Archive for May, 2011

Tom Price: GOP’s Medicare changes may be more right than ‘politically smart’

Below is an interesting exchange that occurred this afternoon between ABC’s online team and U.S. Rep. Tom Price:

The question to watch for: Given the outcome in that New York congressional race, was it a mistake for House Republicans to adopt Paul Ryan’s solution to Medicare as their own?

Said Price:

“We didn’t do this because it was the smart thing politically to do — we did it because it’s the right thing to do. And it’s the right thing because the American people understand that you just can’t keep doing this craziness up here in Washington.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider
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Herman Cain running second in Iowa?

Public Policy Polling of North Carolina says it will release a poll tomorrow indicating that GOP presidential candidate is running second in Iowa.

While you wait for the numbers, you can listen to Cain’s new music video. Some interesting imagery:

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Ban smokeless tobacco in the Big Leagues, say religious leaders

Some of the biggest name in religious politics – among 25 faith groups around the country — are calling on Major League baseball players to agree to Commissioner Bud Selig’s proposal to ban all smokeless tobacco products at games.

Selig pitched the the on opening day. The ban is currently enforced in the minor leagues.

Click here to read the letter to Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. In part:

Change isn’t easy. It wasn’t easy to restrict tobacco advertisements or to ban smoking on airplanes. At the time, critics predicted that magazines would go out of business and the demise of the airlineindustry. Of course, those statements were misguided.

So is the statement by your association that smokeless tobacco use should be allowed because it is a legal product used by adults. By that logic, players should be able to freely drink and smoke on the field. Use of these legal substances was banned for the same reason we ask that …

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Pentagon: Computer hacking can constitute an act of war

The more serious side of computer hacking. From today’s Wall Street Journal:

The Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force.

The Pentagon’s first formal cyber strategy, unclassified portions of which are expected to become public next month, represents an early attempt to grapple with a changing world in which a hacker could pose as significant a threat to U.S. nuclear reactors, subways or pipelines as a hostile country’s military.

In part, the Pentagon intends its plan as a warning to potential adversaries of the consequences of attacking the U.S. in this way. “If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” said a military official.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: Herman Cain takes on Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer

In a note to supporters, presidential candidate Herman Cain last night took on – in polite fashion – doubters within the nose-bleed section of the Republican party. Wrote Cain:

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of Georgia. Fox News/AP

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of Georgia. Fox News/AP

No one is more emblematic of the Republican establishment than Karl Rove. He has an unmatched political record from his tenure with former president George W. Bush. I greatly respect and admire what he has accomplished in his career.

But I would suggest that he take a few minutes to review my record as a leader in business and as a problem-solver before he dismisses me as the radio talk show guy from Atlanta with not much to offer as a presidential candidate.”

But wait, there’s more:

One of my favorite political commentators, Charles Krauthammer of Fox News, described my candidacy as entertainment. I enjoy his perspectives because he is usually very thoughtful and often correct in his analysis. Unfortunately, this time he got it …

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Going home

My father, who will turn 88 this year, left high school early for the U.S. Army, five months before Pearl Harbor.

Though none of them were born in this country, four of the seven Galloway brothers would scatter themselves across the globe during World War II. Dad was the youngest, and the only one to carry a sketch book.

He’s the only one left.

As an Air Corps mechanic, he started in north Africa, then moved on to India for flights across the Hump into China.

The cartoonist Bill Mauldin was something of a hero. Lined notebook paper would do in a pinch. Above is a rescued drawing from Dad’s return trip in ‘45. That lump in the background is the Rock of Gibraltar.

In the upper right hand corner are traces of a laundry list written on the other side — a brief catalog of one young warrior’s requirements for conquering the world: Four undershirts, four shorts, two handkerchiefs, two dress shirts, four pairs of socks, and two coveralls.

Dad seldom talked about his adventure. But he …

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Nathan Deal and Kasim Reed’s wonderful Washington adventure

Gov. Nathan Deal, left, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at this month’s announcement by Porsche Cars North America that the company would move its offices to the old Ford plant site in Hapeville. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Gov. Nathan Deal, left, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at this month’s announcement by Porsche Cars North America that the company would move its offices to the old Ford plant site in Hapeville. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

It shouldn’t be unusual, but it is. The Republican governor of Georgia has invited the Democratic mayor of Atlanta to join him Wednesday on a high-powered, one-day swing through Washington, D.C.

The agenda includes a strategy session with Georgia members of Congress, to update them on the state’s pursuit of $500 million in federal funds for the dredging of the Port of Savannah. There will be a meeting with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who has been critical of our state’s laissez-faire approach to road and rail infrastructure.

But Deal served nine terms in Congress. He knows where the bathrooms are in the U.S. Capitol, and needs no tour guide. Moreover, LaHood is an old Republican friend. No, the spokesman for the governor was very upfront on why …

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House banking chairman fined $5k by FDIC

Friday, of course, has become the day to announce bank closures in Georgia. Short of that, my AJC colleague Scott Trubey reports the following:

The chairman of the panel that oversees banking law in the state House of Representatives has been fined $5,000 by federal bank regulators, after he made overdrafts not allowed because of his role as a bank director.

Rep. Greg Morris, R-Vidalia, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the incident that triggered the fine happened a few years ago when he tried to pay property taxes and inadvertently had insufficient funds in an account with the bank were he is a director.

Morris said he resolved the overdraft of around $20,000 the same day with funds from another account.

Morris entered into a consent agreement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on April 15 to pay the $5,000 penalty. The order was published Friday. An FDIC spokesman declined to comment.

Morris is a board member of Montgomery Bank & Trust of Ailey, about 170 miles …

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Tom Graves questions Barack Obama’s use of an autopen

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, who late Thursday voted against extension of the Patriot Act, is publicly questioning the decision by President Barack Obama to sign the extension into law via autopen.

Obama is currently in France. Says Graves:

“Consider the dangerous precedent this sets. Any number of circumstances could arise in the future where the public could question whether or not the president authorized the use of an autopen.

“For example, if the president is hospitalized and not fully alert, can a group of aggressive Cabinet members interpret a wink or a squeeze of the hand as approval of an autopen signing? I am very concerned about what this means for future presidential orders, whether they be signing bills into law, military orders, or executive orders.”

Graves said he was aware that the Office of Legal Counsel, under President George W. Bush, issued an opinion declaring that the practice is constitutional. Continues Graves:

”I believe this is debatable, and …

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Atlanta lawmaker steps out of the closet

State Rep. Rashad Taylor, D-Atlanta, has just become the first self-acknowledged gay man in the state Legislature. He stepped out of the closet during a morning press conference.

Georgia Voice has posted the video:

From my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin:

Taylor, in a news conference at the offices of Georgia Equality, said he felt compelled to make the announcement after an e-mail was circulated to state lawmakers this week accusing Taylor of being gay and of using his position in the Legislature to solicit sexual relationships.

Taylor denied the allegations of improper conduct. The author of the e-mail, who signed his name as “J. Callahan,” hung up on a reporter from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and would not provide proof of his claims. Callahan had been instructed by state officials on how to file an official ethics complaint against Taylor, but no complaint has been filed, House Ethics Committee Chairman Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs, said.

Taylor said that the …

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