Wednesday, March 31, 2010
More on Mr. Murphy tomorrow. The other challenger, Michael Frisbee is running as a New Liberty Democrat (constitutional conservative).
Continue to read: Georgia congressman says he's received death threats | ajc.com
In 2014, the reform creates Health Insurance Exchanges, or competitive marketplaces, where small businesses and their employees, the self-employed, and the uninsured can purchase affordable coverage. For the first time, small businesses will be able to pool their buying power and have access to the same quality plans only available to large firms today.
Through the Exchanges, small business owners and workers can do one-stop comparison shopping for an affordable plan that offers:
. lower rates like what big businesses pay
. stable pricing from year to year
. lower administrative costs
. choice of quality plans for employee.
Health reform provides $40 billion in tax credits for small businesses to help them offer employee health insurance coverage—if they choose to do so. More than 60 percent of small employers, or more than 4 million firms, will be eligible for these credits.
The tax credit is effective January 1, 2010. Small businesses that provide coverage for their workers will receive immediate help with their premium costs, and additional firms that initiate coverage this year will get a tax cut as well.
This sliding-scale tax credit is worth up to 35 percent of a small business’s premium costs in 2010. On January 1, 2014, this rate increases to 50 percent. Firms can claim the credit for 2010 through 2013 and for any two years after that.
To qualify for the tax credit, businesses must have fewer than 25 employees and average annual wages of $50,000 or less—and the full tax credit is available to businesses with 10 or fewer employees and average annual wages of $25,000 or less.
Starting in 2014, affordable plans in Health Insurance Exchanges will have a guaranteed set of minimum benefits—to eliminate fine print surprises that often face those who don’t have the purchasing power of a large corporation or group. Health insurance reforms will mean:
. no more “pre-existing conditions” for children now, and adults in 2014
. no selective refusals to renew small business coverage
. no more premium ratings for gender, occupation or previous illness or medical condition that unfairly drive up costs for some
. caps on what you pay out-of-pocket
. no lifetime or annual caps on what insurance companies will pay for your coverage
Exemption From Responsibility To Offer Coverage:
In recognition of the fact that providing employee health coverage is simply unaffordable for many of America’s small businesses, the reform exempts all small firms with fewer than 50 employees from the employer responsibility requirements that begin in 2014. This means that 96 percent of all firms in the U.S. or 5.8 million out of 6 million total firms will be exempt.
Many small firms that do not currently offer coverage will be more likely to do so under reform – because of new tax credits, lower premiums, and better choices.
Help With Wellness & Prevention:
Small businesses that want to promote healthy behavior have access to health plans for their workers that provide free preventive care.
Immediate Help For The Uninsured:
For those small businesses with workers who have been uninsured for several months, or denied a policy based on “pre-existing conditions,” a high risk pool will immediately offer insurance, and assistance to help pay the premiums.
Access To The Best Doctors:
The best doctors in America can see patients--even those who own or work for small businesses in rural areas--through telehealth networks and telehealth resource centers established through grants.
Benefit From Small Business Health Care Tax Credit: Three Cases:
Example 1:: Auto Repair Shop With 10 Employees Gets $$24,500 Credit For 2010
Main Street Mechanic:
. Employees: 10
. Wages: $250,000 total, or $25,000 per worker
. Employee Health Care Costs: $70,000
2010 Tax Credit: $24,500 (35% credit)
2014 Tax Credit: $35,000 (50% credit)
Example2:: Restauraunt With 40 Part--Time Employees Gets $$28,000 Credit For 2010
. Employees: 40 half-time employees (the equivalent of 20 full-time workers)
. Wages: $500,000 total, or $25,000 per full-time equivalent worker
. Employee Health Care Costs: $240,000
2010 Tax Credit: $28,000 (35% credit with phase-out)
2014 Tax Credit: $40,000 (50% credit with phase-out)
Example3: Foster Care Non--Profit With 9 Employees Gets $$19,000 Credit For 2010
First Street Family Services.Org:
. Employees: 9
. Wages: $198,000 total, or $22,000 per worker
. Employee Health Care Costs: $76,000
2010 Tax Credit: $19,000 (25% credit)
2014 Tax Credit: $26,600 (35% credit)
Millions of small businesses together power the American economy. During economic crisis, these businesses operate close to the margin, or don’t survive at all. But their innovation and entrepreneurship put them in the lead in helping our economy recovery. For American small businesses, health care has been an unrelenting headache, with:
. small businesses’ health care costs growing 129% since 2000,
. workers paying an average of 18% more for premiums than those with larger firms, and
. only 45% of America’s small businesses can afford to offer health benefits—which means the majority of uninsured Americans are small owners,
employees, and their families.
So there it is. I'll let you be the judge.
Source: Department of the Treasury
MARCH 20, 2010
Provides Coverage for Uninsured Rural Individuals: In rural areas, the uninsured rate reaches 23 percent, almost five percentage points higher than in urban areas, and the current recession means that more people may lose access to their employer-based health coverage. The legislation guarantees that individuals currently without access to affordable health insurance would have options for obtaining affordable, quality health care coverage.
More Affordable Choices and Competition. In many rural states, one insurance company dominates more than 80 percent of the market, meaning that there are often only one or two insurance companies offering health plans in the individual and small group markets. Health insurance reform will result in an additional 32 million people accessing health insurance creating greater participation and competition by health insurers.
Protects Rural Consumers from Discriminatory Practices that Make Coverage Unaffordable: Health reform includes insurance market reforms that prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, prohibit charging higher premiums based on gender or health status, and require insurers to include an essential set of health benefits in their plan. These provisions will all help make quality health insurance more accessible and affordable for rural residents.
Provides Bonuses to Reward Primary Care Doctors that Practice in Shortage Areas: Only 9 percent of physicians practice in rural America even though 20 percent of the population lives in these areas. The legislation provides a 10 percent incentive payment for primary care doctors practicing in underserved areas, which, combined with a current bonus for physicians in shortage areas, will help recruit and retain primary care physicians where they are needed the most.
Ensures that Rural Doctors Are Paid the Same Rate for Their Work as Urban Doctors: Prior to 2003, the Medicare reimbursement formula paid doctors practicing in rural areas relatively less for their work, even though they have the same training as their urban counterparts. The legislation helps rural physicians by extending an existing provision that addresses this payment inequity.
Helps Rural Doctors Cover Costs Related to Operating their Practice: Physicians practicing in rural areas are paid relatively less by Medicare than their urban counterparts for expenses such as rent and hiring office staff. The legislation will encourage doctors to practice in rural America by increasing Medicare reimbursement rates in many areas for these types of overhead costs.
Supports Community Health Centers in Rural Areas: Community health centers are an important source of care in rural areas. The legislation provides $11 billion in newfunds to support community health centers over the next five years, and maintains the current requirement that these rural areas receive special consideration for distribution of funds.
Trains Primary Care Providers for Rural Areas: There is a shortage of health providers in rural America,particularly primary care. The legislation emphasizes training for primary care providers by supporting training on rural health, investing in advanced nurse training, and providing $1.5 billion to expand the
National Health Service Corps to address work shortages in high-need area. Thelegislation also redistributes unused Medicare-funded graduate medical education positions to hospitals in rural and other communities and health professional shortage areas that commit to train primary care or general surgery residents.
Rewards Hospitals in Low Cost Areas: The legislation provides $400 million to reward hospitals located in areas of the country with the lowest per capita levelof Medicare spending.
Protects Payments for Rural Outpatient Hospitals: When Medicare moved to a new payment system for outpatient hospitals in 2000, rural hospitals were protected from potential losses. The legislation extends this current “hold harmless” policy for rural outpatient hospitals to ensure that rural residents will continue to have access to care.
Helps Certain Rural Hospitals Cover Their Lab Costs: Rural hospitals have lower patient volume than their urban counterparts, making it more difficult to sustain much needed services such as laboratory tests. The legislation helps to maintain access to routine lab tests for patients living in rural areas by paying small
rural hospitals their reasonable costs for performing clinical laboratory tests.
Boosts Payments for Rural Home Health Agencies: Home health providers in rural communities often must drive long distances to see their patients, incurring additional transportation costs. The legislation reinstates a 5 percent add-on payment for rural home health agencies that had previously expired.
Protects Ambulance Services in Rural America: The bill protects seniors’ access to ambulance services in rural areas by continuing an existing increase to Medicare reimbursement rates for rural ambulance services. These adjustments help compensate for the additional costs incurred for providing these services over great distances.
Ensures Access to Preventive Services in Rural Areas: The bill eliminates cost-sharing for preventive care (including well baby and well child care) in new health plans to underscore the importance of preventive health services in making America healthier and lowering the growth of health care costs over time. And the legislation caps annual out-of-pocket spending for individuals and families so that no one faces bankruptcy from health costs ever again.
Assistance for Rural Hospitals: The Medicare Modernization Act enabled certain hospitals, commonly referred to as “Section 508 Hospitals,” to be more appropriately reimbursed by Medicare for the services they provide to rural communities. The bill continues these critical payment improvements, enhancing the ability of these rural hospitals to recruit and retain essential staff to care for Medicare beneficiaries in their communities. Additional provisions assist hospitals with a low-volume of discharges and extend payment protections for Medicare Dependent Hospitals.
Now I'm not a supporter of the overall Healthcare bill that was just passed in congress, but these provisions will do rural america alot of good, where access to healthcare is at its worst.
House Republicans Push for Thurbert Baker's Impeachment for not filing a lawsuit against the Federal Gov't.
Here's what the resolution says from Jim Galloway of the AJC:
By failing and refusing to perform his constitutional and statuatry duties, Attorney General Baker has abdicated his authority and has committed an act against the state of Georgia….
Attorney General Baker’s shameful abdication of his lawful duties shows him unfit to serve the state of Georgia in the position of attorney general.
What's foolish about this is 30 or so house republicans signed on to the resolution.
Let's not forget about Austin Scott (R-Tifton) who is also running for governor filed HR 1824 the will direct the AG to file the lawsuit.
So what is the "REAL" motive of republicans in trying to pursue this impeachment ideas? Macon Republican Allem Peake & Macon Democrat David Lucus both oppose the resolutions being pushed by Hatfield & Scott they said in a interview with WMAZ-TV Macon earlier in the week.
Baker, who's campaign hasn't show any signs of life has now gotten a big boost, first by Sonny Perdue & now by resolutions by State Reps Mark Hatfield & Austin Scott. This opposition in filing a lawsiut against the feds will definitely win over rank & file democrats as well as those "Obamacrats" in the primary. I always thought Baker's problem would be in the primary. He's tailored made for a general election due to his moderately conservative views & his staunch conservative views when it comes to Law Enforcement, (remember he pushed the "Two Strikes" law when he was floor leader to Zell Miller back in the mid 1990s).
Now how will this affect him in the general election if he manages to win the primary? No body knows, but at least for right now, he has gotten a much needed boost to his campaign & free media attention without having to spend a time. You know deep down inside Baker & his people are loving this.
Monday, March 29, 2010
President –Elect of the Georgia Association of Solicitor-Generals Robert D. James Jr. Endorses Rob Teilhet
The Honorable Robert D. James Jr. endorsed Representative Rob Teilhet's campaign for Attorney General today. James currently serves as the Solicitor-General in DeKalb County and is the President-Elect of the Georgia Association of Solicitor-Generals.
“Rob Teilhet has the track record, the experience and the skills to make families safer in Georgia,” said Solicitor James. “He has spent years protecting victims of crime and supporting law enforcement, and I am honored to endorse his campaign for Attorney General.”
Having prosecuted nearly 13,000 criminal cases including domestic violence, vehicular homicide, animal cruelty, and educational neglect annually since his election, Solicitor-General James has worked tirelessly to protect the citizens of DeKalb County. With a strong belief in prevention, Solicitor-General James has created programs within his office to prevent elder and disabled adult abuse and campaigns to educate youth and first-time offenders. Prior to becoming Solicitor-General, James served as an Assistant District Attorney in Rockdale County and as a special prosecutor with the DeKalb County District Attorney's Crimes Against Children Unit, where he protected DeKalb’s children from abuse and sexual predators. He is a former president of the DeKalb Lawyer’s Association, a board member of the DeKalb Bar Association, and is the President-Elect of the Georgia Association of Solicitor-Generals.
“Rob Teilhet understands that investing in children from the start can go a long to preventing criminal behavior down the road,” said Solicitor James. “And there is no other candidate who will work harder to protect our children from abuse, sexual predators and exploitation.”
“I am honored to receive the support of Solicitor James. He has an outstanding of record of prosecuting abuse and fighting for justice. His work, particularly his efforts to protect the children in his county, is an inspiration to me,” said Representative Teilhet. “I look forward to working with him to create a safer and more just Georgia.”
DeKalb Solicitor-General James’ endorsement follows recent announcements from other endorsers including: Civil Rights leader Elder Bill Harris, Representative Tyrone Brooks, Senator Vincent Fort and the Chairman of Georgia's Legislative Black Caucus and nominee for the Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, Senator Emanuel Jones, the IBEW Local Union 613, former legislator and former candidate for U.S. Senate Jim Martin, and dozens of legislators from every corner of the state.
Teilhet’s campaign for Attorney General focuses on protecting Georgia’s children, crime prevention, ethics in government, and consumer protection. Teilhet is widely known as a champion in the General Assembly for protecting Georgians from rip-offs and con artists. He has been a reliable supporter of law enforcement and crime victims as a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Teilhet has also consistently fought for stronger ethics laws.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Continue to read: Republicans Risk Sour Grapes Label With Talk of Repeal
All are conservative democrats from Rural Georgia, except Ron Dodson, who faces a primary challenge from Shawn James, a conservative democrat for HD 75. Kidd id a independent from Baldwin County. Groups such as Georgia Conservarives in Action are pushing for the proposed constitutional amendment.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Continue to read: http://www.southernpoliticalreport.com/storylink_324_1321.aspx
There are misconceptions that the benefits of the legislation do not go into effect until 2014, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for the next four years,” Bishop said. “That claim is simply false. With the legislation’s enactment today, Georgians of all ages, incomes, and backgrounds will benefit immediately.”
Key provisions of the health care reform bill that take effect immediately are as follows:
1. SMALL BUSINESS TAX CREDITS – Offers tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 35% of premiums will be immediately available to firms that choose to offer coverage. Effective beginning for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2014, the small business tax credits will cover 50 percent of premiums.)
2. BEGINS TO CLOSE THE MEDICARE PART D “DONUT HOLE” – Provides a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the "donut hole" coverage gap in 2010. Effective for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2011, institutes a 50% discount on brand‐name drugs in the "donut hole;" also completely closes the "donut hole" by 2020.)
3. FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER MEDICARE – Eliminates co-payments for preventive services and exempts preventive services from deductibles under the Medicare program. Effective beginning January 1, 2011.
4. HELP FOR EARLY RETIREES – Creates a temporary re-insurance program (until the Exchanges are available) to help offset the costs of expensive health claims for employers that provide health benefits for retirees age 55 - 64. Effective 90 days after enactment.
5. ENDS RESCISSIONS – Bans insurance companies from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. Effective six months after enactment.
6. NO DISCRIMINATON AGAINST CHILDREN WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS – Prohibits health insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Effective six months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, this prohibition would apply to all persons.)
7. BANS LIFETIME LIMITS ON COVERAGE – Prohibits health insurance companies from placing lifetime caps on coverage. Effective six months after enactment.
8. BANS RESTRICTIVE ANNUAL LIMITS ON COVERAGE – Tightly restricts new plan’s use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care. These tight restrictions will be defined by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Effective six months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, the use of any annual limits would be prohibited for all plans.)
9. FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER NEW PRIVATE PLANS – Requires new private plans to cover preventive services with no co-payments and with preventive services being exempt from deductibles. Effective six months after enactment. (Beginning in 2018, this requirement applies to all plans.)
10. NEW, INDEPENDENT APPEALS PROCESS – Ensures consumers in new plans have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal decisions by their health insurance plan. Effective six months after enactment.
11. ENSURING VALUE FOR PREMIUM PAYMENTS – Requires plans in the individual and small group market to spend 80% of premium dollars on medical services, and plans in the large group market to spend 85%. Insurers that do not meet these thresholds must provide rebates to policyholders. Effective on January 1, 2011.
12. IMMEDIATE HELP FOR THE UNINSURED UNTIL EXCHANGE IS AVAILABLE (INTERIM HIGH-RISK POOL) – Provides immediate access to insurance for Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool. Effective 90 days after enactment.
13. EXTENDS COVERAGE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE UP TO 26th BIRTHDAY THROUGH PARENTS’ INSURANCE – Requires health plans to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents’ insurance policy, at the parents’ choice. Effective six months after enactment.
14. COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS – Increases funding for Community Health Centers to allow for nearly a doubling of the number of patients seen by the centers over the next 5 years. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.
15. INCREASING NUMBER OF PRIMARY CARE DOCTORS – Provides new investment in training programs to increase the number of primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals. Effective beginning in Fiscal Year 2010.
16. PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SALARY – Prohibits new group health plans from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees. Effective six months after enactment.
17. HEALTH INSURANCE CONSUMER INFORMATION – Provides aid to states in establishing offices of health insurance consumer assistance in order to help individuals with the filing of complaints and appeals. Effective beginning in Fiscal Year 2010.
18. CREATES NEW, VOLUNTARY, PUBLIC LONGTERM CARE INSURANCE PROGRAM – Creates a long-term care insurance program to be financed by voluntary payroll deductions to provide benefits to adults who become functionally disabled. Effective on January 1, 2011.
Georgia GOP vs Thurbert Baker: Will the Impeachment Proceedings being pushed by the GOP Backfire on Them?
Here's what Baker said, respoding to Perdue's request:
Based upon my understanding of the current Act, I am unaware of any constitutional infirmities and do not think it would be prudent, legally or fiscally, to pursue such litigation. I must therefore respectfully decline your request.
While I understand that the new law is the subject of ongoing debate here in Georgia and around the nation, I do not believe that Georgia has a viable legal claim against the United States. Considering our state’s current severe budgetary crisis, with vital services like education and law enforcement being cut deeply, I cannot justify a decision to initiate expensive and time-consuming litigation that I believe has no legal merit.
In short, this litigation is likely to fail and will consume significant amounts of taxpayers’ hard-earned money in the process.
So far as many as 30 names have signed on to impeach the moderately conservative democratic Attorney General who was appointed to the seat by then-governor Zell Miller back in 1997.
Some say this maybe some kind of plot by the GOP to avoid Roy Barnes in the general election. I don't know about that.
But all of this attention maybe what the doctor ordered for Baker, who thus far has run a lackluster campaign. The decision by Baker to slap down Perdue's request will no doubt appeal & rally those "Obamacrats" toward his candidacy for governor, especially African-Americans who was lukewarm toward Thurbert Baker due in large part to the Genarlow Wilson saga a few years ago & his decision not to challenge the Voter I.D. inplemented by the GOP back in 2005.
State Senator George Hooks (D-Americus), a conservative rural democrat praised Baker's decision not to waste taxpayer money on a lawsuit against the federal government. No doubt this will raise Baker's Name I.D. leading up to the July 20 primary. If the republican-controlled legislature go forward with the impeachment proceedings, look for democrats & independent & independent-leaning democrats to rally around Thurbert Baker. This episode may finally light a fire under Baker, who seems to lack the fire & passion for a run for governor if you ask me. Stay Tuned!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
With the healthcare saga coming to a head, except for staunch critics of the legislation, now is the time for congress, namely democrats to finally push a federal balnaced budget admendment, which will require, through law, that Congress pass a federal budget that balances projected revenues and expenditures, with certain exceptions (notably, a time of war).
The growing national debt, lead by decades of deficit spending by Congress, is the main reason I say its time for a Constitutional Amendment, which would require a balanced federal budget.
Congress is spending not budgeted, as a result is being added to the national debt. The reason they are spending money they dont have is (1) they won't cut spending (2) they are afraid to raise revenue (Taxes) to pay for it. Another way for them to deal with it is to pass it off to our local governments to deal with it & you know that's a non-starter right there.
Money going down the drain
Even if Congress were to pass a balanced budget, the problems would not be over. If later in the fiscal year expenditures turn out to be greater than expected (perhaps because a recession increases claims on unemployment insurance for example),the House or Senate may fail to agree on a resolution to exceed the spending limit, or a majority may fail to approve a change in the budget to accommodate the increase. In that situation, all members of Congress might be PUT ON A GOOD SHOW OF FAITH, and yet Congress would have failed to carry out its constitutional command under the amendment.
A balnced budget admendment is the ONLY cure I see that would fix a congress unwilling to reign in its out of control spending. Our national debt is harmimg our national independence. We own foreign countires trillions & trillions of dollars.
For years now we’ve heard folks in congress talk about putting this debt on our grandkids. Forget the talk & do something about it now! It's not just democrats who are doing the spending, let's not forget the republicans not too long ago was in power & they just like the democrats now didn't give a DAMN! about the fiscal state of the U.S. There is alot of blame to go around. Now is not the time to point fingers, its time to stop this fiscal freight train before it runs off the tracks.
Thurmond shares hope at banquet
Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond offered a message of hope during a visit to Wayne County Saturday night.
For more of this story, click here:
Article by Pam Waters of The Glenville Sentinel: Colonel Chuck Sexton, Commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd ID, no stranger to deployment
Colonel Charles "Chuck" Sexton, Commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, is no stranger to deployment to the Middle East. However, now he can see the improvements in the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces, especially compared to his 15-month deployment to Iraq in 2003.
"This is still a dangerous place for our Soldiers, but not like it was in 2003. We still have losses, and if we lose one, that is a 100 percent loss to some family. It is still a lethal environment for our Soldiers," said Colonel Sexton, who talked with The Glennville Sentinel from Mousul, Iraq, Monday morning.
The area that the 6000-Soldier 2nd Brigade covers is the size of Massachusetts and Vermont, with the adding of two new provinces to the area for which they are responsible.
The population of this area is approximately 3.7 million people, said Sexton.
The 27-year Army veteran speaks from vast experience. From New York originally, Colonel Sexton is proud of the service his father gave during World War II.
Colonel Sexton is now stationed at Ft. Stewart for the third time - the first was in the early 1990s, when he was first deployed during the first Gulf War. Separations from family are a part of the Army life, and he credits his wife of 28 years, Melody, as a real trooper who stays positive and active at their home on Ft. Stewart.
"Our son, Chuck, who is 24, is also in Iraq, serving in the 82nd Division in the 2nd Airborne Division, but he is in another province. I did get to see him at Christmas," said Colonel Sexton, who left from Ft. Stewart in October of 2009 for his one-year deployment to Iraq.
The couple also have a daughter, Callie, who is 26 and is an engineer in Orlando.
The family has ties to Glennville, since they are familiar with the Glennville community. "Peggy Anderson of Glennville taught both our children at Diamond Elementary School, and after they were grown, they returned to visit her on our second time being stationed at Ft. Stewart," said Colonel Sexton, whose family has visited the Glennville Sweet Onion Festival and has fond memories of their other stations at Ft. Stewart.
The Colonel expressed the pride he has in his Soldiers and the mission they are accomplishing. "We are continuing to help the Iraqis to secure themselves, and they are getting pretty good at it. They are learning more and more how to handle the situations, and even though they still don't have a bomb disposal unit, an engineering unit, and military working dogs, they are seeing the value in getting these," said Colonel Sexton. "There is a lot at stake here, where the recent election process was new and unique for the Iraqis. They had Hussein for 35 years and then 70 years of suffering and dictatorship before him. This is a first shot on changing their own destiny," he said, and added that the election process was closely monitored by international observers.
"We take so much for granted in America, while, in Iraq, the literacy rate is so high that on the election ballots, the pictures of the candidates appeared for those who could not read or write," he said. "We often focus on the worst parts of America without first realizing what a great country we have and how privileged we are," said Colonel Sexton.
He pointed out that this new election will allow for a high probability of a transition of power, which is often not seen in that part of the world.
"The Iraqis already seem to have a strong sense of nationalism. It's the only country I've seen that flies its flag as much as we do. The better trained and equipped Iraqi Security Forces and this election give the people a new hope and optimism for the future," said Colonel Sexton.
He added that U.S. troop morale is good, especially since the Soldiers can see the difference in the climate from their 2003 deployment to now.
"Their mission now is more of advise and assist, and they can see the results of what they are accomplishing. Our Soldiers are able to have more contact with families at home through e-mail, and this helps with morale. I remember in 1990 during the first Gulf War (Desert Storm) we would travel every three weeks in a five-ton truck on a two-hour ride to reach a phone center where we could get to talk for ten minutes to a family member, and then we'd have that long two-hour drive back," said Colonel Sexton.
"We can see the progress made by the Iraqi Security Forces, which is broadening every day, and our Soldiers are proud to have been a positive part of that," said Colonel Sexton.
Kingston to hold town hall meeting
Congressman Jack Kingston will hold a town hall meeting in Appling County on Tuesday, March 30 at 3:30 p.m. The meeting will be held on the 2nd floor of the Appling County Courthouse Annex located at 69 Tippins Street in Baxley.
"It's time for us to join together to form a new agenda for America's future," said Kingston. "I want to bypass the Washington establishment insiders and know-it-all pundits and start with the feelings of the American people. I hope this effort will help us brainstorm new ideas that will aid us in developing a true grassroots platform for reform."
Kingston encourages all citizens to attend and bring with them a "to d o" list with their ideas to discuss at the meeting.
Do anyone think Thomas can win in the General Election? Can she win Independents? Conservative Democrats? Moderates? Barrow has served that district well & although he voted against the bill, if the majority of voters in the district was opposed to the bill, why vote in favor of it. If Barrow loses in the primary, the republican challenger might as well start measuring the drapes.
Black backlash against health care vote looms over Barrow's re-election prospects | savannahnow.com
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
As of right now, we have on the democratic side:
Gen. David Poythress (D-Norcross) & Macon Native
State Rep DuBose Porter (D-Dublin)
Ex-Gov Roy Barnes (D-Mableton)
Mayor Carl Camon (D-Ray City)
Attorney Gen. Thurbert Baker (D-Stone Mountain)
Businesswoman Carol Porter (D-Dublin)
Ex-Dougherty Co D.A. Ken Hodges (D-Albany)
State Rep Rob Teilhet (D-Smyrna)
State Insurance Commissioner:
Ex-State Rep & Ga National Guard Veteran Mary Squires (D-Norcross)
Secretary of State:
Legislative Aide & Public Relations Executive Michael Mills (D-Atlanta)
Attorney & ex-Press Secretary to Roy Barnes Gary Horlacher (D-Peachtree City)
Lobbyist Darryl Hicks (D-Fayetteville)
Businesswoman Angela Moore (D-Dekalb County)
State Senator Gail Buckner (D-Morrow)
State Agriculture Commissioner:
No Democrats as of yet
State School Superintendent
Brian Westlake (D-Decatur)
Beth Farokhi (D-Marietta)
Let me say a couple of thing here, Carol Porter is THE candidate for the democrats for Lt. Governor. She has brought a sense of urgency to that race, a passion, a fire that has been lacking from the democratic race. She's quick on her feet, witty, has a great dept & knowledge of the issues. I support her candidacy for Lt. Governor & hopes no one else gets into this race. The other only people I would support in that race is her husband, rural democrat DuBose Porter, but for now he's in the governor's race. (I'll come back to DuBose later)
I really, really like Michael Thurmond & what he has to offer to the democratic party, but I now prefer him to stay at Labor Commissioner, since Carol Porter has developed quite a following & a loyal fan base. Would he even conside the Senate race although RJ Hadley is already a announced candidate in that race? Don't know If democrats are unsuccessful in retaking the governor's mansion in november, Thurmond would be the first in line to run for governor, or the U.S Senate in 2014.
Michael Mills is working hard on the trail & in my opinion will be the favorite to win the democratic nomination for Secretary of State. His competition may come from Darryl Hicks, who narrowly lost the nomination in 2006 to Gail Buckner, who's running again for the same position. Right now I predict a Mills-Hicks runoff (if Hicks stays in the SOS race).
People are forgetting about Mary Squires for State Insurance Commissioner. With the healthcare saga in full swing now, this race will become a very important race for both parties. She is so far & possibly will be the only candidate to run for that position. Democrats, as well as independents better keep an eye on Squires.
State School Superintendent race between Brian Westlake & Beth Farokhi is a tossup right now. With massive cuts to our school system, this race is taking on importance as well. Farokhi has years of experience in the education arena, while Westlake who is a former marine & a educator himself is really starting to find his footing in that race. And with the endorsement of Ralph Noble & Lee Thompson, Westlake is starting to build some momentum for his campaign.
Agriculture Commissioner is the race that I'm disappointed in so far for the democrats. The odds on favorite to take the reigns of Tommy Irvin was Terry Coleman, but its very possible that Coleman will not run for that position. If that's the case, what will the democrats do? Well there was a rumor about State Senator J.B. Powell (D-Blythe) might look at that race, I haven't heard anything from powell about making such a run. Next there is Griffin Lotson, a African-American moderately conservative democrat from Darien who has expressed interest in running for that office, & maybe for State Senate 3 seat held by Jeff Chapman, who is running for governor. Lotson ran for Lt. Governor in 2006. Or the one person that would fit this office perfectly in my book, DuBose Porter. If porter were to switch races & run for that position, he would be the odds-on favorite to win in the general election against either republican challenger. I'm prepared to throw my support behind republican Darwin Carter of Bacon County if neither of those candidates are in the race.
And last the governor's race, well I like all of the candidates in the race. I will make an endorsement in this race in mid June. All bring something different to the table, but its important that democrat get this one right. Democrats first need to avoid a nasty primary fight among each other. If that can happen, then they'll be fine, if not, its 2006 all over again. But like I said, democrats must get this one right. They need a candidate that can win statewide, not just in a few traditionally democratic areas & a few surburban areas. Dems must ask themselves, who can win in rural Georgia? Who can bring home the conservative democrats? Who can appeal to independents? Who can win the swing counties in the state? Whoever can build that type of coalition will become the next governor of Georgia. Enough said!
Read: Privatization bill defeated in Ga. House - Atlanta Business Chronicle:
Rep. Lee Thompson is quoted as saying," Brian would make an outstanding State School Superintendent. His experience as a classroom teacher, common sense and intelligence would serve the State of Georgia well."
"I am humbled to have the support of Rep. Thompson. I look forward to working with him as we solve Georgia's education problems." Westlake replied in response to the endorsement.
Former U.S. Marine and current classroom teacher, Brian Westlake is seeking the Democratic nomination for State School Superintendent.
Brian holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and a Master of Science Degree in Sociology from Florida State University. He also received a Juris Doctor from Georgia State University's College of Law and a Master of Public Administration from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.
What characterizes this anti-government hostility is a shared belief that Obama and his administration actually pose a threat to the future of the United States. Some accuse Obama of plotting to bring socialism to the United States, while others claim he will bring about Nazism or fascism. All believe that Obama and his administration will trample on individual freedoms and civil liberties, due to some sinister agenda, and they see his economic and social policies as manifestations of this agenda. In particular anti-government activists used the issue of health care reform as a rallying point, accusing Obama and his administration of dark designs ranging from “socialized medicine” to “death panels,” even when the Obama administration had not come out with a specific health care reform plan. Some even compared the Obama administration’s intentions to Nazi eugenics programs.
Some folks say some of these assertions, are motivated by prejudice, but more common is an intense strain of anti-government distrust and anger, colored by a streak of paranoia and belief in conspiracies. These sentiments are present both in mainstream and “grass-roots” movements as well as in extreme anti-government movements. Ultimately, this anti-government anger, if it continues to grow in intensity and scope, may result in an increase in anti-government extremists and the potential for a rise of violent anti-government acts (like the guy who flew a airplane into the IRS Building down in Texas).
The angry protests at town hall meetings seemed to give a “green light” to expressions of anti-government and anti-Obama hostility, as when South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson shouted “You lie!” to Obama himself during a speech to Congress in September. Tea Party events in September, especially a large rally in Washington, D.C., itself, were characterized by extreme sentiments, including Nazi images, racist imagery, and imagery that implicitly or explicitly promoted violence. Other events held across the country saw such high level of anger directed at the president as well
Two attorneys, Philip Berg of Pennsylvania and Orly Taitz of California, have been particularly active in spreading the “birther” arguments, as has an on-line right-wing newspaper, World Net Daily. Birthers” claim that Obama is not a legitimate president because he allegedly was not born in the United States (as the Constitution requires), but rather in Kenya. (Obama was born in 1962 in Hawaii, Hawaii became a state in 1959), so that should put that argument to rest, but it has not.
At events like the Tea Parties & others, and later sequels, anti-government sentiments and conspiracy theories accuse, with a common theme being that somehow Obama had “stolen” the country from Americans & last summer, when a various anti-government protests and disruptions occurred at town hall meetings organized by senators and representatives across the country to discuss healthcare reform. These events became a hot bed for anti-Obama protests and stunts, with some protesters angrily launching verbal attacks against the president as well as other officeholders.
And now calls for the president to be assassinated are growing & now his family are being target as well. If all of these actions keep up, there is a very strong likelihood that some will try to harm the president, the first family, or even try some evil act towards the government. I'm don't condone violence against anyone & I don't get caught up in wild, crazy, off-the-wall accusations by a few. As a christian man & a young deacon, I pray for them as well as others who are subject to the threats of a few wackos out there.
Civility has gone out the window. I just hope it comes back soon before its too late. I'm very disturbed by what I see right now in the U.S. Where is the middle?
Monday, March 22, 2010
Continue to read: Southern Georgia districts brace for power shift | Jacksonville.com
“Sometimes you just have to take a stand,” Dukes, a Democrat who is serving his 14th year as representative of some 45,000 Dougherty and Baker County citizens, said in a recent conversation
Continue to read: Dukes ‘leases’ state House seat
All of Georgia's Republican GOP congressmen voted against the measure, while the democratic congressman was split: John Barrow & Jim Marshall voted against the measure, while John Lewis, (who was called a n---r by a unruly protestor), David Scott, Hank Johnson & Sanford Bishop voted in favor of the measure. (More on Bishop later).
Now I am not a supporter of the bill due to its uncertainty & misconceptions of the bill by supporters & opponents of the legislation. Some has called this the end of American as we know it, to America is now a "Socialist" Country, all sorts of accusations to the bill. Some libs compared it to the 1965 Civil Rights Bill passed by LBJ. I won't go that far in that comparison, but it is a monumental piece of legislation that will have far-reaching affects, both positive & negative, in my opinion.
Speaking from someone with a rural point of view, if this bill helps improve healthcare for rural Georgia & rural America as whole, then more power to the bill, but like I said, I'm not in favor of the bill. It could have been done in a more effective, bi-partisan way (although there are over 200 GOP amendments to the legislation), but still something this far-reaching should have included both sides.
My Rural Point of View:
Rural Georgia & America as a whole 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 folks have lower rates of employer-provided benefits and are more likely to be underinsured or uninsured for longer periods of time. The thousands of people in Rural Georgia & millions in Rural America, are most in need of health care system reform
Rural Georgians & Americans are somewhat older and have lower incomes compared to the rest of the state. This demonstrates greater need in rural communities, and confirms why rural residents – particularly those in remote rural areas – are more dependent on public forms of health insurance and health care & the affordability challenge is even greater for low- and moderate-income individuals and families.
Health care is also a major barrier to rural economic development that creates genuine opportunity and reduces poverty. But if small entrepreneurs cannot gain affordable access to health care for themselves or their employees, that path out of poverty is blocked. Any hope of building genuine economic opportunity for struggling rural Georgians, as well as Americans, through entrepreneurship must be accompanied by reforming the health care system in a way that benefits both small business owners and their employees.
Again, these are my opinions.
I have no idea how this will play out, so I'll take a wait & see approach to this bill. I know staunch critics of the bill says it's a takeover of government, (I thought the public option was the govermnent takeover of healthcare), but Gov't will have a increased role in our healthcare system, I tell you right now. They say it weakens small businesses, we will see about that as well, they say this is marxist, communist, I don't believe none of that off-the-wall nonsense at all.
I applaud Jim Marshall & John Barrow for voting against the bill. These mne wnat to see healthcare reformed in the worst way, just not this way with this bill. Sanford Bishop, well, he will most definitely be targeted by the NRCC for this vote, although it is a strong democratic district, which is 48% African-American.
But he has had strong opposition to his votes for both healthcare bills, as well as the Cap & Trade Bill he voted on last yr as well, mainly from the southern part of the district south of Albany. I will tell any republican right now, Bishop will be extremely hard to beat here, but given the mood of the opposition for this piece of legislation & for congress as a whole, anything is possible.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Cagle had three years in office to head off the budget mess. At this rate he should have the state’s transportation, education and water problems fixed in time for the 2024 Olympics. The task force is representative of elite interests, and therefore unable to fully gauge the impact of their recommendations on everyday Georgians. There were no minority voices on the task force — nor were there any educators, doctors, farmers or small business owners. The task force is not representative of Georgia — it is representative of Cagle’s campaign donors. It seems you only belong in Cagle's Georgia if you work for a firm that cuts big checks for campaigns
Porter goes on to say that lawmakers can’t continue to cut education and expect the state to prosper. She’s surprised “Cagle and his allies aren’t showing up in schools to shake down fifth graders for their milk money.
Porter is referring to the Blue-Ribbon Budget Task Force that Cagle is pushing, among other things
Here's Balfour statement:
Being a congressman has been something I thought I wanted to do. Needless to say, when John Linder announced that he was not running for re-election, I jumped at the opportunity to be the new voice of leadership. However, for the past three weeks, I have not been at peace about this decision. I feel this is an appropriate time to let all my supporters know that I will also not be seeking reelection for the 9th district senate seat.”
With that being said, you can say that State Rep Clay Cox (R-Lilburn) is the perceived frontrunner, or is there a chance that a democrat will qualify for the race. Stay Tuned!
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Hadley, the former chief of staff for Rockdale County, is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Johnny Isakson. Hadley is running as a Democrat, but he says he has been crisscrossing the state talking to Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Party groups and others.
“I go where they invite me. I don’t mind going somewhere where people disagree with me,” he said. “Ultimately, all the groups are talking about government that works, and they all want a government that works for us. And I think we can all agree we don’t have that now.”
Hadley notes that Georgia ranks near the top of the nation in foreclosures and bankruptcies and has a high proportion of its population living below the poverty line. He calls that “unacceptable.”
He said his campaign will focus on jobs, education and small business, which he says are all related.
He says education is key to attracting companies and good jobs. He says he’d like to see stronger math and science education, but he acknowledges that education is primarily a local and state issue. He says he’d like the federal government to encourage states to compete to find innovative ways to educate children by offering them funding for practices that are shown to work.
He says the government must find ways to help small businesses create more jobs by getting them the credit they need to expand. He says he isn’t sure exactly what needs to be done to do that but he’ll work with community banks to get credit flowing.
Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, Hadley graduated from Dartmouth College and was a social worker before getting involved in software development. He served as a Barack Obama delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He and his wife have five children.
Charles Oliver, Dalton Daily Citizen
Despite warnings for the past two years that revenues were going to be in serious decline, current Lt. Governor, Casey Cagle assembled a task force at the beginning of this year. There were numerous warnings from economists of the looming budget crisis, yet he only acted after a year of declining revenues.
Continue to read: http://carolporter4ga.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/cagle-had-three-years-in-office-to-head-off-the-budget-mess/
Michael Frisbee (D-Douglasville) will challenge David Scott (D) for the 13th Congressional District in the July 20 Primary. Frisbee was runing as a independent, but switch to run as a Conservative Democrat (New Liberty Democrat).
Michael grew up in rural Pennsylvania, oldest of three, and son to a Construction Supervisor and Viet Nam Vet (Marine Corps) and a mother deeply involved in her community church. His parents instilled the character of hard work, personal responsibility, a respect for all life , and a deep appreciation for his Christian Faith.
Over the past 22 years, he has managed and owned a few businesses. He understands the difficulties that small business owners face in today's terrible economy. He also understands the plight of all American's trying to make ends meet when there are few jobs, and living costs are constantly growing.
He continued each election season as a volunteer for many Republican candidates until 1992, when he helped the 1992 effort to get Ross Perot on the Pennsylvania Ballot.
Ten yrs ago, he chose to work politically as a Conservative Independent. In 2004 he joined the Constitution Party and served a a Regional Director and then State Secretary for the North Carolina state affiliate, and then in 2006 after a move to Kentucky, served as their Second Congressional District Chairman.
Michael helped coordinate the End The Federal Reserve Rally in Atlanta, Georgia at the end of November 2008. It was after this event he chose to launch Constitutional Elections USA, a grass roots alliance of Conservative & Libertarian voters, movements, and parties whose main goal was to get Independent Candidates on the 2010 and 2012 Election Ballots across this nation. Michael belongs to the American Conservative Party.
Mike's platform consist of Job Creation & Education.
He has been endorsed by groups such as Can-Do Conservatives of America, a grassroots voice for disabled conservative Americans & RightMarch PAC.
Meet Shawn James, candidate for House District 75, which comprises portions of Clayton & Fayette Couties. James is a conservative democrat who is vying to unseat Ron Dodson a general contractor for the seat.
James was born in Chicago & also grew up in Mt. Pleasant South Carolina & then went into the U.S. Army, where he served in Operation Desert Storm.
Currently, Shawn is president and real estate investor of James, Fuller & Associates.
James attends Open Word Christian Ministries church located in Fairburn, Georgia, where he have been an active member for several years and also involved in the community, serving on several local organizations such as Veterans Support Services Organization (V.S.S.O, which provides military assistance to veterans & their dependents.
Some of his issues he's running on are Crime, Ethics, Transportation just to name a few. His website is www.shawnjamesforchange.com
Attorney General Candidate Rob Teilhet unveiled today a major component of his campaign platform, a new Child Protection Unit within the Office of Attorney General, and the continuation of his YouTube series, “Teilhet TV: Inside Georgia”—the first of which is dedicated to his proposed measure to protect children on the internet. His latest installment can be viewed HERE.
“There is no limit on how hard we can fight for our children’s safety,” said Representative Teilhet. “As an elected official, an attorney and most importantly- father of two little girls, I know that we can—we must—do more to protect Georgia’s kids.”
Teilhet’s proposed Child Protection Unit within the Attorney General’s office will coordinate and participate in the investigation and prosecution against those that harm children. Teilhet’s Child Protection Unit will also promote policy to prevent crime targeted at and perpetuated by youth in Georgia.
“You must have a two-pronged approach,” said Teilhet. “We cannot afford an Attorney General who thinks that his job starts after a crime has been committed. We need to start at the beginning. This means investing in our kids, giving them a real chance to succeed as well as expanding and enforcing our laws regarding crimes against children and cracking down on those who break them.”
Teilhet has introduced and supported measures to protect Georgia’s children and families since first elected in 2002. Just this year, he authored two strong pieces of crime prevention legislation. Teilhet’s “Johnia Berry Act,” HB 1033, would expand Georgia’s DNA database by collecting a simple cheek-swab sample from felony arrestees while collecting fingerprints and mug shots. Twenty-one other states and the federal government have passed similar measures and research indicates that such a law will actually prevent murders and rapes from happening in our state. The bill is named for Gwinnet residents Joan and Michael Berry’s daughter Johnia, who was brutally murdered several years ago. DNA led to the murderer’s arrest.
Teilhet is also the author of ‘E-STOP,” HB 1290. This legislation would allow the GBI to give a list of registered sex offenders to popular online social networking websites, like Facebook and MySpace, who would then ban the offenders from creating a profile. Teilhet’s newest YouTube video explains this bill and why protecting our kids online is paramount to his campaign.
“I can promise this, as Attorney General, no one in the nation will go after predators who are trying to hurt our children as hard as I will. I will make Georgia the toughest state in the country to commit crimes against our kids,” said Teilhet. “Law enforcement, the GBI and prosecutors around the state will have the full backing of the Attorney General’s office. And we will work together to develop and support sound policy to prevent crime from happening in the first place.”
Gwen Keyes Fleming has announced her endorsement of Ken Hodges (D) to be Georgia’s next Attorney General.
“It takes a real dedication to the law to achieve what Ken Hodges has achieved, inside the courtroom and out. I admire him for it,” Fleming said. “His record of victim’s advocacy and his experience as a prosecutor are what Georgians should expect from an Attorney General. Ken’s got my full support.”
Fleming was sworn into the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office in 2005. She has also served in the office of the DeKalb County Solicitor-General, to which she won election in 1998.
Fleming’s announcement comes on the heels of the February 24 statement from Thomas E. Brown -- also of DeKalb County -- naming Ken Hodges as “the best pick to be Georgia’s top prosecutor and chief law enforcer.”
“It means the world to me, as a prosecutor, to have the support of a professional like Gwen Fleming,” Hodges said. “There’s a balance between being tough on crime and smart on crime. Gwen gets that. It shows in the work she’s done with teen mentoring workshops, and with pre-trial diversion programs that give first-time offenders a second chance, just like the New Heights program my office established in Albany.”
“I’m thankful for Gwen’s leadership and support,” Hodges said.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Long-shot bills help Dems swing right - James Hohmann - POLITICO.com
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
This weekend I traveled to South Georgia and heard the needs of the parents and teachers of our rural communities. It was shocking to hear what is going on in many of our state's school systems.
I heard stories of bus routes that will be eliminated because of budget cuts. In one case, a school will no longer be able to pick up a child in the morning because he lives too far into the Okefenokee Swamp.
I listened to proud parents talk about how their child is excelling in the local 4-H program--only to fear that it won't be around next year.
Most troubling was the school closings. Not the prospect of such closings, but the actual shutting of the doors. I am speaking of the Ware County School of Agricultural, Forestry and Environmental Sciences, a magnet school that was named one of the nation's top performing schools in 2009 and is in the top ten for test scores in the state, but which will now be closed due to financial reasons. In 2007, firefighters fought back the flames of a forest fire trying to save this school. Now, just three years later, their efforts are lost, and the doors of that public school will be shut for good.
That local superintendents have to consider such decisions is a testament to just how damaging the years of cuts have been for our public school systems.
What I heard most often was confusion about the lack of leadership at the state level. "I don't understand what's going on. Why did Kathy Cox let it get to this point? She is doing nothing," said one Clinch County teacher.
School closings, teacher furloughs, and successful school programs being eliminated: this is the legacy of our current state school superintendent.
In a hastily crafted response to this outpouring of support for education in Georgia, Cameron Fash, the Chairman of the Georgia Young Republicans, attempts to establish the argument for dismantling the University System of Georgia advocated by State Senators Seth Harp, Don Balfour and others. He failed.
We also hope that Mr. Fash, who shows his dislike for publically funded education, doesn't drive on publically funded roads, or attended any publically funded high schools or colleges, or ever attended any events in publically funded arenas, etc. You see, what Mr. Fash and others fail to realize is that just because it's funded by the public doesn't make it evil.
The HOPE Scholarship does not cover the full cost of college. While it is an asset and benefit of the state, its perpetual funding is in jeopardy, and therefore failing to meet the goals that it was established for. College tuition is not cheap; many Georgians work late-night jobs, take out student loans, and so forth in order to pay for their education. People such as Cameron Fash, who disregard the struggles of Georgia's working and middle classes, are prime examples of why Georgia needs more funding for higher education, not less.
A better educated Georgia will mean better paying jobs for Georgians. No international corporation is going to look at a state slashing education left and right, be it secondary or higher education, and say "that's where I want to take my business."
We will continue losing job opportunities to those who value education more than us until we realize that the only solution to Georgia's long-term economic struggles are to invest in a world-class secondary and higher education system.
The Young Democrats of Georgia will continue to work with a broad coalition of everyday Georgians working to ensure the survival of our educational system, while the Chairman of the Georgia Young Republicans will wait out the struggle with Seth Harp and Don Balfour in Glenn Beck's Fear Chamber.
Education is under attack - stand up, fight back!
Jane Bradshaw, President, Young Democrats of Georgia
Steve Golden, Chief of Staff, Young Democrats of Georgia
Trevor Southerland, Vice President of Finance, Young Democrats of Georgia
"We understand there are problems," she said. "But what a lot of people don't understand is that there are only a few students not meeting the mark."
Public concern has been growing with JCHS on its fifth year not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and this year being put into Needs Improvement year three status.
"That's not reflective of what we've been doing," Kemp said.
Teachers were frustrated to hear Twiggs County High School — with just 68.5 percent of students scoring a 516 or higher on the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) — made AYP while JCHS did not. The bar for 2009 was 74.9 percent.
"Twiggs made AYP last year because of the 'safe harbor' provision of NCLB, which means if your scores improve 10 percent over the previous year, you've met AYP," Kemp said.
Twiggs had just 53.4 percent of all students passing in 2008, making the school a candidate for safe harbor.
In comparison, JCHS went from 79.3 percent of all students passing in 2008 to 76.2 in 2009, both above the Annual Measurable Objective (AMO).
"That's great for Twiggs," Kemp said, "but our bar is so much higher because of our past performance."
As if that isn't tough enough, the process of changing the curriculum to new Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) by the state is throwing ma th teachers a curveball for next year since they are not even sure yet what the material will be for juniors.
Just one question makes the difference
More than 90 percent of JCHS students taking the math portion of the graduation test for the first time passed last year. The problem is the federal government has set a higher standard than passing.
"The U.S. Department of Education decided that our test wasn't hard enough under the current curriculum," Kemp said. "So, they decided students needed a score of 516 or higher out of 600."
Currently, students only need to score a 500 to pass the test and be ready to receive their diploma.
The obvious frustration for teachers and administration is the number of students who score between 500 and 515.
According to Instructional Coach Mary Frances Stewart, around 12 students scored a 514 or 515 last year.
"Sometimes it comes down to one question, " she said.
This disparity is also the reason that, while 78 percent of black students graduated, compared to 75.3 percent of all students, those same students are part of a subpopulation that has put JCHS in trouble. Just 61.9 percent of the same black students made a score of 516 or higher on the math portion of the graduation test, falling short of the 74.9 percent bar set by the state.
"They pass the test, so they can graduate," Stewart said. "They just score between a 500 and 515, so they're not counted as passing for AYP."
"They're with us, they're trying," Stewart said about high school juniors taking the test. "We've had a lot of them who scored between 500 and 515 come back for the summer retest."
Last school year was the first that schools could count summer retesting into their AYP figures.
Kemp said, with just two weeks before the test on March 29, she is re viewing all four strands of material on the graduation test with her juniors.
"They've already seen the material," she said. "There is a lot of computation, geometry, data analysis and statistics. One-third of the test is over material they learned in middle school. They just need to see it again."
She said some of her Algebra 2 students, who are on the college preparatory path, need the review more than students in juniors' other option, Applied Math.
"The standards for Applied Math are geared toward material on the graduation test because they are all test-takers," she said. "The biggest weaknesses seem to be in geometry, so we've been focusing a lot on that."
Students can also use a website, www.usatestprep.com, to work extra problems and see sample test questions.
"They can login, work problems, and e-mail me the results," Kemp said.
Stewart said the school's 21st century comp uter lab has been made available to students after hours.
"Students will be able to go to the lab Monday through Thursday, 3:30-4:30 p.m., and a tutor will be available," she said. "Each of the four days will have a tutor from a different subject so students can get the help they need."
Stewart said 84 students have been identified as most at risk based on previous test scores.
"These students have been placed in advisement periods with math teachers," she said. "We have to find opportunities during the day to work with students because not all of them have transportation or computers at home."
Kemp said teachers also have to be sensitive to the fact that there are three other subjects on the graduation test.
"Math isn't their only subject, so we have to make sure they have time to work on other areas of the test," she said. "Most students appreciate what we're doing, though. They want the hi ghest scores possible."
Kemp said principal Chuck Gibson has been going around to classrooms to tell students how important a score of 516 is to them and the school.
"He's likely to just sit down next to a student during class and ask them to show him how to work a problem," she said. "He has also bought 112 test prep books and made sure calculators are available for students."
Outside the classroom
Stewart was proud to say a graduation test trivia night March 2 turned out more students and parents than expected.
"Our PIT (Performance Improvement Team) put together a spaghetti supper," she said. "Students made reservations, and we expected about 300. We ended up serving about 375."
A round of trivia competition between tables was held for each portion of the graduation test. Students weren't the only ones having a good time.
"Parents got just as excited, jumping up to turn in their answers," Stewart said. "I think they really had their eyes opened about what their kids are up against with these tests."
She said 138 juniors showed up and that many of the questions were ones similar to what they would see on the graduation test.
"Winners got free ice cream," Stewart said. "Juniors whose parents came will get to go to a cookout. The best part is that many of the students who came were the ones who really needed come."
Future of math at Jones County High
The school year beginning next fall will be the first one that juniors will be going through Math 3, which is part of the state's new GPS curriculum.
The new material features integrated math, which gets away from the traditional structure of one subject per year, but means new challenges for students.
"Every child is going to have to complete four years of math," Stewart said. "That means they'll be ready t o take college-level calculus when they graduate from high school."
That statement raises more questions for teachers who are preparing this year's juniors for a test for the last time with a known curriculum.
"We just got the sample curriculum," Stewart said. "We understand that the math curriculum needed to change, but the problem is how they're implementing it. It should've started in first grade."
Instead, the transition to GPS for high school math students began in 2008, and fifth-grade students will now be learning algebra.
"Next year, the test will be Math 1-2 and part of 3," Kemp said. "The good news is that the test will be all high school material."
Students may have more than one option when it comes to Math 4, but right now, teachers and administrators have yet to be told what those options might be.
Kemp added that the material for new math classes is very data-driven, but right now, they have no data.
"They threw out the end of course test scores for Math 1," she said. "So, right now, we have no data about what information those students took to Math 2."
"Hopefully we'll get Math 1 and 2 end-of-course scores this year," Stewart added. "The state wouldn't even tell us what the problem areas were except for some very broad, statewide data."
What teachers are doing
The new curriculum means teachers have to participate in more professional learning and review their own knowledge of math.
"Last year, we worked together to plan the Math 2 courses," Kemp said. "All math teachers are going to have to be able to teach all strands of math now. Each class will be part algebra, part statistics, part geometry, part trigonometry."
Stewart and Kemp have taught Algebra 2 for years, and Kemp currently teaches calculus, but both said the new curriculum would re quire them to review areas like statistics, which has traditionally only been taught by one teacher.
Gibson has made fundamental changes to help students excel on the graduation test, including reworking the school day, starting the current year so that students have block scheduling two days a week.
"Block scheduling allows us to add classes the second semester if we need to," Kemp said. "I picked up two Math 2 support classes."
"And I started teaching two Math 1 support classes," Stewart said. "As instructional coach, I'm not even supposed to be teaching classes."
"We're very focused on math," Kemp said. "Everyone is working, from the principal to teachers and students."
Gibson said they are trying not to let testing drive curriculum.
"You don't want to teach the test," he said. "That's not really teaching."
The principal did say, however, that tests are be coming a bigger part of education, and he is trying to accommodate that.
"Each grade is going to be testing during the graduation test week," he said. "Sophomores will be taking a practice test in preparation for the GPS model test, and seniors will be taking the Georgia Work Ready test."
Gibson said he wasn't sure how much more focused the school could be on improvement, and his soldiers on the education front agreed.
"If there's anything we're not doing, it's because we haven't thought of it yet," Stewart said.
An economic upturn was the topic at Wayne Countyâ€™s second annual Economic Outlook Luncheon Thursday at Altamaha Technical College.
Dr. Don Mathews, an economist from the College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, was able to shed positive light on the regionâ€™s current condition.
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In an action packed regular meeting Tuesday evening during the Citizen’s Input portion of the agenda, the Monticello City Council listened to a barrage of comments condemning their decision to disband the police department.
Approximately 150 concerned citizens and the CNN cable news channel were present, along with Mayor Glenn Newsome and all members of the Council.
Juanita Davis, President of the local chapter of the NAACP told the Council they had dealt a great disservice to the community by disbanding the police force and that no consideration was given by them before taking this action.
She also questioned the accuracy of the city’s budget and called for an internal audit with citizen input. Ms. Davis went on to demand the council rescind its order to abandon the police department.
Nicky Womack also questioned the integrity of the budget and said the council could have cut in other areas instead of disbanding the police department, which was self serving. Ms. Womack also demanded the decision be rescinded and a vote taken to reinstate the department.
Kimberly Witcher said there is no one to direct traffic at the schools now and it takes twice as long to get your child to and from school.
Tibia Williams said since they cut the police department her 15 year old daughter can’t sleep at night and is afraid to go out. Ms. Williams also said she was begging for the department to be reinstated and that she felt she had been abandoned by the council.
Lottie Norris said she has lived here for 75 years and never thought she would live to see our police department snatched away from us, and that a large percent of our citizens are older and need the police. She went on to say we have to find a way to keep our police department because this is bad and it looks bad on us. “Please try to get our police force back and don’t let Monticello go down like this,” she said.
At the conclusion of the Citizen’s Input Councilperson Molly Pompey immediately made a motion to reinstate the department with eight officers and one staff person and that the Power Cost Adjustment be appraised each month by the Council.
Councilperson Bryan Standifer seconded the motion and the mayor called for discussion.
Councilperson Katherine Alexander asked Mrs. Pompey how much her proposal would cost and where would the funds to pay for it come from? She then said Mrs. Pompey and the mayor pro tem had served on a budget committee with her and that she had been screaming about this problem for a year and a half, and it was not something new, that it was $750,000.
She added that the council could tax the citizens or raise their utilities, or they could cut the police department. Ms. Alexander went on to say she would be willing for anyone to inspect the budget, and that if anyone wanted an internal audit it would cost $19,000.
The decision to move nuclear reactor components by railroad was made by the Westinghouse/Shaw Consortium, which is under contract to design and construct the new units. Southern Company was notified of the decision in January, according to spokesperson Beth Thomas
Continue reading: Reactors won’t be rolling on the river
Monday, March 15, 2010
Washington engages in the grandest fraud on jobs. The people are led to believe that tax cuts stimulate growth and jobs and that borrowing and spending money stimulates jobs.
I'll never forget as Chairman of the Budget Committee briefing Ronald Reagan with Alan Greenspan in the Blair House just before Reagan was sworn in as President. The economy was not good, and I can hear Reagan exclaiming now: "I promised to balance the budget in a year, and there's no way to do it." I explained it would take three years, and I would be glad to help in a bi-partisan effort to try to bring it in balance. The rest is history. President Reagan launched the policy of "growth" to stimulate the economy by cutting taxes, giving the United States its first trillion dollar debt in his first term, with another trillion dollar growth in debt in his second term. President George W. Bush, bragging that he was a Reaganite, stimulated the economy by cutting taxes, which increased the national debt $5 trillion. Instead of growth, the economy lost 673,000 private jobs in eight years under President George W. Bush.
Elected President in November 1992, then Governor Clinton was told in Little Rock by Wall Street and its economists that he not only had to cut spending, but had to increase taxes. Taking office, President Clinton submitted an energy tax increase that was killed in the United States Senate by the farmers. Then we moved desperately to repair our defeat in the Senate with a package of tax increases on everything -- income, beer, tobacco, even Social Security. This tax increase passed both the House and the Senate without a single Republican vote in 1993, with Vice President Gore breaking the tie. Wall Street was given predictability, and the United States enjoyed its strongest economy in history, giving President George W. Bush surpluses "as far as the eye can see."
With spending cuts and tax increases, President Bill Clinton created 21,814,000 private jobs in eight years, more than Reagan, Papa Bush and Junior Bush created in twenty years with tax cuts for "growth." And in the last eighteen months, Paulson, Obama, and the Federal Reserve have borrowed and spent over $2.5 trillion stimulating the economy. But the only growth experienced is in debt, and we're still losing jobs.
We lost one-third of our manufacturing jobs during President George W. Bush's eight-year term. Corporate America was rushing pell-mell to China. With a stimulated economy, a manufacturer going to the bank for a loan, the first question the banker asks is: "Can your product meet the China price?" If not, no matter how innovative the product, someone will go to China in a couple of years and import the same article at a lower price, putting you out of business and making the bank lose on its loan. Today, it doesn't pay to produce in the United States.
"With spending cuts and tax increases, President Bill Clinton created 21,814,000 private jobs in eight years, more than Reagan, Papa Bush and Junior Bush created in twenty years with tax cuts for "growth." And in the last eighteen months, Paulson, Obama, and the Federal Reserve have borrowed and spent over $2.5 trillion stimulating the economy. But the only growth experienced is in debt, and we're still losing jobs."
-- Ernest F. Hollings
An important part of the job fraud is to make the people feel like the loss of jobs is due to the recession, not off-shoring. Long before the recession, South Carolina lost its textile industry; North Carolina lost its furniture industry; Detroit its automobile industry, and California its computer industry, etc. President Obama wants to increase exports, but we have nothing to export. Today, the United States has the export profile of an eighteenth century colony, with the only value added products exported being chemicals, agriculture and airplanes. Last week The Wall Street Journal announced that the largest chemical producer in the United States was off-shoring. Most of the job loss is from off-shoring, not the recession. But Washington acts as if nothing can be done to limit the off-shoring and protect our economy.
Globalization has developed into a trade war with production looking for the cheapest country to produce, with fierce competition for industry and jobs. Necessarily, every country has developed an industrial policy in this competition to protect its economy. Alexander Hamilton, in his famous "Report on Manufacturers," founded the United States in a trade war with an industrial policy of protective tariffs that financed and built this country into an industrial power. We had the only industry after World War II. To spread capitalism, we instituted the Marshall Plan to develop industry and jobs in Europe and the Pacific Rim. At the same time, we enhanced our industrial policy with trade laws to protect our economy. But President Obama and Congress act as if these trade laws and policies don't exist. They would have the people think that all we can do is stimulate the economy to supplant job loss from the recession. Trade laws and policies should be enforced to make it profitable once again to produce in the United States; to limit off-shoring, and protect our economy. In globalization, off-shoring can't be stopped, but off-shoring of essentials must be limited to prevent the economy from being destroyed.
President Obama and the Congress should immediately take the following steps:
1. Suffering a $5.8 trillion dollar trade deficit in the last ten years, President Obama should levy a 10% surcharge on imports like President Nixon did in 1971.
2. Don't wait for a basic industry to go bankrupt like General Motors, but once production is endangered, institute import quotas or tariffs under Section 201 of the Trade Act.
3. Activate the 1950 War Production Act reauthorized as the Defense Production Act of 2009 (S.1677). This requires the nation to have a ready supply of materiel necessary for our national security. Today, we can't go to war save the favor of some foreign country for supplies. Stop the off-sets for military sales and activate this law and policy, creating millions of jobs. President Kennedy used this law in 1961 to launch his 7-point program, saving the textile industry. Hearings before a Cabinet Committee determined that next to steel, textiles were the second most important to our economy. The Committee found in 1961 that "we can't go to war in Japanese uniforms."
4. Stop subsidizing off-shoring and cancel the exemption of off-shore profits unless repatriated.
5. Stop equivocating on "Buy American" and institute a "buy domestic" program like other countries competing in globalization.
6. President Obama can boost exports, pay for health reform and start paying down the debt by replacing the corporate income tax with a 5% VAT. Three percent will more than replace the revenues from the corporate income tax; 1% will pay for health reform, and 1% will start paying down the debt. The ox is in the ditch. We don't have time for a study commission.
I suggested canceling the corporate tax and replacing it with a 5% VAT to the Administration a year ago. It's a winner, but the President refuses to act. Why? To begin with, President Obama is inexperienced on trade and does generally what Larry Summers advises. Larry Summers is of the bail-out and bonus crowd, and he and Wall Street insist on continuing off-shore profits. They could care less about the United States economy. So Summers' and the Democrats' favorite economist, Paul Krugman, give the silent treatment to the off-shoring of investment, research, development, technology, production and jobs. They act as if nothing can be done to limit the off-shoring and strengthen our economy. The CEOs of Corporate America are interested also in continuing off-shore profits so they and their entities, such as the Business Roundtable, the United States Chamber of Commerce, and Americans for Tax Reform, oppose any move to compete in globalization. Any move by the President and Congress to compete is met with chants: "Free trade," "Protectionism," "Don't start a trade war." Like Tom Donahue of the U. S. Chamber, Corporate America threatens to cut off contributions.
The United States is not organized for profit, but for the common good. Under Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, Congress is charged with regulating foreign commerce and protecting our economy. The Constitution also requires all trade measures to originate in the House of Representatives. So members of the Senate are given a free ride. They give trade and the economy the silent treatment - and get the contributions. And Members of the House are not about to introduce a trade measure to create jobs and protect our economy unless approved by the White House. House Members also give off-shoring jobs the silent treatment and get the contributions. Nothing gets done.
One grand fraud!
Senator Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of the recently published book, Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).
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