Archive for March, 2012

Your morning jolt: ‘Right to quiet enjoyment’ bill passes House committee

State Rep. Bill Hembree, chairman of the House Industrial Relations, confirmed that his committee this morning passed out SB 469, which would ban union pickets at private residents and require union members to confirm the dues check-off on their paychecks on an annual basis.

Also passed by the committee, which met with less than an hours notice granted to Democrats, was SB 447, the bill to repay $780 million borrowed by the state for unemployment benefits — largely by reducing future benefits.

On SB 469, Hembree said the only change made to the bill, sponsored by Sen. Don Balfour but written by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, was language added to emphasize that the ban on home demonstrations only applies to unions.

That’s one way of looking at it. Another way: The bill establishes a new “right to quiet enjoyment” of one’s residence – but that right will only apply to business executives required to deal with labor organizations.

The Georgia AFL-CIO immediately cried …

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Rick Santorum hurls barnyard phrase at NYT reporter

On his Twitter account last night, New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny sent out the following message:

I ask Santorum if Romney is “worst Republican” to run. He says: “Quit distorting my words It’s [bovine excrement].” He says he was talking health care.

Here’s the video of the exchange:

Don’t feel bad for Santorum. By 1 a.m. this morning, according to Politico, his campaign had sent out this fund-raiser:

”Earlier today, while campaigning in Wisconsin, I criticized Romney and Obama for their outrageous healthcare legislation. Predictably, I was aggressively attacked by a New York Times reporter all too ready to defend the two of them, and all too ready to distort my words.

“Let me assure you, I didn’t back down, and I didn’t let him bully me. I think it is high time that conservatives find the courage to expose the liberal press for what they are, a defender and enabler of Romney’s and Obama’s liberal agendas.”

As far as word usage and evangelicals are concerned – the church …

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Newt Gingrich fumbles discussion of Trayvon Martin

Over the weekend, nobody fumbled the Trayvon Martin issue like Newt Gingrich.

President Barack Obama was the first to dip in on Friday morning, with a declaration of empathy. “I can only imagine what these parents are going through, and when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids,” Obama said. “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

Rick Santorum had this to say: “There’s a difference between ‘Stand Your Ground’ and doing what he did. And it’s a horrible case. It’s chilling to hear what happened, and of course the fact that law enforcement didn’t immediately go after and prosecute this case is another chilling example of horrible decisions made by people in this process.”

Likewise, Romney declared the killing of the 17-year-old, unarmed black youth a tragedy: “Our hearts go out to his family, his loved ones, his friends. This shouldn’t have happened.”

And then there was Newt, who actually may have been the first to weigh in — quite sensibly. On CNN on Thursday …

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Why Democrats need a Barack Obama campaign in Georgia

Like a troop of doomed, out-numbered cavalry, 20 Democrats in the state Senate had gathered in a tight circle — a last-ditch attempt to stop a measure that could boost the standing of charter schools in Georgia.

President Barack Obama is greeted by during his arrival Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport this month in Atlanta. Greeters on the tarmac are from left to right, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Barack Obama is greeted by during his arrival Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport this month in Atlanta. Greeters on the tarmac are from left to right, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

A two-thirds vote by the 56-member Senate was required for the proposed constitutional amendment to be placed on the November ballot. House Democrats had already folded.

Gov. Nathan Deal, playing the role of Sitting Bull, picked off four Democrats. Perhaps with a promise of a future appointment, or maybe a banking bill – or even an appeal on the merits of the issue. Stranger things have happened. But it will be a while before we know the …

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Georgia’s illegal immigration count: 440,000 in 2011

Georgia’s illegal immigration population as of January 2011 stood at 440,000 souls, according to a just-issued U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Last year, the DHS put Georgia’s “unauthorized immigrant population” — the agency’s term — at 460,000. Which would mean a decrease of 20,000, or 4 percent. Except that the agency now says the 2010 figure was off, and is not worthy of use. Presumably, that’s why the chart below doesn’t include anything from last year.

The nation as a whole has 11.5 million “unauthorized” immigrants, according to the annual estimate. That’s slightly lower than the 11.6 million judged to be in the country the previous year.

This latest report stays away from causation. And because the numbers are drawn from the U.S. census count, they don’t measure any impact from HB 87, the bill passed last spring by the Legislature giving law enforcement authorities greater responsibility for checking stopped individuals for proof of citizenship.

Here’s the …

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Barack Obama: ‘If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon’

A careful President Barack Obama this morning stepped into the Trayvon Martin case in Florida:

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama spoke in unusually personal terms Friday about the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Florida, a case that has roiled civil rights activists and a suburban Orlando community. “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Obama said, vowing to “get to the bottom of what happened.”

Obama expressed sympathy for the parents of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., a suburb of Orlando, by a neighborhood watch volunteer who said he was acting in self-defense.

“I can only imagine what these parents are going through, and when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids,” Obama said, calling the case a “tragedy.”

The nation’s first black president aimed his message at Martin’s parents, saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. I think they are right to expect that all of us as …

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Your morning jolt: A Skittles-and-hoodies protest headed for the state Capitol

Monday is shaping up to be a day of protest at and around the state Capitol.

Students from Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, and John Marshall Law School are putting together a Skittles-and-hoodies protest focused on the Florida killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

Demonstrators will be targeting several gun bills still under consideration by the Legislature, which they term “a continuation” of Georgia’s 2006 law that expanded the circumstances under which a shooter could claim self-defense.

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The annual President’s Day fund-raiser for the Georgia Republican party on Monday – usually a sleepy event – is likely to get more attention this time around. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is facing a recall election after last year’s confrontation with public employee unions, will be the keynote speaker.

Union workers in Atlanta are already planning a welcome for Walker at the downtown Marriott …

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First volley in the 9th District contest: Doug Collins, Martha Zoller trade jabs over gay marriage

You can tell we’re reaching the end of the 2012 session of the Legislature – election-year attacks have already resumed.

The 9th District congressional campaign of Doug Collins, a state lawmaker from Gainesville, has signaled that gay marriage will have its traditional place in the Republican primary – by passing along statements made by Collins’ chief rival, north Georgia radio talk show host Martha Zoller.

For instance, in a 2009 discussion of gay marriage with CNN’s Don Lemon, Zoller said:

I think what’s going to happen eventually, DOMA is going to be challenged, that Defense of Marriage Act is going to be challenged in the Supreme Court. And I don’t think it’s going to hold up, if you want now the truth. And then we’re going to have to go back to the drawing board. I don’t advocate same-sex marriage. I have not changed my view on that. I do support civil unions, though. I think it’s a legal issue…

And this, in from a 2009 column published on the Human Events website:

“I am …

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The benefits of family ties to House members from Georgia

Today, much of Washington is poring over a mammoth study on members of the U.S. House, documenting how federal and campaign cash flow to their family members.

Eight of Georgia’s 13 House members earned a mention. An overview by the New York Times starts this way:

The 346-page report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, is an extraordinary compendium of creative accounting, self-interested budgeting and generous expense reimbursements. It highlights common practices that translate into tens of millions of dollars in payments to relatives or the lawmakers themselves.

Read the CREW report here. The look at Georgia congressmen begins at Page 86.

On Sanford Bishop, D-Albany:

From the CREW report:

Rep. Bishop earmarked money to his daughter and son-in-law’s employer, and to an organization with which he is affiliated. He also awarded scholarships to family members through a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) program.

This was aired out during …

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Republicans in Athens allege threats from Ron Paul supporters

We’d heard that several county GOP conventions earlier this month featured confrontations between establishment and libertarian-minded members.

But it looks like things really got out of hand in Athens. From the Banner-Herald newspaper:

Two local Republican Party leaders filed a police report on Tuesday, telling police that Ron Paul supporters left them harassing, potentially threatening messages after a contentious meeting on March 10, according to an Athens-Clarke police report.

Several rowdy Paul supporters attended the meeting, pushing video cameras into people’s faces and taping the confrontation, they said. The group posted the videos on YouTube with the local party leaders’ names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.

The party members — a 28-year-old man and a 66-year-old man — turned over emails and Internet postings that included statements that the men should be shot, killed and have their houses burned down.

The GOP officials who made the complaint aren’t …

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