Archive for the ‘Port of Savannah’ Category

Obama cabinet member says Port of Savannah deepening ‘has to happen’

From Russ Bynum and the Associated Press:

SAVANNAH, Ga.— Georgia’s 15-year push to deepen the river channel to the booming Port of Savannah got a big endorsement Tuesday from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet who finished a port tour by throwing his support behind the $600 million project and saying: “It has to happen.”

The secretary’s hosts, Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, sat grinning — and perhaps a little surprised — as LaHood promised to convene a meeting of stakeholders in Washington next month to help find funding for the port expansion, which has had a tough time securing money from a Congress focused on trimming the budget deficit.

“We’ll figure out how to get the federal dollars to make this project happen,” LaHood told Georgia officials and reporters near the dock as giant cranes lifted cargo containers in the background. “It has to happen.”

Savannah, the nation’s fourth largest container port, and its …

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Your morning jolt: Company behind Atlanta study pulls plug on stem cell research

The California-based company behind a pioneering experiment at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta – studying whether human embryonic stem cells can be used to repair spinal injuries — announced Monday it would halt the research and focus on developing two cancer drugs.

Geron was the first company ever permitted to conduct embryonic stem cell tests on humans. From McClatchy-Tribune News Service:

Although the company has sufficient finances to cover its cancer-drug costs over the next 20 months without having to raise more money, it noted in a news release, “this would not be possible if we continue to fund the stem cell programs at the current levels.”

…Besides the spinal research, Geron had been studying human embryonic stem cells as possible treatments for such ailments as diabetes, heart disease and cartilage repair. The company said it would attempt to seek “partners” to continue the research and “will retain a core group of employees from its stem cell operations” through the …

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Your morning jolt: CBS poll has Herman Cain on top, Newt Gingrich rising

On the day before a South Carolina debate that it will broadcast, CBS News is out with a GOP presidential poll that puts Herman Cain in the top spot, and Newt Gingrich tied with Mitt Romney:

[Sixty-one] percent of Republican primary voters say the sexual harassment accusations against Cain won’t make any difference in their vote, but 30 percent say the charges make them less likely to back him, and that rises to 38 percent among women. Cain has lost support among women since last month – from 28 percent in October to 15 percent now. He has lost ground with conservatives and Tea Party supporters as well.

Some crosstabs can be found here. The news outlet notes that Gingrich is the only candidate whose support has increased over the last month, albeit slowly.

Perhaps most important, Cain’s tea party support has drained significantly — while Gingrich’s support from that quarter has increased. The pair are virtually tied among tea-partyers — though Gingrich now has a slim numeric …

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Horse-trading and the Port of Savannah

My AJC colleague Dan Chapman sends word that Georgia surmounted a huge environmental hurdle today when a South Carolina agency voted to let the deepening of the Savannah River move forward.

We’ll add a link when his article is up.

Last month, the staff of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control denied a permit needed to dredge 32 miles of the Savannah River. Thursday, the staff reversed itself and said all environmental issues had been satisfactorily addressed. The DHEC board, appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley, then voted unanimously to approve the permit.

Last month, in a prelude to a meeting with Gov. Nathan Deal, Haley was already softening her tone. “Every port is different and every port has its challenges, ” Haley said to a South Carolina business group. “We have to say, ‘What do we need to do that is right for the region? What do we need to do so that all are successful?’ There’s ways to do that.”

Haley is taking hometown flak. One local blog has accused her …

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Your morning jolt: A smokin’ Herman Cain ad flares

Like a smoldering cigarette, Herman Cain’s Internet ad had lain unnoticed for nearly a week.

On Tuesday, it flared. Exhaling a white cloud has once again become a symbol of rebellion. Not in an unfiltered, James Dean fashion. More of a style that shouts, “Get off my back. Medicare will eventually cover it.”

Cain’s campaign manager Mark Block takes up most of the 56 seconds. The GOP candidate’s smile – how does that grab you? – makes a cameo at the end:

The video was at once variously dissected as iconic, bizarre and baffling. Cain’s people rolled with it. Block on Fox:

“You walk into a veterans’ bar in Iowa and they’re sitting around smoking, and yeah, we are resonating with them. I’m not the only one that smokes in America for God’s sake. It’s a choice that I made, and was at the end of the ad,” he said.

But by putting the focus on Block, you also shine light on his biography – not the candidate’s. From the Daily Caller:

[Block] was also banned from politics in Wisconsin for …

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A taboo topic: Picking up the tab for Port of Savannah deepening

If asked to identify the most forbidden topic in the state Capitol, the taboo of all taboos, a stranger would naturally run a finger down the list of standard human frailties.

Very likely, he would think, one ought not to blab about the fellow who is smooching someone whom he ought not to smooch. Or perhaps we should kill the chatter about the lobbyist with the large and accommodating wallet.

Both choices would be well off point. These days, the one thing you must never, ever mention publicly in the Capitol is the possibility that, in this scourge of an economy, with classrooms crying out for teachers and roads crumbling, the state of Georgia might be required to pony up $600 million to lower the bottom of the Savannah River.

At the Port of Savannah, containers are off-loaded from a mammoth overseas vessel and are moved to a container field for processing and transportation to the final destination. Special/Russ Bryant

At the Port of Savannah, containers are off-loaded from a mammoth overseas vessel and are moved to a container field for processing and transportation to the final destination. Special/Russ Bryant

For more than two years, public officials from Georgia …

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Marked for extinction, John Barrow begins his fight for survival

Democrat John Barrow made his way to Atlanta this week to argue for his own survival – to explain why he and other people of the middle in Washington don’t intend to follow Tyrannosaurus Rex and the passenger pigeon into oblivion.

“I’m not at all in danger. I can tell you that wherever I go, there are people who approve of my approach to the issues,” said the Georgia congressman who, for the moment, lives in Savannah.

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Savannah/AP file

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Savannah/AP file

As of two years ago, Barrow – simply by his survival – became a man worth a series of capital letters: The Last Surviving White Democrat in Congress from the Deep South.

In August, the Republican-controlled Legislature made yet another attempt to end Barrow’s political career, by redrawing his 12th District in southeast Georgia so that it no longer includes Democrat-laden Savannah – and creating a largely rural district packed with Republican voters.

Republicans have forced him to call the movers before. In 2006, state …

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Barack Obama, Kasim Reed, and the ‘Don’t Panic’ button

After President Barack Obama’s all-important jobs speech Thursday, drop in on CNN about 9 p.m.

You’re likely to see Kasim Reed in a conversation with Piers Morgan, driving home the points that Obama didn’t. Or couldn’t.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Oh, you’ll see the mayor of Atlanta chide Obama — or rather, the people around him — and offer some gentle counsel. “I think the most important thing for the president to remember is that folks elect you to win for them,” Reed said in an interview Wednesday.

The mayor offered these bullet points of advice to the White House:

– Don’t be afraid to brag. “I believe that the White House retreated a bit from the extraordinary things that they’ve done, and frankly got a little exhausted from explaining,” Reed said. Saving the auto industry, creating 2.4 million jobs, extending health care to millions and such.

– “Then you have to explain to people what you’re going to do for them in the future. You’ve got to talk …

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Johnny Isakson says he’s resolved GOP objections to trade treaties

A rare reason to look forward to Congress’ return to Washington next week, from Walter Jones of Morris News Service:

Sen. Johnny Isakson says he’s untangled objections that had blocked passage of a trio of trade agreements that could boost Georgia exports by more than $1.5 billion.

In an interview …Friday, Isakson said he’s convinced enough of his fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate to agree to conditions President Barack Obama set before submitting the agreements to Congress for ratification. He predicted Senate votes sometime in October.

The free-trade agreements, which would lower tariffs and other trade barriers, have been negotiated and signed with South Korea, Colombia and Panama and await submission to Congress. The Korean agreement, for example, was signed in 2007 before Obama was elected.

Now, if there were only a deep-water port on the Georgia coast to handle this stuff….

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect …

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Your morning jolt: Senate Republicans uneasy about shifting T-SPLOST vote

With a deal struck among Republicans on congressional maps, attention is quickly turning to the remaining issue facing the Legislature during its special session – passage of a measure shifting next year’s regional T-SPLOST votes from the July primary to the November general election.

Last week, Gov. Nathan Deal met in private session with House Republican members to argue for passage. But he may need to do the same with GOP senators.

We’re told that – right now – the bill wouldn’t win a majority of the Senate Republican caucus vote. That’s especially important when Democrats in the chamber – specifically members of the Legislative Black Caucus – are still in a pique over the Senate Republican effort to take control of local legislation affecting Fulton and other counties.

No gubernatorial counseling session has yet been scheduled – but keep an eye out for it.

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Regardless of when the regional transportation tax vote is held, proponents have their work cut out for them – …

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