Archive for June, 2009

Nathan Deal and the 2008 farm bill

Flip the calendar back to 2008. Aside from the stimulus package, if there was a single measure that split Georgia Republicans last year it was the vote over the $307 billion farm bill.

The bill was vetoed by President George W. Bush. Congress overrode it. Voting in favor of it were Saxby Chambliss — up for re-election — and Johnny Isakson in the Senate, and Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston in the House.

Opposing it were U.S. Reps. Tom Price, Lynn Westmoreland, Paul Broun and Nathan Deal.

At the time, the split was described as case of division by ambition. On one side were Republicans who had to run statewide, or had dreams of doing so.

On the other were those those could vote from secure GOP bases.

Within his party, Chambliss was derided for voting for the farm bill, its subsidies and its nutrition-for-the-poor programs. But many of the rank-and-file gave Chambliss a pass because of the bill’s general election implications, and because of the votes and money behind the ag …

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Mark Sanford: ‘Staying as governor is the punishment I deserve’

Yesterday afternoon, Gov. Mark Sanford twittered a message to nearly 4,000 followers.

He sent them a link to yet another long, fulsome apology. This one was in writing, and explained why he will not quit as governor. In essence, he won’t resign because his sin of pride requires a harsher punishment. I.e., voter scorn.

Says Sanford:

Immediately after all this unfolded last week I had thought I would resign – as I believe in the military model of leadership and when trust of any form is broken one lays down the sword.

A long list of close friends have suggested otherwise – that for God to really work in my life I shouldn’t be getting off so lightly. While it would be personally easier to exit stage left, their point has been that my larger sin was the sin of pride.

They contended that in many instances I may well have held the right position on limited government, spending or taxes – but that if my spirit wasn’t right in the presentation of those ideas to people in the General …

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Your morning jolt: It’s not enough to get laid off in some parts of Georgia. You have to stay laid off.

The Wall Street Journal this morning has piece on the jaded side of the free market that’s showing itself to the residents of Douglas, Ga.

This spring, Pilgrims Pride Co. announced it would shut down its local chicken-processing plant as part of its bankruptcy filing. To Coffee County, it was a loss of 1,000 jobs and $300,000 a year in county tax revenues.

Local officials have been trying to find a buyer, but the company has resisted, to the point of keeping one prospective buyer from touring the plant. “The standoff shows how two important imperatives in a recession — creating jobs and cutting excess capacity — can collide,” according to the WSJ.

To continue:

In an email to the city of Douglas, Pilgrim’s President and Chief Executive Don Jackson said, “With declining demand for chicken in this terrible economy we need to remove chicken from the market. This would not be accomplished with a sale.” While he said he recognized the “devastating impact” a closing would have on …

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A Zell Miller sighting

Gov. Zell Miller will make a rare appearance Wednesday when he swears in Carol Hunstein as the new chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

A packed room is expected. Reporters are being urged to make reservations.

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On the high-school education of Karen Handel

In a roundabout fashion, the high-school education of Secretary of State Karen Handel became a focus of discussion Monday.

In a column posted on his web site today, Washington political analyst Stuart Rothenberg focused on the comeback chances of former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes. Rothenberg made this note of two GOP rivals, Nathan Deal and Handel:

Observers see Deal as a more formidable general election candidate, though they agree that his service in Washington, D.C., may not be an asset given Congress’ image.

Handel, who earned a GED and worked in the nation’s capital for Hallmark Cards and later in the Bush-Quayle White House before moving to Georgia and being elected to the Fulton County Commission, is regarded as less prepared to stand toe-to-toe with Barnes in a debate.

A Handel staffer saw the column late last week, when it originally appeared in Roll Call. Matt Carrothers said he told Rothenberg that Handel graduated “with her classmates” in May 1980 from Frederick …

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U.S. Supreme Court rules for white firefighters over promotions

This from the Associated Press in Washington:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.

New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no African-Americans and only two Hispanic firefighters were likely to be made lieutenants or captains based on the results, the court said Monday in a 5-4 decision. The city said that it had acted to avoid a lawsuit from minorities.

The ruling could alter employment practices nationwide and make it harder to prove discrimination when there is no evidence it was intentional.

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Your morning jolt: Chambliss balks at Obama nominee who thinks animals might need lawyers

Word comes that U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss has put a hold on President Barack Obama’s choice for regulation czar, because the nominee, a Harvard law professor, thinks that every dog should have his day.

In court.

Cass Sunstein, an Obama adviser and friend, would head up the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which has the power to assess the impact of regulations proposed by the information.

This from The Hill, a D. C. newspaper:

But Chambliss worries that Sunstein’s innovative legal views may someday lead to a farmer having to defend himself in court against a lawsuit filed on behalf of his chickens or pigs.

Chambliss told The Hill that he has blocked Sunstein’s nomination because the law professor “has said that animals ought to have the right to sue folks.”

Indeed, in his 2004 book, Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, Sunstein wrote: “I will suggest that animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives, to …

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Crime and Atlanta’s race for mayor

Updated at 8 p.m. Sunday:

After a long sabbatical, crime has reclaimed its traditional role in Atlanta mayoral politics.

We forget how unusual the last eight years have been. Shirley Franklin won her first term on the issue of integrity — and the fact that she was not Bill Campbell, whom federal investigators were already chasing.

That 2001 contest was waged in the weeks after 9/11. Murder was a concern, but it was the imported variety that had us by the lapels.

Four years later, as a popular incumbent, Franklin was able to dictate the terms of debate: jobs, sewers and schools. Her two under-funded and underwhelming opponents on the ballot — a utility rate consultant and a food stand vendor — were hardly in a position to object.

But events and an open seat have conspired to bring back both cops and robbers as issues in the current contest for mayor.

Seven-year Councilwoman Mary Norwood has declared that her election would mark the end of Richard Pennington’s tenure as police …

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Rumor-killing on cap-and-trade

Conservative provocateur Sean Hannity announced on his radio program Friday that U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal of Georgia — now a Republican candidate for governor — would vote for the cap-and-trade bill this evening.

Uh, no, he won’t, said campaign spokesman Harris Blackwood — Deal’s been talking down the measure in every speech.

Hannity retracted his statement — and apologized to Deal — after an on-air intervention from Newt Gingrich, Blackwood said.

But Baby Jesus’ initial statement continues to live on the Internet, and Deal’s office has been inundated with Twitter-driven calls.

The proof will be available soon enough. But consider this rumor killed.

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Your weekend send-off: ‘Don’t cry for me, Carolina’

Because it wraps up this very strange week so neatly:

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