Archive for September, 2012

Two Sams, an Elliott and a Sanford on polarized politics

This was alumni weekend at Emory University, possibly because they don’t have a football team.

Part of the program on Saturday was a panel of law school graduates discussing the polarized state of American politics: Former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn (’62), U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (’71) Attorney General Sam Olens (’83); former congressman Elliott Levitas (’52).

Herding the cats as moderator was Yvette Miller (’88) presiding judge of the state Court of the Appeals. Tom Clark, associate professor of political science, also sat in on the discussion.

Here’s the video turned out by Emory:

Below is a rough, incomplete transcript.

For the last few weeks, Nunn has been engaged in an unofficial campaign to rally the nation’s political elders – Republican and Democrat – in support of a bipartisan deal to address the federal deficit and avoidance of the “fiscal cliff” that looms in January. So he loomed largest in the discussion.

The panel closed with a brief skirmish over voter ID between …

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Behind two days of shotgunnin’ and golf coursin’

Last week, a number of lobbyists — those willing to part with up to $10,000 — were invited up to Adairsville for two days of fun with shooting irons and five irons in the company of Republican state senators.

It’s fair to ask why a group of golf coursin’, shotgunnin’ lawmakers might be important to you and yours. The explanation is complicated, very insiderish — and might require a second cup of coffee.

Got it? Good. Let’s begin.

November will answer two important political questions in Georgia. Neither has to do with the presidential contest. Mitt Romney is an all-but-sure bet to carry this state. The Republican candidate’s problems lie elsewhere.

Control of the charter school movement in Georgia is one piece of the Nov. 6 puzzle — a topic for another day. Control of one-half of the Legislature is the other.

Two years ago, Senate Republicans celebrated Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s re-election by stripping him of most of his authority over the chamber — in part because, months …

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John Barge removes primer on charter schools from state website

This comes from the Associated Press:

A spokesman for state Superintendent John Barge says his boss has reached an agreement with Attorney General Sam Olens on the school chief’s political activity regarding a statewide referendum on charter schools.

Matt Cardoza says Barge remains opposed to a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to issue charters for private operators to run taxpayer financed schools. But Cardoza confirmed that the Department of Education has removed from its website a written primer on the issue.

The action comes after a private attorney filed a complaint accusing Barge of violating state law that generally limits the use of public resources for political activity.

Barge’s Q&A does not explicitly tell Georgians how to vote, but makes his position clear.

Cardoza says Barge will continue to speak candidly about his opposition.

“Reached an agreement” may not be the exactly right phrase. Lauren Kane, a spokeswoman for Olens, sent the following …

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Your morning jolt: Democrats to seek Rick Crawford’s removal from ballot

In at least one way, yesterday’s news that state Rep. Rick Crawford, D-Cedartown, would switch to the Republican party after the Nov. 6 election was a case of unfortunate timing.

The state Democratic party’s 46-member executive committee just happened to have an hour-long meeting by telephone scheduled for Thursday night.

We understand from a party insider that the committee took three votes to:

a) Accept Crawford’s resignation from the party. (Crawford has submitted nothing in writing, but had communicated his change of allegiance in conversations with several Democrats;

b) Withdraw its support from Crawford; and

c) Authorize party Chairman Mike Berlon to seek Crawford’s removal from the ballot.

It’s the last item that’s news – or could be. We don’t know that it’s ever been done. Look for Berlon to quickly petition Secretary of State Brian Kemp for Crawford’s dismissal as the Democratic nominee for House District 16 in west Georgia.

Could Democrats replace Crawford? Good …

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A four-hour, state Capitol seminar on Agenda 21

Republican members of the state Senate have received an invitation from Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock to attend a four-hour, Oct. 11 seminar at the state Capitol on Agenda 21 – what some conservatives believe to be a United Nations-driven conspiracy to erase American property rights.

Zoning as a socialist plot, in other words.

Read the entire memo here. A taste:

agenda21

One of the most interesting things about the memo — aside from the prospect of watching state lawmakers discuss the Hegelian dialectic — is the wary reference to “public-private partnerships,” which have long been touted in the state Capitol as the solution to the state’s transportation funding problem. Toll roads, for instance.

Here’s some background: Agenda 21 came up as a topic during the TSPLOST debate.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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

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Tea party souring on GOP: ‘We’re fighting a two-front war’

Tea partyists are already drawing lines in anticipation of a Mitt Romney collapse.

Below is language from a fund-raising email over the name of Jenny Beth Martin, the Cherokee County woman who is a co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.

The letter focuses on Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s recent statement that a victory by President Barack Obama could undercut House Republican opposition to tax increases in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations that a lame-duck Congress must take up before the end of the year.

From the TPP email:

We need to stop Obama’s big government agenda this fall and then make sure the Republican political establishment doesn’t sell us out next January.

Patriot, the challenges facing our movement are even greater than I expected. We are, in effect, fighting a two front war.

One against Barack Obama and his cronies who are turning America into a socialist wasteland.

And another against professional politicians like Eric Cantor and Tom Cole who believe they need to …

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Your morning jolt: Before the vote, a Democrat says he’ll turn GOP

No matter what happens on Nov. 6, Democrats will be at least one seat down in the state House.

State Rep. Rick Crawford of Cedartown, one of the few remaining conservative Democrats in the Legislature, says he intends to switch to the GOP – if he survives the general election.

House Speaker David Ralston doesn’t think he will. Crawford faces a tough race in a newly redrawn west Georgia district that has a Democratic performance rating of 27 percent. Crawford’s Republican opponent is Trey Kelley, a 25-year-old manufacturer’s rep.

“I am fully committed to making sure Trey Kelley is elected to the House. He is an outstanding candidate who is working hard and is consistent,” Ralston said this morning. “While I respect Rick Crawford and appreciate his dilemma, the truth is that the [Democratic] Party didn’t just suddenly become liberal. It has been, is, and will continue to be a party that is far to the left of the great majority of Georgians.”

Jim Walls and Atlanta Unfiltered …

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Air Force insiders foresaw breathing woes for F-22 pilots

The final Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter jet is rolled off the assembly line in Marietta last December.  The aircraft, regarded as the world's premier 5th generation fighter, will be delivered to the Air Force in 2012 after receiving a top secret coating and other testing. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

The final Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter jet is rolled off the assembly line in Marietta last December. The aircraft, regarded as the world's premier 5th generation fighter, will be delivered to the Air Force in 2012 after receiving a top secret coating and other testing. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

Some interesting history on the Marietta-made F-22, via the Associated Press:

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan — Years before F-22 pilots began getting dizzy in the cockpit, before one struggled to breathe as he tried to pull out of a fatal crash, before two more went on television to say the plane was so unsafe they refused to fly it, a small circle of U.S. Air Force experts knew something was wrong with the prized stealth fighter jet.

Coughing among pilots and fears that contaminants were leaking into their breathing apparatus led the experts to suspect flaws in the oxygen-supply system of the F-22 Raptor, especially in extreme high-altitude conditions in which the $190 …

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Casey Cagle says he’ll skip Senate GOP fundraiser: ‘We do not have to cheat to win’

The invitation to a two-day golf and shotgunning fund-raiser in Adairsville.

The invitation to a two-day golf and shotgunning fund-raiser in Adairsville.

Members of the state Senate Republican Caucus and some of their very best friends will spend two days in Adairsville this week to play golf and display their expertise with shotguns.

One can pay $500 for a dinner-time chat, but the main events on Wednesday and Thursday are open only to those willing to give $2,500 to $10,000 to the caucus’ campaign arm, the Georgia Republican Senatorial Trust.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has sent an email to Republicans to inform them, in very strong language, that he’s not going.

He has problems with the way $140,000 of caucus money was handed to an allegedly independent committee – based in North Carolina – to defend GOP senators from primary challengers this summer.

Read the entire Sept. 10 letter from Cagle here. In part:

The Trust is so named because its funds are to be raised, held and spent IN TRUST. The management of the trust reflects on the reputation of each …

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Your morning jolt: Lynyrd Skynyrd rethinks Confederate flag retreat

As of this weekend, Chick-fil-A is no longer the latest commercial interest roiled by an attempt to disengage from the culture wars.

That honor has shifted to Lynyrd Skynyrd, now in its 42 year as the South’s premier rock band.

From left, Gary Rossington, Rickey Medlocke and Johnny Van Zant (cq) of the group Lynyrd Skynyrd during their 2007 induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. AJC file

From left, Gary Rossington, Rickey Medlocke and Johnny Van Zant (cq) of the group Lynyrd Skynyrd during their 2007 induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. AJC file

Earlier this month, in a CNN interview touting the band’s latest album, “Last of a Dyin’ Breed,” guitarist Gary Rossington – the group’s sole original member – explained why band members had distanced themselves from the Confederate battle emblem that had once been so identified with their performances. Said Rossington:

”It became such an issue, you know, about race and stuff, where – we just had it in the beginning as we were Southern, and that was our image back in the ‘70s, late ‘60s. They branded us as being from the South, so we showed that.

“But I think through the years, people …

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