Archive for July, 2011

Nathan Deal: Let’s look at consolidating Head Start and pre-k programs

Tim Bryant with WGAU (1340AM) just sent a sound clip from Gov. Nathan Deal’s speech to the Athens Rotary Club. It includes this:

If we can get additional federal assistance, I think we can show that we can achieve very positive results. I, for one, believe that we ought to be seriously looking at consolidating the Head Start program with our pre-k program.

Deal said the two programs have different agendas, different schedules and have different criteria for teachers. But …..

“$180 million is poured into Georgia through the Head Start program. I believe if we were to consolidate that, bring it under one unified approach to pre-k – I believe we would be able to show some very positive results in the years to come.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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A last word from Beverly Hall, via the U.S. Postal Service

The temptation to write one’s own obituary is universal. But very few of us actually get the chance to do it – and at taxpayer expense, too.

Georgia’s political elite report receiving a manila envelope postmarked July 1 – prior to the release of the CRCT report — from Beverly Hall, written on Atlanta Public Schools stationery.

It was attached to an 11-page, glossy account of her years as Atlanta school chief, compiled by the APS communications department. Click here to see it.

From the cover letter:

“There are dark clouds and some storms surround us, but I am convinced that those matters will be dealt with appropriately.

“You can take pride in the fact that on the preliminary results of the 2011 CRCT, APS showed progress in 4/5 core subject areas; Mathematics, Reading, English/Language Arts and Social Studies. Science remained the same as in 2010.

Overall, the growth from 2000-2011 on these more rigorous assessments, given under the strictest security possible are …

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Nathan Deal and the bees’ knees

First Lady Sandra Deal with a bee on the tip of her finger. The two bee hives are in the background. Alana Joyner/Governor’s Office

First Lady Sandra Deal with a bee on the tip of her finger. The two bee hives are in the background. Alana Joyner/Governor’s Office

Nathan Deal has installed 40,000 workers in the backyard of the Governor’s Mansion. They’re foreigners, too. Italian, most likely.

The governor and his wife, courtesy of his staff, are the proud owners of two bee hives – probably a first in the history of the official residence.

“This is a completely non-taxpayer supported venture,” emphasized Deal spokesman Brian Robinson. The governor is a novice to apiculture – and has yet to don the official protective garb of gloves, hat and veil. But Sandra Deal had a beekeeper father, and is quite comfortable with the creatures.

Robinson said the couple was persuaded to try beekeeping by deputy chief of staff Michael Shaffer. Chris Riley, Deal’s chief of staff, has caught the bug, too. House Appropriations Chairman Terry England, a farmer from Auburn, provided some of the equipment.

Robinson said the …

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Kasim Reed to ring closing NASDAQ bell

If your portfolio goes up on Thursday, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed wants some credit.

He’s been invited to ring the closing bell for NASDAQ during a visit to Times Square. You’ll be able to watch it here — about 4 p.m.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: Handcuffs and a backseat ride for ex-Cobb EMC chief

Roy Barnes is mightily ticked off.

His client, retired Cobb EMC chief Dwight Brown, was re-indicted on racketeering charges last week. Shortly afterward, on his way to his lawyer’s office, Brown was stopped by a sheriff’s deputy, handcuffed and taken to jail in the back of the cop car.

From this morning’s Marietta Daily Journal:

“He said, ‘I’m not going anywhere, why did they have to do this?’” Barnes said. “Dwight Brown has had a very distinguished business career, starting with Georgia Power. He does not believe, and neither do I, that he has committed a criminal act. He is befuddled and upset at the fact that this has come down and he’s become a punching bag for everybody that’s dissatisfied about everything.”

Barnes said he believes that the district attorney’s office notified the sheriff’s office on Wednesday that an indictment could be forthcoming and that District Attorney Pat Head, or someone in his office, told deputies they wanted Brown arrested.

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The president of …

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Newt Gingrich’s fund-raisers shift to Michele Bachmann

Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn’t getting all of Newt Gingrich’s former staffers. From the New York Times:

A [Michele] Bachmann spokesman said on Thursday that two established G.O.P. fund-raisers had joined Mrs. Bachmann’s campaign: Mary Heitman, who previously ran finance operations at the Republican National Committee and Republican Governors Association, and Jody Thomas, a onetime political director and fund-raiser for former Representative J.C. Watts.

Until last month, Ms. Heitman and Ms. Thomas were the core of Newt Gingrich’s presidential fund-raising operation. When most of Mr. Gingrich’s top aides resigned together in June over concerns about Mr. Gingrich’s focus and strategy, the two women soon followed.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Of the state GOP’s $1 million in cash, and something called Real PAC

The Georgia Republican party is reporting $1,073,053 in cash on hand as of June 30, according to a financial disclosure filed with the state ethics commission.

The party has raised $854,063 in the last six months, but spent $980,529. Kevin Harris, the party’s executive director, said the fund-raising lull was the result of the economy, and a slack period in the presidential political cycle.

(By comparison, the state Democratic party reports $178,705 in cash on hand.)

That said, given this year’s GOP chairmanship fight, between incumbent Sue Everhart and the governor-backed Tricia Pridemore, fund-raising figures remain something to keep watch on.

Here’s why:

On May 18, four days after Pridemore lost, two major supporters of Gov. Nathan Deal formed something called Real PAC, a political action committee based in Roswell. The chairman is Jim Walters, a major contributor to the Deal campaign and a Deal appointee to the North Georgia Mountains Authority.

The Real PAC treasurer is …

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Your morning jolt: Georgia K-12 education ‘abysmal,’ says No. 2 Senate leader

Those who live outside the city of Atlanta and its cheating scandal ought not get cocky, says the state Senate’s No. 2 leader.

From Blake Aued and the Athens Banner-Herald:

The U.S. is near the bottom of developed nations in education, and Georgia’s schools are among the worst of any state, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, told Athens Republicans on Monday.

“It is abysmal in this state on the K-through-12 level,” Rogers said.

Rogers proposed using technology like online classes to improve learning. Students also need more options and flexibility, such as the freedom to take some classes online and others at brick-and-mortar schools, or to home-school some days and attend public school on others.

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As part of the ongoing debt-ceiling fight in Washington, Tea Party Patriots say they’re targeting Blue Dog Democrats today. So U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Savannah, and his staff can expect to be read a script that includes this:

You are a member of the Blue Dog caucus …

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Casually running into Beverly Hall on Maui

Monica Pearson of Channel 2 Action News tracks down former Atlanta school superintendent Beverly Hall on the Hawaiian island of Maui:

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Herman Cain: GOP presidential candidate — and gospel artist

So what do you do if Michele Bachmann has stolen your primary mojo in Iowa?

If you’re name is Tim Pawlenty, you attack Bachmann’s record — or lack of it

If you’re GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, you put out an Internet gospel album – as first pointed out by Matt Lewis at the Daily Caller:

Take a listen. The guy’s not bad. And as a comeback vehicle — well, it worked for Elvis.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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