Friday, August 31, 2007

Carter-Edwards Event Photo Essay

For your weekend viewing pleasure, click below to see a photo essay of the Carter-Edwards event in Americus.

video

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All of What Porter Said

Below is Dubose Porter's unedited press release in response to Sonny and company applying GOP funny math to SAT scores. If there argument were applied to, say, tax revenue, then if Georgia took in less money, but other states took in even less, thus maintaining our comparative ranking, that would be cause for celebration. Its' one thing to disagree about policy, but these guys are spinning so hard, who can trust them anymore? How can you make the case that a decline in SAT scores is a good thing???? Here's what Porter had to say:

I think I may have hit a truth nerve. I think this because our Governor responded to my comments regarding his massive public relations campaign concerning SAT scores by releasing one of the finest public relations pieces to ever come out of his office. Since I also called on the people to become more engaged in deciphering the truth from this spin regarding education, I thought when I responded I would do so by highlighting a few of the tactics used in his latest press release as a primer.

1. Always, always crucify the messenger first.
The Governor's release- "For more than 130 years, Democrats like DuBose Porter and his pessimistic friends presided over an educational system..."

Only in the deepest world of "Spinning P.R." would you call someone a name that would also apply to yourself. You all did know our Governor was a part of the 130 year legacy he is bashing? Does he? Of course, but he didn't think anyone would be fed up enough to take the heat that comes from speaking truth to power.

2. Misconstrue while making it look like the messenger insulted someone (preferably a large group.)
The Governor's release- "Representative Porter's comments yesterday were disrespectful and insulting to Georgia teachers, administrators, parents, and most of all, our high school students, who have worked hard to improve their SAT scores over the last four years."

What I said had nothing to do with the ability of the teachers, administrators, parents or the students. What I said had to do with the cuts the Governor made that took away the tools to teach. The greatest lumberjack in the world can't cut down a tree with a hundred dollar bill when they need a chainsaw.

3. When facts fail call the messenger names.
The Governor's release- "…his comment 'I'm not surprised. This is exactly the result I was expecting…' is indicative of his bigotry of low expectations"
What exactly does that mean? When he cut tools to teach, learning suffered. Did he mean I am a bigot of instructional money???? Who knows, but it sure did sound bad.

4. Say something that can't be researched.
The Governor's release- "and a culture of negativity among Democrats."

Where was that poll taken and was that before or after the Governor was a Democrat?

5. Be willing to link unrelated ideas if necessary.
The Governor's release- "His reference to a 'massive public relations campaign' minimizes the hours, weeks and months of hard work and effort that Georgia teachers, students and parents have put forth to result in closing the gap with the national average."

My calling attention to the massive public relations campaign glossing over the negative results of cuts to education minimizes the work of teachers, students, and parents exactly how? I think they are doing amazingly well with 1.3 billion dollars less in the state's education budget.

6. Be willing to distort the heck out of the statistics.
The Governor's release- "Today, four and a half years after I was elected, Georgia is steadily closing the gap on the SAT national average. Since 2003 the gap between Georgia and the national average has shrunk by one-third, from a 42 point gap to only 28 points."

Overall, the nation's graduating class of 2007 averaged the lowest math and reading SAT scores since 1999 and Georgia's average dropped 5 points from last year. Everybody does worse, but the gap narrows and in the world of massive P.R. this is turned into a positive.

7. If something good does happen use it even if you worked to cripple its effects.
The Governor's release, "Georgia's minority students are even outpacing their counterparts around the nation with higher scores in most areas of the test."

That's great. But this same governor backed and implemented a criteria change for grade eligibility designed to prevent a large number of these same minority students from receiving the H.O.P.E. scholarship. It went into effect this fall and also cuts out a large number of our majority students from H.O.P.E. scholarship money. Lottery funds are at all time high.

8. Show a fact that looks good and means nothing.
The Governor's release- "In terms of participation rates, Georgia public schools beat the national average by 20 percentage points. Approximately 66 percent of public school students in Georgia take the SAT while an average of only 42 percent of public school students nationwide take the SAT."

If more people are taking it, it has just as much a possibility of going up as down. (Unless you have maybe- "bigotry of lower expectations"???) Regardless, we went down 5 points from our own score last year.

9. Half-truths are always effective.
The Governor's release- "Georgia teachers continue to be the highest paid in the Southeast."

Because of the Governor's changes to the State Health Benefit Plan, teacher's health insurance takes up a larger amount of their salary. The net effect is that in many cases the take home pay is actually less than before.

10. If need be, take credit for things that haven't even happened.
The Governor's release- "Thanks to our high school and middle school graduation coaches, our graduation rates have increased by almost eight points."

I also support graduation coaches, but it is just too soon to calculate its actual effect. If you have to be 16 to drop out and the program has only been in place for one year, how can you take credit for students not dropping out when they couldn't have dropped out yet, even if they had wanted.

11. When all else fails just say something positive and run.
The governor's release- "As I said yesterday, despite all our gains, I will not be satisfied with Georgia's SAT scores or ranking until these indicators become a true reflection of the quality of education that is being provided to students in our state every day."

… despite all our gains? Our Governor oversaw cuts in the state education budget of 1.3 billion, cuts of eligibility to H.O.P.E by almost a third, cuts to teacher's take home pay, cuts in score results… and these are gains? No, what that is, is a massive public relations campaign.

If enough light is focused on education, we can begin to see real improvement. While I would not have cut education at a time when our students have to compete in a global market, there are many positive solutions that don't require more money. However, they will only work if the public is allowed to see the truth instead of the spin. Reducing paperwork for teachers and therefore giving them more time to teach, making more effective use of our technology to speed learning, shifting the focus of learning methods to reading in the early grades and allowing stronger discipline are just a few of the changes that would move our state forward, without raising taxes- but this won't happen until we quit sugar coating reality and start dealing with it.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Passing the Baton


Today, more than 2,000 people turned out in Americus, Georgia to hear President Jimmy Carter introduce presidential hopeful, John Edwards. It was a day about synchronicity and connections. I sat with Macon City Councilman Rick Hutto, who served in the Carter Administration. Chuck and Melanie Byrd were there, returning to their alma mater, where they met. The Byrds and I were in Iowa together just ten days ago volunteering for the Edwards campaign, and today we heard stories from Betty Pope about her days as part of the Peanut Brigade. As Elizabeth would say, knots-connections.
Elizabeth Edwards and Rosalyn Carter sat on the front row during the program, occasionally leaning in to comment quietly to each other. After all, they were the only people in the room who knew what it is like to have a spouse run for President. And, on the stage, Carter and Edwards shared more in common than simply having run for President. Both are southern gentlemen, both were raised Southern Baptist, and thirty years apart both know what it's like to be underdogs in a populist quest for the White House. Today, when Edwards called on Americans to sacrifice to address our dependence on fossil fuels, I heard the echo of Carter's voice asking Americans to conserve when the gas lines were long. The right thing is not always the easy thing. The right thing is often unpopular, frequently politically incorrect-even offensive to some, but it's still the right thing.
Today, in Americus, it was as if the baton was passed, not just from Carter to Edwards, but from the generation that helped propel one Southerner to the White House to a new generation working for that same goal.
(Check back here tomorrow for video of Carter's introduction.)



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Georgia Southwestern State University Convocatio--August 29, 2007--John Edwards and Pres. Jimmy Carter were speakers...




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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New Tracking Poll: Edwards and Obama Tied

As John and Elizabeth Edwards head to Georgia for the convocation at Georgia Southwestern in Americus tomorrow, Rasmussen's daily tracking poll shows that Sen. Edwards and Sen. Obama are tied at 18% in national polling while questions about Clinton's electability continue. Edwards now leads Giuliani by 8 and Thompson by 14. Some pundits predicted that Obama would "hit a wall" by the end of summer. Is that what is happening now? I don't know, but more and more, this appears to be a race between Clinton and Edwards.

If you come to Georgia Southwestern tomorrow at noon, you can hear from Sen. Edwards. He will speak AND answer questions from those in attendance.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Cleaning Up Before the General

The exits of Rove and Gonzoles may have Democrats cheering, but this is nothing more than a little Fall cleaning, designed to gussy up the White House in time for next year's elections. And it's working. While Bush and the War in Iraq are still hugely unpopular, both are out-done by a Congress displaying a favorability rating of 18%. We need to remember that the GOP knows how to win elections. They know about the short attention span of voters and that how things appear is-when it comes to elections-more important than how things are. They're cleaning house. What are we going to do to get out own house in order before 2008?

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Want to Win? Choose Edwards

There was more good news for the Edwards campaign today. Over the last two weeks, his bold approach to issues has gotten sharper, and even more bold as he takes on corporate politicians of both parties. He isn't singing this hymn alone. Every time Edwards starts a new verse Obama chimes in. Perhaps as a result, while Hillary Clinton continues to lead in national polls, her lead is softening as questions about her electability simmer.

At the same time, according to Rasmussen, Edwards, who has consistently been the most electable Democrat, continues to do better than all other Democrats in general election match-ups. He has solid leads over both New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani 49% to 41% and former Senator Fred Thompson, who he dominates 49% to 35%. He also leads Romney and McCain.

Democrats are in the unique position of having the opportunity to nominate John Edwards, the candidate who is (1) the most progressive and (2) the most electable. How can we not?

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Teilhet: "Bankruptcy of Vision" in Health Care Debate

Progress on Health Care Will Require Reason, Political Courage
By
State Representative Rob Teilhet (D-Smyrna)
Chief Deputy Whip-House Democratic Caucus

More than a million and a half Georgians do not have access to health care that they can afford. The vast majority of these Georgians work full-time, yet they and their children are one major illness or accident away from bankruptcy and the loss of everything they’ve worked for, including their home. Imagine losing everything you have so you can pay for the medical treatment of a spouse or child. For too many people in our community, this doesn’t have to be imagined because it’s a reality. And these ranks are growing.

These Georgians are not abstractions. They are our neighbors. We talk with them every day at the grocery store, gas station, and at the office. They are the ladies who print and fold church bulletins for Sunday service. They are the men who fix our car when it won’t run, and who repair our air conditioning when summer has taken its toll. They are the people who serve political leaders their steak dinners at fine banquets, who top off the wine glasses at a $1,000 per plate fundraiser, and who keep the grounds neat and clean at the members-only golf course. They are parents and they are children. These people would never think to mention it, but they are carrying a burden. And we can choose either to help them, or do nothing.

What can we do? Two years ago, I introduced HB 1212 (or PeachKids) to ensure that every child in Georgia would have access to quality health care their family could afford. The plan was affordable, had been tested in other states and proved successful. It never received so much as a public hearing. This year, Democratic State Representative Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta) and Republican State Representative and Committee Chair Judy Manning (R-Marietta) introduced HB 625 (or PeachCare for All Kids), designed to make sure every child in Georgia could have access to a family doctor. PeachCare for All Kids builds on a system that works, the current PeachCare system, and does so in a fiscally responsible way, constituting an investment Georgia can easily afford. Both plans demand responsibility and buy-in from families in the form of tiered but affordable premiums and leveraged millions in available federal matching funds to help people help themselves and obtain the coverage they need. Yet PeachCare for All Kids met a similar fate to PeachKids, mired in committee while the General Assembly did battle over the pressing issues of payday loans, where to buy beer on Sunday and what kinds of pictures to put on our license plates.

There are other promising proposals by members of both parties, including more aggressively pooling the uninsured to increase their bargaining power and lower their available premiums. Another possibility is to use refundable tax credits similar to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit to help working people of modest income generate enough money to obtain health care coverage for their families. The problem in dealing with health care in Georgia isn’t a lack of policy alternatives, it’s the lack of political will to think and act boldly.

Recent comments by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, who dismissed my call to do more on the issue of health care by pointing out that, after all, people can go to the emergency room if they really have to, show the dangers of obedience to caution and the status quo. While I agree with parts of the Republican mantra that controlling the cost of health care is important, it will not help the husband who has worked hard his entire life, played by the rules, and lost everything to pay for his wife’s unexpected cancer treatment. A bankruptcy of vision is as much a threat to health care in Georgia as a bankruptcy of dollars.

No doubt, the bipartisan alternatives that have been laid out will be attacked by some political hacks with the poll-tested language of “socialized medicine” or “Hillary-care.” They are, of course, no such thing. They are affordable and rational extensions of existing policies that have bipartisan support to meet a pressing need of our people, one that is not being met by the current health care system. Helping to make health care access more affordable isn’t “socialized medicine” any more than HOPE scholarships are “socialized education,” the state’s partnership with Kia is “socialized car building,” or OneGeorgia grants are “socialized rural economic development.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. Other states have made strides in making health care more accessible and done so in a bipartisan way. There is no good reason Georgia cannot do likewise. The funding and policy proposals are there. But what will be required is not timidity, not focus groups or poll-tested sloganeering, or weak gestures that are more symbolic than substantive. Rather, solutions will require courage and the expenditure of political capital.

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Edwards Turns a Corner and is Headed to Georgia

John Edward has turned a corner in his campaign for the White House. Here's a portion of what they're saying over on Alternet:


Edwards is en fuego right now, and if he keeps up the heat, his candidacy will either be widely embraced by the emerging progressive movement or utterly annihilated by an entrenched establishment that fears few things more than a telegenic populist with enough money to mount a credible campaign.


As he dares take on the corporate structure that supports the status quo, he and Elizabeth will be swinging by Americus, Georgia where he will be speaking at Georgia Southwestern with President Carter in attendance. The event has the feel of a moment in history, and it is free and open to the public. Edwards will speak on Wednesday, August 29th at noon at the Student Success Center Convocation Hall on the campus of Georgia Southwestern. Seating will begin at 11:30 a.m. If you are ready for transformational change in this country, you will want to be there.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Georgia GOP: Anti-Local Control Tax Zealots

I'm beginning to wonder just which wing of the Republican party these Georgia GOP anti-local control tax zealots belong to.

Like Glenn Richardson, Macon Rep. Allen Peake (my rep) wants you to pay sales tax on your child's daycare, dentist visit, haircut and scores of other services. He took to the editorial pages of the Telegraph yesterday to make clear his support of the Georgia GOP's Great Big Tax on Everything. Not only will you be paying a brand new tax on all services, if the Georgia GOP gets their way, local governments will be reduced to going hat in hand to Atlanta for their money. That should work out well-for Atlanta.

Opponents to this proposal are fighting to be first in line at the Glenn Richardson dunking booth. (If we did that and charged admission, we might not need the tax at all.) That liberal organization, The Georgia Municipal Association makes a compelling case this scheme is "not so great" after all.

In fact, in this scheme, metro-Atlanta (where property values are high and where control will be centered), big multi-state corporations and developers are the big winners, while Georgia's middle class, the service industries and rural counties are the big losers. If this tax plan becomes law, more than ever before, rural Georgia, where 87 counties are considered to be in a state of "persistent poverty" will be supporting the growth of metro-Atlanta.

Plus, don't you think that this GOP scheme is giving pause to business and industry considering locating in the state. If the resolution passes the legislature, it would need the approval of voters in November of 2008 before it could be implemented. That means that for the next year-at least-new business and industry considering moving into Georgia would not be able to accurately estimate what their costs might be. They would view Georgia's economy as unstable or at least as in a state of flux. Uncertainty does not attract business, and I'm betting this proposal has already scared off development deals that were in the works.

Regardless, Peake wants to make sure that you know he is concerned about the epidemic problem of Georgians being forced from our homes because we can't afford to pay our property taxes. I wonder just how many owner-occupied homes were lost last year in Georgia because of failure to pay property taxes? I don't know the answer yet, but I intend to call up our tax commissioner-while he still has a job-to find out. The truth Peake, Richardson and their comrades aren't telling is that it's not property tax, but health problems and medical bills that are most often the straw that sends the middle class into bankruptcy. I'm sure they will be leading the fight to make quality, affordable healthcare available for all Georgians.

Peake says that 70% of Georgians own their homes. He's almost right about that. According the the University of Georgia's Initiative on Poverty and the Economy, 67.5% of homes in Georgia are owner occupied, but in Peake's home county of Bibb, only 58.8% of homes are owner occupied. Plus, in high poverty and rural counties, mobile homes figure prominently in the % of owner occupied homes. For example, in Crawford county 84.76% of the homes are owner occupied, but 41.07% of those are mobile homes. That compares to about 12% of owner occupied homes in Georgia that are mobile homes. That matters because it is one factor that makes property values in rural Georgia much lower than in metro-Atlanta.

Finally, Peake makes the point that there are just too many entities in Georgia who can levy taxes. I wonder if he felt that way last session when he was the first sponsor on legislation to create a charter for Payne City in Bibb County-a charter that obviously includes the authority to levy taxes. Now, Peake seems to feel that state lawmakers are in a better position to make decisions about taxation than local governments. I disagree. Just this year, lobbyists for special interests spent nearly a million dollars wining and dining legislators during the forty days of this year's session. Of that, according to the Sate Ethics Commission, Peake himself took $1,785.85 worth of meals and hockey tickets, more than any other Bibb County legislator. So, unless you've got a lobbyist working for you in Atlanta, I think we're better off trusting locally elected officials to take care of local interests.

The bottom line is that no one likes taxes, and there is a need for tax reform in Georgia, but making the service sector the tax collector for the state while shifting the burden of taxation more and more to the middle class and removing control from local elected officials is just a great big mistake.

This is cross-posted at Tondees Tavern.

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From Elaine Lucas

Macon Councilwomen Elaine Lucas wants you to know that she will be helping to host a town hall meeting on August 28th at 6:30 p.m. at St. Peter Baptist Church on Fort Hill Street. She invites you to attend, and says, "I think people need to get accurate information on this hotel at long last. We'll also deal with policing issues and customer service procedures."

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Congrats to the World Champions!

Congratulations to the Warner Robins Little League team who defeated Japan in extra innings to become the World Champions today! These guys, 11-12 year olds, dealt with the pressure with class and courage. I know that their parents are proud of them, as are we all.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Some Love for Florida

The DNC may have threatened Florida with Time Out today, but Clinton, Edwards and Kucinich apparently understand that momentum is just as important as delegates in the contest for the nomination. Five presidential candidates confirmed they will take part in discussions of key domestic issues before more than 600 representatives of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) on August 27 and 28 at the Disney Yacht and Beach Club in Orlando, FL. The schedule for the IAM's Conversation with the Candidates is as follows:

Mon. Aug. 27, 3:30 pm: New York Sen. Hillary Clinton
Mon. Aug. 27, 7:30 pm: California Rep. Duncan Hunter and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
Tue. Aug. 28, 7:30 pm; Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich

The candidate conversations will be moderated by Erin Moriarty of CBS News. The event will be streamed, live, from the www.GOIAM.org web site. Streaming provided by ustream.tv.

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Marshall-1, Goddard-0

Since I'm in a baseball sort of mood...

In the bottom of the first inning of the Marshall-Goddard contest for Congress, Goddard delivered a fastball on the outside corner of proper, and Marshall knocked it out of the park.

Last week, Goddard attacked Marshall for being "overseas" for some of the debate on the Farm bill, and today, Marshall made Goddard pay the price for sloppy research and half-truths. You see, Marshall was "overseas." Goddard was well aware of, but omitted, the fact that Marshall was embedded with Special Forces troops in Pakistan, Not exactly a vacation on the French Rivera. He also didn't know or failed to say that Marshall had participated in the debate on the Farm bill in committee and returned to D.C. in time to assure passage in the House.

This exchange was a loss for Goddard on so many levels. He gave Marshall an opportunity to display his (authentic) hawk wings and underscore his current post on the important Armed Services Committee-not a good move for Major General Goddard who is sure to rely on that title in his campaign. Good luck with that, General. Jim's so hawkish he makes some Democrats cringe.

Marshall also made it clear that Goddard doesn't have home field advantage when discussing the activities of Congress. And, if that's not enough, he gave Marshall the honors of being the first to reference "San Francisco" in this campaign-and not in a good way. In short, Goddard gave Marshall a gift-he opened his right flank, and Marshall moved in and set up camp. Plus, just by telling the truth, Marshall made Goddard look petty and disingenuous. I confess to having been worried about this race. Not anymore. Marshall's known on Capitol Hill as a pretty good baseball player. Goddard might want to remember that before his next pitch.

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Congratulations to National Champion Warner Robins Little League!

Here's something we can all agree on: the Warner Robins Little League who just won the National Championship played their hearts out and did us all proud. Good work guys, and best of luck tomorrow!

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Calling All (Female) Candidates

EMILY's List is coming to Georgia on Ocotber 9th an 10th to offer their stellar candidate training. So, if you are a pro-choice, Democratic women and intend to run for office at some point in the future, this training is for you. You can learn more about POP training here. I have attended this training, and it is the best intro to "how to run." You will learn how to prepare to run, how to raise the money, how to form your message and communicate with voters.

For more information on the training, email me at AmyMorton@aol.com or contact EMILY's List at mstephenson@emilyslist.org. (This year, for Georgia's WIN List, an organization that supports qualified Democratic women who are running for state-level office, I am chairing the candidate committee. I would love to hear from women who are planning to run, so if that's you, then drop me an email.)

Women often have to be asked to run for office, so if you know outstanding Democratic women (including the one in the mirror) who you think would be great candidates, tell them and get them to this training.

And, before I get the email about why this training is just for women, consider these facts:

-85% of members in the 109th Congress are MEN
-84% of state governors are MEN
-87% of big-city mayors are MEN
-77.5% of state legislators are MEN
-Of the 1,875 people who have served in the U.S. Senate in U.S. history, 33 are women. Fourteen of these women currently hold office.
-Of the 10,544 people who have served in the U.S. House in U.S. history, 191 are women. Sixty-six of these women currently hold office.
-18% of Georgia Legislators are women

So, while I'm all for great Democratic men running for office (case in point, John Edwards), we do need more great Democratic women to become candidates. So, see you in October.

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GFDW Fall State Meeting - October 6

You’re Invited
To
The Georgia Federation of Democratic Women’s Fall Meeting…..
A Georgia Democratic Homecoming
October 6

Save the Date- October 6th is the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women's Fall Meeting and you don't want to miss "A Georgia Democratic Homecoming" beginning at 2 PM at Clayton State University's Continuing Education Building in Morrow.
An optional Doo Wop Concert with Little Anthony and the Imperials and other major groups will begin at 7 PM at the Clayton County Schools Performing Arts Center in Jonesboro.
Tickets for an Hors d'oeuvre Reception and the Doo Wop Concert are $40 per person or purchase your tickets by September 15 and get a special rate- Two-For- $68.
For more information Gail Buckner at gailbuckner@bellsouth.net or 404-932-2427.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Who Will Be Macon's Next Council President?

In Macon, after the new Council is seated in December, one of the five members who are elected city-wide will become the new President of City Council. Voters do not choose that position in Macon. Instead, City Council elects their own President. Those eligible are Lauren Benedict, Larry Schelsinger, Miriam Paris, James Timley and Rick Hutto. Paris, Timley and Hutto have experience on Council, something I think is important for the next President, but Benedict and Schelsinger both have strengths that could benefit someone in that position. I hear that the Telegraph will host one more debate before the general election, and that they will invite the candidates for mayor and those who hold city-wide seats on Council to participate. They will then endorse not only for Mayor but for City Council President.

So, who do you favor for Council President? Why?

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Privette's Private Life

The more rigid, the more tightly wrapped a person is on the outside, the more inner chaos they seek to control-that's my theory, anyway, and it is one repeatedly supported when moral activists (think Foley) are caught doing the very things they claim to abhor. Today, on Ethics Daily, there is a story about Rev. Coy Privette, a NC minister, county commissioner and former state legislator who today pleaded guilty to six counts of aiding and abetting prostitution. Turns out that the evidence against him included photographs taken by one of the women, hotel registrations where he used his own name and video footage of him with the women on the security cameras of the hotel. His penalty? Beyond the public humiliation, if he completes forty-eight hours of community service and a year of probation, under a first offender program, his record will be wiped clean.

Prior to his arrest, Privette served on the executive committee for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and for fifteen years was the executive director of The Christian Action League, a moral concerns group.

Anyone can make mistakes-even really bad mistakes. This is getting printed here because of the hypocrisy involved.

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Essig to Speak in Macon

The mere mention of the word "taxes" may make you either yawn, start looking for an exit or both, but next year, Georgians are going to wish they'd paid attention. Some of the tax proposals that are slated to be debated during next year's legislative session could dramatically impact your pocketbook-and not necessarily in a good way. Plus, if Speaker Richardson has his way, taxing authority will dramatically shift away from local governments to Atlanta. It's fair to point out that the person in Atlanta that holds the purse strings most firmly is the Speaker of the House, a position that will become even more powerful if Richardson gets his way. You can see where this is going.

Next Friday, you have an opportunity to learn more about these issues. On Friday, August 31 at noon, Alan Essig, executive director of The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute will be the guest speaker for Politics and Lunch, a monthly lunch and learn program in Macon. The luncheon will be held at The Power Station at 1015 Riverside Drive in Macon. Essig will address the various tax proposals that are likely to be debated in the legislature in 2008. The cost, including your lunch is $10.00. To make reservations, please contact Amy Morton at (478) 741-1138 or AmyMorton@aol.com .

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Roverian Ambition

Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us?

Rove is leaving the White House, and says he's going hunting. I suspect that he'll spend most of his time stalking Democrats. Out of the talk show circuit, his most recent target has been Hillary Clinton who he describes as "fatally flawed." Some suggest, and I agree, that Rove does not speak casually. He speaks with purpose, and his purpose now is the same as it was when he turned his guns on Kerry during the 2004 primary season. The Republicans want to run against Clinton. That's their best chance of victory. He is hoping to drive Democrats toward Clinton, the Democrat with the highest unfavorables, by attacking her. It worked in 2004 when they got to run against Kerry instead of against John Edwards, the candidate they feared the most. Here's an excerpt of the Newsday article:

The ploy was described by Rove lieutenant Matthew Dowd during a post-mortem conference at Harvard University the month after Bush defeated the Democratic nominee, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. In the run-up to the Democratic National Convention, at a time when it was not yet clear who Bush's opponent would be in November 2004, Rove and his aides had begun to fear that their most dangerous foe would be then-Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. With his Southern base, charismatic style and populist message, they believed, Edwards could be a real threat to Bush's re-election. But instead of attacking Edwards, Rove's team opened fire at Kerry. Their thinking went like this, Dowd explained: Democrats, in a knee-jerk reaction to the GOP attacks, would rally around Kerry, whom Rove considered a comparatively weak opponent, and make him the party's nominee. Thus Bush would be spared from confronting Edwards, the candidate Republican strategists feared most.

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Wrapping Up a Road Trip


I'm back from Iowa, and you may have noticed that I stopped blogging in the middle of the Presidential forum on Saturday night (when my cellphone died.) Both Edwards and Clinton did very well at the packed forum. Edwards is clearly the favorite of labor in Iowa. Some estimate that nearly 4000 people attended, and they were on their feet for much of his speech. The surprise, for me, was Obama. He had a bad night at the forum-really fell flat and was heckled at the beginning of his speech. After that, and then being targeted at the beginning of the ABC debate on Sunday, he probably really did feel like he was riding bumper cars at the fair. Anyone can have a bad couple of days, so we'll see.


Predictions at this stage of the game are risky, but I believe that Edwards will win Iowa, and that will put him in an excellent position going into the other early primaries. His organization is that state is very strong. Clinton will also do well there. Obama? Unless what I saw this weekend was an aberration, I don't think Obama will be in the top three. It would not shock me to see Richardson begin to overtake him there in the polls.


That's it. Great trip. It was fascinating to be in a state where the question is not "will you vote for me" but instead, "will you caucus for me." To caucus means that the person goes out on a cold and often snowy night (probably Jan. 5th), spends an hour or so debating platform and then caucuses for their favorite candidate-and maybe for their second favorite candidate if their first choice does not reach a certain threshold % required to earn a delegate. (The contrast to us giving people a week to take five minutes to vote is pretty stark.) These are serious, informed voters. I kind of like this system. Why should it be easy?




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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Clinton is About to Speak

Clinton says that what really made America great was the middle class. The American middle class is under assault. She's running for President because she wants to set big goals for this country. She wants universal health care within the first year. She wants to create five million Green collar jobs. She wants to appoint people who are pro-labor to the Department of Labor.

Cute analogy-she says Republicans' message is "you're on your own" and that stands for yo-yo. In other words, someone else is pulling the strings. We need to move from government by the few, for the few. Good job, warm reception.

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A Field of Dreams

This afternoon, we visited the place where the movie, Field of Dreams was filmed. Again, what an appropriate metaphor for the Iowa caucuses. Right now, I am at Presidential forum sponsored by Workers for a Better Iowa. I think that all of the Democratic candidates are slated to attend and speak, with the exception of Richardson.

The large room is packed with people of all ages. Beside me is an undecided voter who is very concerned about healthcare and Iraq. She just attended the funeral of a friend, a 22 year-old Marine who died in Iraq. She says there's no good answer for Iraq, but that we should respect our soldiers and their sacrifice. She's heard Obama before, and is now looking forward to hearing from the others. Like many in Iowa, she is "shopping" for the right candidate. Her number 1 criteria? Electability.

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This is the Place

How appropriate that "Iowa" comes from an Indian word for "this is the place." It's as if someone foresaw this state's eventual place in the world of presidential politics. After spending the last two days here, I can tell you that when it comes to the race for the White House, Iowa isn't just the place: it's John Edwards' place.

Anyone can see that John Edwards is leading in most Iowa polls. But, here on the ground, his connection to Iowa voters is remarkable. He is passionate. He is real. He is gets it, and the people here know it. This week, when he spoke "on the stump" at the Iowa State Fair, he drew the largest crowd of all the candidates. Last night at sunset, he rolled his Fighting for One America bus tour into a small town in Iowa and was greeted by a crowd of about 140, seated on the courthouse lawn, riding in on their bikes, playing with their babies in the background and entirely taken with John Edwards. This morning, in the pouring rain, at an auditorium on the banks of the Mississippi, over 400 people showed up to hear him speak. In both cases, he took time to answer questions from the crowd.

He is excellent in these settings, so completely at ease in his jeans and signature blue shirt you'd think he was at his mom's kitchen table instead of a hotel ballroom. It's easy to see why he is doing so well here. In so many of the ways that really count, he is "from" here.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Off to Iowa

I am on the road, on the way to Iowa join the Edwards campaign for the wrap up of the bus tour. I will be blogging from the road, and this morning there is good polling news from Iowa for Edwards
Senator Edwards is on top of the field in Iowa; a new Hart Research poll shows Senator Edwards at a strong 30% among caucus-goers.

 

Hart Research Iowa Poll - Aug 16, 2007

The Presidential Race

John Edwards leads the way among Iowa caucus-goers right now with 30% of the vote among Democrats.
 
Presidential Trial Heat (including leaners)

John Edwards 30%

Hillary Clinton 22%

Barack Obama 18%

Bill Richardson 13%

Joe Biden 5%

Dennis Kucinich 1%

Chris Dodd 0%

Mike Gravel 0%


Undecided 11%

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Seminary Wives Institute

My post, Sex and the Seminary, generated a remarkable amount of blog traffic, most referred from The Southern Baptist Convention's "SBC Outpost" where the post was linked in an article about the ongoing debate about the value and intent of the course in homemaking at Southwestern and the "Seminary Wives Institute" (with no corresponding "Seminary Husbands Institute") at my Alma mater, Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Others have written about this, too.


Mary K. Mohler, the wife of Albert Mohler, the President of Southern Seminary, is in charge of the "Seminary Wives Institute" and has authored a publication called, "Modeling Modesty" that is essentially a guide to how Christian women should dress. There is no mention in the publication of how men should dress, quite the contrary, Ms. Mohler seems to place the responsibility for men behaving responsibly with regard to their sexual desires squarely on the shoulder of women and girls. There's a lot to say about this, and perhaps I will at another time. For now, here are a couple of quotes:

"Don't blame the men around you who happen to be unfortunate enough to be within sight and say that they need to get their minds out of the gutter....Ladies must remember what battles men face to stay pure as they are stimulated visually by women. They should never have it flaunted in their faces and to have it done at church is an abomination." (p. 8)

"Mothers of sons have often asked me, "What can we do? We don't have daughters that we can influence, but we have sons who are looking at how your daughters dress." Men of all ages struggle with this. It is out job as mothers of daughters to make sure that our daughters appearances are not causing males to stumble or causing females to point to them as examples to make their cases."

I have no problem with the idea that women ought to dress tastefully, and, frankly, the 'fashion' choices for little girls are far too grown up, but the picture painted here is of men who are on a sexually hair-trigger over which they have no control. It is as if men, sitting in the pew, are bound to pounce on the nearest female if her skirt is too short or her blouse too low. And, if they pounce, don't blame them, blame the women. I happen to think more of men than that. How about an ethic of shared responsibility, instead?

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Promoted from Comments: "Easy Piety"

From Tina:

There's a lot of "easy piety" going on these days. Easy piety consists mainly of pointing a finger at someone else' or disapproving of someone's lifestyle. Although I don't agree with cozying up to Hugo Chavez, I agree that being AGAINST cozying up to him is definitely easy piety.
More difficult piety involves actually doing something that improves the human condition whether it happens to be popular or not, and whether it happens to line your coffers with $$$ or not.
Our country is now in a situation where health care is neglected, border security is neglected (except for pompous statements about building The Great Wall), food safety is neglected, product safety is neglected, the Geneva Convention is neglected and diplomacy is a forgotten word. And not only all-of-the-above, but the stock market is low and gas prices are high. American men and women are dying in an ill-planned war that shows no progress.
And yet we still have politicians who are humming "holy, holy, holy" as they plan new ways to neglect both the poor AND the middle class.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Whew! That's a Relief!

Thank God Sen. Cecil Staton and Rep. Allen Peake called a press conference so they and other Macon officials could stand in solidarity against the Mayor's statement of solidarity with Hugo Chavez. Before their press conference today, I was certain that Staton and Peake were co-signers of Ellis' letter (after all, they're all BFFE) and wanted nothing more than to invite Chavez to be honorary emcee for the Cherry Blossom Pageant. Glad they've clarified their position.

Seriously, how hard is it to call a press conference to stand up against something so ridiculous? How about a few press conferences to stand up for our children's health? Or for fully funding their schools? Or maybe to call for some ethics legislation that might address excessive lobbyist spending? Here's what Shipp had to say:

Georgia's vision of a prosperous future is based on attracting rich geezers and importing young adults who grew up somewhere else. As you can see, the current crowd certainly has no interest in investing in the well-being of Georgia children here and now.
But, never fear. They ARE opposed to Hugo Chavez and Jack Ellis.

Me, too.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Edwards to Speak in Americus, Carter to Attend

According to a news release from Georgia Southwestern State University, President Jimmy Carter will attend a convocation featuring presidential candidate, Sen. John Edwards. The release states that the convocation where Sen. Edwards will speak will be on August 29th at noon in the Student Success Center Convocation Hall. Seating will begin at 11:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public, and the media is encouraged to attend.
For more information contact Stephen Snyder at (229) 931-2037.

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Hugo Now at Category Two

It looks like Hurricane Hugo has grown to a category two storm with sustained attention from local media, bloggers and now, none other than Fox News. Residents are encouraged to board their windows and stay inside to avoid the flying garbage.

Yes, reaction to Mayor Ellis's statement of solidarity with Hugo Chavez has now blown a news crew into town. We will, apparently be featured on Brit Hume tonight and have already been the subject of a morning news cast on the network. (City Councilman Rick Hutto "reluctantly agreed to be interviewed.")

Don't you love it that this is the news the world will hear about out little town? Did I mention that Mayor Ellis has endorsed Barack Obama for President? I hate to break it to the Mayor, but I think that any hope of a foreign policy post in an Obama administration just blew out the window.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Sex and the Seminary

"I think everybody should own at least one." In 1997, that's what Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary had to say about women. He thought it was a joke, but the fact that he thought it was funny tells you all you need to know about the man. Little wonder that Patterson is now offering a women-only course of undergraduate study with a concentration in homemaking. Apparently, there's a gender-specific way to bake a pie.

Patterson, who is perfectly comfortable with women in the bedroom, kitchen and nursery, gets a little queasy when women appear in at the classroom lectern, let alone the pulpit. For Patterson, the world would be a better place if women stayed at home, submissive to their husbands' role as moral "policemen." Unbelievable.

Not all Baptists subscribe to Patterson's warped world view. Below, listen to Patterson's exchange with Baptist Center for Ethic's Executive Director, Robert Parham, and read more about it here.

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The Hillary Factor

If Hillary Clinton is the Democrat's nominee next year, then I will be there to support her. Nevertheless, I share the fears voiced recently by other Democrats in "red" states. I worry about both her electability and her impact on down-ballot races in Georgia.

Recently, I found myself in a conversation with several progressive women, all of whom are Democrats either elected to public office or women who have worked hard for a very long time to help get Democrats-especially Democratic women-elected to office. One of the women said, " What I'm trying to figure out is why I'm not sold on Hillary Clinton. I respect her, and in fact have a lot in common with her, but I'm just not sold." The conversation then began to turn around the same concerns that have gathered steam in the media over the last several days. Democrats-especially Democrats who have to stand for re-election in Red States-are worried that Clinton will be a drag on the ticket. She has been so demonized by the radical right, that there is worry that her unfavorables would cost not only her, but every candidate she is paired in an ad with.

Republicans have been running against Hillary Clinton for a decade and a half. They raise money just by mentioning her name. Is it fair? No. Is is accurate? No. But is it a fact? I'm afraid so.

I am a huge advocate of electing more Democratic women to public office. I have written here before that I think that doing so would change the tone of government, and anyone who read much of what I had to say when Cathy Cox was running for Governor knows that I would be thrilled to see the right women in the Governor's mansion or in the White House. So, why have I not thrown my primary support to Sen. Clinton? I do believe that John Edwards is the candidate most likely to lead this country in a new, positive direction, but almost as compelling as his strengths as a candidate is my fear that Clinton at the top of the ticket would spell trouble for Democrats like Jim Marshall and John Barrow-our congressmen who barely made it through the last election.

Some of my friends discount my concerns and are convinced that there is "no way" for Democrats to lose the election in 2008. If you believe that, then you just haven't been paying attention. While the President's approval rating is still low, the approval rating for Congress is even lower. The only people who are held in greater disdain than the administration that got us into Iraq are the people who got elected on the promise they would get us out, and have now failed to do so and thus are either counted impotent to stop this war or complicit in its escalation.

The American people went to the polls and telegraphed their disapproval of the war and the corruption in Washington. They hoped that the Democrats offered a life raft out of Iraq and away from the K-Street fueled corruption of Washington insiders. Instead, we are further entrenched in Iraq and our Presidential candidate who leads in the national polls sees no problem with taking money from lobbyists.

I don't know about you, but this doesn't sound like the making of a November 2008 cakewalk to me.

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There's Votin' Goin' On in Macon Tomorrow

If you live in the City of Macon, tomorrow is the time to finish the job of renovating City government. Three more council seats, one of which is a city-wide seat and eligible for Council President, will be decided in runoff elections tomorrow. Here is a link to the Telegraph's endorsement's in these races. A handful of people will decide 1/5th of council seats. I know it's hot, but get up and go vote.

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Edwards Threads the Needle

Rolling Stone has a profile of John Edwards that highlights his strength in the states where it counts the most. They point out that he is the most progressive of all the candidates, yet in head to head match-ups against likely GOP nominees, he is also the most electable of the bunch. Edwards' Iowa operation, they say, is head and shoulders above any other, and even Carville admits that Edwards may well win in Iowa. Should he then go on to win New Hampshire, he'd be virtually unstoppable. Here's the profile.

And, here is a good analysis of Iowa polling that shows why both Clinton and Obama are taking Edwards very, very seriously.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

I'm Going to Iowa

Tomorrow, John Edwards will launch a 7-day 31-county "Fighting for One America" bus tour through the key "early" state of Iowa. Toward the end of this week, I'll be getting on a plane to Des Moines to help with some canvassing, phonebanking and whatever else needs to be done. Edwards has a state-of -the-art grassroots organization in Iowa, so this should be fun! Check back here next weekend for this Georgian's view of the race in Iowa.

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Rep. Karla Drenner Hospitalized

Over at Peach Pundit, Jason Pye is reporting that Rep. Karla Drenner, one of our WIN gals, has been hospitalized after a Marta bus hit her car. Check his post for updates. Our prayers are with you, Karla. We hope that all will be well.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Denial Machine

Newsweek has dubbed the axis of corporate interests, conservative religious groups and radio talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh who work together to deny that global warming is a problem "The Denial Machine." Robert Parham, over at Ethics Daily, correctly points out that the leadership of The Southern Baptist Convention are also guilty of preferring science fiction to science and using the power of the pulpit to peddle the resulting fiction. Read Parham here.

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Hurricane Hugo?

The Telegraph, again today, reported about Mayor Ellis proclamation of solidarity with Hugo Chavez. Johnny Floyd, founder of The World Conference of Mayors, said the group had not sanctioned the Mayor's actions, but Floyd has learned too late that Ellis seldom waits for or feels he needs anyone's sanction. Giving the story a national audience, Neal Boortz picked it up for his radio program, calling the Mayor "a blithering idiot." The only question now is: will this story grow or die?" Those of us who have lived through the Ellis years in Macon know that this is just Jack being Jack. He doesn't speak for most of us, and never will.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Georgian Joins Growing List of LGBT Leaders Endorsing Edwards

From the Edwards campaign, tonight, Georgia's own Kyle Bailey adds his name to the list of national leaders in the LGBT community who have endorsed John Edwards for President.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 9, 2007
CONTACT: Colleen Murray919-636-3203

EDWARDS CAMPAIGN UNVEILS GROWING SUPPORT IN LGBT COMMUNITY

Chapel Hill, North Carolina - Senator John Edwards' campaign to transform America continues to gain momentum in the LGBT community. For the third time this year the campaign announced the endorsement of several prominent community leaders from across the country. Tonight at the Visible Vote '08 presidential forum, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and LOGO Television, Edwards showed why so many LGBT leaders and activists support him for president. This group joins dozens of other national LGBT leaders who have previously endorsed Edwards."I am proud to have the support of so many leaders from the community who are committed to equality for all Americans," said Edwards. "As activists for social and economic justice, we need a candidate who believes in the beloved community, who honors hard work and sacrifice, and who stands up for civil rights," said Hans Johnson, President of Progressive Victory and officer of Pride at Work, the official LGBT organization of organized labor. "As Democrats, we need to put our strongest foot forward in order to set the country on a better course. John Edwards is the candidate equal to these challenges."The LGBT leaders endorsing Edwards for president today are:

Kyle Bailey, Board member of National Stonewall Democrats

Kenda Kirby, former Executive Director of North Carolina Human Rights Initiative

Hans Johnson, President of Progressive Victory

Greg Gallo, Board member of National Stonewall Democrats

Les Krambeal, Board member of National Stonewall Democrats

Todd Elmer, former Clinton Administration Commerce Department Official

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

4 + 4 = 0

Georgia Republicans are fond of referring to their proposal to impose new taxes and engineer the greatest centralization of government in the history of the state as "4 Plus 4 = 0." (4 % sales tax plus 4% income tax = 0 property tax) They're right about one thing-this plan just doesn't add up, and they're drawing unexpected critics, including respected member of the business community.

Neely Young, writing for Georgia Trend shows very little love for Glenn Richardson's great big fat tax proposal. It seems that the Speaker's proposal to tax your child's haircut, daycare and dentist appointment would also not be very business-friendly. Young points out that 80% of Georgia business are in the service sector, and those services would be subject to a brand spankin' new 4% value-added tax. The Speaker opines that this is simply a pass through-that actually consumers of the services, not businesses, would pay the tax. Young, however, points out that the tax would show up as an expense and impact the a company's bottom line. (The Speaker also erroneously assumes that all clients of attorneys and patients of healthcare professionals show up prepared to pay.)

Young also points out what may be Richardson's real agenda here: if Richardson gets his way, the Speaker of the House will become the most powerful position in state government. Here's a portion of what Young has to say:

Soon, Georgia citizens will have two constitutional amendments proposing sales tax increases. One amendment will be for an addition to the motor fuel tax, and another for the Speaker’s 4 PLUS 4 = 0 proposal. The 4 PLUS 4 = 0 is not a tax reduction, but a tax shift, from property owners to business and to people who purchase services. Business will collect the tax; but, as noted before, will have to place the tax as an expense on each individual business’s general ledger, potentially lowering operating profits. But the proposed tax would also represent a shift in power from city and county governments and school boards to the State of Georgia. According to Georgia’s constitution, all taxing proposals must originate in the House of Representatives. Under this plan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives will gain more power than ever. With the state collecting all the tax revenue, this would raise the question of whether we need local mayors and council members, county CEOs or commissioners or school board members. For that matter, with so much power residing in the House of Representatives, would we even need a Governor or Lieutenant Governor, except as ceremonial positions? Under the 4 PLUS 4 = 0 plan, Richardson would make the Speaker’s office the most powerful position in Georgia.
Let’s assume that Glenn Richardson is skillful enough to implement his tax plan in such a way that he would make all city and county employees, not to mention teachers and ordinary citizens, very happy. But would the next Speaker, whoever that might be, be able to pull that off? The plan would concentrate a great deal of power in one position. Remember, the Speaker’s position is determined by the members of the House of Representatives, not by the general public. These House members are beholden to him for their positions. We could easily get stuck with a bad leader, and Georgia citizens would have no way to get that leader out of office.
This is a major danger in this proposed constitutional amendment and one that should be considered in the overall proposals.



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Ellis Declares Solidarity with Chavez

From Matt Barnwell at the Telegraph, it appears that Macon Mayor Ellis has gone and done it again. Just when you think he cannot possibly do anything more ridiculous, he does. Mayor Ellis, in his capacity as Mayor and Macon and as Vice President for Tourism for the World Conference of Mayors, has sent a declaration of solidarity to Hugo Chavez. Chavez read the declaration on his weekly radio show.

Only four more months, folks.

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A New Judge in Town

With Judge Bryant Culpepper retiring, there will soon be a Superior Court Judge's seat open in the Macon Judicial circuit. Here are some of the local attorneys who I have heard might be interested in the job-rumor only, mind you:

* Cindy Adams
* Virgil Adams
* Ed Ennis
* Robin Flanders (Bibb ADA)
* Judge Quintress Gilbert (Bibb Juvenile Court Judge)
* Charles Jones
* Sharell Lewis (Bibb ADA)
* Phil Raymond
* Sara Roberts
* Graham Thorpe (Bibb ADA)
* Pam White-Colbert (Bibb ADA)

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Christmas Caucus?

With South Carolina and Florida Republicans jockeying for "first Southern Primary" status, Democrats, too, will have some decisions to make. If the South Carolina primary is moved back to Jan. 19th as proposed here, then New Hampshire could be as early as January 15th. To avoid the holiday rush, that could push the Iowa caucuses to pre-holiday season in December of 2007. Okay, I was willing to spend January in Iowa, but adding a presidential primary to my December calendar is a bit much.

Tell you what. Let's just all vote now and call it a day. This has gotten beyond ridiculous. Florida and South Carolina seem determined to fight this out despite promises of sanctions (at least for Florida) from the RNC and the DNC.

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The Tipping Point?

Yesterday, Georgia Gov.Perdue had a sort of Sonny-Van Winkle moment-as in he woke up from a long slumber, dreaming he was a Republican and found his Democratic heart. Perdue unveiled a plan to make it easier for small business owners to get insurance for themselves and their employees, and, yes, the state would cover a portion of the cost. The devil is always in the details, and I am suspicious of the statement that the plan would be paid for in part by "Medicaid reform." Plus, we don't yet know what the premiums will be, but at least he's talking about doing something. His plan, on the surface, looks similar to the one Cathy Cox proposed during her campaign, and, while it does not go far enough to address the healthcare needs of the 1.6 million uninsured Georgians, it is a step.

Then, last night, without question, disabled, retired steelworker Steve Skvara provided the most poignant moment in the AFL-CIO debate last night. Skvara lost his health insurance and a third of his pension when the company he had worked for filed bankruptcy. So powerful was that moment, that after the debate, the anchor wondered aloud whether or not it marked a tipping point in the whole healthcare debate. See his question, and Sen. Edwards' response below:

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Unity Party and Celebration

Following historic elections in the City of Macon, a "Unity Party & Celebration" featuring Comedians, Musicians, and Candidates will be held on Sunday, August 12th at 6:30 PM at the Riverview Ballroom Event Center at 426 Walnut Street in Macon. There will also be free food, and the cost for the event, zero. One of the nicest things about this event is the brainchild of Al Tillman, who is that one of the candidates who lost in a very close race for a City Council post. What a class act. Ya'll come out and have a good time. For more information, call (478) 781-8003.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Macon Elections Page Two

In Macon, early voting is underway for three City Council seats that were not decided in the primary election. As is the case in most runoffs, I expect these seats, one of which is a citywide post, to be elected by a tiny fraction of the possible voters. I know it's really hot, but if you live in the City of Macon, I hope you will get out and vote this week.

In one of the races, both candidates, Gerald Harvey and Virgil Watkins, have had brushes with the law in the past. The other races are between Tom Ellington and Marshall Burkett, and between Miriam Paris and Willette Hill-Chambliss.

I will not begin to predict the outcome of these races, but in the Ellington-Burkett race, I have endorsed Ellington and have contributed to his campaign. I don't know him well, but it is clear to me that he is a bright guy. He is a professor at Wesleyan College, and teaches political science. I think that he has a lot to offer to the the new City Council in Macon.

In the Paris-Chambliss race, the outcome is tough to predict. Hill-Chamblis has the endorsement of labor, and they may be about the only folks doing any GOTV for the runoff. That should help her. No matter what happens in these races, I think that the City has fared well in these elections. Much has been made of the what happened in Macon and why it happened. Whatever it was, we have an opportunity to turn the corner, but around that corner are significant challenges that will require all of us to step up.

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I Digress

I remember watching Hank Aaron's 1974 record-breaking home run like it was yesterday; it was one of those 'chills down your back' moments from my childhood. I didn't even watch Bonds break Aaron's record, and frankly, couldn't care less that he did. The two events have about as much in common as a real wedding cake and the cardboard variety that's iced for display, but you wouldn't dare take a bite.

The youngest of three girls, I was my father's daughter. I was the one he taught to throw a football, shoot a basketball and to love baseball. Growing up in North Carolina, he was- and I was- an avid Braves fans at a time when the team was more accustomed to the basement of the league than making it to the playoffs. Still, the Braves were his passion, and he watched every game he could, and I sat right beside him while he explained in great detail, the rules of the game.

He didn't seem to mind pulling for the underdog, after all, I suspect that being a son of sharecroppers during the Depression, he could identify. On just one occasion, in 1970, we drove from NC to Atlanta and came to a Braves game. It didn't matter that the Braves lost badly, it was the coolest vacation on record as far as he and I were concerned.

Besides, there were the players we both admired. I remember watching Ralph Garr run to first base in six seconds and seeing Phil Niekro pitch, sometimes with a little something extra on the ball. But Hank Aaron topped the list of favorites. So, in April of 1974, when he knocked 715 out of the park, he instantly moved from favorite to hero. Sure, I remember the talk about the short fences at the Braves' home field, but with Aaron, there was never really any question that both he, and the record, were the real deal, the genuine article. With Bonds, there will always be a question.

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Porter for Governor?

Can I just say that Rep. Porter sounded an awful lot like a candidate for Governor this weekend at the County Party Chairs' dinner? I have no scoop, mind you , and no inside information, but should he decide to run, I think he'd make a good candidate. I do have one concern. I'm just not sure Dubose is arrogant enough to be Governor. I mean, after all, he's accessible, responsive, down to earth, smart. The question is, can a nice guy, or gal, win?

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Speaking of Lobbyists

John Edwards is the only candidate for President who has never taken any money from federal lobbyists or PACs, and he never will. He has challenged the other candidates, from both parties, to join him in the pledge to reject these contributions. Check the reaction to his challenge:

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The War on "Hispanics"

Read the following letter to the editor published in today's Telegraph and then tell me whether the writer would've dared written this letter and specified that the drivers were, say, 'black' or any other ethnicity other than "Hispanic." The assumptions the writer maked based only on her perception that the drivers "appeared to be Hispanic" are pretty startling:


Don't know the law?
About a month ago as I was coming out of Kroger at Tom Hill pushing my groceries across the crosswalk. A man who appeared to be Hispanic kept coming and I had to stop for him. He did not seem to know that I had the right of way. This week as I was going into the Kroger at Presidential Parkway and a man who looked Hispanic did not yield as I was going across the crosswalk and would have struck me if I had not stopped. He was going too fast and looked at me as if I were crazy. I wonder how these men got driver's licenses, or ever worse, do they even have licenses? If they can't read English or know the road signs they shouldn't be driving.

Carolyn Meadows
Macon


There's a fine line, often crossed, between "securing our borders" and waging a "War on Hispanics." The heated rhetoric, often heavy on emotion and light on facts, has made bias against "Hispanics," here legally or not, acceptable. Sometimes, the Telegraph would do folks a favor if they didn't publish their letters.

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GADCC Richard Russell Dinner

Photos from last night's GADCC Richard Russell Dinner are posted at www.gfdw.blogspot.com
If you attended, you may be in one of the photos. The overall message last evening was one of unity. Georgia Democrats must pull together and present a clear message to Georgia voters !

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

"It's Hard Enough to Get People to Run"

I wonder why the Georgia GOP allows Glenn Richardson to keep speaking for himself. Isn't he important enough yet to have a "spokesperson?" Today, Savannah Now reports that the Speaker says he sees no need for restrictions on lobbyist's perks to legislators. He thinks that there are enough rules, after all, the expenditures have to be reported, and we know that the average Georgian (struggling to pay their house note and occasionally splurging on a meal out at Chilli's) spends tons and tons of time searching the State Ethics Commission website to track the "almost a million" dollars lobbyists spent on Georgia legislators in the during this year's session. The truth is, the average Georgia can't imagine dropping a hundred dollars on one meal out.

Richardson has a perfectly logical reason for keeping the lobbyist perks. He says that it's already hard enough to get people to run for office. I guess if we take away the dinners out and the sports tickets, elected officials would be reduced to working for us lowly taxpayers, and that just won't do. I've said this before, and I will say it again here: we need to raise what we pay legislators, and cut out the lobbyist spending. You work for the person to signs your check. Period.

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From Mary Long

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What a List of Supporters!

This Saturday, the DPG will elect a representative to the DNC. If you're a State Committee member, you need to be in Macon on Saturday at 1 pm to vote. While we have three wonderful women running for this position, one of the candidates, Mary Long, has an especially impressive track record and the proven ability to stand up for all Georgia Democrats. Mary has a most impressive list of supporters, and you can view a sample of them here. Many sent along their personal comments and videos about Mary. Click on the names below to read or see what these Georgia leaders had to say about Mary:



- Kathy Ashe
- Carolyn Fleming Hugley
- Heidi Davison
- Gail Buckner
- Hattie Dorsey
- Melita Easters
- Lauren Benedict
- Jenna Moore
- Amy Morton
- Daryl Morton
- Rev. Kathy Morris
- Patty Payne

Here's a quote from just one of these supporters:



As an experienced, effective and highly respected communicator, Mary Long will represent Georgia well at the DNC. She will bring energy, experience and great wisdom to her role in strengthening the relationship between the state party and the national headquarters. She will be a strong advocate for rebuilding the southern grassroots of the party and for insuring that the importance of the south is not forgotten as the 2008 campaign season plans are made.
Mary Long is a dedicated Democrat, a compassionate and committed civic leader and a woman who would make Georgia proud as she represents the state on the Democratic National Committee. I urge you to support her.


Melita Easters


Founding Chair, Georgia’s WIN List

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