Your daily jolt: GPB producer resigns over hiring of Chip Rogers

News that former state Sen. Chip Rogers has been given an executive position at Georgia Public Broadcasting with a hefty starting salary of $150,000 has prompted the resignation of a longtime executive producer at the network.

Click here to read the resignation letter from Ashlie Wilson Pendley to GPB President and CEO Teya Ryan, sent to us this morning by Bryan Long of Better Georgia. Here’s the meat:

I know that you have faced a variety of challenges and difficult decisions in the last four years since you assumed leadership of GPB. I’ve witnessed four rounds of layoffs. I’ve watched the outsourcing of the sales staff, the IT helpdesk and most recently, Master Control operations. I have loyally accepted stagnant wages for the last five years, even while the cost of my benefits has increased- even in the times when furloughed- because I believed GPB was an organization that was worth the sacrifice and the hard work.

In December, it became public that GPB was hiring former …

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Reports: Beyonce lip-synched national anthem

Mrs. Insider took one look at Beyonce at Monday’s inaugural ceremonies and told me this was the case. But would I believe her? Oh, no. It couldn’t possibly be so. The tweet from Jim Acosta of CNN:

CNN has confirmed Times of London report that Beyonce lip-synched the National Anthem during #inaug2013

The Times report cites a spokeswoman for the Marine Corps Band.

Look, the lady has fine pipes and obviously came down with a case of nerves, complicated by a driving need for perfection. But at any inaugural, whether Democrat or Republican, it seems to me that the object should be authenticity rather than unrivaled excellence.

What was that line from Obama’s inaugural speech? Ah, yes:

“We must act, we must act knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial.”

Otherwise, let’s just have Chuck Schumer say, “Roll tape.”

On the other hand, my AJC colleague Melissa Ruggieri, over at the Music Scene, has a different take. Check …

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Paul Broun on Saxby Chambliss challenge: ‘How can you not think about it?’

However coyly, U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, this morning admitted he’s thinking about a 2014 primary challenge to Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

“I don’t know. I’m honored that a lot of people are asking me to run. I’ve not made that decision,” Broun told Tim Bryant on WGAU (1340 AM) in Athens. “It’s not time to think about it.”

But when Bryant pressed him, Broun said this: “When people encourage you to run, how can you not think about it?”

Part of keeping the powder dry: Broun said he’ll oppose the new House resolution that postpones a confrontation over the debt ceiling until May.

The Athens congressman, who proudly boycotted the 2008 presidential inauguration, didn’t go to this one, either. “I had a lot of folks who wanted my tickets, so I didn’t go,” the congressman said.

So now we see why the organizers of President Barack Obama’s second inauguration were so anxious to be shed of the Rev. Louie Giglio of Atlanta – who was originally assigned the task of giving the …

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Why you’re not likely to see another Neal Boortz

Neal Boortz and his radio crew, after his last broadcast on Friday. AJC/Rodney Ho

Neal Boortz and his radio crew, after his last broadcast on Friday. AJC/Rodney Ho

Neal Boortz signed off for the last time
on Friday.

You won’t hear the likes of him again. And not just because retirement has doomed him to wander the world in an over-sized bus, like some middling country music singer who can’t find enough studio work.

The larger reason is that talk radio and its conservative clout have probably peaked.

As a cause, Boortz fans are sure to point to the Talkmaster’s departure, after four decades on our airwaves and 20 years at AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB. But four months ago, Clear Channel’s WGST – once a burning bush of conservative talk in Atlanta – shifted to sports. In Spanish. Last week, Allen West, the fire-breathing, former congressman from Florida, joined the corps of professional talkers. His program will be on the Internet.

It’s all of a piece.

Forty-eight hours before he bade farewell from the basement studios of WSB, Boortz sat for a relaxed …

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John Lewis wonders: Who knew Rush Limbaugh was a Black Panther?

This afternoon, talk show guru Rush Limbaugh attempted to draw the connection between those who support some limits on firearms, and their alleged idealism of Martin Luther King Jr.’s adherence to non-violence. A bit of the transcript from Limbaugh’s website:

”If a lot of African-Americans back in the sixties had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, do you think they woulda needed Selma? I don’t know. I’m just asking. If John Lewis, who says he was beat upside the head, if John Lewis had had a gun, would he have been beat upside the head on the bridge? And these people that think like [Tom] Brokaw are all over the media. This is the way they’re looking at this.

“So now what this has become, there is still slavery, there is still bigotry, there is still racism. It’s concentrated among people who are devoted to defending the Second Amendment, and they primarily live in the South. They are white, and they’re extremists, and they’re religious, and this is …

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Survey USA/11Alive poll: Majority would support new stadium to keep Falcons in Atlanta

On behalf of 11Alive, Survey USA has conducted an automated, statewide poll that shows Georgians willing to use taxpayer funds to help build a $1 billion – if it’s the only way to keep the Atlanta Falcons in downtown Atlanta.

From the TV station’s web site:

The survey of 500 adult Georgians conducted Wednesday night shows that 47 percent oppose using hotel-motel tax funds to help build a new stadium. 43 percent favor it. 10 percent are undecided.

When asked if they would support the project if it’s “the only way to keep the Atlanta Falcons team playing in downtown Atlanta,” 54% supported it and 37% opposed. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 and a half percent.

See more details here.

The 11Alive poll paints far rosier possibilities for a new Georgia Dome built via a public-private partnership with the Falcons and the NFL. A Journal-Constitution poll released just last week indicated 72 percent of Georgians opposed the measure – though the newspaper survey …

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Your daily jolt: A state Senate under new management

In the minutes surrounding the passage of Senate Bill 24, Gov. Nathan Deal’s solution to the “bed tax” dilemma, the sharp-eyed could – through the door leading to President pro tem David Shafer’s office – spot a giddy state Sen. Jeff Mullis dancing through the anteroom, arms in the air.

That’s how happy the new leaders of the state Senate were on Thursday, following passage of the Hospital Medicaid Financing Program Act. The bill, which now will receive the same railed treatment in the House, solves the sticky problem of legislative approval for a continued levy on hospitals by shoving the issue behind the executive curtain of the state Department of Community Health.

In fact, the contrast with Senate passage of the original “bed tax” in 2010 couldn’t be starker. Three years ago, GOP senators tortured themselves over the issue for three months. The caucus split, and two Republicans lost chairmanships when they refused to go along – despite furious arm-twisting.

On Thursday, …

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With a little selective editing, John Barrow becomes poster child for anti-gun group

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has entered the debate over gun control with a video that features U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, as its poster child.

The video splices in a 2012 campaign ad used by Barrow, touting his support of the National Rifle Association and his opposition to gun legislation, with scenes of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Additionally, the group points out that on Wednesday, Barrow was critical of gun control legislation proposed by President Barack Obama. Said Barrow, In part:

”I strongly disagree with proposals that would deny law abiding citizens their Second Amendment rights, and I’m disappointed he did not propose increased security measures for our schools.

Here’s the CSGV video:

The group points to the $27,250 that Barrow has received from the NRA over eight years. The quote from CSGV executive director Josh Horwitz: “Representative Barrow has been bought for the price of a new truck. It would be laughable if his lack of regard for our …

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The Union of Georgia Elected Officials?

At the tail end of Thursday’s state of the state address, Gov. Nathan Deal weighed into the debate over ethics at the state Capitol.

Never mind the dig at the press corps. The governor may have frozen the discussion by declaring that any rules applied to state lawmakers should also apply to every elected official in Georgia. Emphasis mine:

”I will conclude my remarks on a topic that does not require the recitation of statistics, but is one that is recognized in both the public and private domains as a cornerstone of success – that is ethics. We can build the strongest foundations of frugality, efficiency and competitiveness upon which our state government will rest; but if the citizens of Georgia don’t trust us, it will all be in vain, for the vibrations of distrust will crack even the strongest foundations.

“There will always be those in the media and elsewhere who thrive on sowing the seeds of doubt and distrust and who will never recant their sinister innuendos and …

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Your daily jolt: Paul Broun, Saxby Chambliss trade jabs on spending

You have to wonder if the first salvo in the 2014 race for the U.S. Senate, between Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss and presumed primary challenger Paul Broun, has just been fired. Roll Call, the D.C. newspaper, has these paragraphs from an interview with the Athens congressman:

Asked whether Chambliss understands the big issues of debt and deficit the country is facing as he does, Broun paused for a moment.

“Doesn’t seem so,” Broun said. “He seems to want to raise taxes on people, and he also wants to continue spending. So I don’t know if he does or not, you’ll have to ask him.”

But pressed whether he was interested in challenging Chambliss in next year’s primary, Broun took a pass on answering. “Right now I’m focusing on trying to get our country to be responsible financially as a nation,” he said. “It’s not time to even think about that.”

In the same article, Chambliss denies that the fiscal cliff deal that came out of the Senate amounted to a tax increase. Then he …

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