Archive for June, 2011

Johnny Isakson: Give whistleblower status to Peace Corps volunteers

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson and three colleagues this afternoon introduced a bill that would give protected whistleblower status to volunteers of the U.S. Peace Corps.

The legislation is named after Kate Puzey, a 24-year-old Peace Corps volunteer from Cumming, Ga., who in 2009 was murdered in the west African village of Badjoude, Benin, shortly after she had reported a colleague for allegedly molesting some of the young girls they helped teach.

Here’s the video from today’s press conference:

As the video will attest, Isakson has taken an unusually personal interest in the legislation. A few paragraphs from the McClatchey Newspapers piece on the bill this week:

Puzey’s murder, which is under investigation, is one of a series of violent attacks on hundreds of female Peace Corps workers in recent years that have rocked the government-run volunteer organization, which for 50 years was an embodiment of President John F. Kennedy’s dream of talented young men and women sowing the seeds …

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Ahead-of-the-curve enforcement of Georgia’s illegal immigration law

An interesting few paragraphs from today’s Chattanooga Times Free Press:

[A] review of records showed that out of 32 traffic checkpoints conducted by Dalton police this year, most took place in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods or at entrances to the city’s carpet factories where many Hispanics are employed.

The most frequent ticket issued at the checkpoints — representing 22 percent of all tickets — was for driving without a license, which can lead to deportation if the person is in the country illegally.

Of the citywide citations, 3,011 people ticketed were white, 426 were Hispanic and 296 were black, records show.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: This transcript of immigration law hearing is required reading

On your behalf, we have obtained the transcript of Monday’s hearing in federal court on the request by the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights to block enforcement of Georgia’s new illegal immigration bill.

It is a fascinating read, and can be found in its entirety by clicking here.

But here are a few juicy exchanges between U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Thrash and Devon Orland, representing the state attorney general’s office:

Thrash: Well, let me ask you, Ms. Orland, what do you and the General Assembly say is the purpose of this statute? I mean, is the purpose to drive all undocumented non-citizens, illegal aliens, call them what you will, out of Georgia? Is that the purpose of the statute?

Orland: The purpose – the public interest in the statute, I think, is actually more clear than that. It’s to save the resources of the state of Georgia in medical care, imprisonment. It’s what we submitted as evidence for the response to the preliminary injunction. A specific …

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Michael Julian Bond confirms Atlanta pension deal struck

Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond just called to confirm that a brokered deal on the city’s pension overhaul will be presented to the council today at 10 a.m.

“I’m very excited about it,” he said. “It’s a compromise worthy of Atlanta’s legacy. It’s an example of what we can do when we try.”

Bond said the deal will save the city about $25 million a year. He thinks it is based on Council Option No. 1 – but I’m writing this from home, and have no way of looking at the details. If you know them, please feel free to add them below.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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The homecoming for a wounded Newt Gingrich

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, holds one of his presents as wife Callista, left, granddaughter Maggie Cushman, 11, right, and Clara Hunter look on during his 68th birthday party in Atlanta. AP/John Amis

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, holds one of his presents as wife Callista, left, granddaughter Maggie Cushman, 11, right, and Clara Hunter look on during his 68th birthday party in Atlanta. AP/John Amis

Home is the place where, when you knock on the door, they have to take you in.

If your world has fallen apart, they do not pester you to name the cause. At least not right away. If you tell them it was somebody else’s fault, they will maintain eye contact and nod their heads. And wish you better luck in the months ahead.

A wounded Newt Gingrich came home on Wednesday. Officially, it was a birthday party to mark the “68” that rolled up on the former U.S. House speaker’s odometer last week.

This was Gingrich’s first visit to a Buckhead office that, under another game plan, was to be the national headquarters for his presidential run. “He asked and asked, but [his old staff] never would put it on his schedule,” said R.C. Hammond, Gingrich’s new spokesman.

The …

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Newt Gingrich says he’s ‘mystified’ by Sonny Perdue’s shift to Tim Pawlenty

Just got back from Newt Gingrich’s birthday party at his Buckhead campaign office – his first visit to the place. Three candles on the cake.

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the Atlanta Press Club in Atlanta this morning. AP/John Amis

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the Atlanta Press Club in Atlanta this morning. AP/John Amis

More later, but in a brief sit-down with reporters afterwards, Gingrich said he intends to bludgeon his way back into the presidential campaign with the strength of his ideas.

“The natural instinct of the system is to avoid thought. Thinking’s hard,” he said.

The former U.S. House speaker from Georgia wouldn’t say much about the collapse of his campaign, but did admit that the immediate defection of former Gov. Sonny Perdue – a co-chair of his national campaign – stung. A lot.

“Of course it did,” he said.

What do you think his leaving said?

“I think it told you about Sonny Perdue,” Gingrich said. “I was mystified. No phone call? Go ask Sonny Perdue. I thought it was very strange. The two things that …

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Deal struck in Atlanta pension overhaul?

We’re hearing that a deal has been struck in Atlanta City Hall on a pension overhaul that will see unanimous – or near unanimous – city council approval.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed had lacked a 10th vote on the council to push the vote through. He was said to have met with recalcitrant council members this afternoon. City Council President Ceasar Mitchell will be getting some of the credit for the vote shifts. And Councilwoman Felicia Moore was in the room, we’re told.

We’ve got an inquiry into the mayor’s office.

Here’s a link to a previous post on a memo asking Atlanta’s business leaders to make a final push.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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A talking points memo on the Atlanta pension overhaul

Atlanta Committee for Progress, the loose organization of businesses that have financed much of the research behind Mayor Kasim Reed’s pension overhaul, is urging the city’s corporate leadership to get on the phone and search for that 10th council member needed to pass it.

A special session of city council has been called for Thursday. From a memo being passed around today:

Adoption requires a supermajority of ten (10) votes out of fifteen (15) potential votes. Nine (9) votes are reportedly in support of Ms. [Yolanda] Adrean’s compromise proposal. Understandably, Council are members are hearing from city workers affected by the changes. We need supporters of reform to contact Council members, especially those members that are uncommitted.

The four council members targeted: Kwanza Hall, Natalyn Archibong, C.T. Martin, and Joyce Sheperd.

The rest of the memo, written by John Ahmann, executive director of the ACP:

Ms. Felicia Moore, District 9, introduced her own proposal and …

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Your morning jolt: Congress should de-fund Libya operation, says Newt Gingrich

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told a group of Savannah tea partyers on Tuesday night that Congress should cut off funding to U.S. military efforts in Libya.

The coastal appearance was a prelude to his Atlanta Press Club speech this morning. Gingrich declined to comment on the Tuesday desertions of two fundraisers staffers, or reports that his campaign is $1 million in debt.

From Larry Peterson and the Savannah Morning News:

Gingrich said pulling the plug on funding is the right response to what he called President Barack Obama’s “deluded” approach.

He spoke as Obama and the GOP-controlled House continue to wrangle over the legality of American military efforts against Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

“They have an obligation to cut off the money in Libya given the president’s attitude,” the candidate said.

Gingrich lambasted Obama’s citation of authorizations by the United Nations and the Arab League as grounds for U.S. intervention.
He insisted that the United …

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Washington Post: Newt Gingrich had credit line at Tiffany’s that could have reached $1 million

For Newt Gingrich, tomorrow’s speech at the Atlanta Press Club on the Federal Reserve is likely to take a back seat to this from the Washington Post:

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich had a second line of credit at the high-end jewelry store Tiffany’s for as much as $1 million dollars, his presidential campaign acknowledged Tuesday.

Joe DeSantis, a spokesman for Gingrich, said that the candidate’s personal financial disclosure filing, which is due within 30 days of his formal entrance into the presidential race, will “show that the Gingriches had a $500,000 to $1 million line of credit at Tiffany’s, that it has a zero balance, and it has been closed.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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