Archive for April, 2010

The political downside of heterosexuality

Tom Crawford of the Georgia Report has found an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer that uncovers the political burdens of heterosexuality.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” Crawford notes. To wit:

Veteran Rep. Babette Josephs (D., Phila.) last Thursday accused her primary opponent, Gregg Kravitz, of pretending to be bisexual in order to pander to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender voters, a powerful bloc in the district.

“I outed him as a straight person,” Josephs said during a fund-raiser at the Black Sheep Pub & Restaurant, as some in the audience gasped or laughed, “and now he goes around telling people, quote, ‘I swing both ways.’ That’s quite a respectful way to talk about sexuality. This guy’s a gem.”

Kravitz, 29, said that he is sexually attracted to both men and women and called Josephs’ comments offensive.

“That kind of taunting is going to make it more difficult for closeted members of the LGBT community to be comfortable with themselves,” Kravitz …

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Barack Obama dips into 4th District race, hands Hank Johnson an endorsement

The ever-courteous Hank Johnson has given those Democrats who want his DeKalb County seat in Congress a long weekend to think things over, plus this press release:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama announced Thursday his endorsement of Congressman Hank Johnson, who represents Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District.

“Congressman Johnson has done an outstanding job,” said President Obama. “Together, we are fighting to renew our economy. Together, we passed historic health care reform. I am proud to stand with Hank and support his re-election.”

Qualifying begins on Monday.

Obama’s endorsement is, in fact, a license to print photos of Johnson and the president – real ones, no digital retouching necessary — in whatever fashion that pleases the congressman.

A total 322,301 people in DeKalb County cast ballots on Nov. 4, 2008 — 78 percent for Obama.

There is probably no need to note that Johnson was the first member of Congress from Georgia to endorse Obama in the 2008 …

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Austin Scott pays a visit to GOP headquarters

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s re-election campaign put out the word this morning that the GOP incumbent and his wife Nita would slap down a qualifying check somewhere between 10 and 11 a.m. Monday in the state Capitol.

It was a not-so-subtle signal to those who have lived off rumors that Cagle might surprise everyone and decline a second term.

But a mere press release is unlikely to put a halt to state Rep. Austin Scott’s pondering over whether to drop out of the GOP race for governor – and into the primary against Cagle.

The Tifton lawmaker just confirmed a morning meeting with state GOP chairman Sue Everhart and others at party headquarters. Asked the topic of conversation, Scott said, “Qualifying. And the timing of our qualifying.”

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69 percent of Georgia census forms complete

This is probably good news, but it also means that 31 percent couldn’t be bothered. From the U.S. Census Bureau:

According to the latest 2010 Census mail participation rates released today, the state of Georgia has now matched the rate it had achieved during the 2000 Census — 69 percent. Georgia is one of 19 states, in addition to Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, that have met or surpassed their rates from the 2000 Census.

We do not know whether U.S. Rep. Paul Broun’s form was ruled complete or incomplete.

The national participation rate is 71 percent.

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Your morning jolt: Pressure building on abortion bill vote

With a transportation bill finally passed, and an ethics measure to bleach out the scarlet “E” on their chests on its way to the governor, Georgia lawmakers are basking in the exhaustion of a productive 38th Day.

There’s even talk of adjourning for good next Tuesday, on the 39th day.

But there’s one last fight to resolve, an intra-mural struggle between House Republican leaders and Georgia Right to Life.

SB 529, the anti-abortion bill designed to become a court challenge to Roe v. Wade, made it out of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and is now poised for a floor vote next week. The bill would prohibit physicians from performing abortions on women who have been “coerced” into the procedure.

But the bill would also bar abortions that are based on the race or gender of the fetus – and that’s the portion of the measure that backers think will attract constitutional attention.

Speaker David Ralston has come under a deal of national pressure to bring the bill to a vote …

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Transportation hanging, and Kasim Reed pushing

We leave you this evening with the GOP transportation funding bill hanging in both the Senate and the House.

A deal has been struck, and Republicans in the Senate are confident of passage. Confidence is less high in the House, where we hear that 20 or so Republicans will refuse to vote – and Democrats have been hesitant to vote on a measure that, they say, will do too little to help MARTA.

One interesting tidbit we’ve heard: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has been working the Fulton and DeKalb county delegations hard to persuade them to vote for the bill. Working against him is state Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), who served as campaign manager for Lisa Borders in last year’s mayoral election.

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Michael Thurmond and the gamble of a cautious man


State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, left, wipes tears from his eyes following his announcement that he would enter the Democratic race for U.S. Senate. AP Photo/John Amis

Note: Portions of the column first appeared in a post earlier this week.

State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, considered one of the most cautious men in Georgia politics, on Wednesday took a huge gamble — and jumped into the U.S. Senate race against Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson.

Consider that Thurmond, despite his status as an A-list Democrat, starts with a vacant campaign treasury. Isakson has already squirreled away nearly $4 million.

Also consider that, within the dynamics of a general election, Isakson, 65, may be the strongest and most popular Republican in Georgia.

So the immediate question becomes whether Thurmond, 57, a former state lawmaker from Athens and a history buff, has been hiding a fondness for the roulette wheel. Or a penchant for Texas hold ’em.

The answer is yes — …

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Chambliss, GOP lose a round in financial reform fight

Republicans led by U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss lost a key round in the political fight over financial reform Wednesday, says my AJC colleague Bob Keefe in Washington.

But Chambliss and other key GOP lawmakers nonetheless say they’re more optimistic than ever about a sweeping bipartisan bill that could come to a vote in Congress within the next week.

“We’ve narrowed it down to a limited number of areas where we disagree, and we’re going to work very hard to try and see if we can bridge the gap between us … and get a good bill,” said Chambliss, Georgia’s senior senator.

The Senate agriculture committee on Wednesday passed a bill from Democratic Chairman Blanche Lincoln that would impose strict new rules on derivatives, the risky financial instruments that were at the epicenter of last year’s financial industry meltdown.

In doing so, the committee voted against a less-strict version proposed by Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the committee. One Republican, Iowa Sen. Chuck …

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A measure to force Obama to address citizenship in 2012

State Rep. Mark Hatfield (R-Waycross) has just introduced legislation that would require Barack Obama – should he run for re-election – to provide proof of his citizenship before being granted a spot on the 2012 Georgia presidential primary ballot.

The state of Hawaii, of course, has already declared the matter of Obama’s birth proven — and closed.

The new measure stands no chance of passage in the final three days of the current session, but is an indication of what could come next January.

The resolution would require that:

Within 10 days after submitting its list of names of candidates, the state executive committee shall submit to the Secretary of State for each candidate an affidavit by the candidate stating the candidate’s citizenship and age and shall append to the affidavit documents that prove the candidate is a natural born citizen, prove the candidate’s age, and prove that the candidate meets the residency requirements for President of the United States as …

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Transportation, business and the 2010 elections

Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1 FM) has just posted audio from an interview with Sam Williams, president of the Metro Chamber of Commerce. For three years, Williams has haunted the state Capitol, urging lawmakers to pass a transportation funding bill.

The newest effort is now in a House-Senate conference committee, with fundamental differences still unresolved, and the Legislature headed to its final two days. Here’s the very last of that interview with Williams:

O’Hayer: Do you think a bill is going to make it this year? You’ve sat through two years when it hasn’t.

Williams: I’m going to be there ’til the last second of the last hour of the last night, walking those ropes, urging our legislators to pass something. There’s no question that there is unity on the part of statewide business leaders that this needs to be addressed. And I would hope that they would see that they would see that that unity from the major employers – that if we want to continue to grow jobs and …

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