Archive for May, 2009

The smudge of an attempted tax increase on the Georgia Republican brand

If you’re a Georgia Republican with ambitions in 2010, little has been more puzzling than the decision by the Gwinnett County Commission to propose a 25 percent property tax increase.

The situation came to a head late last week, after county residents and well-positioned GOP leaders alike threatened to use recall petitions to toss out all five — all Republican — commissioners.

“They will not last the end of the year,” state Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville) warned last Wednesday.

Less than 24 hours later, Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charles Bannister postponed a vote on the tax increase, which had been scheduled this week. Even so, anti-tax organizers plan to go through with tonight’s protest at a local park.

In announcing his return to the drawing board, Bannister said much of the opposition was “generated by misinformation.” Critics of the tax increase, who include Suwanee Mayor Dave Williams, argue they’ve had to pry out details by peppering the county with requests …

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Have fun storming the castle….

Despite the Gwinnett County Commission’s decision to postpone the vote on an annual budget that would have included a 25 percent tax increase, organizers are going through with a protest rally at 7 p.m. Monday in the city of Suwanee’s Town Center Park.

The event is sponsored by local activists with FreedomWorks and Atlanta Tea Party Patriots. Another anti-tax group.

Two GOP candidates for governor, John Oxendine and Karen Handel, plan to be there. Others have been invited.

But vampire hunters are sure to be disappointed. Debbie Dooley, one of the organizers, includes this bit of guidance for attendees:

“Bring signs, but no wooden stakes are allowed.”

We’re assuming pitchforks and torches are also verboten.

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Sotomayor will acknowledge Latinas-know-better comment was a poor choice of words

This just filed by the Associated Press:

The White House says Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor acknowledges she made a poor word choice in a 2001 speech in which she said that a Latina judge would often reach a better conclusion than a white male judge who hasn’t lived the same life.

That’s according to presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs. He says he has not talked directly to Sotomayor about it but has spoken to people who have.

Critics have singled out the 2001 comment by Sotomayor for criticism. She was describing how personal experiences can affect judging. She said a “wise Latina woman” with her experiences would more often than not reach a “better conclusion” than a white male.

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The text of General Petraeus’ speech

U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, speaks during the commencement ceremony for Georgia Gwinnett College/Associated Press

U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, speaks during the commencement ceremony for Georgia Gwinnett College/Associated Press

Here’s the text of the speech given Friday by Gen. David Petraeus, in charge of the U.S. Central Command, to graduates from Georgia Gwinnett College:

Well, as he just said, Brigadier General (Retired) Dan Kaufman and I go way back… He was a great boss when he was a LTC and I was a young major. He’s been a true friend and mentor every since. And I owe him more than a few favors for helping me identify future superstars for my units and staffs over the years. In truth, I’m here today because of him.

Having said that, it is a true privilege to be able to speak to all of you today—and not just because it was Dan Kaufman who asked me to come! I’m delighted to have this opportunity, because I believe that what you here at Georgia Gwinnett College are doing is worthwhile and exciting: creating a public institution of higher learning …

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Sarah Palin on ‘The Colbert Report’

At least, that’s what the Alaskan governor says in her tweet:

Getting ready to tape shout-out for our awesome US troops serving overseas! Will be on ‘Colbert Report’ next month, broadcast from Iraq…

about 1 hour ago from web

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Jesse Spikes reworks his mayoral campaign

Atlanta mayoral candidate Jesse Spikes has reshuffled his campaign staff.

Campaign coordinator Al Williams, 29, who handled much of the day-to-day duties of the Spikes team, said he was “released” from the campaign on Tuesday, my AJC colleague Eric Stirgus reports.

Alabama-based consultant Letitia Jackson is now the general campaign consultant and has a team of staff working with her, campaign officials said.

“As with many political campaigns, the Spikes campaign has undertaken a reorganization,” Spikes officials said in an e-mail response to a question about why Williams is no longer with the campaign. “The reorganization eliminated some positions and combined others.”

Spikes, a partner at the powerhouse law firm McKenna, Long & Aldridge, has fashioned himself as the most reliable choice to secede Mayor Shirley Franklin.

However, the political newcomer is struggling building name recognition if one believes the polls. Spikes has 2 percent of the vote in a poll conducted by …

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Republicans, Limbaugh, Gingrich — and that old-time religion

If you are of a certain age and of a certain regionally based faith, the debilitating debate within Republican ranks, one that pits purity against inclusion, might seem more than familiar.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Southern Baptist Convention, then and now the largest Protestant denomination in America, was enveloped in a bitter power struggle between modernists and traditionalists. Biblical inerrancy was the primary litmus test, but there were many others.

Because both sides in the fight claimed the mantle of conservatism, they were dubbed “fundamentalists” and “moderates.” Biblical literalists eventually won, in part because Southern Baptist government is based on convention elections, not unlike the nation’s two political parties. And elections are won by the motivated, the outraged — the activists.

The parallels with the current Republican party, with which the SBC has been closely aligned since Ronald Reagan and the early 1980s, are obvious, even uncanny. …

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Your morning jolt: GBI says nothing illegal in hiring of congressman’s stepdaughter

A GBI inquiry into the employment of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop’s stepdaughter in the Muscogee County marshal’s office has found no illegal activity, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports this morning.

Says the newspaper:

The employment of Aayesha Owens Reese, the stepdaughter of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, and daughter of Columbus Municipal Court Clerk Vivian Creighton Bishop, was questioned after a city payroll audit in February.

Reese and her husband, Stephen Reese, worked in the Junior Marshal Program, a middle school mentoring program funded in part by a federal grant that the congressman helped obtain.

The Reeses lived in Lithonia, Ga., at the time of their employment, and both held full-time jobs in the metro Atlanta area.

“I am pleased that the report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation revealed no evidence of criminal intent or conduct relating to the employment of Aayesha and Stephen Reese or funds related to their employment with the Muscogee County Junior …

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GOP gay group says Atlanta crime out of control — and wants National Guard brought in

The following has been posted by the Southern Voice, a newspaper/web site directed at gay residents in Atlanta:

The Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, the state chapter of the national gay GOP group, issued a statement this afternoon demanding the resignation of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

The group called on Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican, and the Georgia National Guard to take control of the city’s “crime mayhem” and reminded LGBT residents of their right to bear arms and use deadly force to protect themselves.

The statement comes hours after a man was stabbed to death in Piedmont Park in an attempted robbery, and another man was stabbed minutes later at 6th Street and Juniper.

Bert Brantley, spokesman for Sonny Perdue, said the governor has received no formal request for a state takeover of Atlanta. Also that he “can’t imagine” a situation that would prompt the governor to do so.

Click here to see what one of our crime reporters, Mike Morris, has been able to pin down on …

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Some urging Sotomayor to concede she made a gaffe

Laugh if you will at Newt Gingrich’s European tweets, but they’re having an effect.

This just posted on Politico:

Some political and communications experts are urging the White House to shift course and concede that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor made an error when she suggested in 2001 that Hispanic women would make better judges than white men.

“She misspoke,” said Lanny Davis, a White House lawyer and spokesman for President Bill Clinton. “Every day that goes by that they don’t say she misspoke and she used the wrong words…..they just feed it and give it life and give Rush [Limbaugh] and [Sean] Hannity more airtime unnecessarily.”

The piece also quotes University of Virginia politics professor Larry Sabato:

“Explain that she simply meant to say that we are all a product of our unique backgrounds and experiences, and that those backgrounds and experiences inform our decisions. But no one’s gender or ethnic background inherently leads to superior decisions. It would be …

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