Archive for September, 2010

Repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ falters in U.S. Senate

The window on an important promise by President Barack Obama may have just closed. From the Associated Press:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked legislation that would have repealed the law banning gays from serving openly in the military.

The partisan vote was a defeat for Senate Democrats and gay rights advocates, who saw the bill as their last chance before November’s elections to overturn the law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

With the 56-43 vote, Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation. It also would have authorized $726 billion in defense spending including a pay raise for troops.

Senate Democrats attached the repeal provision to the defense bill in the hopes that Republicans would hesitate to vote against legislation that included popular defense programs. But GOP legislators opposed the bill anyway, thwarting a key part of the Democrats’ legislative agenda.

Now, gay rights advocates say they worry they have lost a crucial …

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A $2.9 million name change

With little fanfare, the state Board of Regents last week approved a request from the Medical College of Georgia to allow the venerated Augusta institution to change its name to Georgia Health Sciences University.

Cost of the retitlement, during a season of furloughed and laid-off teachers, is $2.9 million – which presumably includes not just stationery, but also the GHSU Naming Initiative web site.

Here we find a polite explanation for the action. Medical degrees from colleges, it seems, aren’t worth as much as degrees from universities:

Calling our university a ‘college’ is a misnomer that does a deep disservice to you and us in not highlighting the broad scope of our mission and service and affects our ability to be recognized for what we truly are … a progressive, forward-looking health sciences university. This misnomer also causes confusion among alumni, referring physicians, recruitees, our community and our academic peers, who have difficulty distinguishing …

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Your morning jolt: Jim Marshall mocks ‘toothless’ Georgia GOP efforts to curb illegal immigrants

U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, the Democrat from Macon, has angered Republicans for years – simply for surviving multiple GOP attempts to oust him.

But now he’s really gone and done it – by goring the most sacred head of cattle in the Georgia GOP herd.

The congressman has declared that the 2006 bill to combat illegal immigration – passed by a Republican-controlled Legislature and used to pump up scores of political resumes – is little more than hot air.

The attack comes in a TV spot aimed at this cycle’s challenger, state Rep. Austin Scott (R-Tifton). An earlier Marshall ad had blistered Scott for voting against a bill (that never passed) to slap a 5 percent levy on all money wired home by illegal immigrants.

“I have a moral problem with that,” Scott said in a speech on the House floor.

In his own defense, Scott said he voted for the ’06 package of bills aimed at discouraging immigration, which he – as have many of his GOP colleagues – called the toughest in the …

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Do jobs fuel education, or does education fuel jobs?

Tomorrow’s taping of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Prime Time Politics” focuses on education – which required a review of last week’s joint appearance by two candidates for governor at an event sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators.

One thing the session made obvious: Public education may present the deepest philosophical difference between Democrat Roy Barnes and Republican Nathan Deal. It is a chicken-and-egg gap. They disagree on what comes first.

At last Thursday’s forum, Barnes was very clear – and passionate – in his timeline. Education begets economic development, which begets jobs, he declared.

Said Barnes:

Georgia Governor Forum

Democratic candidate for governor Roy Barnes at last week's PAGE forum. AP/John Bazemore

“I think what we’ve done in shorting education over the last eight years is not just depriving a generation of children out of opportunity, but it has harmed our economic development as a state and as a region. And unless we change …

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Today’s two-minute vacation: Pray for strength to Saint Jody Almighty Bedrock

We think Shelby Marwan Heggs of Macon might be the new patron saint of lost causes. But where was this guy when Flannery O’Connor needed him? His story, via the Associated Press:

Heggs, who has convictions for drunken driving and marijuana possession, has filed a court petition that would allow him to change his name to Saint Jody Almighty Bedrock.

Heggs, who also faces an aggravated battery charge next month, said he’s rededicated his life to God, The Telegraph newspaper in Macon reported.

“I wanted a name that everybody would know when they were talking to me that they were talking to a man of God,” said Heggs. “I wanted that to be expressed in my name.”

The Bibb County District Attorney’s Office is opposing Heggs’ request on grounds he may be using it to try to hide his criminal record, prosecutor John Regan said. A name change request can be denied on that basis.

Heggs said he isn’t trying to hide from anyone. He said the aggravated battery charge stems from a fight with …

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As Nathan Deal stews, Libertarians dream big

Tom Crawford at the Georgia Report has this up:

Nathan Deal’s financial issues have also caused Libertarians to dream that their gubernatorial candidate, John Monds, might cross the all-important 20 percent threshold of voter support in the upcoming general election.

That 20 percent mark is important because if Monds could somehow achieve it, the Libertarians would be considered a “political party” under state election law that could hold primary elections and be guaranteed ballot access in future races.

Libertarian Party spokesman Brett Bittner noted that Monds has moved from 5 percent up to 9 percent support in recent polling and theorized that the support level could grow even more in polling that is conducted after the recent media coverage of Deal’s financial woes.

“He’s growing and we’re seeing that a lot of things are slipping for the Deal and the Barnes campaigns,” Bittner said.

The 20 percent level, if Monds were able to achieve it, would be a huge …

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A new Roy Barnes’ TV ad: Nathan Deal is ‘slippery as a bag of snakes’

Maybe you don’t kick a man when he’s down – but in politics, you sure do stick your leg out if he’s stumbling.

The campaign of Democratic nominee for governor Roy Barnes is out this morning with a new, coffee-shop attack ad on Republican rival Nathan Deal.

We’re told that it’s intended as a parody of an anti-Barnes TV ad issued last week – to absolutely no fanfare – by the Republican Governors Association.

In his reply, Barnes doesn’t mention Deal’s personal finance problems, but – yet again – makes a large point of the former congressman’s Washington connections. Perhaps the most notable aspect of the ad is its target – Deal’s wheelhouse of white male voters.

The Barnes script:

Actor No. 1: You know, times was better when Roy Barnes was governor.

Actor No. 2: Yup. I had a job.

Actor No. 1: He brought in 235,000 jobs.

Actor No. 2: Yup. Made Georgia work.

Actor No. 1: Reduced class sizes.

Actor No. 2: Yup.

Actor No. 1: Shoot, he even lowered my …

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Your morning jolt: Let’s kill that talk of a Nathan Deal withdrawal

You can look for Nathan Deal – and perhaps even the Republican Governors Association – to do everything in their power today to shift the topic away from the GOP nominee for governor’s awkward finances.

Most especially, they’ll want to stifle talk like this from Kenny Burgamy in Sunday’s Macon Telegraph:

It is time to request the Executive Committee of the Republican State Party to do what they’re designed to do. The group should show abundant leadership and convene an emergency conference.

GOP nominee for governor Nathan Deal

GOP nominee for governor Nathan Deal

The titular head of the state party, Gov. Sonny Perdue, ought to gather State Chair person, Sue Everhart, Executive Director Toby Carr and the former long serving chairman, Alec Poitevent, into executive session. It behooves them to discuss how the GOP will proceed. There are three key elements that should be included in this historic agenda.

First, the politicos should consider the message they’ll send to their party faithful announcing …

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Finances, family and Nathan Deal’s race for governor

If Nathan Deal has his way, the issue of the moment in Georgia’s race for governor will boil down to a question that every father can understand:

If your daughter and her husband, the parents of your grandchild, asked you to back them to the tune of several million dollars, would you do it?

Assuming you could, of course.

That is how the Republican nominee for governor framed the matter of his finances on Friday in a conference call aimed at reassuring supporters shaken by reports about the precarious nature of the former congressman’s personal checkbook.

Republican candidate for governor Nathan Deal talks to reporters after a forum sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators on Thursday. AP/John Bazemore

Republican candidate for governor Nathan Deal talks to reporters after a forum sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators on Thursday. AP/John Bazemore

“We’ve always believed that a responsibility of a parent is to help their children, and we certainly intended to do that,” Deal said.

On Wednesday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Deal and his wife have a $2.3 million loan that will …

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InsiderAdvantage and Channel 2 poll: Nathan Deal, Roy Barnes in dead heat

So much for the double-digit lead that SurveyUSA gave Republican Nathan Deal earlier this week.

InsiderAdvantage and Channel 2 Action News are out with a statewide poll of the governor’s race, indicating that Deal and Democrat Roy Barnes are in a dead heat, at 42 percent each.

Says IA’s Matt Towery:

“Clearly this was a tough week for Deal as the poll showed a substantial drop in support among female voters and nearly 10% of Republicans voting for Barnes. Barnes gained among independent voters but Deal still leads him in that category. There are two ways to look at this situation. Yes, the poll took place while news stories about Deal’s loans were coming out. But it also was taken before Barnes had the chance to run heavy ad buys beating Deal up on the issue.”

The automated poll of 632 likely voters was conducted Thursday night. See the crosstabs here.

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