Archive for September, 2011

Your morning jolt: Fla. win no guarantee, says Herman Cain

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain addresses delegates at the Republican Party of Florida Presidency 5 Convention and Straw Poll at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain addresses delegates at the Republican Party of Florida Presidency 5 Convention and Straw Poll at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT

Herman Cain spent Monday morning relishing his startling Saturday victory in Florida’s GOP presidential straw poll, but stopped short of citing his 37 percent showing as a guarantee of future success.

Cain won 37.1 percent of more than 2,500 votes cast in the straw poll conducted at the tail end of a three-day convention of activists in Orlando. Conducted off-and-on since 1979, the winner of the Florida straw poll has gone on to win the Republican nomination.

“I think it means we have picked up some substantial momentum,” Cain said in an interview with Scott Slade on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB – where Cain once served as a night-time talk show host.

“I don’t think that the past is necessarily a predictor of the future, although I like the fact that this has …

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Government investment in new energy? Look at the Pentagon, not Solyndra

What with half a billion dollars in federal cash flushed down the California toilets of the Solyndra solar panel company, the nation has been presented with a nearly irresistible opportunity to scoff at government investment in alternative energy.

If you must, scoff at the means — not the end. It can be done right, and in fact is being done right. Here in Georgia, among other places.

Two days before Solyndra executives were forced to make a perp walk into a U.S. House committee room, where they took their Fifth Amendment pledges of silence, Pew Charitable Trusts issued a detailed report on the Pentagon’s effort to wean U.S. forces from foreign oil.

The paper shows us a Department of Defense that is already one of the largest sources of venture capital in the world when it comes to solar energy, wind, geothermal and biomass fuel. As of last year, the Pentagon was the sponsor of 450 separate projects. The U.S. Army alone plans to spend $7.1 billion on energy development and …

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Phil Gingrey: House GOP leadership ‘is not infallible’

So you know that Washington is staggering, zombie-like, toward another government shutdown today, as House Republicans – in late night session – approved a funding bill to keep the federal machine running.

Senate Democrats have vowed to reject it.

The House action, taken at 12:50 a.m. today, was virtually identical to the one that failed Wednesday – the product of some furious vote-whipping by House GOP leaders.

My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy in Washington points out that no Georgians were among the 23 Republicans to flip their votes and back the bill – despite the pressure of a closed GOP caucus meeting.

Malloy points to a few paragraphs at Politico.com that recount the reaction of Phil Gingrey, one of four no votes from Georgia, to the arm-twisting:

Not all was so peaceful, as seen in this sometimes comical exchange — described by several Republicans in the meeting — between Reps. Phil Gingrey of Georgia and Virginia Foxx of North Carolina.

At one point, the outspoken …

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Your morning jolt: A Democratic power couple calls it quits

DuBose and Carol Porter, who last year ran as a power couple for governor and lieutenant governor, are ending their nearly 28-year marriage.

Carol Porter confirmed that she filed for divorce about three weeks ago. DuBose Porter also acknowledged the split. “We reared four wonderful children together,” he said.

Carol Porter, left, at the February 2010 news conference announcing her Democratic candidacy for lieutenant governor, with her husband, Dubose Porter, right, nearby, and their four sons behind them. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Carol Porter, left, at the February 2010 news conference announcing her Democratic candidacy for lieutenant governor, with her husband, Dubose Porter, right, nearby, and their four sons behind them. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

The couple own the Courier Herald newspaper in Dublin, which DuBose Porter represented in the state House. DuBose Porter was the leader of the Democratic caucus in the years following the Republican takeover of the state Capitol, and in 2010 sought to cap his political career with a run for governor.

In January of that year, Carol Porter subbed for her husband, giving a speech before a group of business leaders – and did so well that within weeks …

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A Nathan Deal promise to defend Paul Broun

You’ll remember that after U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, won his congressional seat in 2007, the GOP establishment in east Georgia made a pair of unsuccessful attempts to remove him.

That same GOP establishment may have been listening these last few weeks when, after the debut of Georgia’s new congressional maps, rumors abounded that Broun – whose 10th District was vastly changed – might run in the new 9th.

Where certain prominent Republicans had already identified their candidate.

Broun ultimately decided to stay put. But you have to wonder if Roll Call, the D.C. newspaper, might have stumbled upon one of the factors that kept Broun in place. From an assessment of Georgia’s congressional contests:

There’s considerable buzz about Broun facing a primary challenge. He is gaining a substantial amount of new territory under the redrawn lines, but the doctor will probably diagnose and dispatch any GOP rivals without too many complications. Broun has one of the better grass-roots …

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Your morning jolt: Three years ago, the Senate considered hush money wrong

There are good secrets and bad secrets. The good ones can be found in your pocket. Harmful secrets are the property of someone else.

By now, you probably know of this story broken by my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin:

The state Senate paid an Atlanta law firm $80,500 on July 28, and Senate leaders will only say the money was for a “personnel issue.”

There’s strong suspicion that the cash was used to settle a racial discrimination claim by an African-American secretary. To continue:

The check was made to the law firm Buckley & Klein after the Senate Committee on Administrative Affairs met in July and approved the payment. The committee, made up of five Republican senators, the Republican lieutenant governor, one Democrat and the secretary of the Senate, meets in private and is chaired by President Pro Tem Tommie Williams.

Williams, in a statement, said the Senate is not subject to state sunshine laws and that “the matter related is a personnel matter and we do not release …

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The two faces of metro Atlanta’s transportation sales tax

When it comes to salesmanship, there’s not much to separate politics from a vacuum cleaner, denture cream or light beer.

A good product is always convenient — though not altogether necessary. More important is the confident face that closes the sale.

For months, supporters of next year’s transportation sales tax referendum in metro Atlanta have wondered who will be the public personalities behind a multimillion dollar push for the 10-year tax.

Two metro leaders, one Republican and the other Democratic, may have just been drafted — by the Legislature’s decision last month not to move the vote from the July 31 primary.

In the 10-county area that makes up the new metro Atlanta tax region, the heads of eight county commissions will be up for re-election in 2012.

But only in Cobb and DeKalb counties have the fortunes of the T-SPLOST been tied to the political futures of specific individuals.

Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee/AJC file

Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee/AJC file

In Cobb, County Commission Chairman Tim …

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Your morning jolt: GOP takes an early TV slap at John Barrow

Wasting no time, the National Republican Congressional Committee this morning begins airing a TV ad attempting to link endangered U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Savannah, to President Barack Obama.

During the August special session of the Legislature, Barrow’s 12th District was redrawn into one that favors a Republican challenger. So far, state Rep. Lee Anderson, R-Grovetown, is Barrow’s only announced opponent.

The NRCC buy is small, about $21,000, and will be spread over cable TV networks in the Augusta, Savannah and Macon markets over the next three weeks:

The script:

Narrator: “There’s a cloud over our economy. John Barrow wants to keep Obama’s government takeover of health care. Fear and uncertainty prevent new hiring. Steep fines and new taxes on families and businesses. Half a trillion dollars – money they can’t use to create jobs. And experts say it will push employers to drop workers’ health insurance. With Barrow and Obama…the storm will only get worse.”

Barrow, by the …

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New Korean parts plant to bring 426 jobs

Georgia may have lost 500 jobs to Tampa when Time Warner decided not to locate a new division here:

It’s a big loss for economic developers in metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia, who fought hard to attract the new shared services division. The jobs, in human resources and information technology, have an average annual salary of $50,000.

But that will be offset slightly today by a new Kia-related business. From the press release:

Gov. Nathan Deal today joined with county officials and company representatives in Meriwether County to announce that Seoul, South Korea-based Mando Corp. plans to open a high-tech manufacturing operation in the Meriwether County Industrial Park.

The company plans to invest $200 million and create 426 jobs through opening this new facility. Mando’s Georgia plant will supply electric power steering gears and anti-lock brakes/ESC to vehicle manufacturers including Chrysler, General Motors, Hyundai and Kia, among others. This site will be Mando’s …

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Of Fort Benning, Ga. Tech, and ‘look-ma, no-hands’ warfare

Important, Skynet-like doings have been happening down in Columbus. From the Washington Post:

One afternoon last fall at Fort Benning, Ga., two model-size planes took off, climbed to 800 and 1,000 feet, and began criss-crossing the military base in search of an orange, green and blue tarp.

The automated, unpiloted planes worked on their own, with no human guidance, no hand on any control.

After 20 minutes, one of the aircraft, carrying a computer that processed images from an onboard camera, zeroed in on the tarp and contacted the second plane, which flew nearby and used its own sensors to examine the colorful object. Then one of the aircraft signaled to an unmanned car on the ground so it could take a final, close-up look.

Target confirmed.

This successful exercise in autonomous robotics could presage the future of the American way of war: a day when drones hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans. Imagine aerial …

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