Archive for July, 2009

Gone fishing.

Sorry, no Morning Jolt for the next few days. Gone on vacation. See you in August.

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Georgia and a confederation of the thirsty

By now, you know about the federal judge’s ruling that metro Atlanta has no right to draw drinking water from Lake Lanier — and never has.

The giant economic engine of metro Atlanta, the centerpiece of the South’s magical, post-World War II transformation, has been founded on a poor legal assumption, Judge Paul Magnuson ruled.

If this half-century oversight isn’t fixed within another three years, the judge intends to shut off the flow of Lanier water to millions of faucets and toilets in metro Atlanta.

It should be noted that Magnuson came to this draconian conclusion — his words — in far-off Minnesota, the land of precisely 11,842 natural freshwater lakes. Georgia’s natural lakes can be counted by touching thumb to forefinger: zilch.

We are, in many ways, a green desert. In this state, lakes are man-made, created for specific purposes by the people who pay for them. In the case of Buford Dam, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the purposes authorized by Congress were …

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They call him ‘Listenin’’ Roy Barnes

The Democratic campaign of Roy Barnes has posted what can only be a video statement of regret by the former governor.

The venue is unusual — Barnes in a car, on the move, making his necessary amends:

Says Barnes:

”For months I’ve been driving around Georgia, listening to her people. Listening wasn’t something I did too much of when I was governor before. I tried to do too much, too fast. I’ve learned some lessons. I learned I should explain myself more….”

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Of Obama, health care and puppies

Politics can be all about finding just the right — preferably warm and fuzzy — metaphor to fit the argument. Something a voter can quickly identify with.

U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal found his today, in a description about President Barack Obama and health care.

Here’s a CNN clip, posted on YouTube:

Deal said health care reform:

“….deserves at least as much time and deliberation as it would take to select a puppy to reside in the White House.

It took the president six months to decide…which puppy he was going to have. To expect Congress to do something on major health care reform in six days is totally irresponsible.”

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Gingrey: Pentagon not ‘forthright with facts’ in F-22 fight

In May, Washington was all a-bother about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that she was “misled” by the CIA when it came to issues of torture.

Now another member of Congress feels he’s been done wrong by a highly esteemed portion of the executive branch. On the House floor today, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) declared that the Pentagon had not “been forthright with the facts” when it came to this week’s fight over the F-22 in the Senate.

Not that he’s saying anyone was misled.

Here’s the clip:

Funding for seven additional stealth fighters was stripped from a defense appropriations bill on Tuesday by the Senate. At issue is a Congressional Quarterly article published Thursday, citing a Pentagon report that the replacement F-35 was two years behind schedule.

(Insider the Air Force magazine tells us they published the same information in November, but the fact seems not to have gotten much attention.)

On Friday, Gingrey said:

Given that the need to transition to the F-35 …

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Obama says his words about Cambridge cop ‘unfortunate’

This just posted on CBS’ web site:

President Obama said Friday that he “could have calibrated [his] words differently” when he suggested Wednesday that the Cambridge police acted “stupidly” in arresting Harvard professor Henry Lewis Gates, Jr.

“To the extent that my choice of words didn’t illuminate but rather contributed to more media frenzy, I think that was unfortunate,” Mr. Obama said in a surprise appearance at the White House press briefing.

The president told reporters he had just spoken to Sergeant James M. Crowley, the arresting officer in the case. He said his words “unfortunately, I think, gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge police department or Sergeant Crowley specifically.”

There’s word on Twitter that Obama will bring Gates to the White House for a beer.

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Muslim headscarves to be allowed in Georgia courtrooms

Those who walk into any Georgia courtroom will be allowed to wear head coverings, such as scarfs worn by Muslim women.

The new policy was adopted Wednesday at a meeting of the Judicial Council of Georgia, the policy-making body for Georgia courts.

This from a press release issued this afternoon:

The policy is designed to balance a court’s legitimate security concerns with a person’s right to practice his or her faith in a public place. Under the new policy, if a security officer wanted to conduct a search, the person would have the option of having the inspection performed in a private area by an officer of the same gender.

The measure stems from the December 2008 arrest of Lisa Valentine after she refused to remove her hijab, the head scarf worn by Muslim women. She said to do so would violate her faith. But Judge Keith Rollins of the Douglasville Municipal Court found her in contempt of court and ordered her to serve 10 days in jail.

The incident prompted a formal complaint …

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Stephens the first to take water decision to video

Former Senate majority leader Bill Stephens, now in the 9th District congressional race, has become the first candidate in the state, we think, to go to video with the new, startling turn in the water wars.

A federal judge ruled last week that Georgia has no legal right to use the water behind Buford Dam for drinking purposes. Navigation, yes. Gargling, no.

See the YouTube clip here:

Stephens wasn’t the strongest Republican candidate when it came to last month’s financial disclosures, so it’s not clear how much airtime the above will get.

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Your morning jolt: In front of ATL cops and firefighters, mayoral hopefuls debate cuts and furloughs

With property crimes up in Atlanta and its fire department enduring significant budget cuts, last night’s debate sponsored by the unions representing cops and firefighters was considered critical for mayoral candidates.

Two leading candidates — Atlanta City Council President Lisa Borders and state Sen. Kasim Reed — threw jabs at each other over who was responsible for these problems. And my AJC colleague Eric Stirgus was ringside.

Only four candidates were invited to the fray: Borders, Reed, City Councilwoman Mary Norwood and Atlanta attorney Jesse Spikes.

Borders accused Reed of using fuzzy math when he dwelled on the city’s inability to pay for its public safety needs.

Reed then said Borders’ unwillingness to support a property tax increase in 2008 hurt operations and caused furloughs in the police and fire departments.

“The crisis that required a [property tax increase this year] was generated by not giving any relief for police and fire [last year],” Reed said during the …

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Cop who arrested Harvard prof was a racial profiling expert; Obama stands by criticism

This from WBZ-TV in Boston is one of the better accounts (plus video links) today:

The white police sergeant who arrested black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. said Thursday President Barack Obama was “way off base” claiming Cambridge officers acted “stupidly” during the incident.

Sgt. James Crowley, who is a police academy expert on racial profiling, responded to Gates’ home near Harvard University last week to investigate a report of a burglary and demanded Gates show him identification. Police say Gates at first refused and accused the officer of racism.

Gates was charged with disorderly conduct. The charge was dropped Tuesday, and Gates has since demanded an apology from Crowley.

“I acted appropriately,” Crowley told WBZ Radio’s Carl Stevens Thursday.

“Mister Gates was given plenty of opportunities to stop what he was doing. He didn’t. He acted very irrational he controlled the outcome of that event.”

Here’s today’s Washington Post follow-up on Obama’s comments, …

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