Archive for November, 2010

Jack Kingston: Use debt ceiling vote to leverage economic reform

As mentioned this morning, U.S. Reps. Jack Kingston of Savannah and Jerry Lewis of California put themselves on a Monday evening conference call organized by Tea Party Patriots – a kind of campaign appearance in the race for chairman of the House Appropriation Committee.

Technical difficulties prevented my listening in, but David Weigel of Slate was more successful. He writes this afternoon that both Kingston and Lewis were asked if they’d support an increase in the federal debt ceiling.

Lewis said no. Kingston said no, but with a large “but.” A small increase in the debt ceiling would be worthwhile – if the price were right.

Said Kingston:

”[W]hat I think the Republican Party should do is say, if we get a spending cap, Gramm-Rudman type law in there; if we can get rid of all the unused stimulus funds, and if we get rid of all the used TARP funds, and if we can get private control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and root out some of these other government problems… …

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Your morning jolt: Jack Kingston advocates closer ties to anti-tax groups

The insurgent push to make U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah the next chairman of the House Appropriations Committee continues apace today with his appearance before the all-important steering committee.

On Monday evening, Tea Party Patriots held a telephone conference call that featured a bit of campaigning by two of the three candidates for the job. Reports Politico.com:

From a PowerPoint presentation by U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston/WSJ

From a PowerPoint presentation by U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston/WSJ

Tea partiers who listened to Reps. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) on a conference call Monday night overwhelmingly favored Kingston to head the House Appropriations panel.

81 percent of the members of the Tea Party Patriots group who voted on the call said they wanted to see Kingston as committee chair, while 15 percent said they supported Lewis. Just five percent of the callers said they wanted to see longtime earmarker Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) lead the panel.

The group’s leaders put out a glowing description of Kingston …

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Note to Cobb teachers: Beware the ‘cheating’ pen

Classroom chicanery has become a hot topic – and not just among teachers.

A note making its way among Cobb County educators warns about the cheating potential of a new generation of “smart pens” that Santa could be bringing to students this Christmas:

All teachers should be made aware because it looks just like a regular pen and can be snuck into the classroom easily.

A student can buy apps which allows this simple-looking pen to supply answers to: the periodic table of elements; acrylic alkanes; details on U.S. history; correct spelling; perform mathematical equations; translate between English and Spanish; supply vocabulary definitions and so much more. It also is a recording device.

This all can be done without a teacher knowing it is occurring.

The pens run between $125 and $200, and are being marketed as study aids – particularly in college, but even in elementary schools. The New York Times reviewed the Livescribe Echo pen in September. Click here to read it.

- …

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Nathan Deal names Chris Cummiskey to head economic development

Gov.-elect Nathan Deal on Monday indicated that much of the state’s bureaucracy will remain in familiar hands once he takes office – but named a former aide to both Johnny Isakson and Glenn Richardson as the state’s top economic development agent.

Deal said named Chris Cummiskey, who now acts as a liaison between the state Capitol and the University of Georgia, as his choice for commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Cummiskey would replace Heidi Green, a deputy commissioner recently elevated to the top slot by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

“Chris brings both private and public sector experience to the table. He knows how the state must balance good public services – particularly education – with the need to maintain a strong business climate,” Deal said.

Cummiskey served Richardson, the former House speaker, as chief of staff. He was also state director for Isakson, the U.S. senator.

But the governor-elect threw out several signs that continuity with the …

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UGA editor resigns after alcohol-fueled visit with Nathan Deal, Sonny Perdue

Note to journalism students: Ernest Hemingway lied. Boozing came after the work. Not during.

The editor-in-chief of the University of Georgia’s campus newspaper has resigned after being ejected from the president’s box – and a visit with Gov.-elect Nathan Deal and Gov. Sonny Perdue — during Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech.

Alcohol was said to be involved. Neither Perdue nor Deal are drinkers.

In an article posted in The Red and Black, the daily newspaper, editor Daniel Burnett said he had been at a tailgate party before his visit to the prestigious booth of UGA President Michael Adams:

“It’s my understanding his behavior was disruptive enough to the point he was asked to leave,” said Meg Amstutz, executive assistant to the president.

Burnett told The Red & Black he responded, “Yeah, that’s fine,” before walking out of the box without further confrontation.

“I think someone smelled the vodka,” Burnett said Monday. “I was talking to people, I …

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The ‘retirement’ of a Sam Nunn Democrat

Tim Golden and I always had something in common. ‘Way back in 1977, within a few months of each other, both of us interned for U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn.

State Sen. Tim Golden, now R-Valdosta, in a 2006 photo. AP

State Sen. Tim Golden, now R-Valdosta, in a 2006 photo. AP

It was an academic internship, awarded by the University of Georgia, but Golden henceforth would always describe himself as a Sam Nunn Democrat. Until today.

On Monday, Golden became a Sam Nunn Republican.

Golden had served as chairman of the Senate Democratic caucus. Though unopposed in the November election, Golden dropped out of the caucus leadership two weeks ago. “I’m retiring,” the Valdosta lawmaker said at the time.

As a Democrat, it turns out. Not as a state senator.

“I am changing my party affiliation in order to better represent the views of the majority of my constituents and my own conservative, pro-business philosophy,” Golden announced this morning. “Our state continues to face great challenges. As a member of the majority caucus, I will be able …

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Your morning jolt: Jack Kingston’s race for House budget chairman comes to a head

This is a big week for U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah.

All three candidates for the chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee – and Kingston is one — will make presentations to the House steering committee on Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah

The committee could render its decision anytime afterwards.

Tea Party Patriots intends to make themselves part of the decision-making process. The group plans to hold a nationwide “tele-town hall meeting” from 7 to 9 p.m. this evening, featuring candidates for the leadership of several House committees.

Kingston will be one of those featured. Those who want to listen in need to register here by 2 p.m.

According to a handicapping by The Hill, Jerry Lewis of California has an inside track, but has been criticized as a pork-barrel addict – and may not appeal to the army of freshmen House members. On the other hand, says the D.C. newspaper:

[T]he fact that Kingston is more of an outsider could be a problem for …

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After trauma network defeat, Republicans need to get their Whig on

Republicans in Georgia have 18 months to summon their inner Whig.

The defeat this month of a $10 car tag levy to extend emergency health care into exurban and rural Georgia has business leaders and many others worried about the chances of a transportation sales tax referendum scheduled for July 2012.

If a voter isn’t willing to shell out an extra sawbuck once a year to make sure a neurologist is waiting when his injured kid is pried out of a car, what can persuade that voter to spend an extra penny — perhaps thousands of times a year — on something as mundane as a quicker commute?

Even in metro Atlanta — where a worker can marry, raise a family and qualify for Social Security all during a single trip to the office — resistance is already rearing its head.

Public officials in Fulton and DeKalb counties, where a 1-cent sales tax has funded MARTA for decades, are insisting on a lightening — or at least a sharing — of that burden. Otherwise, they declared this month, …

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Gone fishing for turkey

Time to shut down for the Thanksgiving holiday. Be careful as you drive over the river and through the wood — and say hello to Grandmother for us.

Back next week.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

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Saxby Chambliss jumps into airport pat-down debate

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss says he’s written a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, demanding some reassurance that her Transportation Security Administration is striking a balance in its new pat-down procedures — especially when it comes to kids.

From his letter:

[C]onstituents question the increasingly invasive nature of these procedures given the heavy burden the traveling public is already facing. What are the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA doing to address these concerns? Has TSA undertaken any efforts to improve communication with the public on these more aggressive screening procedures? In addition, in light of recent news reports alleging inappropriate conduct by certain TSA employees when conducting pat-downs, what measures have TSA and DHS taken or plan to take to ensure the professionalism of its employees?

Furthermore, I seek clarification of TSA’s screening policy with respect to children. I understand from Administrator …

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