Archive for February, 2009

Sorry, no morning jolt

My apologies, but family business has called me away today. George Galloway, a 94-year-old veteran of General Patton’s’ Red Ball Express, must be buried in Cleveland tomorrow.

The Legislature isn’t in session, but for doings in the state Capitol, please see Gold Dome Live, a relatively new AJC blog.

Back Monday, weather permitting.

Continue reading Sorry, no morning jolt »

Reed lays claim to Obama campaign advisors

Last year, Councilwoman Mary Norwood said she’s the Barack Obama candidate in the race to succeed Shirley Franklin to become Atlanta’s next mayor.

But when it comes to Obama infrastructure, much of that has been snagged by state Sen. Kasim Reed, according to my AJC colleague Eric Stirgus.

Reed announced Thursday that AKPD Message & Media will serve as his camp’s media consultants. Some of the firm’s better known names include David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager; John Del Cecato, who produced many of the presidential candidate’s TV ads; and John Kupper, who helped the president-to-be as a message and advertising consultant.

Additionally, Reed said he has lined up Cornell Belcher, who was Obama’s pollster.

“I am proud that they have joined our team and will help us lay the foundation for victory in this election,” said Reed, a Democrat who represents portions of southwest Atlanta in the Georgia Senate.

Reed spokeswoman Goldie Taylor said she hadn’t seen …

Continue reading Reed lays claim to Obama campaign advisors »

Governor vows to crush a transportation rebellion

Holy cow. Have you ever seen anything so….well, snafued.

While you sit in traffic, the state’s system for getting you there is erupting in a civil war that’s likely to end up before the Georgia Supreme Court.

Less than an hour ago, shortly after the board that governs the state Department of Transportation fired its commissioner, Gena Evans, Gov. Sonny Perdue made clear that he intends to use the incident to press the Legislature for his plan to gut the agency and create something new.

A majority of the DOT board, even without newly elected member Bobby Parham, decided that Evans showed excessive loyalty to the governor, who lobbied the board to hire her in late 2007. Read the details here.

In a press release, Perdue said:

“Sadly, today the State Transportation Board proved that a majority of its members are more concerned with personal vendettas and politics than delivering value to citizens in transportation.

While I am not privileged to the reasons behind their decision, …

Continue reading Governor vows to crush a transportation rebellion »

On Sunday sales and the Senate’s playful sense of irony

The joy of our state Capitol can be found in the twists and turns that lawmakers are prepared to take — sometimes, on behalf of the right people.

Late Wednesday, after an hour and 45-minute delay, a meeting of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee was canceled on account of lack of interest. Only two of 13 lawmakers showed up.

One cannot help but think that the absences were deliberate. The committee was scheduled to take up S.B.16, the bill that would allow communities across the state to decide whether their grocery and convenience stores should be allowed to sell beer and wine on Sundays.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle cleared the legislation for a floor vote before the session began, but that hasn’t stopped the hemming and hawing. A major quality-of-life issue with huge political impact, lawmakers argue in private. The Georgia Christian Coalition is attempting to reassert itself by opposing the measure — a source of great concern.

But it’s all about quality of life, of …

Continue reading On Sunday sales and the Senate’s playful sense of irony »

The topic of the day for conservatives: The ‘2% illusion’

This opinion piece in today’s Wall Street Journal is churning through right-handed web sites today, and providing much fodder for talk radio:

A tax policy that confiscated 100% of the taxable income of everyone in America earning over $500,000 in 2006 would only have given Congress an extra $1.3 trillion in revenue.

That’s less than half the 2006 federal budget of $2.7 trillion and looks tiny compared to the more than $4 trillion Congress will spend in fiscal 2010. Even taking every taxable “dime” of everyone earning more than $75,000 in 2006 would have barely yielded enough to cover that $4 trillion.

Continue reading The topic of the day for conservatives: The ‘2% illusion’ »

January unemployment rate hits record high

The state Department of Labor just released January unemployment figures, showing a preliminary but record-high rate of 8.6 percent.

This is the highest seasonal rate since 1976, when the U.S. Labor Department standardized unemployment rates among all states, said state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond.

“We are officially sailing in uncharted economic waters,” he said in a press release.

The previous record high was 8.3 percent, recorded in January of 1983.

Dalton again was the hardest hit, with a 7.6 percent loss of jobs over January 2008. Macon and Athens did the best, but barely held even. Below is a city-by-city summary put out by the state labor department. To download a copy, click here.

Continue reading January unemployment rate hits record high »

Your morning jolt

This morning on

From elsewhere:

Continue reading Your morning jolt »

Bobby Jindal as the next ‘secret Muslim’

Dan Gilgoff, who writes the God & Country blog for U.S. News and World Report, says that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is running up against the same “secret Muslim” allegations that dogged Barack Obama.

Gilgoff had posted earlier this week on Jindal’s role as chief responder to President Obama:

I’m surprised that a few comments on my post about Bobby Jindal as the new face of Christian conservatism allege that he’s got ancestral Muslim roots, in addition to the acknowledged Hinduism of his Indian-born parents. Remind you of any other recent rumor campaigns against promising young minority politicians?

What’s surprising is that some of the comments appear to be from pro-Sarah Palin conservatives. They’re a likely preview of what a Jindal primary faceoff with Palin or another Christian conservative might look like, with both vying for conservative Christian support.

I haven’t read any credible profiles of Jindal claiming Muslim roots. I’ve read several pieces …

Continue reading Bobby Jindal as the next ‘secret Muslim’ »

The speedy but rocky first vote on Gov. Sonny Perdue’s transportation bill

The Senate Transportation Committee late Wednesday passed out Gov. Sonny Perdue’s legislation to reorganize the state’s transportation agencies — which allowed S.B. 200 to keep moving at breakneck speed despite serious questions raised by both Democrats and Republicans.

The final vote was 8-3, with Democrats forming the opposition. But two Republicans expressed reservations and a fourth Democrat left before the vote. So the outcome wasn’t as certain as the final vote indicates.

“I think I’m speaking for many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, some of whom can’t really speak up on this issue and their concerns, that we’re rushing this bill through, very quickly,” said state Sen. Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna). “There are a lot of questions, and I think the proper way to do this would be by constitutional amendment.”

Though he won the day, bill sponsor Tommie Williams of Lyons, the Senate president pro tem, found himself on the defensive through much of …

Continue reading The speedy but rocky first vote on Gov. Sonny Perdue’s transportation bill »

Reading material for your drive home

The great fear among business types is that the push for a sales tax for transportation — whether regional or statewide — will be swamped by Gov. Sonny Perdue’s decision to propose a reorganization of Georgia’s transportation agencies.

So Get Georgia Moving, a coalition pushing the increased funding for roads and rail, is trying to make sure the need for more funding doesn’t get lost in the congestion — with green-and-white billboards posted above some of metro Atlanta’s most reliable traffic bottlenecks.

The high-rise advertisements will be going up at:

  • I-285 at South Cobb Drive, northbound;
  • I-75/85 on the Downtown Connector, north of Abernathy Boulevard across from Turner Field, southbound;
  • I-75 at West Paces Ferry Road, northbound;
  • I-75 at Delk Road, southbound;
  • and I-85 at Jimmy Carter Boulevard, northbound.

The advertisements are intended to create a tide of e-mails and phone calls to legislators. will happily direct you to the proper one.

Continue reading Reading material for your drive home »