Archive for April, 2012

Something new to worry about: ‘Mortgage rage’

Because metro Atlanta is what it is, you have a good grasp of what road rage is.

But consider that – again, because metro Atlanta is what it is — we may need to add another syndrome to our list of social ills:

Call it mortgage rage.

Several days ago, Jean-Joseph Kalonji and his wife Angelica drove to a Newton County home just purchased by their grown son. The couple was in the midst of changing the locks on the doors when they were surprised by two strangers clutching semi-automatic rifles.

Robert Canoles and his teenaged son Branden figured the Kalonji’s for trespassers and ordered the unarmed, middle-aged pair to freeze. Deputies were summoned – and rather than listen to the Kalonjis, locked the newcomers up.

In the end, the Canoles were the ones who ended up being charged with aggravated assault, false imprisonment – and trespass. The judgment of the Newton County deputies is under formal review.

It isn’t premature to declare that this single event probably generated enough …

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Newt Gingrich to take a non-victory lap in Georgia

Slightly less than a year ago, former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich launched his GOP campaign for the presidency with a speech before an assembly of the Georgia GOP in Macon.

Then he tanked. Then he resurrected himself. Then he tanked again. And got up again. And tanked again.

This week, it’s been pretty well established that Gingrich will abandon his debt-wracked campaign on Tuesday. At an event in the Washington D.C. area.

But never fear – the bookend is coming. Gingrich will be the twice-featured speaker at next month’s state GOP convention in Columbus, chairman Sue Everhart announced last night. The former Georgia congressman will speak at a May 18 dinner for party donors, then address the entire crop of delegates the next day – before the arguing begins over the final slots for the national convention in Tampa.

If we’re lucky, we’ll get a glimpse of the next, post-campaign edition of Newt Gingrich.

By now, you’ve heard the friendly reception that Arizona’s law to …

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Your copy of the Falcons stadium report can be found here


From over in the world of sports, my AJC colleague Tim Tucker sends you a copy of the report that recommends the demolition of the Georgia Dome in favor of a new Falcons stadium, funded by a hotel-motel tax, perhaps in downtown Atlanta’s nearby Gulch.

It was released Thursday by the Georgia World Congress Center. Read it here.

The bottom line:

1. Modifications to the seating bowl, as necessitated by new program seating arrangements, results in seat quanities that do not achieve the desired game day or special event capacities.

2. Continued use of the venue through construction is not possible. Modifications will result, at a minimum, in two periods of closure for the facility — January 2014 to September 2014 and January 2015 to October 2015 – at best. This significantly affects both the Falcons season and GWCC events during these time periods.

3. There is not a compelling difference between the cost of reconstructing and expanding the Georgia Dome versus the cost of building …

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The coming Republican debate over replacing ‘Obamacare’

With a U.S. Supreme Court decision on health care reform in the offing, Republicans are making preparations.

Near the top of the GOP food chain, we’ve heard Attorney General Sam Olens and U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss both declare the party that brings down President Barack Obama’s premier piece of legislation should be ready to cope with the fallout.

It is akin to Gen. Colin Powell’s attitude toward the war in Iraq: “If you break it, you bought it.” (Although one could argue that a system in which an appendectomy might cost $1,529 or $182,955 – depending on the color of a California hospital administrator’s mood ring – already qualifies as damaged goods.)

Given his experience in Massachusetts, former Gov. Mitt Romney may allow congressional Republicans the first crack at floating a substitute. Already, several are blazing their own trails, including U.S. Rep. Paul Broun of Athens.

Broun, a physician, has come to recognize that the expectation of guaranteed health care is rooted …

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Justice on case against Arizona: ‘You can see it’s not selling very well’

Good news for fans of Georgia’s HB 87, from the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court justices strongly suggested Wednesday that they are ready to allow Arizona to enforce part of a controversial state law requiring police officers to check the immigration status of people they think are in the country illegally.

Liberal and conservative justices reacted skeptically to the Obama administration’s argument that the state exceeded its authority when it made the records check, and another provision allowing suspected illegal immigrants to be arrested without a warrant, part of Arizona law aimed at driving illegal immigrants elsewhere.

“You can see it’s not selling very well,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor told Obama administration Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.

It was unclear what the court would do with other aspects of the law that have been put on hold by lower federal courts. The other blocked provisions make it a state crime for immigrants not to have immigration …

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The college tuition bubble: Another case of ‘extend and pretend’

Charlie Harper of the Dublin Courier Journal has a smart take on the tuition loan bubble that both President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney have now endorsed.

Two paragraphs, via PeachPundit, to whet the appetite:

The amount of total student loans outstanding is estimated between $870 billion and $1 trillion according to the Associated Press, an amount that has doubled in the last five years. To put that in perspective, total credit card debt held by Americans is estimated at $693 billion and total auto loans outstanding are about $730 billion according to the Bank of New York. The amount of student loan debt and its role in our economy is not inconsequential.

Instead of extending and pretending, we must have an honest policy discussion with regards to deflating this bubble. Why are degrees in philosophy and art history subsidized at the same level as math and science fields? Why are borrowers allowed to receive loans without demonstrating they have …

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Why wait? Newt Gingrich to leave race Tuesday

My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy, who’s tracking Newt Gingrich, now has this:

DENVER, N.C. – Newt Gingrich is expected to drop out of the presidential race on Tuesday and “very likely” endorse Mitt Romney, a source close to the Gingrich campaign confirmed this morning to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The announcement will take place in the Washington, D.C. area, and the delay is to allow Gingrich to get through his planned events in North Carolina this week and then bring in family and friends for the announcement.

But really, aside from ceremony, is there a point to waiting six days? The next round of primaries is May 8. Make your argument on the ProConIt widget below:

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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

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Your morning jolt: Newt Gingrich talks of life as a citizen

Newt Gingrich had placed his hopes on a good – no, make that decent – showing in the smallest of five states that held GOP presidential primaries on Tuesday.

He didn’t get it, clearing only 27.1 percent in Delaware to Mitt Romney’s 56.5 percent. (A total of 28,591 votes were cast in that state – about a third of what Cobb County generated on March 6.)

But after last night’s print deadline, my AJC colleague Daniel Malloy, who’s been tracking Gingrich, caught a hint that the former Georgia congressman is contemplating a primary afterlife. Said Gingrich:

…So we want you to know that as citizens, we are going to be right their standing shoulder by shoulder with you and that, as we think through about how we can best be effective citizens over the next week or two, we are going to rely on you for help and you for advice.

Malloy also picked up this quote this morning:

“We’ll be working out the details of our transition and we’ll have information for the press in the next couple …

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Georgia convention delegate lists for Tampa, Charlotte

Georgia’s Republican and Democratic parties have now released the official lists of their delegates to this summer’s national conventions, elected over the last two weekends.

First, from the GOP, the list of 84 Tampa-bound delegates and alternates, drawn from the 14 congressional districts on the 2012 ballot:

District 1

Ruby Robinson, D

Anne Mueller, D

Stephen Lambeth, D

Carl Smith, A

Kay Godwin, A

Wesley Cox, A

District 2

Brad Hughes, D

Ed Rynders, D

Don Cole, D

Ben Harrell, A

Joe Brannan, A

David Futral, A

District 3

Brant Frost, D

Kathy Noble, D

Marty Harbin, D

Vicki Temple, A

Ben Johnson, A

Dale Jackson, A

District 4

Gloria Tow, D

Tim Fleming, D

Lynn Brown, D

Rachel Little, A

Linda Park, A

John White, A

District 5

John Garst, D

Henry Schwab, D

Ginger Howard, D

William Kelly, A

Anthony Lewis, A

Orit Sklar, A

District 6

Patrick Burns, D

Lynne Riley, D

Anne Lewis, D

Ric Mayfield, A

Suzi Voyles, A

Dan Israel, A

District 7

Peggy Green, D

Jason Thompson, D

Joan Zellner, …

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‘If I were mayor, I would clear trash from parks by handing out flyers’

On Wednesday, the Georgia Municipal Association will announce the winner of its annual “If I Were Mayor…” essay contest. More than 6,200 were submitted from sixth-graders across the state.

For the unschooled, that means the authors are 11 and 12 years old. A winner is to be named at a luncheon at Turner Field.

Below, we offer a few anonymous outtakes provided by GMA. You will note that, some of the ideas – but only the best ones — are plagiarized from the early days of the 2012 Republican presidential primary campaign:

– ”If I were mayor I would create another town council to contradict and debate with the older council to ensure proper actions are taken for the necessary reasons as far as crime and other town matters.”

– “Jerry Springer was a famous mayor and even Abe Lincoln started on a local level. If I was mayor of our town I would want to make a good impression, like them, + leave behind something better.”

– “Also, a good town always has good franchises. When I walk …

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