Archive for November, 2011

Your morning jolt: Alabama immigration law sweeps up Mercedes-Benz exec

Over the weekend, Alabama discovered that its new illegal immigration law also applies to some pretty important Europeans. From the Associated Press:

A German manager with Mercedes-Benz is free after being arrested for not having a driver’s license with him under Alabama’s new law targeting illegal immigrants, authorities said Friday, in an otherwise routine case that drew the attention of Gov. Robert Bentley.

Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson [said] an officer stopped a rental vehicle for not having a tag Wednesday night and asked the driver for his license. The man only had a German identification card, so he was arrested and taken to police headquarters, Anderson said.

The 46-year-old executive was charged with violating the immigration law for not having proper identification, but he was released after an associate retrieved his passport, visa and German driver’s license from the hotel where he was staying, Anderson said.

Mercedes-Benz builds sport-utility vehicles …

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Newt Gingrich on super committee: ‘Told you so’

This reminder is coming today from the GOP presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich:

In New Hampshire on Sunday, while picking up an important endorsement from U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Mitt Romney declared – apparently – that Republicans had been snookered by President Barack Obama. From Politico.com:

“He’s done nothing,” Romney claimed. “It is another example of failed leadership. He has not taken personal responsibility to get the supercommittee to find ways to balance the budget and cut spending.”

The Republican presidential front-runner also claimed Obama had “set a trap” by including an automatic $600 billion dollar cut in defense spending in the case the supercommittee failed to agree on a deficit reduction package.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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In Democratic dreams, Snellville is the toehold of a comeback

In her effort to become the first female mayor of Snellville, 34-year-old attorney Kelly Kautz was at something of a disadvantage.

Her opponent, Barbara Bender, a certified public accountant, was upfront about her Republican connections. In GOP-dominated Gwinnett County, this is usually considered a foolproof strategy.

When pressed about her own party affiliation during a fractious campaign, Kautz declared herself to be an independent, a status upheld by her voting history. She’s always been a general election voter – and has never cast a ballot in either a Democratic or Republican primary.

Snellville Mayor Kelly Kautz

Snellville Mayor Kelly Kautz

So it was something of a surprise when, two days after Kautz had pulled an upset with 52 percent of the vote, the state Democratic party declared her contest to be its biggest Election Day victory.

Kautz says no subterfuge was involved in her claim to non-alliance. “I still stand by that. In today’s time, I don’t think anybody’s ideology should be …

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The myth and fact behind Newt Gingrich’s 1980 divorce

On Friday, Newt Gingrich’s phoenix of a presidential campaign unveiled a new area of its website dedicated to countering the areas of the former U.S. House speaker’s life – personal and professional – likely to become fodder for his rivals.

His criticism of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, one-time support for mandated health insurance, statements on climate change, the 1995 government shutdown, and his extramarital affair during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton are all topics.

Perhaps the oldest piece of unwanted luggage in Gingrich’s career has been the story of his conduct during the dissolution of his first marriage with Jackie Battley.

The campaign includes a link to a column written last May by Gingrich’s daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman:

It was the spring of 1980. I was 13 years old, and we were about to leave Fairfax, Va., and drive to Carrollton, Ga., for the summer. My parents told my sister and me that they were getting a divorce as our family of four sat …

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Herman Cain gets protection, from flakes and the press

You’ve heard that GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain is getting early protection from the U.S. Secret Service.

But we’re getting mixed signals from the Cain campaign for the reason. The Associated Press points to a concern over violent flakes:

While it’s unknown whether a specific incident triggered the request, police reports show that Cain’s campaign has been the target of a threatening phone call on at least one occasion.

On June 1, Cain’s campaign office in Stockbridge, Ga., reported receiving a call from someone who did not identify himself but who claimed to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan. The man said that Cain, who is black, should not run for the White House.

“Tell him not to run” and “there’s no such thing as a black Republican,” the man said, according to a written statement Cain’s administrative assistant, Lisa Reichert, gave to the police. The caller did not explicitly threaten violence.

But the Washington Post reported late last night that control of …

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Your morning jolt: State wants reduced flow from Lake Lanier

Water levels at Lake Lanier have dropped at a rate of about a foot a week as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers steps up water releases to keep stream levels up in a drought. Vino Wong vwong@ajc.com

Water levels at Lake Lanier have dropped at a rate of about a foot a week as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers steps up water releases to keep stream levels up in a drought. Vino Wong vwong@ajc.com

Three years ago, drought exacerbated Georgia’s fight with Florida and Alabama over water. We may be headed that way again.

The Gainesville Times has unearthed a Nov. 7 letter from Allen Barnes, the director of the state’s Environmental Protection Division, to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, asking it to reduce the amount of water released from Lake Lanier through March:

The amount is 100 cubic feet below the target flow meant to dilute the treated wastewater coming from Atlanta and ensure the viability of wildlife in the Chattahoochee River near Peachtree Creek.

***
It’s very possible that the more the GOP contest for president narrows to a fight between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, the less likely it is that President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul becomes a leverage …

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New rule for Democratic lawmakers: Don’t talk to feds without your GOP lawyer present

We have an interesting kerfuffle underway at the state Capitol. That’s the word first used to describe it to me. Kerfuffle.

It will take some explaining.

The first thing you have to understand is that Anne Lewis, a partner in the law firm of Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP, has been involved with GOP redistricting matters for many years.

It is one of the reasons she was named general counsel to the Georgia Republican party, replacing Randy Evans.

The second thing you have to understand is that Lewis, general counsel to the state GOP, was hired this summer by the General Assembly in toto to oversee the legal aspects of the special August session of the Legislature, which was dedicated to redrawing the political boundaries for the state House districts, the state Senate districts, and 14 congressional districts.

Now, this did not mean she was everyone’s lawyer. When House Democratic Leader Stacy Abrams questioned Lewis about redistricting details, the General Assembly’s …

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Your morning jolt: Terrorist bomb could be planted ‘very easily’ at Hartsfield-Jackson, says Paul Broun

Because you might be flying out of Hartsfield-Jackson between now and Thanksgiving Day, U.S. Rep. Paul Broun has decided to offer you his comforting opinion on air safety.

The congressman from Athens joined House Transportation Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., at Reagan National on Wednesday, where the pair dropped a report that called the $56 billion spent on airport security since 9/11 to be a waste.

From the Washington Post:

Broun said a terrorist bomb could be put aboard an airliner “very easily” at his home airport in Atlanta. “TSA has not prevented any attacks,” he said. “It’s just been very fortunate that we’ve had no attacks.”

Broun has been a frequent critic of airport security. When last heard from on the topic, the congressman said he had witnessed security agents at an airport – he never said which one – pat down an elderly woman and child, but skip a man “in Arabian dress, who just walked right through.”

Then again, there is that Channel 2 …

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Congress and a 16-year study of ‘insider trading’

Whether you are Republican or Democrat, an occupier or a tea partyist, the report last Sunday by CBS’ “60 Minutes” on insider trading by members of Congress should have steam whistling from your ears.

But there’s more to tell. And the news will not make you any happier.

The most egregious example cited by CBS was U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama, who three years ago was the ranking Republican on the House banking committee, and is now its chairman.

In September 2008, Bachus and other congressional leaders were privately briefed by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on the economy’s imminent meltdown.

The next day, Bachus was buying option funds that would increase in value if the economy tanked. It did. While your 401(k) and all thoughts of retirement melted into a never-ending job at Wal-Mart, the House chairman made a tidy profit on his country’s misfortunes.

And he didn’t do anything illegal.

Financial investments by …

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Rick Perry loses a Georgia supporter, and Newt Gingrich gains one

Throughout the summer, former state senator John Douglas of Social Circle – he ran for state Public Service Commission in 2010 — may have been Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s most ardent supporter in Georgia. Where two or more Republicans gathered, Douglas was there with bumper stickers and a petition urging Perry into the race.

But no more. Douglas posted the following on the Rockdale County Republican party’s Facebook page:

“After very careful consideration and lengthy discussions with many key supporters, I am leaving the Perry camp, effective immediately. I no longer see a path to victory for him and have had great difficulties dealing with his staff.

“I still like many of his policies and would have no problem voting for him if he is our nominee. Now I am endorsing Newt Gingrich for President and will spend time in the near future explaining that move. Suffice it to say tonight that Newt champions the culture war I believe in fighting and he is a brilliant, very …

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