Archive for October, 2011

Your morning jolt: Occupy ATL summons ghost of Troy Davis

Occupy Atlanta today will focus its attention on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and what it calls “critical flaws in the judicial system.”

It’s no secret that much of Occupy Atlanta’s emotional energy is derived from the recent execution of Troy Davis, put to death last month for the 1989 murder of an off-duty police officer.

Immediately upon arrival two weeks ago, the occupiers of Woodruff Park” have renamed their living space “Troy Davis Park.” This no doubt has contributed to the tension between the protestors and law enforcement.

Woodruff Park is named after Robert Woodruff, the Coke CEO and philanthropist.

An 11 a.m. press conference is to feature civil rights leader Joe Beasley and a close friend of Davis who goes by the name of “E Red.” Two hip-hop artists will also be participating. One will be Michael Render of Atlanta, whose presence is being advertised via his stage name: Killer Mike.

Which sounds like an unfortunate case of mixed …

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A surprised Saxby Chambliss on Iraq withdrawal: Barack Obama should have negotiated a stay

President Barack Obama’s announcement that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of this year caught nearly all of Washington flat-footed.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga./AJC file

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga./AJC file

One measure: The ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee had taken much of Friday off. For what he said was perhaps the second time in 17 years, Saxby Chambliss and his wife Julianne had decided to stay in D.C. over the weekend and play tourist.

Chambliss had just finished touring the Old Soldiers Home, which served as Abraham Lincoln’s summer retreat during the Civil War, when he checked in. He was not a particularly happy senator.

Here’s a partial transcript of our conversation:

Q: How much warning did you get on the Iraq announcement?

A: The situation in Iraq is something we didn’t expect, didn’t anticipate. It should have been more a question of how many troops and how long they’re going to be there. I don’t think anybody expected them to make …

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GOP reaction to White House news of withdrawal from Iraq

GOP reaction to Barack Obama’s announcement that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the year’s end has been slow in coming – a sign that the topic is just as tricky for Republicans as it is for a president in search of re-election.

That said, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was the first, with this very strong paragraph:

“President Obama’s astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women. The unavoidable question is whether this decision is the result of a naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude in negotiations with the Iraqi government. The American people deserve to hear the recommendations that were made by our military commanders in Iraq.”

Via ABC News, this was Herman Cain’s reaction:

“Whether or not it’s the right thing to do, I would consult with the commanders. The thing that I wouldn’t …

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Tea party leader: Occupy movement a ‘freak show,’ and Wall Street undeserving of blame for economy

A fund-raising solicitation from Mark Meckler of Tea Party Patriots just dropped into the in-box, focusing on the Occupy movement – and absolving Wall Street of any blame in the current economic crisis:

The liberal media says the law-breaking anarchists who are terrorizing New York are simply a “progressive” version of the Tea Party.

I’m just one of the thousands and thousands of law-abiding Americans who built the Tea Party movement. However, I take great offense that our peaceful rallies aimed at reining in government are being compared to that violent freak show on Wall Street.

And I expect you do, too.

Please help the Tea Party Patriots push back against the liberal media and expose these “Occupy Wall Street” protesters for what they are: America-hating anarchists who want to take their anger out on ordinary, productive citizens….

Tea party rallies have always felt like “parties” — and safe and clean ones at that. Unlike protesters in New York, I can …

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Nathan Deal orders flags lowered for Hamilton McWhorter Jr.

Gov. Nathan Deal has ordered that flags on the grounds of the state Capitol be lowered to half-staff on Saturday, in honor of Hamilton McWhorter Jr., the longtime secretary of the Senate, who died Tuesday at age 98.

See the order here.

McWhorter was a notable figure in state politics for five decades – though he served but a single term in the state Senate as an elected official. From 1967, he was the Senate secretary in charge of tracking the flow of that chambers legislation – and refereeing more than a few disputes.

He served under five governors and worked closely with two of them when they were lieutenant governor — Lester Maddox and Zell Miller. He was very close to Miller, who presided over the Senate for 16 years.

The funeral is Saturday in Lexington, Ga., in Oglethorpe County. Click here for a link to the detailed obituary by my AJC colleague Chris Seward.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: Herman Cain to redefine his ‘9-9-9’ plan

The beating that GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain took Tuesday in Las Vegas is about to have its effect. From the Associated Press:

Detroit — Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain is redefining his tax plan to allow some deductions, abandoning the zero-exemption feature of his “9-9-9″ plan, which has helped win headlines but would have meant a tax increase for more than four-fifths of Americans.

After sharp criticism over his one-size-fits-all plan from Republicans and Democrats alike, Cain was set Friday to propose exemptions for businesses investing in “opportunity zones” as a way to give an economic jolt to rundown neighborhoods. He’s also proposing new tax brackets to reflect different income levels.

Up to now, Cain has touted a plan to scrap the current taxes on income, payroll, capital gains and corporate profits and replace them with a 9 percent tax on income, a 9 percent business tax and a 9 percent national sales tax. But the plan seems to be …

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Top unemployment checks may drop $30 a week

From the Associated Press:

Georgia’s labor commissioner is recommending cuts to jobless benefits in order to repay a federal loan the state took to keep its unemployment fund afloat.

Mark Butler [said] Thursday that his preliminary plan is to slash payments from $330 to $300 a week for top earners and to reduce the number of weeks that Georgians may collect and unemployment. Under Butler’s proposal, unemployed Georgians would also have to wait a week before collecting benefits.

The changes would need to be approved by state lawmakers and would not affect those already collecting benefits.

The state earlier this month paid $21 million in interest on the $721 million loan. Another interest payment will be due next year and Georgia officials want to begin chipping away at the principal.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Nathan Deal again raids the Legislature for an appointment

Get ready for another special election, as Nathan Deal – even from far-away China – continues to use the Legislature as his talent pool. From the governor’s office:

Gov. Nathan Deal has named Rep. Tim Bearden of Villa Rica as his choice for director of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center. Upon approval by the Georgia Board of Public Safety, Bearden would replace Dale Mann, who is retiring from the post after more than 25 years of service, and take office effective Nov.1. …

Bearden began his career in law enforcement as a patrolman in Villa Rica in 1990. He was later named sergeant of the Motorcycle Division of the Douglasville Police Department, earning the honor of Officer of the Year in 2003

During his tenure in the Motorcycle Division, Bearden participated in undercover narcotics operations and drug interdictions. He completed more than 1000 hours of law enforcement training before stepping down in 2004 and attended Mercer University.

Bearden was also a …

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How Hillary Clinton learned Moammar Gadhafi was a goner

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s BlackBerry moment in the Libya campaign:

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Rick Santorum: Herman Cain just waffled on abortion

Republican Herman Cain continued his presidential close-up on Wednesday with an interview with Piers Morgan that aired late Wednesday on CNN.

One of the first topics was where the blame lies for the current economic meltdown. From the transcript:

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain delivers a keynote address during the Western Republican Leadership Conference on Wednesday in Las Vegas. AP/Isaac Brekken

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain delivers a keynote address during the Western Republican Leadership Conference on Wednesday in Las Vegas. AP/Isaac Brekken

Morgan: Give me — give me a very quick pie. Here’s a pie. How much is Obama’s fault? How much is Wall Street’s a fault? How much is the fault of the people themselves?

Cain: I would say that 50 percent of it is Obama’s fault, 25 percent of it is Wall Street’s fault, and 25 percent of it is the individual’s fault.

Morgan: That’s a straight answer, from a politician.

Cain: I’m not a politician.

The pair then strayed into the topic of homosexuality. Cain repeated his contention that sexual orientation was a choice:

Morgan: Wait a minute, let me ask you. You genuinely …

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