Archive for the ‘John Oxendine’ Category

Your morning jolt: Georgia’s $588 million unemployment benefit debacle

There’s nothing more encouraging on a Monday morning than to have your state cited as an egregious example of poor judgment. From the Associated Press:

Washington — State officials had plenty of warning. Over the past three decades, two national commissions and a series of government audits sounded alarms about the dwindling amount of money states were setting aside to pay unemployment insurance to laid-off workers.

“Trust Fund Reserves Inadequate,” federal auditors said in a 1988 report.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler/AP

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler/AP

It’s clear now the warnings were pretty much ignored. Instead, states kept whittling away at the trust funds, mostly by cutting unemployment insurance taxes at the behest of the business community. The low balances hastened insolvency when the recession hit, leading about 30 states to borrow $41.5 billion from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits to their growing population of jobless.

The ramifications will be felt for years….

Each …

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Your morning jolt: Race and the basics of Southern politics

With one week to go, we’re getting down to campaign basics. And in the South, that means a healthy dose of racial innuendo.


A mailer from John Barge, the Republican candidate for state school superintendent, arrived at the house on Monday. On its cover was a photograph of his Democratic rival, Joe Martin, and President Barack Obama.

Other than the headline, which you can see here, the flyer makes no mention of Obama. The other three pages of the flyer are devoted to Martin’s lack of classroom experience – a legitimate issue worthy of debate. (Martin, who is not a lawyer, was a longtime member of the Atlanta school board.)

“It is what it is. It’s certainly a distraction,” Martin said in a phone conversation. Attempts to obtain comment from the state GOP, which paid for the flyer, were unsuccessful.

On the other side of the fence, PeachPundit has nabbed sound from what it says is a radio ad playing on stations with African-American audiences. Listen to it here.

The …

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Your morning jolt: In debate, Johnny Isakson says GOP won’t shut down government

We will get to the quarrel over the Hawaiian shirt soon enough.

The three candidates for U.S. Senate had their one and only debate Sunday night. Given the current political climate, exchanges between Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson and Democrat Michael Thurmond were remarkably civil.

The only harsh notes of discord in the Atlanta Press Club debate were struck by Chuck Donovan, the Libertarian who steadfastly attacked Isakson as something other than conservative.

The Insider was on the panel of questioners, which curtailed note-taking. But there was actual news in the statewide, 60-minute session on Georgia Public Broadcasting:

– Chances are that Republicans will take control of the U.S. House next week – which is certain to set up a confrontation over federal spending with President Barack Obama. But Isakson said that – with troops still in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in need of civilian government support – he didn’t expect GOP leaders to pursue a …

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Charles Bannister’s letter of resignation as Gwinnett commission chairman

In the midst of a grand jury probe over land deals, Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister has resigned, citing health reasons. The AJC has snagged the letter announcing his decision.

“It is with deep regret that I announce my immediate resignation as Chairman of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.

“While I am proud of Gwinnett County Government’s many accomplishments over the past six years and had hoped to guide more of this Board’s work to completion, I find myself near the end of an extremely trying year that has placed an undeserved strain on my family and has threatened my own health.

“I believe that stepping down at this time is necessary to preserve my family’s well-being and will allow the important business of Gwinnett County to move forward without further distraction.”

First thought: Republicans must be breathing a sigh of relief that state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, whose political base is Gwinnett, didn’t win that primary …

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Your morning jolt: Has Oxendine unleashed an army of loan companies on Georgia consumers?

Topic below include: John Oxendine, Ralph Hudgens, Republican Governors Association, Roy Barnes, Nathan Deal, Jim Marshall, Austin Scott, Sanford Bishop, Mike Keown.

The GOP nominee for state insurance commissioner suspects that John Oxendine, the man he seeks to replace, is unleashing an army of high-interest, small loan companies on Georgia consumers during his last days in office.


State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine/AJC

In a Sept. 16 letter, State Sen. Ralph Hudgens of Hull, on legislative stationery, accused Oxendine of issuing an “extraordinary” number of industrial loan licenses. The permit is a much-coveted permission slip to jump into the unsecured loan business, issured solely on the insurance commissioner’s say-so.

Moreover, Hudgens asks Oxendine – who finished a stunning fourth in the Republican primary for governor – to essentially sit on his hands through the end of the year.

“It is important that nothing be done in the final weeks of your …

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Your morning jolt: Tea party, business woes give Nathan Deal some identity problems

The tea party movement gave the Republican establishment another dose of heartburn on Tuesday, pushing Christine O’Donnell to an upset against U.S. Rep. Michael Castle in Delaware’s GOP primary for U.S. Senate.

O’Donnell’s victory gives Democrats a better chance of holding on to that seat – and perhaps the Senate itself – in November.

But here’s the relevant paragraph for Georgia, from the New York Times:

Mr. Castle, a moderate who served two terms as governor and had been reliably winning elections for the last four decades, became the latest establishment Republican casualty. Republican leaders, who had actively opposed Ms. O’Donnell, said the outcome complicated the party’s chances of winning control of the Senate.

While the GOP is giddy with the current anti-Democratic climate, the sheer volatility of the tea-tinged Republican electorate is unnerving, and has forced some unusual decisions, even here.

Specifically, the tea party movement and its …

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Johnny Isakson and his Friday night lights

The U.S. Senate race in Georgia is finally heating up – first with news that former President Bill Clinton will host an Atlanta fundraiser for Democrat Mike Thurmond on Thursday.

Then Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson this afternoon pushed out an eye-catching 30-second TV spot, shot from the sidelines of a Cobb County high school football game:

Isakson continues to pitch himself as a Washington player not content to sit on the sidelines. In the ad, the GOP incumbent emphasizes his role as a defender of conservatism.

But as with his previous ads, there’s a more subtle message here – underlining Isakson’s preference for involving himself in the mix of give-and-take of the Senate, a message aimed at independents. And as anyone who plays football knows, scrimmages involve an element of risk.

As if to emphasize Isakson’s willingness to take a chance now and then, the Associated Press reported the following about an hour ago:

With weeks to go before the midterm elections, …

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Your morning jolt: ‘I’m a big boy. It’s over with,’ says John Oxendine

More than a month after his plunge to fourth place in the Republican primary for governor, 11Alive on Tuesday caught up with state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine – at a news conference about that arson case up in Calhoun.


Oxendine, who plans to open his own law firm after he leaves office in January, pulled on his big-boy pants and gave this quick analysis of his fortunes:

“Part of it’s the fact that if you are the frontrunner for a long period of time, it makes you the natural target. I’m a big boy. Whether I think the media was always fair or unfair doesn’t matter. I’m a big boy. I don’t cry over spilled milk or anything.

“I think a lot of the media was not always as flattering as it could be. I think of that may have had play in it. But it doesn’t really matter to me. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter. It’s over with, it’s done with. And I’m good.”

We’re told that Oxendine’s decision to hammer on a rising Karen Handel in the final days of the primary was a …

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Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal on Karen Handel and ‘the last straw’

Nathan Deal, the Republican runoff candidate for governor, is out this morning with his harshest response yet to rival Karen Handel’s attacks on his performance as a member of Congress.

Deal accuses Handel of misrepresentation – which she denies – and raises the same gay rights-related issues that he hit the former secretary of state with in the days before the July 20 primary:

The 30-second spot includes no images of either candidate – just a menacing field of wheat.

The script:

Male voiceover: The last straw. For some, it’s Karen Handel’s support for taxpayer-funded gay partner benefits.

For others, the last straw is Karen Handel’s vote to give our tax dollars to Youth Pride, a group that promotes homosexuality among teenagers as young as 13.

But for all, the lies Karen Handel tells about Nathan Deal — a veteran, former prosecutor and judge, to hide what she’s done — are the last straw.

The ad does not mention Deal’s 18 years in Congress.

As is always the case in the …

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Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal heads south, Karen Handel courts the coast

The two surviving candidates in the Republican race for governor on Thursday moved into territory once held by defeated comrades.

While Nathan Deal followed I-75 to south Georgia, Karen Handel was on the coast for a meeting with the editorial board of the local newspaper — which had endorsed homeboy and former senator Eric Johnson in the July 20 primary.

We weren’t there to here the pitch from the former secretary of state, but Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News was.

Handel told editors it was a “disgrace” that Nathan Deal, her runoff rival, didn’t reveal that he was “associated” with a federal grand jury investigation into a ‘09 meeting with state officials about his business dealings with the state.

Said Handel:

“Heaven forbid,” [she said], “if it had come forward and Nathan Deal was our nominee.

“The GOP would be in big trouble. And that would mean he put his interests ahead of the greater interests.”

Now, about this Johnson fellow — who so far has endorsed neither …

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