Archive for September, 2010

ObamaCare hits this week; reach for your wallet

ObamaCare will be back in the news this week, as some of the new coverage mandates begin to take effect.

Democrats who were hoping that seeing what’s in the bill would prompt voters to give them a boost will not be happy to see stories like this one appearing in the Hartford (Ct.) Courant:

The state’s largest health insurer was granted rate hikes Friday that will be well over 20 percent for some plans, drawing sharp criticism from the attorney general.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut requested a wide range of premium increases, which will take effect Oct. 1, to cover the costs of new benefits required by federal health reform. Higher prices mostly affect new members shopping for a health plan on the individual market rather than people who have group plans through an employer or some other organization.

The Connecticut Department of Insurance approved Anthem’s request without changes, including a boost of as much as 22.9 percent just to comply with one …

Continue reading ObamaCare hits this week; reach for your wallet »

Deal. Real. Need to reveal.

This was a bad week for Nathan Deal. On that, I think we can all agree.

It was a bad week personally; no one wants to have their personal financial troubles aired publicly — although that kind of thing happens when you run for an office like governor.

It was also a bad week politically; having your personal financial troubles aired publicly can’t help — no matter how you try to spin it as a chance to relate to other Georgians who have fallen on hard times.

A week that began with a suspect Survey USA opinion poll showing the Republican candidate holding an 11-point advantage over Democrat Roy Barnes ended with a pair of polls showing something different entirely: Either a true dead heat, according to this Insider Advantage poll for Channel 2 Action News, or a statistical tie, according to a poll released this morning by the AJC and other Georgia newspapers.

The conventional wisdom in this race has been that it is Deal’s to lose, that he’d be hard-pressed not to win amid the …

Continue reading Deal. Real. Need to reveal. »

PSA: Today’s commentary tomorrow

Normally, I post my Sunday print column on the blog Friday evenings. But this week, my Sunday print column is largely drawn from a post from earlier this week. It would be pretty repetitive to repeat it here.

But fear not, loyal blog community: I’ve written something special just for y’all. The only problem is that I can’t post it Friday evening because it includes some information that’s embargoed until Saturday morning.

So, thanks in advance for your understanding, and please return Saturday morning or thereafter for your normal weekend fare.

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Maybe we should try something else?

I’ve been working on something that probably won’t materialize today…so, to tide y’all over:



Continue reading Maybe we should try something else? »

Sanford Bishop: Politics is ‘all about’ the pork

I don’t think this is what I would have said if I were being investigated for the way I had granted scholarship money from a political fund. From the Albany Herald (via Peach Pundit):

ALBANY, Ga. — U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr., D-Albany, gave his definition of the word “politics” to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County at a luncheon Monday at the Hilton Garden Inn.

“Politics is all about who gets what, when and how,” Bishop said.

OK, so only the truly naive would deny that this is at least partly true. But how truly oblivious to today’s political atmosphere must you be to make pork-barrel politics the central theme in your re-election bid? Even if you aren’t under an investigation like the one mentioned above?

“You have to remember that these our your tax dollars I am bringing back to the area,” Bishop said. “I will never apologize for doing my job for the people of the district. It is crucial to have an elected official in place that can make things …

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To curb child prostitution, target the buyers

In February 2001, one of Atlanta’s most notorious pimps was sentenced to 22 years in prison after a Fulton County jury found him guilty of prostituting a 12-year-old girl. At the time, it was hailed as a breakthrough for the region.

On Monday, an Atlanta man was convicted of molesting and raping his own stepdaughter, and pimping her and other minors over telephone “chat lines” and at booze-and-drug-fueled sex parties. He got three life sentences plus 87 years.

We may be making progress.

For years, the FBI has considered Atlanta a hub for the child sex trade. But treating child prostitution as a real problem, and not some kind of victimless crime, is relatively new.

Before, “there certainly wasn’t a sense that they were children that were still needing society’s protection. And now we’ve changed that,” says Kaffie McCullough, campaign director of A Future Not a Past, a statewide project of the Juvenile Justice Fund.

“So, I think it speaks to an entire …

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The tea party’s Delaware statement

Two years ago, who would have guessed that the big political story today would be whether Republicans had lost a sure Senate seat pickup in Delaware?

That context of the Democrats’ political slide since the heady days of faux Greek columns set against the Rockies — the idea that Joe Biden’s old seat was considered a goner, and that Barack Obama’s old seat may also go Republican in November — is necessary to understand how Christine O’Donnell’s upset win over longtime pol Mike Castle matters, and how it doesn’t.

There is little doubt that O’Donnell will have a much harder time winning in November than Castle would have. This is not a Pollyanna-ish view of last night’s primary results. Delaware isn’t Alaska, or even Nevada.

Many of the 27,000-plus Delawarians who voted for Castle may well go Democrat or stay home in the general election. And if Democrat Chris Coons beats O’Donnell, there will be a lot of GOP grumbling about the tea party groups that supported her.

But support …

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1099 debate illustrates big government ‘problem solving’ (Updated)

Today’s vote on the 1099 reporting requirement included in ObamaCare will be significant on the merits. As it stands, the new requirement to file a 1099 tax form for business-to-business transactions that exceed $600 in a year will cost businesses an estimated $17 billion in taxes and, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, even more than that in compliance costs.

But it also happens to be a great window into the way government “solves” a problem it created in the first place.

Step 1: Congress passes, and the president signs, a hastily assembled bill that’s thousands of pages long and full of provisions that many lawmakers admit they have not read and don’t understand.

Step 2: Businesses that must comply with the legislation do read the bill, and discover that they’re being hit with an unreasonable new mandate.

Step 3: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle bemoan this new mandate. [Edited at 12:04 p.m.]

Step 4a: Republicans propose eliminating the new …

Continue reading 1099 debate illustrates big government ‘problem solving’ (Updated) »

Road to Milton County goes through Atlanta

One name you won’t see on the ballot this November is Milton, as in the once and maybe future county that we currently call north Fulton.

A constitutional amendment to allow the re-creation of former counties — Milton, like Campbell to the south, merged with Fulton in the 1930s — didn’t come up for a vote in the Legislature this spring. So, a public referendum must wait.

The bid to split Georgia’s most populous county has some powerful supporters, including the House’s speaker pro tem, Rep. Jan Jones, R-Alpharetta. It isn’t going away.

But neither are misgivings among the Fulton lawmakers and citizens — including yours truly — who’d be left behind after a split. And the legislative math is tricky for any attempt to pass the amendment without support from the rest of the Atlanta and Fulton delegations.

So, the pro-Milton crowd needs to make the case that the rest of Fulton would be better off, too. In an interview in her Capitol office Thursday, that’s …

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One thing Barnes and Deal agree on …

… is that the least popular city in Georgia today is Washington, D.C.

At least, that’s what you’d think from seeing their ads on the Internet.

  • From the Roy Barnes campaign: “Congressman Nathan Deal: too corrupt … even for Congress.” The “even for Congress” part speaks for itself. But notice also that Congress, not corrupt, is the word in bold — and mentioned twice (i.e., it’s not just “Nathan Deal”; it’s “Congressman Nathan Deal.”)
  • And from the Republican Governors Association, in support of Deal: “Roybama: Are you following the Obama-Barnes apology tour?” On the “o” in “Roybama,” the ad manages not only to feature the familiar Obama ‘08 logo, but to hang a crown (remember “King Roy” from 2002?) on it.

Given the big gap between Georgians’ engagement in national politics and their apparent lack of interest in this year’s primaries, I expect that we’ll hear more, not fewer, attempts to tie the candidates to Washington between now and November.

And frankly, it’s hard to blame …

Continue reading One thing Barnes and Deal agree on … »