Archive for November, 2010

Saxby Chambliss: I’ll support the earmark moratorium – with exceptions

Any minute this afternoon, Senate Republicans will formally join House Republicans in swearing off earmarks in the federal budget.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surrendered on Monday – recognizing that a fight with tea party enthusiasts over a statistically tiny amount of money would block debate over larger spending issues.

Today, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss issued this statement on the topic:

“The American people are rightly concerned about reducing federal spending. Now that there appears to be an agreement to oppose earmarks, I hope Congress will begin a serious discussion of how to cut federal spending on larger, more meaningful scale.

“I have consistently voted for the elimination of earmarks in the past and will support the earmark-moratorium resolution today.

But Georgia’s senior senator left himself a glass case to crack open in case of an emergency:

“However, there are times when crises arise or issues come forth of such importance to Georgia, such as critical …

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Robert Brown: New rules by GOP ‘cabal’ turn Senate Democrats into bystanders

When a “cabal” of Senate Republicans stripped Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of most of his authority this month, they also turned Democratic senators into bystanders – and disenfranchised the 3 million people they represent, Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown of Macon declared Tuesday.

“We are not going to be bound by these rules. You can infer whatever you like from that,” Brown said.

When the General Assembly convenes in January, Republicans will have 35 members in the Senate — just three shy of the necessary two-thirds majority needed to rule on any issue without Democratic interference.

Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown, D-Macon. AJC

Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown, D-Macon. AJC

When pressed, the Democratic leader has a single word: “Disrupt.”

“The power of the minority is always to be able to disrupt,” he added.

Brown also referred to the new Republican requirement that all senators recite a pledge of allegiance to the state flag of Georgia as “an abomination” – though he said this was a personal opinion, not a caucus …

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Your morning jolt: Sarah Palin lacks the ‘intellectual curiosity’ to be president, says Lisa Murkowski

Continue reading Your morning jolt: Sarah Palin lacks the ‘intellectual curiosity’ to be president, says Lisa Murkowski »

Kasim Reed is off to London to see the prince

The mayor of Atlanta is off to see Prince Charles in London within the next couple of hours.

Why? Apparently the Brits are interested in rescuing Vine City, Eighth Avenue, and other Atlanta neighborhoods.

Below is the press release from City Hall. “HRH,” which some might mistake for a clearing of the throat, is for “His Royal Highness:”

HRH The Prince of Wales will welcome Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010 at Poundbury to see His Royal Highness’s approach to sustainable development. The visit comes as The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment announces that it is has been invited to advise on the regeneration of several of Atlanta’s most economically challenged neighborhoods.

“I am honored to meet HRH The Prince of Wales and tour Poundbury,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “Poundbury’s mix of traditional and modern design approaches to address some of today’s most pressing environmental challenges, such as our reliance on fossil fuels, is a model for …

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Your afternoon jolt: Tea party calls directed to losing congressional candidates

Freshmen congressional members and their staff have breakfast on their first day of orientation on Capitol Hill in Washington on Monday. AP/Harry Hamburg

Freshmen congressional members and their staff have breakfast on their first day of orientation on Capitol Hill in Washington on Monday. AP/Harry Hamburg

If you needed any more evidence that the movement still has some organizational tweaks to make, consider this late Friday e-mail from the Tea Party Patriots – attempting to stop the flood of e-mails and phone calls it had sent the way of freshmen members of Congress assembling in Washington this morning.

The red-lettered message also indicated a need for the group to update its contact sheets. Embarrassing calls were directed at losing candidates, too:

Thank you for making calls to your Congressmen-elect urging them to attend our freshman orientation this weekend. It’s time to turn off the heat.

We also need to apologize to some people. In our haste to compile the list and get it out to you, some people who didn’t win their races were incorrectly included as having won. People who dedicate a year or more of their lives to …

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Bait-and-switch: The Capitol coup against Casey Cagle

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle at his debate with Democratic rival Carol Porter. AP/David Goldman

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle at his debate with Democratic rival Carol Porter. AP/David Goldman

A bait-and-switch was pulled on those of you who went to the polls on the first Tuesday of November.

For months, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle had crisscrossed the state, warning that if Democrat Carol Porter were elected to replace him, a Republican-controlled Senate would immediately strip her of all power.

She would be an inert figurehead with a staff and a $91,609-a-year state salary, the Republican incumbent argued.

The lieutenant governor was re-elected by a comfortable margin. The people had spoken.

Three days later, at a closed meeting on the Mercer University campus in Macon, Republican members of the Senate voted to strip a stunned Cagle of nearly all his authority. When the General Assembly convenes in January, he’ll be little more than the figurehead he warned against.

As people in polite company say, payback is a harsh mistress.

That conclave in Macon, with its palace coup against …

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Jeff Mullis: ‘Pledging allegiance to state flag was my idea’

State Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, has ‘fessed up.

Last week, at a closed meeting of the Senate Republican caucus – the same one that stripped Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of his authority – members voted to require a pledge of allegiance to the state flag before the chamber’s daily business.

Mullis said he had no intention of sparking another debate over state sovereignty, but confessed that it was his idea. He issued the following statement this afternoon:

“During last week’s caucus meeting, I proposed that our chamber deliver a pledge of allegiance to the state flag, in addition to the U.S. flag, before we begin the Senate’s daily business. We are the State Senate, and we should honor one of our most important state symbols.

“Pledging your pride to the state is not an act of dissention to your country, but simply an affirmation that you stand for Georgia’s principles of wisdom, justice and moderation.” said Mullis. “Georgia’s flag is more than just a symbol of our state’s …

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The next meaning of GM: Not ‘Government Motors,’ but ‘Global Motors’

And you were all hot and bothered by the idea of Uncle Sam owning General Motors. From the Wall Street Journal:

China’s biggest auto maker is close to finalizing a plan to buy a stake in General Motors Co., which is preparing for an initial public offering next week, according to people familiar with the discussions.

SAIC Motor Corp., which has built cars with GM in China since the 1990s, is among foreign entities who will become part-owners of GM when the auto maker returns to the public markets, these people said. A final decision could come within the next couple of days.

Separately, sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia are on track to buy more than $1 billion worth of shares, these people said. Such funds are attractive investors to GM and its bankers because they tend to hold investments for longer, providing stability for the company.

The issue of foreign investors buying GM shares in the company’s IPO is a sensitive one for the U.S. government, which will …

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GOP control of House could revive the F-22 fight

The takeover of the U.S. House by Republicans could prompt a revival of the fight for additional funding for the Marietta-built F-22 stealth fighter, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey said Friday.

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U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, a Republican from Marietta. AJC file

“This isn’t just for the sake of home-cooking, but also for the sake of the country,” Gingrey said in a telephone interview.

But Gingrey conceded that concerns over spending and the federal deficit could make the funding battle a difficult one. The planes have a price tag of $120 million each. “We would have to look at it with a very, very sharp pencil,” he said. “It would take some negotiating.”

Suggestions from the debt commission, made public this week, may hold some possibilities A three-year freeze on federal pay and a 10 percent reduction of the federal workforce “are things that really get me excited,” the Marietta congressman said.

Production of the F-22 ended with its omission from the 2009 defense bill. Critics called the …

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Your morning jolt: John Barrow, too, says he’ll give Nancy Pelosi a pass

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop of Albany declared he wouldn’t endorse Nancy Pelosi’s continued leadership of Democrats in Congress.

So what says U.S. Rep. John Barrow, now the deep South’s only white Democrat in the House? From the Savannah Morning News:

U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Savannah. Associated Press.

U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Savannah. Associated Press.

On Thursday, a terse e-mail on behalf of the Savannah lawmaker followed two days of repeated queries by the Savannah Morning News.

“Congressman Barrow will not support Nancy Pelosi for Democratic leader, nor will he vote for her for speaker,” wrote spokeswoman Jane Brodsky.

Barrow balked at answering the question in late September – before Republicans won control of the House in the Nov. 2 elections. The GOP is poised to elect John Boehner of Ohio to speaker in January.

Barrow is scheduled to be in Athens this morning for a political symposium looking at the Nov. 2 vote – so you might hear more on the topic today. U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson of Decatur is the only …

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