Archive for February, 2012

Your morning jolt: Rick Santorum leads, Newt Gingrich trails in Tennessee poll

A Vanderbilt University poll this morning shows Rick Santorum with a commanding 38 percent lead in the GOP presidential contest in neighboring Tennessee, with Newt Gingrich in a statistical tie for fourth place with Ron Paul.

Gingrich will spend all of today at events in Nashville. Tennessee voters, like those in Georgia, will cast their primary ballots in the 10-state, Super Tuesday vote on March 6.

The top line in Tennessee:

– Santorum, 38 percent;

– Mitt Romney, 20 percent;

– Ron Paul, 15 percent;

– Newt Gingrich, 13 percent;

– Undecided, 13 percent;

That’s based on telephone interviews with 815 likely GOP voters with an MOE of +/-4.1 percent. A larger aspect of the poll, also conducted Feb. 16 to 22 by the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt, indicates that both Santorum and Mitt Romney would narrowly defeat President Barrack Obama in November.

The Vanderbilt poll measured antipathy toward the current occupant of the White House this …

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Georgia Democratic party exec resigns; chairman denies financial crisis

Updated at 3:07 p.m. with new material below:

Original: The state Democratic party has problems.

On Saturday, the chief of staff of the party, Page Gleason, handed in her resignation. The letter announcing her decision included these lines:

I have dedicated my adult life to fighting for the Democratic Party and its ideals throughout the State of Georgia. The situation at the Democratic Party of Georgia, however, has made it impossible for me to continue serving effectively as your Executive Director.

…I strongly recommend that the Executive Committee and the By-laws Committee review the sections of the Democratic Party of Georgia by-laws…. A thoughtful review and additional wording would more clearly define the role each plays within the Party so that individuals who serve as State Chair, Executive Director, and members of the Executive Committee may effectively lead the Democratic Party of Georgia in the future.

Gleason’s resignation came a day after minutes of a …

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Gary Johnson and the possibilities of a third-party candidacy

Last week, in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman declared that what this country needs is a good third party.

His was just a cold assessment of “the political marketplace,” insisted Huntsman, who – as he exited the race last month — endorsed Mitt Romney. “We need something to compete against the [Democratic-Republican] duopoly that is getting old and tired,” the former governor of Utah said.

“That ain’t going to me, by the way. I’m not interested in that,” Huntsman added. Within minutes, former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer announced that he, too, had abandoned his quest for the GOP presidential nomination, and would run as an independent. Not that many noticed.

Gary Johnson speaks during the Libertarian Party presidential candidate debate in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month. Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel

Gary Johnson speaks during the Libertarian Party presidential candidate debate in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month. Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel

Truth be told, the better third-party bet was in Athens this weekend, attending the state …

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When Barack Obama came to see Tyler Perry

So where will you be on March 16?

obamainvite

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Leaders removed from Georgia-based Guard unit in Kosovo after hazing investigation

More than a dozen leaders from a Georgia-based National Guard company deployed for peace-keeping duties in Kosovo have been removed from the unit following a U.S. Army investigation into hazing. From John Vandiver and Stars and Stripes newspaper in Stuttgart, Germany:

“The ones pulled out were all NCOs and officers. Right now, we have a total of 17,” Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling said in an interview with Stars and Stripes. “Some have committed more serious offenses than others.”

Among those reassigned was the commander of the company, which is from Georgia’s 3rd Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, Hertling said.

Hertling declined to go into detail about the nature of the abuses, citing the continuing investigation that is expected to result in formal charges within a week. However, Hertling said that many of the problems stemmed from “excessive physical demands” on soldiers in an attempt to initiate them into the unit.

“Think of the opening scenes to (the film) …

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The U.S. capital for marital cheaters? Washington D.C.

Possibly, this isn’t a surprise to you, but Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich may have been more normal than we thought – by Washington, D.C. standards, anyway. From the Post:

[A]ccording to adultery Web site Ashleymadison.com… the District is home to nearly 38,000 registered users. The site also named Washington the place with the highest per capita membership in its 13-million-strong user base.

“Simply put, the more successful you are, the more prone to cheating you are, and Washington is full of successful people looking for something outside their marriage,” said Noel Biderman, CEO of Avid Life Media, which owns Ashley Madison, in a statement.

We have heard talk that a certain Georgia congressman, in lectures to new freshmen, warns them that “nothing good happens here after 10 p.m.” He might want to expand his audience.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

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The heated debate over solar power

Clearly, a bill to encourage the use of solar power is now the hottest item in the state Capitol.

SB 401, sponsored by state Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, originally had been shunted by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle to the Senate Natural Resources Committee, where it was to be studied to death.

So on Thursday, an impatient Carter — opposed by Georgia Power, electrical membership corporations, and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce — brought SB 401 to the Senate committee that oversees utility legislation, where many think the measure ought to have been brought in the first place. Carter attempted to attach his bill to another piece of legislation intended to allow paranoid homeowners to opt out of wireless metering systems.

The concept offered by Carter is complicated, but my AJC colleague Kristina Torres has this explanation:

The most controversial aspect of Senate Bill 401 would allow outside companies to install, own and maintain alternative energy systems, in return for customers …

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Brian Kemp withdraws effort to consolidate state licensing boards

For the moment, Secretary of State has abandoned his effort to consolidate the state boards that oversee professional licensing.

His sweeping Senate Bill 445 proposed to take authority from Georgia’s 43 licensing boards – peopled by about 300 board members — and to give it to his shrinking staff and a new board of seven people appointed by the governor. It was met with skepticism by licensees from architects to nurses, who wondered how they would be governed by people who don’t know anything about their professions.

Here’s Kemp, from the press release announcing the withdrawal of SB 445:

“Due to time constraints in drafting a compromise and the ability for stakeholder review, it was not realistic to have a final bill drafted by day 30 of the legislative session. Therefore, I have decided to withdraw the bill from consideration during this year’s General Assembly session. Withdrawing the legislation will allow my office to continue to meet in a spirit of cooperation …

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Kasim Reed on chasing Tennessee water: ‘The juice would be worth the squeeze’

On WABE (90.1FM) late Thursday, Denis O’Hayer’s interview with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed focused on the city’s sewer sales tax referendum, which comes up for renewal on March 6.

What O’Hayer didn’t broadcast were remarks Reed made about Georgia’s hunger for water. But they’re included in a longer version posted on the radio station’s web site. Reed was first asked about the city’s ability to meet growth with access to water.

Said Reed:

”The city has some unique assets that give us the capability to survive it. We have the most attractive parcel in the [north Georgia] region with regard to a new reservoir in Dawson [County]. So we have the capability to build that reservoir to provide the city of Atlanta and help the region’s need. We also have, in a park that’s not far from here, an ability to build a reservoir that can hold a 30-day water supply for the city of Atlanta.”

O’Hayer then asked Reed about House Speaker David Ralston’s declaration that …

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Marco Rubio’s youthful encounter with Mormonism

The chances of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., becoming Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick for a GOP ticket just got complicated. A stunner from Buzzfeed:

In the compelling personal narrative that has helped propel Florida Senator Marco Rubio to national political stardom, one chapter has gone completely untold: Rubio spent his childhood as a faithful Mormon.

Rubio was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with his family at around the age of eight, and remained active in the faith for a number of years during his early youth, family members told BuzzFeed.

Rubio spokesman Alex Conant confirmed the story to BuzzFeed, and said Rubio returned to the Catholic church a few years later with his family, receiving his first communion on Christmas day in 1984 at the age of 13.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

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