Archive for April, 2009

More trouble for Republicans: Dissidents accused of trying to handcuff Michael Steele

This just posted by the Washington Times:

A battle over control of the party’s purse strings has erupted at the troubled Republican National Committee, with defenders of Chairman Michael S. Steele accusing dissident RNC members of trying to “embarrass and neuter” the party’s new leader.

Randy Pullen, the RNC’s elected treasurer, former RNC General Counsel David Norcross and three other former top RNC officers have presented Mr. Steele with a resolution, calling for a new set of checks and balances on the chairman’s power to dole out money.

The powers include new controls on awarding contracts and spending money on outside legal and other services.

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Your morning jolt: On Nathan Deal’s bid for governor, and a vote by Georgia senators to oppose Kathleen Sebelius

Two things of note afoot this morning:

— We understand that U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal has reserved the steps of the Hall County courthouse in Gainesville at 10 a.m. Friday, to announce his Republican bid for governor.

Word has also been passed that the north Georgia congressman has been making courtesy calls with the same message.

Over at InsiderAdvantage, Matt Towery posits that a Deal candidacy would make a Roy Barnes comeback less likely. The two are friends. Deal is a former Democrat — he switched in 1995, two years after arriving in Congress.

“Barnes knows Deal, and there may be a respect factor there,” Towery says.

But to pose a problem for Barnes, Deal would first have to rise to the top of a GOP field of six, four of whom can call on significant amounts of cash and activist support.

Karen Handel has a raftful of organizers from the Sonny Perdue operation. Eric Johnson of Savannah says he’ll have the support of fellow senators. But House Speaker Glenn Richardson has been …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: On Nathan Deal’s bid for governor, and a vote by Georgia senators to oppose Kathleen Sebelius »

Very cool video: 6 million gallons of water hit the ground in a pre-dawn rush

Over the weekend, a 44-year-old water tower in Columbus ruptured, spilling about 6 million gallons of untreated water across the landscape.

No one was hurt, but no one knows what happened, either.

Chuck Williams at the Columbus Ledger Enquirer, one of the more innovative journalists in the state, immediately filed a state open records request for all the surveillance video on the grounds of the water works.

The result is this grainy but fascinating two-minute video of the resulting flood, posted today on the newspaper’s web site:

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Sanford Bishop paid $25k in legal fees in March

Updated at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday

Roll Call, the D.C. newspaper, has spotted an expenditure for $25,000 in legal fees on the quarterly campaign finance report filed by U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop of southwest Georgia.

The money was paid to the Atlanta branch of the law firm of Greenberg Traurig (identified on the Bishop disclosure as “Greenbery Traurig LLP”).

The Washington newspaper noted the following:

There is an ongoing state investigation of the Muscogee, Ga., County Marshal’s Office and its “Junior Marshal” program, which has received nearly $200,000 in federal funds in recent years via earmarks that Bishop sponsored. It is unclear whether Bishop’s recent legal expenditures are related.

According to a March 3 report in the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation opened the probe after Muscogee County Marshal Gregory Countryman informed state officials that Bishop’s stepdaughter, Aayesha Reese, and her husband, Stephen Reese, worked for the …

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Johnson: ‘I respect Casey too much’ to stay in race for lieutenant governor

Tim Bryant of WGAU (1340AM) in Athens was kind enough to send a sound clip of his interview this morning with Eric Johnson, the newest of five Republicans now in the race for governor.

Bryant asked the lawmaker from Savannah, the one-time leader of the Senate, whether jumping up the ballot from the lieutenant governor might be interpreted as a case of opportunism. Listen to the entire clip here.

Said Johnson:

“I originally had looked at running for governor, but my friend Casey and I were elected 15 years ago together, we’re colleagues, he’s the sitting lieutenant governor, and was apparently the front-runner for governor. So I said, ‘We’ve got a good man in the race, so I’m going to run for lieutenant governor….

“A cynic would say the best thing to do is stay in there and run against a guy flat on his back, but I respect Casey too much — and the surgery went well yesterday and we wish him a speedy recovery.

“But clearly a door opened. I’m tested, I’m ready to go.”

Johnson …

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Evidence that dissolving the Union may become all the rage

Having picked fights with nearly every other GOP candidate for governor, John Oxendine has decided to poach on the territory of states’ rightist Ray McBerry.

Oxendine today endorsed not just the sentiments of Texas Gov. Rick “Secessionist” Perry, but a advocated a fundamental rollback of federal power.

Said Oxendine:

If governor, I would support legislation which puts Georgia on record as affirming our sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States and which would serve as notice and demand the federal government, as our agent, cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.

Additionally, I would support legislation which states all compulsory federal legislation that directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or that …

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Arlen Specter to become a Democrat — with Al Franken, that gives Senate Democrats a filibuster-proof 60

The Fix at the Washington Post has this:

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and announced today that he will run in 2010 as a Democrat, according to a statement he released this morning.

Specter’s decision would give Democrats a 60 seat filibuster proof majority in the Senate assuming Democrat Al Franken is eventually sworn in as the next Senator from Minnesota. (Former Sen. Norm Coleman is appealing Franken’s victory in the state Supreme Court.)

“I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary,” said Specter in a statement. “I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.”

The reaction from national GOP chairman Michael Steele — who has been under pressure from his party’s more conservative wing — was immediate. He raised the possibility of Democratic opposition for Specter, and the certainty of a Republican …

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Swing State Project: Georgia’s race for governor still ‘likely Republican’

Swing State Project, a Democrat-oriented blog, this morning gives its horse-race line on 25 gubernatorial races in 2010: Ten are rated as leaning or likely Republican, nine are likely or leaning Democrat, and six are ranked as toss-ups.

SSP isn’t yet convinced of Democratic chances in Georgia, which it still calls a “likely” GOP refuge:

Democrats have already drawn a pair of credible candidates for this race in Attorney General Thurbert Baker and state House Minority Leader DuBose Porter, with ex-Gov. Roy Barnes also waiting in the wings. But despite Barack Obama’s impressive performance here in 2008, Democrats have been dropping like flies at the statewide level in Georgia since 2002, and anyone nominated here will have to run an impressive race in order to overcome the state’s friendliness toward the GOP brand.

Republicans have a crowded primary of their own, with both Secretary of State Karen Handel and state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine in the mix. Democrats …

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Judson Hill says he won’t join GOP race for attorney general

One week after Sam Olens, chairman of the Cobb County Commission, announced he was running next year for attorney general, state Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta) has declared he won’t.

In an e-mail to fellow senators of in the Republican caucus, the lawmaker said he’d concentrate on re-election and his soon-to-be-important position as chairman of the Senate Reapportionment Committee.

Wrote Hill:

Shelly and I have carefully considered the impact a statewide race would have on our family, as well as if this is truly the path the Lord has for us. We have been praying over this decision for weeks.


We have concluded that at this time a campaign for attorney general would not be the right thing for our family. Our children are still of an age when Dad’s presence on a consistent basis counts for a lot.



We all have made a decision to make sacrifices in our lives for public service. A statewide campaign is a great a sacrifice to ask of my family.

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Your morning jolt: Panic in the skies, followed by a Bloomberg political ad

Embarrassing screw ups don’t get much bigger than sending a Barack Obama-less Air Force One and a fighter escort into a quiet blue sky over Ground Zero, creating panic among the Manhattan herds for a mere photo op.

The only thing more egregious were the puns. This from the New York Post:

“Air Farce One” played out over lower Manhattan yesterday — in a terrifyingly bizarre military photo op that sent office workers fleeing from their buildings fearing a new 9/11-type attack….

Although the Air Force had permission for the 10 a.m. flyover, no one bothered to warn the people on the ground, and as the two jets hurtled toward lower Manhattan, many mistook Obama’s plane for Osama’s.

The Daily News focused on groveling apologies from the White House:

Louis Caldera, the director of the White House military office who sent Air Force One and the fighter jet on an “aerial photo mission,” got slammed by an angry President Obama.

“I approved a mission over New York,” Caldera said in a …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: Panic in the skies, followed by a Bloomberg political ad »