Also speaking at the service was former State Rep Johnny Floyd, a former democrat, turned republican from Cordele & current member of the GDOT & State Senator George Hooks (D-Americus).

Smyre Seeks Re-Election

State Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus) will seek re-election to the Georgia House of Representatives. Smyre, a 36 Year Veteran of Georgia Politics will gear up for a run to keep his seat he has held since 1974.

Rep. Jim Marshall speaks on the House Floor about the 2010 Defense Authorization Bill

Cram Down Amendment Floor Debate, Part 1.

Monday, January 11, 2010

(Updated)Second Guessing from Passariello on the Lt. Governor Office?

Now word has it that Vincent Passariello is being pressured by Mike Berlon, chairman odf the Gwinnett County Democratic Party & 1st District Chair & Steve Delk to reconsider the Lt. Governor's Race & now will wait after the session to weigh his options.
See this is why Democrats are in the shape they are in right now.
Maybe I need to take matters in my own hands & find someone who "REALLY" wants to run! Enough of these neophytes & lets find someone worth supporting!

Kudzu Vine BlogTalk Radio, live from the WildHog Supper (Last Night)

New Press Release from the Brandon for Athens Committee

A More Transparent Government

For far too long, government has been able to work behind closed doors,
spending the people's hard-earned money with little-to-no input from
outside. In May 2005, the leadership of Mayor Davison and the Commission
took transparency to the next level for Athens-Clarke County. The mayor and
commission worked to see that more information from the local government
was placed the county website for the public to see. This was a large step
for our city, even though we see this as a common sense approach to helping
connect the people with their government.

It's time to take the same kind of progressive action we've seen in
cities across our nation; it's time to change the status quo and give the
people a larger stake in their community. We've all seen elected
officials promise time and again that they'll have transparent
government, but nothing ever happens. Not here. Not now. I will implement
policies toward true transparency in the government of Athens-Clarke
County.

I will spearhead the establishment of a public database, as part of a new
county website, where all government revenues and expenditures will be
available for public scrutiny, line-by-line. As well, all government
contracts will be posted on the website to increase competition in the
marketplace. I stand firm on the concept of transparency because of the
positive effects it can have on a community. The elimination of wasteful
spending provides relief to the city budget by saving money that can be put
towards other projects on a refined scale of priority.

I will work hard to give you the tools you need to educate yourselves on
the workings of the county government, and then I will give you the access
you need to do something about it. Gone are the days of closed-door
commission meetings. The only meetings that will be held behind closed
doors are those on sensitive topics such as personnel. All in all, a
transparent government is a better government, accountable to the people,
and because of that accountability, more careful about how it uses the
resources given to it by the people.

An open government saves you money, and I will work to lead the way not
only for the people of Athens, but to serve as an example of what
transparency can do for the people of Georgia and beyond. The other
candidates are still on step one when it comes to issues like transparency
reform. It makes me question their ability to lead, and you should too. To
me, it seems like they are trying to run a car without wheels- now that is
quite a dilemma and struggle of leadership that guarantees to move us
backwards.


Brandon Shinholser, Candidate
Andrew Watts, Campaign Manager



Brandon Shinholser is a candidate in the race for Mayor of Athens-Clarke
County. His website can be found at www.brandon2010.com

Correction on the Ken Hodges Campaign Disclosure

I want to Correct something posted on Saturday in regards to the Ken Hodges Campaign. I mentioned he had raised over $350,000. That's not correct, they raised $380,000 for the race for Attorney General, outraising State Rep. Rob Teilhet who is also vying for the office of State Attorney General. My apologies to the Hodges Campaign

Vincent Who?

Well the Democrats have finally have a candidate for Lt. Governor.
No, its not Tim Golden, No, its not Michael Meyer von Bremen.
It's Vincent Passariello of Snellville, Ga.
He's what I know about Mr. Passariello:
Passariello is a part-time pilot with the U.S. Coast Guard and has master’s degrees in business and engineering. He is currently an engineer with Newton County.

He challenged Gwinnett Co. Commission Chairman Charles Bannister for the seat back in 2008 in which he got 40% of the vote.
He's a native of Italy, who at age 6 immigrated with his parents to Venezuela. He came to the United States, to Michigan Tech, to study engineering, obtained his degree, and returned to his parents' home in Venezuela, and taught for five years at a college there. He eventually headed that school's co-op program, working with students to get them jobs between terms in school, similar to the Georgia Tech co-op program. He met his wife, also an engineer, while at the college. Mr. Passariello and his wife came to this country in 1979.

So much for Top-Tier Candidate for Lt. Governor for the democrats, but I still expect for some upper-tier candidate to run for Lt. Governor. I wish Mr. Passariello good luck & wish him all the best

Saturday, January 9, 2010

See you all Monday A.M.

Campaign Finance Discolsures

Democrats
Governor:
Roy Barnes Raised $2.7 Million (Total)
David Poythress Raised $202,758.00 ($663,265.20 Total)
DuBose Porter raised $141,687.00 ($373,437.00) Total
Thurbert Baker raised $665,642.56 ($1.3 million Total)
Attorney General
Ken Hodges raised $230,973.00 ($351,307.36 Total)
Rob Teilhet raised $148,026.99 ($351,596.26 Total)
Secretary of State Gary Horlacher raised $110,850.96 ($278,479.91 Total) Michael Mills raised $13,229.00 (13,229.00 Total)
Agriculture Commissioner
Terry Coleman (Potential Candidate) Shows $10,217.00 In the Bank. Not Good for someone who is rumored to run for Statewide Office (Commissioner of Agriculture)
Lt. Governor
Casey Cagle (R) has $1.474,148.09 Total Contributions on Hand.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Kemp Sworn In As Georgia's 27th SOS


According to a bio that appeared on the Secretary of State's website today, Brian Kemp is being officially sworn in today.

Surprisingly I could find no list of previous office holders on the website, so I went to Wikipedia. Apparently Kemp is Georgia's 27th Secretary of State!

Congrats to Secretary Kemp.

This Can't Be Coming from a Republican!

There's no other way to read this story from Politics Daily and the Denver Post than to read it as Colorado Republican Rep. Mike Coffman admitting that government-sponsored single-payer health care "works":

Coffman, a former Marine who keeps buff at age 54, was jogging on the golf course bordering his home in Aurora, Colo., when he stumbled on a rock or some other obstruction hidden in the snow. He fell, cracking his ankle. The congressman and his wife went to an urgent care clinic in a strip mall, where he paid $30 for a temporary cast and a prescription, and later he went to the famed Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, where he paid $350 for an expert opinion, he told The Denver Post.

"I successfully tested our health care system," he said, with a laugh. "It works,"' he told the Post.

Of course the health care system worked for him, many Coloradans undoubtedly thought when they read the item in Saturday's Post. Coffman, a Republican member of Congress who voted against the health care reform bill in the House last year, is covered by the Cadillac of American health-care plans, the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Plan.

That's why his X-ray, temporary cast and prescription cost him only $30. But if he didn't have insurance -- like some 45 million Americans --- the tab most likely would be closer to $375 ($150 for the visit, $150 for the splint, and $75 for the X-ray, according to prices quoted at a popular downtown Denver urgent-care clinic).

The FEHB is a single-payer government-sponsored health care system. The federal government is the single payer in that system.* And as Coffman says very explicitly, "It works."

So why is Coffman, all Republican lawmakers, and a big chunk of Democratic lawmakers, so opposed to single payer that they ruled it "off the table" as part of the debate over national health care? Why aren't all Americans entitled to the very same health care system as members of Congress, if those members of Congress acknowledge their system "works"?

* NOTE: The FEHB is one form of single-payer - a form where the government is the single payer, but pays to insurance companies which administer benefits. There are other forms of single-payer where the government pays directly to health care providers (this is, for instance, the VA system). The point here is not to debate which of the forms are better - only to point out that the FEHB is a government-sponsored single-payer system - ie. the single payer is the government. It is exactly the kind of system that - if expanded to let everyone in - could be a single-payer system for the nation. And it's a system that Coffman says "works" - even as he rails on government health care.
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