Archive for June, 2012

Trust and the transportation sales tax

If the referendum for a transportation sales tax in metro Atlanta fails this month, the cause is likely to be a lack of trust.

The most obvious trust gap is the one that separates most tea partyists from government spending. No surprise there. But the trust deficit that matters most in the July 31 vote, and the one that runs the deepest, separates white and black in metro Atlanta.

Or, if you prefer to keep things on a more civilized plane, it creates a divide between Democrats in Fulton and DeKalb counties on one hand, and Republicans in the other eight counties on the other.

All along, the strategy for passage of the transportation sales tax has been based on keeping the vote close in GOP strongholds such as Cobb and Gwinnett counties, then running up the score with strong African-American support in Atlanta and areas south of I-20.

This week, Channel 2 Action News released a poll, conducted by Rosetta Stone Communications, which showed only 38 percent of voters in the …

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Channel 2 poll: Transportation sales tax support slips

On the eve of a resumption of the TV campaign for the transportation sales tax, a new poll just posted by Channel 2 Action News shows support for the effort slipping.

From the website:

A Rosetta Stone Communications poll conducted for Channel 2 Action News found only 38 percent of voters in 10 metro counties support the proposed tax, while 49 percent oppose the plan.

Those numbers show a drop in support of the tax from late May when a Rosetta Stone poll showed 42 percent supported the referendum and 45 percent opposed the measure.

The margin of support in Fulton and DeKalb counties isn’t anywhere near what’s needed to offset opposition in largely Republican counties. Check out the crosstabs:

wsbtranpoll

Just for the record, Rosetta Stone Communications is a political service firm that caters primarily to Republican clients.

In response, Sam Williams, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, sent an email to supporters that included this:

“WSB released a poll this afternoon. …

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John Roberts looks for an island; Phil Gingrey advertises for another beer buddy

Because you just don’t get a chance every day to imagine U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, chugging a beer in his underwear. From Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central:

There there’s this from the Associated Press:

FARMINGTON, Pa. — U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is joking that he’ll be spending some time in “an impregnable fortress” now that the Supreme Court has ended a session that featured him casting the decisive vote upholding President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Responding to a question about his summer plans, Roberts quipped that he thought his planned trip to Malta to teach a class was a “good idea.”

He delivered the joke Friday at a federal court conference at a posh Pennsylvania resort.

Roberts declined to answer a question about the landmark opinion issued Thursday. But he says he hopes the court will be remembered for “protecting equal …

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Your morning jolt: Did John Roberts just make health care an easier GOP target?

Atlanta publicist and tea party backer Randy Lewis emailed last night as he was listening to a briefing on the U.S. Supreme Court’s health care ruling by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who argued that the decision has made repeal of the measure a more achievable goal for the GOP:

[Cuccinelli] said that one additional largely unknown issue from the ruling today is that with the court declaring the law constitutional because it is a tax, that the law can now be repealed with 51 votes in the Senate — not 60. Tax votes only require simple majority. All other legislation requires 60 votes. So, Repubs picking up three seats and a VP can repeal Obamacare.

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will be holding onto this CNN video clip for a while – for bar bets if nothing else. It contains the mayor’s prediction on Tuesday, minutes before President Barack Obama’s plane touched down in Atlanta and 48 hours before the actual decision was made public, that the U.S. Supreme …

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Chief Justice John Roberts targeted by conservative ire

Suffice it to say when Mitt Romney next talks about U.S. Supreme Court nominations he intends to make as president, he’ll point to Antonin Scalia, or Samuel Alito, or Clarence Thomas.

In this Jan. 27, 2010 file photo, President Barack Obama greets Chief Justice John Roberts before he delivered his State of the Union Address on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP/Charles Dharapak

In this Jan. 27, 2010 file photo, President Barack Obama greets Chief Justice John Roberts before he delivered his State of the Union Address on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP/Charles Dharapak

John Roberts, the surprise swing vote in the court’s 5-4 decision to uphold President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, has suddenly become persona non grata in certain Republican circles – although friends of the chief justice are putting up a healthy defense. Here’s a quick afternoon breakdown:

From Rush Limbaugh:

”The chief justice was hell-bent to find a way to make this law applicable, so he just decided, you know what, as a tax increase, it works, because there’s no limit on the federal government’s ability to tax….Even when they don’t ask for it, the Supreme Court is gonna find a way …

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In which young Barack Obama opposed John Roberts’ SCOTUS nomination

By siding with the White House on health care reform, by turning a “mandate” into a “tax,” U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts may have just done more than any single individual to help Barack Obama to a second term as president.

The irony is that as a wet-behind-the-ears U.S. senator in 2005, Obama voted against confirming Roberts’ nomination by President George W. Bush to the high court. In “The Bridge,” an Obama biography, New Yorker magazine editor David Remnick says that Obama, determined to make a splash in Washington as a different kind of Democrat, gave serious thought to voting for Roberts.

But Obama was persuaded that it would hurt him, should he aspire to higher office. From Obama’s speech on the topic, via Obamaspeeches.com:

[T]he decision with respect to Judge Roberts’ nomination has not been an easy one for me to make. As some of you know, I have not only argued cases before appellate courts but for 10 years was a member of the …

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What the U.S. Supreme Court actually said about health care reform

Read the U.S. Supreme Court decision on health care reform for yourself here, but feel free to take a walk with me through these excerpts:

On the penalty vs. tax question:

The present challenge seeks to restrain the collection of the shared responsibility payment from those who do not comply with the individual mandate. But Congress did not intend the payment to be treated as a “tax” for purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act. The Affordable Care Act describes the payment as a “penalty,” not a “tax.” That label cannot control whether the payment is a tax for purposes of the Constitution, but it does determine the application of the Anti-Injunction Act. The Anti-Injunction Act therefore does not bar this suit…..

Why the “commerce clause” flunked as a vehicle for health care:

The Constitution grants Congress the power to “regulate Commerce.” … The power to regulate commerce presupposes the existence of commercial activity to be regulated. This Court’s …

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Your morning jolt: Feds sue over Georgia’s runoff schedule

Federal officials have followed through on a threat issued nearly two weeks ago. From the Associated Press:

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia and its chief election official for allegedly not giving enough time to military service members, their families and citizens living overseas to return absentee ballots for the Aug. 21 federal primary runoff election.

The Justice Department said in a news release Wednesday that the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. The news release says Georgia’s procedures are “inadequate to ensure that its eligible military and overseas voters can participate fully” in the runoff, should one be necessary.

Federal officials contend that under Georgia’s election calendar, absentee ballots for the runoff election won’t be sent out until after the July 7 deadline, or 45 days in advance of the election.

Of course, it’s hard to issue a runoff ballot on July 7 when the first round of voting doesn’t occur until …

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Nathan Deal: Enough with the drunk boating and hunting

Divers with Cobb County Police Department during last week’s search for the body of 13-year-old Griffin Prince at Shoal Creek on Lake Lanier in Buford, Ga. The body of the teenager was recovered Wednesday.  Jason Getz/jgetz@ajc.com

Divers with Cobb County Police Department during last week’s search for the body of 13-year-old Griffin Prince at Shoal Creek on Lake Lanier in Buford, Ga. The body of the teenager was recovered Wednesday. Jason Getz/jgetz@ajc.com

In a note of thanks to divers, law enforcement personnel and volunteers who worked to recover the body of Griffin Prince from Lake Lanier, Gov. Nathan Deal this morning said he would back a lowering of legal blood alcohol limits for boaters and hunters.

Said Deal:

“The current blood alcohol limit of .10 for boating and hunting is far too high. As a state, we need to have one level across the board. When the General Assembly convenes in January, I will work with the House and Senate to pass legislation that lowers the legal limit to .08 for boating and hunting – in line with the legal limit for driving a vehicle. As governor it is my priority to protect Georgians to the best of my ability and enforce the law. Far too many tragedies have …

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The U.S. Supreme Court decision to allow Georgia Democrats back in the game

Other than that minor decision on health care due out in the next few hours, the most important ruling made this week by the U.S. Supreme Court is the one that will allow Democrats to resume a competitive — if not dominant — role in Georgia politics. Not today, not tomorrow, but within the lifetimes of most of this state’s current residents.

What? You missed that one?

Without being too cute about it, a Democratic resurgence in Georgia may be the ultimate impact of the court’s ruling on how far states — in this case Arizona — can go in the fight against illegal immigration.

This is about numbers, not philosophy. Last week, Alan Abramowitz, the Emory University political scientist, pointed out some interesting statistics on the secretary of state’s website.

In 2001, as the lowering of a segregation-era state flag was about to spark a Republican revolution, whites made up a domineering 72 percent of 4.6 million registered Georgia voters. African-Americans accounted …

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